What Will Amtrak Look Like in 2020?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
59
I'm not sure if all the people who get stuck in the traffic jams and confusing highways around airports would agree ... have you ever tried to navigate the roads around MCO without ending up going to the wrong place at least once?

Setting that aside ... maybe, in your opinion, rail is not needed (odd coming from someone on a train riding forum) but that is not the general consensus of all people - especially those on this forum.

Somehow, I doubt you will convince many on this forum that "Air is simply the best method we have to combat the traffic congestion problem" ...

As for the Interstate system:







And the costs go up each year as prices rise.
Those who argue that maintaining long-distance rail is too expensive, compared to airports, neglect the synergy between long-distance passenger rail and long-distance freight rail. The rails undergirding the LD routes will still be maintained even if Amtrak disappears. Witness the problem in CO/NM when that isn't true and a heroic rescue is required to maintain the SW Chief. IF Congress, the courts, and Amtrak management can cooperate to enforce the principle of passenger train priority, then this synergy can continue.
It is true that some freight lines maintain their rails poorly, making higher-speed passenger trains impossible ... sometimes making even "regular speed" passenger trains impossible. The old Wabash, on the other hand, used to advertise their higher-speed freights (higher than other lines), and maybe the economies of minding a shipment for only 12 hours (at 60 MPH) rather than 24 hours (at 30 MPH) will prevail on freight lines.
 

adamj023

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 1, 2015
Messages
107
Cost is just one part of the issue. Air is simply a better technology. We intentionally slow down planes due to the fuel costs and don’t use a better propulsion system which already exists in the military. We can do flights in much faster times than what we see today as well as come out with a new mechanism to replace the existing security which adds significantly to flight times. The potential of air travel is only restricted by how many planes can fit in the sky and even though there is a ton of air traffic already, there is room for a lot more for a much faster ride experience without any infrastructures costs except for airports where cost is shared by multiple parties with potential profit potential as well.

if I go from NYC to Los Angeles, CA for instance, a cross country slow train is not something I would ever do. I can get a first class flight on multiple airlines with or without connections for a much quicker time and even less money than many Amtrak tickets will cost. Yet the tax payer is on the hook for services that many won’t ever use due to subsidies from congress. Private sector can solve the transportation problems much better.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,561
Cost is just one part of the issue. Air is simply a better technology. We intentionally slow down planes due to the fuel costs and don’t use a better propulsion system which already exists in the military. We can do flights in much faster times than what we see today as well as come out with a new mechanism to replace the existing security which adds significantly to flight times. The potential of air travel is only restricted by how many planes can fit in the sky and even though there is a ton of air traffic already, there is room for a lot more for a much faster ride experience without any infrastructures costs except for airports where cost is shared by multiple parties with potential profit potential as well.

if I go from NYC to Los Angeles, CA for instance, a cross country slow train is not something I would ever do. I can get a first class flight on multiple airlines with or without connections for a much quicker time and even less money than many Amtrak tickets will cost. Yet the tax payer is on the hook for services that many won’t ever use due to subsidies from congress. Private sector can solve the transportation problems much better.
So, there are a few things I'd note:
(1) Going to just "rationalized" services, combined with probably allowing one or two too many mergers in the airline industry[1], has resulted in many airports either losing service or losing most effective service outside of EAS funding.
(2) I agree that, for example, NYC-LA isn't likely to be a market trains can compete in. However, on any of the routings between the two there are several dozen intermediate stops. Some of those towns have airports. Some have bus lines. Some both, some have neither, and some have one or the other or both but the condition is dubious and airlines sometimes refuse to serve shorter-haul city pairs that require a connection [2][3]. And this is before we get into the fact that a not-insignificant portion of the population cannot fly, either because of physical reasons or mental ones (fear of flying is a condition), and I don't think it is practical to expect those folks to all drive or take Greyhound. And of course, this doesn't take into account various places where though there may be an airport in the metro area, it might well be far over an hour to get there if traffic isn't on your side (e.g. Fredericksburg to DCA or Manhattan to LGA).
(3) The airline industry has only relatively recently become profitable on a stable basis, and only then amid a record-long economic expansion, relatively cheap oil/gas (fuel now is only marginally more expensive than it was in the early 1970s, accounting for inflation), relative lack of competition, and continuing subsidies to airlines and airports in various forms ranging from direct support for construction and/or subsidies to airports to government funding for various functions (ATC, etc.). Whether this is likely to last indefinitely or how badly the next recession impacts it is anybody's guess (anyone who knows, I am sure some hedge fund managers would love to hear from you).
(4) Also, nobody expects the interstate highway system to "make money", and even at a "break even" proposition in terms of either toll revenues, gas taxes, or a hypothetical VMT tax, there are big chunks of that system that would lose money regardless. Witness the fights in Pennsylvania over trying to toll I-80 (and I've predicted, for many years, that if the highway trust fund ever went bust PA might just cut I-80 to two lanes rather than fund their portion of it).

