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Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
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   Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
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   Author  Topic: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly  (Read 259 times)
Alco83

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Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« on: Aug 3rd, 2009, 8:39am »
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Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly: 3 options, none cheap
 
http://blog.al.com/live/2009/08/restoring_amtrak_to_gulf_coast.html


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ClydeDET
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Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #1 on: Aug 3rd, 2009, 1:09pm »
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The pricing, especially for restoring the tri-weekly Sunset seems a little high. In money and time.  For trains that would require additional, new equipment - the estimates may be low. In money and time.
 
There is no reason for the Sunset to run as late as it does, routinely. UP needs to be given some (dis)incentives....


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ehbowen
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Posts: 242
Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #2 on: Aug 4th, 2009, 1:47am »
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One of the contributors to URPA proposed a solution which I think is very nearly ideal. Restore the transcontinental Sunset to Orlando, but also have the City of New Orleans drop a through coach and sleeper in New Orleans to be added onto the run to Orlando. In one fell swoop you restore transcontinental service plus add through service from the Midwest to Florida for the first time since 1979.


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electricron
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Posts: 59
Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #3 on: Aug 9th, 2009, 11:39pm »
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on Aug 4th, 2009, 1:47am, ehbowen wrote:       (Click here for original message)
One of the contributors to URPA proposed a solution which I think is very nearly ideal. Restore the transcontinental Sunset to Orlando, but also have the City of New Orleans drop a through coach and sleeper in New Orleans to be added onto the run to Orlando. In one fell swoop you restore transcontinental service plus add through service from the Midwest to Florida for the first time since 1979.

Much like the Texas Eagle drops off a coach and sleeper three times a week onto the Sunset Limited.
Doable, but not preferable. I would much rather have service 7 days a week vs 3 days a week anytime.
 
Amtrak has a shortage of Superliner cars as it is. Amtrak is only repairing 20 Superliner cars under the stimulus. Specifically, 7 sleepers, 4 diners, 4 lounges, 3 coaches and 2 transition-dorms.
 
Extending the Sunset Limited east of New Orleans will require at least 2 and up to 4 Superliner trainsets. How do I come to that conclusion? Look at the Cardinal service between Chicago and Washington, 3 days a week service, needs 2 trainsets. Look at the Lake Shore Limited service between Chicago and New York City. 7 days a week service, needs 3 trainsets. Look at the Silver service between New York City and Miami, 7 days a week service, needs 4 trainsets.
 
The frequency of service and length of the route determines the number of trainsets required. Amtrak isn't fixing enough Superliner equipment to add even two new trainsets to the Sunset Limited. 3 of the 4 diners will restore full dining service to the Capitol Limited, 3 of the 4 lounges will restore lounge car services to the City of New Orleans. The coaches and sleepers can easily be used on all the other Superliner routes. That doesn't leave much Superliner equipment left to restart services east of New Orleans.
 
 
 


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NYC_Subway_Fan
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Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #4 on: Aug 11th, 2009, 1:16am »
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on Aug 9th, 2009, 11:39pm, electricron wrote:       (Click here for original message)

The frequency of service and length of the route determines the number of trainsets required. Amtrak isn't fixing enough Superliner equipment to add even two new trainsets to the Sunset Limited. 3 of the 4 diners will restore full dining service to the Capitol Limited, 3 of the 4 lounges will restore lounge car services to the City of New Orleans. The coaches and sleepers can easily be used on all the other Superliner routes. That doesn't leave much Superliner equipment left to restart services east of New Orleans.

 
And of the 20 cars coming out, most are already spoken for.  You mentioned the diner's coming back to the Capitol and that is indeed in the plan that I've seen.  I've not however heard of any plans to restore Sightseer Lounges to the City.
 
Additionally though with the CCC's coming off the Capitol, the last plan that I heard was that the Empire Builder would take 4 CCC's and run the CCC's on the Portland leg so as to provide full meal service to the Portland sleeping car passengers.  This also become more important, as the Portland section is supposed to gain at least one sleeper bring that section to two full sleepers, and possibly one coach.
 
The regular dining car will be unable to handle the demand from 4 sleepers, plus the 4 rooms sold into the Trans/Dorm.  The Sightseer lounge cars will stay with the Seattle section so as to relieve the dining car LSA from having to run a make shift cafe out of one of the dining car booths.
 
There is also a rumor, far from confirmed, that the Seattle section might also gain another sleeper.  I'm not sure that there is actually enough equipment for that, and again I stress that it is one rumor that I've heard.
 
So unless those plans are changed, I have no idea where they will find the equipment for any Sunset plans beyond restoring the normal 3 day a week service that they should have been running these past 3 years or so.
 
By the way, at the time the Stimulus plans were announced, there were 42 Superliner's out of service.  At that point, based upon statements made by Stan Bagley back in 2002, it appeared that at least 16 of those 42 cars were beyond repair at any price.  So with 20 scheduled for returning to service, that leaves only 6 more cars that Amtrak could even ever consider returning to service, if money can be found to do so.


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electricron
Chaser
Posts: 59
Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #5 on: Aug 13th, 2009, 1:58am »
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When you take in consideration that Amtrak is seriously studying restarting the Pioneer service again. Portland, OR  to Salt Lake or Ogden, UT; wnich most likely will be using Superliner equipment, extending the Sunset Limitied or City of New Orleans east to Florida with Superliner equipment looks more unpromising.
 
