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Would a Chicago to Calgary, AB Passenger Train be viable?

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Would a Chicago to Calgary, AB Passenger Train be viable?
Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, July 30, 2017 4:00 PM

I am just curious and I do not know what condition the CP tracks are in that cross the border or North of the border to Calgary.     Would a Chicago to Calgary, AB LD Passenger Train be viable?    What about seasonal only (Spring-Summer-Fall)?

Would there be enough ridership?    Only reason I ask is it seems Calgary is a fairly pricey destination out of the Twin Cities and Chicago both in the Summer and when I fly the route the planes are filled with tourists.    Never flown in the Winter, only in the Summer.

I would presume the train would use an all CP routing from Chicago to Milwaukee, to Twin Cities, to the Border, then onto Calgary, AB.

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Posted by schlimm on Sunday, July 30, 2017 4:15 PM

[quote user="CMStPnP"]

I am just curious and I do not know what condition the CP tracks are in that cross the border or North of the border to Calgary.     Would a Chicago to Calgary, AB LD Passenger Train be viable?    What about seasonal only (Spring-Summer-Fall)?

Would there be enough ridership?    Only reason I ask is it seems Calgary is a fairly pricey destination out of the Twin Cities and Chicago both in the Summer and when I fly the route the planes are filled with tourists.    Never flown in the Winter, only in the Summer.

I would presume the train would use an all CP routing from Chicago to Milwaukee, to Twin Cities, to the Border, then onto Calgary, AB.

 

[/quote/

Interesting.  The Soo Line- CP used to run the Soo Line-Dominion by way of Soo from the TC to Portal, ND then on CP through Calgary to Vancouver.

http://sooline.railfan.net/resources/timetables/55ptt4.jpg

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Posted by Buslist on Sunday, July 30, 2017 5:18 PM

[quote user="schlimm"]

[quote user="CMStPnP"]

I am just curious and I do not know what condition the CP tracks are in that cross the border or North of the border to Calgary.     Would a Chicago to Calgary, AB LD Passenger Train be viable?    What about seasonal only (Spring-Summer-Fall)?

Would there be enough ridership?    Only reason I ask is it seems Calgary is a fairly pricey destination out of the Twin Cities and Chicago both in the Summer and when I fly the route the planes are filled with tourists.    Never flown in the Winter, only in the Summer.

I would presume the train would use an all CP routing from Chicago to Milwaukee, to Twin Cities, to the Border, then onto Calgary, AB.

 

[/quote/

Interesting.  The Soo Line- CP used to run the Soo Line-Dominion by way of Soo from the TC to Portal, ND then on CP through Calgary to Vancouver.

http://sooline.railfan.net/resources/timetables/55ptt4.jpg

 

[/quote]

A quick review of flights shows 2 United Main Line flights and one United Express as well as one WestJet flight per day. Doesn't seem to be a huge demand.

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Posted by schlimm on Sunday, July 30, 2017 6:22 PM

[quote user="Buslist"]

[/quote/schlimm:  Interesting.  The Soo Line- CP used to run the Soo Line-Dominion by way of Soo from the TC to Portal, ND then on CP through Calgary to Vancouver. http://sooline.railfan.net/resources/timetables/55ptt4.jpg  [/quote]

 

A quick review of flights shows 2 United Main Line flights and one United Express as well as one WestJet flight per day. Doesn't seem to be a huge demand. [/quote]

Yeah, the Soo dropped the service in the mid-60s. From the Twin Cities, there are 4 flights: 2 Delta and 2 WestJet each about 3 hours, from Chicago ~4 hours.  It seems unlikely many would want to choose a very long rail trip of ~31 hours from MSP (1955 by train).  Maybe it could attract vacationers as a land cruise if it were extended another 4 hours west to Banff and Lake Louise (summers only).

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Posted by BLS53 on Sunday, July 30, 2017 9:39 PM

I know Calgary is an important Canadian business center, but what is there for the U S leisure traveller that they can't get in Denver or Salt Lake City?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, July 30, 2017 9:43 PM

schlimm
Interesting.  The Soo Line- CP used to run the Soo Line-Dominion by way of Soo from the TC to Portal, ND then on CP through Calgary to Vancouver. http://sooline.railfan.net/resources/timetables/55ptt4.jpg

Moose Jaw to Calgary, AB is 12 hours by rail on that schedule?    

Or am I reading it wrong?    It is a little over 6 hours driving time.   I wonder if the trip would be faster now vs. then?

