significant former routes

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:


AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Aug 24, 2003
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I rode the National Limited after Amtrak took over. The train was sort of an after thought, no real lounge or dinner, the rails were in bad shape. I understood that is why they quit running it, poor maintenance killed it. And yet on the last trip I had on it they were so crowded the conductor gave us a bedroom to sit in due to lack of coach seats.
The National Limited was actually what was The Spirit of St Louis inherited in toto by Amtrak. It was renamed the National Limited in July of 71. It was part of the original system crafted by the Railpax incorporators. Its extension to Kansas City was also dictated by the original plan. It fell victim to the Carter cuts in 1979. Poor track was one of the primary reasons for the fall in ridership that caused it to fail to meet the farebox recovery test used for the Carter cuts, along with the Floridian and the James Whitcomb Riley.

Philly Amtrak Fan

Jul 25, 2015
Philadelphia Area
Three routes that I think would make sense would be reviving the North Coast Limited, parts of which are under some sort of planning. Having a through train from Chicago to Seattle/Portland is not a huge ask.
You mean like the Empire Builder?

The second one is the Desert Wind. If Amtrak absolutely can’t live without another LA/Chicago train, I think having a section break off this train in Utah is a better candidate than just having the old Desert Wind back.
Absolutely. SLC-LAX via Vegas off the CZ.


OBS Chief
Jan 23, 2019
You mean like the Empire Builder?

Absolutely. SLC-LAX via Vegas off the CZ.
The North Coast Limited ran the Northern Pacific route, so not the Empire Builder. The Empire Builder doesn’t run where most the people live.

Los Angeles to Chicago already has plenty of service, (at least by Amtrak standards) there is not really a reason to add a new route to this. Amtrak needs to get over it’s obsession with routing every long distance train through Chicago or New York.


Mar 22, 2011
Houston, Texas
My wish list:
  1. Texas Chief/Lone Star. I've never yet heard a really good reason as to why this train was cut in the first place.
  2. Broadway Limited. It just makes sense.
  3. Crescent Star. Section off of the Crescent providing through service FTW-DAL-SHV-JAN-MEI-BHM-ATL-WAS-NYP. Bonus points if you can tweak the schedule to permit connections from/to the CONO in Jackson. Double bonus points if you extend the New Orleans leg through Houston to San Antonio, making connections with a through Texas Eagle.
  4. A revived International on the Blue Water route connecting Chicago with Toronto. Bonus points if you can scrounge up a real diner for an all-day train. If Amtrak and VIA had promoted this one while it was still alive it might just still be around...most residents didn't even know it was there.
  5. Extend the Pere Marquette through Grand Rapids to Detroit. Connect in East Lansing with the Blue Water/International.
  6. Sunset East/CONO Extension/Gulf Wind...this is a gap which NEEDS to be closed!
  7. A completely separate Pioneer/Desert Wind leaving Chicago an hour or two after the California Zephyr, taking the faster Overland Route across Nebraska and Wyoming, and making connections from the Desert Wind section to the CZ in Salt Lake City.
That gives enough to chew on for the present, I think...except that I'd also like to see rail car manufacturing revived by placing modest orders every year instead of "one big order" followed by forty years of bupkis....


Dec 31, 2014
South Carolina
Whoa, I didn't know Indy to St. Louis was a thing in the Amtrak era! Is the Pittsburg - Columbus route abandoned? Pitts-Columbus-Indy seems like a corridor to me.
Honestly that would be a good corridor but here is the status of the lines.

Pittsburgh-Rennerdale, PA. Part of this is the Pittsburgh Light Rail system over the Panhandle Bridge, the rest is an active NS Branch Line.

Rennerdale, PA to Wierton, PA is abandoned and has been turned into a trail.

Wierton, PA to Jewett, OH is the Columbus, & Ohio River Railroad a G&W property with NS trackage rights.

Jewett, OH to Bowerston, OH the Wheeling & Lake Erie (Independent), and the Columbus, & Ohio River Railroad share the right of way with trackage rights to both CSX and NS as well.

Bowerston, OH to Columbus, OH is the Columbus, & Ohio River Railroad with NS trackage rights.

