Monday, February 04, 2013

Rail not taken

Many have already noted the news that Pittsburgh is potentially going to lose HALF of its Amtrak service.  So ok.... one train.  But 1 of 2 is 50%.

I saw a great map in development of Amtrak ridership nationally and asked the creator for a Pennsylvania zoom.  So via Mike Hicks of the Gopher State is this great map of Amtrak ridership by station. 

Funny though.  Looks like some folks in Pennsylvania are still planning to use their stations more; even though those stations that may not have service in the future. For serious reading, a summary of the state of Amtrak service was this recently in RailwayAge: Competitive bidding for corridor passenger rail service in play

On Pennsylvania though.  Compare the usage east vs. west of Harrisburg.  Amazing what demand service generates (did the article say 14 trips daily Philadelphia to Harrisburg?).  Supply side transportation economics anyone? What gets me is that after many attempts over many years nobody has figured out how to get bicycle portage to Cumberland or Connellsville.  and if it has not worked in the past, there are all the developments on the Great Allegheny Passage out there.  Even if PA is moribund, you think Maryland might find a way to get pay Amtrak just enough to get baggage service at Cumberland just for the tourism it might generate. I say that fully admitting I am not an expert in baggage car economics. 

For those too pressed to click through to see this, I'll just pass on the cool national version again from the same source.

and if you read the fine print, I can't believe I have to go learn something new. Anyone else use d3js? Need more hours in the day.... that or my personal graphics assistant.


Blogger Unknown said...

I'm wondering if there's a way to tease apart:

- does faster service create more demand?
- does more frequent service create more demand?
- does demand allow for faster service?

No one takes the train from Pittsburgh because it's horrifyingly slow, and not super luxurious; Greyhound gets you there in slightly less style in much less time, MegaBus gets you there in slightly more style in much less time; both Greyhound and MegaBus are cheaper than Amtrak.

Thursday, February 07, 2013 10:05:00 AM  

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