Now, please note that I'm only addressing rather long-haul city pairs here (e.g. where the train takes more than about six hours...in other words, longer than a connecting flight with a clumsy connection probably takes), and in a sense I'm really getting at longer-than-overnight city pairs. On shorter routes (and note that those LD trains all cover shorter city pairs...for example, the LSL and Cap both serve Cleveland-Toledo) many of the problems with flying become more and more problematic. There's a reason I don't necessarily bust Delta for not serving PHF-DCA (since by the time you get down to Atlanta and back up, you'd spend more time on the plane than you would on the train), though refusing to sell ORF-WAS gets a little stranger since the other three cover an airport apiece there (United/IAD, American/DCA, Southwest/BWI).

One place I think Anderson is right is that Amtrak would be better-served by ramping up frequencies on various city pairs/routes to achieve economies of scale (e.g. a station that has to hire two agents to cover a clumsily-timed pair of trains might still only need two agents with 4-5 trains per day in each direction, while it seems quite plausible that running more trains would make Amtrak into a more important "customer" of the host railroads and thus able to get better treatment). I think the main disagreement I'd express is that I put the threshold for reasonable route lengths rather higher than he does.


[1] Yes, I am aware that many of the mergers in the last two decades or so were the result of one of the partners being in bad shape in the long(er) term and so the merger was the alternative to a collapse.
[2] An easy example for me is that Delta refuses to serve PHF-JFK/LGA because of routing limits that make a connection via ATL (the only connecting airport serving PHF) illegal. This is, perhaps, defensible since there are a number of puddle jumpers serving ORF-JFK/LGA (about 30 miles away). PHL is in a similar situation, as is...basically every airport southeast of Boston (PVD and BDL are both blocked). However, for anyone from my part of the world, traffic getting to ORF can be a royal pain (and let's not even talk about that time the state shut down two of the three bridges one way and had to spend the next six months apologizing with TV and radio ads), and the next-closest airport is RIC (a bit over an hour away). To be fair, American will cover most of those pairs...but the point is that Delta is able to simply decide that there's business that they don't want at any price. Similar examples abound in New York State, where Delta will not sell a ticket from YUL or SYR to ALB. BTW, lest anyone accuse the rules of being rational, they will sell a YYZ-ALB ticket routing via LGA and DTW, something which basically takes those routing limits out back and beats them to death with a shovel.
[3] I will also point out that on many of those routes, airlines may or may not offer "premium" cabins for sale. Now, lest anybody think I'm complaining about seat size (not that such isn't an issue for many passengers), what is often omitted is that those seats tend to come with generous luggage allowances and more flexible change rules at their base. So, picking on Delta again, a passenger traveling in First (or Delta One) with one checked bag (and don't forget that there's all sorts of stuff you can't pack in a carry-on) on a round-trip will have to kick out $60. Two bags takes that to $140. That easily obliterates the cost difference between Economy and First in many pairs for advance purchase tickets. Even without a "better" seat being made available, those city pairs are effectively being denied the ability to purchase an inclusive fare (to say nothing of having to manually sift through fares on OTAs to figure out what is actually being offered for sale).
 
Last edited:

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
One place I think Anderson is right is that Amtrak would be better-served by ramping up frequencies on various city pairs/routes to achieve economies of scale (e.g. a station that has to hire two agents to cover a clumsily-timed pair of trains might still only need two agents with 4-5 trains per day in each direction, while it seems quite plausible that running more trains would make Amtrak into a more important "customer" of the host railroads and thus able to get better treatment).
I also firmly agree with this. Railroads are an economies-of-scale business.

I'd personally start with a combination of the Michigan Corridor and Empire Corridor. There's extra trackbed space in all the sections controlled by freight railroads. Buy whatever empty trackbeds you need to buy to have passenger-priority tracks where needed (CSX and NS will both sell if politically pressured enough), and run many trains per day, on time. Chicago-NY via Lots Of Cities is an eminently reasonable route.

