Quantcast

Narp/RailPac Meeting in LA

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

G

Guest_Ben_*

Guest
Did anyone go to this meeting? Alex Kummant was the keynote speaker. What did he talk about? Did the Sunset issue get brought up? Thank you.
 

Sam Damon

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
990
Rafi and I were both at the Region IV NARP meeting in Baltimore, so we can't speak to what happened at the LA meeting. Here's what we learned in Baltimore.

Amtrak's Emmett Fremaux did talk about the Sunset issue in passing, saying that Amtrak is still evaluating extending the CNO to Mobile, then having a tri-weekly connection to Orlando from there. This is one of several options to restore service. IMO, Fremaux seems determined to do a bit more operations research before anything happens on that route. That's my take, YMMV.

We did not have time during the Q&A period to press him further on this issue, as he had an illness in the family. The organizers had rearranged the presentation schedule to get him out the door in a timely fashion. He did not seem to dodge the whole Sunset line issue, though.
 
G

Guest_Ben_*

Guest
Thank you for the info Sam. But I don't really see how that would make sense; wouldn't you need an extra set of equipment compared to extending the Sunset back? Also, did he say what other options are being explored? Could extending the Sunset back be one? When will there be an announcement? Thank you.
 

ceblack

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
69
Location
California
The RailPAC web site mentions that a report and pictures of the RailPAC/NARP meeting will be posted there on Wednesday, 21 March.

Of course, if anyone who attended wants to give some initial thoughts/impressions before then, I'd be eager to read them. If not... I'm an Amtrak rider... I can be patient.
 

Sam Damon

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
990
Thank you for the info Sam. But I don't really see how that would make sense; wouldn't you need an extra set of equipment compared to extending the Sunset back? Also, did he say what other options are being explored? Could extending the Sunset back be one? When will there be an announcement? Thank you.
Emmett Fremaux is from New Orleans; I got the impression service to and from there is not far from his mind. I think if he had the time, our group would have gotten some other answers out of him, but he was pressed for time, and he did put a great deal of information out in a hurry.

All I can tell you about the Sunset route is what he told us at the Region IV NARP meeting in Baltimore. Do not forget the Sunset and its associated costs have been the favorite whipping boy of people like U.S. Representative Mica of Florida. Amtrak is looking at options. One of them involves extending the City of New Orleans to Mobile, and running tri-weekly service from there to Orlando. IMO, Fremaux is attempting to have Amtrak do some serious operational research on the Sunset and City of New Orleans before relaunching Amtrak service from New Orleans to Orlando. Fremaux also gave me the impression he wants the job done "right", as opposed to just merely being "done." There was no hint of any date when service will return between New Orleans - Orlando.

Again, IMO, Amtrak management is attempting to devise a business plan for the New Orleans - Orlando city pair which will shoot down critics by demonstrating tangible results. At least, that's the impression I got from hearing Fremaux's preso.

I hope this answers your questions.
 

ceblack

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
69
Location
California
YouTube video with selected comments from Amtrak President Alex Kummant at the 17 March RailPAC/NARP/TTC meeting:


I didn't hear anything specifically regarding the Sunset Limited in these "highlights".

Some things that he did touch on: Intercity vs. Long Distance; Amtrak Budget; Freight RR infrastructure.
 
G

Guest_Ben_*

Guest
If you look back at the 1999/2000 timetable, you'll see that the Sunset had good calling times into Mobile. Eastbound, it would hit Mobile at 11:20 at night, while eastbound it would be 8:09 in the morning. #2 would depart LA at 9:55pm and arrive Orlando at 3:20pm. Westbound, it would depart Orlando at 6:50 at night and would arrive LA at 7:10 in the morning. However due to severe congestion on UP and CSX, many hours of padding have been added since then, which puts the train into Mobile and other stations at bad times. Looking at the latest timetable before Katrina hit, eastbound it takes about 14 hours more from LA to Orlando. Westbound, it's about 8. These freight railroads have destroyed this train. Hopefully with the route LA-El Paso being double-tracked, and with a lot of the NOL-Pensacola section rebuilt, the schedule can return to the 2000 form, which would end the argument for a separate train to serve Mobile at decent hours. Would it be too much to ask to have the Sunset return to that schedule and be on time? Perhaps Kummant can work some magic? It would be nice.
 

