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Long distance trains now sold out, NEC still burning cash..

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Barb Stout

OBS Chief
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Mar 13, 2019
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I knew about the odd interstates being N_S and the even being E_W, but I didn't realize that there was a hierarchy of numbers with those ending in 0 or 5. And what about I-81, which runs from the Canadian border to Knoxville, Tennesee? I'd consider that one to be a "trunk-line" interstate.
Another exception is I-94 which runs from Sarnia, Michigan at the lower tip of Lake Huron to Billings, MT. Both go for quite a ways, but I-94 goes 1579 miles vs 887 for I-81. I expect there are more exceptions.
 

tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
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Mar 3, 2020
Messages
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I-30 runs between Little Rock and Fort Worth.

They decided not to use I-50 or I-60 numbers, because they would run too close to the older US 50 and US 60 routes, and perhaps be too confusing.
That is kind of what I was thinking.

I wonder if they will ever upgrade us50 to an interstate?
 

Qapla

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Something that could start at the Brightline Miami Station and then go along I-75 up to Tampa. Stops would be in Naples/Ft.Myers/Sarasota/Bradenton/Ruskin(Amazon TPA-1) warehouse and Tampa.
That sounds good. From Tampa it would be nice if it continued through Wildwood/The Villages, Ocala, Gainesville and Lake City where it could meet the east-west tracks that run from JAX to Tallahassee. Although that sends it a little more "inland" than "west" - there is not much population density north of the Tampa area along the US98 route. Having it go as far as Spring Hill/Brooksville would work before heading to Ocala. The Villages has a huge retired population - not sure if that would be good or not, but a stop in the Villages would make it much easier for those who live there with a connection with the North East.

There may well be a market for The Villages - NYC connection - and most of these people can afford the sleeper.
 

McIntyre2K7

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That sounds good. From Tampa it would be nice if it continued through Wildwood/The Villages, Ocala, Gainesville and Lake City where it could meet the east-west tracks that run from JAX to Tallahassee. Although that sends it a little more "inland" than "west" - there is not much population density north of the Tampa area along the US98 route. Having it go as far as Spring Hill/Brooksville would work before heading to Ocala. The Villages has a huge retired population - not sure if that would be good or not, but a stop in the Villages would make it much easier for those who live there with a connection with the North East.

There may well be a market for The Villages - NYC connection - and most of these people can afford the sleeper.

True. I'm down for extending the Sun Rail into Tampa as well. I can't buy a ticket from Tampa to Lakeland on Amtrak even though Lakeland is 34 miles away.


I think a giant station in Lake City would be perfect. If they get the Brooksville line to connect with the S Line just north or Tampa it could work. There could be a Gainesville stop just east of town as well.

I know a New Orleans to Jacksonville route is needed. I know Amtrak had a plan to either bring the Sunset Limited back into Florida, extend the CONO into Orlando or create a new daily Orlando to New Orleans train.
 

railiner

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o_O

Have you ever DRIVEN US-50? (I have, at least across Utah and Nevada.) They call it "The Loneliest Road in America" for good reason!
I have, from coast to coast.😎
It’s one of my hobbies to do that over many old US highways, from end to end.
There’s a place crossing the Appalachian’s near Grafton, WVa, appropriately called, “The Famous Hairpin Curve”.🙂
 

tgstubbs1

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I have, from coast to coast.😎
It’s one of my hobbies to do that over many old US highways, from end to end.
There’s a place crossing the Appalachian’s near Grafton, WVa, appropriately called, “The Famous Hairpin Curve”.🙂
They could name it "The loneliest Interstate".

I think I have traveled most of US50 between Jefferson City and Sacramento.
 

MARC Rider

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o_O

Have you ever DRIVEN US-50? (I have, at least across Utah and Nevada.) They call it "The Loneliest Road in America" for good reason!
Well, out west at least, who needs an interstate when you can drive 70 mph on the 2-lane roads anyway? (Which I've done in both Montana and Texas.)
 

jiml

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Somewhere in Southern Ontario
I wouldn't mind a Florida West Coast Rail route as well. Something that could start at the Brightline Miami Station and then go along I-75 up to Tampa. Stops would be in Naples/Ft.Myers/Sarasota/Bradenton/Ruskin(Amazon TPA-1) warehouse and Tampa.
There might be a reason this has never been done. While ACL had service to Naples, it came from the north. My guess is the land between there and Miami (Everglades and similar) may be too unstable to support railroad infrastructure at reasonable cost or someone would have done it "back in the day". Most of the other stops on your list were served at one time by either or both of the Florida heritage railroads.

The Seminole Gulf shortline operates the tracks between Naples and Fort Myers, although I believe they no longer actually reach Naples. CSX was making noise about abandoning some connecting track north of Sarasota a few years ago - not sure how that turned out. Seminole Gulf did operate limited passenger excursion service.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Well, out west at least, who needs an interstate when you can drive 70 mph on the 2-lane roads anyway? (Which I've done in both Montana and Texas.)
Texas operates under prima facie limits with no active point penalties, so on a dry open road under clear skies you can travel at almost any speed that maintains full control of your vehicle. It's when you combine speeding with other factors (small town, slower traffic, poor weather) or infractions (tailgating, swerving, failure to stop/yield/signal, etc.) that it becomes a serious offense. You'll still need to pay a fine or defend yourself in court so it's not exactly free to speed.
 
