Northeast Regional discussion 2024

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The above comparison might possibly be affected by regional attitudes toward public transportation. Northeasterner’s might be more likely to use it than Midwesterner’s.
No facts to support that, just a perception…
 
The above comparison might possibly be affected by regional attitudes toward public transportation. Northeasterner’s might be more likely to use it than Midwesterner’s.
No facts to support that, just a perception…
I dunno. I can remember some naysayers back in the late '80s saying that commuter rail would never work in southern California, that nobody would use it because everything was too spread out and Californians love their cars. And now of course there's a very extensive and well-used network of Metrolink and Amtrak routes. Even so, in terms of market share, it probably doesn't come close to the share that uses rail to get into and out of metro New York.

I suspect the development pattern does play a role in how much market share you can attract. Certainly having a major city with a well-developed transit system at one end, such as a New York, Boston or Chicago, makes a rail corridor more likely to succeed. And along the NEC, you have a whole string of such cities. But the potential is there for a lot of other routes, and if you develop a good service, maybe over time that can influence development patterns in a way that makes the service more useful to more travelers.
 
I dunno. I can remember some naysayers back in the late '80s saying that commuter rail would never work in southern California, that nobody would use it because everything was too spread out and Californians love their cars. And now of course there's a very extensive and well-used network of Metrolink and Amtrak routes. Even so, in terms of market share, it probably doesn't come close to the share that uses rail to get into and out of metro New York.

I was one of the skeptics who thought that commuter rail would be not succeed or be used by very few persons as I saw no comparsion to the NEC or even San Francisco. -How wrong I was..
 
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The above comparison might possibly be affected by regional attitudes toward public transportation. Northeasterner’s might be more likely to use it than Midwesterner’s.
No facts to support that, just a perception…
other factors might include status of airline competition, as well as speed, quality and reliability of the train service. Also of importance are the passengers generated by intermediate stations, connections to commuter lines and indeed local bus lines that could funnel in passengers. Not to forget of course how well stations are located in the cities they serve. And finally some city pairs just inherently have more potential than others because of structural ties, economic, and other patterns leading to more people travelling between those cities. The reasons for such behavior are not always easy to discern or explain.
 
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I dunno. I can remember some naysayers back in the late '80s saying that commuter rail would never work in southern California, that nobody would use it because everything was too spread out and Californians love their cars. And now of course there's a very extensive and well-used network of Metrolink and Amtrak routes. Even so, in terms of market share, it probably doesn't come close to the share that uses rail to get into and out of metro New York.
Often this is a chicken and egg question. Car-centric cities tend to be spread out as they have no incentive to place things close together. Transit-centric cities often build around the transit stations with real estate closer to a station being more desirable and this reinforces the virtuous cycle of offices, shops and homes being built close to stations. So once you have a well established commuter or light rail system, real estate development tends to be attracted to the locations best served which starts the virtuous cycle, although such a transition can take decades if not generations to complete.
 
I dunno. I can remember some naysayers back in the late '80s saying that commuter rail would never work in southern California, that nobody would use it because everything was too spread out and Californians love their cars. And now of course there's a very extensive and well-used network of Metrolink and Amtrak routes. Even so, in terms of market share, it probably doesn't come close to the share that uses rail to get into and out of metro New York.

I suspect the development pattern does play a role in how much market share you can attract. Certainly having a major city with a well-developed transit system at one end, such as a New York, Boston or Chicago, makes a rail corridor more likely to succeed. And along the NEC, you have a whole string of such cities. But the potential is there for a lot of other routes, and if you develop a good service, maybe over time that can influence development patterns in a way that makes the service more useful to more travelers.
Good points!

Often this is a chicken and egg question. Car-centric cities tend to be spread out as they have no incentive to place things close together. Transit-centric cities often build around the transit stations with real estate closer to a station being more desirable and this reinforces the virtuous cycle of offices, shops and homes being built close to stations. So once you have a well established commuter or light rail system, real estate development tends to be attracted to the locations best served which starts the virtuous cycle, although such a transition can take decades if not generations to complete.
Also good! Brightline development in Florida is proving that...indeed, it was the driving force for its creation wasn't it?
 
The population density of the NEC is sort of unique in the USA:

Metro area population
New York - 19.6 million'
Washington - 6.2 million
Philadelphia 6.2 million
Boston 4.9 million
Baltimore 2.8 million
Richmond 1.3 million

I don't think any of the other corridors have so many intermediate cities with such large populations.

Plus, more cities in the Northeast all along the line where one can live or visit car-free:

Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington

Other parts of the country (e.g., Chicago, San Franscisco. Seattle, Portland) may only have one "car free city" in the corridor. (OK, Seattle and Portland are an exception, but the metros aren't quite as big (Seattle at 4 million and Portland at 2.5 million.)