I think it is most likely if east of New Orleans service is restarted, that east coast Amfleet and Viewliner equipment will be used. Amtrak is restoring 60 Amfleet cars, AND building 130 cars of new Viewliner equipment, with an option of building 70 more. You can make many new trainsets out of 200 new cars.  
 
Breakdown of new Viewliner 2 equipment under new RFP.
55 baggage, 25 sleepers, , 25 diners, 25 baggage/dorm cars.
 
Possible optional order that could be ordered later:
15 sleepers, 15 diners, 15 baggage/dorm cars, and 25 baggage cars. Key word being possible, as this is likely to change.
 
Amtrak had built 50 Viewliner 1 production sleeper cars, plus 1 dinner car, plus 2 additional prototype sleeper cars in service already.
 
Existing Amfleet/Viewliner 1 trainsets are distributed as follows:
1) Lake Shore Limited (3)
2) Crescent (4)
3) Silver Meteor (4)
4) Silver Star (4)
5) Cardinal (2)  
Total of just 17 trainsets.  Some trains can have up to 3 Viewliner sleepers now, but not all.
 
So Amtrak should have more free Amfleet/Viewliner trainsets soon that could be used east of New Orleans.
That's why I'm thinking this is the way it will be done.
 
Here's another's idea how Amtrak will use all the new Viewliner equipment as they come on line.
1) Cardinal - 2 Viewliners x 2 train sets = 4 Viewliners
2) Lake Shore Limited - 4 Viewliners x 3 train sets = 12 Viewliners
3) Crescent - 3 Viewliners x 4 train sets = 12 Viewliners
4) Silver Meteor - 4 Viewliners x 4 train sets = 16 Viewliners  
5) Silver Star - 3 Viewliners x 4 train sets = 12 Viewliners
6) * Broadway Limited - 3 Viewliners x 3 train sets = 9 Viewliners
7) * NEC Overnight Train - 2 Viewliners x 2 train sets = 4 train sets
 
TOTAL = 69 Viewliner sleepers
Reserve = 6 Viewliner sleepers.
 
That means, if the other person is correct, Amtrak would have to order the optional 70 more Viewliner 2   cars to have any equipment available for east of New Orleans service, if they added sleepers as planned to existing trains.
 
Any left over Superliner equipment will have to be saved for existing Superliner trains, and possibly the  new Pioneer trains if restarted.
 
 
 


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George_Harris
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Posts: 3833
Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #6 on: Aug 13th, 2009, 4:29pm »
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Somewhere, but I do not remember where, I saw a discussion on CSX's diversion of some trains from the Panhandle line to run via Montogomery AL instead.  
 
Having just spent a few days in Pensacola, but with absolutely no railfonning at all, here are a couple of observations:  
 
Traffic on the CSX line seems to be down.  Not sure to what extent as from daughter's house could not consistently hear the horns, but it appears to be down to ouly a couple of trains a day.  
 
Crossing at grade on the track north toward Flomaton a few times, there is a considerable amount of weed growth between the rails., suggesting a reduction in maintenance effort.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #7 on: Aug 14th, 2009, 9:58pm »
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Reduced maintenance is, as you are probably better aware than i, usually a symptom of (a) money trouble or (b) reduced traffic, maybe both. Since I haven't heard anything on the financial news about CSX having serious money troubles even out of the melt-down - that leaves reduced traffic. Which certainly makes sense what with general economic activity being down nation-wide in consequence of the nation-wide melt-down.
 
Presuming you are still in San Francisco, we'll be out that way sometime in the later part of October, if plans are not changed for reasons not yet apparent. Driving all the way this time instead of flying and trains and rent cars. If there was a Texas Zephyr still (or again - something I believe is NOT going to happen for a couple of reasons), might be taking the train, though. Ah yes - if only: drive up to my sister's in Arlington, Texas Zephyr to Denver, Cal Zephyr to Sacramento, rent a car, Starlight to LA, Chief to Williams, Grand Canyon Railroad to the Canyon, then back on the Chief to wherever it crosses the Burlington (I think maybe Trinidad would be it), and back to Fort Worth. Ah yes, if only....


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George_Harris
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Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #8 on: Aug 20th, 2009, 8:44pm »
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Clyde:
 
Yes, I am still in San Francisco.  Looks like this will be my retirement program, but definitely not my post-retirement home unless something completely unforseen happens.  (I have gotten over making positive statements about what I will and will not do or where I will and will not live.  Have had to eat my words too many times.)
 
Sounds like a nice trip, if the trains you listed still existed.  Of course you could have also taken the Houston-Shreveport train down to Houston and then gotten the Sunset Limited or maybe Argonaut if you wanted to avoid the extra fare, and then finish off in style by taking the Daylight up the coast.  Maybe for variety return on Chico's line using the frequently forgotten though cars into Houston - did they start in LA or SF, or was a change in Albuquerque needed?  
 
George


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ClydeDET
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Re: Restoring Amtrak to Gulf Coast will be costly
 
« Reply #9 on: Aug 21st, 2009, 5:18pm »
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Ah yes, if only...  
 
The selection of a Dallas or Fort Worth start and end-point involves having family in the area so the car can be left with reasonable security (and no cost).  There were Houston through cars from San Francisco and (it looks like - from NIGHT TRAINS) service from LA that may have involved  a car change at Clovis.  
 
Dallas had a through car from LA, and had service from San Francisco, that may have involved a car change at Clovis.


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