Secondary Midwest connection point

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
702
Economies of scale means it makes sense to connect everything through Chicago until Amtrak has roughly *twice* as much service as it does now. Then it would make sense to have a secondary hub, I'd say. But first we'd have to have two trains a day on every existing long-distance route. IMO.
Amtrak wouldn't need twice the service to make St Louis into a hub. If the National Limited was revived, and through cars to the City of New Orleans from Kansas City, a route to Oklahoma City and a route to Denver were on the table it would be a hub, but a bare bones hub. With this much service, someone could connect from DC to points west such as LA, Texas, and Denver without having to go through Chicago. It would also make Kansas City into a quasi hub, which would also be a good thing. Come to think of it, fighting to make more hubs would necessarily mean more service......
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,177
Location
Ithaca, NY
There just isn't the demand for it. People aren't campaigning to avoid Chicago. There's barely enough demand to operate New Orleans as a hub, which is why all the trains misconnect. Chicago is working just fine as a hub.

Build up the demand by building up the supply. Once there's so many passengers changing trains from the East Coast to the South at Chicago that it's causing congestion in Chicago and Chicago wants to "get them out of the way", then yeah, you'll have a case for a secondary hub...
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
702
I would also like to make the point of what do any of us mean by hub? Does hub mean equal to Chicago's present level of service and nothing less or just a major city's downtown station where 4+ routes intersect and a convenient enough connection can be made? If we are going by the first definition, then no, there is no way St Louis or any other city will be a hub anytime soon unless Amtrak expands service by several orders of magnitude. If we are going with the second definition of "hub" then it wouldn't take much to make almost any big city a "hub".

If we're talking demand, Amtrak has no way to divine internally demand for transportation even within its own system. Why would anyone consider Amtrak from Kansas City to New Orleans if there isn't a direct service? Or Chicago to Florida or anywhere to anywhere without direct train service? Amtrak's skeletal system is a network externality problem. People don't use it because it isn't useful therefore there is no justification for expanding the network. How and why we potentially get a more useful rail network in this country is irrelevant to me so long as we get one. And if telling Congress "Hey why are these major cities not hubs for the national rail network, cough up some cash for trains" gets us more trains, then that is a good thing.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,177
Location
Ithaca, NY
Now, on the merits of a direct train from St. Louis to Indianapolis and Cincy... well, if there's enough passengers for it and you can convince state legislators to support it, go for it! I just don't think that campaigning on the basis of providing connections that aren't at Chicago is going to do you any good at this point; it'll just annoy Chicago politicians.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
27,858
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Lol ok

Okay, what is a PIP? I'm still new..
There is a nice summary of them in an old Trains article from several years back...

 
Top