Is restoration of the National Limited feasible?

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danasgoodstuff

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There's also nothing north-south between the CONO and the eastern seaboard, which has a much bigger (if some similarly sized cities) population and less area than the west does.
I tend to have a fairly mid-west to west coast perspective, having lived west of the Mississippi most of my life. Amtrak may not be as NEC centric as some claim, but it's close and I don't think the shifting demographics of the nation are well mirrored by their services.
 
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I'd also appreciate a way of getting to Pittsburgh from California without such an early morning arrival as the Capitol from Chicago. Would be even cooler if it could go along the Ohio river via Weirton/Wheeling & Parkersburg and then through Nashville.
 

leccy

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I have a fantasy route. New York to Pittsburgh via Harrisburg (Pennsylvanian) then using upgraded and connected regional lines to Columbus, onto Cincinnati via Dayton and then to Louisville at a new station near the University. Reversing at Louisville it would then go west to Centralia and finally St Louis. Completely unlikely but fun to plan!
 

fdaley

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The loss of that 40-mile stretch of track from Dayton to Richmond really poses a problem. You can jog down 50 miles to Cincinnati, which adds more en-route population, but then you're starting to add a lot more time for through travelers to St. Louis and beyond. Add Louisville and it gets even longer, though certainly Louisville merits service as part of some route.

I do think something like the old Southwestern Limited route has potential. It could follow ex-NYC from Cleveland through Indianapolis to Terre Haute, then ex-PRR via Effingham to St. Louis. All of that appears to be a mainline freight route now. It would also use the same track as the 3-C+D corridor from Cleveland to Galion, so would benefit from any upgrades on that portion.

Of course, all of this assumes a political will to add new LD routes, which I don't see at this point.
 

Willbridge

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The loss of that 40-mile stretch of track from Dayton to Richmond really poses a problem. You can jog down 50 miles to Cincinnati, which adds more en-route population, but then you're starting to add a lot more time for through travelers to St. Louis and beyond. Add Louisville and it gets even longer, though certainly Louisville merits service as part of some route.

I do think something like the old Southwestern Limited route has potential. It could follow ex-NYC from Cleveland through Indianapolis to Terre Haute, then ex-PRR via Effingham to St. Louis. All of that appears to be a mainline freight route now. It would also use the same track as the 3-C+D corridor from Cleveland to Galion, so would benefit from any upgrades on that portion.

Of course, all of this assumes a political will to add new LD routes, which I don't see at this point.
Given all the existing circumstances I think that the Southwestern Limited option is the best, especially if the 3-C+D Corridor was finally implemented. It could create some useful connections at Effingham.

I rode what was left of it in May 1969 (a ltwt NYC coach and a Flexi-Van) from Indianapolis to Marion, Ohio and it was a fairly smooth ride in comparison with some other Penn Central lines. Westbound it was quite punctual, waking us up each morning in the temporary WWII barracks at Fort Benjamin Harrison.
 
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The loss of that 40-mile stretch of track from Dayton to Richmond really poses a problem.

Living in Dayton, I have wondered why that stretch of tracks west to Richmond and East to ???--not sure where--was done. Unsure what takes the place of the tracks to Richmond, but, I do know that the stretch East of Dayton was turned into a bike/walking pathway, at least partway. Who owns those stretches of real estate?
 

fdaley

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Living in Dayton, I have wondered why that stretch of tracks west to Richmond and East to ???--not sure where--was done. Unsure what takes the place of the tracks to Richmond, but, I do know that the stretch East of Dayton was turned into a bike/walking pathway, at least partway. Who owns those stretches of real estate?

A lot of these stretches of track were lost when Conrail was rationalizing its system from the late '70s through the early '90s. Unfortunately, even routes that were once major passenger thoroughfares were torn up if they didn't generate online freight traffic and weren't vital as through freight routes. As to who owns the rights of way now, I wouldn't know.
 

fdaley

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Given all the existing circumstances I think that the Southwestern Limited option is the best, especially if the 3-C+D Corridor was finally implemented. It could create some useful connections at Effingham.

