All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby justalurker66 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:47 pm

I consider it a reopen ... and am concerned with the impacts on the existing trains through Northern Indiana. Sure, the people of Fort Wayne did not like losing their passenger service and would rather use a station in Fort Wayne than one north of there in Waterloo (or the now closed stop in Garrett) but if they intend to shift the trains away from South Bend and Elkhart they are just inflicting the same pain that they incurred decades ago on new communities.

Northern Indiana consists of three clusters of communities: Northwest Indiana which is in the Central Time zone and is heavily connected to Chicago. South Bend and Elkhart along the Michigan border and Fort Wayne.

Unfortunately there was not a direct train line between South Bend and Fort Wayne. The closest I could find was a connection through Kendallville on a now abandoned line that once ran from Fort Wayne to Kalamazoo. (There is a short line in Kendallville using part of the alignment.)

If you really want an out of the box NEW corridor build something that would connect Ligonier and Fort Wayne so trains can serve all three major population centers without forcing South Bend and Elkhart residents to drive south (and potentially losing Michigan passengers who cross the line for those trains). Stop robbing Peter to pay Paul!

The "consolation" offering is to extend the NICTD South Shore Line from South Bend over to Elkhart ... which is a decent idea. Some proponents of the Fort Wayne alignment think that it is OK to take Amtrak service away from South Bend since NICTD is there - and offer the extension as a consolation to losing Amtrak in Elkhart. But the people living in South Bend don't want a consolation ... they want to keep their Amtrak service.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby gokeefe » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:14 pm

No shift that I'm aware of. This is a clean proposal for new service.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby justalurker66 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:12 am

The article states:
“... the Fort Wayne Line may someday be the route that all Ohio rail passengers use to enter Chicago safely, swiftly and reliably."

Rerouting the existing Amtrak trains from Toledo to Chicago has been mentioned as part of the previous "Fort Wayne" plans. I have no expectation that this plan will leave existing Amtrak trains out of the mix (once the Fort Wayne to Toledo segment shown on the map is added to the primary route).

The new route would be longer and need to be proven faster than the more direct NS Chicago line. But the argument is already being made to use the route for ALL Ohio rail passengers to enter Chicago. Not just the new passengers from Lima and Columbus.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:18 am

The assumption is the new line will be faster and also "lack heavy freight rail traffic" (clearly the case for the NS Chicago line). I highly doubt Amtrak would shift before having a better idea about the new line. I'm sure work still has to be done in Michigan but I would hope there is at least one Chicago-NEC train going via Michigan. I'd want to keep at least one train going through South Bend-Elkhart. The problem is you can't serve Ft. Wayne, South Bend, and Michigan with only two trains and if you go by population I would have to leave South Bend out (especially if they have the NICTD connection and if they can prove the other lines are faster). Then again, it's not like Amtrak always chooses the fastest route over the slowest route...

I did read this a few months ago. The "B Line" sounds a lot like the new Ft. Wayne route:
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/n ... dor--49060
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:32 am

Philly AF: I think the B-Line is the former Nickel Plate, and the passenger proposal means to use the former Pennsylvania Railroad (now the short line Chicago, Fort Wayne, and Eastern, leasing the track from CSX) from somewhere around Hammond, IN to Lima, OH. The NKP and PRR parallel each other between Chicago and Fort Wayne, so it's easy to mistake them on a map.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby justalurker66 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:52 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:The problem is you can't serve Ft. Wayne, South Bend, and Michigan with only two trains and if you go by population I would have to leave South Bend out (especially if they have the NICTD connection and if they can prove the other lines are faster).


The "South Bend has NICTD so they don't need Amtrak" argument (with the "well maybe perhaps we can extend NICTD to Elkhart" addition to serve Elkhart passengers) could be applied to the new line through Fort Wayne. Once corridor service is added to Fort Wayne and Columbus they don't need the Amtrak LD trains. They might as well leave them where they are.

NICTD currently dead ends at the airport. There are plans to change the alignment in South Bend and enter the airport on the west end of the terminal (near the bus loading areas) instead of taking the slow trip around to reach the east end of the terminal. But in either case, dead ends to not help extension plans. NICTD would need to reverse directions at the airport and build a wye where their track becomes parallel with the NS line unless they abandoned the airport station ... then either use the NS tracks or build their own track to get from the west side of South Bend to downtown Elkhart. It is an extension that I would like to see built - and promising such an extension makes it easier to convince people in Elkhart to support the Chicago to Fort Wayne line.

The proponents of the Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus line need the support of South Bend and Elkhart area residents to get their line. Buying it with improvements to NICTD service might just work. Politics at their usual pace.

