Illinois Amtrak Service

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Matt Johnson » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:09 pm

Can we call this a boondoggle yet?

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Arlington
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Arlington » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:27 pm

Boondoggle is too strong, in my opinion, for what amounts to the same PTC and crossing-protection problems that have ripened nationwide over the last 10 years. Sure, it is probably made worse by having to coordinate with UP as landlord instead of having it owned by Amtrak (NHV-HFD) or a state (Michigan, Washington).
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east point
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by east point » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:24 pm

Anyone know how the crossing signals are activated ? PTC or the standard audio system or something else ?

Backshophoss
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Backshophoss » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:28 am

This is ITCS territory? Or does UP want to put in their Cab signal system(CCS) and I-ETMS PTC and get rid of ITCS setup?
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eolesen
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by eolesen » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:03 am

Boondoggle is too weak. UP got some great upgrades, but passengers (and taxpayers) haven't really benefited.

Obama prescribed $11B in high speed spending projects nationwide. Aside from a few construction jobs and a lot of consulting fees, there's not much to show for that.

EuroStar
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by EuroStar » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:40 am

110mph in mixed traffic with non-grade separated right of way is hard. The political risk the first time a train running at that speed crashed into a car or a truck on the tracks at a grade crossing is just too high for everyone involved. In Europe this would be much easier, but here politics with the demands of various constituencies to be bought out by including their pet projects into the big picture jacks up the cost by at least a factor of 4.

As for the $11B, there are some projects that are up and running: the Springfield-New Haven line comes to mind, but yeah, most of them are still far from completion or do not represent new service, only improvements to older infrastructure and such improvements are mostly invisible to the average traveller (such as the minor speed bump from constant tension catenary coming to part of New Jersey's portion of the NEC).

Bob Roberts
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Bob Roberts » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:48 am

eolesen wrote: Obama prescribed $11B in high speed spending projects nationwide. Aside from a few construction jobs and a lot of consulting fees, there's not much to show for that.
Double track from Charlotte to Greensboro, a new passenger equipment storage and maintenance yard in Charlotte, a few new (old) train sets for NCDOT and Raleigh Union station (and a bunch of smaller track improvements on the NCRR and CSX A line) were all products of NC's $500 millionish share. All of it is finished and in use (well actually the Charlotte equipment yard is waiting on Charlotte Gateway completion in a couple years)

We are still waiting on an additional Piedmont frequency (possibly late this year IIRC) and we never saw the promised speed increase to 90mph.

Norfolk Southern likes the improvements (and I suspect they wish that the same treatment was given to CLT-ATL trackage).
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

east point
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by east point » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:01 pm

Bob Roberts wrote:

We are still waiting on an additional Piedmont frequency (possibly late this year IIRC) and we never saw the promised speed increase to 90mph.

Norfolk Southern likes the improvements (and I suspect they wish that the same treatment was given to CLT-ATL trackage).

The CLT - Greensboro double track has enabled the Crescent to save sometimes as much as 30 minutes under schedule. CLT - ATL trackage is different. A survey that of course is not scientific has shown both Crescents to loose 30 - 60 minutes CLT <> ATL. Checking the speeds of the trains on Amtrak status very seldom has either 19 or 20 exceeded 60 MPH CLT <> ATL. What does ETT show as MAS ?

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Tadman
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Tadman » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:57 pm

eolesen wrote:Boondoggle is too weak. UP got some great upgrades, but passengers (and taxpayers) haven't really benefited.

Obama prescribed $11B in high speed spending projects nationwide. Aside from a few construction jobs and a lot of consulting fees, there's not much to show for that.
Agreed. What did we get for Illinois HSR? Or that miracle third track in NW Indiana that can still see Detroit trains strangled by an hour or so?

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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:45 pm

The Wall Street Journal summed up much consensus around here regarding this debacle - and circulated same nationally.

Hope the UP remembers to thank the taxpayers for building their second St. Louis-Chicago route (other; former C&EI):

https://www.wsj.com/articles/high-speed ... mail_share" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair Use:
Amtrak’s route from Chicago to St. Louis would seem an ideal place for the U.S. to adopt high-speed rail such as in Europe and Asia, where passenger trains can race along at 200 miles an hour. The stretch in Illinois is a straight shot across mostly flat terrain.

In fact, a fast-rail project is under way in Illinois. Yet the trains will top out at 110 mph, shaving just an hour from what is now a 5½-hour train trip. After it’s finished, at a cost of about $2 billion, the state figures the share of people who travel between the two cities by rail could rise just a few percentage points. Behind such modest gains, for hundreds of millions of dollars spent, lie some of the reasons high-speed train travel remains an elusive goal in the U.S such modest gains, for hundreds of millions of dollars spent, lie some of the reasons high-speed train travel remains an elusive goal in the U.S.

gokeefe
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by gokeefe » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:22 pm

It's unfortunate that articles about high speed rail failures in the U.S. don't include have a standard caveat such as "unlike the rest of the world most passenger trains operate on the same tracks as heavy freight trains".
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eolesen
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by eolesen » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:34 pm

And yet the dual presence isn’t the cause of failure.... unlike the rest of the train-culture countries, the US is made up of large yet geographically dispersed population centers. Illinois is the size of Ireland, and just about as rural once you get outside of Dublin.

If Ireland doesn’t need high speed rail, we don’t. Most long distance travel there is by bus...

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Matt Johnson » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:20 am

Michigan and Connecticut have gotten 110 mph trains running with little fanfare while Illinois has produced a lot of hype and no speed increases. I was surprised - I really thought that project would be a success story.

Suburban Station
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Suburban Station » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:01 am

eolesen wrote:And yet the dual presence isn’t the cause of failure.... unlike the rest of the train-culture countries, the US is made up of large yet geographically dispersed population centers. Illinois is the size of Ireland, and just about as rural once you get outside of Dublin.

If Ireland doesn’t need high speed rail, we don’t. Most long distance travel there is by bus...
the point seems to be less about need than ability. the US seems incapable of actually building it. If California's project had a cost and timeline similar to the rest of the world it would be built.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Illinois Amtrak Service

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:23 am

Of course it would cost too much money to build a dedicated HSR line such as California has proposed (and just might build "down the Valley"), but if additional capacity for UP to access Chicago was part and parcel of the project, then priority one should have been restoration of the double track the GM&O yanked during 1969. When I learn that the operating practice of "pull in the NB freight into the siding, then put an NB passenger in there as well, let the SB traffic pass, back out the NB passenger and let it run around the NB freight" is an everyday occurrence, then one must wonder if the intent of the project was actually first to provide "High Speed Rail" and additional freight capacity was secondary. If that be the case, then I would say the taxpayers under ARRA09 didn't get what they paid for.

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