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Date: 01/09/17 18:33
A new Floridian?
Author: railwaybaron

Now with a tough-love man of action coming to the White House, maybe we can think about restoring service between Chicago and Florida, instead of running the Chicago to "Jackknife, ND" train we now have? So, in the opinion of TOer's of every shade, what route between Blue Chicago and Red Florida would be the fastest and/or serve the most people?



Date: 01/09/17 18:43
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: Lackawanna484

Nobody has the $$$ CSX would demand for improvements necessary to add a train between Chicago and Florida.

Especially when the market is well served with $99 one way fares on a trip that takes three hours



Date: 01/09/17 18:53
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: railwaybaron

So you are saying that CSX is the otherwise best and fastest route? Via what cities? Is there another route that is more practical? Maybe our new "Duce" can jawbone CSX for a better deal and say it is part of his "infrastructure" plan? Look what happened to Carrier and GM. Presumably there are many big and little towns along the way without air service, like those in North Dakota, that would depend on Amtrak more than the end-point cities.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/09/17 18:57 by railwaybaron.



Date: 01/09/17 18:58
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: ronald321

Well, lets see-- the IC City of Miami route was torn up south of Birmingham, Ala., I believe.

The South Wind can't be duplicated because the PRR was ripped up between Chicago and Indianapolis.

Not sure, but the old C&EI-L&N route via Atlanta may still be there. Would this be a possibility?



Date: 01/09/17 19:17
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: Indiana_Trainman

The Chicago-FL route was studied in 1990 by Amtrak after being asked by Congress. I attended the press conference at Amtrak HQs when the study results were released. The Western Route via the former C&EI-L&N to Atlanta was the most favorable route. Amtrak and CSX operated a special train along the route complete with the Executive F-units as part of the study. Shortly after the study was published, a six-state group was formed to pursue re-establishing the route including passage of a formal interstate compact (IL, IN, KY, TN, GA and FL) with the most active states being GA (wanted demonstration train for the 1996 Olympics), TN and IN. The compact met for several years before ending in the late-1990s. The route is in better shape today than any time in the last few decades. I have a copy of the study and our community's response (I served on a local task force advocating for the train). Many of the markets along the route are under-served by other modes or have significant tourism potential (Atlanta, Nashville, Chattanooga along with Orlando). Our local market, Evansville, IN was at one time one of the larger off-line markets for Amtrak with the closest stations in neighboring IL (Carbondale and Centralia).



Date: 01/09/17 19:18
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: jfrank39

So what's wrong with the Capitol/Silver Star connection? Your never going to get another 24hr train from Chicago to Jacksonville via Atlanta. So the two night out connection is the best you can do, unless you route the CONO along the Gulf Coast and that route is still two nights out and so slow. Amtrak even proposed the Capitol/Star route in one of their studies. The idea was to run a superliner train with connections to Boston and New York via Acela or Regionals.



Date: 01/09/17 19:47
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: SP4360

railwaybaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now with a tough-love man of action coming to the
> White House, maybe we can think about restoring
> service between Chicago and Florida, instead of
> running the Chicago to "Jackknife, ND" train we
> now have? So, in the opinion of TOer's of every
> shade, what route between Blue Chicago and Red
> Florida would be the fastest and/or serve the most
> people?

More like a "man of mouth"



Date: 01/09/17 19:49
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: RevRandy

And remember, travel patterns have changed since The Floridian ... Orlando, once a nothing bywater town, is now hot city. all the West Coast (of Florida that is) premier places once served (Naples, Venice, etc) now are buried under ample alternatives and would barely fill a single coach except in the semi-annual migration times. Miami and Fort Lauderdale, each with its own international airport, are not the alluring destinations they once were.

But if you want a real market, it is not from somewhere else to/from Florida, it is within Florida. Brightline is right -- and even AMTRAK can give you the surprising figures on how many people ride Miami-Tampa, for example. It is a state calling out not for more outsiders to come in, but for those in to move about.

And while we are dreaming of the improbably (a new Floridian) how about restoration of service to Key West, with ferry service on to Cuba?



Date: 01/09/17 20:50
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Since we're probably doing nothing more than playing a game of fantasy here (think fantasy football for railfans), and since we further know that Amtrak will probably NEVER restore a route that they previously operated and discontinued, and since we further know that it's really not Amtrak to blame but, rather, an apathetic public and an even more apathetic group of politicians --- I'll play anyway.

<> Chicago to Indianapolis on the current route Amtrak uses

<> PRR route from Indianapolis to Louisville (shortlined and spruced up by CSX)

<> L&N route from Louisville to Nashville 

<> NC&StL route from Nashville to Atlanta

<> SOU from Atlanta to Jesup

<> ACL from Jesup to Jacksonville

<> FEC from Jacksonville to Miami



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/09/17 20:53 by CA_Sou_MA_Agent.