So driving the trip is about 18 hours from St. Paul, on that schedule it looks like two overnights vs one.       OK so Southwest Chief is 48 hours on the train and two overnights in comparison.     That timetable just seems very, very slow from Chicago.  

So I am thinking about the sking crowd as well compared to Chicago-Denver not just the Summer tourists.

Roughly Banff is approx 1.75 to 2 hours driving West of Calgary, or at least that is how long it took me to drive it on a primarily 2 lane (one lane each direction) road........which it is most of the way.      Their Supercell T-Storms are just as biblical in scale as here in Texas with the hail sometimes but that is another story.

If I remember correctly from all those years ago when I rode the Rocky Mountaineer it was 2 hours from Lake Louise station to Calgary by train as well and the Rocky Mountaineer was a little slower than Amtrak on the flat no grade lines.....I think because of those ultra dome cars can't travel that fast.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, July 30, 2017 11:00 PM

For the tourist trade, it would be hard to compete with flying to Vancouver and taking the Rocky Mountaineer.

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, July 31, 2017 7:59 AM

CMStPnP

 

 
schlimm
Interesting.  The Soo Line- CP used to run the Soo Line-Dominion by way of Soo from the TC to Portal, ND then on CP through Calgary to Vancouver. http://sooline.railfan.net/resources/timetables/55ptt4.jpg

 

Moose Jaw to Calgary, AB is 12 hours by rail on that schedule?    

Or am I reading it wrong?    It is a little over 6 hours driving time.   I wonder if the trip would be faster now vs. then?

So driving the trip is about 18 hours from St. Paul, on that schedule it looks like two overnights vs one.       OK so Southwest Chief is 48 hours on the train and two overnights in comparison.     That timetable just seems very, very slow from Chicago.  

So I am thinking about the sking crowd as well compared to Chicago-Denver not just the Summer tourists.

Roughly Banff is approx 1.75 to 2 hours driving West of Calgary, or at least that is how long it took me to drive it on a primarily 2 lane (one lane each direction) road........which it is most of the way.      Their Supercell T-Storms are just as biblical in scale as here in Texas with the hail sometimes but that is another story.

If I remember correctly from all those years ago when I rode the Rocky Mountaineer it was 2 hours from Lake Louise station to Calgary by train as well and the Rocky Mountaineer was a little slower than Amtrak on the flat no grade lines.....I think because of those ultra dome cars can't travel that fast.

 

I know that trains can be delayed, but has the schedule of the Southwest Chief been been lengthened from 43:45 to 48 hours?

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Posted by JPS1 on Monday, July 31, 2017 8:47 AM

Deggesty
 I know that trains can be delayed, but has the schedule of the Southwest Chief been been lengthened from 43:45 to 48 hours? 

Amtrak.com says 43 hours 15 minutes from Chicago to LAX.  A Superliner roomette on September 20th for Chicago to LAX will set a passenger back $917. Wow!

A non-stop flight on Southwest leaving Chicago at 9:00 a.m. on September 20th for LAX can be had for $159.  A business class seat on United is $333. This is for a mid-day flight.  The highest priced business class seat is $655.  

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Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 6:00 AM

If Canada wants to fund it sure. In America, I think we have more important priorities when it comes to connecting to Chicago. How about a faster train from Chicago to Philadelphia (not Byrd Crap?) How about a train from Chicago to Houston so you don't have to transfer to a bus? How about a single train from Chicago to Florida? How about a train from Chicago to Las Vegas? They get rid of the Florida train and the Vegas train but you can still go to Seattle? Cause I really want to spend two whole days and wind up in Seattle as opposed to Florida or Vegas or California.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 7:01 AM

You can't always get what you want.  There was a Chicago-Florida train that was discontinued in the late 1970's due to a slow schedule and lack of ridership.  There was briefly a train to Houston that connected with the "Texas Eagle" but ridership was at bus levels.  Las Vegas never really had good passenger service even prior to 1971.  It was (and is) an intermediate point on the LA&SL line of Union Pacific, which is more oriented to overhead than online service.

Railroads are not like airlines, service from Point A to Point B is not always practicable and don't forget the intermediate points that an airline doesn't serve.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 10:41 AM

But all the things you say about the trains that got canceled you can also say about the crap trains that still exist today like Byrd Crap and the Empire Builder.

