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Old September 18th, 2012, 08:26 PM   #2441
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If you are to have daytime only operations, passengers would have to stay overnight in hotels along the route. The whole trip would take 5 days. Overnight trains are outdated and inefficient.

Running through cars make no sense because they propagate delays and take long time to be shuffled and re-shuffled.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 10:23 PM   #2442
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I got it from The Transport Politic website, they have loads of stuff from Amtrak and other rail agencies
I see. I ended up reading this, not the "White Paper," because I have a plug-in that automatically loads the next page. I scrolled down too far and ended up reading a different report. That's why I was so confused by what you'd posted. You were speaking about the Chicago-LA service.

Anyways, which year are those figures for, if you can remember? I'd like to find a long list of revenues for Amtrack, if anyone knows where I can get 'em, I'd appreciate it. That NRA post used "Amtrak, FY01 City Pair Data by Route and Class" but their link in the works cited no longer works, and a Google search didn't yield much.

I definitely came to wrong conclusion. I guess the line itself wasn't completely solvent (my mistake); however if their figures are right and the NOLA-Orlando portion constituted such a large portion of their ridership, why not just return service? It was at least showing signs of growth -both in ridership and revenue (especially around 2004).






To be fair, they may (and most certainly) are cherry picking the good years - in that they are focusing on 2004. However, they make a good case that having service east of New Orleans makes sense and is economically feasible - and not only that, but ridership and revenue had consistently increased from 1996-2005. I understand that there are budget constraints, but it just seems painfully apparent there's growth potential.

Besides, the New Orlenas - LA line is already in service, just not the New Orleans - Orlando. Considering Florida's recent plans, I think restored service to the full line just makes sense, right? Or are those plans still "in the air?" In any case, it would make much more sense to restore service on the eastern side of that corridor than the west side, right?

Also given the unlikelihood (the current attitude in Congress) that the vast majority of improvements to the NEC aren't going to happen in the immediate future, why not begin focusing on turning around the rest of the lines they're operating?

Was the NEC ALWAYS on good terms or did they have to do a lot of work to get it on the current footing it's enjoying?


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They could and should break these routes and operate them on daytime configuration only, with some overlaps where warranted, instead of putting a long single route from LA to Jacksonville. There could even be services all along a route, but without a mammoth sized route lasting 60h or more. Break them into several routes and if people want a single-seat ride from LA to Florida, send them to LAX
Ah, yeah. That does make sense. And answered some of my earlier questions.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 04:21 PM   #2443
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eliminate speed restrictions that originate from outdated switches.
Switches aren't the only thing that restricts speed.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 08:46 PM   #2444
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Switches aren't the only thing that restricts speed.
Sure. But the restrictions in place only because of switches are among the cheapest ones to eliminate.
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Old September 20th, 2012, 09:31 PM   #2445
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Sure. But the restrictions in place only because of switches are among the cheapest ones to eliminate.
True
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Old September 24th, 2012, 12:42 AM   #2446
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Toward the end, the state of affairs at operating railways around the continent is sort of telling:

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Old October 30th, 2012, 11:17 PM   #2447
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So, does Amtrack suspended it's servises via NY or just rerouted them?
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Old December 11th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #2448
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:25 AM   #2449
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Brainy, a character from Norfolk Southern's safety campaign, was among those in attendance to welcome the first Amtrak train to Norfolk on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. (Vicki Cronis-Nohe | The Virginian-Pilot)

http://hamptonroads.com/2012/12/big-...-train-norfolk
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Old December 13th, 2012, 06:36 AM   #2450
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And they wonder why rail travel is not considered "in" here.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 07:12 PM   #2451
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Seattle Transit Blog
http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/0...fiance-bypass/

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FRA Approves Point Defiance Bypass
March 6, 2013 at 11:00 am
by Brian Bundridge



The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Monday approved the Point Defiance Bypass, allowing WSDOT to finish the design, begin construction in 2015, and potentially complete it in 2017.

The bypass, starting at Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square and rejoining the BNSF mainline at Nisqually, will reduce the travel time between Seattle and Portland from 3 hours and 30 minutes for Amtrak Cascades trains to 3 hours and 15 minutes. The time savings on the route comes from the decrease in overall mileage, increased speed, and improved reliability. The bypass also removes 5 minutes of padding that was needed due to the frequent interactions with freight traffic in the Nelson Bennett area. All passenger trains, including the Amtrak Coast Starlight, will move to Freighthouse Square, closing the old station currently in use.

This finding is open to appeal. Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson told The News Tribune on Monday that ”the City Council will consider its options, including taking the project to court.” Mayor Anderson and the Lakewood City Council have a long history of opposing the project.

The bypass will allow the State to start 2 additional round trips between Seattle and Portland, assuming it resolves the uncertainty of funding for Amtrak Cascades.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:32 PM   #2452
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Every improvement is welcome, but the line is still pretty slow even for regional train standards...
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Old March 9th, 2013, 03:04 PM   #2453
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That's great, but the scenery on the old line is some of the best in the world.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 03:21 PM   #2454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
Toward the end, the state of affairs at operating railways around the continent is sort of telling:
This is engineering, manufacturing tolerance, 6-Sigma and QC.

