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Passenger Trains > What Virginia pays for rail service


Date: 03/15/19 08:45
What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: Dcmcrider

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation has a detailed report on their web site.

http://www.drpt.virginia.gov/media/2464/fy19-final-syip-rev-06072018.pdf

On page 80, the document gives the six-year forecasts for outlays to Amtrak, covering fiscal years 2019 through 2024. It includes both operating and "capital." Capital being, in this case, the amount Amtrak charges for equipment used by the state-supported routes. This year the Commonwealth has programmed $11.2 million in operating support, and $4.6 million in "capital equipment contribution."

And what are the host railroads getting? On pages 75 and 76, there's a good bit of money going to the Buckingham Branch for upkeep and improvements on the North Mountain and Washington Subdivisions. This is of course the Cardinal's route.

On pages 81-85 in the document you'll find programmed amounts for track improvements on the state's two Class I railroads. This covers both freight and passenger, but it's easy to discern the projects that support passenger service.

Of special interest are the sums dedicated to improvements on NS for the "second" Lynchburg train capital improvements. Amounts total nearly $12 million over the next three fiscal years. That's on top of nearly $20 million spent to date. Last year there was $330k dedicated to computer modeling of the addition of the second train to the Alexandria-Lynchburg main line.

Overall, the rail program (passenger and freight) is a $131 million item in this fiscal year. (p. 84)

And finally, p. 85 gives a summary of the various rail funding mechanisms, including IPROC (Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital) fund. It's a permanent fund that allows carryover from past years. The existence of this fund avoids the "perils of Pauline" melodrama of the two-year budget cycle that seems to plague other states.

Despite what you might see in the news about some of our prominent politicians, in the more workaday parts of state government, we seem to enjoy steady and sober leadership.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 03/15/19 09:50
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: Lackawanna484

Virginia was also willing to put real dollars behind the Lynchburg service.  I recall that the first year subsidy per passenger was $29 per ride, declining to something like $10 in year 4, based on actual traffic.

That's a huge investment, and one that few states would put on the table.



Date: 03/15/19 10:10
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: sums007

Thanks for the link!  When are they ever going to finish the Arkendale-Powells Creek third main?  Seems it's been in the works quite a while now.



Date: 03/15/19 10:49
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: MEKoch

I hope VA pursues a daily Cardinal.  If they can align themselves with WV, that will bring even further clout.  Glad to see them improving the BBRR.  



Date: 03/15/19 11:29
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: Dcmcrider

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Virginia was also willing to put real dollars
> behind the Lynchburg service.  I recall that the
> first year subsidy per passenger was $29 per ride,
> declining to something like $10 in year 4, based
> on actual traffic.
>
> That's a huge investment, and one that few states
> would put on the table.

Lynchburg (Roanoke) train current fiscal year programmed operating subsidy amount is $550,000. Norfolk is $2 million a year for each round-trip. (These are not hard numbers--they fluctuate with revenues.)

Compare either of these routes to $3 million for the pathetic quad-weekly Hoosier State. The contrast in the amounts expended and relative utility of these services is pretty stark, in my view.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/19 11:33 by Dcmcrider.



Date: 03/15/19 12:24
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: 79mph

The idea of a daily Cardinal would have had it running only from Charlottesville, or maybe Charleston if West Virginia was willing to cooperate (doubtful).
It would not be a "long distance train" anymore at that point.
There is no hope at all of a daily train between Chicago and Charleston.
CSX pricing would be in the many millions of $. 
Not a good idea to even bring the subject up.
Just accept the tri-weekly as it is and hope for the best.
And yes, Amtrak's car/mile charges to Indiana for the Hoosier State are many times more than what is charged other states.
Pathetic, when you consider capital costs added in for equipment that was fully depreciated more than 20 years ago.
What "capital" costs are there at Amtrak other than for the northeast corridor?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/19 12:39 by 79mph.



Date: 03/15/19 12:38
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: joemvcnj

The Performance Improvement Plan analyzed the daily Cardinal (as well as the pro and con of a St Louis section), not just east of Charlottesville.
Net addtional operating cost would be $5 million.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/19 12:42 by joemvcnj.



Date: 03/15/19 12:42
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: 79mph

Various "plans and studies" were mandated by Congress. 
Amtrak management grudgingly complied with generating sone reports (many years late in most cases) but never seriously considered changing anything.

 



Date: 03/15/19 12:46
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: joemvcnj

The only one they did take seriously was the Capitol Ltd/Pennsylvanian. It also did not mean additional operating costs - there were no new train miles. Additional revenue would have paid for the Pittsburgh switching move. It  went nowhere because they insisted on a switch be added in the depot.  With a little more thought, they could have done it without the switch.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/19 14:48 by joemvcnj.



Date: 03/15/19 17:26
Re: What Virginia pays for rail service
Author: engineerinvirginia

Virginia has been keen on railroad service since the Richmond & Alleghany railroad was organized and they also provided seed money for the Louisa Railroad and the Blue RIdge Railroad. All these of course became the Chesapeake & Ohio. 



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