What scheduling changes would you like?

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What scheduling changes would you like to see, for a given Amtrak route?

A couple I could think of:

Empire Builder, westbound #7

Leave Chicago at 10 AM, about 4 hours earlier than the present time. Arrive at St Paul/Minneapolis at 6 PM. Arrive at Whitefish at 5 PM the next day. Then an early arrival into Seattle at 6 AM the following morning. An advantage would be an earlier arrival into Whitefish for a future return to Seattle from Whitefish. I see a disadvantage, however. The arrival time into Seattle would be much too early. However, it would make possible a connection with the Coast Starlight southbound.

Coast Starlight, northbound #14

Leave LA at 7 AM, about 3 hours earlier than the present. Arrive Emeryville at 7 PM. Arrive Portland at 1 PM and Seattle at 5 PM the next day.
Advantages would be getting into the Bay Area at a more convenient hour. Also, the 5 PM arrival into Seattle would be better for having a diner in Seattle and checking in at a hotel/motel. Disadvantage, the 7 AM departure from LA wouldn't allow a connection with the train from San Diego.

Your thoughts.
 
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The Coast Starlight 7 a.m. departure breaks connections with the trains from San Diego.

An earlier departure of the Empire Builder breaks connections with trains from the east coast.

I would like to see an extension of the Saluki to Memphis. The train set could spend the night in Memphis and then head back north arriving in Carbondale in time to follow the schedule of the Illini.

Another idea I like is switching the departure times of the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited. A later departure on the Capitol Limited provides better service times between Pittsburg and Washington. But this would break the same-day connection with the Silver Star. An earlier departure time for the Lake Shore Limited causes and earlier arrival in Boston and New York.
 

zephyr17

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@Steve4031 agree with you on all points. No Chicago based Western LD should have its connections with the Eastern trains broken. And breaking the Builder's connection would be a personal issue for me, as I use Amtrak for basic transportation and the Builder is one of my "home" trains. I have connected to it from both the Lake Shore and the Capitol with some regularity.

My other "home" train is the Starlight. I can kind of understand the Builder proposal to get a better shot at Marias Pass scenery westbound, although it would eliminate the Cascades or Columbia River viewing in the morning. The Starlight proposal doesn't even have that, it just messes with the schedule so you can have dinner in Seattle rather than onboard, and cuts the connection to San Diego (and important to me and many others, Orange County).

As a regular passenger on both trains, those proposals are non-starters.

The proposal to switch the schedules of the Lake Shore and the Capitol to make the Capitol the "clean up" train makes sense to me.
 

amtrakpass

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I appreciate the creative thinking and wish there was more of it with Amtrak Mgmt. Without 2 plus daily frequencies on all routes it is hard not to have some sort of compromise however. Wish there was a least a willingness to give a different schedule a try and then go back to an old one if needed. Maybe different schedules in winter or summer as the seasons change might be something to consider
 
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The northbound Crescent (#20) needs to operate at least one hour earlier. The 11:29 pm departure from Atlanta is terrible . And, it is usually later than that. A check with ASMAD shows that #20 departed Atlanta within 30 minutes of schedule only 27% of the time, for the last 30 days. Also, 50 % of the time, the train was over an hour late departing Atlanta. North of Washington, the Crescent is operating as a Northeast Regional, making the regular stops, plus stops at BWI, Princeton Junction, New Brunswick, and Metropark ! This practice needs to stop. All stops north of Washington should be returned to discharge passengers only, and these extra stops eliminated.
 
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As I've ranted in other threads: The northbound Crescent needs to have its morning arrival in DC restored to be practical transportation for anyone planning to do anything there on day of arrival. Morning arrival in DC would also restore reasonable boarding times between Atlanta and Charlotte.

Southbound, an earlier arrival in NOL would be highly desirable---early enough for pax to plan to have dinner in New Orleans.

This would all be easily doable if the freight hosts were held to their obligation to prioritize passenger trains. HOURS of running time could be cut, and on-time reliability achieved, if there weren't so much freight interference. Lengthening the schedule as Amtrak did last year has not improved OTP. If anything, the additional running time seems to have provided more opportunities for freight dispatchers to delay the passenger trains.
 

