Silver Star changes?

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Oreius

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Messages
275
I’ve rescheduled a Florida trip for September 6-going from Elizabethtown to Kissimmee, FL. I’m guessing Amtrak is only operating 1 daily train to Florida at this time. I am on the 91 Silver Star, leaving PHL at 12:35 PM and arriving at KIS AT 10:44 AM the next day. I know that the Star was supposed to get a dedicated lounge/diner for the sleepers, but with the coronavirus I’m not sure if this has changed. Also, will the Star follow the Meteor’s route? The travel time is about 22 hours. I have been assigned Car 9112, Room 1. Any info or helpful hints?
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,329
I’ve rescheduled a Florida trip for September 6-going from Elizabethtown to Kissimmee, FL. I’m guessing Amtrak is only operating 1 daily train to Florida at this time. I am on the 91 Silver Star, leaving PHL at 12:35 PM and arriving at KIS AT 10:44 AM the next day. I know that the Star was supposed to get a dedicated lounge/diner for the sleepers, but with the coronavirus I’m not sure if this has changed. Also, will the Star follow the Meteor’s route? The travel time is about 22 hours. I have been assigned Car 9112, Room 1. Any info or helpful hints?
The Silver Star will depart New York on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays southbound, and depart Miami on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays northbound. The Silver Meteor will operate on the other four days. Each train will operate on the same route and schedule as they currently do. The Silver Star will get a Viewliner sleeper lounge once the changes take effect on July 6th.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
931
will the Star follow the Meteor’s route?
As I understand it, the Star will continue to go through Raleigh, Columbia and Tampa while the Meteor will use the more direct route through Florence and Charleston and not go to Tampa.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,874
It doesn’t make sense that Raleigh (for example) will have service 3 days in a row, and then not for the next 4 days at all! Why not alternate the days (service 1 day, no service the next day)?
I agree. The only reason I can figure they are doing it this way, may be for staffing convenience... certainly not for the benefit of travelers...
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,146
It doesn’t make sense that Raleigh (for example) will have service 3 days in a row, and then not for the next 4 days at all! Why not alternate the days (service 1 day, no service the next day)?
I was going to ask the same question!
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
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One tiny pleasant thing in all this misery—room 1 is a lovely roomette—neighbors on only one side, so usually nice and quiet.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,111
What is worse than Raleigh loosing star service is Tampa loosing that service to SE Florida. Over 90k passengers a year to / from SE Florida. Just 3/7th of those passengers now..
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,146
What is worse than Raleigh loosing star service is Tampa loosing that service to SE Florida. Over 90k passengers a year to / from SE Florida. Just 3/7th of those passengers now..
I'm surprised they're not rerouting the Meteors on that leg to retain that ridership.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
931
If they did that it might not give them any ammunition for when they want to discontinue of of the Silvers ...
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
815
Or at least run a coach train between Tampa and SE Florida until full service (ha ha) is restored.
Yes, could be just a couple superliner coaches including baggage-coach. Also run a connecting thruway bus or two from Rocky Mount to Raleigh and Columbia when the Star isn’t operating.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,110
Yes, could be just a couple superliner coaches including baggage-coach. Also run a connecting thruway bus or two from Rocky Mount to Raleigh and Columbia when the Star isn’t operating.
Why use Superliner coaches? They have the available Viewliner ones since their not running a double-size train on the Meteor.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
815
They could use Amfleet coaches (there aren’t any Viewliner coaches). But I just find Superliner coaches more comfortable.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
25,988
Why use Superliner coaches? They have the available Viewliner ones since their not running a double-size train on the Meteor.
There are Viewliner sleepers and Viewliner Dining Cars (er - I meant ”sleeper lounges”), but there are not any Viewliner coaches!
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,476
Something people don't discuss a lot is Columbia's ridership. If you look at the current RPA numbers from 2019 you get an average of 42 people boarding/detraining on every train or 84 passengers per day. For a station with service at 1:38 AM, and 4:01 AM that is incredible. Now imagine if you had a second frequency at better hours. Or if you adjusted the schedule to move 91 into the 11 PM, and 92 into the 7 AM hour.

For comparisons lets look at Charleston, SC which has four daily trains (2 NB, 2 SB) at decent hours for all but one. With a station much further from downtown.

41 Passengers per Train, or 164 Passengers Per Day.

Here are the per train numbers at the other stations unique to the Silver Star.

Southern Pines, NC: 10 Passengers Per Train, 20 Passengers Per Day
Hamlet, NC: 5.7 Passengers Per Train, 11 Passengers Per Day
Camden, SC: 4.7 Passengers Per Train, 9 Passengers Per Day
Denmark, SC: 4 Passengers Per Train, 8 Passengers Per Day

Cities Unique to the Silver Meteor/Palmetto in North/South Carolina

Fayetteville, NC: 32 Passengers Per Train, or 131 Passengers Per Day
Dillion, SC: 7 Passengers Per Train, or 14 Passengers Per Day
Florence, SC: 27 Passengers Per Train, or 108 Passengers Per Day (This station receives a lot of Columbia traffic)
Kingstree, SC: 7 Passengers Per Train, or 28 Passengers Per Day (Interesting that the No. 6, and 7 popular destinations are the next station in both directions)
Yemassee, SC: 25 Passengers Per Train, or 6 Passengers Per Day.

