Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby electricron » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:44 pm

dowlingm wrote:I think any rail project should shoot for "is it faster than Google Maps driving directions" :D It looks like a very curvy alignment though - could one hope for progressive construction of sections of bypass track along the Turner Turnpike median to cut some track mileage out, if the alternative is longer and slower passing track in the existing ROW?

Stillwater Central will be running the freight business over their corridor now under their ownership, which at the present time is three trains per day. The passenger business, 2 trains per day for 6 months trial, as required under the sale agreement, will be financed or contracted out by them - not the state. Why would they now pay the state access rights to turnpike property?
It isn't going to take many passing sidings to run five trains a day over a single track corridor.
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby dowlingm » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:57 pm

electricron wrote:Stillwater Central will be running the freight business over their corridor now under their ownership, which at the present time is three trains per day. The passenger business, 2 trains per day for 6 months trial, as required under the sale agreement, will be financed or contracted out by them - not the state. Why would they now pay the state access rights to turnpike property?
It isn't going to take many passing sidings to run five trains a day over a single track corridor.
Just looking down the road a ways is all...
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby electricron » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:09 am

dowlingm wrote:Just looking down the road a ways is all...

Do you think clicking your heels three times and wishing it that it will become a reality? Stillwater Central just spent $75 million dollars to buy 97 miles of railroad corridor most likely 100 feet wide with trestles, bridges, culverts, signals, rail bed, ties, ballast, and tracks already in place. Do you really believe they can build a brand new rail corridor within a turnpike's right-of-way cheaper? Why would they when they already own a rail corridor capable of running their 3 freight trains a day?
If Iowa Pacific or another passenger service provider successfully starts passenger service operations, why would the state then wish to compete against a private operator most likely paying taxes with a brand new subsidized service along the turnpike? The only scenario where I foresee the state doing so is if the private passenger operator fails and fails to convince the state to provide a subsidy later. The chances the state will decide to subsidized passenger rail along the turnpike over the pre-existing service is very, very small. Therefore, ever seeing passenger service along the turnpike is very, very small. Get real!
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby dowlingm » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:27 am

Okay. Let's take a chill pill here. Did I say Stillwater would do these things? I did not.

I was contemplating a scenario not dissimilar to that unfolding between Buffalo and Albany where state and federal interests might want to make improvements to capacity and MAS on the route, and that slavishly following the winding track of the Sooner sub and enriching the private interest that now owns it (and being obliged to be mindful of their preference in track centres etc) would not necessarily be the optimal way to go about it over the whole length when the I-44 has a more direct run for the most part. Clearly highways have advantages in topographies such as exist along that region, and thus the existing ROW would likely have to be used in part where alternative alignments would produce grades which would cost an unacceptable amount of $ to overcome.

As an aside, I confess myself sceptical of this particular enterprise and I hope to be proven wrong. The current farce unfolding in Indiana w.r.t. Hoosier State seems to me more indicative of how State attempts to supplant Amtrak will go than All Aboard Florida's property backed venture. Extension of an integrated Heartland Flyer corridor to Tulsa in parallel with efforts to add trains to Wichita seem to me a more sustainable enterprise than ad hoc creations like this one.
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby electricron » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:04 am

dowlingm wrote:Okay. Let's take a chill pill here. Did I say Stillwater would do these things? I did not.

As an aside, I confess myself sceptical of this particular enterprise and I hope to be proven wrong. The current farce unfolding in Indiana w.r.t. Hoosier State seems to me more indicative of how State attempts to supplant Amtrak will go than All Aboard Florida's property backed venture. Extension of an integrated Heartland Flyer corridor to Tulsa in parallel with efforts to add trains to Wichita seem to me a more sustainable enterprise than ad hoc creations like this one.


I now see what you're suggesting better after further details. But I disagree that a State subsidize train is the only way to go. I suggest checking out the funding of the Piedmont trains in North Carolina. They're being subsidized by the North Carolina Railroad, not by the state. Sure, the state owns 100% of the NCRR stock, but zero funds from the state's general fund is being used. Freight profits are subsidizing these passenger trains. I guess it helps to have a class I freight railroad, NS, using your tracks for its east coast mainline helps generate freight profits. I guess it helps there's far more than three freight trains using it every day. I guess it also helps that no one is expecting dividends from NCRR. So it is an unique situation.

What will make or break the Tulsa to Oklahoma City passenger service isn't who is running it, it's how many passengers that will ride it at profitable fares. That would be true on whichever corridor the trains run on. If the upcoming 6 months trial is unsuccessful, it will be extremely difficult to start the other faster service.
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby dowlingm » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:18 pm

I guess if OK hadn't sold the Sooner sub then they could have gone down a similar route to Piedmont/NCRR. But now that $75 million has been sucked into the State's maw, how much of it will be returned to rail in that corridor is anyone's guess.
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby electricron » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:53 pm

dowlingm wrote:I guess if OK hadn't sold the Sooner sub then they could have gone down a similar route to Piedmont/NCRR. But now that $75 million has been sucked into the State's maw, how much of it will be returned to rail in that corridor is anyone's guess.

Per the news release, all $75 million will be placed into an ODOT fund for improving railroad crossings throughout the state. Time will tell if that's the truth.

Yes, that might have happen but I doubt three freight trains a day would have subsidized a state ran passenger train service. Dozens of trains will be needed. Oklahoma bought the corridor to keep it alive and eventually sell it back into private hands. That's what they had planned and what they have now done.

Keeping its history simple, NCRR was at one time mostly owned privately, with the state buying a small but significant share early in its life over 100 years ago to encourage its growth. When the privately owned railroad entered bankruptcy, the state took complete ownership and control of the railroad. So it is a unique situation.

JMHO, BNSF should never had sold the Sooner corridor in the first place if a decade later they wanted it back. I hope Stillwater Central gets enough freight business, and Iowa Pacific gets enough passenger business, to keep this rail corridor in good shape.
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby gokeefe » Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:59 pm

Startup is now imminent. Some advocates have already stated a push for a downtown arrival (before the test period even begins). From KOTV-6:

ULSA, Oklahoma - Passenger rail service starts in the spring between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, but the train will actually stop short - just a little outside each city.
Union Station in downtown Tulsa is one spot that would be a logical end for the train line from Oklahoma City, but for now, passengers would have to get off in Sapulpa and take a bus into Tulsa.

Advocates of rail transit hope to extend the line.
...
The train service that's coming won't quite make it to Tulsa; instead, Sapulpa is going to be the end of the line for now.

Passenger rail advocate, Rick Westcott said, "So a person would be able to get on their buses somewhere in Tulsa and go out to the train station, and do the same in Oklahoma City."

One of the leading advocates for passenger rail service to Tulsa said that's good, but not what's best.

"What do we need to do to get that rail in," asked City Councilor, Jeannie Cue.

Westcott wants the city council to help get the train service those last few miles into downtown Tulsa.

"When that happens, we're going to need a station, downtown," he said.
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Re: Iowa Pacific "Eastern Flyer" Passenger Rail

Postby NH2060 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:18 am

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