Author Topic: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?  (Read 35459 times)

acme54321

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2021, 05:22:40 PM »
The problem is those excursions are very expensive.  They cost far more than a pittance.

The real problem of an excursion from it's home rails to Jacksonville would be the other railroads (FEC or CSX) allowing them to do so.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #46 on: June 08, 2021, 06:45:34 PM »
An old freight line revived to run passenger trains cuz of a bunch of tourists wanting to get off a cruise ship is nothing like "requiring them to run an excursion once a year".

The example given was not in reference to the once a year mention but to my subsequent comment below about how nice it would have been if it was a regular thing in the Jacksonville area.  I think the closest historic train here is in St. Mary's, GA.:  https://thegeorgiatrain.com/  Interestingly, its operated by the "Florida Railway Heritage Museum."  Go figure.

This could have been a nice and unique tourist attraction for Jax if we took a pittance of the Skyway U2C dollars and partnered with CSX to run excursions from here.  But, that would require imagination, planning and effort.  Three strikes against us.


jaxlongtimer

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2021, 06:51:21 PM »
Wife and I did this one in North Carolina. Very nice...

https://www.gsmr.com/

We did this one a few years ago.  I especially liked the model train museum at the station.  An amazing collection they have there and the table layout is neat too.  Bought back my childhood memories of playing with HO trains.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #48 on: June 09, 2021, 11:51:04 PM »
Unbelievable.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/city-may-transfer-historic-locomotive-at-prime-osborn

Though rather symbolic of Jacksonville’s appreciation for rail.

City Council approved transfer by 16 to 2 vote.  Another piece of Jacksonville history disposed of.  Akin to another demolition.  I didn't note any advance publicity about this that might have brought forward any local stewards to keep it here.  (Former CSX CEO and philanthropist Michael Ward would be one candidate that possibly could  have "engineered" its salvation in Jax.  And, just like former Navy service members trying to bring an old Navy ship to Jax, we have plenty of railroaders here who, similarly, might have stepped up to salvage this engine.)

Brian Hughes comment evidences his total disdain for Jax history and goes far to explain Curry's desire to demolish so much of our history on an ongoing basis.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/photo-gallery/prime-osborn-historic-locomotive-headed-out-of-town

Quote
City Council approved transferring the historic locomotive displayed at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center to U.S. Sugar Corp., which will transport the steam engine to Clewiston, restore it and put it back in limited service.

The vote June 8 was 16-2, with Council members Matt Carlucci and Randy DeFoor voting against Ordinance 2021-293.


Carlucci said while he voted to approve the bill in committee, he would like a couple of weeks to determine if someone in Jacksonville would like to see the train remain.

“We might go ahead and think this one through,” Carlucci said.

DeFoor said she objects to the locomotive having to leave Jacksonville to head off its gradual decline.

“Shame on us for not taking care of it,” DeFoor said.

Brian Hughes, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff, said the plan to sell the steam engine was approved by the Planning Department and several Council committees, based on the fact that restoration and use hasn’t happened in the 35 years since the locomotive was placed outdoors at the convention center, where it is deteriorating.

“It’s a giant paperweight in a parking lot,” Hughes said.....







« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 11:57:50 PM by jaxlongtimer »

Peter Griffin

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2021, 10:03:44 AM »
Isn't it going back into service? Isn't that a better use of a piece of history than keeping it locked up in a parking lot like a caged animal?

Selfish to think that it was better off locked away in a little-used parking lot in Jacksonville than for it to be roaming the rails again. Selfish thinking on the part of those who lament this decision.

THIS IS AN ADAPTIVE REUSE. ISN'T THIS WHAT WE ALL WANT?!? TO PRESERVE HISTORY!?

thelakelander

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #50 on: June 10, 2021, 11:30:40 AM »
It's sad to see it leave Jax but on the other side of things, we haven't done anything useful with it since 1960. Better to let it be restored and reused again than to continue rusting behind the ass of the convention center.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2021, 12:04:33 PM »
Isn't it going back into service? Isn't that a better use of a piece of history than keeping it locked up in a parking lot like a caged animal?

Selfish to think that it was better off locked away in a little-used parking lot in Jacksonville than for it to be roaming the rails again. Selfish thinking on the part of those who lament this decision.

THIS IS AN ADAPTIVE REUSE. ISN'T THIS WHAT WE ALL WANT?!? TO PRESERVE HISTORY!?