Older infrastructure from more developed nations has this issue.

The USA and Canada were developed more or less the same time, but unlike Europe the infrastructure was not bombed twice, so in the case of North America there is a huge legacy plant still there.

This shows up in a lot of ways - mobile phones are a good example.

Nations like Croatia or The R. of Philippines have better networks because they had no POTS installed to fight with the new systems. The USA has wire dating back to the 1920's in some places, still. Any home wired in an older city that had cutting edge phone service, still has those wires in older buildings in N.E. US cities, with the newer wires along side. I lived in an apartment built in the 20's and the light switch boxes were machines that could be take apart. The enclosure was a ceramic box and the switch was a massive, super heavy duty affair that could be lifted out of the box and taken apart with ease. No screws, just springs and levers.

Trains it's the same. Europe's were blown up so they re-built in the 1950's and 60's. Considerably more modern tech than the USA.

If you have ever taken the Amtrak from Richmond to Boston, you know that much of the infrastructure appears to be 100 years old, and likely is. The girders, catenaries, beams holding things up, all are a century old.

If you get to build from scratch, and you have the money, you get to do what China is doing. Same with their phone network. Few people had phones in 1990, and China simply lept directly to 2/3/4G systems. My house has a phone line Rj-45, but no one uses these anymore as most have a mobile phone.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 05:18 PM   #2455
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Trains it's the same. Europe's were blown up so they re-built in the 1950's and 60's. Considerably more modern tech than the USA.
I don´t agree with that.
Although there were damaged stations, lines and trains, most of the infrastructure and rolling stock in Europe did actually survive the wars.

I think it´s more to do with the way European and American cities and societies have developed.
There are many likenesses, but also big differences, between Europe and the USA.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 05:39 PM   #2456
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Actually 50-ties and 60-ties were the low point for trains in Europe. What seems to have made the most difference long term is the track ownership structure in Europe. Unlike in USA, in Europe rail infrastructure is almost invariably publicly owned (I can't even think of any serious exceptions) and only some of the operators are private. Therefore freight railways are unable to block the development of passenger rail.

As for the war theory, there is no significant difference in quality between rail networks of countries which were involved in both World wars, only one or neither.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 09:14 PM   #2457
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Hope Star
http://www.hopestar.com/article/2013...920/-1/opinion

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Amtrak sets start of Hope service
Amtrak announced this morning that passenger rail service on its Amtrak Texas Eagle will begin in Hope on April 4 with the arrival of the westbound Train 21.

By Ken McLemore, Hope Star Editor
Mar. 21, 2013 10:46 am

Amtrak announced this morning that passenger rail service on its Amtrak Texas Eagle will begin in Hope on April 4 with the arrival of the westbound Train 21.

“The westbound Texas Eagle, Train 21, is scheduled to depart Hope at 5:09 every morning, with arrivals that morning in Dallas, that afternoon in Fort Worth and that evening in Austin and San Antonio,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in a mid-morning announcement. “The eastbound Texas Eagle, Train 22, is scheduled to depart Hope at 9:18 every evening, with arrivals in Little Rock that night, St. Louis the following morning and Chicago that afternoon.”

Magliari said connections from that schedule can be made in Fort Worth, San Antonio, St. Louis and Chicago to Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and more than 500 other locations in the Amtrak network.

Ticket sales were expected to commence on Friday, he said.
“Ticketing and reservations can be done using Amtrak eTicketing and boarding documents can be self-printed, as the Hope station is unstaffed,” Magliari. “Passengers using a smartphone or other mobile device can present the eTicket to the conductor by opening a document in their e-mail.”

Sample fares for adult passengers, each way, include:

Hope to Dallas - $39
Hope to Fort Worth - $39
Hope to Austin - $65
Hope to San Antonio - $73
Hope to Oklahoma City (with transfer in Fort Worth) - $67
Hope to Little Rock - $18
Hope to St. Louis - $66
Hope to Springfield, Ill. - $77
Hope to Chicago - $108
Hope to Kansas City (with transfer in St. Louis) $95

The announcement this morning was met with satisfaction and relief by City officials.

“I think we are all very happy,” Hope City Manager Catherine Cook said.
Cook announced Tuesday that a May 18 dedication has been set for the Amtrak passenger platform.

Hope Mayor Dennis Ramsey was relieved.

“They say good things come to those who wait; and, we waited 20 years,” Ramsey quipped. “It's been a long time coming, and a few people have really persevered to make this happen, including Catherine, Paul Henley, Dolly Henley and John Watkins.”

Neither Paul nor Dolly Henley were available for comment at press time.
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Old March 28th, 2013, 03:30 AM   #2458
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Quote:
Updated March 26, 2013, 10:16 p.m. ET
Boom Times on the Tracks: Rail Capacity, Spending Soar

By BETSY MORRIS

EPPING, N.D.—On a recent subzero day at a rail station here on the plains, a giant tank train stretches like a black belt across the horizon—as far as the eye can see. Soon it will be filled to the brim with light, sweet crude oil and headed to a refinery on Puget Sound. Another mile-long train will pull in right behind it, and another after that.