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Posted by Gramp on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 11:36 AM

If it were to come to pass, wouldn't it be simpler and faster to split off the Builder at Minot, ND rather than use CP the entire distance?  Or maybe even Shelby, MT if the route north from there is viable?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 6:08 PM

Philly Amtrak Fan

If Canada wants to fund it sure. In America, I think we have more important priorities when it comes to connecting to Chicago. How about a faster train from Chicago to Philadelphia (not Byrd Crap?) How about a train from Chicago to Houston so you don't have to transfer to a bus? How about a single train from Chicago to Florida? How about a train from Chicago to Las Vegas? They get rid of the Florida train and the Vegas train but you can still go to Seattle? Cause I really want to spend two whole days and wind up in Seattle as opposed to Florida or Vegas or California.

I don't know why you keep bringing it up.    I live in Dallas, there is no market currently for a Dallas to Houston train.   Amtrak was smart to drop it.

Pretty sure the HSR proposal will fall apart despite the money Dallas is spending on it.     You can't compete Dallas to Houston when you can buy an air ticket for less than $100 and be there in under an hour, with two major airports to pick from in Dallas alone to depart from.      Dallas and Houston both major airline hubs and pretty much each is an unsinkable aircraft carrier with the flights they service.    There is no way the Dallas to Houston HSR proposal will ever work because the cost of carrying a passenger that short distance by HSR will be far above what they can charge on ticket prices. 

A better proposed city pair would be Omaha-Kansas City, in my opinion.

Likewise, Las Vegas is always going to be a loser as far as rail transport is concerned even from LA direct.      The reason being is look at the average stay in Las Vegas.............very few people stay there more than a few days at the most.   I think you would really have to look hard to find someone that stays there a full week.    With a 3-4 night stay being tops, who the hell would eat up a full day taking a train there...........and then pay through the nose for it.     So pretty sure that Corridor will always fail as a rail corridor because the destination sucks and people are easily bored with the destination, in my opnion.    Even if they built a bullet train.........it's not going to get there in under 2 hours which is what I think it would need to, in order to be competitive.    Climbing the mountains between LA and Las Vegas........very expensive in fuel or electrical costs, more so at high speed.

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 6:47 PM

HSR should be competitive on short hauls.  Dallas to Houston 240 miles.  A real HSR should be capable of 2 hours or under.  By air takes 1 hour + security + transport to and from airports. $100 (some flights are a bit more) sounds like a money loser for the airlines, but Bluestreak would be a good source on that.  

LA to Vegas is only 270 miles, but the mountains would make HSR construction too expensive.

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Posted by VerMontanan on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 12:51 AM

Philly Amtrak Fan

But all the things you say about the trains that got canceled you can also say about the crap trains that still exist today like Byrd Crap and the Empire Builder.

Hard to say what "Philly Amtrak Fan" is talking about here, but since this thread is short - so far - I would guess he is referencing CSSHEGESWICH's points about discontinued Amtrak trains, " There was a Chicago-Florida train that was discontinued in the late 1970's due to a slow schedule and lack of ridership.  There was briefly a train to Houston that connected with the "Texas Eagle" but ridership was at bus levels.  Las Vegas never really had good passenger service even prior to 1971.  It was (and is) an intermediate point on the LA&SL line of Union Pacific, which is more oriented to overhead than online service."

With regard the "Byrd Crap," there is no Amtrak train by this name, so his comments are therefore without merit.  Either he is too ignorant to realize there is no Amtrak train by this name, or too ignorant to understand that unless you're the current president or a member of his administration, others will not take any of your statements seriously when the childishness displayed in namecalling immediately and totally trumps any point you may have been trying to make.

With regard to the same points referencing the Empire Builder, (i.e. slow schedule and lack of ridership), they're completely invalid.  Of all long distance trains operating today with the same endpoints as their pre-Amtrak counterparts, only the eastbound Empire Builder in 2017 has a faster schedule than the one in effect on April 30, 1971; With regard to ridership, the Empire Builder was the most ridden Amtrak long distance train from 2004 to 2013 inclusive and again in 2016.

So, while the content delivered by "Philly Amtrak Fan" lacks tact and accuracy, his multiple inclusions of the word "crap" are indeed applicable to his post overall.

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Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 5:40 AM

CMStPnP, why not just cancel the Texas Eagle? Why would anyone take it to San Antonio? Just drive there. Why would anyone take it to Austin? Just drive there. Why would anyone take it to Chicago or St. Louis? Just fly there. Apparently people do take it because some people like options and some people might like not having to drive or deal with crowded highways and either are afraid of or don't want to deal with the hassles of flying. I'm sure the same issues exist between Dallas and Houston or Los Angeles and Vegas. Sure cars and planes will dominate trains unless trains can get to 200+ mph but as long as you have enough people your third choice can still get you good numbers. I think there should be a national Amtrak system where you can travel from the East Coast to the West Coast by train and I have done it multiple times in my life. Sure it's faster to fly but I don't want to and I should have the option not to.

