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  1. #41
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    It should be simple to bring the Keystone through 30th Street on the upper tracks (the SEPTA tracks), then run the Keystone through Suburban with or without stopping, then similarly Market East, then rejoin the NEC after Temple. The amount of track work this would require would be minimal, and it should shave about 20 minutes off of the run from Harrisburg to NYC. Seems like a cheap investment to me. Long-term, at least until Zoo Interlocking gets straightened out, that may end up being the new path of the NEC. There is too much time lost getting through Zoo Interlocking, on both sides. Meanwhile, people making transfers at 30th Street should still be able to easily do so, from the upper platforms to the lower platforms.
    would love to see it happen. nice to see the stations getting overhauled though. there's always somehting that can be done but with middletown done, that's harrsiburg, middletown, elizabethtown, I think mt. joy is in progress, and lancaster all in a row. parkesburg is still a low level platform but they've put the money up for coatesville. that only leaves parkesburg, exton, paoli, downingtown, and ardmore..and there are plans in the works for exton, paoli, and ardmore AFAIK. priority is probably overbrook to 30th where speeds are slow but connecting the reading to nec at north philly should absolutely be looked at for feasibility and probably put as a priority after overbrook to 30th
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  2. #42
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    been thinking about this one billy. I think the "easiest" (meaning, least technically challenging, least eminent domain issues) would be to simply run the Keystone through the commuter tunnel, then diverge with the Fox Chase line, then diverge from that along the NYSL (two stops before fox chase) through the northeast, rejoining the west trenton line at neshaminy falls (cutting off the out of the way main trunk portion), then diverging from west trenton again since that would happen on the PA side, there's no reason PA couldn't fund a station there and request. it still wouldn't be cheap as you'd need to add a second track, upgrade signaling, add interlockings but it shouldn't be unreasonable (so long as CSX isn't). this would use track that CSX just got money to lower (for height clearance) I believe.
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  3. #43
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    been thinking about this one billy. I think the "easiest" (meaning, least technically challenging, least eminent domain issues) would be to simply run the Keystone through the commuter tunnel, then diverge with the Fox Chase line, then diverge from that along the NYSL (two stops before fox chase) through the northeast, rejoining the west trenton line at neshaminy falls (cutting off the out of the way main trunk portion), then diverging from west trenton again since that would happen on the PA side, there's no reason PA couldn't fund a station there and request. it still wouldn't be cheap as you'd need to add a second track, upgrade signaling, add interlockings but it shouldn't be unreasonable (so long as CSX isn't). this would use track that CSX just got money to lower (for height clearance) I believe.
    Can double stacks run below catenary? I don't think so.

    The cheapest would be to run the Keystone through the commuter tunnel and rejoin the NEC at Swampoodle. The sole cost would be the Swampoodle (oops, I meant Reading Main to NEC) connector, plus fees to SEPTA for running over SEPTA tracks. It would shave at least 15 minutes off of each run. If there are 10 runs per day in each direction, that would be almost a round-trip per day for free - i.e. just about an eleventh run for just about free, with the same equipment and the same labor costs. Not only would it solve the turnaround problem, it would solve the zoo interlocking problem, both ways. The Main Line is a straight shot into upper tracks at 30th Street, I believe.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-14-2010 at 08:27 PM.

  4. #44
    BenDee is offline Senior Member
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    I like it. Looking at Google Maps, it might be best to diverge the line off at the 13th & Cumberland siding, have it go underground entering a tunnel on the SW corner of 13th & Lehigh, go under 13th until coming up just north of Glenwood, merging with the existing track (lower 12th slightly more if need be) and heading to NYC.

    S/B would be a little more difficult - it would require a flying junction or tunnel to go over the existing tracks (would cause too many delays to just move across three sets of tracks) both leaving the NEC and getting on the RDG.

    The only building that would need to be acquired is the PHA building at 1300 Lehigh, which should be relatively easy to relocate them. The only other ones might be the vacant/abandoned building at 1301 Cumberland and the small industrial space at 1300 Cumberland, depending how they would need to configure the flying junction/tunnel going onto the Reading.

    Does anyone know what's below 13th Street where the tunnel would go, and how difficult it would be to move/work around it?

