What about the Lake Shore Limited this summer?

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What about the Lake Shore Limited this summer?
Posted by NKP guy on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 10:12 AM

   The New York Times has this information in an article today by Patrick McGeehan entitled "2nd Summer Of Rail Work By Amtrak":

 

"Amtrak also plans to reroute its trains that run along the Hudson River to Grand Central Terminal from Penn Station, from late May until early September, for various repairs."

"During that diversion, there will be no direct service between New York City and Chicago for the first time since Amtrak was created in 1971 --- with the exception of unplanned disruptions, said Gary Williams, Amtrak's chief engineer."

   Huh??  Is there to be no Lake Shore Limited twixt NYC & Chicago at all?  Will the Lake Shore Limited use GCT, instead?  This is unclear; who can explain what's really going to happen to this train this summer?

  Also, there is a small error in the article:  Amtrak's original service from New York City to Chicago via Cleveland was dropped about January, 1972.  It was restored in November, 1975 with the creation of the Lake Shore Limited, a much-beloved term from the old Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway and its famous flyers of yore.

       

 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 11:32 AM

This is going to have to do, I suspect more or less directly, with the issue of nose doors that was the subject of the FL9-revival thread a couple of weeks ago.  At least theoretically I see no issue with attaching a MUable 'cab car' to the front of the part of the LSL going south of Harmon and, if necessary, either shortening the consist to platform length or arranging for the 'end cars' to be aisle-access-only going into GCT.  That they are not planning this indicates to me that they plan to turn the NYC sleeper consist somewhere logical -- perhaps Harmon? -- and coordinate service with lesser trains the rest of the way into GCT.  It doesn't seem too strange to have a reasonably luxuriously-equipped push-pull consist running reasonably express and stopping across the platform from the actual LSL; surely there are enough tracks at Harmon to permit a pair to be occupied for the time needed for extended 'station work' involving baggage, sleeping-car occupancy, etc.?  The only additional difficulty would be the commissary arrangements, which would form their own discussion here. 

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Posted by runnerdude48 on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:15 PM

I read somewhere that they were going to run the LSL into Boston probably with the sleepers, what passes for a diner, and all coaches and use the commissary there.  There probably would be a connecting train to/from GCT from Albany.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:33 PM

runnerdude48
I read somewhere that they were going to run the LSL into Boston probably with the sleepers, what passes for a diner, and all coaches and use the commissary there.  There probably would be a connecting train to/from GCT from Albany.

That's what I would be afraid of, the problem being that much of the joy of riding a Chicago Pullman train both 'out of' and 'into' the New York area would be lost with a forced train change in Albany -- look at what time that would be.  At least theoretically the New York part of the train could run through as far as Mott Haven, which might be close enough to use 'mobile' commissary support for the turn (with primary maintenance being at Albany for the duration of the exercise) although I have no knowledge what the present state of 'passenger' infrastructure in that area is now.

Easier, of course, as noted just to run the sleeper train from Boston to Chicago for the duration and not have to mess with consist changes in Albany and then a train change further down.  But what a cost!

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Posted by PJS1 on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:56 PM

I just tried to book a trip from New York to Chicago on the third Wednesday of June, July, and August.  The LSL is shown as being sold out for those dates, which may be Amtrak's way of saying that it will not run from NYC. 

The suggested alternatives are a connecting train to Washington and the Cardinal to Chicago or the Pennsylvanian to Pittsburgh and a transfer to the Capitol Limited. 

Albany to Chicago is available on the dates tested.  It is shown as train #449.

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 2:27 PM

448-449 are the regularly scheduled bos - chi  section of the lake shore. Another alternative is taking an empire train from nyp to Albany/ Ren and connect with the 448 onwards too Chicago. You can either book a Chicago bound coach seat or sleeper space and be enjoying dinner as you travel west across up state NY.

My question would be will 448-449 pick up 48-49 dinner or will it keep it's lounge car only. Amtrak could add to 448-449 capcity  by sending the nyp sleepers to Boston.

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Posted by runnerdude48 on Friday, April 13, 2018 9:36 AM

Mr. Willison, this is what Amtrak is proposing except that there will be no Empire Service trains from NYP but rather GCT.  The bridge over the Harlem River at Spuyten Duyvil will be out of service.  Anybodies guess as to whether the "diner" will be operating.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 13, 2018 10:12 AM

runnerdude48
Anybody's guess as to whether the "diner" will be operating.

This raises an interesting question.  I suspect the 'official' Amtrak answer is already inherent in the 'all LSL space is sold out' excuse, but it does seem to me there is little if any operational problem in operating the 'most logical connecting train' from GCT to Albany with all the amenities other than bilevel cars would provide, and this specifically includes either Heritage or Viewliner diners for the connecting passengers from New York.

The semantic question that occurs to me is this: Some relatively large percentage of the New York-to-Chicago passengers will have reserved sleeper space to be occupied from Albany west, and I believe there is still an associated meals expense included in the sleeper charge.  Amtrak can either reduce the charge for passengers boarding at Albany by the amount 'foregone' by having no dinner on the Empire Service train, or keep their margin (and not incidentally access to the New York commissary) by running the diner and lounge service for all the connecting passengers.  If the overall 'net' cost of providing the diners -- including switching and provisioning -- is not a positive number, I would not expect to see them operated.  It remains to be seen if 'enhanced' lounge service will be considered cost-effective or 'deserved'.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:23 AM

Not quite what Amtrak suggest, since their reservation system  recommendation is a cardinal/ capital routing. 

Will be the summer return of the new England state limited. ( Long live the NYC )

It's about time  the bridge gets repaired. Can't tell you how many times I was delayed by the bridge on the train and on my boat trying to get to the long island sound via the Harlem river.  It will be an inconvenience, but a much needed improvement.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 15, 2018 9:04 AM

Metro-North no longer has any train servicing facilities at Mott Haven.  There may be some mid-day train yard tracks under the new (30-year-old) real-estate aparment complex there, but there are no train servicing facilities.  Gone.  Whatkind of food and beverage service is available on Empre service trains?   Can one book a reservation on the Empire Service train that connects with the Boston Lake Shore at Albany?   Does the timetable show a decent connecting service?

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