I think the main disagreement I'd express is that I put the threshold for reasonable route lengths rather higher than he does.
I think there is no actual limit to "reasonable route lengths". There may be a practical limit to "length of trip for major markets", but the route can be longer than that. The can't-fly-won't-fly market will of course take arbitrarily long trips if they're faster than driving (and it's significant, 10% of the population).

But beyond that, if your major markets are actually Chicago-Denver and Denver-Grand Junction, there's every reason to run a single route all the way from Chicago to Grand Junction -- and that sort of situation happens frequently.

What's important on a train route, IMHO, is that you keep hitting decent intermediate stops every hour or less. So a train travelling across a giant vacant area like San Antonio to El Paso is a *problem*. But if you're hopping from midsized city to midsized city to midsized city, each an hour or less apart, the route could be arbitrarily long. It's good if you can construct convenient overnight service for the city pairs where it's about 8-12 hours, and good daytime service for the city pairs where it's 1-8 hours; you can serve a lot of pairs on one route. Most people aren't riding end to end, of course. The only practical limits to route length come from the problems with dispatcher handoffs and "cascading delays".

Similar examples abound in New York State, where Delta will not sell a ticket from YUL or SYR to ALB. BTW, lest anyone accuse the rules of being rational, they will sell a YYZ-ALB ticket routing via LGA and DTW, something which basically takes those routing limits out back and beats them to death with a shovel.
Air is fundamentally a bad technology for short hops, as everyone agrees. The time penalty of going to the airport, dealing with security, taking off, landing, going from the airport, eats up any advantage (unless you have a private plane or something). For short hops, it's driving, buses, or trains. But it's not just the short hops where airlines can't provide economic service, while trains can...

Airline service has become one of strictly point-to-point flights -- air routes don't have multiple stops any more. (Because of the huge costs of takeoff and landing, both in time and fuel, and of boarding/deboarding in terms of time.) This renders air travel uneconomic for lots of city pairs.

While a train can hit Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo in one run, that would require a minimum of 10 airline flights just to serve each pair. The traffic demand isn't there for that, so those flights don't exist. (Actually, I'm not sure there are flights between *any* pair of those cities.) Sure, between the very biggest hubs like LA, SF, Chicago, and NYC, every pair is served by air, but as soon as you get to smaller cities, they're not.

As a result of not having intermediate stops, airline service has become a strictly hub-and-spoke affair. Puddlejumpers serving smaller cities generally go only one direction, to the nearest hub. Then the hubs are connected. The hub-and-spoke routings mean that airlines are uncompetitive for many of the city pairs which trains can serve very easily by stopping at a chain of cities.

Another interesting example is going from anywhere in Vermont or Western Massachusetts to Albany or points west -- the planes only go east to Boston.

The disappearance of point-to-point routes, unless you're going from a hub to a hub, or a small city to *the one hub* which it is connected to, means that air ends up being much slower than driving for the routes which air has "abandoned" due to indirection, even if you can technically glue together a route (for instance, by air you can go Ithaca-Detroit-Boston-Lebanon NH -- no, just no).

Trains can compete with driving. When air travel is slower than driving, trains can also compete with air travel.

Serving the can't-fly-won't-fly market (10% of the population, roughly) is a bonus. Many of them drive, so again the key competition is driving.

"Airline thinking" is no good for a railroad. For an airline, all flights are point-to-point; for a train route, it is essential to have numerous intermediate stops to leverage economies of scale. (Auto Train notwithstanding.)

In response to adamj023, I will simply say that NY-LA is the wrong example; sure, those are big enough to have lots of direct air flights. You want to be looking at Syracuse to Milwaukee, and the many many other city pairs like that.
 
Last edited:

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
FYI, 2017 numbers for public spending on transportation is out. $177 billion to highways, $70 billion to mass transit, $37 billion to aviation, $10 billion to water transportation, $5 billion to rail (other than mass transit) -- some of that is for freight. That is federal, state, and local (though it is likely to be missing some local highway and aviation expenditures).

Federal? Of "transportation and water infrastructure" (no idea why water utilities and dams are lumped in here), it's 47% for highways, 17% for mass transit and rail (mostly mass transit), 5% for water transportation (!), 17% for aviation. (10% for dams and stuff like that, 4% for water utilities.)