  5. #45
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    swampoodle is he connection between the chw and reading main. due to grade issues something nore along the libes of what bendee mentions would be needed. perhaps if you demolish north philly station you could make it work at broad but would still require tunneling or eminent domain. what i proposed avoids that. afaik theres no reason you cant run double stack under catenary...so long as the cat is high enough.
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  6. #46
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenDee View Post
    I like it. Looking at Google Maps, it might be best to diverge the line off at the 13th & Cumberland siding, have it go underground entering a tunnel on the SW corner of 13th & Lehigh, go under 13th until coming up just north of Glenwood, merging with the existing track (lower 12th slightly more if need be) and heading to NYC.

    S/B would be a little more difficult - it would require a flying junction or tunnel to go over the existing tracks (would cause too many delays to just move across three sets of tracks) both leaving the NEC and getting on the RDG.

    The only building that would need to be acquired is the PHA building at 1300 Lehigh, which should be relatively easy to relocate them. The only other ones might be the vacant/abandoned building at 1301 Cumberland and the small industrial space at 1300 Cumberland, depending how they would need to configure the flying junction/tunnel going onto the Reading.

    Does anyone know what's below 13th Street where the tunnel would go, and how difficult it would be to move/work around it?
    Obama's got alot of money set aside for HSR now, with all of the cash rejected by the midwestern states. It shouldn't be exhorbitantly expensive to do what we've outlined here, and I'm hoping that it will help us to successively approximate our way to HSR to Pittsburgh. I've already primed our new state rep about this (she is looking to get on the transportation committee - she annoyingly calls it 'light rail', so I've still got some educating to do), and I've got someone in the politically connected Bensalem mayor's ear about having the Keystone stop regularly at Cornwells Heights. The Keystone should be a much bigger driver for the entire state than it is presently. If we can speed up and extend the Keystone it'll cement our role as a major player in the East Coast. It is my opinion that the territory presently covered by the Keystone IS the East Coast (i.e. not New England, not the South). I.e. when someone says "East Coast" they mean NYC plus Jersey plus Philly. Strengthening those connections to what are still very wealthy places (i.e. NYC and Jersey near the NEC) would be good for Philly, and great for PA west of Philly.

    I also think that adding stops at Suburban on selected trains would be a good thing. People who live along the subway would be able to get to NYC (and the whole Keystone Line) with one transfer.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-14-2010 at 08:42 PM.

  7. #47
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    cornwells was rejected recently. good luck.
    routing it through cc would be a lot better. people in bensalem can take njt. if you adopted the routing i suggested wayne jct could be the last stop before trenton. njt could operate though jtown.
    Last edited by eldondre; 12-14-2010 at 09:52 PM.
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  8. #48
    BenDee is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    I also think that adding stops at Suburban on selected trains would be a good thing. People who live along the subway would be able to get to NYC (and the whole Keystone Line) with one transfer.
    I'd bet that if this were to come to fruition, the line would stop at 30th, Suburban, and Market East. Suburban b/c it is more convenient than 30th Street, 30th for the connection to DC, and Market East for the convention center & shopping area (although I could see only half of the trains stopping there).

    It wouldn't add too much time to the route, but would help get it funded by providing a reason other than time savings for implementation.

  9. #49
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenDee View Post
    I'd bet that if this were to come to fruition, the line would stop at 30th, Suburban, and Market East. Suburban b/c it is more convenient than 30th Street, 30th for the connection to DC, and Market East for the convention center & shopping area (although I could see only half of the trains stopping there).

    It wouldn't add too much time to the route, but would help get it funded by providing a reason other than time savings for implementation.
    it would also allow the cc bridges, track, and signals to tap into hsr funds with trickle down benefits for commuters
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  10. #50
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenDee View Post
    I'd bet that if this were to come to fruition, the line would stop at 30th, Suburban, and Market East. Suburban b/c it is more convenient than 30th Street, 30th for the connection to DC, and Market East for the convention center & shopping area (although I could see only half of the trains stopping there).

    It wouldn't add too much time to the route, but would help get it funded by providing a reason other than time savings for implementation.
    It seems contradictory to talk about increasing the speed of the Keystone line, but adding more stops in Philadelphia.

    Plus, I just can't see someone that is open to taking Amtrak to NYC shirking the idea because they would have to hop onto the MFL to get to the station.

  11. #51
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    it would also allow the cc bridges, track, and signals to tap into hsr funds with trickle down benefits for commuters
    Genius. I hadn't thought about that.

  12. #52
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    It seems contradictory to talk about increasing the speed of the Keystone line, but adding more stops in Philadelphia.

    Plus, I just can't see someone that is open to taking Amtrak to NYC shirking the idea because they would have to hop onto the MFL to get to the station.
    With every transfer you lose ridership. People want things to be easy and seamless.

