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This Week at Amtrak; 2009-08-28

August 28th, 2009

Volume 6, Number 33

  1. Good ideas never go bad, they just sometimes are put on a shelf.

    Over a full decade ago in 1998, the late Adrian Herzog, Ph.D., one of the original bright lights of United Rail Passenger Alliance, compiled a long term plan for the expansion of Amtrak.

    Dr. Herzog, who by profession was a rocket scientist and university physics department chair professor, died far too young of a heart attack at his home in Northridge, California in February of 2001 at the age of 52.

    Outside of the classroom, Dr. Herzog was a business partner with the late Byron Nordberg, also an original bright light of URPA. Dr. Herzog and retired United States Marine Corps Colonel Nordberg were the proprietors of NHA, Inc., a highly successful rail consulting firm based in Oceanside, California. NHA was the engine which brought the UTDC (now Bombardier) bi-level commuter passenger cars to Southern California for both Metrolink and the Coaster services. A very young Noel Braymer, now editor of the Western Rail Passenger Review and luminary in California passenger rail circles, and also an early associate of URPA, worked with Colonel Nordberg and Dr. Herzog.

    The amount of work coming from Dr. Herzog was nearly unparalleled. He was one of the first, using early desktop computers, to create computer modeling for Amtrak passenger trains to measure performance and successfully predict future needs. Much of Dr. Herzog’s work has been featured on URPA’s web site, www.unitedrail.org and remains today as relevant as when it was created. Perhaps one of Dr. Herzog’s greatest accomplishments was the creation of the matrix theory, demonstrating how hubbing and end point connections are critical to the success of any passenger rail system.

  2. One of the documents left by the untimely death of Dr. Herzog in this writer’s care was his plan of how a successful Amtrak would look in 2010, based on several presumptions made for 2000. Alas, those presumptions were not to be at that time, but it is fascinating to see Dr. Herzog’s vision for the future of Amtrak.

    Dr. Herzog believed passenger rail was viable on three levels: as a carrier of leisure travelers, as a carrier of regional travelers moving about for any number of reasons, and as a carrier of business travelers seeking an efficient way to travel making the best use of their time in trips under five hours. Remember, in 1998 when this plan was conceived, things like Wi-Fi connections were not yet common, laptop computers were still bulky and heavy, and cellular telephones were in use by a far smaller percentage of the population.

    Dr. Herzog and Colonel Nordberg also believed in two basic principles. First, every route should have at least three frequencies, and more if viable. One frequency would be as existing, a second frequency would follow six to 12 hours later so every city or town would have service at marketable times, and a third frequency mimicking the old milk run local trains, where every station had a stop. As you look at Dr. Herzog’s plan below, and see a train with a route name such as the North Coast Limited, imagine a flip schedule train such as the Mainstreeter providing the second frequency, and perhaps another named train for the local.

    In some instances, the local train may better serve the route by being a series of shorter trains, such as on the Southern Crescent route between Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, where two separate day trains may provide the best level of service versus one longer train, by providing one train operating between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, and a second day train operating between Atlanta and New Orleans. The first two trains, the Southern Crescent and the (to pick a name) Peach Queen would run the entire route, and the two day trains serve as the “local” option on two separate ends of the route.

    Second, they believed passenger train routes did not always have to be in a straight line. They both favored “L” shaped routes where possible, such as taking the Lake Shore Limited from New York City to Chicago, and extending the western terminus of this train south to Memphis, Tennessee to make maximum use of equipment, and build as many city pair combinations as possible into the matrix theory.

    Dr. Herzog’s plan focused primarily on a robust long distance network. Some of today’s short distance trains would be replaced by long distance trains (more efficient in many ways), but some regional services as we know them today would continue. Since this was a broad blueprint, many of the minor, regional services were not mentioned, but Dr. Herzog implied each would be retained based on productivity and cost.

  3. Here is Dr. Herzog’s plan, with some updates for changes which have taken place in the last 11 years.

    Strategic Routes for Amtrak

    A Planning Document

    October 25, 1998 • Updated 2008

    Prepared by Dr. Adrian Herzog, URPA • Northridge, California

    Strategic Goal: Output equal to five times the revenue passenger miles produced in FY 2000, achieved by Year 7 of the strategic plan.

    This document was originally prepared by the late Adrian Herzog, Ph.D. in October 1998, and updated a decade later in 2008. The breadth of the document demonstrates the foresight of Dr. Herzog in his quest to make passenger rail in his adopted country subsidy-free.

    The planning concepts for this document came from several sources, including historic successful passenger train routes and connectivity points, current travel patterns in the United States for both leisure and business travel, and travel to and from major vacation destinations. As an example, more travelers come to New Orleans from Houston, Texas than any other location.

    Other factors taken into consideration are population shifts and population growth in new areas, military installations, and locations of major colleges and universities. Additional factors, such as cruise ship terminals were also considered.