In general long distance trains are not a waste of money, the ones that run hundreds of miles through the middle of nowhere are and still run while better trains like the Broadway Limited get canceled because the worthless ones have friends in Congress are a waste of money. The Empire Builder may have the highest ridership but how much of that ridership is Chicago to Minneapolis? (NARP data shows it is the most popular city pair). There isn't one relevant stop between Minneapolis and Spokane, WA so the only people on the train between the two stops are those who are either getting on or off at a stop in between (almost no one) or are traveling through (and who would spend that long a train for those destinations or Seattle/Spokane?) You run a train between Chicago and Minneapolis and you'd get a third of the ridership/revenue of the EB for a fourth of the fuel and labor costs. And if anyone here hasn't figured out what Byrd Crap is... it's the Cardinal. If nobody lives there and nobody wants to go there, don't waste our taxpayer money having a train go there when we can have trains in more useful areas. And to stay relevant to the topic, a train to Calgary would be an even bigger waste of US taxpayer money. The question is where do people live and where do people want to go? The answer to neither question is Rugby, North Dakota or Thurmond, West Virginia.

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:58 AM

I am sure that the great majority of readers knew what train you were referring to when you gave it a disgusting name. I agree with VerMontanan that the appellation is uncalled for.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:33 PM

Philly Amtrak Fan

... The Empire Builder may have the highest ridership but how much of that ridership is Chicago to Minneapolis? (NARP data shows it is the most popular city pair). There isn't one relevant stop between Minneapolis and Spokane, WA so the only people on the train between the two stops are those who are either getting on or off at a stop in between (almost no one) or are traveling through (and who would spend that long a train for those destinations or Seattle/Spokane?) ...

 

CHI-MSP may be the most popular city pair, but it is still only 8% of Empire Builder ridership.  Looking at this table:

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/96/644/Top-Amtrak-Stations-by-State-ATK-12-097.pdf

MSP gets 120 thousand boardings/alightments per year, but little Whitefish, MT gets 66 thousand, more than half as much, which is pretty good for "almost no one".  You are always going on about bringing back the route of the Broadway Ltd, and the largest intermediate city west of Philly is Pittsburgh.  Presently Pitt gets 129 thousand per year, twice as many as Whitefish.  However, Pitt gets 2 sets of trains per day, so its average boardings per train is the same as Whitefish.  Apparently there was a reason why the Broadway was dropped.

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Posted by VerMontanan on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 11:01 PM

“Philly Amtrak Fan” has been severely chastised on other forums for his myopic “trains for me, but not for thee” mentality.  In other words, he advocates robbing others of their scant Amtrak long distance service so that routes that he deems more worthy could get service.  Anyone who has this “splitting the child” mentality is NOT a true passenger train advocate.  Another of his problems is his ignorance of the Amtrak long distance system.   According to some of his previous postings, he has never ridden the Empire Builder, and has additionally little understanding that factors other than online population contribute to ridership.

 

His most recent posting stating, “the Empire builder may have the highest ridership but how much of that ridership is Chicago to Minneapolis?” and continues, “there isn’t one relevant stop between Minneapolis and Spokane, WA.”  While I’m sure that most in the communities between St. Paul (there is no stop in Minneapolis) and Spokane would not consider themselves irrelevant, the facts around ridership on the Empire Builder paint the most accurate figure.

 

It is true that Chicago to St. Paul is the number 1 “city pair” by ridership.  Indeed 4 of the 10 top city pairs by ridership on the Empire Builder are between Chicago and St. Paul inclusive.  But when it comes to producing revenue, Chicago to St. Paul is only No. 3 and no other locations between Chicago and St. Paul are included the top 10 (https://www.narprail.org/site/assets/files/3441/25.pdf)

 

Historically speaking, one of Philly (as in Philadelphia) Amtrak Fan’s biggest pet peeves is that there is no Broadway Limited, i.e. direct service from Philadelphia (hence, the myopia observation) and Chicago (except for the Cardinal, for which he has a particular disdain).  It’s hard to know whether stops along a reinstated Broadway Limited might qualify as “relevant” in his eyes, but since I consider his “analysis” itself to be irrelevant, here is an interesting comparison on what we have now that definitively proves that on-line population can have little to do with ridership.

 

North Dakota and Ohio are next to each other on an alphabetic list of U.S. states.  With regard to Amtrak service, they are similar in that there are seven Amtrak stops in each state.  Each state has three staffed Amtrak stations.