    If Market East ever becomes wealthy, it may be worth Amtrak's while to stop at Market East. I don't think it would make sense now, though. Amtrak is premium service. Market East isn't.

    Also if a routing saves 25 minutes on a run, but you add 10 minutes of stops on that rerouting, you still save 15 minutes net on that run. Win for the through riders. Win for the new riders who got bypassed before. Win for the service provider which now has more and happier customers, and lesser costs.

  13. #53
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    It seems contradictory to talk about increasing the speed of the Keystone line, but adding more stops in Philadelphia.
    Plus, I just can't see someone that is open to taking Amtrak to NYC shirking the idea because they would have to hop onto the MFL to get to the station.
    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    With every transfer you lose ridership. People want things to be easy and seamless.
    If Market East ever becomes wealthy, it may be worth Amtrak's while to stop at Market East. I don't think it would make sense now, though. Amtrak is premium service. Market East isn't.
    Also if a routing saves 25 minutes on a run, but you add 10 minutes of stops on that rerouting, you still save 15 minutes net on that run. Win for the through riders. Win for the new riders who got bypassed before. Win for the service provider which now has more and happier customers, and lesser costs.
    adam, you're point is valid for cornwells. Amtrak basically concluded this in their report , the time lost adding cornwells didn't add enough ridership to offset those they lost at 30th and west of; however, suburban is a different story. you are likely reducing trip time for a lot of riders since that's their real destination. you'd stop at market east simply because there's no fast way to skip it. It current takes 10 minutes to get from 30th to market east on RRD vs 3 min on the el. that's because of a crew change at suburban and slow track conditions. You should be able to cut that in half with track upgrades. (probably no more since suburban would be a heavily used stop). It then takes another 9 min to get to north broad. that's a trip time of 14 min (19 min assuming no change). it takes 8 or 9 min to get to north philly FROM 30th so the trip time from north philly to market east is the same as north philly to 30th. Bear in mind though, the Keystone changes ends at 30th adding 10 min so routing this through really adds NO time since that would be eliminated and potentially saves five minutes off the trip to NY for those travelling from west of Philly. as good an idea as this is, the cornwells should be avoided. it woudl require adding substantial time to get to outside tracks of reoworking track configuration, adding time and expense. cornwells is fine the way it is, if anything, SEPTA should work on run throughs for locals on NJT but we shouldn't be slowing Keystone trains down for this. to adam's bolded point, it increases trip time and certainly costs Amtrak ridership. from where I live, it would save 10+ min to leave from north philly vs 30th (probably more since I have to transfer to the el...esp on saturdays when headways are greater).
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  14. #54
    BenDee is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    It seems contradictory to talk about increasing the speed of the Keystone line, but adding more stops in Philadelphia.

    Plus, I just can't see someone that is open to taking Amtrak to NYC shirking the idea because they would have to hop onto the MFL to get to the station.
    Maybe not Market East, but Suburban is a must. It's one thing to take the El or a cab to 30th Street today, but if the train was routed through Suburban, why make someone take that extra journey? Besides, as odd as this sounds, it will slow the train down a bit, meaning fewer times it would get stuck behind a SEPTA train. It looks like trains could go around SEPTA trains by adding two tracks at Temple, but beyond that, it would likely get stuck.

    My estimate would be that Amtrak trains would be 5 minutes faster than SEPTA from 30th to N Broad on the RDG. Given that there's a couple minutes between signal time as well, plus 2-4 minutes needed for routine delays on SEPTA, you're talking almost 10 minutes in schedule times between the last SEPTA train leaving 30th and the Amtrak train that will follow the same track through the CCCT/N Philly. If there was a stop at Suburban, that could reduce the timing down to 6-7 minutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    it would also allow the cc bridges, track, and signals to tap into hsr funds with trickle down benefits for commuters
    Agree with billy ross - it's a great point.

  15. #55
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    With every transfer you lose ridership. People want things to be easy and seamless.

    If Market East ever becomes wealthy, it may be worth Amtrak's while to stop at Market East. I don't think it would make sense now, though. Amtrak is premium service. Market East isn't.

    Also if a routing saves 25 minutes on a run, but you add 10 minutes of stops on that rerouting, you still save 15 minutes net on that run. Win for the through riders. Win for the new riders who got bypassed before. Win for the service provider which now has more and happier customers, and lesser costs.
    Yes, ridership drops per transfer, but you are quoting a rule of thumb without using numbers or taking into account the situation. I would be surprised if "transfer loss" rates for getting to an Amtrak station are equivalent to taking SEPTA to some other destination.

