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Date: 05/24/01 21:05
Auto Train West?
Author: hmd929

It seems kind of a shame that Amtrak only runs
one Autotrain between Orlando and Wash D.C. It
might bring in some extra revenue if they ran
an Autotrain in the West, say between S.F. and
Los Angeles. There are many people I know who
fly to LAX and then rent a car. They're on vacation
and not in any hurry, so if they could take their
own car to LA, I'm sure they'd appreciate it and
travel by rail. The starting point for the train
could be Oakland Yard and end up somewhere close
to Los Angeles Union Station (where there could be
an auto ramp). This also would not
require sleepers so the ammenities
could be enhanced. If that works out, they could expand
the service from Seattle to Los Angeles
and add sleepers as well. What
do you think?

Howard Dean



Date: 05/24/01 21:36
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: bnsfcajon

Space at LAUPT is at a premium, read VERY limited w/o taking alot of adjacent land.



Date: 05/24/01 21:44
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: proamtrak

That's true, besides, a lot of Californians, especially in my home area of So Cal are tired of driving anyway, so what's the use.



Date: 05/24/01 22:48
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: Mundo

Auto train service was to have started on the Coast Starlight Los Angeles/Seattle over three years ago. No auto carriers were available and no car builder wanted to set up for a small order of cars.

However the train is sold out 8/9 months of the year anyway, so where would they have placed the passengers?

As to LA-San Francisco, frankly I would feel thats where the visitor would want to drive, for scenery, historic points etc.

Amtrak will have a new yard in Oakland next couple of years, no sure if room enought. As far as LAUS, for get this area. It would have to be out of town aways, that would required still another station stop and time to Add/Remove the autoracks.

The amtrak yard in Los Angeles could not handle auto business.



Date: 05/24/01 23:06
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: stash

I suppose one must first figure out if Amtrak will be in business in the coming years. If not, will there be another operator of passenger service? If Amtrak can make big bucks hauling autos, I'm sure they'd go for it.

Here in California there is big money for rail improvements available from the state. However, I don't know how the state would feel about making funds available for an auto train. There are plenty of passenger projects in the pipeline already.

Just having returned from a highway-rail Coast Line trip, I noticed most traffic on US 101 moving between 70-80 mph. The congestion is near the Bay Area and in and around LaLaLand. The Starlight has a very leisurely schedule as you can see on a timetable. A faster train or a second train will require capacity enhancements for sure. They'll eventually happen, but not too soon.

Do you think there is a market for carrying autos on a slow train for a relatively short trip? I've heard people say they can drive SF-LA via I-5 in less than six hours.



Date: 05/25/01 00:29
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: RevRandy

All the talk about space needed for an autotrain service seems to imply that a separate facility is needed. Here in Europe auto rail service is common, often from stations with limited extra space.

Here's the drill. The cars are loaded onto auto carriers from a small ramp space off of some terminal side team track. The passengers are loaded onto space on an existing train that is also available to passengers without cars. A quick switching move puts the carriers on the rear, and off they go.

A good example is the Calalzo station in the Dolomites ... where all the space required is a small parking/marshalling area for the cars (which extends out onto the street for a ways as the cars wait to be loaded) and the space for 4 carriers on the side track. The photo shows the ramp (the only real space consuming item) at Calalzo.

As I think about many of AMTRAK's stations, I picture that many of them have old, unused station car tracks that could serve this purpose. Also, here it is not uncommon to use a smaller station as the auto site, since people can drive to get there, so the main, congested, downtown station is not the auto station.




Date: 05/25/01 04:57
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: jachoochoo

AutoTrain (and Amtrak) tried a service from Louisville to Florida (hoping) to capture the Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit market - but it wasn't there.s, I'm aware that the train was slooooooooooow)

Picture a barbell, on one end the most concentrated mass of population (the Northeast) and on th other end the concentrated land mass of the vacation oriented Florida peninsula. Connecting the two is 1000 miles of overloaded I-95. And be sure to factor in the "Snowbirds" who winter in Florida. (Notice that Amtrak has incentive fares northbound late in the year and southbound in the Spring)

The West Coast has no similar demographics. While Southern California might have the population, there is no similar concentrated destination.