 

But with regard to demographics, the two states are different.  While North Dakota is one and two-thirds larger in land area than Ohio, Ohio has over 17 times the population.  And while North Dakota has but one daily Amtrak train, the Empire Builder, Ohio has two daily trains - the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited - and the tri-weekly Cardinal (serving Cincinnati).  Referencing overall population, Ohio compared to North Dakota is underserved by Amtrak.  Both states have large areas without any Amtrak service.  But given the huge population advantage of Ohio (the Toledo metro area has about same population as all of North Dakota, and the Cleveland area about three times that of the Flickertail state.  So, since it has been stated there are no relevant Empire Builder stops in North Dakota and the huge population difference, Amtrak ridership in Ohio must exceed that in North Dakota by factors in the teens, correct?

 

Actually, in 2014, ridership at Ohio’s seven Amtrak stops was only 116% that of the same number of North Dakota stops.

 

Ridership among the cumulative 14 stops were:

1.Toledo, OH, 62,282

2. Cleveland, OH, 48,771

3. Williston, ND, 44,013

4. Minot, ND, 34,834

5. Fargo, ND, 23,314

6. Grand Forks, ND, 13,976

7. Cincinnati, OH, 13,375

8. Sandusky, OH, 9,840

9. Stanley, ND, 7,036

10. Bryan, OH, 6,597

11. Elyria, OH, 6,721

12. Alliance, OH, 4,691

13. Rugby, ND, 4,053

14. Devils Lake, ND, 3,555

 

The actual figures are 152,277 for Ohio with its three Amtrak trains and 130,781 for North Dakota and its one.  Additionally, it should be noted that ridership at Toledo also includes Amtrak Thruway bus passengers from the connection from (East) Lansing, Jackston, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Detroit which funnel non-Ohio riders into that stop.  It should also be noted that 2014 was a year when the Empire Builder suffered a ridership decline in North Dakota due to the ongoing issues with increased freight traffic due to the Bakken oil boom and subsequent very poor timekeeping, negatively affecting ridership.  Regardless, this proves the population cannot be the sole determinant of ridership, and that in states like North Dakota (and others along the Empire Builder route), a disproportionate part of the local population use Amtrak compared to other parts of the country that have Amtrak service.  This is partially out of necessary given that many communities have no other decent transportation options, and is why “not relevant” stops like Whitefish garner more riders than Cleveland, and why Shelby, Montana (population 3376) has more ridership than does Topeka, Kansas (metro population over 200,000).

 

With regard to the Cardinal, it would be pointless to try to explain to someone who childishly defames the name of something he doesn’t like/understand, but for the rest of us, the stop at Thurmond, West Virginia – at a station maintained by the National Park Service in the historic and stunning beautiful New River Gorge National River with little if any cost to Amtrak – is so worth it.

 

 

 

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Posted by VerMontanan on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 11:08 PM

While I consider any additional long distance service (on a route currently not already in use) to be a long shot until the U.S. and Canada develop a comprehensive transportation plan which includes intercity rail, the best shot at rail travel between Chicago and Calgary after VIA reinstates service on the ex-CP route through Calgary (something not vaguely in the works) would be to connect the VIA and Amtrak systems at Winnipeg, Manitoba with a train running over new route miles from Grand Forks, North Dakota (which last saw service April 30, 1971 just prior to the beginning of Amtrak, when the vestige of GN's Winnipeg Limited was discontinued).

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Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:59 AM

I'm sure VerMontanaFan isn't going to listen to what I have to say but hopefully others do. I hope others don't get into counting trains as to thinking that all trains are equal and that a train at 3pm in the afternoon is the same as a train at 3am in the morning. Look up when Cincinnati's trains leave. Why do people in Cincinnati not ride their trains? They have to arrive/leave in the middle of the night. I'm thinking a lot of people in Cincinnati don't even realize Amtrak even stops in Cincinnati. Same with Cleveland. Toledo has 1/3 of the population of Cleveland but higher ridership. They have hours closer to midnight/6am (pre midnight eastbound on the Capitol Limited). Coincidence their ridership is higher? Give Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo trains at good hours and see what happens to their ridership. As for Cleveland/Toledo having 2 trains, in reality they have 1 1/2 trains. Westbound the CL leaves CLE at 2:59am and 3:45am, hardly any difference. It makes sense to have the CL and LSL at these times since they are primarily Chicago to East Coast. On the other hand, the Cardinal makes no sense as a Chicago to East Coast train since the CL and LSL are 6-7 hours faster. It would work well as a Chicago-Cincinnati (and Chicago-Indianapolis) train but the times are horrible. Change the train to travel between Chicago and Cincinnati in daytime hours and the train would have a purpose and ridership between CHI-IND-CIN would skyrocket. So if the train is worthless for Chicago to East Coast travel and worthless for Chicago to Indy/Cincy travel, it is crap (hence the name). Come in, it's clever! And if you lost your train because some Senator thought his less productive train was more important you'd be upset too.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:56 AM

