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  #661  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2023, 1:32 PM
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It looks like there is a lot of good information in the FRA presentations linked to via this article.

FRA look at Amtrak long-distance service yields wealth of data
Ridership information shows strong use for shorter-distance trips

Feb. 28, 2023
Trains.com


Image courtesy of Trains.com

"WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration has published a surprisingly detailed summary of regional forums held during the past month in which the agency solicited opinions regarding the public’s interest in strengthening Amtrak’s national network.

As part of Amtrak’s reauthorization, 2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act tasked the FRA to conduct a study that would evaluate restoring previously discontinued long-distance routes; establishing new service to cities not currently served by Amtrak; and converting the triweekly Cardinal and Sunset Limited to daily operation.

In materials shared with those attending six regional meetings held in Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Jackson, Miss., the agency went a step further by first dissecting ridership of Amtrak’s existing long-distance trains operating in each region. Those PowerPoint presentations, and suggestions offered by attendees, are now available at the FRA’s “Long-distance service study” website..."

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-revi...ealth-of-data/
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  #662  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2023, 1:17 AM
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My notes about what should be restored with the Amtrak Long Distance / Cross Border network. I posted this to reddit a month ago.


  • City of Miami : wouldn't restore
  • George Washington : St. Louis - Cincinnati - Charlottesville - DC - 1x daily
  • Pan American : Cincinnati - Louisville - Nashville - Birmingham - Mobile - New Orleans - 1x daily
  • San Francisco Chief : wouldn't restore
  • James Whitcomb Riley : wouldn't restore
  • Mountaineer : Chicago - Cincinnati - Christiansburg - Roanoke - Petersburg - Norfolk - 1x daily
  • Champion - Wouldn't restore
  • Floridian : Chicago - Louisville - Nashville - Birmingham - Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa & Miami - 1x daily
  • Hilltopper - wouldn't restore
  • Lone Star - Chicago - Kansas City - Newton - Oklahoma City - Fort Worth - 1x daily , replace the reminder segment to Houston with Proposed Amtrak Texas Triangle service
  • National Limited - Kansas City - St. Louis - Indianapolis - Columbus - Pittsburgh - Philly - NY - 1x daily
  • North Coast Hiawatha - Seattle - Spokane - Missoula - Bismark - Fargo - St Paul - Eau Caire - Milwaukee - Chicago - 1x daily
  • Inter-American - Laredo - San Antonio - Austin - Fort Worth - Dallas - Little Rock - St. Louis - Chicago - 1x daily , service from Houston with proposed Amtrak Texas Triangle Service
  • River Cities - St. Louis - Memphis - Jackson - New Orleans - 1x daily
  • Gulf Breeze - Mobile - Montgomery - Birmingham - Atlanta - Charlotte - DC - NY - 1x daily + Montgomery - Birmingham - Atlanta - 2x daily
  • Texas Eagle – Houston Route - Would be replaced with the Proposed Amtrak Texas Triangle service
  • Desert Wind - Los Angeles - Las Vegas - Salt Lake City - Denver - Omaha - Chicago - 1x daily + LA to SLC - 2x daily
  • Pioneer - Seattle - Portland - Boise - Ogden - Cheyenne - Denver - Omaha - Chicago - 1x daily + Boise to SLC - 3x daily
  • Silver Palm/Palmetto - Route Change : Atlanta - Macon - Savannah - Jacksonville - Orlando - 1x daily
  • Three Rivers : Chicago - Fort Wayne - Akron - Youngstown - Pittsburgh - Philly - NY - 1x daily
  • Sunset Limited : East Route - New Orleans - Mobile - Tallahassee - Jacksonville - Orlando - 1x daily

    Additional LD or Cross Border Services that should be restored with some changes , some of the names have been changed due to Amtrak planning on using those names for corridor services

  • The Prairies Limited : Winnipeg - St. Cloud - St. Paul - 1x daily
  • North Star - Chicago : Milwaukee-Appleton-Superior-Duluth -1x daily + Hiawatha service from Chicago - Milwaukee : Appleton - Green Bay - 2x daily
  • International : Chicago - Kalamazoo - Port Huron - London - Toronto - 1x daily
  • Niagara Rainbow : Detroit - Windsor - London - Hamilton - Niagara Falls - Buffalo - Rochester - Albany - NY - 1x daily
  • Montrealer (Day Service) : Montreal - St. Albans - Springfield - Worcester - Boston - 1x daily
  • Montrealer (Overnight Service) : Montreal - St. Albans - Springfield - NY - DC - 1x daily
  • Connecticut Yankee : DC - NY - New Haven - Springfield - Sherbrooke - Quebec City - 1x daily
  • Gull : Boston - Portland - Bangor - St. Johns - Moncton - Halifax - 1x daily + Amtrak Maine service from Bangor - Portland - Boston - 2x daily
  • Atlantic : Montreal - Sherbrooke - Bangor - St. Johns - Moncton - Halifax - 1x daily
  • Southern Tier Limited : Chicago - Toledo - Cleveland - Erie - Binghamton - Scranton - Newark - Hoboken - 1x daily
    + Lackawanna Corridor Service - Buffalo - Binghamton - Scranton - Newark - Hoboken - 3x daily
  • The Susquehanna Limited : DC - Baltimore - Harrisburg - Wilkes Berra - Scranton - Binghamton - Syracuse - 1x daily
    + Susquehanna Corridor services - DC - Baltimore - Harrisburg - 3x daily
  • Tennessean : Memphis - Huntsville - Chattanooga - Knoxville - Roanoke - Charlottesville - DC - 1x daily
  • Carolinian Special : Knoxville - Asheville – Spartanburg – Columbia – Charleston – 1x daily
  • Caprock Chief : Denver - Colorado Springs - Amarillo - Lubbock - Abilene - Fort Worth - Dallas - 1x daily
  • Green Mountain Flyer : Montreal - Burlington - Rutland - Watervile (Troy) - Albany - NY - 1x daily
    + Rerouted Ethan Allen Service : Burlington - Rutland - Waterville (Troy) - Albany - NY - 2x daily
    + Northern Tier Service : Burlington - Rutland - North Adams - Greenfield - Fitchburg - Boston - 3x daily
  • Bayou Limited : Dallas – Shreveport – Baton Rogue – New Orleans – 1x daily + Baton Rogue - New Orleans Service - 2x daily