But then I am probably a decade or two ahead of the discussion. Ohio dumped federal funding for the 3C Corridor - Indiana has a less than pristine track record for supporting trains (although they are improving with the Hoosier State and NICTD West Lake project). The Amtrak services are secure in their routing for the foreseeable future.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby Woody » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:25 pm

justalurker66 wrote:
Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:The problem is you can't serve Ft. Wayne, South Bend, and Michigan with only two trains and if you go by population I would have to leave South Bend out.

"South Bend has NICTD so they don't need Amtrak" ... *

But then I am probably a decade or two ahead of the discussion. Ohio dumped federal funding for the 3C Corridor - Indiana has a less than pristine track record for supporting trains (although they are improving with the Hoosier State and NICTD West Lake project).

* South Bend gets service from the Wolverines and the Blue Water at Niles, MI. On the Notre Dame website are directions to that Amtrak station. Good service to/from Ann Arbor-Dearborn-Detroit. Service to Chicago needs about $1.5 to $2 Billion to fix South of the Lake for faster trains to reach Chicago Union Station, but you can get there at 'Amtrak average' speed now.
+++++++++++++++++++++++

The faster (110 mph) trains coming St Louis-Springfield-Chicago and Detroit-Dearborn-Ann Arbor-Kalamazoo-Chicago next year, at long last, could produce envy across the Midwest.

Faster trains won't seem far-fetched any longer. They will be a real thing that Illinois and Michigan have and the other states don't have. The politics of funding passenger rail may quickly change in the 'don't have' states.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:16 am

Woody wrote:The faster (110 mph) trains coming St Louis-Springfield-Chicago and Detroit-Dearborn-Ann Arbor-Kalamazoo-Chicago next year, at long last, could produce envy across the Midwest.

Faster trains won't seem far-fetched any longer. They will be a real thing that Illinois and Michigan have and the other states don't have. The politics of funding passenger rail may quickly change in the 'don't have' states.


Probably the most succinct exposition of the "politics of passenger rail service" I have ever read in these forums.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby gokeefe » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:40 pm

More coverage including clarification regarding current service. I am also starting to wonder if this may be a non-Amtrak route proposal. Given the location I would not be surprised if this was an Iowa-Pacific initiative. The wording of some of the quotes seems a little strange. People seem to be going out of their way to avoid mentioning Amtrak as the operator. There's also no commemt provided from Amtrak officials which would be very normal for this type of story.

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock said the preliminary work looking into restarting service is expected to begin in January and end by fall. It'll include a rough assessment of the engineering, technical aspects and the environmental impact of restarting regular passenger trips between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.

The last passenger trains to serve the city ended in 1990, The Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/2hn9CSW) reported.

According to Paddock, who served as a spokesman Monday for the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association, the proposed service to Chicago would not replace Amtrak service that already stops in Waterloo but does go as far as Fort Wayne.


Pretty sure the last sentence is missing a "not" in "does go".
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:40 am

If it turns out that way, I'll set out the topic. I wondered the exact same thing when it cropped back up.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby justalurker66 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:54 pm

gokeefe wrote:I am also starting to wonder if this may be a non-Amtrak route proposal. Given the location I would not be surprised if this was an Iowa-Pacific initiative.

I'd expect their name to be attached if it were their initiative. The current proposal does not seem to have any railroad attached. Finding an operator is one of the challenges facing the people behind the proposal.

Considering that Iowa-Pacific uses Amtrak crews and bookings on the Hoosier State I'd expect the same on this line - if IP gets involved at all.
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Re: All Aboard Ohio and OH proposals (Ohio 3C Corridor)

Postby gokeefe » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:19 pm

Still moving forward ...

The passenger rail proposal, which would connect Columbus to Chicago by upgrading existing freight lines, is not dead. In fact, initial planning for the western portion of the route is underway, and the City of Columbus recently confirmed that it will financially support the effort, a commitment it was not willing to make late last year.

“The Ginther Administration has committed $250,000 to assist in the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Study of the eastern corridor,” said Robin Davis of the mayor’s office. “Once MORPC (the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission) provides the scope of work, the city will be able to move forward with legislation to transfer the funds…we anticipate moving forward in the next few months.”

Another $100,000 has been committed to the project from MORPC and the various Ohio counties along the route, according to a MORPC spokesperson.

“The current phase of planning that began last winter and continued into spring focused on the Gary, Indiana to Lima, Ohio segment,” explained Ken Prendergast, Executive Director of All Aboard Ohio, the pro-rail group that has been following the proposal closely. “With Central Ohio’s contribution, the planning work will add the Lima to Columbus portion…and when this current phase of environmental assessment is completed, they might be able to quickly move into engineering and design.”

HNTB, the consultant hired to examine the western portion of the route, has begun to identify potential station stops and to work out train frequencies and schedules, according to Prendergast.
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