Philly Amtrak Fan
I'm sure VerMontanaFan isn't going to listen to what I have to say but hopefully others do. I hope others don't get into counting trains as to thinking that all trains are equal and that a train at 3pm in the afternoon is the same as a train at 3am in the morning. Look up when Cincinnati's trains leave. Why do people in Cincinnati not ride their trains? They have to arrive/leave in the middle of the night. I'm thinking a lot of people in Cincinnati don't even realize Amtrak even stops in Cincinnati. Same with Cleveland. Toledo has 1/3 of the population of Cleveland but higher ridership. They have hours closer to midnight/6am (pre midnight eastbound on the Capitol Limited). Coincidence their ridership is higher? Give Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo trains at good hours and see what happens to their ridership. As for Cleveland/Toledo having 2 trains, in reality they have 1 1/2 trains. Westbound the CL leaves CLE at 2:59am and 3:45am, hardly any difference. It makes sense to have the CL and LSL at these times since they are primarily Chicago to East Coast. On the other hand, the Cardinal makes no sense as a Chicago to East Coast train since the CL and LSL are 6-7 hours faster. It would work well as a Chicago-Cincinnati (and Chicago-Indianapolis) train but the times are horrible. Change the train to travel between Chicago and Cincinnati in daytime hours and the train would have a purpose and ridership between CHI-IND-CIN would skyrocket. So if the train is worthless for Chicago to East Coast travel and worthless for Chicago to Indy/Cincy travel, it is crap (hence the name). Come in, it's clever! And if you lost your train because some Senator thought his less productive train was more important you'd be upset too.

The unfortunate reality of passenger operation in today's world is that not every place can have convienent departure and arrival times.  Back in the day, intermediate cities on today's long distance trains had other trains, some originating/terminating at some of those cities.  Those trains were the ones that railroad operated passenger service generally eliminated first when trying to rationalize their passenger operations and diminish their losses in passenger operation.  

The 'network' of passenger operations that was ceeded to Amtrak was a bare framework of the passenger service that had served the country in the Golden Age of passenger service.  So long as there are automobiles and airplane the Golden Age will never return and Amtrak and the carriers it operate over have to make decisions in their own best interests.

In the Golden Age, Cincinnati was going to have two dedicated Streamliners by my former employer's predecessor companies.  One came to life, the B&O's Cincinnatian and one was stillborn, the C&O's Chessie.  The Baltimore to Cincinnati streamliner only lasted 3 years on the route.  

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, August 03, 2017 10:53 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Philly Amtrak Fan
I'm sure VerMontanaFan isn't going to listen to what I have to say but hopefully others do. I hope others don't get into counting trains as to thinking that all trains are equal and that a train at 3pm in the afternoon is the same as a train at 3am in the morning. Look up when Cincinnati's trains leave. Why do people in Cincinnati not ride their trains? They have to arrive/leave in the middle of the night. I'm thinking a lot of people in Cincinnati don't even realize Amtrak even stops in Cincinnati. Same with Cleveland. Toledo has 1/3 of the population of Cleveland but higher ridership. They have hours closer to midnight/6am (pre midnight eastbound on the Capitol Limited). Coincidence their ridership is higher? Give Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo trains at good hours and see what happens to their ridership. As for Cleveland/Toledo having 2 trains, in reality they have 1 1/2 trains. Westbound the CL leaves CLE at 2:59am and 3:45am, hardly any difference. It makes sense to have the CL and LSL at these times since they are primarily Chicago to East Coast. On the other hand, the Cardinal makes no sense as a Chicago to East Coast train since the CL and LSL are 6-7 hours faster. It would work well as a Chicago-Cincinnati (and Chicago-Indianapolis) train but the times are horrible. Change the train to travel between Chicago and Cincinnati in daytime hours and the train would have a purpose and ridership between CHI-IND-CIN would skyrocket. So if the train is worthless for Chicago to East Coast travel and worthless for Chicago to Indy/Cincy travel, it is crap (hence the name). Come in, it's clever! And if you lost your train because some Senator thought his less productive train was more important you'd be upset too.

