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View Diary: Sunday Train: Putting Steel into the Amtrak Long Distance Backbone (87 comments)

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  •  The Cardinal & Zephyr... (13+ / 0-)

    ...should be marketed as scenic "rail cruise" lines. I am actually considering a trip from Florida to D.C. on the Silver Meteor and then the Cardinal to Chicago simply to enjoy the scenery of the New River Gorge.

    When I graduated from high school in 1978, I took the the Zephyr from Chicago to Reno. Back then, the Denver & Rio Grand Western still operated its own passenger service from Denver to Salt Lake City, through the most scenic part of the Rockies, but its schedule didn't match up with the Zephyr's. Now that the Zephyr uses the old D&RGW route, it's a much more inviting trip.

    I also believe it's essential that the New Orleans to Florida segment of the Sunset Limited be restored. As it now stands, the only connection between Florida and anywhere beyond the northeast requires at least a trip to North Carolina, and in all practicality, Washington or New York. I find that absurd.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:24:43 PM PDT

    •  Atlanta, actually, ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      ... ought to be a gateway. At present the ideologues in the outer suburbs of Atlanta have Georgia locked down, but over this decade the demographic shift may allow a coalition of urban and inner suburban and the smaller towns and cities through the state to break through - especially with the example of NC to follow. A state corridor Atlanta / Savannah, and a through service to Jacksonville and Miami naturally follows.

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      by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:44:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree Atlanta is the logical gateway... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nespolo, BruceMcF, Larsstephens

        ...to all points in the southeast, just as it is for air travel. I noticed that the "Steel Interstate" map in the diary shows a direct line from Miami up the Florida east coast to Jacksonville, then on to Chicago via Atlanta. This would be an excellent route for me to use to visit relatives in Milwaukee, but Amtrak has been shut out of Atlanta as a gateway between Florida and Chicago since its inception in 1971.

        The old Floridian (which I also rode on my 1978 post-high school trip) had to get to Chicago via Alabama because Atlanta refused to host Amtrak (Amtrak only got in when Southern Railway finally dropped the Crescent and Amtrak took it over).

        I hope you're right - that demographic shifts in Atlanta will break down the resistance to using that city as a southeastern rail hub. But that's going to take some time. The NOLA to FLA segment of the Sunset could be restored immediately, if Amtrak could get the funds to do it.

        An interesting note on the Florida east coast route. Amtrak made a big splash a couple of years ago with a special on the FEC route to demonstrate the feasibility of adding such a service. But since then, our governor (who is openly hostile to rail except when it comes to whatever CSX wants) has apparently not been cooperative. That's led Florida East Coast Industries to begin planning to set up the passenger service itself. The first phase would connect Miami and Orlando via a line up the east coast and then over. Eventual plans call for extending the service all the way up the FEC to Jacksonville, and from Orlando to Tampa.

        The irony of FECI's plan is that FEC was the first Class 1 railroad to drop passenger service in the 1960s, using a massive strike as cover for getting the government to go along. Now it could very well be the first Class 1 to bring passenger service back under its own flag. To me, this is the best indicator anyone could have as to the shift in public support for passenger rail.

        I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

        by ObamOcala on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 08:58:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It may happen sooner than you think ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          ... with the "why do they get good stuff?" examples coming in both North Carolina and Florida, Chambers of Commerce in cities in other parts of Georgia, as well as small town Chambers of Commerce that might hope to get a stop, are likely to increase their already existing lobbying for the routes to the northwest and southeast of Atlanta, and its a lot easier to get intercity corridor trains through a state legislature with lots of Republicans than it is to get mass transit for a big city.

          Savannah is going to be pushing especially strong once the private Florida Express train between Orlando and Miami gets a service extension to Jacksonville.

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          by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:58:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Zephyr is a scenic route. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF, Larsstephens

      You sleep across Nebraska, go through the Colorado Rockies and along the Colorado river during the day, sleep across Utah and Nevada, and follow Donner's Pass across the Sierra Nevada during the day. Marketing it as a scenic rail cruise is a good idea.

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