It's pretty clear which transportation mode is most cost-effective. That would be rail. The highways are giant money-sucks. Even water transportation gets more public funding than rail, and it's notoriously ineffective for passengers and not that great for freight either.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,561
The reason I gave the city pairs that I did is that, air distance-wise, ORF/PHF/RIC-NYC is somewhere in the ballpark of 350 miles, and I did checks for BDL and PVD (which are getting close to 500 miles of ground travel). So that's either at the high end of passenger rail's useful "sphere" outside of full-blown shinkansen-level HSR or somewhat beyond it (pure runtime, aside from the DC locomotive swap, is somewhere in the ballpark of five-six hours (RVR-NYP) to seven-eight hours (NFK-NYP). Add another 3-4 hours for PVD/BDL and the train is starting to push the edge of even being feasible (even if you can avoid a change of trains and the loss of more time). YUL-ALB is a bit of an odd case (the rail routing sucks in terms of runtime, but the distance is relatively short).

I did sort-of mean the feasible length of a given city pair, but I was also looking at distances you could viably run a train while improving crewing, etc. Basically, even if you had the intermediate pairs of the eastern trains all the way to the west coast (versus contending with ridership craters on the western trains), there is a case to be made that (for multiple reasons) running lots of end-to-end trains from coast to coast would be a Bad Idea operationally. Likewise, subjecting either end of a relatively long route to only end-to-end trains being available won't do wonders for reliability even if you have reasonably good handling by the host railroad(s), and that situation gets worse if you have multiple handoffs to deal with. So if your main markets are Chicago-Denver and Denver-Grand Junction and you want to serve each market three times per day, there might be some logic to having at least one of the runs be "split" at Denver so an issue outside Chicago doesn't hose the whole operation.

Of course, if you have an end-to-end run with lots of trains you can also start doing cool stuff like not having to send the whole OBS crew from end to end. I suspect Amtrak could save quite a bit of money if they could turn diner crews, for example, partway along a route. Being able to restock Acela-style would also go a long way towards improving certain F&B models (and, you know, not running out of stuff halfway to your destination).
 

jiml

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
891
Comment: Recent group of posts have been a thoughtful and interesting conversation. Well worth reading.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,067
neoden: Glad to see more emphasis on the intermediate station city pairs. Airlines used to cover the shorter distance pairs when they flew in low capacity airplanes. thinking of DC-3s, Martin -404s and Convair-440s. There used to be service to all those NY towns you mentioned and even more like Saranac Lake, Messene. etc by Eastern airlines. Eastern and National airline both had 9 stop flights from Miami to the New York area. The march to larger airplanes just made those trips not financially capable.

Now it will be up to Amtrak RR to provide those services that RRs backed out of before the large airplanes came into wide service. IMHO the widespread use of higher capacity airplanes came about 1969 - 1972 period with almost all those low capacity airplanes retired.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,561
It isn't just that higher capacity planes are being used...there are a lot of markets that could feasibly support, say, CRJ service, and it doesn't seem utterly insane that (for example) if American is going to serve PHL-PHF and PHF-CLT they couldn't find some way to run the planes through without forcing pax to get off and get back on. I once experienced this sort of nonsense at Atlanta once: MCO-ATL and ATL-CLT were the same plane, but I had to disembark and reboard at ATL regardless.

(On the bright side, I had the same plane back to ATL. The crew had my PDB to me almost as soon as I sat down.)

The bigger problem is that in the larger markets you might want to serve, the airports are jammed. At some point, you have to decide if you're going to send a CRJ/Embraer into DCA or a 737/A32X, and in the end it becomes no contest between a 50-passenger plane and a 150+ passenger plane. You can make some smaller plane operations work if you can shake capacity loose (Southern Air does this out of a hub at Hagerstown; I put my brother on them for a few flights a few years back because he wanted a stopover in PIT). The problem is that as soon as you get thrown into an external secondary airport in a major city you're going to run into viability issues. Nobody wants to land an hour and a half outside of downtown...IAD is in a tough spot as it is (and this issue killed Mirabel since they couldn't be arsed to connect the airport to the city center and didn't offer domestic connections at Mirabel).
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
This gets back to the immense economies of scale in railroads. With a much tinier amount of land area, a railroad station like PHL can serve trains carrying more people than the Philadelphia airport. It currently doesn't, but it can -- it's easy to expand train service without the massive land acquisitions needed for airport expansion, and you can do it downtown. So NJT and LIRR can run to hundreds of small towns in NJ and LI and bring all those trains into a couple of blocks in NY Penn Station, where you would never be able to run puddlejumpers from all those towns to JFK or LGA.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,067
neroden: The only problem I can see with that is there needs to be sufficient local mass trainset at the station to move the arrivals in and out. NYP and NYG definitely OK. PHL well maybe. BAL light rail cannot handle it. WASH - Metro maybe. CHI US needs a closer "L" stop.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,784
I'm not sure if all the people who get stuck in the traffic jams and confusing highways around airports would agree ... have you ever tried to navigate the roads around MCO without ending up going to the wrong place at least once?

