Illinois Amtrak Service

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David Benton
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by David Benton » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:19 pm

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David Benton
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by David Benton » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:29 pm

https://www.railpassengers.org/site/ass ... 451/30.pdf
CONO figures.

Surprisingly, Chicago -Memphis comes in 5th , behind Memphis -New Orleans in ridership.
Would suggest to me a thruway bus connection off the Salukis would be worth a try at least .
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Arlington
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Arlington » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:20 am

CHI-MEM arrives at 6:40am
MEM-CHI departs at 10:40pm
Specifically, it is the night train both ways.

Imagine how much better a day (corridor)train timed for the convenience of both ends and all midpoints would do.
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eolesen
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by eolesen » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:41 am

Back of the napkin math suggests the Champaign segment is only about 170 per trip and the Carbondale segment is less than 45, yet more than half the trips costs are incurred south of Champaign...

More frequencies just to Champaign would be possible without added equipment, and would probably stimulate traffic. What might not be available is open track time at CUS.


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electricron
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by electricron » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:33 am

Arlington wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:20 am
CHI-MEM arrives at 6:40am
MEM-CHI departs at 10:40pm
Specifically, it is the night train both ways.

Imagine how much better a day (corridor)train timed for the convenience of both ends and all midpoints would do.
Here's some examples, because I have an imagination. Never-the-less, let's keep to realistic distance, speed, and time. That means getting those from the existing CONO schedule.
It's 528 rail miles between these two cities, southbound 10 hours and 20 minutes, northbound 10 hours and 40 minutes. The latter probably included some padding Amtrak always adds at the last station, so we'll use 10 hours and 20 minutes for realistic data.

A 7 am departure means a 5:20 pm arrival. Maybe a 9 am departure and a 7:20 pm arrival would work better for you. That is a very doable train.

How would these times affect the timing of the Saluki and Illini?
Northbound, 4.5 hours after leaving Memphis the train arrives in Carbondale, (11:30 or 1:30), 3 hours later the train arrives in Champaign-Urbana (2:30 or 4:30), 3 hours later arriving in Chicago (5:20 or 7:20).
Southbound, 3 hours after leaving Chicago the train arrives in Champaign-Urbana (10:00 or 12:00), 3 hours later arrives in Carbondale at (1:00 or 3:00) and 4.5 hours later arriving in Memphis (5:20 or 7:20)
As is, the am southbound Saluki returns as the pm northbound Illini, and the am northbound Saluki returns as the pm southbound Illini (am being the Saluki and pm being the Illini trains).

Looking specifically at Carbondale - realizing similar conditions along the entire route) the following schedules will occur.
Northbound
Saluki 7:30 am
Memphis day train (11:30-1:30)
Illini 4:15 pm
Southbound
Saluki 8:15 am
Memphis day train (7:00-9:00) am
Illini 4:05 pm

The southbound Saluki would run at approximately the same time as the southbound Memphis train. If we move it to around a noon departure from Chicago - it would not be in Carbondale for that afternoon's Illini return. That breaks the existing Saluki am and Illini pm return scheduling. Therefore, the train to move to the southbound noon departure from Chicago should be the Memphis train. So now it would have the following schedule times:
Chicago 12:00 noon
Champaign-Urbana 3:00 pm
Carbondale 6:00 pm
Memphis 10:20 pm

All this looks doable, until you reflect upon train efficiencies. With just two train sets, Illinois subsidies four trains daily (round trips Saluki and Illini). With another two train sets, Tennessee could subsidize two trains daily (just one round trip). Do you think Tennessee is that dumb?

Here's another kicker, most passengers boarding the train in Memphis would rather go to New Orleans than Chicago. Just check out the CONO statistics.
Top city pairs by ridership, 2018
1. Memphis, TN - New Orleans, LA
2. Champaign, IL - Chicago, IL
3. Jackson, MS - New Orleans, LA
4. Chicago, IL - Memphis, TN
5. Chicago, IL - New Orleans, LA
6. Chicago, IL - Jackson, MS
7. Carbondale, IL - Chicago, IL
8. Chicago, IL - Greenwood, MS
9. Chicago, IL - Mattoon, IL
10. Chicago, IL - Effingham, IL
While Chicago ranks very high making 8 of the top 10 city pairs, both Memphis and Jackson passengers wanted to go to New Orleans more than they did Chicago. Shouldn't Tennessee choose to subsidize another day train in the opposite direction instead?

Arlington
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Arlington » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:44 am

That MEM-NOL works so well (vs MEM-CHI) may simply be the power of a day train vs a night train
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electricron
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by electricron » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:54 pm

Arlington wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:44 am
That MEM-NOL works so well (vs MEM-CHI) may simply be the power of a day train vs a night train
Explain why Jackson MS attracts more passengers than Memphis TN towards Chicago. Most of the rest of the top ten city pairs for this train originate in Illinois, definitely during darkness.
It's not when the train runs - it's where the passengers from Memphis wish to go.

eolesen
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by eolesen » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:41 am

I’ll disagree. When the train arrives matters when it’s an endpoint.

If you can’t get somewhere by noon, it’s useless for many travelers looking to conduct business, attend medical appointments, or connect to public transportation to go beyond a downtown terminal.




