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Amtrak to apply to FRA for funds for DFW Southern Crescent extension.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, April 27, 2023 1:04 AM

blue streak 1
2 platforms?

Comparing an aerial view of the current station with that press release, I am not quite sure what they are intending to do because there are two canopies per platform.    So will they have two canopies on one wide shared platform or two seperate narrow platforms with only one canopy each upgraded.    Beats me.

The later option is a long walk to be a simple cross platform connection given what is in place now.    I don't think they will be realigning the second track with just a $13 million budget but we'll see.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 8:08 PM

blue streak 1
Certainly seems to be setting up for MEI  <> FTW service.

See the carefully-worded language in the story:

... the upgrades will also put the Queen City in a good spot as discussions around a proposed service line along the Interstate 20 corridor continue. The proposed route would open up new travel options throughout the southeast with passenger service running from Atlanta, Georgia, to Dallas, Texas.

Note how very different the non-railfans describe what this route is, and how no mention of any difficulties with the route might be.  Interesting too that they at least imply that the new train will originate at Atlanta and not at an across-platform connection with the Crescent service.

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 6:17 PM

Amtrak wants to start work improving the Meridian station.  2 platforms?  Certainly seems to be setting up for MEI  <> FTW service.

MS: Amtrak plans $13M project at Union Station | Mass Transit (masstransitmag.com)

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 25, 2023 3:56 PM

charlie hebdo
#3 Given the low probability of #1 AND #2 occurring at the same time, how can you justify the expense of this addition to the Crescent?

He does have the point that Amtrak is the one to answer this question, as they're going ahead with it fully aware of the extra LD losses likely involved... at least at the beginning.

I've seen discussions of passenger service over the Speedway since the days MidSouth was operating it... and it was still a 20mph line through Shreveport and Bossier.  The only major complaint would be handling through Atlanta, and I think combining the trains at Meridian solves most of the potential issues, even if there might have to be some 'swapping' to prevent two sequential stops going through Atlanta.

I hadn't considered weather delays in assessing the new service.  With one of the first visible effects of climate change being significantly greater rain and snow weather problems on the trains going through Chicago, I'm surprised there is so little 'love' for the idea of a better routing going south out of New York.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, March 25, 2023 10:28 AM

charlie hebdo
Your proposal so you should be able to answer.

Oh I still don't work for Amtrak but thanks for the vote of confidence in my abilities.  My 352 home subdivision HOA board also just elected me to President of the subdivision HOA.  :)    It's going to be a turnaround story too!!!    

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, March 24, 2023 11:24 AM

Your proposal so you should be able to answer.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 4:43 AM

charlie hebdo
#1 How often is there such a large storm in or near Chicago? #2 Would the few passengers going coast to coast mind? It's highly unlikely they are in a hurry. #3 Given the low probability of #1 AND #2 occurring at the same time, how can you justify the expense of this addition to the Crescent?

#1 Only used the storm as one example.   Plenty of other reasons for reroutes, sold out trains, truncated trains due to derailments, etc.

#2 Not all passengers that transfer in Chicago are going all the way to the West Coast.   You can use the Heartland Flyer to link up with the Southwest Chief West of KC.     And how exactly would you know it is only a few transfers to Western bound trains off Eastern terminating trains at Chicago?   I've run into a LOT of people that have made that connection just on the Texas Eagle.

#3  I think you wanted to address that question to Amtrak.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, March 20, 2023 6:34 PM

CMStPnP
After service on this route starts, they can use it to reroute passengers in case of a service interruption in the North.

Questions:

#1 How often is there such a large storm in or near Chicago?

#2 Would the few passengers going coast to coast mind? It's highly unlikely they are in a hurry.

#3 Given the low probability of #1 AND #2 occurring at the same time, how can you justify the expense of this addition to the Crescent?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, March 19, 2023 7:21 PM

PJS1
The Crescent lost $37.8 million on a fully allocated cost basis in FY22.  Baring a financial miracle, adding a section to run to DFW will only increase the losses.
 
In FY22 the Crescent’s on time performance at all stations, including the end points, was 49.7%.  The customer OTP was 52.6%; a typical customer could expect to arrive 97 minutes late on average.  There is no reason to believe a DFW section would do any better. 
 