I rode what was left of it in May 1969 (a ltwt NYC coach and a Flexi-Van) from Indianapolis to Marion, Ohio and it was a fairly smooth ride in comparison with some other Penn Central lines. Westbound it was quite punctual, waking us up each morning in the temporary WWII barracks at Fort Benjamin Harrison.

The Southwestern Limited route is a good one for linking Indianapolis and St. Louis to New York state and New England. But the old National Limited route was better as a straight shot from Philadelphia and the mid-Atlantic, and of course it took in Columbus and Dayton too. It would just be a lot more work to put it back together, and it might not even be possible if chunks of it have been converted into trails.
 

Larry H.

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I agree about the passenger demand on that route. I rode it several time east and it was filled. In fact the conductor put me and my traveling companion in a sleeper due to no seats left in the coachs. And yes it was a rather poor excuse for a long distance train, no real diner or lounge and it did run somewhat behind schedule. I don't know how the routes run but it might be possible to go though Salem Il. on the CSX route which for some reason they quit using a couple years ago by now, but the track and accessory equipment is still in working order and nearly new. I never understood why they upgraded all the switching and other items along the tracks only to stop using it about six months later?
 
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I have a fantasy route. New York to Pittsburgh via Harrisburg (Pennsylvanian) then using upgraded and connected regional lines to Columbus, onto Cincinnati via Dayton and then to Louisville at a new station near the University. Reversing at Louisville it would then go west to Centralia and finally St Louis. Completely unlikely but fun to plan!

How about that route to Cincinnati and then to Indianapolis and Chicago?
 
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Taking the route of the original National Limited (B&O) from Cincinnati to St. Louis would be the most direct. In the late 60's, Chessie rerouted the National Limited off the tradition route over the B&O (portions abandoned) through West Virginia to the C&O route that the Cardinal uses. At that time the schedule had the National Lts/Georg Washington leaving Washington at 4:40pm, Cincinnati at 7:30am, and St. Louis at 2:20pm. CSX has significantly downgraded the line from Cinci to St. Louis with sporadic local service but given enough money it could be rebuilt to essentially a passenger train route. The City of New Orleans crosses it at Odin, IL, 8 miles north of Centralia.which would provide some connectivity options.

But, in the real world, the best option is the Cardinal to Indianapolis, CSX to St. Louis, Not a new idea as it was discussed at length a few years ago as noted in this thread.
 
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While some of the National Limited route has been torn up, the Norfolk Southern restored the former PRR mainline through Ohio. I believe that route ran originated in Pittsburgh and headed West through Ohio and Indiana with stops in Youngstown, Canton, Akron, Lima, Crestline, Fostoria, and in Indiana in Ft Wayne, Napanee, Warsaw, Valpariso, and Gary. While not the National Limited route it does illustrate that those states can be crossed Westward and South of the Lakeshore and Capitol Ltd route. There are tracks to Indianapolis from that route and tracks west from Indianapolis but Its quite a stretch that we will see passenger service there again.
 

danasgoodstuff

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I think we need a map; good State by State maps are relatively easy to find, but good regional ones are harder. And I wouldn't know if what I was looking at was truly accurate and current.
 
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Why is there any discussion of the restoration of the National Limited through Ohio? It isn't going to happen in my lifetime. Efforts must be placed on the 3C+D plan for my State to benefit. Frittering any lobbying, etc. for anything else is counterproductive to establishing new Amtrak service that is needed.
 
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I can't help but wonder if we're going about this the wrong way: the push should be for local/regional trains linking these cities and once those are successes it would be reasonable to demand longer distance, especially if ticket sales proved the utility of the route (might even get some surprises on routes that way).
 

uncleboots

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Montana Senator Jon Tester mentioned several months ago he will bring up the possibility of the restoration of the National Limted and the North Coast Hiawatha I believe his reasoning was he wanted some of Amtrak’s Original Routes Restored.
 

danasgoodstuff

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Montana Senator Jon Tester mentioned several months ago he will bring up the possibility of the restoration of the National Limted and the North Coast Hiawatha I believe his reasoning was he wanted some of Amtrak’s Original Routes Restored.
Well, he has an obvious interest in the North Coast Hiawatha since it would serve the part of his State where the population is, but I can't see his interest in the national limited unless he's just trying to horse trade or has visions of a grand national network with north/south routes out of MT and I don't know that he has that big an interest in passenger rail. But that's interesting. I'd take the North Coast probably myself at least once, but don't know that the National Limited would be of more than limited interest to me, unless it got to Cincy at a better time.
 

