Carolinian to Conneticut?

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Carolinian to Conneticut?
Posted by matthewsaggie on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 10:42 PM

At the annual meeting of the NC Train Host Association last Saturday an interesting tidbit was brought up by the NC Rail Division staff. Apparently NCDOT is in discussions with ConnDoT to extend the Carolinian (#79/80) to New Haven. Recall that Charlotte is 704 miles from NYP and at this time NC pays the total cost of the train south of Washington, (less fares collected) despite the fact that the majority of the passenger loads are in the Richmond to DC segment. Virginia has been getting a free ride at NC expense for all of these years. Extending to New Haven adds 75 miles pushing us over the 750 mile mark making it eligible as a national system LD train.

Establishing the legal and operating proceedure for Amtrak to take on this train expense is in discussion at the current point by all three parties, since apparently its not actually been done since the 750 limit was imposed by Congress. Setting up who would turn and service the equipment in New Haven is another point of discussion, but both parties seemed pretty positive that this can happen and happen soon. Of course in the end, one never knows. 

From ConnDoT's viewpoint it adds a pre-6 AM departure from New Haven to NYP and south, since currently their earliest daytime departure is the Acela that leaves Boston at 5:05AM and leaves New Haven at 7:06. Currently, the first Regional is not until 7:37.

Speaking for the 100+ NC Train Hosts at the meeting, this announcement was certainly a surprise, though a pleasant one. I think it points to NC's efforts to provide a 1st class service at the lowest possible cost and like our own Piedmont's, a willingness to try someting new.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 09, 2017 12:19 PM

Why stop at New Haven?   Springfield or Burlington or Montreal

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Thursday, March 09, 2017 12:42 PM

Dave, Because the object is to make train over 750 miles, thus shifting the losses from NC to ATK. The question is why ATK thinks that is a good idea.

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, March 09, 2017 1:42 PM

Back when I was young, I learned that an easy way to remember how to spell the name of the Nutmeg State was to think "You connect I cut.)

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Posted by ACY Tom on Friday, March 10, 2017 10:35 AM

daveklepper

Why stop at New Haven?   Springfield or Burlington or Montreal

 

daveklepper

Why stop at New Haven?   Springfield or Burlington or Montreal

Actually, Dave's idea may be worthwhile from another point of view. Extending to one of these other cities might take pressure off of Sunnyside Yard for the servicing of the train. It would seem that Albany would be another possible option. I don't pretend to know the actual physical facilities and capabilities (and limitations) at the various Northern destination options.   

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, March 11, 2017 7:27 AM

ACY
I don't pretend to know the actual physical facilities and capabilities (and limitations) at the various Northern destination options.

New Haven: Amtrak does turn Springfield shuttles there, has some car/engine shop space, but not much Amtrak car storage space.  Balloon loop for turning, if a bit awkwardly placed for Amtrak use. No commissary, but a contractor could relieve that.

Springfield: No real service facilities, but some NE regionals do turn there.  Shore power for overnight storage. Wye for turning equipment. Might be limited by platform length. Shuttles are serviced at New Haven.

Montreal: Probably too far to make Charlotte, even in a very long day. No service limitations.  What Amtrak doesn't have, VIA does.

Albany:  Engine and direction change required in New York (Penn), Albany turns shuttles all day, has engine and car shop.

NC's custom fleet might be problematic.  Amtrak's Heritage Fleet used most of the same components as Amfleet for electrical/HVAC, NC's is a little more custom. 

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Posted by schlimm on Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:10 AM

Look at LD routes vs the shorter routes.  If you extend the Carolinian's route, you increase the likelihood of it not running on time.  Reliability is important for actual passenger service.  

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, March 11, 2017 4:55 PM

It seems Boston would be the natural endpoint.  Anything off the NEC would require an engine change.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, March 12, 2017 6:51 AM

Also from a ridership preferred destiination point of view, Boston

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Sunday, March 12, 2017 7:17 AM

MidlandMike

It seems Boston would be the natural endpoint.  Anything off the NEC would require an engine change.

 

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Posted by ACY Tom on Sunday, March 12, 2017 12:00 PM

Ideally, probably Boston. If there is a problem covering that distance in a given time frame, resulting in problems in turning back the equipment in a timely fashion, then New Haven might be an alternative. 

Tom

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Sunday, March 12, 2017 8:04 PM

A critical point to the NCDOT is maintaining the current 7:25 AM slot out of NYP to the south. We're not going to Boston or anywhere else. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, March 13, 2017 3:43 AM

[quote user="matthewsaggie"]

A critical point to the NCDOT is maintaining the current 7:25 AM slot out of NYP to the south. We're not going to Boston or anywhere else. 

 [/quote above]
 
Far less chance of interference between Boston and New Haven than between New Haven and NY.  Just have some padding in the westbound-southbound schedule
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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, March 13, 2017 7:43 AM

daveklepper

matthewsaggie

A critical point to the NCDOT is maintaining the current 7:25 AM slot out of NYP to the south. We're not going to Boston or anywhere else. 

