Upcoming Amtrak LD Schedule Changes (2021)

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Cal

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Be careful what you wish for....they could establish that same day connection at New Orleans by really slowing down the Sunset and adding a night to its trip.
Sort of like they did to the Canadian...
I wonder what that schedule would look like...
 

me_little_me

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Well, no more trips out of Atlanta or my closest station, Greenville, any more.

All I have left is Hinton, WV (3 days a week - ugh!) for going west. Nothing for going to the northeast that is overnight and the daytime trains are too long for us so now we'll make overnights of them with a relaxing hotel stay (at lower cost) halfway through rather than overnight in the train.
 

tricia

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Well, no more trips out of Atlanta or my closest station, Greenville, any more.

All I have left is Hinton, WV (3 days a week - ugh!) for going west. Nothing for going to the northeast that is overnight and the daytime trains are too long for us so now we'll make overnights of them with a relaxing hotel stay (at lower cost) halfway through rather than overnight in the train.
I feel your pain--and then some. Hinton's a half day drive from where I live. Greenville about as close as Toccoa (somewhat over 2 hours)--and with post-midnight calling times at those stations, I'm just not gonna be able to talk myself (or my husband) into going there anymore. Still unsure about whether I'll make the trip scheduled for July 4 weekend. If I do, it'll be alone, and I don't see myself taking the Crescent again after that.
 

JRR

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The market I see hurting the most from this is the Atlanta-Washington market. As that was a hot overnight market. It worked really well. It was my preferred train for business in DC because I wouldn't have to wake up nearly as early as the Meteor.
If this is true, it makes the Greenville stop really late headed north the way I usually travel, it supposedly arrives around 11pm now but normally an hour or more late. Add 2 hrs to the time of departure it makes it very inconvenient. Coming back two hours later as mentioned n another post, actually better for Greenville.
Going to Nawlins, the new Schedule would be better, not so early am, but coming back not so much!

I guess we will wait and se how all this shakes out.
 

niemi24s

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While one solution to inconvenient times would be more (way more) than one train per day, Amtrak has no magic wand to POOF! conjure up more train sets. Lacking the equipment, the only solution to keeping everybody happy is to operate the trains only during the convenient hours and let them sit on sidings during the inconvenient hours.

Kind of like how the Rocky Mountaineer operates, eh? :)
00e178b3bfc6e63946bd2d13e625c55f.jpg
 

west point

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About connections
1. Capitol connections both ways are reasonable.
2. Not that much need to connect to silver trains
3. tightened up northbound to Cardinal however the faux trolley ride around Charlottesville is always enjoyable,
4. The northbound connection to Carolinian much better and you could say BHM - ATL & north passengers get easy access to to additional Capitol cities of Raleigh and Richmond . Southbound from Carolinian still sucks in a plain jane CLT station although maybe Greensboro might be better.

5. About BHM. Several thoughts
a. Times almost enough to go to football game - well not really
b. Amtrak almost has enough time there to have a cut off car(s) but north bound not really
c. The yearly work windows south of BHM could allow Crescent to turn at BHM instead of ATL

6. Now we get to the possible proposed new trains to ATL
a. Service to Montgomery could be a single train set. If Montgomery - Mobile was closed the the New Orleans possible train could leave NOL about 0700 -0800 go MOB _ MGM_ATLarrive ATL 2115-2200 and leave ATL about 1100 arrive NOL 2145.
b. ATL - Nashville lv ATL 0930 arr Nashville 1430 lv NVL 1530 ar ATL 2230 Close but still one train set.
c &d. Don't have time now Macon savannah augusta

None of this until ATL gets a new station
 

Anderson

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About connections
1. Capitol connections both ways are reasonable.
2. Not that much need to connect to silver trains
3. tightened up northbound to Cardinal however the faux trolley ride around Charlottesville is always enjoyable,
4. The northbound connection to Carolinian much better and you could say BHM - ATL & north passengers get easy access to to additional Capitol cities of Raleigh and Richmond . Southbound from Carolinian still sucks in a plain jane CLT station although maybe Greensboro might be better.