JP1822

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The westbound Empire Builder's schedule could be tightened up a bit, but it would eliminate the "recovery times" built in to the schedule. Many times I've arrived into Minot an hour early or so, and have also been 30 to 45 minutes early into Shelby (same trips). The westbound can do quite well in the morning hours from Minot to the foothills of the Rockies. But it'd be trade-off in recovery time!

The Lake Shore is not the right "clean-up train" from Chicago to the East Coast and adjusting the Capitol's schedule, one must consider how it effects Pittsburgh - always tricky. Pittsburgh is a BIG feeder and source for the Capitol. Even into the 21st century there was the Cardinal, Pennsylvanian, Three Rivers, Capitol Limited, and Lake Shore (4.5 trains) that connected the Midwest to various points on the spine of the NEC. Now we are down to just two main trains - Lake Shore and Capitol Limited.

The Three Rivers (formerly the Broadway Limited) served as the best "clean-up train" out of Chicago - and if it operated over the Water Level route, it would truly be a better clean-up train. Capitol should leave around 5:45 pm (from Chicago and Washington DC), Lake Shore at 7 pm, and Three Rivers at 9:30 pm. Three Rivers is needed as an offset to the Capitol Limited when leaving Chicago and serving Pittsburgh. Allows the Lake Shore Limited to get into Boston AND NYC earlier (before rush hour). A 5:45 pm departure out of Chicago, could also get the Capitol into DC earlier the next day - as early as 12 noon.

The Crescent needs its old schedule restored - leaving NYP at 2:30 pm, Washington DC around 5:30 pm, and arrival into Atlanta around 8 am. Likewise, the Crescent needs that overnight schedule where it leaves Atlanta around 7 pm and arrives into DC early morning and NYP mid-day. The current schedule just doesn't work. May work for Norfolk Southern and better timekeeping, but it doesn't make for a good passenger schedule.

Many long distance routes are getting longer in trip time, instead of shorter.....as one would think with better technology and age etc.
 

west point

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The old NOL - ATL #20 schedule was 11:35. The revised timetable is now 12:45. If Amtrak has to use the new station to station times this schedule works better along the whole route.

Move the Crescent departure at NOL from 0915 back to 0615. That is close to its previous departure time. Gets BHM at 1415, ATL at 2029, arrival at CLT 0206, CVS 0749, WASH 1049. The times are much better. Will get more boardings from BHM - CLT. Passengers can make the connection to the Carolinian at CLT. This schedule change restores connections for various trains. Carolinian at CLT that has been missed about 30% of the time. Had a trip to Richmond planned but #20 so late decided to drive to Richmond. Was not pleased. Even going to ALX and back to Richmond appeared impossible plus agent would not rebook with same fare.

Not often missed but has happened getting on Cardinal at CVS. Changing schedule back the connection will almost always happen. Then the connection to the Capitol at WASH can get missed. In fact it was missed on May 1st. Then you have the connections at NYP. Same day #20 missed last train to Boston with no night owl operating. Albany yeah get the late night one to it instead . But lake shore connection will be missed to go to upstate NY .

I recognize that the earlier departure from NOL will require more T&E as at present #19 Meridian T&E crew lays over in NOL. This new schedule will require some what a different assignment of crews as there is not enough off duty time for the layover off #19 in NOL. That will add T&E costs but I have to wonder how much more revenue can be had. Amtrak will have more potential passengers using #20. Increase in full route revenue should off set the extra T&E costs NOL - MEI.

If NS can be required to recover the extra 1 hour MEI - ATL added in new schedule then maybe a slightly later departure from NOL can be implemented but also even earlier arrival in ATL.

EDIT: Realize returning to old schedule may require more NOL station personnel costs. Noted there have been some opening listed on employment site.
 
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Willbridge

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The change to an early morning arrival in Seattle for Train 7 to connect with the Coast Starlight is unnecessary because the real connection is in Portland. Trains 7 and 27 have Cascades connections at SEA, PDX and/or VAN for access to points between Vancouver and Seattle.
 
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The north bound 91/92 since now that is the only Fla to NY train how a put it leave ar 9 am from fla so connections in ny can be had and leave from NY at 1 so connections to ny can be made
(and rental cars etc can e picked up at destinatiom for example i can only get to new haven ct now on a fro and sat and tbats IF 91 and 92 get into ny on time if they are late i mias the last amtrak train pit of ny and when leaving new haven there is nontrain to get mento ny axcepr on acela as north pit ny to fla train leaves to early (this is evennworse dor people more noorth then new haven
 
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I would prefer a slightly earlier Eastbound departure for the LSL. Moving it up to 7 PM or so would still preserve connections to Western trains yet provide a better arrival time at Boston and New York. It would also remove the need for a meet between 448 and 449 in the single track between Springfield and Albany. The downside would be worse times at CLE, Erie and Buffalo.
 