Date: 01/09/17 21:27
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: yorknl

Out of curiosity, what great crime has that North Dakota train committed that earns this notional condemnation? It's only the Amtrak LD train that had the highest ridership in FY16 and second-highest in FY15, per Amtrak's stats in the September '16 performance report. Page A -3.4.



Date: 01/09/17 21:45
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: mp51w

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since we're probably doing nothing more than
> playing a game of fantasy here (think fantasy
> football for railfans), and since we further know
> that Amtrak will probably NEVER restore a route
> that they previously operated and discontinued,
> and since we further know that it's really not
> Amtrak to blame but, rather, an apathetic public
> and an even more apathetic group of politicians
> --- I'll play anyway.
>
> <> Chicago to Indianapolis on the current route
> Amtrak uses
>
> <> PRR route from Indianapolis to Louisville
> (shortlined and spruced up by CSX)
>
> <> L&N route from Louisville to Nashville 
>
> <> NC&StL route from Nashville to Atlanta
>
> <> SOU from Atlanta to Jesup
>
> <> ACL from Jesup to Jacksonville
>
> <> FEC from Jacksonville to Miami

Works for me!  I'm confident this route would do well!



Date: 01/10/17 00:19
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: railwaybaron

yorknl Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Out of curiosity, what great crime has that North
> Dakota train committed that earns this notional
> condemnation? It's only the Amtrak LD train that
> had the highest ridership in FY16 and
> second-highest in FY15, per Amtrak's stats in the
> September '16 performance report. Page A -3.4.

Nothing against EB and the "Buffalo Bills" and want-a-bes in ND, just how to get even more people on a train without spending mo'money--i.e. federal subsidies in keeping with Red State sensitivities about taking hand-outs. .



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/17 00:21 by railwaybaron.



Date: 01/10/17 00:22
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: railwaybaron

SP4360 Wrote:

> More like a "man of mouth"

Took the words right out of my mouth!



Date: 01/10/17 03:33
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: abyler

jfrank39 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So what's wrong with the Capitol/Silver Star
> connection? Your never going to get another 24hr

What's wrong with it?  The endpoint mentality that ignores the actual rail market, which is Chicago to all the interline cities, all the interline cities among themselves, and the interline cities to Florida.  The endpoint fetish focuses on 5% of the ridership of any potential Amtrak route.



Date: 01/10/17 03:36
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: abyler

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nobody has the $$$ CSX would demand for
> improvements necessary to add a train between
> Chicago and Florida.

You are a funny stand up comic.  CSX has lost 1/3 of its traffic since 2007 but still can't accomodate a single passenger train?

And no one has the money only because no one is bold enough to suggest it be appropriated like all the rest of the money in DC is.

> Especially when the market is well served with $99
> one way fares on a trip that takes three hours

The market isn't endpoint to endpoint.



Date: 01/10/17 05:35
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: Lackawanna484

So, Chicago to Evansville would be a goo start? Add on segments?

CSX might allow free access to Waycross, Folkston, etc. Or maybe not.

FWIW, Pensecola and the Riviera get a huge amount of highway traffic from a 500 mile range

Posted from Android



Date: 01/10/17 07:19
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: ctillnc

About the earlier suggestions:
  • The odds that CSX would accept Amtrak between Nashville and Atlanta are very low. The segment between Marietta and Atlanta remains one of the busiest single-track lines that CSX operates.
  • To reach the Amtrak station in Atlanta from the southbound ex-L&N requires time-consuming movements between NS and CSX at Howell and a backup move between Howell and the Amtrak station in one direction or the other. Probably takes an hour, plus time in the station itself -- and NS is not keen about tying up its main line more than Amtrak already does. The proposed new site for Amtrak is even farther away from Howell and would be totally infeasible for a backup move unless an engine or cab car is on the tail end. 
  • NS is dark territory w/ track warrants between Macon and Jesup. That line hasn't seen a passenger train since the early 1960s. There is a connecting track at Jesup but I'm not sure it is serviceable in its present condition. Even so, it doesn't tie into the Nahunta line that Amtrak uses; it feeds directly to Waycross, a lengthy detour. 
If you throw a hundred million plus at these problems, you could fix them. Let me know where the money will come from.

FYI, the City of Miami route is broken by abandonment in three places in Alabama and Georgia. Meanwhile CSX has downgraded the former route of the Floridian between Montgomery and Waycross to 25 mph for freight. It's 300 miles of dark territory.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/17 07:23 by ctillnc.



Date: 01/10/17 09:58
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> About the earlier suggestions:
The odds that CSX would accept Amtrak between Nashville and Atlanta are very low. The segment between Marietta and Atlanta remains one of the busiest single-track lines that CSX operates.


What about using NS between Chattanooga and Jesup?  Granted, the NS route is also very busy between Chattanooga and Atlanta, but if we're going to quickly throw in the towel because certain rail lines are "busy", we may as well shut down at least 60 percent of the Amtrak system.  What's the definition of "busy"?  Much of it boils down to competent dispatching. 

