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Amtrak709

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The author doesn't seem to have fully understood the bus connections don't start in San Jose, but also go through Oakland, Emeryville, and San Francisco before San Jose.
Please challenge me if I am wrong. I lived in California (Orange County) from 1970-1976 and have very little knowledge of its development since.
But it would be my opinion that Amtrak will have an overnight sleeper SFO-LAX on the day the sun explodes.
 

danasgoodstuff

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Please challenge me if I am wrong. I lived in California (Orange County) from 1970-1976 and have very little knowledge of its development since.
But it would be my opinion that Amtrak will have an overnight sleeper SFO-LAX on the day the sun explodes.
Things change, it's the only thing that stays the same.
 
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zephyr17

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Amtrak never did, but I think Southern Pacific might have. The Coast Daylight apparently left San Francisco (or later Oakland) at about 8 in the morning.
Amtrak certainly did have an overnight California train, the Los Angeles-Sacramento via Oakland "Spirit of California" (aka, the "MedFlyer") in the early 1980's. Governor Deukmajian killed it since it was dependent on California subsidy.

SP operated the Lark via the Coast Line until 1968, the coach Starlight until 1958, the Owl via the Valley until about 1965, and the Sacramento-LA West Coast, among many others.
 

cirdan

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Please challenge me if I am wrong. I lived in California (Orange County) from 1970-1976 and have very little knowledge of its development since.
But it would be my opinion that Amtrak will have an overnight sleeper SFO-LAX on the day the sun explodes.
I don't think the idea is that Amtrak should take the initiative, but that California should drum up the money, support and equipment, and underwrite any losses, and then ask Amtrak to run it, much as is already happening on many of the Amtrak routes in California today.
 

Bonser

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The author doesn't seem to have fully understood the bus connections don't start in San Jose, but also go through Oakland, Emeryville, and San Francisco before San Jose.
I think he does show an understanding of the bus connections, only he is not explicit about it. The SF-LA overnight can be done tomorrow if Caltrans allows it. One can travel by rail to Diridon (San Jose) about 12 times daily presently. Amtrak could easily have an 8 or 9 boarding time in San Francisco and proceed to San Jose and onto Los Angeles. While it would not service the Central Valley as the high speed version it definitely would service the two largest markets. All in all, a very interesting read.
 

cirdan

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I think he does show an understanding of the bus connections, only he is not explicit about it. The SF-LA overnight can be done tomorrow if Caltrans allows it. One can travel by rail to Diridon (San Jose) about 12 times daily presently. Amtrak could easily have an 8 or 9 boarding time in San Francisco and proceed to San Jose and onto Los Angeles. While it would not service the Central Valley as the high speed version it definitely would service the two largest markets. All in all, a very interesting read.
The author also says that whereas it may seem logical that the HSR could cannibalize and totally kill off any parallel connections (planned or existing), experience from elsewhere shows this need not be a foregone conclusion. This is a very valid point.

A point the author does not make is that the completion of HSR end to end is still very far away and as long as that does not happen, the present fragmented solution with train plus bus is not going to take a significant bite out of the airline market, even if the train part is speeded up somewhat. A thru night train via the coastal route thus remains a viable proposition for end to end travelers.
 

Bonser

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The author also says that whereas it may seem logical that the HSR could cannibalize and totally kill off any parallel connections (planned or existing), experience from elsewhere shows this need not be a foregone conclusion. This is a very valid point.

A point the author does not make is that the completion of HSR end to end is still very far away and as long as that does not happen, the present fragmented solution with train plus bus is not going to take a significant bite out of the airline market, even if the train part is speeded up somewhat. A thru night train via the coastal route thus remains a viable proposition for end to end travelers.
Agree and it could be direct - 4th and King in San Francisco to Union Station in LA. With some marketing and commitment to reliability this overnight train could be a success. Everything old is new again!
 

BCL

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I think he does show an understanding of the bus connections, only he is not explicit about it. The SF-LA overnight can be done tomorrow if Caltrans allows it. One can travel by rail to Diridon (San Jose) about 12 times daily presently. Amtrak could easily have an 8 or 9 boarding time in San Francisco and proceed to San Jose and onto Los Angeles. While it would not service the Central Valley as the high speed version it definitely would service the two largest markets. All in all, a very interesting read.

I was referring to the 4770 bus. That's obviously the reference, but since I've been on it I know that it starts in Oakland before it makes its way to San Jose via Emeryville and San Francisco. Maybe he knows it, but in the article it makes it sound as if San Jose is the starting point of the bus.

Today? Well, Amtrak’s schedule shows an Amtrak Thruway bus scheduled to leave San Jose at 11:45 p.m. and deliver you to Santa Barbara at 6:30 a.m., where you can catch a regional train to LA at 6:53 a.m.​
 

west point

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California should buy all the equipment. As well do not allow Amtrak to even change a light bulb. Maybe California hire traveling mechanic(s) to keep things working properly.
 

zephyr17

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I don't think the idea is that Amtrak should take the initiative, but that California should drum up the money, support and equipment, and underwrite any losses, and then ask Amtrak to run it, much as is already happening on many of the Amtrak routes in California today.
There isn't a choice, that is the way it has to be per Federal law. Per PRIIA all routes under 750 miles must be 100% funded from state and local sources and cannot partake of the Federal subsidy. Except the NEC, of course.
 

zephyr17

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California should buy all the equipment. As well do not allow Amtrak to even change a light bulb. Maybe California hire traveling mechanic(s) o keep things working properly.
California already owns almost all equipment used on California trains other than the National Network trains (Starlight, Sunset and SW Chief). Even the Superliners used in Surfliner service are under long term lease to CalTrans, and are wreck rebuilds that California paid for, although Beech Grove did the work.

If the State of California wanted to put on an overnight train, they could. It is wholly their decision.
 

zephyr17

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Much of the Viewliner sleeper fleet remains mothballed. I am unsure of the mothball ratio of Is to IIs, but certainly when viewed as a single fleet there are many Viewliners not serviceable.

California has already paid for stored unservicable Superliners to be repaired and leased them, so there is precedent for California doing such things. If they want to, they probably could come to an arrangement with Amtrak, since Amtrak appears to be unenthusiastic about putting the full Viewliner fleet into service themselves.
 

cirdan

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But unless California finances the train and, more importantly, finds the rolling stock including sleepers, it's all just a pipe dream. Amtrak can't provide reliable LD service to its existing network.
Is there any reason California can't tack on an order of its own onto Amtrak's Viewliner order and then use that. I guess one or two sleepers per train would suffice, with the rest of the train being day coaches they have already? So with two consists in circulation plus a reserve car or two, that would be five or six cars maximum. But maybe they could even test the waters with one car per train which would mean ordering as little as two or three cars off the back of the Amtrak order?

If they really wanted this to happen that is. Politics is a different scenario entirely of course.
 
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