Skyline

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An hour or two later for 42, an hour or two earlier for 43.

An hour earlier for 29, an hour later for 30.

Both suggestions allow slightly better times at Pittsburgh without disrupting other connections.
 

Maglev

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I would like it if the southbound morning international train to Seattle were later, and the northbound from Seattle in the evening earlier, so I could connect from and to the San Juan Islands ferries. But changing the schedules would cause all kinds of problems...
 

jis

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An hour or two later for 42, an hour or two earlier for 43.

An hour earlier for 29, an hour later for 30.

Both suggestions allow slightly better times at Pittsburgh without disrupting other connections.
At present it may be worthwhile to think in terms of how one would like two NYP-PGH trains to be scheduled, since the second train is imminent.

Here is the most current proposed schedule:

1651682956416.png
 
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The change to an early morning arrival in Seattle for Train 7 to connect with the Coast Starlight is unnecessary because the real connection is in Portland. Trains 7 and 27 have Cascades connections at SEA, PDX and/or VAN for access to points between Vancouver and Seattle.
***********************************

Thanks, Mr. Willbridge, for pointing out the PDX connection to the Starlight from the Builder. I didn't think of that.

I can understand the need for an east coast Amtrak train to have a good connection, in Chicago, to a westbound train. However, It seems like they could modify the schedule of trains, such as the Capitol Limited or Lake Shore Limited, to allow an earlier arrival time into Chicago, hence an earlier start for the Empire Builder. But, I won't stir up that hornet's nest.

Only as a personal viewpoint, I wouldn't want a connection, say, from the LSL or Cap Limited to the Empire Builder, the same day. I think cooped up on a train, from the east coast to the far west would be difficult, at least for me, if I couldn't get an overnight rest in between. I would want to stay over in Chicago, just to stretch my legs, walk around, and go to a good restaurant. Then, a fresh start on the Builder the next day.

Regarding making an earlier start, for the Coast Starlight, from LA headed north. There is Pacific Surfliner train #761 which leaves San Diego at 4:01 AM and arrives in LA at 6:57 AM. It could allow a connection with the CS at 8 AM, which could mean a 7:30 PM arrival in the Bay Area, 2 PM arrival into Portland, and a 6 PM arrival into Seattle.
 
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I'd like to see them restore a few more of the morning southbound trains from New York To Washington. The very first train of the morning, NER 111 doesn't get into Washington until 8:53 AM. Then there's an Acela at 9:00 and the Palmetto at 9:34. I know when 67 was running, you could get into DC at 7:00 AM, and there was a Northeast Regional 151 that got in well before 9. Perhaps people traveling from New York might not care as much (NER 111 leaves NYP at 5:15 AM), but there is a market for travelers from Philly and Wilmington who might want to get into the Nation's capital early to have a full day. Also, from Baltimore, but they do have MARC trains that can get them in earlier.
 

jebr

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Only as a personal viewpoint, I wouldn't want a connection, say, from the LSL or Cap Limited to the Empire Builder, the same day. I think cooped up on a train, from the east coast to the far west would be difficult, at least for me, if I couldn't get an overnight rest in between. I would want to stay over in Chicago, just to stretch my legs, walk around, and go to a good restaurant. Then, a fresh start on the Builder the next day.

For someone going transcontinental, I could see the desire to break up the trip a bit. But as someone who lives at a midpoint on the Builder route, same-day connections are vital for me to find train travel at all usable beyond the destinations provided by the Builder. Going from MSP to NYP currently can be done pretty reliably, in both directions, in two days and one night - a length where I really don't want to break up the trip with an overnight in Chicago either direction. Even a destination like Cleveland can be done in one very long day (although I'll probably sleep for part of the trip.) Yes, eventually there'll be the second train to Chicago, but the general point still stands. Even for connecting traffic, the number of people going from endpoints to endpoints on different long distance trains are extremely small, and so the timing needs to work so that there's a same-day connection in order for the Amtrak network to work.
 

jebr

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For schedule changes, I think flipping the LSL and the Capitol eastbound times would be nice - right now the only connection to the Silver Services from Chicago (and points west) is the Capitol, and with the frequent delays on the western LD trains I'd like to have some reliable connection to at least one of the Silvers (even if it means permanently losing the connection with the Star.)