 

The unfortunate reality of passenger operation in today's world is that not every place can have convienent departure and arrival times.  Back in the day, intermediate cities on today's long distance trains had other trains, some originating/terminating at some of those cities.  Those trains were the ones that railroad operated passenger service generally eliminated first when trying to rationalize their passenger operations and diminish their losses in passenger operation.  

The 'network' of passenger operations that was ceeded to Amtrak was a bare framework of the passenger service that had served the country in the Golden Age of passenger service.  So long as there are automobiles and airplane the Golden Age will never return and Amtrak and the carriers it operate over have to make decisions in their own best interests.

In the Golden Age, Cincinnati was going to have two dedicated Streamliners by my former employer's predecessor companies.  One came to life, the B&O's Cincinnatian and one was stillborn, the C&O's Chessie.  The Baltimore to Cincinnati streamliner only lasted 3 years on the route.  

Not everywhere can be judged as equals.

 

there was also the Powhatan Arrow, which did last a few years more. It gave daytime service between Norfolk and CIncinnati. Somehow, the N&W continued to operate it through the summer of 1969, though with a schedule changed to overnight between Norfolk and Roanoke for the last year or so of its operation, after the complete disconuation of the Cavalier.

Johnny

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Fort Worth, TX
  • 388 posts
Posted by VerMontanan on Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:08 PM

Philly Amtrak Fan:  You need to create a completely new thread and place your most recent post there because it has nothing to do with this thread.

 

***

 

My comparison of ridership at the seven stations in North Dakota with that of the seven on Ohio was specifically to show that there is usage similar to those on Chicago-East Coast routes, in reference to Philly Amtrak Fan's ridiculous “there isn’t one relevant stop between Minneapolis and Spokane, WA” claim, which was not elaborated on.  At all.  (And the reason is apparent to all, even if it wasn't meant as a different thread.)

 

Instead, a completely new topic was begun about how poor train times are in Ohio.  Clearly, this is an off-the-wall, completely different thread.  I can't tell if it is a suggestion this is the reason that ridership on North Dakota’s one Amtrak train is more or less equal to that in Ohio with 1700% more people.  As an aside, it’s also interesting to note that Fargo, ND has greater ridership but less population than Erie, PA (on the Lake Shore Limited route) with similar train times, and the ridership at Elyria, OH is much less than at Grand Forks, ND, again though Elyria-Lorain has by far the greater population but comparable unpalatable train times.  Night or day, the Empire Builder is indeed more relevant to its online communities than comparable Amtrak trains in Ohio.

 

With regard to Philly’s new post about the Cardinal, defamation of a train that others might have a fondness for is hardly clever, but it is crap.  Moreover, his continued drumbeat that the Cardinal is in place to be a Chicago-East Coast train clearly shows he’s not even qualified to comment.  The main focus of most if not all long distance Amtrak trains is to provide service between intermediate points or from smaller markets to major ones where other public transportation is poor or non-existent.  The statement “change the train to travel between Chicago and Cincinnati in daytime hours and…ridership…would skyrocket” is especially telling about his ignorance of the route.

 

It is 319 rail miles from Chicago to Cincinnati.  The mere suggestion that any train that takes 8 hours and 32 minutes to traverse (37.4 MPH) could have “skyrocketing” ridership is ridiculous at best (Megabus can do it in less than 6 hours; Amtrak would have to better than that up against about 10 bus trips and nearly 20 non-stop flights on weekdays)  Creating a day train from Chicago to Cincinnati would also have the downside of eliminating connections to the four western long distance trains at Chicago.  While Philly Amtrak Fan probably would prefer that these trains not exist anyway, the salient point is that without these connections, ridership would plummet, not skyrocket.

 

 

Getting the Cardinal across Indiana has always been problematic.  The route it uses is a hodgepodge of routes that pre-Amtrak were never part of a Chicago-Cincinnati route, and as a result, is ridiculously slow.  Earlier in its lifetime, the Cardinal did indeed run on a more palatable timing across Indiana, and that result indeed was that connections to Western long distance trains in Chicago were severed.  As someone pointed out in the original thread, it’s not possible to all locations to have good train times (indeed, there has never been a Chicago-East Coast passenger train that didn’t have poor station times somewhere).  Given the relatively poor track they’re dealing with, and that the population base in Indianapolis and Cincinnati are nearly the same, Amtrak has chosen to keep the connection with Western trains in Chicago, provide better times in West Virginia (especially eastbound along the scenic New River Gorge), and provide better arrival times in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.  In fact, if the eastbound Cardinal was to arrive in Cincinnati before midnight, it likely would need to terminate in Washington, DC (where arrival would be just before midnight), and wouldn’t even make a connection to the (ex-) Night Owl. The situation is similar (though not identical) westbound.  I know these would not be issues for someone who doesn’t think the train should be running at all, but for Amtrak and others based in reality, current Cardinal schedule is pretty much optimum given its existing parameters. 