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Qapla

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My guess is the land between there and Miami (Everglades and similar) may be too unstable to support railroad infrastructure at reasonable cost
That is possible - then again, it could be that the Seminole Reservation won't let them cross their land. It just seems that, if they can build an Interstate Highway capable of the constant semi-truck traffic I-75 gets they could build a train track across the same land.
 

Bob Dylan

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Texas operates under prima facie limits with no active point penalties, so on a dry open road under clear skies you can travel at almost any speed that maintains full control of your vehicle. It's when you combine speeding with other factors (small town, slower traffic, poor weather) or infractions (tailgating, swerving, failure to stop/yield/signal, etc.) that it becomes a serious offense. You'll still need to pay a fine or defend yourself in court so it's not exactly free to speed.
You do have the option of paying a $99 "Fee" and taking a Defensive Driving Class( usual charge $10-$45)that will keep the ticket off your Driving Record instead of paying a $200-$400 Fine ( set locally, depends on where the ticket is filed) that does stay on your record and makes your Auto Insurance go up!

This is only good once a year, so if you get multiple tickets you're on the hook!

One thing that is happening on some of our Toll Roads, where the Speed Limit is 80, is the Highway Patrol are actually stopping Speeders ( usually over 100mph!!) and issuing tickets!!
 

railiner

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I don’t know the engineering of roads versus railroads, but freight trains can carry four times the weight in the same relative space as trucks (per axle), I believe...that could be a difference...
 

Devil's Advocate

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You do have the option of paying a $99 "Fee" and taking a Defensive Driving Class( usual charge $10-$45)that will keep the ticket off your Driving Record instead of paying a $200-$400 Fine ( set locally, depends on where the ticket is filed) that does stay on your record and makes your Auto Insurance go up! This is only good once a year, so if you get multiple tickets you're on the hook! One thing that is happening on some of our Toll Roads, where the Speed Limit is 80, is the Highway Patrol are actually stopping Speeders ( usually over 100mph!!) and issuing tickets!!
You can actually have multiple unreported tickets per year if you play your cards right, but there is no way to avoid the fines and fees that come with them. I had a coworker who paid thousands on speeding tickets every year he lived here. No matter how many tickets he got he never lost his license. Texas used to have a points system like most states with fines and fees managed by a private contractor but that is no longer active. They can still arrest you or take away your license but that's rare if the only infraction is speeding on a desolate road in dry conditions.
 

Willbridge

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Denver
That is kind of what I was thinking.

I wonder if they will ever upgrade us50 to an interstate?
Colorado keeps spending money on improvements to US50. I'm not sure though how much is demand-based versus needing to spend the money. It is critical every few years when Glenwood Canyon collapses on I-70.
 

McIntyre2K7

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There might be a reason this has never been done. While ACL had service to Naples, it came from the north. My guess is the land between there and Miami (Everglades and similar) may be too unstable to support railroad infrastructure at reasonable cost or someone would have done it "back in the day". Most of the other stops on your list were served at one time by either or both of the Florida heritage railroads.
I could see the everglades being an issue however there is enough space between east and westbound lanes of Alligator Alley to add rail. I know there's an Native American reservation along AA as well so maybe another hurdle. It appears that Amtrak's plan for future does call for regional rail from Naples to Tampa and a Line from Orlando to Gainesville with stops in The Villages and Ocala. I have attached the pdf below.


 

jiml

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I could see the everglades being an issue however there is enough space between east and westbound lanes of Alligator Alley to add rail. I know there's an Native American reservation along AA as well so maybe another hurdle. It appears that Amtrak's plan for future does call for regional rail from Naples to Tampa and a Line from Orlando to Gainesville with stops in The Villages and Ocala. I have attached the pdf below.


Yes, I've seen that. (I'm a huge Florida railfan despite being Canadian, having spent many winters either in the Tampa area or the northwest panhandle.) The routes you've mentioned replicate existing infrastructure with very little new construction, so entirely feasible. I respect @Qapla suggestion about the native issues, however I doubt that was an issue back in the day of rampant rail construction in Florida. I suspect the real reason was the lack of freight traffic through the Everglades to offset the construction cost. I recently watched a documentary of rail construction in the UK over similar "boggy" territory and it wasn't easy or cheap. Although passenger traffic on a more direct route between Miami and Tampa might be significant, it will never justify the construction cost. Funnelling traffic through a more northerly junction makes the most sense.
 

tgstubbs1

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Messages
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Colorado keeps spending money on improvements to US50. I'm not sure though how much is demand-based versus needing to spend the money. It is critical every few years when Glenwood Canyon collapses on I-70.
They are upgrading an US 50 intersection a few miles from my house to reduce accidents there.

Traffic was up during that fire last summer.
 
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