What would you add?

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Charles785

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
74
I wouldn't mind seeing Denver to Kansas City; in my case a stop in Salina would be just 65 miles for me. OK - let's stretch the route from Denver through Kansas City, to St. Louis, all the way to Nashville.

The front range of the Rockies has already been addressed. Maybe Kansas City to Omaha to provide yet another connection between the Southwest Chief and the California Zephyr.

And, of course, bringing the Heartland Flyer north to Newton through Wichita.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,301
An actual train running north from my hometown of Houston. A restoration of the Houston section of the Texas Eagle would be acceptable, but even better would be the return of the Texas Chief and the continued operation of the current bus connection to/from Longview. But to have both the Texas Chief and (Houston's) Texas Eagle, as well as a daily Sunset Limited ...be still, my heart!
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
345
Welcome to AU!:)

Highest on my wish list would be Cleveland Columbus Cincinnati....but yes, you are right...this is "old news"...
Mine too or Toledo-Columbus-Pittsburgh, but I haven't seen that on any other wish list.
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
399
I have a laundry list
- Bringing the Capitol Corridor up to 18 trips per day on a clock face schedule.
- At least 4 trains a day to Reno.
- Service to Redding.
- Coast and Shasta Daylight restoration.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,784
  • Baltimore/Washington to Pittsburgh corridor service
  • Through service to Maine (POR) from the NEC
  • Washington -Harrisburg service via Perryville (old Port Road)
  • Restore through service on the Adirondack to Washington
  • Daytime corridor service Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago and Detroit
  • New York - Scranton - Binghamton corridor service
  • New York - Wilmington - Dover - Salisbury - Cape Charles, with a Thruway bus connection to Norfolk/Virginia Beach (or how about a railcar ferry from Cape Charles to Norfolk? Is that even done anywhere anymore?)
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,682
  • Baltimore/Washington to Pittsburgh corridor service
  • Through service to Maine (POR) from the NEC
  • Washington -Harrisburg service via Perryville (old Port Road)
  • Restore through service on the Adirondack to Washington
  • Daytime corridor service Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago and Detroit
  • New York - Scranton - Binghamton corridor service
  • New York - Wilmington - Dover - Salisbury - Cape Charles, with a Thruway bus connection to Norfolk/Virginia Beach (or how about a railcar ferry from Cape Charles to Norfolk? Is that even done anywhere anymore?)
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel put an end to the auto ferries when it opened in the mid sixties. Not sure about railcar ferries, but I doubt any thru traffic would be routed that way...more likely the long way via Wilmington and Richmond for whatever freight business remains...or via truck.
 

Thogo

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
15
Bring the State of Maine back! Not sure if that has been proposed, but I would make use of the track connection from Allston to Boston North (that Amtrak already uses to swap equipment to/from the Downeasters), add a station stop at the MIT campus, and extend the Downeasters via Springfield to New Haven (or New York), maybe one train a day to Washington. Not only would that give ME/NH passengers a through service to the NEC without having to move from Boston North to the South station, it would also bring back trains on the Inland route, and it would connect several important "knowledge facilities" in Durham/Cambridge/Springfield/New Haven and so on. MassDOT might even pay for it... Dreaming is allowed, no?
 
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sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
399
Having read through some of the rest of the post, some people worry about how to pay for it. Without going full MMT, we can easily pay for better Amtrak service.

If $7.5 million was allocated to the least populated state which is Wyoming, would lead to ~$4 billion that could be allocated to state services. I am saying to add this on top of the current subsidy, not eliminating current funds to roll the extra funding and the current subsidy into state services.

As for getting new routes going, the federal government would need to pony up the start up funds and I would add at least the first 6 years or service at at least 4 trains per day. 4 trains per day over six years would be enough time to get people used to it and invested in the train service. That means the states would be likely to keep the new services going. Assuming the states would end up with services that the above subsidy wouldn't cover.

I would also advocate for some sort of inter state trains. Which I would define as crossing three states or in excess of 450 miles. I would assume these would be medium distance trains with only coach and business class seats. And they would be at a good enough distance to make a decent enough budget overnight train should demand call for it.

