Thursday, August 21, 2014

Modeling Amtrak, Part 1

A subject that, to my mind, has not received that much play in the model press is modeling the modern passenger scene aka Amtrak. For all the ink spilled over where Amtrak is good or bad or indifferent, the fact remains that Amtrak has been a fixture of the American railroad scene for over 40 years. As modellers, I believe we should be as excited about doing a good job modeling it as we do for the PRR or ATSF or any other of the thousand and one things that are modeled.

I admit that I am somewhat at fault; I've had this post in draft mode for a year and change. I could make excuses, but I'll save my typing.

As I am modelling the 1990's on a major North-South route, Amtrak looms large in the operation. I have been doing as research into the cars, loco, practices and the like over the last couple of years.

When I started, the modeling choices where a bit slim. The available Amfleet cars were all bad stand-ins, at best and good locomotives choices didn't exist unless you wanted to repower the offerings.

Thankfully, the available models have improved: Kato makes good F40PHs and P42s, Athearn made a run of P40s and P42, and Walthers had just begun shipping very good Amfleet Is and IIs (only issue is the price is a bit high)

Next post, I will go into more depth of the consists needed, the prototype cars, and models available, but I want to start with an overview of the issue.

I was able to come up with a timetable from 1997 and cut it down to what I would be concerned with; on a standard weekday, 20 Amtrak trains would cross my modeled area. 10 Northbound and 10 southbound.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you realize that I only have 7 or 8 staging tracks at the ends of the layout, depending on which one we are talking about.

Sounds like I will need to double up a couple of tracks, and eliminate other trains entirely, to make it all fit. What helps the cause is the fact that some of the trains deviate from the normal "North in the morning, south in the evening" scheme for a majority of the trains seen in Richmond.

What follows is my cut of this schedule; note the trains marked with a red or yellow highlight are 'outliers' from the normal schedule.

Number What Direction

P052 Autotrain North
Daily Arrives Lorton 9am
P053 Autotrain South
Daily Departs Lorton 4:30pm
P066 "Twilight Shoreliner" North
Daily 5:45pm at Richmond
Amtrak symbol for this train is 76 on Fri. & Sat. It remains P066 on CSX on those days.
P067 "Twilight Shoreliner" South
Daily 9:05am at Richmond
P079 "Carolinian" South
Daily 12:27pm at Richmond
P080 "Carolinian" North
Daily 3:50pm at Richmond
P084 "Virginian" South
Daily, ex. Sun. 6:25am at Richmond
P085 "Colonial" South Richmond Daily 10:22pm at Richmond
P086 "Colonial" North Starts at RVR Daily 7:45am at Richmond
P089 "Silver Palm" South
Daily 2:26pm at Richmond
P090 "Silver Palm" North
Daily 1:58pm at Richmond
P091 "Silver Star" South
Daily 6:31pm at Richmond
P092 "Silver Star" North
Daily 9:18am at Richmond
P093 "Virginian" South Richmond Mon.-Thu. 7:47pm at Richmond
P094 "Old Dominion" North
Ex. Sat. 10:25am at Richmond
P095 "Old Dominion" South
Ex. Sun. 5:16pm at Richmond
P097 "Silver Meteor" South
Daily 12:57am at Richmond
P098 "Silver Meteor" North
Daily 3:39am at Richmond
P099 "Virginian" Boston
Fri., Sun. 7:47pm at Richmond
P194 "Old Dominion" North
Sat. 10:25am at Richmond
P195 "Old Dominion" South Richmond Sun. 5:16pm at Richmond

Southbound AM

Northbound PM

No fill Southbound PM or Northbound AM

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