5. About BHM. Several thoughts
a. Times almost enough to go to football game - well not really
b. Amtrak almost has enough time there to have a cut off car(s) but north bound not really
c. The yearly work windows south of BHM could allow Crescent to turn at BHM instead of ATL

6. Now we get to the possible proposed new trains to ATL
a. Service to Montgomery could be a single train set. If Montgomery - Mobile was closed the the New Orleans possible train could leave NOL about 0700 -0800 go MOB _ MGM_ATLarrive ATL 2115-2200 and leave ATL about 1100 arrive NOL 2145.
b. ATL - Nashville lv ATL 0930 arr Nashville 1430 lv NVL 1530 ar ATL 2230 Close but still one train set.
c &d. Don't have time now Macon savannah augusta

None of this until ATL gets a new station
I will not diminish the insufficiency of Atlanta's current station, but I have to wonder...the main line is three tracks until the station, at which point one of the three breaks off as a dead-end spur. There's an extant bridge over I-75 (two tracks). Unfortunately, there's a Target in what looks suspiciously like an old yard area (the shape is just right), but I wonder if it would be possible to route one of the tracks on that bridge back over to the main line to build in a bypass? (My guess is that you'd have to force out the increasingly out-of-place lumber yard to make it fit, which would likely kill the feasibility of this as an option, but I have to wonder. Of course, that also wouldn't be a horrible location for a station (MARTA connectivity wouldn't be gained, but you'd at least get off the main line).
 

fdaley

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341
It seems to me that this new northbound schedule partly reflects the reality of No. 20's actual performance on many trips. On nearly all of my rides on the Crescent in the past five years (before flex food made me swear off using it), the northbound run wound up hitting Birmingham about 4 p.m., Atlanta between 10 p.m. and midnight, Lynchburg at 8 or 9 a.m., Washington about noon or a little later, and New York between 4 and 6 p.m.

At Lynchburg, the northbound is due a few minutes before 6 a.m. but almost always arrives sometime after the weekday Roanoke train No. 176 (due out at 7:39). This morning, for example, the Crescent arrived into Lynchburg at 8:38.

So, if the new schedule is something Norfolk Southern is promising it can deliver with more reliability, it might be an improvement. For the middle-of-the-night stations, the worst thing is planning for a midnight or 1 a.m. departure and then not having the train show up till 3 or 4 a.m. (or in the case of Charlotte, 1:30 a.m. that becomes 4-5 a.m.) Of course, if we start with this new schedule and then add delays of 2-4 hours to it, it will be worse in every way.

The current schedule definitely would be better for travel from Atlanta to the Northeast, the biggest market for this train, if Amtrak could deliver it with any reliability. For the past few years, it hasn't.
 
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niemi24s

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Many thanks. This is indeed quite helpful
Thanks for the kind words. Thought it would come in handy for those (like me) who cherish their dog-eared copies of the System Timetables that used to be published by Amtrak.

I just hope there won't be too many such revisions to other routes - ferreting out all those times from Arrow is a real chore!
 

fdaley

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Messages
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Thanks for the kind words. Thought it would come in handy for those (like me) who cherish their dog-eared copies of the System Timetables that used to be published by Amtrak.

I just hope there won't be too many such revisions to other routes - ferreting out all those times from Arrow is a real chore!
I was going to say: Thanks for going to the effort of showing us in detail what Amtrak so far won't. With a major change to the schedule of this train less than a month away and clearly already set in their reservation system, wouldn't you think Amtrak would put up a copy of the revised schedule on their website? But of course, it is nowhere to be found. Nor does their "schedules" page appear to have even the current Empire, Keystone, Michigan or most other corridor schedules currently in effect.
 
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Every schedule on every host railroad in the country will ultimately have to be reviewed and renegotiated with the hosts.
So the pain of "winning" has only just begun and soon everyone will be in the same lousy boat.

So are we to assume Amtrak is going to tweak on the schedules. Connections are of upmost importance for Amtrak's LD trains. As with any schedule change for an overnight train there are going to be winners and losers.
Norfolk Southern and Delta Air Lines seem to be the main beneficiaries of Amtrak's "successes" so far.

Well, it's likely the best they can do with NS and NS knowing a stick now exists with the regulatory delay metrics.
If this was really the best they can do then why bother?
 
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niemi24s

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I was going to say: Thanks for going to the effort of showing us in detail what Amtrak so far won't. With a major change to the schedule of this train less than a month away and clearly already set in their reservation system, wouldn't you think Amtrak would put up a copy of the revised schedule on their website? But of course, it is nowhere to be found. Nor does their "schedules" page appear to have even the current Empire, Keystone, Michigan or most other corridor schedules currently in effect.
You're welcome!