    People that are going to NY from Philadelphia are predominantly doing it because they need to. So, if we take those Philadelphia travelers that need to get to NY from Philadelphia, these are their options outside of Amtrak:

    1) Airport (whcih they either have to drive to or take regional rail)
    2) Drive
    3) SEPTA/NJ Transit
    4) Bus (Greyhound/Bolt/Mega)

    The amount of people that use those modes to get to NY because there isn't a stop at market east has to be relatively insignificant.
    1) It takes longer and costs more to fly to NY, so there is likely an ulterior reason they are using a plane.
    2) Driving to NYC is slower, but cheaper than Amtrak. So cost is likely their main issue as opposed to speed.
    3) Same as driving, it is slower, but cheaper than Amtrak. Cost is the likely factor.
    4) Again, cost is cheaper but time is slower. Blus, bolt and mega riders have to go to the same place as Amtrak, so they have the same transfer scenario.

    I don't see any significant reason why ridership would jump noticably with a market east Amtrak stop, unless you are saying a whole bunch of new people that weren't going to NY regularly will start doing it. Sure it makes it more convenient for people that live in market east to get on Amtrak, but I doubt that is a great cost justification since they are already riding Amtrak.

    So, with a Market East stop, where would the new riders be coming from?


    Edit: Or a suburban stop. I agree you'll shift riders from 30th St., but how many new riders would you get? If you are arguing to kill 30th St for Suburban, that is one thing, but saying you'll get a bunch of new riders ... I just don't see it.

  16. #56
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    Yes, ridership drops per transfer, but you are quoting a rule of thumb without using numbers or taking into account the situation. I would be surprised if "transfer loss" rates for getting to an Amtrak station are equivalent to taking SEPTA to some other destination...People that are going to NY from Philadelphia are predominantly doing it because they need to.
    and I'd be surprised if it wasn't significant. your second point is incorrect, many do so because they want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    I don't see any significant reason why ridership would jump noticably with a market east Amtrak stop, unless you are saying a whole bunch of new people that weren't going to NY regularly will start doing it. Sure it makes it more convenient for people that live in market east to get on Amtrak, but I doubt that is a great cost justification since they are already riding Amtrak.
    stop obsessing about market east, the real value added stop here is suburban. your analysis is incomplete. each service offers costs and benefits. this project would decidedly increase the benefits for larger numbers of riders. market east adds jefferson and the convention center. suburban adds the broad st subway (north and south philly including and the bulk of SEPTA's bus services (17,33,48, etc). additionally, if my ride is $RT plus two $8 cab rides, my actual trip cost is $86. If the train now goes where I need it to, my trip costs is $70 either making me more likely to ride, or freeing up $16 in my budget to spend on something other than cab fare.
    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    So, with a Market East stop, where would the new riders be coming from?
    adding suburban and market east would likely generate new riders (economic development, which is part of the point of increasing ridership with nyc) and take cars off the roads, not to mention making it more competitive with bus service. you cite that megabus is slower..but for the people who live closer to the independence mall stop, the convenience is worth something.

    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    I agree you'll shift riders from 30th St., but how many new riders would you get? If you are arguing to kill 30th St for Suburban, that is one thing, but saying you'll get a bunch of new riders ... I just don't see it.
    I'm sorry you don't see it but you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it. you will be both shifting and increasing ridership. trains are more efficient carrying large numbers of people. there's no reason to kill 30th, it too is a large stop. this scenario basically adds ridership without adding time to the schedule.

    30th st was originally built in a grand fasion because it wasn't where people wanted to go. it was a cheaper alternative to building a tunnel through the city. today, the tunnel has been built, think of it as completing the commuter tunnel.
    ben-keep in mind, if capacity is a problem, a longer term solution is to convert some regional rail to subway service.
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  17. #57
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenDee View Post
    Maybe not Market East, but Suburban is a must. It's one thing to take the El or a cab to 30th Street today, but if the train was routed through Suburban, why make someone take that extra journey? Besides, as odd as this sounds, it will slow the train down a bit, meaning fewer times it would get stuck behind a SEPTA train. It looks like trains could go around SEPTA trains by adding two tracks at Temple, but beyond that, it would likely get stuck.