Last edited by Nexis4Jersey; Mar 16, 2023 at 8:15 AM.
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  #663  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2023, 1:23 AM
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In the article yesterday in the Providence Journal about MBTA looking at electrifying the commuter rail between Providence and Boston, the article notes that Rhode Island is studying an Amtrak stop at T.F. Green airport in Providence.

“In other Northeast Corridor rail projects, Alviti said Rhode Island continues to work on preliminary design and feasibility of having Amtrak trains stop at T.F. Green Airport. The state received a $2.8-million grant to study building an Amtrak T.F. Green stop, something Warwick elected leaders have sought for years.”

https://news.yahoo.com/providence-bo...090444334.html
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  #664  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2023, 1:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
In the article yesterday in the Providence Journal about MBTA looking at electrifying the commuter rail between Providence and Boston, the article notes that Rhode Island is studying an Amtrak stop at T.F. Green airport in Providence.

“In other Northeast Corridor rail projects, Alviti said Rhode Island continues to work on preliminary design and feasibility of having Amtrak trains stop at T.F. Green Airport. The state received a $2.8-million grant to study building an Amtrak T.F. Green stop, something Warwick elected leaders have sought for years.”

https://news.yahoo.com/providence-bo...090444334.html
Shame this wasn't considered a decade ago when NJT retired its ALP44 locomotive fleet... The MBTA could have purchased those locomotives for service along the Providence line.
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  #665  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2023, 4:03 PM
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Expanding Passenger Rail across North Carolina & the Southeast

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  #666  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2023, 4:46 PM
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I didn't have time to take a photo but on my trip to Washington this morning, it looks like the improvements to the platforms at Baltimore Penn Station are really moving along.
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  #667  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2023, 7:05 PM
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Andy Byford is joining Amtrak to oversee high-speed rail development!! This is not a drill!

https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2023/03/...o-join-amtrak/
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  #668  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2023, 8:39 PM
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  #669  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2023, 9:23 PM
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Wow, what a coup for HSR in the U.S. Hopefully this means Acela will finally be a world-class corridor.
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  #670  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2023, 1:50 PM
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I support extending Amtrak service to Scranton but 2 hours 50 minutes to Penn Station seems like a long trip. I looked and it is 122 miles from Scranton to Penn Station and takes just over two hours to drive. I understand there are geographic challenges with the hills in western New Jersey and the Poconos but Amtrak should also look at ways to make that travel time more competitive.

It seems that extending Amtrak service to Allentown, which both has a larger population and more commuters to the New York-metro area than Scranton, should be a priority before extending Amtrak service to Scranton.

Amtrak study reveals proposed schedule, ridership for Scranton-NYC route

By Kathryne Rubright
Pocono Record
March 23, 2023


Map courtesy of the Pocono Record.

"Nearly half a million people could be traveling by train between Scranton and New York City annually by 2030, according to Amtrak’s newly-released study of the proposed route.

“There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Amtrak’s latest findings, including the two-hour-and-fifty-minute travel time from Downtown Scranton to Penn Station in Downtown Manhattan. In addition, one of the stops in Newark, N.J., is a 10-minute cab ride to Newark Airport. This will significantly reduce traffic along I-80 and I-84, easing congestion and reducing emissions,” said U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, whose 8th District covers most of the route within Pennsylvania..."

https://www.poconorecord.com/story/b...a/70040734007/
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  #671  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2023, 2:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
I support extending Amtrak service to Scranton but 2 hours 50 minutes to Penn Station seems like a long trip. I looked and it is 122 miles from Scranton to Penn Station and takes just over two hours to drive. I understand there are geographic challenges with the hills in western New Jersey and the Poconos but Amtrak should also look at ways to make that travel time more competitive.

It seems that extending Amtrak service to Allentown, which both has a larger population and more commuters to the New York-metro area than Scranton, should be a priority before extending Amtrak service to Scranton.
I think it's both, not either/or.