I was just saying "Did we do everything we could to keep it both preserved and in Jacksonville?"  What community-wide outreach effort was made to do so?  Compare the little effort in saving this for Jax with all the efforts put into bringing a retired Navy ship to Jax that may have little or no historical connection directly with the City and that will cost far more to implement.

thelakelander

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2021, 04:42:01 PM »
^We clearly didn't do everything we could. But we had 60 years, so I can't complain that it's leaving.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2021, 04:49:39 PM »
^We clearly didn't do everything we could. But we had 60 years, so I can't complain that it's leaving.

Note that for about 25 of those years the engine was still in the custody of ACL/SCL/CSX, not the City.  Also, I would only count years where "we", the public, were asked to step up, not a limited number of well informed persons.  On that basis, it appears "we" had close to zero years.

I do agree, sadly, that your proposition applies to many other situations around town, such as Fire Station #5, the Lytle school building, Brewster hospital building and so many others that we, as a community, watch  as they crumble or get demolished with nary a whimper from the public domain.  So, I am not suggesting the engine would have been saved locally but you don't know if you don't try.  It is clearly a unique and different historical artifact from buildings so maybe it would have caught more peoples' imaginations.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 04:54:59 PM by jaxlongtimer »

Charles Hunter

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2021, 05:13:11 PM »
There is a local group that worked to preserve the engine. They were awarded $20,000 in 2014 for "cosmetic restoration" of the engine. 
The crux of the issue is in the text I bolded from the article.

Quote
From the National Railway Historical Society, Feb. 2, 2014
https://nrhs.com/preservation/north-florida-nrhs-chapter-awarded-20000-to-save-engine-no-1504-in-jacksonville/

The North Florida Chapter NRHS has received $20,000 from Trains Magazine and CSX Corp. to fund the cosmetic restoration of Atlantic Coast Line No. 1504, a 1919-built steam locomotive on display in Jacksonville, Florida. The magazine selected the NRHS chapter for its annual $10,000 Preservation Award, which was doubled by a matching grant from CSX. Displayed at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, ACL 1504 has been outdoors for more than 50 years and is rapidly deteriorating due to exposure from the harsh Florida sun and salt air. In April NRHS named the locomotive to its 2013 “Most At-Risk” list of endangered U.S. landmarks.

...
“We are thrilled with CSX’s participation, and we hope this is the beginning of a long-term view of this locomotive as an important keepsake of American history that needs the best care possible,” said Trains Editor Jim Wrinn. “We would love to see more work on top of what Trains and CSX are funding, a roof to shelter it, and an endowment to ensure that this treasure is with us forever.

“Engine 1504 represents the nationwide plight of park locomotives that are exposed to the elements without adequate maintenance resources. We’re grateful to the coalition of rail history groups that have joined together to save this vital landmark,” said John S. Holmgren, president of the North Florida chapter.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #55 on: June 10, 2021, 11:20:44 PM »
^We clearly didn't do everything we could. But we had 60 years, so I can't complain that it's leaving.

Note that for about 25 of those years the engine was still in the custody of ACL/SCL/CSX, not the City.  Also, I would only count years where "we", the public, were asked to step up, not a limited number of well informed persons.  On that basis, it appears "we" had close to zero years.

^ To further clarify, per the below linked article, it says it's actually only been under the City's domain for 22 years.

What would also be neat would be to require it to make one excursion a year up to Jacksonville for the public to ride it here.

....This could have been a nice and unique tourist attraction for Jax if we took a pittance of the Skyway U2C dollars and partnered with CSX to run excursions from here.  But, that would require imagination, planning and effort.  Three strikes against us.

^ The article also has quotes about the value of this engine as a tourist attraction, and, as I suggested above, that they have plans to try and bring it back to Jacksonville on an occasional basis.  So my post wasn't so far off the mark.

Quote
....Wood maintains there were other options to keep the locomotive local. Moving it inside the Prime Osborn or giving it a weatherproof structure could preserve it until it could join the proposed Museum of Science and History move to the Northbank area with the USS Orleck ship display and Jacksonville Fire Museum.

"It would be a great place to have a locomotive preserved for future generations and make it a critical mass for one great family attraction in Jacksonville," Wood said....

....Holmgren said the bill does say that if the Sugar Express project does not occur, then the historical society would have right of first refusal on the locomotive's return. He also has assurances from U.S. Sugar that No. 1504 could visit its old home again.