Date: 05/25/01 07:00
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: matt

Maybe thoughts should be to help LA's people go east, and enjoy driving back along route 66, actually sell the train as the begining of the great American road trip.



Date: 05/25/01 09:19
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: ace

jachoochoo wrote:
>
> The West Coast has no similar demographics. While Southern
> California might have the population, there is no similar
> concentrated destination.

What do you call the Bay Area then?

acerider



Date: 05/25/01 11:05
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: nickatnight

I've also pondered this. My sense is the average joe does not want to sleep on the train in coach, and would object to the high prices a sleeper would cost. Especially families. Yet there is a great deal of north/south traffic, both from the Portland/Seattle area to California, and from Northern California to Southern California. I can't help but think a day-time only Auto-train would be viable. Think about this ! Drive the family sedan fully loaded over to the Portland-area auto-loading terminal at 6:30 am. Load the car, head up to the train, which departs at 7:15 am and heads to the Bay area. (Vallejo, Martinez, or even as far away as Sacramento.) The train heads south through Oregon, over the Mt Shasta area...arriving in the Bay area at 2200. Then you can de-train with the family car and head to the motel of your choice. Substitute the itinerary of your choice for the NorCal area to SoCal. Oh btw, the schedule mentioned above was the old Shasta Daylight schedule, so it can be done.



Date: 05/25/01 13:14
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: rbx551985

I seem to recall that a few years ago Amtrak was supposedly studying the the feasibility of placing another Auto Train in service between the Chicago area and somewhere in California, either L.A. or Oakland area. I never heard how the study went, but an acquaintence in the RR industry mentioned he heard they hadn't yet found a way to make that region-to-region trip come out cost-productive AND keep it at a reasonable cost to patrons. (All new equipment would have to be procured, but I do understand that new auto carriers are either being built or are on the planning boards. Don't know if they're to simply replace what's in the East, or both that AND allow for use of a similar service somewhere out west.) Haven't heard anything lately on that aledged study, but at the moment I believe AMTK has more immediate fish to fry... If they survive beyond the 2002 deadline in any usable form, perhaps that study (or one along those lines) might surface or be looked at again, depending on what the "new" Amtrak looks like. Well, one can hope, can't he?



Date: 05/25/01 14:40
Transcon
Author: Kentucky86

A transcon route I think would be good...

Lets say like Wash DC - San Fran with a stop or two in the middle (St. Louis and Denver?)

Maybe a north route and a south transcon route.

Bob



Date: 05/25/01 15:30
RE: Transcon
Author: rbx551985

That's interesting... a transcon routing with a stop in the middle; no need to go ALL the way across country--could go part distance, or re-board later in either direction, maybe. Multiple cross-tourist destinations. Could a market be developed for it? Cross-regional market? Is there any history of studies done on such a route? What are the most traveled arteries in America it might actually work? Could any of the developing higher speed routes accomodate such a service effectively? What might be done by local, regional or national TOURISM agencies, along this line of thinking, to attract customers to a midwestern or Western "Auto Train" service? Or is all that a bit much to consider for just one thread? Any future possibilities...???



Date: 05/25/01 20:39
RE: Transcon
Author: Kentucky86

Many people I have met have asked me why can't they take their car with them on the transcons. They don't like to drive 2,000 plus miles, but want their car when they get there.



Date: 05/25/01 22:49
RE: Transcon
Author: rbx551985

AMTRAK--or whomever makes those decisions--ARE YOU LISTENING? How much interest might be growing in just that kind of a service, maybe for the Sunset Limited to try out? They might even swap autoracks at Sanford or JAX with A.T. enroute... Possibilities?