Yes, if you started from scratch, Allentown should be a higher priority than Scranton since Allentown area is more populous, more prosperous, closer to NYC, and more economically tied to NYC.

The reason that Scranton plans are more talked about is bc the line has been in planning for decades, and bc NJ Transit is already extending the line towards PA. They're doing work on the Lackawanna Cutoff, right now, and soon beginning construction on the Andover, NJ station. Then, on the PA side, they already have stations planned, and have a Scranton intermodal terminal half-built.

And the Lackawanna Cutoff is one of the most epic train lines on earth. It's begging to be restored. When completed, it was the most advanced line on the planet. Basically the whole line is on a massive raised culvert, and there are many impressive bridges and tunnels. They apparently thought the NYC-Scranton-Binghamton route was going to be something like the Acela line today.

Also, I think both routes will more likely be used as commuter lines, not intercity lines. For Scranton, yes, the distance to Manhattan is quite long, but there are major business hubs in North Jersey that are much closer, and right on the rail line. For example, Morristown is a very important business hub, and major corps are clustered around the rail station. French pharma firm Sanofi, one of the largest pharma firms on earth, just announced it's building its North American HQ in Morristown, right next to the rail station. The biggest bank in NJ is also building a new HQ right next to the Morristown station.
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  #672  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2023, 2:19 PM
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Andy Byford is joining Amtrak to oversee high-speed rail development!! This is not a drill!

https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2023/03/...o-join-amtrak/
Byford seems to have a very firm grasp of good operations and good planning including international best practices. But will he actually be effective at overcoming the entrenched railroading culture that is the real problem?

In NYC he tried to make things better and only succeeded in a few areas before Cuomo sacked him. It's not because he did anything wrong, but because the changes he was making made MTA veterans and politicians uncomfortable and they screamed to the governor. The same resistance will happen at Amtrak, so I hope he has a plan to deal with it or he will not be in that position for long.
I guess it could also work if Biden/Buttigieg go out of their way to support him.
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  #673  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2023, 2:34 PM
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Byford resigned from the MTA. Cuomo never sacked him, though he tried to neuter him. I don't think Byford's problem was with MTA bureaucracy; his problem was that both Cuomo and Byford wanted the spotlight, and refused to compromise.

I like Byford, and am excited for his work with Amtrak. He worked wonders at the MTA. He is a bit of a diva, though, and tends to switch jobs like Leo DiCaprio switches lovers. I doubt he's gonna spend the next 20 years working on Acela. Though who knows, maybe he'll finally feel rooted.
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  #674  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2023, 2:48 PM
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I'm more curious about his role as head of HSR development. Would this mean focusing on our only HSR corridor (Acela), building new corridors from scratch (like CAHSR and Brightline), or upgrading existing infrastructure to +110 mph (Lincoln Service, Wolverine, Keystone)?
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  #675  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2023, 5:44 PM
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I'm more curious about his role as head of HSR development. Would this mean focusing on our only HSR corridor (Acela), building new corridors from scratch (like CAHSR and Brightline), or upgrading existing infrastructure to +110 mph (Lincoln Service, Wolverine, Keystone)?
yes
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  #676  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2023, 9:00 PM
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It seems to be a position created for him to work across departments. One advantage of Amtrak being semi-privatized is that they have the flexibility to create "czar" positions like this.

He will not be involved with Brightline, which is a competitor to Amtrak. Potentially he could negotiate cross-ticketing and codeshare arrangements, or a transfer station in Florida at Boggy Creek or California at Barstow.

Probably he will be heavily involved with the NEC, which is the only high-speed rail service in the country. The corridor/regional services in the Midwest/West Coast/other areas are not high-speed, and by law, they have to be state-led and state-funded efforts. Amtrak is just the operator of the service. So Byford can speak on behalf of Amtrak and advise states, but ultimately the decision-makers for regional services are the state DOTs and governors.
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  #677  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2023, 2:03 PM
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The US Government should force Brightline to be absorbed into Amtrak IMHO.
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  #678  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2023, 2:15 PM
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The US Government should force Brightline to be absorbed into Amtrak IMHO.
I trust that Amtrak will receive proper funding to operate the line?

Brightline is a privately owned company that is (IMO) doing good work in South Florida. Why does the government need to "force" it to be absorbed into Amtrak?
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  #679  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2023, 3:42 PM
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The US Government should force Brightline to be absorbed into Amtrak IMHO.
That will happen. Brightline is trying to scam off Amtrak's infrastructure improvements, and right-wing rhetoric over privatizing everything. They also have a nasty habit of killing people, since they lobbied for special exceptions for rail-crossing rules, and this being Florida, people are regularly dying trying to cross the tracks. Brightline won't exist in a few years.
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  #680  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2023, 4:28 PM
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We'll see about Florida Brightline. I've long theorized that LA-LV Brightline, assuming its built, will eventually just be part of the same operating body (and brand interaction) that CaHSR will be. Somewhere in the collective awareness at CHSRA this has to be assumed as it's clearly logical.
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