• The current 3X timetables can be found here: Train Schedules & Timetables | Amtrak
• The previous daily ones here: Train Schedules & Timetables | Amtrak
 

merkelman06

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May 27, 2014
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45
Looks like they are showing the connection to the Cardinal in CVS. Connection time is 3 hours. Still not showing connections in WAS to the Capitol limited or Silvers. It would be about a 2 hour connection to the Capitol Limited. Less than an hour for the Star and about 5 hours for the Meteor. Interested to see which will be guaranteed.
 

jis

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My guess is Star won't be guaranteed. The other two will be. But that is not a total loss loss since Raleigh can be gotten to via connection to the Carolinian at Charlotte or Greensboro, and even the points between Raleigh and Savannaeh (and on to Florida (Tampa especially) via Columbia can be gotten to by further connection at Raleigh to the Star.
 

Seaboard92

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Actually I see where the move of the Crescent actually makes quite a bit of sense. Now this is a big picture item here.

By moving the northbound you are putting some more time between the Roanoke Regional and the Crescent which gives a slightly better service time especially for CVS and points north.

Lets say you add a Palmetto style day train from Atlanta to New York in theory you could do that with a very early departure on both ends ala today's Palmetto. This would give you a morning train on Charlanta corridor north, and an evening one south. Then to beef Charlanta up you can use two sets interlined with the Piedmont to get a Midday train on the corridor. With another stand alone set to do Charlanta in the morning southbound and evening northbound. So now you have a Piedmont style corridor hitting Charlotte, Gastonia, Spartanburg, Greenville, Clemson, Gainesville. Which is a really strong set of city pairs.

Then lets look at something else that's doable.

NS will throw a fit if the station stays where it is. But if we move it to where Terminal Station used to be which is now a parking lot, and some of the platforms I believe are still down there. But there is plenty of land available to put a grand new station that would be off the mainline which would appease the railroads. But NS will also throw a fit if the Crescent backs up the two mile move from that station into the large junction on the west side of town so here is my solution.

The Crescent gets rerouted to run New Orleans-Mobile-Montgomery-Atlanta on CSX before joining the NS route on up to New York. Which would put it on the original route of the Crescent Limited. Remember the main all Southern routing was the Southerner when the A&WP, WofA, and L&N dropped the Crescent Limited Southern replaced the Southerner with the Southern Crescent.

Then in order to keep Birmingham connected I would do this. I would put another about two hours earlier than the current Silver Star New York-Washington-Richmond-Raleigh-Columbia. Have it take the NS R Line to Augusta where it would get on the CSX EX Georgia Railroad line to Atlanta. Now in theory you could also detour it down via NS via Macon but that would add some time. The continue west to Birmingham and Montgomery along the Crescent's current route before turning west to go onto Dallas-Fort Worth. If you wanted to you could in theory split this train in Meridian if you wanted to keep the four stations south in the network or you could end service to them. In theory I would like to put the eastbound/northbound to be about 3 hours behind the Star to give a bit better spread from Raleigh-NEC.

I would then shove the Meteor back to 7 PM out of New York, so I could shift the Star into the 2PM/3PM Slot. Assuming I can get a Southwind from Chicago-Atlanta-Florida and put that in the current slot of the Star south of Jacksonville. Having the Southwind as a train leaving Miami around 5 PM. That gives you a three train corridor with a good spread throughout the day Jacksonville-Miami.

This would then give you from Atlanta the following new direct one seat city pairs RVR, RGH, CLB, Augusta, DAL, FTW, JAN, PTB, Montgomery, MOB, and so many intermediate points.

Then you solve the Atlanta issue and you could move the Crescent into it's older slot out of Atlanta northbound without having to deal with NS. Letting the new Crescent Star pick up that slot MEI-ATL
 

tricia

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Actually I see where the move of the Crescent actually makes quite a bit of sense. Now this is a big picture item here.

By moving the northbound you are putting some more time between the Roanoke Regional and the Crescent which gives a slightly better service time especially for CVS and points north.

Lets say you add a Palmetto style day train from Atlanta to New York in theory you could do that with a very early departure on both ends ala today's Palmetto. This would give you a morning train on Charlanta corridor north, and an evening one south. Then to beef Charlanta up you can use two sets interlined with the Piedmont to get a Midday train on the corridor. With another stand alone set to do Charlanta in the morning southbound and evening northbound. So now you have a Piedmont style corridor hitting Charlotte, Gastonia, Spartanburg, Greenville, Clemson, Gainesville. Which is a really strong set of city pairs.