Columbus, OH to London, OH is a Norfolk Southern main line.

London, OH to Dayton, OH (Eastern Hills) is completely abandoned and turned into a trail.

Dayton, OH (Eastern Hills) to Dayton, OH (Union Station) is a Norfolk Southern spur but it doesn't appear to have any real traffic on it. At least the rail is still in place.

Dayton, OH (Union Station) to Dayton, OH (Greenwich Village) is an active CSX Branch Line that is actually relatively maintained.

Dayton, OH (Greenwich Village) to Richmond, IN (Elks Road) is completely abandoned and bits around Trottwood have been turned into a trail. Fun fact the B&O actually took over operations on part of this at one point to service one customer but once that ended they too abandoned the line.

Richmond, IN (Elks Road) to Richmond, IN (Sheridan St) is an active NS Main line between Cincinnati, OH and Chicago, IL via a hodgepodge of fallen flags. The old Pennsylvania Railroad Station still stands however.

Richmond, IN (Sheridan St) to Richmond, IN (13th St) is an active NS spur.

Richmond, IN (13th St) to Indianapolis, IN (Pleasant Run Creek) is completely abandoned. Just east of the connection at Pleasant Run with the B&O the Pennsylvania Freight bypass to Hawthorne Yard diverges off. Hawthorne Yard is still active.

Indianapolis, IN (Pleasant Run Creek) to Indianapolis, IN (Union Station) is on the Ex Baltimore & Ohio that the Cardinal currently uses into town. The freight line is abandoned from the east end of Hawthorne Yard but is active from Hawthorne Yard to the Beltline Junction that freights took to avoid downtown and Union Station.

Indianapolis, IN (Union Station) to Indianapolis, IN (airport) is an active CSX Line that also sees the Cardinal. However trains use the active New York Central bridge over the parallel Pennsylvania Railroad one over the White River.

Indianapolis, IN (Airport) to Terre Haute, IN is completely abandoned.

Terre Haute, IN to St. Louis, MO is an active CSX Main Line that runs from Cleveland, OH to St. Louis, MO. It crosses the EX Illinois Central and CONO route at Effingham, IL.

So basically what happened to this line and the New York Central from Indianapolis, IN to St. Louis, MO the Penn Central and Conrail chose to keep the better of the two routes to be their mainline and abandoned the other as the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central closely paralleled each other on this section. So the New York Central was kept from Indianapolis, IN to Terre Haute, IN while the Pennsylvania was kept on into St. Louis. Now parts of the New York Central line are still in existence actually but it took a significantly longer route via Mattoon, IL.

That is what also happened between Dayton and Columbus as well the two railroads were fairly close so the better of the two routes was chosen and the Pennsylvania was chosen from Columbus to London, where it transfers to the New York Central on to Dayton via Springfield.

Now just because long sections are abandoned doesn't mean this isn't possible, I think it's still quite doable.

-The Wheeling & Lake Erie an independent shortline owns the former alphabet soup route from Pittsburgh, PA to Bowerston, OH where you can get on the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad without need for any additional infrastructure.

-From Columbus to Dayton you get to take the New York Central routing into Springfield which is a far larger city than Xenia so again you are benefiting on this new routing and it's a shorter routing.

-From Dayton to Indianapolis you are going to have to go out of the way but you pick up Cincinnati, OH which if you ask me is a good trade off. I would route it down the EX New York Central NS main line to Cincinnati Union Station. If the states of Ohio and Indiana were serious about improving travel times they could take over the EX New York Central Line from the Indiana & Ohio (another G&W Line) and CSX between Cincinnati and Indianapolis there is only a brief area where the track is in place that doesn't see traffic between Greensburg and Shelbyville.

-Indianapolis to St. Louis: You would use the EX New York Central from Indianapolis Union Station to Terre Haute. And the Pennsylvania on into St. Louis.

So it is doable it just needs some work done to it.

When I say the Eastern Midwest has a lot of potential I really mean it. The amount of potential routes is insane.

You could easily do corridor trains from Cleveland to Indianapolis and St. Louis, Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, Cincinnati to Indianapolis and St. Louis, and so many other points. It all depends how you want to route things you can really make an interconnected network of regional rail on par with some European countries.