Setting that aside ... maybe, in your opinion, rail is not needed (odd coming from someone on a train riding forum) but that is not the general consensus of all people - especially those on this forum.

Somehow, I doubt you will convince many on this forum that "Air is simply the best method we have to combat the traffic congestion problem" ...

As for the Interstate system:







And the costs go up each year as prices rise.
Also, we're dealing with a political climate in which it's very difficult to get people to spend money on highways, let alone rail. If there wasn't a threat that the whole country would grind to a halt, we wouldn't even be spending the paltry amount we do spend. Enjoy the potholes and risky bridges...

Unfortunately, our history was such that we let private investors looking for quick profits build out the railroad network. Then, unlike most other advanced countries, we never nationalized the infrastructure. The result was (1) poorly engineered railroads built quickly to let the original investors (or the swindlers collecting money from the investors) collect the land grants and make a quick buck. Of course, the railroad itself didn't always get the care it needed to provide the public service that justified the land grants. (2) When the railroad industry was threatened by motor traffic on public highways (paid for by taxpayers), their response was to pare down the infrastructure. A few decades later, surprise!, it turns out that rail is actually a competitive transportation mode. Or could be, except that the private management had ripped up a lot of the rails, so we are now stuck with an inadequate system full of bottlenecks. Delayed Amtrak long distance trains are just a minor problem, really. The closest parallel I can see with the highway network is that of the Communist government converting autobahns in East Germany to 2-lane roads because they couldn't handle the expense and the traffic wasn't there. However, after reunification, I suppose the (mostly) West German taxpayers picked up the tabs to rebuild the roads.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
837
After all those conversions of "Rails-to-Trails" (and whatever that cost) ...makes one wonder what it would cost to now make "Trails-to-Rails"
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,784
After all those conversions of "Rails-to-Trails" (and whatever that cost) ...makes one wonder what it would cost to now make "Trails-to-Rails"
The main problem with converting trails to rails is that the highways that replaced the tracks are located differently from the rails, and all the development over the last 60-70 years has been along the highways. The old rail routes don't really serve any population centers any more.

Case in point is my favorite rail-trail, the Northern Central Trail in Baltimore County, Maryland and York County, PA. There's nothing by the trail anymore, which is what makes it pleasant walking or bike riding. All the action is up by I-83. Also, the route of the Northern Central was laid out in the 1830s or 1840s. Very sharp curves, anything built on it will be slow running. You can drive from Baltimore to York in an hour on I-83, and a new Northern Central rail corridor will have to compete with that. You would probably need to bite the bullet and build a Euro/Asian style line with lots of cuts, fills, tunnels, and viaducts. I can't see it happening in the American political climate.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,784
Of course, for most travelers, trips of 500 miles plus are most efficiently done by airplane. From the point of view of the travelers, at least. But there are estimates of about 10% of the traveling public who can't fly (medical reasons), won't fly (anxieties, etc, which I guess are medical reasons, too) or don't live near an airport that provides service where they want to go. In addition to that, there are folks like most of us on AU, who just happen to prefer the experience of riding a train long distances. This seems to me to be a big enough market to provide a national network, and there is certainly a social benefit in providing mobility alternatives for people who can't/won't/don't fly.

As has been repeated ad infinitum, most passengers on long-distance trains don't travel really long distances. On the other hand, those few who do, provide a disproportionately large revenue stream that can cross subsidize the basic national network service. This, Amtrak management has got to figure out how to provide decent premium (and, yes, coach, too) service for the long distance passengers, while at the same time keeping the costs of providing the premium service low.

