Virginia service expansion

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UserNameRequired

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And with it, they lost the Union Station. The remaining station, now a hotel, served the Southern.
I have stayed in the train station hotel, a fun stay. The hotel (train station) lobby is beautiful and my daughter played their piano. Their is an attached restaurant too, a little trendy and bar themed for my taste though. The overnight temps were dipping into the 20's and below so we were advised to keep the water faucets on a trickle to keep them from freezing. The heater was on maximum and it was still a bit chilly.

I do see the Google Maps mentioned a post up shows the tracks to get to it are gone 🙁
 

jis

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Is there an indication of when the second Roanoke train would start?
There apparently is equipment allocation for it for later this year.

Here is what has been communicated by the State of VA officialdom who fund the service:

 

crescent-zephyr

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Some years ago TVRM had a regular excursion train from their museum station on a convoluted routing to the The Chattanooga Choo Choo - Downtown Chattanooga. I had great hopes the station would one day be used again for Amtrak. But, as Google maps will show you, rail access has now been obliterated by apartments.

Perhaps a new station could be built in east Chattanooga on the NS near TVRM and the airport.

There were a few Amtrak charters that ran in and out of the Chattanooga Choo Choo over the years.

The Choo Choo is the former Southern Railway “Terminal Station.”

The CSX mainline goes right past the Chattanooga Airport so if that line was used to get to Atlanta it would be very nice for an intermodal station.
 

George Harris

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As far as Chattanooga it lost service on A Day when the Louisville & Nashville's unnamed local was dropped. This train had previously been known as the Georgian and operated St. Louis, MO to Atlanta, GA.
I don't think you are all together correct in all the other parts of your other stuff, but I don't have the time or info at hand to check right now. However, here are a couple thoughts to expand information on the Georgian:
The Georgian was for many years the premier Chicago-Atlanta overnight train of the C&EI-L&N-NC&StL. In its later years realities began to result in a somewhat slower schedule, but even to the mid 60's it would normally have 2 to 3 sleepers, 4 or more coaches and through dining car service. In its later years it was combined between Chicago and Nashville with the Humming Bird which ran on a similar schedule north of Nashville but went to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. Yes the schedule went to New Orleans, but the Cincinatti originating portion carried the cars that went through to New Orleans. In something like 1966 the C&EI got permission to discontinue their portion of the train, which was the Chicago-Evansville part. Why they were allowed to do so is beyond me, because it was still carrying respectable passenger loadings up to its last day. For both these trains, the St. Louis to Evansville part was somewhat of an afterthought as the majority of the ridership from points south thereof was aimed toward Chicago. This part though was the part kept running until the last gasp of L&N (ex NC&StL portion) service into Atlanta.

Up until the early 1960's there were three trains between Nashville and Atlanta: The Dixie Flyer which ran daytime, with a late night departure / early morning arrival in Chicago, and an overnight local mail train. At one time, ending sometime in the 1950's this train carried a through sleeper Nashville to Knoxville that was put into the Tennessean at Chattanooga. Yes, this meant in some manner hauling it between the two stations. As a college student I made this transition between trains once in the 1960's, but that meant a 3:00 am walk between stations.
 
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west point

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George : that heavy weight sleeper originally was Bristol - Nashville. Until the Pullman breakup the actual cars covering that line were never the same. At Nashville the car went on another line which I cannot find. At Bristol the car went on N&W 42 to Roanoke, N&W to Petersburg, then various times ACL or SAL depending on who was on time. Car at Richmond went somewhere else next night. Cars reverse directions as well.
The cars both ways from Bristol were heavy political as there was no I-40 or I-81. You can guess correctly what persons had RR passes but not pullman passes.

After the breakup several cars were transferred to SOU RR.
 

jamess

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There apparently is equipment allocation for it for later this year.

Here is what has been communicated by the State of VA officialdom who fund the service:


Is it likely to start with a regular schedule change on the NEC? And if so, when are those planned?
 

jis

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Is it likely to start with a regular schedule change on the NEC? And if so, when are those planned?
It would appear that the second frequency to Roanoke could happen as early as before the end of FY22. I am not sure what "regular schedule change on the NEC" means anymore. They happily add and subtract trains and stoppages whenever they want these days.

The Christiansburg extension is apparently slated for FY24.
 

Ryan

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The Christiansburg extension is apparently slated for FY24.

I've got 2025 stuck in my head from somewhere, as my son graduates from VT in '25 and my mental model is "awesome, but he'll never get to ride it". Would love for that to be wrong. He enjoys the train to Roanoke, but a shorter bus ride (or easily getting a ride from someone in town) is always better.

Is it fair to assume the secnd Roanoke train wont happen before July at this point?
No insight, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a push to do it before the school year starts. The current schedule is awesome for getting back to town on Sunday, but awful for coming home (you either miss class and leave really early Friday, or wait and leave really early Saturday and don't get home (between DC and Baltimore for us) until midday. A later in the day departure will make that trip home a lot nicer. He's coming home in two weeks, and I'm making the drive to get him on Friday so he gets home at a reasonable time but sending him back on the train Sunday afternoon.
 

west point

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Is it fair to assume the secnd Roanoke train wont happen before July at this point?
95% definitely not! Charlottesville (CVS) is the crew base for Roanoke trains. As well it is the base for the maybe Crescent to CLT and definitely WASH and Cardinal to Both WASH and west to ? Amtrak has not advertised for either Engineers or conductors there. It is highly unlikely that Amtrak would have any surplus T&E to transfer to CVS. AS well, unlikely even a fully rules qualified T&E from NS or CSX. Then you still have to route qualify them for the 4 separate routes from CVS.

