24.3.14

DOUBLE THE FREQUENCY, TRIPLE THE RIDERSHIP.

Travel and Trains takes up the cause of additional passenger trains on The Water Level Route.  The Midwest High Speed Rail Association submits a detailed wish list, complete with a suggested timetable that among other things, deals with the inconveniences suffered by residents of Erie, Pennsylvania, just a little too far from the major airports to have air service, and smack in the middle of the night on the Lake Shore's schedule, if the Lake Shore is ever on schedule.  There's a lot of optimism in the proposed schedule, including improved tracks to permit 90 mph running, and station platforms on both sides of the track, which will end the nightly tangle the existing Amtrak service contributes to, as two trains in each direction must be on the north track at Sandusky and on the south track at Lorain, because that's where the sole passenger platforms are.  It doesn't help timekeeping, or the dispatcher's equanimity, that the intermodal trains and automobile shipments are also heavy that time of night.

The revised schedule, though, continues to treat the service west of Buffalo entirely as offered by through trains.
Had Penn Central implemented the same sort of corridor concept from Buffalo to Cleveland and Toledo that it was implementing east of Buffalo, residents of Erie might already have more trains. As it is, people in Mendota, Illinois, Lynchburg, Virginia, or Sturtevant, Wisconsin, enjoy more frequency and connectivity than do residents of Erie, or, for that matter, Cleveland.
Hub-and-spoke air networks have eroded passenger resistance to changing planes.  Cross-platform transfers to dependably scheduled trains are easier.  Many British stations have food service and news stands at trackside, to cater to the through traveller changing trains at Reading or Crewe or Birmingham.  A feeder network of Pittsburgh - Youngstown - Cleveland and Cleveland - Columbus - Cincinnati day trains has potential, although the political resistance to Passenger Rail in Ohio is likely to be stiff.

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