Unfortunately I can't upload the Google Maps files here....I'll post pngs at some point....
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
399
To expand upon the post I made above, these are the maps I sketched up in Google Maps that I can't post as a raw file here.

amtrak state services east.png
-This one is of the "state supported" routes in the Eastern US.

amtrak state services west.png
This one is of the "state supported" routes I'd propose in the Western US (includes existing routes)
Amtrak interstate services.png
I would also propose interstate coach trains, some of these lines could function as overnight trains.
amtrak long distance.png
Long distance trains for fun.

To summarize what I said above, I would be for adding ~$4 billion in federal funding to state trains (to be divided proportionately), the federal government paying for upgrades since interstate trains would end up using the same routes anyways. Adding an additional $1.35 billion for the interstate coach trains (either serving 3 states or run 450+ miles). And $2 billion for operating the national network.

I haven't estimated what this would cost as far as track repairs and new equipment would go. I have only gotten to the point of knowing a mile of track costs around $3 million to build.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,346
Axe the SWC and use its equipment to restore Desert Wind and Pioneer as CZ through sections, plus a daily Sunset Limited with daily TE/SL connection.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,301
Truly. Does anyone know if there is a shuttle that goes between Maricopa and Phoenix like the one between Lamy and Santa Fe?
The latest Sunset Limited timetable shows a shuttle service between Maricopa, Tempe, Phoenix Sky Harbor (airport), and Phoenix Metro Center which is coordinated with the Amtrak schedule.

I hope it lasts; my understanding is that for many years no local Phoenix bus operator wanted to touch the connection because of Amtrak's spotty timekeeping and three-day-a-week schedule. Rumors I've heard are that if Amtrak would run the Sunset seven days a week then several would have been interested, but three days a week wasn't worth the trouble. Hopefully that's changed.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

Conductor
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
2,004
Axe the SWC and use its equipment to restore Desert Wind and Pioneer as CZ through sections, plus a daily Sunset Limited with daily TE/SL connection.
Umm, no. That would make the trip from Chicago and points east to LAX a lot longer. I'd cut the Empire Builder west of Minneapolis to restore the Desert Wind and Pioneer (the Pioneer would be the CHI-SEA/PDX train). Los Angeles is more important to me than Seattle or Portland.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,301
Axe the SWC and use its equipment to restore Desert Wind and Pioneer as CZ through sections, plus a daily Sunset Limited with daily TE/SL connection.
Umm, no. That would make the trip from Chicago and points east to LAX a lot longer. I'd cut the Empire Builder west of Minneapolis to restore the Desert Wind and Pioneer (the Pioneer would be the CHI-SEA/PDX train). Los Angeles is more important to me than Seattle or Portland.
A pox on both of you for suggesting additional cuts! We need to order new equipment; everyone agrees on that, right? Order enough so that we can EXPAND!
 
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sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
399
Axe the SWC and use its equipment to restore Desert Wind and Pioneer as CZ through sections, plus a daily Sunset Limited with daily TE/SL connection.
What is it with everyone wanting to split trains? Wasn't the "City of Everywhere" a mess to run with having to split 1 train into 3 and get it over the Rockies? I am for restoring the Desert Wind and the Pioneer, but having them be separate trains or through trains with each other would give them a bit more flexibility with schedule planning.

Umm, no. That would make the trip from Chicago and points east to LAX a lot longer. I'd cut the Empire Builder west of Minneapolis to restore the Desert Wind and Pioneer (the Pioneer would be the CHI-SEA/PDX train). Los Angeles is more important to me than Seattle or Portland.
Why kill the Empire Builder? Isn't it one of the better performing long distance trains what with the limited transit options in the north and the beauty? Also
North Dakota and Montana would have things to say with killing their one train.