This isn't really a schedule change, but I'd also like Amtrak to sell a Thruway ticket on the Jefferson Lines itineraries that route between Minneapolis and Kansas City. The timing already basically works, but there's no guaranteed connections, and some of the station stops are a mile or two apart. Having them stop at the train stations and being able to sell through tickets would be an easy way to connect most of the western LD trains (EB, CZ, and SWC directly, and TE indirectly via the current Heartland Flyer/Thruway/SWC connection.) Right now there's nothing to connect most of the western LD trains without an overnight layover, at least east of the Coast Starlight, and simply doing a bit of coordination with existing services would almost certainly result in some increased usage and solve a lot of the "you can't get here from there" problem.
 
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At present it may be worthwhile to think in terms of how one would like two NYP-PGH trains to be scheduled, since the second train is imminent.

Here is the most current proposed schedule:

View attachment 28349

I hope that the second train at least extends to Philadelphia. There would be limited use for a train that serves only between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
 

jis

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I hope that the second train at least extends to Philadelphia. There would be limited use for a train that serves only between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
My understanding is that both trains will originate/terminate in New York. But of course we will see.
 

Willbridge

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............
This isn't really a schedule change, but I'd also like Amtrak to sell a Thruway ticket on the Jefferson Lines itineraries that route between Minneapolis and Kansas City. The timing already basically works, but there's no guaranteed connections, and some of the station stops are a mile or two apart. Having them stop at the train stations and being able to sell through tickets would be an easy way to connect most of the western LD trains (EB, CZ, and SWC directly, and TE indirectly via the current Heartland Flyer/Thruway/SWC connection.) Right now there's nothing to connect most of the western LD trains without an overnight layover, at least east of the Coast Starlight, and simply doing a bit of coordination with existing services would almost certainly result in some increased usage and solve a lot of the "you can't get here from there" problem.
It's time-consuming to research in the brave new non-timetable world, but I don't think that Jefferson Lines cooperates with Amtrak. From Denver north the Thruway ticketing now ends at a lonely off-street loop in Buffalo, WY because JL took over the segment from there to Billings.

P1040824k.JPG
 

jebr

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It's time-consuming to research in the brave new non-timetable world, but I don't think that Jefferson Lines cooperates with Amtrak. From Denver north the Thruway ticketing now ends at a lonely off-street loop in Buffalo, WY because JL took over the segment from there to Billings.

View attachment 28355

JL still takes Amtrak tickets from MSP to Duluth, and until the start of this year (when the operation of the route switched to Coach USA) they accepted Amtrak tickets on their MKE - MSP route through central Wisconsin. I wonder if the issue with the Wyoming route is more with Amtrak not wanting to ticket the convention than with JL not wanting to partner on another route - but the link is there and they're set up to accept them already.
 

Willbridge

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JL still takes Amtrak tickets from MSP to Duluth, and until the start of this year (when the operation of the route switched to Coach USA) they accepted Amtrak tickets on their MKE - MSP route through central Wisconsin. I wonder if the issue with the Wyoming route is more with Amtrak not wanting to ticket the convention than with JL not wanting to partner on another route - but the link is there and they're set up to accept them already.
Thanks for that info. Yes, you raised a good point, in that Amtrak may not want to extend the Thruway brand beyond routes that have no further connections. As a result of Amtrak's cancellation-instead-of-bustitution I ended up on a bus ticket between Denver and Portland anyway, but I first tried it ticketing through Amtrak and it didn't work beyond Buffalo.

That shouldn't prevent a KCY<>MSP Thruway connection, however.
 
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TheCrescent

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Couldn’t most of the long-distance trains be scheduled to leave a large city in the early evening and arrive in a large city in the early morning, and with enough marketing, couldn’t Amtrak mostly fill them with people traveling between those cities?

For example, the Crescent used to be a Washington-Atlanta (and reverse) night train.

Same for Chicago-Denver, NY or Philadelphia-Chicago and others.

Maybe if Amtrak started providing trains (outside of corridors) that has schedules that made trains a reasonable travel choice, it would fare better economically.
 
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