Amtrak Should Have Canceled Other Trains Instead of the Ones They Did In the Past

1728 views
36 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,534 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, August 06, 2017 3:21 PM

To a great extent, if US Mail had not been removed from rail passenger operations in the late 60's - there might have been enough revenue in passenger operations for the carriers to have continued to operate at their late 60's level for several years longer before the formation of Amtrak.  The US Government in the form of the Postal Service hastened the creation of Amtrak.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • 38 posts
Posted by XOTOWER on Monday, August 07, 2017 9:04 PM

I rode the Cardinal from Chicago to Philly and it does suck. I have also gone south to DC to get the Capitol to Chicago and I have jumped on the Pennsylvanian at 30th Street and changed at Pittsburgh.  The third choice is the best. The Pennsylvanian actually runs on time. The 4 hours dead time in that abandoned dungeon in Pittsburgh is grim but it is not that far from some nice retaurants.  The main point is well taken that Philly which is a huge Amtrak market deserves its own fast through train to Chicago. Does Amtrak even know the word"fast". F-A-S-T!

  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 10,163 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 7:16 AM

As I mentioned earlier, there was a reasonably fast (18-hour) Chicago-Philadelphia day train during the Warrington presidency.  It usually had two coaches and a snack-bar coach but the real reason for its existence was the 20+ express boxes and RoadRailers behind the coaches which handled the mail.  Like most passenger trains on the Erie, it probably handled more passengers to and from intermediate points than from end to end.

Philadelphia-Chicago is also reasonably served by the airlines, so I'm not sure how much of a market exists for end-to-end passenger rail service between these two points.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 101 posts
Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 8:06 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

As I mentioned earlier, there was a reasonably fast (18-hour) Chicago-Philadelphia day train during the Warrington presidency.  It usually had two coaches and a snack-bar coach but the real reason for its existence was the 20+ express boxes and RoadRailers behind the coaches which handled the mail.  Like most passenger trains on the Erie, it probably handled more passengers to and from intermediate points than from end to end.

You mean the extended Pennsylvanian?

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=20000521n&item=0030

Note the starting/endpoint times (6:35am-12:26am west, 6:00am-12:52am east). Absolutely worthless for endpoint to endpoint traffic and not very useful for either end. If I lived in CLE, I'd rather leave home in the middle of the night than arrive in CHI at 12:26am (later if delayed) since if I have to be out in the middle of the night I'd rather be close to home than away from home. The only usefulness of this schedule would be between South Bend and Harrisburg with Cleveland and Pittsburgh being the biggest markets. If they had ever used the "Skyline Connection" schedule, that would have made more sense (the 1:05am out of Philly westbound would suck but you'd arrive in 30th Station close to if not before midnight).

CSSHEGEWISCH

Philadelphia-Chicago is also reasonably served by the airlines, so I'm not sure how much of a market exists for end-to-end passenger rail service between these two points.

 
You could also say that about New York-Chicago, Washington-Chicago, New York-Orlando, New York-Miami, Chicago-Los Angeles, Chicago-Dallas, New York-Atlanta, etc. If there's no point for Chicago-Philadelphia rail service, what's the point of any of the other LD rail lines? I just want what New York, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Rugby, North Dakota, etc. have, a daily train to Chicago. Why are we inferior to Shelby, Montana?
  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • 992 posts
Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 8:44 AM

When the train was extended to Chicago, it was to handle the mail contract. No  consideration  was given to scheduling. When the contract was cancelled, so was the extension.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 101 posts
Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:04 AM

Well this was the pre-Chicago schedule of the Pennsylvanian so there was a shift. http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19980517n&item=0028. Whether that was mail driven or to accommodate Chicago and Ohio/Indiana I don't know:

By extending the train to Chicago they had to truncate the eastern end to Philly (unless they really wanted the train to serve New York in the graveyard shift) and the New York/New Jersey service was truncated. At that point, Pittsburgh had other two trains to Chicago (Three Rivers and Capitol Limited) and one other train to New York (Three Rivers) so the second New York train was probably more useful than the third to Chicago, especially if the third arrived in Chicago after midnight. If they wanted a daytime Ohio train, they needed the Skyline schedule and not the Pennsylvanian and the Skyline schedule worked better to extend to New York.

I think the Pennsylvanian schedule might have been chosen to avoid having to need sleepers (Palmetto for the same reason). I don't think that an overnight train should require sleepers. Currently the Night Owl does not have sleepers. For a brief time the Three Rivers did not have sleepers either. I'd rather have a sleeper less Three Rivers than have to change trains and I am sure the Amish that ride the trains from Lancaster to the West Coast would as well. I have never ridden a sleeper anyway (too expensive). In FY 2016 only 39,560 of the 382,238 riders on the LSL did so on sleepers (that's slightly more than 10%) so an overnight sleeper certainly is feasible. Lack of sleeper cars should not be an excuse for not running an LD train. Sure, I wouldn't run a two overnight train without sleepers but one night why not?

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 788 posts
Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:26 AM

Philly Amtrak Fan
I have never ridden a sleeper anyway (too expensive).

   Think about getting the Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card (MasterCard), and then you'll be able to do as others do and ride in comfort in those sleeping cars for free.

Philly Amtrak Fan
Lack of sleeper cars should not be an excuse for not running an LD train. Sure, I wouldn't run a two overnight train without sleepers but one night why not?

   Have you ever traveled by train overnight with a woman who is older than 30?  

   Women's standards of cleanliness and desire for privacy increase rapidly as they get older; they tend also to prefer dining cars to eat-at-your-seat sandwiches.  Many men  do, too.  

   Sleeping cars on overnight trains are really about decency and comfort in travel.  Without them you might as well take Greyhound or, as your wife will one day ask you, "Why don't we just fly?

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy

Search the Community