Mark Meyer

  • Member since
    August, 2004
  • From: NW indiana
  • 1,535 posts
Posted by n012944 on Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:31 PM

Philly Amtrak Fan

 it is crap (hence the name). Come in, it's clever!  

Nope, it is obnoxious.

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 2,580 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:31 PM

Philly Amtrak Fan

I'm sure VerMontanaFan isn't going to listen to what I have to say but hopefully others do. I hope others don't get into counting trains as to thinking that all trains are equal and that a train at 3pm in the afternoon is the same as a train at 3am in the morning. Look up when Cincinnati's trains leave. Why do people in Cincinnati not ride their trains? They have to arrive/leave in the middle of the night. I'm thinking a lot of people in Cincinnati don't even realize Amtrak even stops in Cincinnati. Same with Cleveland. Toledo has 1/3 of the population of Cleveland but higher ridership. They have hours closer to midnight/6am (pre midnight eastbound on the Capitol Limited). Coincidence their ridership is higher? Give Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo trains at good hours and see what happens to their ridership. As for Cleveland/Toledo having 2 trains, in reality they have 1 1/2 trains. Westbound the CL leaves CLE at 2:59am and 3:45am, hardly any difference. It makes sense to have the CL and LSL at these times since they are primarily Chicago to East Coast. On the other hand, the Cardinal makes no sense as a Chicago to East Coast train since the CL and LSL are 6-7 hours faster. It would work well as a Chicago-Cincinnati (and Chicago-Indianapolis) train but the times are horrible. Change the train to travel between Chicago and Cincinnati in daytime hours and the train would have a purpose and ridership between CHI-IND-CIN would skyrocket. So if the train is worthless for Chicago to East Coast travel and worthless for Chicago to Indy/Cincy travel, it is crap (hence the name). Come in, it's clever! And if you lost your train because some Senator thought his less productive train was more important you'd be upset too.

I have driven from NE suburb of Detroit to Toledo to catch a train to Chicago vs taking the Chicago to Detroit train.    Why?   Because it was an hour faster and the seating was more comfortable plus it had a Vista Dome car and a full service diner.   The faster time to Chicago negated most of the drive and made the comparison to the Chicago to Detroit trains more favorable.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,312 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, August 03, 2017 7:41 PM

Granted, not everyone rides the train so as to enjoy the ride and the scenery. As has been said, traveling up along the Kanawha and New Rivers on the Cardinal is a treat. The Greenbrier is not quite as noticeable, but the entire trip across West Virginia--and into Virginia is worth making. True, it is operated only three days a week in each direction (and that does not work well for me in making a certain desired connection)--but it does give the opportunity to enjoy the land to those who are able to travel on those days.

The first time I rode the Cardinal, it left Chicago in the morning, and the only way I was ale to take it was by spending the night with a nephew and his wife who lived in one of the suburbs near the Burlington. In later years, I was able to make the connection in Chicago and I planned on spending a night in Washington. 

Johnny

  • Member since
    May, 2007
  • 1 posts
Posted by piplog on Monday, August 07, 2017 9:45 PM

WOW!!!!!!!!!

The title of this thead is:

"Would a Chicago to Calgary, AB Passenger Train be viable?".

It wasn't "Which Amtrak trains would be a good idea to run", or, "Where should Amtrak have kept it's trains", or, "Which old trains would be good to still have today?".

Could everyone please keep to the original topic?

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 1,476 posts
Posted by cx500 on Monday, August 07, 2017 10:12 PM

Since the through passenger service on the route had disappeared by the winter 1962/1963 schedule, it would appear that it was not a particularly busy train.  I don't think much has changed as far as travel patterns since.  It used to be busier in the summer with tourists and tour groups heading for the Rockies, but flying directly to where the scenery is more spectacular soon became a more efficient option in use of limited vacation time.

And of course, if we are talking only economics, very few passenger trains are viable.  Exceptions such as the Rocky Mountaineer succeed by marketing the trip as a cruise experience at VERY expensive ticket prices.  But then, most other forms of transport are also subsidised but less visibly.

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