 

 
Far less chance of interference between Boston and New Haven than between New Haven and NY.  Just have some padding in the westbound-southbound schedule

A 3 AM or so departure from Boston isn't much of service provider if it is required to protect a 7:25 AM slot out of NYP.

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, March 13, 2017 8:14 AM

rcdrye
NC's custom fleet might be problematic.  Amtrak's Heritage Fleet used most of the same components as Amfleet for electrical/HVAC, NC's is a little more custom. 

Carolinian is Amfleet.  NC's equipment is used on Piedmonts:  Raleigh - Charlotte

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, March 13, 2017 8:44 AM

[quote user="daveklepper"]

[quote user="matthewsaggie"]

A critical point to the NCDOT is maintaining the current 7:25 AM slot out of NYP to the south. We're not going to Boston or anywhere else. 

 [/quote above]
 
Far less chance of interference between Boston and New Haven than between New Haven and NY.  Just have some padding in the westbound-southbound schedule
 

[/quote]

It's really useful to have a 3 am train leaving Boston, when most of the Carolinian's passengers ride DC on south.  Brilliant.

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Posted by RME on Monday, March 13, 2017 12:45 PM

schlimm
It's really useful to have a 3 am train leaving Boston, when most of the Carolinian's passengers ride DC on south. Brilliant.

It wouldn't be a "3am train" necessarily; for example, it could replace the consist of the old Owl overnight from Boston to NYP, or even lay over at some expedient point to facilitate a transit of NYP in "minimum time" around the scheduled best departure time from New York (I am presuming very short 'dwell' would be desirable on any Penn Station track during that timeframe).

Remember that the only object of the expansion is to achieve a route length in excess of 750 miles, and we are now discussing whether economic or social justification for extending the train 'further' than that magic number can be made.  I would be tempted to observe that turning the train at someplace like Rt. 128 (a logical destination for some of the riders from the Research Triangle area, no?) might achieve most of the goals of going to "Boston", with any passengers actually wanting to go all the way in being accommodated either with a transfer at Penn or to a commuter train or mass transit a la NYW&B to IRT.  (BTW, I don't see going to Springfield or any other point requiring a power change or other added cost or uncertainty, unless CDOT is willing to pay the pro-rata cost involved)

I think we've already addressed something about Carolina paying for most of the train cost while Virginia gets a free ride for much of the actual passenger-mileage.  A hidden issue here is whether it's in taxpayer interest to take over this run as an "LD" expansion if so much of the train's ridership is only in the South, or whether ridership from Southern points to the Northeast (or within the Northeast if the train's amenities or service are superior to current alternatives) would materially increase as the result of a one-seat ride or perhaps better amenities.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, March 13, 2017 12:47 PM

Rode the New Haven's Owl from Boston to New Yprk an average of once-a-week from 1958 to 1966.  Left Boston at 2AM.  The sleepers were open at 10:30 pm.  Arrival in NY at 7:15AM, ococupancy until 8AM.  

EVen coacn passengers can use a night of undisturbed sleep.   There is no Amtrak train that provides that service from Boston to New York at the present time.  A 2AM departure would have the train lay-over in New HAven 5-6AM and pick up some apssengers that would like an overnighter from Boston to New York and still guarantee its slot in leaving New Haven.

My very first trip to Israel in March 1960 actually started on the New Haven's Owl.  In a lower berth in a heavy-weight "Dollar-Saver-Sleeper."

Should be no problem in having the coaches open for occupancy at11:30PM.

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Posted by RME on Monday, March 13, 2017 12:55 PM

daveklepper
Should be no problem in having the coaches open for occupancy at 11:30PM.

The question this raises -- and there are people following this thread who can run the numbers -- is whether more trains become needed to cover the expanded service.  Here, we're taking the train northeast to Boston, turning it, opening the cars for a minimum of 3.5 hours using Dave's optimistic departure, then taking until, say, 7:15 to get back to Penn to commence boarding.  That's about half a day.  Are there enough consists and power available to Amtrak to allow this for the existing Carolina service?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, March 13, 2017 2:04 PM

1.  An extension New Haven <> BOS would exceed the present 39 train limit over the drawbridges.

2.  Carolinians present inability to not quite make operating costs is because of its length limit.

3.  More cars are not allowed at present due to the storage siding limit at CLT station..

4.  CLT is having a new layover facillity being built some 2 (?) miles west that will allow more cars to be assigned to Carolinian which may allow it to be positive revenue to expenses,

5.  Additional cars >  Now that is a real problem as the planned displaced single level cars seem to be far off in the future due to Nippon's ((NS) inability to deliver the midwest bi-level cars that would have displaced single level cars to the east.