If I would "cut" anything, I would not have the Texas Eagle go to LA and have it run as two trains a day, one to San Antonio and one to Houston. Assuming that enough equipment could be cobbled together to make a train between Chicago and Houston work.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
Axe the SWC and use its equipment to restore Desert Wind and Pioneer as CZ through sections.
This did get some serious consideration just before the Desert Wind and the Pioneer were nixed. Ridership, revenue numbers and significant city pairs favored the SWC, so it lived.

Unfortunately, retaining the Desert Wind and the Pioneer as Coach and Cafe trains was not given any serious consideration, even though that is how both of them started in the Amtrak era.
 

piedpiper

Train Attendant
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
45
Axe the SWC and use its equipment to restore Desert Wind and Pioneer as CZ through sections, plus a daily Sunset Limited with daily TE/SL connection.
No axing the SWC but make a new route - the Pioneer Wind (PW) - it would combine the two old routes; start in LAX thru SLC ending at PDX, possibly timing the SLC arrival to work with the CZ. just a thought;)
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
399
No axing the SWC but make a new route - the Pioneer Wind (PW) - it would combine the two old routes; start in LAX thru SLC ending at PDX, possibly timing the SLC arrival to work with the CZ. just a thought;)
I personally think Desert Pioneer would be a better name for the combined route, Pioneer Wind sounds like someone passed gas.

I don't think timing the Desert Pioneer would be possible or even recommend since the Zephyr passes through Salt Lake at 11pm and 3 am. That would be a rough transfer let alone arrival times in Salt Lake.

I'm not sure what the Pioneer and Desert Wind schedule was like when they ran. Finding schedules prior to the wide distribution of scanners is next to impossible.
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
319
I personally think Desert Pioneer would be a better name for the combined route, Pioneer Wind sounds like someone passed gas.

I don't think timing the Desert Pioneer would be possible or even recommend since the Zephyr passes through Salt Lake at 11pm and 3 am. That would be a rough transfer let alone arrival times in Salt Lake.

I'm not sure what the Pioneer and Desert Wind schedule was like when they ran. Finding schedules prior to the wide distribution of scanners is next to impossible.
I'll attach the proposed timetable from the last positive official Amtrak study of the Pioneer/Desert Wind. It was only partly implemented, adding to the cost of the Pioneer without adding the advantages identified in the 1991 study.

[I worked on the planning for the original 1977 SEA - PDX - BOI - SLC train, some elements of the 1991 Wyoming/Denver extension and the 2008/2009 response to the "study" of restoring the Pioneer.]

When one gets out the scratch pads and the geographic and traffic information, there are a number of ways of running it, all of them astoundingly better than what Amtrak drafted for the outrage they called a study. By the time C.B. Hall of All Aboard Washington and I (for ColoRail) finished, my alternative timetable spreadsheet was up to 29 pages.

Spoiler alert: we informally concluded that if sleepers had to be included, the very best alternative was the Portland Rose pattern (two nights and one business day), running SEA - PDX - BOI - SLC - DEN. It hits all major cities at decent times. That results in a civilized loose connection in Denver which would be hard for even the UP to mess up. Much of the load turns over in Denver anyway and unlike the Crossroads of the West, the Mile High City is set up to handle it. There are some subcategories to this: the best economically is to run it as a second train on the Moffat Line (the overnight Prospector did that for the Rio Grande), the next best is via Cheyenne and the C&S (BNSF) along the Front Range through the big university cities, and the too-fast route is via the Borie cut-off, screwing Cheyenne for a third time.

With input from my fellow AORTA (Oregon) members, we came up with the idea of juggling it so that in one direction it came through the Columbia Gorge at breakfast time and down the hill from the Moffat Tunnel or along the Front Range for breakfast in the other direction.
 

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jiml

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
891
I'm a big Pioneer/Desert Wind fan (still have the ballcap and shirt from the latter), so find this discussion of restoring either or both fascinating. The schedule times above would be perfect. Perhaps "back in the day", when there was less frequent service between Portland and Seattle, it made sense to terminate the Pioneer in Seattle. Would it make more sense now to only go to Portland? Would there be any savings in equipment turnaround, etc.? Just asking the experts...
 
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