Yemassee, Kingstree, Dillon, Camden, Denmark, Hamlet, and Southern Pines are all similar to each other. Note that the routes with four trains a day (2 NB, 2 SB) perform much better.

These are cities Amtrak does limited (street sign pointing to the station) to no marketing in. Imagine what could be done with better marketing, and better times in these cities.
 

Allypet

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 17, 2012
Messages
160
I might have to run to Florida in early to mid July. I usually take the auto train but since I might have to travel solo I am thinking of the Slivers to save a few bucks, so this is good information to know. I read the both the slivers have their menus back. Did any of them receive the new viewliners II yet? I was thinking about a roomette vs a bedroom. I know things change rapidly in these times and I just want to be prepared with current information. Thanks.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
815
Something people don't discuss a lot is Columbia's ridership. If you look at the current RPA numbers from 2019 you get an average of 42 people boarding/detraining on every train or 84 passengers per day. For a station with service at 1:38 AM, and 4:01 AM that is incredible. Now imagine if you had a second frequency at better hours. Or if you adjusted the schedule to move 91 into the 11 PM, and 92 into the 7 AM hour.

For comparisons lets look at Charleston, SC which has four daily trains (2 NB, 2 SB) at decent hours for all but one. With a station much further from downtown.

41 Passengers per Train, or 164 Passengers Per Day.

Here are the per train numbers at the other stations unique to the Silver Star.

Southern Pines, NC: 10 Passengers Per Train, 20 Passengers Per Day
Hamlet, NC: 5.7 Passengers Per Train, 11 Passengers Per Day
Camden, SC: 4.7 Passengers Per Train, 9 Passengers Per Day
Denmark, SC: 4 Passengers Per Train, 8 Passengers Per Day

Cities Unique to the Silver Meteor/Palmetto in North/South Carolina

Fayetteville, NC: 32 Passengers Per Train, or 131 Passengers Per Day
Dillion, SC: 7 Passengers Per Train, or 14 Passengers Per Day
Florence, SC: 27 Passengers Per Train, or 108 Passengers Per Day (This station receives a lot of Columbia traffic)
Kingstree, SC: 7 Passengers Per Train, or 28 Passengers Per Day (Interesting that the No. 6, and 7 popular destinations are the next station in both directions)
Yemassee, SC: 25 Passengers Per Train, or 6 Passengers Per Day.

Yemassee, Kingstree, Dillon, Camden, Denmark, Hamlet, and Southern Pines are all similar to each other. Note that the routes with four trains a day (2 NB, 2 SB) perform much better.

These are cities Amtrak does limited (street sign pointing to the station) to no marketing in. Imagine what could be done with better marketing, and better times in these cities.
Good info, Seaboard. So true about Amtrak marketing, or lack of. If Amtrak was interested in preserving the Star’s traffic base, how about on the days the Star doesn’t operate using a Thruway bus for the straight shot on I-20 that includes Camden and takes only a 1.5 hours and connects to the Palmetto rather than the Meteor. . You pick up 93 customers (assuming all are headed north of Raleigh) at minimal cost.

Amtrak seems reluctant to use the Thruway bus concept and is an easy way to pick up revenue. Sort or a poor man‘s hub and spoke system the airlines use so successfully.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,476
Honestly a Thruway Bus connection to the Palmetto in addition to the Silver Star would be a godsend. You could even start it in Augusta. Columbia is a fairly decent untapped market that if marketed right could do really well. Columbia is a big junction town if you had an extension to the Piedmont to Charleston via Columbia you would find a lot of day trip traffic into Charleston.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,874
Seaboard92

Your stat on Kingstree's relatively heavy traffic to the next station, sounds like school children getting their "first train ride" experience..
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,476
Seaboard92

Your stat on Kingstree's relatively heavy traffic to the next station, sounds like school children getting their "first train ride" experience..
If that is true those kids had a much better field trip than anything that I ever was offered. I am wondering if it is people going from Kingstree to the hospital in Florence which is in the station parking lot. Few hospitals have a train station on Campus but Florence does. Public transit in that part of the state doesn't really exist much so it wouldn't surprise me. Charleston also would make sense for that with the main MUSC Campus being in Charleston as well, even though the times are abysmal for that. But one must do what one must do.
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,510
Amtrak seems reluctant to use the Thruway bus concept and is an easy way to pick up revenue. Sort or a poor man‘s hub and spoke system the airlines use so successfully.
This! A million times over. Well, maybe not quite a million, but there are probably dozens of feeder bus routes, serving both corridor and long-distance trains, that are at least worth looking into. Amtrak has added a few in recent years (Wilson to Eastern North Carolina and Newton to Oklahoma City come to mind) but there should be so many more.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,110
There are Viewliner sleepers and Viewliner Dining Cars (er - I meant ”sleeper lounges”), but there are not any Viewliner coaches!
I'm referring to the EXISTING coach cars that have been used up to now on the two Silver trains. Many of those cars will now be sitting on the side with only one Silver train - along with the spares from the Crescent and the other eastern trains with spare cars from not being used 7 days a week.
 
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