    Tactical Goal: Maximize network density of flow by maximizing route inter-connectivity, and multiple frequency (2 to 4) trains per route, per day.

    National Corridors

    • Southern Transcontinental Corridor
    • Southwest Transcontinental Corridor
    • Central Transcontinental Corridor
    • Northern Transcontinental Corridor
    • Atlantic Coast Corridor
    • Pacific Coast Corridor
    • Southwest Corridor
    • Central California Corridor
    • Pacific Northwest Corridor
    • Chicago-Midwest Corridors
    • Florida Corridor
    • Gulf Coast Corridor
    • Texas Triangle
    • International links to Canada and Mexico
    • Northeast Corridor low level long distance trains

    Equipment Types

    Superliner Service

    California Car Service
    Use of the successful daylight California Car/Superliner compatible bi-level equipment for non-overnight trains

    Talgo Service

    Viewliner Service
    Conversion of existing fleet single level cars. This Includes: Viewliner, Amfleet, and Horizon

    Power Types

    • Genesis (Long distance trains)
    • F59PH (Corridors)
    • AEM-7 (NEC Long distance trains)

    Crew Bases

    • Seattle
    • San Jose
    • Los Angeles
    • San Diego
    • Denver
    • Fort Worth
    • Chicago
    • New Orleans
    • Tampa
    • Sanford (Auto Train T&E only)
    • Miami
    • Charlotte
    • Newport News
    • Norfolk
    • Philadelphia
    • Boston
    • Vancouver/VIA Rail Canada

    Maintenance Bases and Principal Commissaries

    • Vancouver, British Columbia/VIA Rail Canada
    • Seattle
    • Eugene, Oregon
    • San Jose
    • Los Angeles
    • San Diego
    • Denver
    • Fort Worth
    • Chicago
    • New Orleans
    • Tampa
    • Sanford (Auto Train/racks only)
    • Miami
    • Charlotte
    • Newport News
    • Philadelphia
    • Boston

    Turn Maintenance and Commissary Support

    • Vancouver, British Columbia/VIA Rail Canada
    • Toronto/VIA Rail Canada
    • Montreal/VIA Rail Canada
    • Boston
    • Washington
    • Lorton
    • Newport News
    • Norfolk
    • Cleveland
    • Detroit
    • Chicago
    • Eugene, Oregon
    • Seattle
    • San Francisco
    • Lancaster, California
    • Redding, California
    • Reno
    • Santa Barbara
    • Las Vegas
    • Nogales
    • Duluth
    • Kansas City
    • St. Louis
    • Memphis
    • Birmingham
    • Charleston, South Carolina

    Southern Transcontinental Corridor

    Sunset Limited Los Angeles, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Jacksonville Orlando, Tampa Superliner Service
    Golden State Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Abilene, Fort Worth, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto Superliner Service
    Southern Crescent New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington, DC Superliner Service
    Gulf Breeze New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston Viewliner Service
    Gulf Wind Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Superliner Service
    Continental Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Abilene, Fort Worth, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, DC Superliner Service

    Southwest Transcontinental Corridor

    Southwest Chief/Capitol Limited Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Newport News Superliner Service
    San Francisco Chief San Jose, Oakland, Bakersfield, Albuquerque, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago Superliner Service
    Grand Canyon Limited Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Denver Superliner Service
    Zia Denver, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, El Paso Superliner Service
    El Capitan Chicago, Kansas City, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson Superliner Service

    Central Transcontinental Corridor

    California Zephyr Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Reno, Salt Lake City, Provo, Denver, Chicago Superliner Service
    Overland Limited Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Provo, Salt Lake City, Ogden, Laramie, Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston Superliner Service
    Pioneer Zephyr Vancouver BC, Seattle, Portland, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo, Denver, Newton, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans Superliner Service
    George Washington Kansas City, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Charleston WV, Charlottesville, Richmond, Newport News Superliner Service
    Cavalier Fort Worth, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Washington Superliner Service
    The Memphian Fort Worth, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Charleston WV, Charlottesville, Richmond, Newport News Superliner Service

    Northern Transcontinental Corridor

    Empire Builder Vancouver BC, Seattle, Yakima, Spokane, Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Newport News

    Superliner Service
    North Coast Limited Seattle, Spokane, Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Billings, Bismarck, Minneapolis, Chicago

    Superliner Service
    Hiawatha Eugene, Portland, Spokane, Minneapolis, Chicago

    Superliner Service
    Broadway Limited/Three Rivers Duluth, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    Pennsylvanian Kansas City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia

    Viewliner Service
    New England States St. Louis, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany, Springfield, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    Pacemaker Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany, New York, Philadelphia

    Viewliner Service
    Lake Shore Limited Memphis, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany, New York, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    Steeler St. Louis, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia
    Crew Base: Philadelphia

