North Coast Hiawatha Study

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jbvb
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Route - better than the Builder?

Post by jbvb » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:04 am

A side note: When I rode it in September 1976, the EB used the NP west of Spokane, running via Yakima, and then the GN between Spokane and MSP. The NCH used the GN west of Spokane, and the NP to MSP.

GWoodle
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Route - better than the Builder?

Post by GWoodle » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:33 pm

For the Chicago to MN portion, there may not be enough ridership to support a Morning Hiawatha Zephyr? Something to leave Chicago 8AM then return much later PM without any connections with the Eastern LD trains. Amtrak does use the old CB&Q route when detours are required but you would have to open/staff some new stations.
Glenn Woodle

mtuandrew
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Route - better than the Builder?

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:58 pm

Why move to BNSF from Chicago to Minneapolis? The chokepoint is to the west, and you don't need to build any new stations alon CP Rail. An alternate train would be great though.

EricL
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Route - better than the Builder?

Post by EricL » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:02 am

Along the Burlington route, MAJOR operational/cultural changes would need to take effect in order to be able to properly host a regular passenger train again. The line hasn't seen one for, oh, what, thirty-ish years?

Capital upgrades would be required, too, although certain projects are already underway (e.g., restoring the double track through the La Crosse metro area).

The current BNSF already simply runs too many trains along this route, and the whole thing just operates like a conveyor belt. One train pretty much just follows another, no matter what, and whatever kind of time it makes, it makes. Not really conducive to passenger train operation.

A recent Builder BNSF detour took almost 16 hours to go from MSP to CHI - *double* the current schedule (which, by itself, is full of slop and not particularly fast). The circumstances for that particular trip were unusual, but the fact is just that the typical same passenger trip along that route runs between nine to twelve hours. Way too slow.
hey there guy

jstolberg
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by jstolberg » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:14 pm

Its a LOT looser than the schedule I proposed, but, Amtrak Makes More Montana Connections
http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/429/227/Amt ... 14-076.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
An expanded partnership between Amtrak and Jefferson Lines now takes passengers to and from the Amtrak Empire Builder
trains in Williston, N.D., by bus to eight communities in Montana.

Montana passengers at Sydney, Glendive, Miles City, Billings, Livingston, Bozeman, Butte and Missoula will meet trains at Williston and access the Amtrak network.

gokeefe
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by gokeefe » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:42 pm

Interesting to see an issue that I think we all regard as fundamentally dead continuing to resurface, especially in this case coming from the "grassroots" as it were.
gokeefe

Jeff Smith
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by Jeff Smith » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:55 am

<bump>
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

gokeefe
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by gokeefe » Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:06 pm

A fairly thorough check of Google reveals no further updates since 2014. Multiple search combinations focused around Montana produced no results at all. Somewhat surprising. I would expect that once the election is over we may see further political rumblings about Amtrak service in Montana.
gokeefe

vermontanan
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by vermontanan » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:56 am

This is a possibility, and the results will be he same: Nothing will happen.

The reason of course is cost, and that the people of Southern Montana don't want to chip in any money of their own. It's been that way for 37 years now, so the likelihood of a different outcome is zero.

An additional reason that it will not happen is Positive Train Control. Montana Rail Link (which would handle the train from Huntley, Montana to Sandpoint, Idaho) is not required to install PTC and they're not. PTC will be necessary for a passenger train, and would just amplify the already huge costs of track upgrades, stations, and new equipment.

gokeefe
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by gokeefe » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:00 pm

I disagree with regard to PTC. Pan Am Railways a Class II railroad for STB purposes hosts the Downeaster and is not required to have PTC up through 12 trains per day. They have an approved FRA waiver for PTC and I would imagine Montana Rail Line could easily be granted the same.
gokeefe

vermontanan
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by vermontanan » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:10 pm

But Montana Rail Link operates about 25 freight trains per day, while Pan Am freight traffic is minimal. I'm sure the additional freight traffic would be considered rather than just the class of the railroad with regard to the waiver.

gokeefe
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Re: North Coast Hiawatha Study

Post by gokeefe » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:53 am

The waiver is considered based on Pan Am's freight tonnage as a whole railway. I completely agree that Montana Rail Link may be above the threshold for a waiver but wanted to point out that it is not as hard to receive as one might imagine. I believe the threshold for a PTC waiver is 15 million gross tons per year but its been a long time since I looked at that section of the CFR.
gokeefe

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