• 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 Gilbert B Norman
 
Somebody...SOMEBODY, tell me where they came up with that name. Why not simply Hiawatha Service, even if that breaks the rule that any ."...Service" originates and ends at same stations.

Such was good enough for my road.

Finally, I note that the train is a Passenger Extra. Amtrak assigns it #1333, which will likely stand until CPKC can include that number in an Employee Timetable. Thereafter, it likely will become 333.
  by Tadman
 
It is a boring name but also keep in mind, most Amtrak employees and many riders were not of age when the company was founded. If one were 22 and fresh out of college in 1971, that means one would be 75 today. What are the chances that, other than a railfan, someone at HQ can think of a related historic train name.

Couple that with the majority of trains going to MSP wer -Zephyr, -400, and -Hiawatha. You already have two zephyrs, one hiawatha, and the 400 name doesn't make sense if there's no hope of making the run in 400 minutes. The schedule is 7.5 hours.

The closest you could get on historic names is perhaps the Gopher, Chippewa, Laker, North Star... none of those were especially famous names and Chippewa might be off limits for PC reasons.
  by west point
 
Now ar least persons from MSO - CHI can take this train if the Builder is ~ 2-1/2 hours or more late. But the departure does not make for many connections at CHI, Ass well connecting to this train at CHI will be tight for those arrival that will be bookable. Another RT train to MSP may change these problems?

Is there any indication of how many seats will be on this train?
  by superbad
 
First of all it's going to be more price friendly.
Secondly way more reliable going east. It also appears to have a faster time table.

I have been looking at schedules and going towards the twin cities you can now overnight there and comfortably get back to the train the next day. So it could be good for ball games,concerts, and late evening/ red eye flights from MSP. I can dream of the day you can day trip to the cities and be back in Winona and LaCrosse the same evening.

I am optimistic that this stops the sellouts that frequent the builder especially going towards Chicago.
  by Steamguy73
 
That’s a pretty good travel time, 7 hours and 24 minutes in (approximately) 400 miles is 54mph average. Not bad by any means, even now it would be a pretty decent option in comparison with cars.

And who knows? There’s been plans about this route’s future for a while now (more round trips, service to Eau Claire and Madison, etc), maybe this route in time gets the Lincoln Service treatment.

PS: the borealis even if it isn’t historic is leagues better than “Great River”
  by eolesen
 
Two trains within 3-5 hours of each other depending on direction... doesn't seem like the best use of a limited resource.

Sent from my SM-S911U using Tapatalk

  by superbad
 
3-5 hours apart IF the eastbound Builder is on time. There have been times where the eastbound Builder hasn't happened or was delayed 4-8 hours going east in just the past month.
The punctuality of this train is going to matter more to people going eastbound more than anything else not the time slot.
  by John_Perkowski
 
superbad wrote: Wed May 01, 2024 3:26 pm Another question that comes to mind is Amtrak going to start doing dry runs of this train for familiarization?
Why? There’s already a pool of engineers qualified on this route, including substitutes. There’s plenty of time to do the turn and not die on the law.
  by STrRedWolf
 
superbad wrote: Wed May 01, 2024 2:43 pm 3-5 hours apart IF the eastbound Builder is on time. There have been times where the eastbound Builder hasn't happened or was delayed 4-8 hours going east in just the past month.
The punctuality of this train is going to matter more to people going eastbound more than anything else not the time slot.
So I pulled up the schedule through Amtrak's site, and they don't have the Borealis fully loaded in yet, but it's marked as train 1340 eastbound. 11:50a MSP to 7:14p CHI, comparing with the Empire Builder 8/28 at 8:50a to 4:45p.

The westbound, 1333, leaves at 11:05a and arrives at 6:29p. The Empire Builder 7/27 leaves at 3:05p and arrives at 10:56p.

...I don't know about you, but arriving in the dead of the night is not a good option.

That said, I would not be surprised if they reserve four trainsets for the Borealis and if the Empire's late eastbound, the Borealis Special runs in it's place.
  by superbad
 
A Borealis special would make sense. As a frequent(every 2 weeks or so) rider on the Builder I have noticed when leaving Milwaukee/Chicago that a solid 3 cars of that train are bound for points between Columbus and MSP. very heavy on the LaCrosse and Winona stops. I wonder if the new train is going to alleviate the Builder or if it's just gonna start selling out too.

I have already realized that this new train means no more airport shuttle for late night flights from MSP.
  by markhb
 
Here is the full schedule as included in the Amtrak press release:
Amtrak Borealis Schedule.png
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  by Tadman
 
Would it make sense to reschedule the Builder as a night train between cities? If you have an 8 hour schedule at 79mph, you could slow it down to a 12 hour schedule at the speed of a fast freight train and do 7pm-7am CHI-MSP. That would mean MKE and REdwing are serviceable stops in dark hours.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Dunville, they have done just that - at least WB.

During Nov '77, #7 emulated the Pioneer Limited (I rode it), for how long, I cannot recall and defer to one around here who has a historical collection of Amtrak TT's.
  by electricron
 
Tadman wrote: Thu May 02, 2024 12:43 pm Would it make sense to reschedule the Builder as a night train between cities? If you have an 8 hour schedule at 79mph, you could slow it down to a 12 hour schedule at the speed of a fast freight train and do 7pm-7am CHI-MSP. That would mean MKE and REdwing are serviceable stops in dark hours.
No State, or group of States, wish to subsidize an overnight sleeper train with a significantly lower ridership potential. They wish to maximize ridership at the lowest possible subsidy. And therefore a daylight train to at most early evening, which will be at worse twilight in winter but daylight in summer.
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