Personally, I would like to see Amtrak really serve airports. I'm not sure there's a single airport where the Amtrak platforms are integrated in with the terminal building. Short-hop commuter airlines, I can do without. The smaller planes bounce around in even light breezes, and the predictions for global warming are more rain and storms. Fuel economy per passenger isn't as good because a larger percentage of the flight time is take-off and landing. In fact, the only times I've used commuter airlines is to fly up to JFK to connect to an international flight. There's no reason Amtrak trains could roll up the corridor, right into the terminal. No reason, except money.
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
149
Of course, for most travelers, trips of 500 miles plus are most efficiently done by airplane. From the point of view of the travelers, at least. But there are estimates of about 10% of the traveling public who can't fly (medical reasons), won't fly (anxieties, etc, which I guess are medical reasons, too) or don't live near an airport that provides service where they want to go. In addition to that, there are folks like most of us on AU, who just happen to prefer the experience of riding a train long distances. This seems to me to be a big enough market to provide a national network, and there is certainly a social benefit in providing mobility alternatives for people who can't/won't/don't fly.

As has been repeated ad infinitum, most passengers on long-distance trains don't travel really long distances. On the other hand, those few who do, provide a disproportionately large revenue stream that can cross subsidize the basic national network service. This, Amtrak management has got to figure out how to provide decent premium (and, yes, coach, too) service for the long distance passengers, while at the same time keeping the costs of providing the premium service low.

Personally, I would like to see Amtrak really serve airports. I'm not sure there's a single airport where the Amtrak platforms are integrated in with the terminal building. Short-hop commuter airlines, I can do without. The smaller planes bounce around in even light breezes, and the predictions for global warming are more rain and storms. Fuel economy per passenger isn't as good because a larger percentage of the flight time is take-off and landing. In fact, the only times I've used commuter airlines is to fly up to JFK to connect to an international flight. There's no reason Amtrak trains could roll up the corridor, right into the terminal. No reason, except money.
Newark Airport stop is integrated with Liberty via the monorail. That's the only one I'm aware of.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,067
Is the Newark airport monorail down again for a complete replacement ? It certainly has been an almost failure.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,784
Newark Airport stop is integrated with Liberty via the monorail. That's the only one I'm aware of.
Having ridden the monorail, I wouldn't call that well-integrated with the terminal. It's like a glorified parking shuttle from the remote lots. Also, not too many Amtrak trains call at Newark Airport. What I'd like is to be able to ride the escalator up from the train platforms right into the ticketing and baggage check area. Maybe even some trains where you do your TSA business on the train or at the train station, and ride right into the secure concourses, then up the escalator and to your gate..
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
That’s not surprising since it *is* an extension of a monorail originally built to serve close in remote lots and the terminals. [emoji57]
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
149
Having ridden the monorail, I wouldn't call that well-integrated with the terminal. It's like a glorified parking shuttle from the remote lots. Also, not too many Amtrak trains call at Newark Airport. What I'd like is to be able to ride the escalator up from the train platforms right into the ticketing and baggage check area. Maybe even some trains where you do your TSA business on the train or at the train station, and ride right into the secure concourses, then up the escalator and to your gate..[/QUOTE
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
149
That’s not surprising since it *is* an extension of a monorail originally built to serve close in remote lots and the terminals. [emoji57]
The monorail stops at all terminals - or at least it did. It was designed for train station/parking transit to terminals.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
The monorail stops at all terminals - or at least it did. It was designed for train station/parking transit to terminals.
Originally it was just for inter terminal and parking transit. The train station and the extension of the Monorail to it came much later.

I have been a frequent user of EWR for 38 years. Saw it all built including Terminal C as we know it today - originally a People Express project.
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
149
Originally it was just for inter terminal and parking transit. The train station and the extension of the Monorail to it came much later.

I have been a frequent user of EWR for 38 years. Saw it all built including Terminal C as we know it today - originally a People Express project.
I live 15 minutes away and also saw it built. While it originally served just terminals and parking the station was in plans from the outset - just took longer to complete.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

jiml

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
891
Newark Airport stop is integrated with Liberty via the monorail. That's the only one I'm aware of.
Burbank is within walking distance. Collect your bag, walk a few hundred yards to the train.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
The main problem with converting trails to rails is that the highways that replaced the tracks are located differently from the rails, and all the development over the last 60-70 years has been along the highways. The old rail routes don't really serve any population centers any more.
Depends. There used to be tracks exiting Ithaca in SEVEN directions. One still exists, but is borderline useless. Two have trails which would make no sense as rail routes any more. One has a trail which is actually right along the correct route for any intercity rail service to Ithaca! And the other one which is on the correct route had housing built on it, dammit! (One cut houses off from the lakefront and is probably better gone, and the last one has been obliterated but wasn't a great route anyway.)

So one out of seven is still where a new passenger rail route should be. I'd guess this is about typical.
 
2
Top