The NEC also has major regional rail systems feeding into Amtrak in Boston, New York, Newark and Philadelphia, and minor regional rail in Baltimore and Washington. Plus it has a bunch of park and ride stations (New Carrolton, BWI, Metro Park, and Rt. 128) that add suburban ridership that doesn't have access to regional rail.

And for the stuff coming out of Chicago, which does have major regional rail connections, here are the populations:
Chicago 9.4 million
Detroit 4.3 million
Minneapolis/St. Paul 3.7 million
St. Louis 2.8 million
Cincinatti 2.2 million
Kansas City 2.2 million
Indianapolis 2.1 million
Cleveland 2.1 million
Milwaukee 1.5 million

I'm sure they could develop good corridors with hourly plus service in these places outside the NEC, but it will require more than just running trains to make them successful. They'll need to do some heavy-duty transit oriented development around the stations, and [robably build some park and ride stations, too,
 
The population density of the NEC is sort of unique in the USA:

Metro area population
New York - 19.6 million'
Washington - 6.2 million
Philadelphia 6.2 million
Boston 4.9 million
Baltimore 2.8 million
Richmond 1.3 million

I don't think any of the other corridors have so many intermediate cities with such large populations.

Plus, more cities in the Northeast all along the line where one can live or visit car-free:

Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington

Other parts of the country (e.g., Chicago, San Franscisco. Seattle, Portland) may only have one "car free city" in the corridor. (OK, Seattle and Portland are an exception, but the metros aren't quite as big (Seattle at 4 million and Portland at 2.5 million.)

The NEC also has major regional rail systems feeding into Amtrak in Boston, New York, Newark and Philadelphia, and minor regional rail in Baltimore and Washington. Plus it has a bunch of park and ride stations (New Carrolton, BWI, Metro Park, and Rt. 128) that add suburban ridership that doesn't have access to regional rail.

And for the stuff coming out of Chicago, which does have major regional rail connections, here are the populations:
Chicago 9.4 million
Detroit 4.3 million
Minneapolis/St. Paul 3.7 million
St. Louis 2.8 million
Cincinatti 2.2 million
Kansas City 2.2 million
Indianapolis 2.1 million
Cleveland 2.1 million
Milwaukee 1.5 million

I'm sure they could develop good corridors with hourly plus service in these places outside the NEC, but it will require more than just running trains to make them successful. They'll need to do some heavy-duty transit oriented development around the stations, and [robably build some park and ride stations, too,
Chicago-Detroit strikes me as one that's ripe for upgrading. The current 3-per-day frequency doesn't seem like enough given the size of the endpoints, and there are several decent-sized online cities. Plus Detroit is well more than halfway to Toronto, which is a really major metro with regional rail/transit and car-free potential. I was glad to see Detroit-Toronto on Amtrak's list of potential new corridors; now if we could just get past the border-crossing issues, which are a huge thicket by themselves, plus the fact that the current Detroit and Windsor stations are in the wrong places for through service.
 
Chicago-Detroit strikes me as one that's ripe for upgrading. The current 3-per-day frequency doesn't seem like enough given the size of the endpoints, and there are several decent-sized online cities. Plus Detroit is well more than halfway to Toronto, which is a really major metro with regional rail/transit and car-free potential. I was glad to see Detroit-Toronto on Amtrak's list of potential new corridors; now if we could just get past the border-crossing issues, which are a huge thicket by themselves, plus the fact that the current Detroit and Windsor stations are in the wrong places for through service.
A rule of thumb that has worked for me is that the ridership on a well-designed service can keep growing up to the point where headways are equal to travel time between points being served. Adding more service past that point results in diminishing returns, unless it's being added to handle crowding. Adding more service does make shorter trips attractive.

A much more mathematic analysis of this phenomenon is Alon Levy's, and he shows that half the travel time is the ideal headway.

In either case, the NEC has numerous potential trips shorter than NYP <> WAS. In contrast, SEA <> PDX just this year has seven trips, resulting in headways equal to travel times, but intermediate trips such as TAC <> PDX would need more frequent service than its smaller market might support.
 
Amtrak has 30% fare discount for NEC travel if you’re a baseball fan. Not sure how they verify if you’re actually going to a game. Learned about this from an email sent by the Orioles (going to a game in June). It’s lists all the MLB teams on the NEC. Can be extra for business class.

View attachment 36650
Wow, interesting discount! Do you mind sending the link?
 
