• Amtrak Borealis: fka Empire Builder 2nd Daily Frequency Chicago - St Paul

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Jeff Smith
Has it been mentioned here before that CPKC will be running the additional frequency?

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews ... rformance/
CPKC handles Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee, and the Empire Builder between Chicago and St. Paul. A second Chicago-Twin Cities train has been funded and CPKC has agreed to operate it, but there has been no date set for the service to begin.
  by ryanwc
If the question is whose tracks, yes, though it's still interesting and bears emphasis. In fact we've mentioned that the merger gave a jump-start to additional service, as CP and KC sought allies for the merger. Whichever one held those tracks (I think CP) had been demanding an additional siding in Glenview, IL, which got bogged down by NIMBYs, before allowing any additional passage. They dropped that in merger-related maneuvering.

Or is something more meant by handling than just allowing use of tracks?
  by eolesen
Journalism semantics....

We know it's dispatched by CP, but pretty certain it's Amtrak crews. The average media reader/editor wouldn't know that, nor would they care.

Sent from my SM-S911U using Tapatalk

  by ryanwc
That's a disappointing article. Upthread (roughly page 20 as my browser shows it), I'd quoted two articles from late Spring looking to a late 2023 start for the service. The MN survey just linked by Superbad says 2026. Oy.
  by ryanwc
Amtrak's press release about their end of fiscal year report also states "early 2024" for the start of the second frequency.
https://media.amtrak.com/2023/11/amtrak ... ail-soars/

This is starting to seem real. It's a major change for midwestern service. The Chicago Hub is starting to seem like a real Hub, with multiple frequencies to many of the largest cities in the area.

Real Indy service and a 2nd frequency to Toledo/Cleveland would be game-changers for Chicago residents, I think, in making Amtrak a routine option for regional travel, rather than something most people don't have on their minds.

Of course, reliability is key, so the CHIP hub improvements mentioned in the other thread are necessary.
  by ryanwc
Presumably they will use a single train set to run this frequency, right? 7 hours one way, 7 hours back, timed opposite the Empire Builder runs?

What is considered the maximum running time for reliably using a single train set, before the time to service the train and the potential for delay leads to risk of cascading problems that are difficult to make up.
  by west point
IMO what would be ideal would be 2 new round trips CHI <> MSP
1. Leave CHI 0300 -0700 and 1130
2.leave MSP 1130 and 1600. If #8 very late use one of the new trains to operate MSP - CHI on #8's schedule and allow #* to operate SPUD station would need another platform and tracks to make this possible. on the replaced train's schedule.
  by superbad
IF I am not mistaken a 3rd frequency is already in the plans for once track improvements are completed... I also picked up on a possible LaCrosse to Saint Pual train. As someone who lives in Winona I would love to be able to go to Twin Cities and be back the same day.
  by superbad
From the Great River Rail Facebook page:

An agreement has been signed with the Ramsey County rail authority for facility use to store trains overnight and a service start date and train name will be announced "this spring".

This was from March 20th so hopefully soon.
  by eolesen
Tadman wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2024 1:49 pm Any news on the Duluth train? Would love to ride that some day.
At this rate, that may start before the Mobile train does...
  by superbad
I was on the builder the other day and almost every passenger in 2-3 cars was going to Lacrosse,Winona, or MSP. The demand for this train exists.
  by STrRedWolf
Going through this...

Wait, Chicago to MSP is 8 hours, same as the Pennsylvanian. It's a *day trip* train. It can't have the Empire Builder name. Time to pull up a new old name (from the list off Wikipedia):
  • Afternoon Hiawatha
  • Afternoon Twin Cities Zephyr
  • Bat
  • Chicago Special
  • Day/Eastern Express
  • Morning Zephyr
  • Varsity
Watch it go for a third frequency. ;)
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