    Viewliner Service
    Columbian Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Newport News

    Viewliner Service
    Oriental Vancouver BC, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto (Seasonal)

    Viewliner Service

    Atlantic Seaboard Corridor

    Silver Meteor Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Charleston, Rocky Mount, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, St. Albans, Montreal

    Viewliner Service
    Silver Star Miami, Ocala, Jacksonville, Columbia, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    The Sunland Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Columbia, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    Everglades Miami, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Columbia, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Buffalo, Toronto

    Viewliner Service
    Auto Train, (Passenger section) Tampa, Orlando, Sanford, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Rocky Mount, Richmond, Lorton, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland (All station stops)

    Superliner Service
    Auto Train Sanford, Lorton Car carrier section
    City of New Orleans Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Mobile, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto

    Superliner Service
    City of Miami Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Charleston SC, Rocky Mount, Richmond, Charlottesville, Charleston WV, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago

    Superliner Service
    Flamingo Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Macon, Atlanta

    California Car Service
    Silver Comet Miami, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Savannah, Macon. Atlanta, Birmingham

    Superliner Service
    The Resort Special Miami, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Savannah, Columbia, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    Champion Miami, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Rocky Mount, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Long Island

    Viewliner Service
    Gulf Coast Special Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Rocky Mount, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Long Island

    Tidewater Charleston, Florence, Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, Franklin, Suffolk, Norfolk

    California Car Service
    Piedmont Charlotte, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Franklin, Suffolk, Norfolk

    California Car Service
    Southern States Tampa, Ocala, Jacksonville, Savannah, Columbia, Hamlet, Charlotte

    California Car Service
    Palmland Miami, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Columbia, Hamlet, Charlotte, High Point, Greensboro, Danville, Charlottesville, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston

    Viewliner Service
    Rue Orleans New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Buffalo, Syracuse, Montreal

    Superliner Service
    Southwind Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Columbia, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit

    Superliner Service

    Pacific Coast Corridor

    Coast Starlight Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Eugene, Portland, Seattle

    Superliner Service
    Shasta Daylight Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Eugene, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver BC

    Superliner Service
    Columbia Starlight Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Provo, Salt Lake, Ogden, Pocatello, Portland, Seattle

    Superliner Service

    Southwest Corridor

    Pacific Surfliners San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Francisco

    Joint Talgo and California Car Service
    High Desert San Diego, Los Angeles, Palmdale, Lancaster

    California Car Service
    Las Vegans/South San Diego, Santa Ana, Riverside, San Bernardino, Barstow, Las Vegas

    Talgo Service
    Las Vegans/North Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, El Monte, San Bernardino, Las Vegas

    Talgo Service
    Arizonan Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs, Indio, Yuma, Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales

    Talgo Service
    Grand Canyon Nogales, Tucson, Phoenix, Williams Junction, Grand Canyon

    Talgo Service

    Central California Corridor

    San Joaquins I San Jose, Oakland, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, Santa Ana, San Diego

    California Car Service
    San Joaquins II Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Redding

    California Car Service
    Capitols San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Reno

    Joint Talgo and California Car Service

    Pacific Northwest Corridor

    Cascades Eugene, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver BC

    Talgo Service

    Chicago-Midwest Corridors

    Train of the Saints St. Paul (Minneapolis), La Crosse, Galesburg, Fort Madison, St. Louis

    California Car Service
    The Motor City Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit

    California Car Service
    The Midwesterner Omaha, Chicago, Cleveland

    California Car Service
    The Brewer Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit

    California Car Service
    The City of Nashville Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville

    California Car Service

    Florida Corridor

    Seminole Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville

    California Car Service
    Tampa Bay Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa

    California Car Service
    Henry Flagler Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach, Miami

    California Car Service
    Citrus State Jacksonville, Ocala, West Palm Beach, Miami

    California Car Service
    Florida Palm Tampa, West Palm Beach, Miami

    California Car Service

    Gulf Coast Corridor

    Gulf Coast Limited Houston, New Orleans, Mobile

    California Car Service
    Iron Mountain New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham

    California Car Service
    Louisiana Eagle New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Dallas, Fort Worth

    California Car Service

    Texas Triangle

    Texan Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas

    California Car Service

    Northeast Corridor (Extended Service Area, in addition to NEC Acela and Regional Service)

    Mid Atlantic Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Richmond, Newport News Viewliner Service
    Maple Leaf/Montrealer Boston, Albany, Toronto, and New York, Albany, Montreal (Cross Platform at Albany)

    Viewliner Service
    Royal Blue Newport News, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Long Island Viewliner Service
    Bostonian Boston, New York, Allentown, Harrisburg

    Viewliner Service
    Shenandoan Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Charlottesville, Cincinnati Viewliner Service

    * Note: Viewliner Service implies any low level conventional long distance and intermediate distance trains including Amfleet, Horizon, and Viewliner

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