Increasingly, scenes like this are being played throughout the country. "Hot Trains" dedicated to high-priority customers like United Parcel Service Inc. roar across the country to deliver everything from microwaves to tennis shoes and Amazon.com packages. FedEx Corp., known for its huge fleet of aircraft, is using more trains, too.

Welcome to the revival of the Railroad Age. North America's major freight railroads are in the midst of a building boom unlike anything since the industry's Gilded Age heyday in the 19th century—this year pouring $14 billion into rail yards, refueling stations, additional track. With enhanced speed and efficiency, rail is fast becoming a dominant player in the nation's commercial transport system and a vital cog in its economic recovery.

This time around, though, the expansion isn't so much geographic—it is about a race to make existing rail lines more efficient and able to haul more and different types of freight. Some of the railroads are building massive new terminals that resemble inland ports. They are turning their networks into double-lane steel freeways to capture as much as they can get of U.S. freight demand that is projected to grow by half, to $27.5 billion by 2040, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In some cases, rail lines are increasing the heights of mountain tunnels and raising bridges to accommodate stacked containers. All told, 2013 stands to be the industry's third year in a row of record capital spending—more than double the yearly outlays of $5.9 billion a decade ago.

And in a turnabout few could have imagined decades ago, rail is stealing share from other types of commercial transport—most notably the trucking business, which is waylaid by high fuel prices, overloaded highways, driver shortages and regulations that are pushing up costs . . . .

BNSF, purchased by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 2010, is investing $4.1 billion on a list that includes locomotives, freight cars, a giant terminal southwest of Kansas City and new track and equipment for its oil-related business in the Bakken shale region of North Dakota and Montana.

Union Pacific Corp. is spending $3.6 billion on a giant terminal near Santa Teresa, N.M. It is designing a new $400 million-$500 million bridge over the Mississippi at Clinton, Iowa, to replace an old drawbridge that routinely delays trains for hours at a time. It will double some track in Louisiana and Texas and expand rail yards there and in Arkansas to provide more capacity to chemical customers such as Dow Chemical Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

CSX Corp. will spend $2.3 billion partly to finish the first phase of a multiyear project, raising highway bridges, enlarging mountain tunnels and clearing some 40-odd obstacles to make enough space to accommodate double-decker containers all the way from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic ports.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co. will spend $515 million. "We're a growth railroad," David Starling, its chief executive, told a securities analyst who questioned the expenditure in January. "The worst thing this team wants to be accused of is having some service deterioration because we didn't have the foresight to spend the money."

Passenger rail is undergoing something of a renaissance, too. It was the passenger business that nearly killed the freight business in the 1960s and 1970s. Part of the legislation designed to save the railroads in the 1970s allowed them to shed the passenger business. Lately, the Obama administration has invested nearly $12 billion in passenger rail, according to the Department of Transportation, that has been used to fund 152 projects in 32 states . . . .

On long distances, trains have been cheaper than trucks for decades. They can move one ton about 500 miles on one gallon of fuel, which makes them three to four times more fuel efficient. Yet they were notoriously unreliable. In logistics, trucks and planes typically arrived on time. Trains, conversely, were known as "the black hole of rail," says Prof. Sheffi. Eight years ago, he says he waited a full month for a train to deliver a new car from Ohio to Boston . . . .

In the past decade, though, under pressure from customers like UPS, trains have become more dependable. UPS "trained us in what it means to perform to their very high standards," says Mr. Rose at BNSF. "I'm sure there were many times they were very frustrated."

"I don't know if we're the largest customer [of the railroads] but I would tell you we're certainly the most demanding," says Ken Buenker, a vice president in UPS's Corporate Transportation Group. UPS's goal is an on-time arrival rate of 99.5%, he says. "So think about how much you risk with a train." One breakdown could delay many deliveries.

Railroads used technology and strategy to tackle such problems. They used sensors to detect mechanical issues before they caused delays. They developed their own version of the airline "hub and spoke system" and organized shipments in trains all bound for the same destination. The latter move eliminated the time- and labor-wasting stops to break trains apart and reset them. It also paved the way for longer and speedier itineraries. Railroads "are always talking about efficiency and speed," says Mr. Buenker. "The velocity of the network is really key for them" . . . .

In the U.S. oil boom, rail's new attitude has made it both a preferred mode of transport—and also an instrument of arbitrage. When oil began flowing in North Dakota, BNSF was perfectly situated. Its Burlington Northern Line from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Puget Sound cuts diagonally northwest through 16 of the 19 top oil-producing counties in North Dakota, then parallels the Canadian border through five of the six top-producing oil counties in Montana. Until several years ago, though, it was mostly a high-speed route for loads like lumber from the Northwest and grain from the Great Plains . . . .

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...WORDS=railroad
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Old March 31st, 2013, 05:37 PM   #2459
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Old March 31st, 2013, 06:38 PM   #2460
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That's great, but the scenery on the old line is some of the best in the world.
The old line will remain in use for freight. There's not reason there can't b slower, more touristic services in the future.
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