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Arlington
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Arlington » Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:36 pm

electricron wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:54 pm
Explain why Jackson MS attracts more passengers than Memphis TN towards Chicago.
[Actually I'm not sure I understand the question, but it is worth noting that]
1) JAN-CHI has 1 roundtrip nonstop commercial flight per day (on United) and it looks like it is consistently more expensive
2) MEM-CHI has 11 round trip nonstops per day (2 Southwest, 4 United, and 5 American)
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prokowave
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by prokowave » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:54 am

Since the CONO has come up, a few questions and comments from a NOL based poster:

I recall there being some funding to improve the line CHI-CDL. Has there been any more news on that and what sort of upgrades would result?
CN is making slow but steady progress on its Bonnet Carre bridge replacement just west of NOL, which would improve speed and reliability as well. Unfortunately the latest timetable seems to have lengthened the duration. Seems like there would be room for improvement on the MEM-JAN segment as well.

Have there been any relatively recent discussions in reconnecting CDL and STL?

My vision for the route is that we could have a corridor service perhaps Missouri River Runner or Lincoln extension timed to meet the CONO in CDL - this would probably necessitate moving the schedule back or forward 3-5 hours. I'd then add a second train which would directly run NOL to STL (connection to MRR or Lincoln), but also timed for connection to and from the Saluki or Illini. Some thing like this

6 am dep NOL, 7pm CDL midnight or slightly later CHI
10 am dep CHI, 4pm CDL, 5pm MEM, 6 am NOL (would provide connections to the Sunset Limited, Crescent and proposed Mobile commuter service)
10pm depart NOL (connections from Crescent, Sunset Limited, and Mobile), 2am JAN, 7am MEM, 1pm CDL (connect to Illini NB), 3pm STL connecting to MRR/Lincoln
7pm depart STL, 10pm CDL (connect SB Illini), 5am MEM, 10am JAN, 2pm NOL

This would allow daytime trips CHI-MEM in both directions along with much improved timing on the Illinois section of the corridor and preserve and strengthen NOL-MEM with daytime with daytime services. The overnight services to and from NOL might see a bit less local traffic but would benefit from connections to and from three services in NOL. Of course if track improvements result in improved running time, all the better and would only require one additional trainset as the current schedule has the CONO sitting in NOL for 20+ hours.

eolesen
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by eolesen » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:13 pm

That’s an awful lot of effort for dubious value. LD to LD connections at NOL look like they’d involve a lot of backtracking...


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Tadman
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Tadman » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:45 am

eolesen wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:13 pm
That’s an awful lot of effort for dubious value. LD to LD connections at NOL look like they’d involve a lot of backtracking...
I don't see how anything eastward connects with the Sunset when it's as late as it can be.

Imagine if NOLA was a corridor hub - Mobile, Birmingham, Jackson/Memphis, Baton Rouge, Houston/San Antonio. Might be really useful. Fly into MSY from anywhere outside 500 miles, hop a train to a corridor city. Right now I've got a trip on the docket to Pensacola, Mobile, Pascagoula, and New Orleans. The flights to the gulf cities are really expensive.
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prokowave
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by prokowave » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:49 am

Tadman wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:45 am
eolesen wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:13 pm
That’s an awful lot of effort for dubious value. LD to LD connections at NOL look like they’d involve a lot of backtracking...
I don't see how anything eastward connects with the Sunset when it's as late as it can be.

Imagine if NOLA was a corridor hub - Mobile, Birmingham, Jackson/Memphis, Baton Rouge, Houston/San Antonio. Might be really useful. Fly into MSY from anywhere outside 500 miles, hop a train to a corridor city. Right now I've got a trip on the docket to Pensacola, Mobile, Pascagoula, and New Orleans. The flights to the gulf cities are really expensive.
A good point, and certainly I hope that Amtrak can figure out a way to solve the reliability issue. I'm not saying that NOL will a major transfer point, but with potentially three trains departing and arriving within 2-3 hours of each other, it's there wouldn't be any extremely long layovers. It would be nice to have at least one overnight arrival and late night departure to take advantage of that connectivity. Maybe if Amtrak sees improved revenue, they can invest in reliability. And as you say the area within about 300 miles of MSY is very poorly served by airlines (apart from MSY itself), so Amtrak is already at an advantage to capture some amount of MOB-MEM, LFT-JAN, HMD-BHM etc. traffic that would ordinarily have to back track to an air hub with a very high fare.

Even leaving out the STL idea, having a second run NOL-CDL timed for state trains in Illinois plus adjusting the timing on the existing CONO could offer a much better mix of day and night trips plus connections on both ends.

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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by gokeefe » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:41 am

I would be more impressed with an East-West connection across Illinois from Springfield to Indianapolis.

Is there an existing rail corridor that makes sense from Hannibal?
gokeefe

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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by GWoodle » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:55 pm

gokeefe wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:41 am
I would be more impressed with an East-West connection across Illinois from Springfield to Indianapolis.

Is there an existing rail corridor that makes sense from Hannibal?
The Wabash once ran Hannibal-Springfield probably has not seen a passenger train since the 1950's. Wabash/Norfolk & Western passenger trains sent to St Louis. Not sure how big a freight carrier it can be from Detroit to the auto plants in Kansas City. Maybe could be a Thruway bus route on I-72 over to Decatur & Champaign.
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