    My estimate would be that Amtrak trains would be 5 minutes faster than SEPTA from 30th to N Broad on the RDG. Given that there's a couple minutes between signal time as well, plus 2-4 minutes needed for routine delays on SEPTA, you're talking almost 10 minutes in schedule times between the last SEPTA train leaving 30th and the Amtrak train that will follow the same track through the CCCT/N Philly. If there was a stop at Suburban, that could reduce the timing down to 6-7 minutes.



    Agree with billy ross - it's a great point.
    This is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Phase II would be continuing the stub tracks from Suburban as an express on the NEC. Suburban has alot of unused capacity, with all of its platforms. Market East would be the bottleneck. That would require big bucks for a new tunnel, but if the nation is committed to building HSR it makes sense to have dedicated and relatively straight ROW, and that should hopefully be done in phases, a mile or five at a time. Amtrak has already said that they are considering a tunnel under Philly for the NEC. There is nothing that says that tunnel can't be phased. As a matter of fact, it's more likely to happen if it is indeed phased. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-15-2010 at 10:30 AM.

  18. #58
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    and I'd be surprised if it wasn't significant. your second point is incorrect, many do so because they want to.


    stop obsessing about market east, the real value added stop here is suburban. your analysis is incomplete. each service offers costs and benefits. this project would decidedly increase the benefits for larger numbers of riders. market east adds jefferson and the convention center. suburban adds the broad st subway (north and south philly including and the bulk of SEPTA's bus services (17,33,48, etc). additionally, if my ride is $RT plus two $8 cab rides, my actual trip cost is $86. If the train now goes where I need it to, my trip costs is $70 either making me more likely to ride, or freeing up $16 in my budget to spend on something other than cab fare.

    adding suburban and market east would likely generate new riders (economic development, which is part of the point of increasing ridership with nyc) and take cars off the roads, not to mention making it more competitive with bus service. you cite that megabus is slower..but for the people who live closer to the independence mall stop, the convenience is worth something.


    I'm sorry you don't see it but you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it. you will be both shifting and increasing ridership. trains are more efficient carrying large numbers of people. there's no reason to kill 30th, it too is a large stop. this scenario basically adds ridership without adding time to the schedule.

    30th st was originally built in a grand fasion because it wasn't where people wanted to go. it was a cheaper alternative to building a tunnel through the city. today, the tunnel has been built, think of it as completing the commuter tunnel.
    ben-keep in mind, if capacity is a problem, a longer term solution is to convert some regional rail to subway service.
    I said Market East because that was what Billy was pushing.

    But still, no one has pointed out where the new riders are coming from. How many projected people will be riding Amtrak because of an additional stop that isn't riding it now? 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000?

    Also, the "$16" number doesn't make any sense. You are saying you want to spend millions of dollars to save the infrequent Amtrak rider $16 in cab fare?

  19. #59
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    I said Market East because that was what Billy was pushing.
    But still, no one has pointed out where the new riders are coming from. How many projected people will be riding Amtrak because of an additional stop that isn't riding it now? 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000?
    Also, the "$16" number doesn't make any sense. You are saying you want to spend millions of dollars to save the infrequent Amtrak rider $16 in cab fare?
    Your opposition doesn't make sense. are you saying there will be no new riders? where do you get your assumptions? you're last statement is a ridiculous political manipulation. trying to boil down an argument to some misleading but damning statement. the $16 makes sense. who cares how often someone does it. if there's 3 million incidences, that's $48 million annually, not exactly chump change. the new riders will come from the added convenience and shorter trip times.
    why do we have to give you numbers? we're arguing the idea makes sense, obviously before committing the money, a real study would have to be performed. I'd argue this would be one of the more important projects affecting the city outside actual new rapid transit. it addresses a problem that has existed for over a century.

    let's look at SEPTA's numbers
    24.5k boardings for suburban
    13.8k boardings for market east
    10.3k boardings for 30th st
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  20. #60
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    I said Market East because that was what Billy was pushing.

    But still, no one has pointed out where the new riders are coming from. How many projected people will be riding Amtrak because of an additional stop that isn't riding it now? 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000?

    Also, the "$16" number doesn't make any sense. You are saying you want to spend millions of dollars to save the infrequent Amtrak rider $16 in cab fare?
    All NEC trains going into or out of Boston also stop at Back Bay, due to transit connections there, as well as perhaps possible increased ridership to be gained by stopping in Back Bay. This is true even for the Acela. What we are talking about would be pretty much the same exact thing. Are you saying that Amtrak is incorrect to stop in Back Bay and it should make people take cabs instead or double back?

    Also, I only mentioned stopping at Market East as a possibility to be thought through. I'm not pushing it.

 

 

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