railiner

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While some of the National Limited route has been torn up, the Norfolk Southern restored the former PRR mainline through Ohio. I believe that route ran originated in Pittsburgh and headed West through Ohio and Indiana with stops in Youngstown, Canton, Akron, Lima, Crestline, Fostoria, and in Indiana in Ft Wayne, Napanee, Warsaw, Valpariso, and Gary. While not the National Limited route it does illustrate that those states can be crossed Westward and South of the Lakeshore and Capitol Ltd route. There are tracks to Indianapolis from that route and tracks west from Indianapolis but Its quite a stretch that we will see passenger service there again.
I think you're mixing up the former PRR Amtrak Broadway Limited route between Pittsburgh and Chicago which ran Pittsburgh-Canton-Crestline-Lima-Fort Wayne-Valparaiso-Gary- Chicago, with the last B&O routed Amtrak Broadway which ran Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Akron-Fostoria-Nappanee-Hammond-Chicago.

The Conrail routed National Limited ran Pittsburgh-Steubenville-Columbus-Dayton-Indianapolis-Terre Haute-Effingham-St. Louis (and onto the former MP to Kansas City, with a thru sleeper on to Los Angeles.

The original B&O National Limited ran New York (Jersey City)-Washington-Cumberland-Grafton-Parkersburg-Cincinnati-Vincennes-Flora-St. Louis.

Amtrak ran a Washington-Cincinnati train on the B&O route (the Shenandoah), until 1981. It connected at Cincinnati with the Cardinal and the Mountaineer. CSX has abandoned part of that route since that time.
 
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danasgoodstuff

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I think you're mixing up the former PRR Amtrak Broadway Limited route between Pittsburgh and Chicago which ran Pittsburgh-Canton-Crestline-Lima-Fort Wayne-Valparaiso-Gary- Chicago, with the last B&O routed Amtrak Broadway which ran Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Akron-Fostoria-Nappanee-Hammond-Chicago.

The Conrail routed National Limited ran Pittsburgh-Steubenville-Columbus-Dayton-Indianapolis-Terre Haute-Effingham-St. Louis (and onto the former MP to Kansas City, with a thru sleeper on to Los Angeles.

The original B&O National Limited ran New York (Jersey City)-Washington-Cumberland-Grafton-Parkersburg-Cincinnati-Vincennes-Flora-St. Louis.

Amtrak ran a Washington-Cincinnati train on the B&O route (the Shenandoah), until 1981. It connected at Cincinnati with the Cardinal and the Mountaineer. CSX has abandoned part of that route since that time.
This is why we need maps. I have only the vaguest idea how these routes differ, much less which of them might be workable now.
 
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This is my holy grail, a train from New York to Los Angeles that does not involve Chicago.

I believe it can work

natltd51575.jpg
 
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A lot of AU'ers would undoubtedly love to see a coast to coast service restored... and attempts with the Sunset to FLA have gone nowhere... the trackage wiped out by a single storm; Hurricane Katrina... never to be restored and used again? Seems like just another part of the trend towards passenger service elimination.

Now... the possibility of NYP to LAX is certainly intriguing but without CHI I don't see how they could get the ridership it would require. A routing directly through STL and KC certainly doesn't seem to have the arterial connections found at CHI... and would then double up on the SWC route in KC.

But I do like the idea of pairing up with the Capitol with the Eagle through CHI which has been discussed before; and would allow for Superliner service all the way through... certainly energizing ridership for both trains.

And I'd bet the ridership would be 'through the roof!' Not just between WAS and LAX, but single train service for intermediate pairs as well, such as PIT and STL and etc.

That said, Amtrak should not only upgrade its deteriorating offerings on both trains... but should take it beyond with a premier train concept... including the SSL, dining car, and perhaps another entire car devoted to cafe service... plus additional sleepers.

A lot of dreaming goes on at AU but wouldn't many of us like to see restoration of coast to coast service on the Sunset Limited, and ALSO a match-up of the Capitol and TE... making them both premier trains???

Ya Betch'a!!!
 
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