Yesterday, train 134, delayed roughly an hour from its start in RNK, added an extra 89 minutes in delay between BCV and ALX. I understand that with the train that far off schedule, it's not super surprising to have a delay joining the RF&P, but would conductors typically announce that situation before the stop at Burke Centre, or are you as a rider just going to learn about it when you pull up and hold along Eisenhower Avenue before the switches for an hour and a half?

I ask because I've got a trip coming up in a few weeks in which I'm riding CVS-ALX to pick up Metro to National Airport. I've got plenty of padding for an hour late into Alexandria, but 2.5 would be a different story. If they're likely to announce that major a delay in advance, then I'd probably take my chances, but if it's going to be a surprise, I'll be hopping off at Burke Centre and coughing up for Uber the rest of the way.
Today #134 lost 1h 34m between Culpeper and Manassas. Made up 18 minutes on the locomotive change at WAS, then chipped away on the NEC to arrive at NYP 45 minutes late.

The VRE commuter line starts a few miles before Manassas, but it doesn't run that time of day. I've been delayed there 20 minutes, on Amtrak before or after MSS (don't recall), looking at the NS track wedged between the creek and the bluff. I wouldn't count on announcements, especially before it happens.

I did get an good announcement once heading WAS - Richmond, saying that since the train had been late arriving at WAS, we'd be stuck behind the VRE all the way to Fredericksburg. It's all double tracked, I think, but I guess CSX dispatching does it that way. And I think we did clear out from VRE before FBG, and it's one place shovels are in the ground adding more track.
 
MODERATOR'S NOTE: A dozen and a half passionate posts on seat orientation in trains and planes has been moved to a thread of its own under General Transportation:

https://www.amtraktrains.com/thread...-seat-orientation-in-trains-and-planes.87443/

Please discuss seat orientation in that thread and leave this thread to focus on Northeast Regional service.

Thank you for your interest, cooperation and participation.
 
Does anyone have an idea when (or if) 65/66/67 will return to Boston? Also any chance that sleepers will return? Thanks
 
The sleepers very briefly came back during Covid. They were suspended when Covid hit, if I recall, and remain so.

Amtrak now has Night Owl fares on the NEC rather than a Night Owl train. It's for trains departing 7pm - 7am. Note the fares are actually $5 higher than listed on the Night Owl page: https://www.amtrak.com/nightowl Example: $25 vs. $20 for NYP - WAS, or $10 vs. $5 for PHL - NYP. If your trip has NYP in the middle, use addition, because you pay for two such segments.

An oddity already mentioned (I think) is that NYP - WAS has a bus-tituion for the PHL - WAS part of the overnight train departing Penn at 10:05p, all the way to the end of the calendar, May 1, 2025. The 12:20a train is not affected, nor are any others.
 
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65/66/67 has been running to Boston for quite a long time now...the sleepers not so sure.
65/57 run Boston to Newport News. 66 runs Roanoke to Boston and has a ~4 hour layover in New York at around 1 AM to 5 AM.

I guess they could attach or remove a sleeping car at Washington when they changed locomotives. Not sure what the business case would be, as the Viewliner sleepers might be better used on the Silvers, Crescent and Lakeshore Limited.
 
65/57 run Boston to Newport News. 66 runs Roanoke to Boston and has a ~4 hour layover in New York at around 1 AM to 5 AM.

I guess they could attach or remove a sleeping car at Washington when they changed locomotives. Not sure what the business case would be, as the Viewliner sleepers might be better used on the Silvers, Crescent and Lakeshore Limited.
I did see that it was running again and noticed the unusually long layover at NYP. It was a long layover before (over an hour) but this seems a little ridiculous. It is almost as if they just made it the first train out to Boston in the morning. The southbound train doesn't do that.
 
Can you board train at a different station then what your ticket says?
Have ticket from MetroPark, Edison NJ to Roanoke, Va. I assume I can still board with same ticket at Trenton Transit Center can't I that is South of the Metro Park Station ? Just want to verify this can be done before I try it?
 
Can you board train at a different station then what your ticket says?
Have ticket from MetroPark, Edison NJ to Roanoke, Va. I assume I can still board with same ticket at Trenton Transit Center can't I that is South of the Metro Park Station ? Just want to verify this can be done before I try it?
Yes. It’s not an issue.
 
Can you board train at a different station then what your ticket says?
Have ticket from MetroPark, Edison NJ to Roanoke, Va. I assume I can still board with same ticket at Trenton Transit Center can't I that is South of the Metro Park Station ? Just want to verify this can be done before I try it?
If you have a reservation, this may result in a no show at Metropark and result in your reservation being canceled. It would be better to change your reservation to Trenton, plus you might get a little money back.
 
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