> To reach the Amtrak station in Atlanta from the southbound ex-L&N requires time-consuming movements between NS and CSX at Howell and a backup move between Howell and the Amtrak station in one direction or the other. Probably takes an hour, plus time in the station itself -- and NS is not keen about tying up its main line more than Amtrak already does. The proposed new site for Amtrak is even farther away from Howell and would be totally infeasible for a backup move unless an engine or cab car is on the tail end. 

Okay, now re-calulate your "gloom and doom" scenario if the train switched railroads at Chattanooga and traversed Atlanta exclusively on NS.  

> NS is dark territory w/ track warrants between Macon and Jesup. That line hasn't seen a passenger train since the early 1960s.

I believe Amtrak has been known to operate trains in other applications where the track is dark and with track warrants.  I believe the trains to Rutland and St. Albans, VT run on portions of their routes where there are no signals and trains are dispatched with track warrants.  Also, the line from Macon to Jesup could be signalled.  I didn't suggest that this proposal could or should be done without capital improvements.  The State of Georgia might even kick in some money.   

> There is a connecting track at Jesup but I'm not sure it is serviceable in its present condition. Even so, it doesn't tie into the Nahunta line that Amtrak uses; it feeds directly to Waycross, a lengthy detour.

You would have to rehabilitate the transfer track and put in a dual-controlled power crossover somewhere between East Walnut Street and East Orange Street in Jesup to get trains onto the more direct line Nahunta Line to Jacksonville.  Like I said, this proposal would require some capital improvements.

> If you throw a hundred million plus at these problems, you could fix them. Let me know where the money will come from.

It probably wouldn't cost nearly that much unless and until the reluctant railroads saw that a serious movement was afoot in getting the project off the ground.  Then, they'd come in with all sorts of ridiculous demands for pie-in-the-sky capital improvements that would benefit their freight operations more than anything else.  We're not stupid.  We know how this goofy game is played.  A lot of it will depend on how serious the Trump Administration will be in "growing" the Amtrak system.  If past experience is part of this, I don't think you'll have to lose sleep at night, worried that this proposal might actually get anywhere.  This is all just a fantasy, remember?   

How much you wanna bet that, after CSX and NS officials read this thread on Trainorders, there will be a track gang out at Jesup, GA next week ripping up the transfer track between the two railroads?  If you're going to try and sabotage a proposal, you got's to to what you got's to do.    

As soon as The Pioneer was discontinued, UP ripped out a crossover near the Steel Bridge in Portland to make it impossible to directly operate a passenger train off the Graham Line into Union Station.     

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/17 10:12 by CA_Sou_MA_Agent.



Date: 01/10/17 10:13
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: irhoghead

abyler Wrote:

>
> You are a funny stand up comic.  CSX has lost 1/3
> of its traffic since 2007 but still can't
> accomodate a single passenger train?
>

I would bet my next year's wages on that. If they ran only one freight train a day on the entire proposed route, they would still demand umpteen millions upon millions of dollars in "necessary" improvements to be able to handle a passenger train over it so that it wouldn't interfere with their one train. (PTC doesn't count.) Feeding at the public trough is a wonderful thing, if you can get your snout in.



Date: 01/10/17 10:41
Re: A new Floridian?
Author: ctillnc

NS Chattanooga-Austell is just as busy as CSX Marietta-Atlanta. There's a reason why NS Austell-Atlanta has more traffic density than any other line in the southeast, Folkston included. Most of that traffic is Chattanooga not B'ham.

Running all-NS through Atlanta still has the problem of where the Amtrak station is... a backup move through Howell is required, as well as dwell time on the Piedmont division main line at the station. It's no coincidence that Southern closed Terminal Station in 1970 not long after Southern discontinued its last Cincinnati-Atlanta-Florida passenger train. No Cincinnati-Florida train ever called at Peachtree Station. 

Amtrak runs on dark territory, but the PTC mandate is on its way and no railroad is going to agree to host a new passenger train on dark territory unless Amtrak or some other source of funding indemnifies the railroad against the cost of PTC installation. The State of Georgia (where I used to reside) has not thrown one dime at passenger service, aside from studies. 

$100 million is a conservative estimate if you include CTC Macon-Jesup. In terms of stations, track upgrades, etc North Carolina is over the $300 million mark and still counting... just for 150 miles.  

Not sure what route is proposed B'ham-Tallahassee. Actually the ex-ACL out of B'ham toward Waycross crosses the highest elevation of any point on the ex-ACL.. quite a grind uphill. The lines into Tallahassee from the north are 30 mph at best. Did you mean Waycross?

Armchair railroading is one thing but you guys need to get familiar with the actual territory.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/17 10:49 by ctillnc.



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