"We are trying not to lose the connection to Jacksonville," Holmgren said. "... The parties are working it out. It would be great PR for us, U.S. Sugar and their train system. We are hopeful that it will return to Jacksonville."....


https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2021/06/10/101-year-old-locomotive-headed-restoration-and-rails-clewiston/7592674002/

« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 11:26:30 AM by jaxlongtimer »

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #56 on: June 11, 2021, 12:10:55 PM »

It would also be great if I bought you dinner at BBs.


It could happen.  But talk is cheap.  Not sure CSX would be that interested in having it running interferace with their florida spine.  And FEC's rails are going to be busy-busy-busy with Brightline trains.

It can be done.  It would be cool.  But......






thelakelander

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2021, 05:42:21 PM »
Quote
Amtrak is a top travel choice in the Northeast. With an ally in the White House, it wants trains in the rest of America.

Josh Lapp drives on Interstate 71 so frequently that he knows to give himself extra time to get from his home in Columbus, Ohio, to clients in Cincinnati or Cleveland. Sometimes, traffic congestion is the culprit that lengthens a two-hour drive and sometimes it’s a crash — unless it’s both.

The 31-year-old urban planner spends upward of $100 on a rental car for each business trip, an expense that grows alongside his hours behind the wheel.

“I lose a whole day of productivity when I drive, but the highway is my only option,” Lapp said. A proposed alternative would bring a different set of wheels through the corridor.

The nation’s passenger rail service is eyeing the 250-mile swath across Ohio for one of 39 proposed new routes. Using its success in the populous Northeast Corridor as a model, Amtrak is pushing a $75 billion expansion to bring trains to dozens of cities and towns across the nation.

The ambitious plan coincides with the passenger railroad gaining a powerful ally in the White House, where new priorities in Washington laud rail and alternate modes of transportation. The proposal comes as the nation targets infrastructure investments to exit a coronavirus pandemic-induced economic crisis, while state and local officials increasingly are open to options that address highway congestion and climate change.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/06/15/amtrak-train-map-expansion-us/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F33a7edf%2F60ca23989d2fdae302812a6e%2F602627739bbc0f73f603d668%2F46%2F70%2F60ca23989d2fdae302812a6e
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2021, 07:19:51 PM »
The key here I see is the opportunity to leverage an existing intercity line that would have more frequent service. Locally, we'd need to do two things if more frequent intercity service were established along the CSX A between Orlando and Jacksonville.

1. Get Amtrak back downtown.
2. Get an Amtrak station in the Clay County/Fleming Island area.

Both can be no frills but with more frequent intercity service (primarily if spread out throughout the day), you step into a situation where commuting between Jax, Clay County and Palatka could be another transportation option in NE Florida, laying a foundation for eventual commuter rail along that corridor. This option would also open all three stations up for TOD opportunities. That's about as cheap and quick of an option for something resembling commuter rail that you will ever see in metropolitan Jacksonville. That's a benefit locally and for Amtrak ridership.

Decided for some reason to mess around and create a station concept at what's now the Black Creek Park & Ride:



This isn't really giving any thought to feasibility, just playing with the idea. It's along the lines of what a lot of rail stations look like in the Northeast. Essentially the track would become elevated north of CR220 in order to grade separate trains and cars, and cross 220 before heading right into the station. The platform would sit over the station building, which is connected to a relocated park and ride operation so that the buses can feed into the rail line. The existing station, surrounded by a relocated Sleepy Hollow Road, become the site of mixed-use infill that also provides riders. Moving the existing stormwater ponds across the street provides room for outparcels.

Now, this is just an idea, but I thought it might be a useful thought exercise for aspiring to make Fleming Island a more accessible commuter zone. Seeing as that Doctor's Inlet/Black Creek area is also included on the Commuter Rail Feasibility Study, it seems like a fitting location to really build a new multimodal area.
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Charles Hunter

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Re: Amtrak expansion includes Jacksonville. Are we ready?
« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2021, 08:31:33 PM »
Elevating hundreds of feet of double-track* railroad, perhaps plus a siding, would be tremendously expensive.  Seems it would be much less expensive to reroute Sleepy Hollow Road so the new train station will have direct access to the tracks.

* I know the current track is a single, but nearly all discussions of adding passenger service to the CSX line mention the need to double-track the line.