Now we get to Amtrak having to hire new T&E from the street or better still present Amtrak employees. Screening applicants seems to take about 2 months. Then the training to be an engineer or conductor takes what 90 days? Then it is initial OJT training and then route qualifications as well. All in all do not expect any second train to Roanoke for at least 5 - 6 moths after T&E vacancies are advertised.

Also, remember vacancies posted at CVS might mean someone retiring, quitting, or unlikely the Cardinal going daily.
 

jis

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Presentation on Virginia Passenger Rail Expansion Plan



The question of whether changes in leadership of the State every four years will impact the execution of this plan is dealt with in the first question that is answered in the Q&A session in the presentation.
 
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The question of whether changes in leadership of the State every four years will impact the execution of this plan is dealt with in the first question that is answered in the Q&A session in the presentation.
For those not wishing to plow through the whole presentation, the bottom line is:

1) The plan will be administered by a rail authority in which the leadership has staggered terms that carry over from one gubernatorial administration to another. This is important, because Virginia has a strict 1-term limit on the governor, which means that long-terms plans in state government can be hard to maintain.

2) The new administration of Governor Youngkin, while of a different political party and different political philosophy than the previous administration, has, nevertheless shown support for this service expansion plan. This shows the benefits of making sure that passenger rail expansion never becomes a partisan issue.
 
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For those not wishing to plow through the whole presentation, the bottom line is:

1) The plan will be administered by a rail authority in which the leadership has staggered terms that carry over from one gubernatorial administration to another. This is important, because Virginia has a strict 1-term limit on the governor, which means that long-terms plans in state government can be hard to maintain.

2) The new administration of Governor Youngkin, while of a different political party and different political philosophy than the previous administration, has, nevertheless shown support for this service expansion plan. This shows the benefits of making sure that passenger rail expansion never becomes a partisan issue.
 

Skyline

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As a Virginia resident, I've noticed the new governor (Youngkin-R) has made a point of reversing some of the priorities of the previous (Northam-D) administration. Is there any word on whether expanded pax rail will be embraced now?
 

jis

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As a Virginia resident, I've noticed the new governor (Youngkin-R) has made a point of reversing some of the priorities of the previous (Northam-D) administration. Is there any word on whether expanded pax rail will be embraced now?
That question has been answered just a few posts up this thread. Please read the post about it a few posts up this thread, for example this one:

Virginia Service Expansion

In short. they are not planning to change anything.
 
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Ryan

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Is it fair to assume the secnd Roanoke train wont happen before July at this point?

No insight, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a push to do it before the school year starts. The current schedule is awesome for getting back to town on Sunday, but awful for coming home (you either miss class and leave really early Friday, or wait and leave really early Saturday and don't get home (between DC and Baltimore for us) until midday. A later in the day departure will make that trip home a lot nicer. He's coming home in two weeks, and I'm making the drive to get him on Friday so he gets home at a reasonable time but sending him back on the train Sunday afternoon.
We have an answer! Not before July, but during July. This will be a great addition to the service with a very reasonable late-afternoon departure from Roanoke, great for Friday evening getting home from school. The return trip leaves DC around 8 and gets you back to Roanoke in the early afternoon.

 

City of Miami

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I'm not finding mention of this anywhere else, not a word, not Amtrak, not VA DRPT, not Charlottesville local press. Seems specially odd considering Amtrak's inability to maintain staffing on current service. I also doubt his ridership figures - 19k trips to Roanoke in the month of April? No.
 
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Skyline

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That question has been answered just a few posts up this thread. Please read the post about it a few posts up this thread, for example this one:

Virginia Service Expansion

In short. they are not planning to change anything.
Good news, at least as it concerns projects held over from the Northam administration. Any insights on Youngkin's views on pax rail in general, as it would affect other expansions within Virginia? I haven't read anything in VA or DC media about it.
 

City of Miami

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"pending final agreement with Norfolk Southern and Amtrak" 😂 that's a mighty big "pend"🤣

Today 171 arrived was 1 minute early and departed 24 min late. Right now it's running 41 min late and will doubtless get later as happens when they don't depart before vre. At least in Roanoke the lone conductor can open all the doors on the high platform and all those hundreds of passengers can get off in less than 15 minutes.
 

daybeers

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I also doubt his ridership figures - 19k trips to Roanoke in the month of April? No.
Correct. Virginia's fact sheet for 2019 says 59,056 for the whole year.

I agree it's far from confirmed if NS hasn't finalized the agreement, but I'm not sure why you're saying it takes 15 minutes for passengers to disembark. On a Regional in NYP it takes maybe one-two with 300-400 people.

Virginia is doing very well with its steady rail expansion.
 

jis

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Correct. Virginia's fact sheet for 2019 says 59,056 for the whole year.

I agree it's far from confirmed if NS hasn't finalized the agreement, but I'm not sure why you're saying it takes 15 minutes for passengers to disembark. On a Regional in NYP it takes maybe one-two with 300-400 people.

Virginia is doing very well with its steady rail expansion.
I believe the pending final agreement is about the details of the time table, and is not about whether the train will run or not.

Ther issue with boarding and disembarking time at CVS is that there is a large number of on and off there and apparently all doors cannot be opened at a low level platform station given the number of staff available to man them. No automatic door operation from a single control point at low level platforms. That could lead to excessive dwell time.
 
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