Then lets look at something else that's doable.

NS will throw a fit if the station stays where it is. But if we move it to where Terminal Station used to be which is now a parking lot, and some of the platforms I believe are still down there. But there is plenty of land available to put a grand new station that would be off the mainline which would appease the railroads. But NS will also throw a fit if the Crescent backs up the two mile move from that station into the large junction on the west side of town so here is my solution.

The Crescent gets rerouted to run New Orleans-Mobile-Montgomery-Atlanta on CSX before joining the NS route on up to New York. Which would put it on the original route of the Crescent Limited. Remember the main all Southern routing was the Southerner when the A&WP, WofA, and L&N dropped the Crescent Limited Southern replaced the Southerner with the Southern Crescent.

Then in order to keep Birmingham connected I would do this. I would put another about two hours earlier than the current Silver Star New York-Washington-Richmond-Raleigh-Columbia. Have it take the NS R Line to Augusta where it would get on the CSX EX Georgia Railroad line to Atlanta. Now in theory you could also detour it down via NS via Macon but that would add some time. The continue west to Birmingham and Montgomery along the Crescent's current route before turning west to go onto Dallas-Fort Worth. If you wanted to you could in theory split this train in Meridian if you wanted to keep the four stations south in the network or you could end service to them. In theory I would like to put the eastbound/northbound to be about 3 hours behind the Star to give a bit better spread from Raleigh-NEC.

I would then shove the Meteor back to 7 PM out of New York, so I could shift the Star into the 2PM/3PM Slot. Assuming I can get a Southwind from Chicago-Atlanta-Florida and put that in the current slot of the Star south of Jacksonville. Having the Southwind as a train leaving Miami around 5 PM. That gives you a three train corridor with a good spread throughout the day Jacksonville-Miami.

This would then give you from Atlanta the following new direct one seat city pairs RVR, RGH, CLB, Augusta, DAL, FTW, JAN, PTB, Montgomery, MOB, and so many intermediate points.

Then you solve the Atlanta issue and you could move the Crescent into it's older slot out of Atlanta northbound without having to deal with NS. Letting the new Crescent Star pick up that slot MEI-ATL
All of this is highly hypothetical. The schedule change is real, this year, and will have real effects on the people who actually use the Crescent. Which is the ONLY Amtrak train that serves the entire southeast US outside the coastal corridor.
 

west point

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I have not been to the Terminal station / Union station complex for years. However the last time there removing the parking deck over the old Union station platforms would give a good station and allow for a balloon track to be built there much like the old Richmond Broad street station. That location would give access to all inbound tracks including Augusta.
Then there would be no back up moves and good rail service fairly close to MARTA five points station. The one problem that needs important fixing is the Howell CP where 2 different 2 MT of NS crosses 2 MT of CSX ( old western Atlantic ) . The best solution IMO would be for the CSX line to be lowered to go under the NS tracks. But that will take lot of dollars.
 

daybeers

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This is an absolutely ridiculous schedule change. If this is the “justice” that’s supposed to come from the current admin at USDOT, I don’t want it.
 

HammerJack

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Late to the party, but northbound is a 2h16m running time increase, while southbound is a 1h30m increase. What happened? Is lengthening schedules really the fix for late trains? We’ve seen freight companies agree to running time increases and then just gobble up the extra padding with no better handling of Amtrak. It happened with the Sunset. Even if it does result in on-time running, simply slapping an on-time sticker on a train that has been delayed 2+ hours en route is hardly a solution, in my opinion.
 

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Because it is part of the regulation finalized in December 2020 giving the STB authority to enforce passenger delay metrics. It is the only win the freight railroads got.
So the freight railroads only won the right to dictate freight schedules for passenger trains? They must be ecstatic.

The new reg has actual teeth.
Guess that explains why tighter schedules are being chewed up and spat out.
 
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jis

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This is an absolutely ridiculous schedule change. If this is the “justice” that’s supposed to come from the current admin at USDOT, I don’t want it.
I agree that it is ridiculous, but long back I had surmised this is what will happen. I would also point out that the current DOT has very little to do with this.

The requirement for being on time at each intermediate stop is the hammer that the freight hosts are driving this nail with. I think we would have been better off with requiring on time at specific so called "division points" which is what is done on many other railroads. Otherwise you just get the worst case cascading schedule all along the route.
 

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