Less than daily Amtrak Service on the Florida "Atlantic Coast" routes starts July 6, NOT October 1

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  • Member since
    January 2019
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Less than daily Amtrak Service on the Florida "Atlantic Coast" routes starts July 6, NOT October 1
Posted by Carl Fowler on Friday, June 19, 2020 3:48 PM
I'd like to share this release from the Florida Association of Railroad Passengers on the pending cut-back of the SILVER METEOR and the SILVER STAR to quad-weekly (Meteor) and tri-weekly (Star) from July 6, NOT October 1. This message speaks volumes--alas.
 
 
Effective July 6 the SILVER METEOR will run 4 times per week and the STAR 3 times on the days not served by the METEOR. All stops New York to Rocky Mount and Savannah to Miami (except Tampa and Lakeland, FL) retain a daily train--but so much is wrong here.
 
Amtrak has failed to consider connections. The STAR days will provide New York times too early southbound for safe connections from points Boston to New London and none at all coming back north. So three times each week the most important city in New England--Boston--and its near rival-- Providence, RI, will be inaccessible to Amtrak riders from the Florida/Atlantic Coast routes. As the STAR will be the weekend New York-Florida choice there will be this issue for northern New England every weekend.
 
In Florida the city of Tampa (population 392,000+) will see an actual train only three times per week. Tampa-Miami service also drops to thrice weekly. The bus via Orlando (geographically absurd) route to get from Tampa to Miami doesn't function on SILVER METEOR days either, as, typically for Amtrak, bus/train times at Orlando don't permit a reliable connection.
 
The capitol of South Carolina, Columbia, sees a train only three times per week and riders can never connect from it to Boston/northern New England. Eastbound connections fail from Chicago at Washington between the CAPITOL LIMITED and the STAR. Scratch coming from Chicago to Columbia without a DC hotel stay!
 
If you live in Charleston you too can only connect to the west realistically on SILVER METEOR days--even though the PALMETTO may cover the other three days of week (indeed for now it is still daily even after July 6). Its Washington and New York times do not permit connections either to Chicago or Boston.
 
But the new Viewliner diners are going back on the METEOR/STAR trainsets according to reports today from on-board staff on the southbound METEOR. That sounds great at first--but the diner will still be serving only the "Fresh and Contemporary" microwave menu and will be for sleeper passengers only. Small consolation?
 
This move is the epitome of what's wrong here. The second largest city in Florida gets a train three times per week! A diner returns to the METEOR/STAR--but only as a "Sleeper--lounge". On paper daily service remains at the beginning and end of the route--but not if you need to connect to the west or dinky bergs like Boston and Providence on the days the STAR operates.
 
The Florida route, despite Amtrak's worst efforts, remains the strongest long-distance combo in the east. This is not justified. Yesterday's METEOR was back to three sleepers and four coaches. Traffic is already returning.
 
This hasty move--despite Congressional direction to keep the system intact in FY2020, is intended to rush the cuts to preclude a Congressional veto of the Flynn/Gardner Tri-weekly plan. Expect other routes to feel the axe shortly.


  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, June 19, 2020 6:48 PM

The only thing Amtrak cares about is driving away any possible demand for their services. The pre-Amtrak Penn Central strategy.

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 650 posts
Posted by JPS1 on Friday, June 19, 2020 7:38 PM

Carl Fowler
This hasty move--despite Congressional direction to keep the system intact in FY2020, is intended to rush the cuts to preclude a Congressional veto of the Flynn/Gardner Tri-weekly plan. Expect other routes to feel the axe shortly. 

The travel industry is in crisis.  Airlines, buses, hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, travel agencies, transit systems, etc. are cutting back for self-preservation.  Why should Amtrak be excluded from doing the same?

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