George Harris

Conductor
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,027
Location
now in California
Even if UP does finsh what they have started, full double track between El Paso and West Colton Yard that is literally less than half the problem. You still have El Paso to New Orleans single, and there is a lot of congestion and delay in here as well, particularly El Paso to Houston. You would also still have the 59 mph limit and widely spaced siding on the CSX part between Flomaton AL and Tallahassee FL. With all their congestion in other places, this is probably not near the top of CSX's priorities, either.

George
 
G

Guest_Ben_*

Guest
I don't see why there needs to be a separate train that doesn't connect with the eastbound Sunset. Right now, the Sunset arrives in NOL at 4 and the CONO at 3. I don't see why the Sunset can't just leave around 7, serving Mobile at decent times. A 3 hour layover in NO is enough padding for the Sunset for the most part. Plus, I heard that there are more people traveling west-east on the Sunset through NO than south-east on the CONO and the Sunset, so it makes sense that there would be a connection with the Sunset.
 

AmtrakWPK

Conductor
AU Supporter
Honored Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2004
Messages
1,849
They should either reinstate the Sunset east of NOL, or start a daily NOL-JAX that gets into Jax early enough in the morning to connect southbound with 97, which means it could feed from NOL to both northbound and southbound out of Jax, and early enough in the afternoon leaving Jax to connect from northbound 98, which would connect from both north and south as well. A daily would serve as a connector not just from the thrice weekly Sunset but also for the CONO and Crescent, and provide a round-about way to Crescent station stops, including Atlanta, from Florida.
 
D

Daniel

Guest
I know UP is doubling a lot from LA-El Paso. What about east of El Paso to Houston? Is any more track being added there?
 
G

Guest_Ben_*

Guest
Going back to what Fremaux suggested about CNO to Mobile and a separate connection from Mobile to Florida, that makes very little sense. Why would the CNO and a new connection start and end in Mobile instead of NO? Mobile is a small city and has no maintenance base. If you're going to have a tri-weekly train east of Mobile, you might as well extend back the Sunset and have a daily corridor train Mobile-NO. Mr. Damon, did Fremaux seem adamant about having different service east of NO, or is restoring the original Sunset still an option. Thanks.
 

George Harris

Conductor
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,027
Location
now in California
I know UP is doubling a lot from LA-El Paso. What about east of El Paso to Houston? Is any more track being added there?
None that I know of. Two changes are already in place: Some traffic divereted onto the Ex T&P between Sierra Blanca TX and Ft. Worth, and between Houston and Beaumont use of the ex MoPac in one direaction and the ex SP track in the other direction to function as double track. UP freight traffic may be continuing in a similar fashion between Beaumont TX and Kinder LA, leaving only the BNSF trains as the main traffic between Iowa Jct. LA and Avondale LA. (Iowa Jct is about 10 miles east of Lake Charles LA and Avodale is the junction at the west end of the Huey P. Long Bridge over the Mississippi River. Whatever improvements in congestion that you can get through these methods has been in existance for a few years already, and so far as I know there is nothing else being planned.

George
 
G

Guest_Ben_*

Guest
So did Emmett Fremaux say that restoring the Sunset was one of the options?
 
G

Guest

Guest
I know UP is doubling a lot from LA-El Paso. What about east of El Paso to Houston? Is any more track being added there?
None that I know of. Two changes are already in place: Some traffic divereted onto the Ex T&P between Sierra Blanca TX and Ft. Worth, and between Houston and Beaumont use of the ex MoPac in one direaction and the ex SP track in the other direction to function as double track. UP freight traffic may be continuing in a similar fashion between Beaumont TX and Kinder LA, leaving only the BNSF trains as the main traffic between Iowa Jct. LA and Avondale LA. (Iowa Jct is about 10 miles east of Lake Charles LA and Avodale is the junction at the west end of the Huey P. Long Bridge over the Mississippi River. Whatever improvements in congestion that you can get through these methods has been in existance for a few years already, and so far as I know there is nothing else being planned.

George
For someone in Taiwan you sure know your railroads...
 
Top