Splitting the Crescent so a portion of it can run to DFW may make for good politics.  It does not make good economic sense. 
 
One place where expanded passenger train service makes sense is between DFW and San Antonio, which is one of the most densely traveled corridors in Texas.  I favor encouraging Brightline or a similar private operator, with help from the federal and state governments, to develop the service. 

 
This is covered by the lawsuit dealing with the new New Orleans - Mobile service that Amtrak wants to startup.     Unfortunately the agreement is sealed but both NS and CSX agreed to now cooperate on several key routes in addition to improving New Orleans to Mobile service in exchange for.......not quite sure from Amtrak yet but it seems parts leaked to the public that Amtrak agreed to pay for track infrastructure on the New Orleans to Mobile route in exchange for train performance guarantees.    That agreement on NO to Mobile plus the verbal and written agreement from Canadian Pacific makes Amtrak optimistic on the train.    The NO to Mobile agreement was a prerequisite to Amtrak even considering this train.
 
Another item that is it appears that TXDOT is onboard with the service but no financial contribution in mentioned comming from TXDOT so far or even from Texas.   Most of the route has been studied already less than 10 years ago.    Though the initial ask for FRA funds is for a study only on the Mississippi Trackage and needs to upgrade it.   I believe they mentioned that Amtrak expected some kind of financial contribution from Louisiana and Mississippi for station construction and such but was vague about if it would be before or after service start.
 
The only reason I feel Amtrak is interested in this route is not the viability of the route itself but rather to plug a gap in the nationwide network.    As it stands now if there is a very bad snowstorm in Chicago, they have no real way to reroute passengers from the NE to the West Coast.    After service on this route starts, they can use it to reroute passengers in case of a service interruption in the North.
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Posted by PJS1 on Friday, March 17, 2023 9:58 PM
The Crescent lost $37.8 million on a fully allocated cost basis in FY22.  Baring a financial miracle, adding a section to run to DFW will only increase the losses.
 
In FY22 the Crescent’s on time performance at all stations, including the end points, was 49.7%.  The customer OTP was 52.6%; a typical customer could expect to arrive 97 minutes late on average.  There is no reason to believe a DFW section would do any better. 
 
Splitting the Crescent so a portion of it can run to DFW may make for good politics.  It does not make good economic sense. 
 
One place where expanded passenger train service makes sense is between DFW and San Antonio, which is one of the most densely traveled corridors in Texas.  I favor encouraging Brightline or a similar private operator, with help from the federal and state governments, to develop the service. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, March 17, 2023 1:31 PM

matthewsaggie

A daily train from NOL to San Antonio? The UP would never stand for it. Probably would cause a service meltdown in the first week.

It's actually in the Amtrak Connect US plan to start Houston to San Antonio service.    I only see one railroad that connects those two cities directly and that is UP.    Thought Amtrak has made no moves towards that service yet because lack of local support probably.

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Thursday, March 16, 2023 10:10 PM

A daily train from NOL to San Antonio? The UP would never stand for it. Probably would cause a service meltdown in the first week.

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Posted by bill613a on Thursday, March 16, 2023 9:35 PM

While this is certainly good news the opportunity is there to really improve this service.  Currently the focus is on splitting the CRESCENT at Meridian, MS. with the main section going to DFW and thru cars to New Orleans. Why not split the train at Birmingham with a section going to DFW and the southern section going via Montgomery-Mobile-NO-Houston-San Antonio? With an untruncated HEARTLAND FLYER running to Houston the nation's fourth largest city would have two daily trains instead of its current tri-weekly schedule.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 16, 2023 1:47 PM

The program's Web site, with some links to detailed information:

https://railroads.dot.gov/federal-state-partnership-intercity-passenger

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Amtrak to apply to FRA for funds for DFW Southern Crescent extension.
Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 10:14 PM

Wow, that was fast.   I guess now we'll finally see who was right on the routing finally.   We have to wait one more month, link below says they will apply next month (April 2023).   Who knows how long the wait will be after that.

https://www.southernrailcommission.org/press-releases/2023/3/10/southern-rail-commission-and-amtrak-announce-progress-on-passenger-rail-corridors-across-the-south

 

 

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