Why does Acela even stop at BWI?

Old Oct 18, 20, 5:55 pm
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Why does Acela even stop at BWI?

Not a COVID question, but prompted by just recently passing through and Iíve wondered this before.
Who is the target customer? Where are they going? Why do they need Acela vs. NER? I mean, if theyíre going to PHL or NYC then why donít they just fly into those airports??

Seems like an utter waste of time to stop here!
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Old Oct 19, 20, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Not a COVID question, but prompted by just recently passing through and I’ve wondered this before.
Who is the target customer? Where are they going? Why do they need Acela vs. NER? I mean, if they’re going to PHL or NYC then why don’t they just fly into those airports??

Seems like an utter waste of time to stop here!
I used to be a regular BWI Acela customer when I lived in Maryland, mostly BWI-PHL and BWI-NYP. For those that live in suburban MD, BWI is by far the most feasible Amtrak station (driving to BAL or WAS is usually impractical). BWI-NYP is faster, easier, more comfortable, more time options, and often cheaper than flying to LGA/JFK/EWR and taking a cab, assuming your destination is in Manhattan. And you would have to be nuts to fly BWI-PHL rather than take the train (or drive).
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Last edited by Mr. BoH; Oct 19, 20 at 8:44 am
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Old Oct 19, 20, 8:57 am
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The fact is that -- pandemic aside -- it's a fairly busy stop and attracts both BWI fliers and others from the area.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 10:46 am
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Fun fact: of the 16 stations served by the Acela, BWI is the 8th busiest for Amtrak traffic. Ahead of Wilmington, Newark, Boston Back Bay, among others.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 11:16 am
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The way that Maryland highways are set up, it's much easier for passengers from both nearby suburbs and from outlying cities (Annapolis, Frederick) to reach BWI than either Washington Union or Baltimore Penn.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by paytonc View Post
The way that Maryland highways are set up, it's much easier for passengers from both nearby suburbs and from outlying cities (Annapolis, Frederick) to reach BWI than either Washington Union or Baltimore Penn.
To say nothing about parking !!!

Mrs Bob H and I used to live in Rockville. MD and preferred to fly out of BWI.

Also, it sometimes is cost effective to fly to BWI and take Amtrak to PHL -- particularly if you're going to Center City.

Bob H
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Old Oct 23, 20, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Mr. BoH View Post
Fun fact: of the 16 stations served by the Acela, BWI is the 8th busiest for Amtrak traffic. Ahead of Wilmington, Newark, Boston Back Bay, among others.
Where does Amtrak publish that interesting statistic? I remember when Acela used to stop at the EWR train station, right across from the "Air Train" to EWR itself. But, not enough people must have made that connection, for Acela hasn't stopped at EWR in a decade or more.... people who want to take Amtrak to EWR have to get off at Newark, and connect there to Path, then to the Air Train. Not exactly encouraging for intermodal transportation.
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Old Oct 23, 20, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by AndyPatterson View Post
Where does Amtrak publish that interesting statistic? I remember when Acela used to stop at the EWR train station, right across from the "Air Train" to EWR itself. But, not enough people must have made that connection, for Acela hasn't stopped at EWR in a decade or more.... people who want to take Amtrak to EWR have to get off at Newark, and connect there to Path, then to the Air Train. Not exactly encouraging for intermodal transportation.
Slight correction...connect to NJ Transit to the EWR station. PATH does not go to the airport, though it may....eventually.
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Old Oct 24, 20, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by AndyPatterson View Post
Where does Amtrak publish that interesting statistic? I remember when Acela used to stop at the EWR train station, right across from the "Air Train" to EWR itself. But, not enough people must have made that connection, for Acela hasn't stopped at EWR in a decade or more.... people who want to take Amtrak to EWR have to get off at Newark, and connect there to Path, then to the Air Train. Not exactly encouraging for intermodal transportation.
https://www.railpassengers.org/tools...ip-statistics/

Is probably the easiest tool to dig through.

Amtrak does publish quite a bit about its ridership especially on state supported routes.
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Old Oct 24, 20, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Long Train Runnin View Post
https://www.railpassengers.org/tools...ip-statistics/

Is probably the easiest tool to dig through.

Amtrak does publish quite a bit about its ridership especially on state supported routes.
Thanks -- very interesting website!
Apparently there must be 1 Acela train a day that stops in Trenton? Just under 10,000 Acela passengers annually board or disembark in Trenton.
I was struck by the fact that WAS-NYP is 225 miles, while NYP-BOS is 231 miles, only 6 miles longer, but the NYP-BOS route can take an hour longer! All those curves along the coast must really slow it down.
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Old Oct 24, 20, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Mr. BoH View Post
Fun fact: of the 16 stations served by the Acela, BWI is the 8th busiest for Amtrak traffic. Ahead of Wilmington, Newark, Boston Back Bay, among others.
According to what I'm looking at, it's 8th busiest on the NEC in general.
For Acela service specifically, it looks like it ranks #12 out of #16 , between Stamford and New Haven.
I didn't realize the point several folks have made about accessibility for the suburbs (I thought it was for airport only), but I still think they should stick to just Northeast Regional service, not Acela. Seems like all the Acelas are stopping there these days, though there aren't that many to begin with.
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Old Oct 27, 20, 1:09 pm
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It used to be every other Acela (weekdays) or thereabouts that stopped at BWI. Very useful and I used it several times from BOS. The slight time savings (and more pleasant cars) made the trip from BOS just into the realm of possibility versus a Regional, and BWI is much easier for almost all of Anne Arundel County.

(Of course, once B6 and WN started going head to head on BOS-BWI it was hard to pass up the airfares most of the time, at least back in the Before Times.)
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Old Oct 31, 20, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
According to what I'm looking at, it's 8th busiest on the NEC in general.
For Acela service specifically, it looks like it ranks #12 out of #16 , between Stamford and New Haven.
I didn't realize the point several folks have made about accessibility for the suburbs (I thought it was for airport only), but I still think they should stick to just Northeast Regional service, not Acela. Seems like all the Acelas are stopping there these days, though there aren't that many to begin with.
Agree with the data, though I would draw a different conclusion. The fact that BWI can produce those Acela ridership numbers with less than half of trains stopping there (pre-covid), combined with high ridership out of BWI overall, implies to me high demand and that therefore all Acela trains should be stopping there. They all stop at Route 128, which is a similar profile. Personally, I remember many times where I would have happily paid extra for the Acela out of BWI, but took the Northeast Regional instead simply because there was not an Acela with suitable timing (afternoon departures were particularly limited, if I recall correctly).

Last edited by Mr. BoH; Oct 31, 20 at 8:44 am
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Old Nov 1, 20, 4:44 pm
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It should also be noted that the RPA's stats are a third party analysis that makes some interesting assumptions around ridership at stations which are served by multiple routes.
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Old Nov 1, 20, 5:08 pm
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I remember reading somewhere asking more or less the same question (the exact question was, why Acela stops at BWI but not at EWR). I think the convincing answer was that old Metroliner stopped at BWI but not at EWR, so for historical reasons Acela had a regular stop at BWI but didn't stop at EWR. Now that Amtrak/UA relationship appears dead, not sure if Acela EWR stop will ever happen.
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