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, March 13, 2017 2:14 PM

blue streak 1

1.  An extension New Haven <> BOS would exceed the present 39 train limit over the drawbridges.

2.  Carolinians present inability to not quite make operating costs is because of its length limit.

3.  More cars are not allowed at present due to the storage siding limit at CLT station..

4.  CLT is having a new layover facillity being built some 2 (?) miles west that will allow more cars to be assigned to Carolinian which may allow it to be positive revenue to expenses,

5.  Additional cars >  Now that is a real problem as the planned displaced single level cars seem to be far off in the future due to Nippon's ((NS) inability to deliver the midwest bi-level cars that would have displaced single level cars to the east.

 

 

Will the new layover facility be convenient to the proposed station on Trade Street (approximately where the old station was)?

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, March 13, 2017 2:41 PM

Why not push it south to Atlanta instead of north to NH?  It's a bit more complicated to get host road approval, etc, but no sweat turning and storing the train.  Might have trouble getting crew rested, though with midnight arrival and 5 AM departure.  That might be pricey.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, March 13, 2017 3:25 PM

 

Why not push it south to Atlanta instead of north to NH?   Might have trouble getting crew rested, though with midnight arrival and 5 AM departure.  That might be pricey. quote ]

Crew rest no problem for T&E.  Inbound Carolinian outbound Crescent.  Inbound Crescent outbound Carolinian.  Now OBS   unlesss ATL based   ???

 

[/quote]

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Monday, March 13, 2017 3:53 PM

Thanks for posting this, Ralph.  I will not be joining the chorus of people arguing that NC is doing it wrong.  I hope it happens.

Dave

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Monday, March 13, 2017 10:57 PM
Yes. It's just past the new/old station location adjacent to to the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry plant.
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Posted by ORNHOO on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:23 AM

blue streak 1

 

Why not push it south to Atlanta instead of north to NH?   Might have trouble getting crew rested, though with midnight arrival and 5 AM departure.  That might be pricey. quote ]

Crew rest no problem for T&E.  Inbound Carolinian outbound Crescent.  Inbound Crescent outbound Carolinian.  Now OBS   unlesss ATL based   ???

 

 

Or... how about extending to Charleston via Columbia?

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Posted by ACY Tom on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:21 PM

Unless I am mistaken, there is no Atlanta Crew base for OBS. The logical solution would be a 29 hour layover, with hotel accommodations provided. I don't know what facilities exist for turning, servicing, and restocking the train in the Atlanta area.

Tom 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:30 PM

ACY

Unless I am mistaken, there is no Atlanta Crew base for OBS. The logical solution would be a 29 hour layover, with hotel accommodations provided. I don't know what facilities exist for turning, servicing, and restocking the train in the Atlanta area.

Tom 

 

 
Correct no ATL  OBS crew base.  However if cut off cars were started for Crescent might be different. 
Service facilities at ATL.  The Atlantic Steel spur ( no longer used ) is long enough for any length Amtrak train contemplated. It is not ideal and could probably use some 480 V hotel power connections. It is used every Jan and Feb to service the Crescent when Crescent has to be cancelled ATL - NOL using a P-42 for HEP.
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Posted by A McIntosh on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:14 PM

ORNHOO

 

 
blue streak 1

 

Why not push it south to Atlanta instead of north to NH?   Might have trouble getting crew rested, though with midnight arrival and 5 AM departure.  That might be pricey. quote ]

Crew rest no problem for T&E.  Inbound Carolinian outbound Crescent.  Inbound Crescent outbound Carolinian.  Now OBS   unlesss ATL based   ???

 

 

 

 

Or... how about extending to Charleston via Columbia?

 

As far as extending to Columbia, this has been explored. I believe it would be required to build a connection between the NS "R" line and the CSX "S" line in order to use the Amtrak station. Besides putting up stations in on line towns, the R line is fairly hill and dale with several curves that will result in a rather slow ride. As far as extending it to Charleston, forget it. The SC line is dark territory, as well as a busy automotive and intermodal line.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 6:11 PM

A McIntosh
ORNHOO
blue streak 1

Why not push it south to Atlanta instead of north to NH?   Might have trouble getting crew rested, though with midnight arrival and 5 AM departure.  That might be pricey. quote ]

Crew rest no problem for T&E.  Inbound Carolinian outbound Crescent.  Inbound Crescent outbound Carolinian.  Now OBS   unlesss ATL based   ???

Or... how about extending to Charleston via Columbia?

As far as extending to Columbia, this has been explored. I believe it would be required to build a connection between the NS "R" line and the CSX "S" line in order to use the Amtrak station. Besides putting up stations in on line towns, the R line is fairly hill and dale with several curves that will result in a rather slow ride. As far as extending it to Charleston, forget it. The SC line is dark territory, as well as a busy automotive and intermodal line.

No darker than Flomaton, AL to Tallahassee, FL is on the attempt to return the Sunset Limited (or whatever Amtrak decides to call it) running between New Orleans and Jacksonville.  In Dark territory passenger train maximum speed is 59 MPH, freight train maximum speed is 49 MPH.

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