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Thu Feb 21, 2019, 09:55 AM

Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership Could Sidetrack Storied Trains

Last edited Thu Feb 21, 2019, 10:43 AM - Edit history (6)

U.S.

Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership Could Sidetrack Storied Trains

Railroad wants to offer more service between cities in fast-growing regions. That could mean swapping sleepers for passenger cars

By Ted Mann | Photographs by Adria Malcolm for The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 20, 2019 7:00 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—Seeking to attract millions more passengers, Amtrak is preparing an overhaul of its national network targeting increased service in the South and West—at the expense of long-haul routes beloved by train buffs and their allies in Congress.

The goal is to revamp the way Amtrak runs trains on the aging network of national routes it already maintains, with more frequent service between pairs of cities, such as Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., or Cleveland and Cincinnati. Running more trains over shorter distances would...

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Passenger Trains > WSJ full text, "Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership..."

Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership Could Sidetrack Storied Trains

Railroad wants to offer more service between cities in fast-growing regions. That could mean swapping sleepers for passenger cars (COACHES)

Wall Street Journal
By Ted Mann
Feb. 20, 2019 7:00 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—Seeking to attract millions more passengers, Amtrak is preparing a large-scale overhaul of its national network aimed at boosting passenger service in the South and West—but at the expense of long-haul routes beloved by train buffs and their allies in Congress.

The goal is to revamp the way Amtrak runs trains along the aging network of national routes it already maintains, with more frequent service between pairs of cities in the fastest-growing parts of the country, such as Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., or Cleveland and Cincinnati. Running more trains over shorter distances would allow Amtrak to better serve those commercial corridors where rail can compete with flying and driving, railroad officials said. ... But that new service could come at the cost of curtailing some long-distance routes, where storied trains like the Empire Builder and the Southwest Chief have small but fervent bases of support and lineage stretching back to the golden age of railroads.

Red Lines

Amtrak is exploring the possibility of curtailing service on its long-distance routes—which incur the railroad’s biggest losses—to focus on service along more densely populated routes similar to the Northeast Corridor. ... And any change in Amtrak’s management of the national network will require approval from Congress, which has aggressively defended the long-distance routes in the past, even as it presses Amtrak to prioritize improving its financial performance.

The debate over Amtrak’s national service will be renewed in earnest next month, when the railroad releases a five-year asset-management plan that will preview the choices it will face in replacing the aging fleet of long-distance trains. Amtrak says it will need $2.2 billion to $2.7 billion between now and 2030, as part of a total $3.8 billion it expects to spend on replacing the long-distance fleet, including locomotives Amtrak has already ordered. ... Railroad officials are using that looming procurement to present Congress with a tough decision it will have to make when it takes up Amtrak’s reauthorization and capital funding later this year.
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Date: 02/20/19 10:58
Re: WSJ full text, "Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership..."
Author: Dcmcrider

Gene: the story is much longer than what you've included. I'll include this excerpt:

The debate over Amtrak’s national service will be renewed in earnest next month, when the railroad releases a five-year asset-management plan that will preview the choices it will face in replacing the aging fleet of long-distance trains. Amtrak says it will need $2.2 billion to $2.7 billion between now and 2030, as part of a total $3.8 billion it expects to spend on replacing the long-distance fleet, including locomotives Amtrak has already ordered.

I guess we'll know more soon about Amtrak's intentions.

As for corridors: Cleveland to Cincinnati is the wave of the future?

The State's former governor took a hard pass on that, even when offered federal money. What makes Anderson and his advisors think that conditions on the ground have changed, or that this represents a viable commercial opportunity?

I've read through Anderson's congressional testimony, and most of what he said was an utterly conventional "begfest" for NEC capital investment. Gateway, B&P Tunnels and so forth. ("Infrastructure" was the topic of the hearing, after all.) Cleveland-Cincinnati and Atlanta-Charlotte are embellishments added by the anonymous company official. I wonder what sort of multi-billion-dollar sum NS will come up with for an Atlanta-Charlotte corridor?

The only source cited for a direct quote in the piece is Anderson's written congressional testimony, since he (famously) declines to be interviewed.
....

Date: 02/20/19 11:16
Re: WSJ full text, "Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership..."
Author: abyler

Full text available here.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/amtrak-plan-to-expand-ridership-could-sidetrack-storied-trains/ar-BBTQFFM

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Reply Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership Could Sidetrack Storied Trains (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 OP
MyOwnPeace Feb 2019 #1
happybird Feb 2019 #2
Vogon_Glory Feb 2019 #3

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2019, 10:22 AM

1. Put it into perspective.......

A possible "maximum total of $3.8 billion" over the next 11 years to improve services for millions of citizens.

IQ45 wants over $5 billion to START his "wall" nightmare.

So, which idea would better serve the "ideal" of Making America Great (Again)?

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2019, 11:44 AM

2. Years ago, I often took Amtrak

from DC to Philly and NYC whenever I had to go up there for events. It was great. Then, in the late 90's, they jacked their prices up. I can't remember the exact amounts but, IIRC, the fare doubled, or close to it.

After that, when weighing the pros and cons of driving vs. paying that dang much to take the train, driving won out. It's not that long of a trip. Haven't ever taken the train again.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2019, 07:58 PM

3. Is The Trump-Era Amtrak Management REALLY Trying To Increase Ridership

or are they thinking of new scams to kill long-distance passenger traffic?

Frankly, I suspect the latter. Following in the footsteps of Amtrak's president Roger Lewis back in the 1970's, it looks like the Trump bunch is looking to kill off long-distance rail--rail that provides passenger service to a lot of rural communities underserved by bus companies and airlines. Amtrak's last gambit to kill some passenger trains was the lack of positive train control on certain routes--notably the former Santa Fe passenger main between La Junta, Colorado and Lamy, New Mexico that sees no more than one train a day in each direction. This looks like another trick using a different tactic.


Yeah, I'd like to see more corridors developed--Cincinatti to Columbus, Kansas City to Tulsa and Oklajoma City, Denver to Trinidad--but considering this administration's behavior regarding investment in public infrastructure, why should anyone, particularly journos who seem to have put aside investigation to transcribing press releases, believe the stuff coming out of a Trumpy-controlled operation.



I've said it before on other posts on other topics. I'll say it again because I've come to believe that it's true: Regardless of what certain Republican solons and appointees did generations ago, today's Republicans have proven that they cannot be trusted with public infrastructure--EVER! And only a fool would take their pronouncements at face value.

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