- Mar 5, 2016
Except that a 1900 departure is within the meal period, so I believe you would probably still be served dinner out of NYP, NWK and TRE; PHL would be "on the bubble" depending on the exact departure/arrival times...right now the LD trains have a longer blocking from NYP-PHL than the Regionals do, but I believe that was at least partly a byproduct of the Heritage equipment). However, this is more of an issue at NYP (departure 1900, preboarding usually 15 minutes before for sleeper pax) and NWK than it would be at PHL (departure 2030-2045).Dinner would no longer be needed on the first day, although if it isn't already served it would need to be added to the second day.
In my experience, under traditional dining, in recent years, dinner was rarely served the second day on 97, even when late. About a year or so ago, we were 3 hours late into Miami and we not served dinner. Since the train was late arriving in Orlando, I missed lunch also.As for whether dinner is served currently on the "second day" prior to arrival into Miami, good question. Frankly I am not sure about this. If the train is operating one to two hours late, as is not uncommon, that's a long time for some passengers between lunch and no dinner till de-boarding in Miami! I am sure that last dinner period on the second day is lightly patronized and it would likely continue. Leaving NYP at 3:05 pm southbound, the Silver Meteor operated a VERY busy diner the first night.
The Vermonter wouldn't be a guaranteed connection at NYP but it might be a guaranteed connection in WAS. It will indeed allow for additional connections from upstate NYP and New England. That is definitely a pro.For years Amtrak ran the Silver Meteor out of NYP at a post-5 pm time (typically 7 pm). This is not something brand new. It was a schedule that was in place for quite a few years and did make sense from equipment utilization. I do applaud Amtrak for looking to go back to a "same day turn" at NYC. As has been mentioned, the main advantage:
1) Increased connections from the North (particularly New England, Upstate NY, Lake Shore Limited, etc.). It had a very good following off of the Vermonter, and that was when the Vermonter did have the bus connection from Montreal. It was a tight and close connection in NYP between southbound Vermonter and southbound Silver Meteor, but it was done!
It also decreases the reliability of the service, particularly if there is a disruption. It eliminates the winter run through operation between the Chicago trains and the southern trains. The viewliners are still susceptible to freezing and running through to Florida increased their reliability and helped reduce the ITD of the LSL. Additionally, when this occurred in the past, 98 arrived earlier. Thus far, there is no indication that 98 will change arrival times.2) It saved an equipment set and allowed for a same day turn, thus reducing train sets required from four to three for the Silver Meteor
If this happens, arrival time at RVR would likely occur after 1am. I'm not sure these times are friendly enough for the RVR market.3) The southbound Meteor had a great market following for people leaving from the Northeast to Richmond (it was the last train out for the evening, affording a full day of work in the Northeast - leave NYP at 7 pm arrive Richmond at midnight)
While I agree it provides for a friendly arrival time from points north, passengers departing these stations heading to points in Florida may have unfriendly arrival times, particularly if the train runs late.4) It provided passenger friendly arrival times to major station stops at Charleston and Savannah particular.
While having better travel options can stimulate ridership, if it impacts OTP, the advantage is lost. As such, the schedule was made at the behest of the host in exchange for better otp. If you look carefully, you'll see a lot of the trains are grouped around each other. Typically, even the Auto Train isn't too far behind the Silver. A great deal of the railroad between Petersburg, and Jacksonville, FL is single track territory with sections of double track. Running them close, particularly with freight trains operating longer trains that don't fit in sidings, allows them to move together instead of dodging from siding to siding.5) The southbound Meteor and Star were less on the rear markers of each other south of Savannah. Provided more travel time options, course it used to be NYP and MIA departures in early morning, mid-day, and evening - be it the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, or Silver Palm.
I'm not positive they want to run the two the currently exist, let alone a third.6) I hope they consider putting the three Silvers back in place.
The Meteor has run with three sleepers for years. During Thanksgiving, it runs with 4.7) The fourth train set could allow an additional sleeper to be put on the Silver Meteor. Silver Meteor regularly had three sleepers on it when departing at 7 pm out of NYP.
Not really. This train has flexible dining. Therefore, it is basically open from 6a to 11pm. As such, you'd still be on the hook for dinner out of NYP on day one and all meal service on day 2.8) Amtrak could get away from serving dinner in the Diner leaving southbound. Thus, it you just have breakfast, lunch and dinner to provide for. Reduces the F&B costs while retaining revenue, and growing it if additional sleeper is added.
I just don't see it happening. Not until you get a change in mentality and more equipment.9) The main downfall was arrival into Miami - it was typically at a late hour, this is why Amtrak should really consider a trio of train service between NYP to Miami. Go back and look at the old time table schedule that was posted. It was a very popular schedule back then.
it may not be necessary. As you know, I'm a believer in the late departure, early arrival. Perhaps a later departure will increase through ridership and provide higher sleeping car revenue and coach revenue.10) Amtrak advertised the "day room" service for the Viewliner Sleeping cars for travel south from Savannah and through Florida.
This is still my concern. If something happens to 98, you can not turn the Crescent since it operates with fewer coaches, fewer sleepers and has a horrible OTP record. The average delay for the last year is an hour and forty minutes. You're not getting your hands on that set until close to 4 and unless you have extra viewliners sitting around (Which defeats the purpose), you'll still have to wait for 98 to arrive.Amtrak only expanded the Silver Meteor to four train sets after the Three Rivers was bumped off (the sleepers from the Three Rivers went to create the fourth trainset for the Silver Meteor and eventually the coach cars were re-allocated too. If the northbound Silver Meteor was late, often times Amtrak would turn the Crescent and send it out as the southbound Meteor. They did some "rob Peter to pay Paul" back then. I think Amtrak could avoid that now though.....