Date: 05/25/01 23:50
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: jachoochoo

ace wrote:
>
> What do you call the Bay Area then?

The Bay Area is hardly a large vacation mecca, and it is not a 1000 miles from the other end, nor is it on one congested Interstate.

LA - SanFrancisco is more comparable to Chicago-Twin Cities



Date: 05/26/01 01:36
Auto Train SF/LA & I-5
Author: Nosredna13

Ever drive Interstate 5 in the winter time in the fog? I-5 is a boring drive that can be very dangerous certain times of the year. Autotrain could work between SF and LA. A lot of people have family in both places and both have their tourists attractions. I highly doubt Amtrak would pay for it, more likely the state would as they have the money. Opps, we don't have it anymore thanks to Gov. Davis taking our gas tax money thats used for transportation and putting it into the general fund illegally to pay for his buying of electricity. Oh well, it was a nice thought.

Nosredna13
WPfan



Date: 05/26/01 12:52
RE: Auto Train West?
Author: wigwagfan

jachoochoo wrote:
>
> AutoTrain (and Amtrak) tried a service from Louisville to
> Florida (hoping) to capture the Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit
> market - but it wasn't there.s, I'm aware that the train was
> slooooooooooow)
>
> Picture a barbell, on one end the most concentrated mass of
> population (the Northeast) and on th other end the concentrated
> land mass of the vacation oriented Florida peninsula.
> Connecting the two is 1000 miles of overloaded I-95. And be
> sure to factor in the "Snowbirds" who winter in Florida.
> (Notice that Amtrak has incentive fares northbound late in the
> year and southbound in the Spring)
>
> The West Coast has no similar demographics. While Southern
> California might have the population, there is no similar
> concentrated destination.

I've always thought that a station located somewhere half-way between Portland and Seattle (Centralia?) and somewhere around Anaheim or City of Industry would be a great west coast Autotrain pairing. Alaska Airlines is sure making a LOT of money between Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and Orange County, so Amtrak could definitely get its foot in the door by offering a second train that handles automobiles (or autos and non-auto passengers?). Maybe even a seasonal train. Or it can leave a station near Seattle four days a week and a Portland area station three days a week.



Date: 05/26/01 15:46
Nosredna13
Author: VIA1

nosredna said-

I highly doubt Amtrak would pay for it, more likely the state would as they have the money. Opps, we don't have it anymore thanks to Gov. Davis taking our gas tax money thats used for transportation and putting it into the general fund illegally to pay for his buying of electricity. Oh well, it was a nice thought

Ok. Let's worry about transportation funds shall we? Without electricity, the whole entire state of California will cease to exist. Do you know that CA is equivalent to the 8th largest country in the world in terms of economic stature? Oh, and by the way, don't blame Gov. Davis, he is not a miracle worker. Blame that ass, Pete Wilson for trying to deregulate electricity. Aso, you might want to ask the president of the United States, Mr. Bush, why he won't help out. Maybe because he lost the state by 1.4 million votes. Even so, that's not an excuse. He is the president of the entire country, not just the states that he carried.

VIA 1



Date: 05/26/01 20:03
RE: Nosredna13
Author: Nosredna13

VIA 1,

Davis hasn't done a thing about this crisis nor has anyone else in our state government. Pete Wilson was a moron and so were the other idiots in office at the time that passed this "deregulation." Davis taking our gas tax for transportation and putting into the general fund is a violation of the voters want in this state. I don't blame Bush for not doing anything in this state. Its not the Feds problem as they didn't create it, its California's problem that we created through our elected officials. The thing to do is find out who passed this crap and get rid of them. Get rid of Davis for not doing enough action and too much talking and finger pointing. Let's face VIA 1, Republicans and Democrats along with independents, are all screwed over by the energy crisis, but that doesn't mean we have to take our dedicated transportation funds to pay for our govenments mistake. That's my point.

Nosredna13
WPfan



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