• Amtrak 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 Rockingham Racer
According to that article, the northbound train will be an extension of 333, leaving CUS around 11:00 AM, IIRC. That's only a few hours before from the Empire Builder's departure. Southbound, the train leaves about 3 hours after the Empire Builder leaves St. Paul. I can see that on days when the EB is late, the two trains will be running right after one another.
  by Gilbert B Norman
In short, restoring the traditional MILW schedule of #5 and #3, Morning and Afternoon Hiawathas.

The Afternoon was the weaker of the two, and was first to get whacked (before I hired on).
  by mtuandrew
In a pre-COVID world, was there such a thing as train 340? I see 338 (dep MKE 3:00p arr CHI 4:29p) and 342 (dep MKE 7:35p arr CHI 9:04p) on today’s schedule. It seems like if there was a 340, it would have occupied the sweet spot for this new train - dep MKE ~5:30p, arr CHI ~7p.

Not much good for connecting LD service, but you could certainly make morning commuter and even Amtrak Regional connections in Chicago. Depending on if this train extends to Minneapolis, the eastbound could also connect to the morning Northstar.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Stephens, the "Morning" 1030A from CUS was stronger than the "Afternoon" 230P simply on the strength that with three roads having their "Steel Fleets" arriving from the East in the 8-9A window (and they DID arrive), there was time to transfer from Central, Grand Central, LaSalle, and the South side of CUS and be on the "Morning". It is no surprise the Afternoon was first to be whacked.

But with no reliable morning arrivals anymore with the Lake Shore, Cap, City, and Card "showing up when they show up", the proposed extension of a 1030A Hiawatha would hardly be as strong, as Amtrak wisely would never guarantee that connection. All told, doubtful if such train would remove much through business from the Builder.

Finally, lest we not forget, the MILW was single tracked long about when the North Coast was whacked during '79 (I was still there).
  by David Benton
I'm wondering if the thinking behind the 11 a.m chicago departure , is for the consist to do a extra MLW-CHI run , in the morning ?
You would need a corresponding afternoon CHI-MLW run to balance stock , i guess.
  by gokeefe
That and it's focused on regional and not long distance ridership. Interesting to think of the Empire Builder as "second tier" relative to a regional train but I think that's where things stand.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by njtmnrrbuff
Yes, this 2nd new CHI-MSP train is meant to serve the regional market, mainly between two or three states. With the proposed times, it will be tough to travel to the Dells from Chicago and back there in one day if you want to spend several hours there. You would probably still be able to make a daytrip from Chicago to the Dells and back if you want to just go for the train ride or even grab a bite to eat near the station. You are probably looking at a little over two hours in the Dells between the westbound and the eastbound runs of those corridor trains. The advantage of the departure in the 11:00 am range is that if 29 and 49 aren't running very late, then people would be able to make their connection. I hope though that Wisconsin and Minnesota will let Amtrak run in an earlier time slot. An hour or two running earlier than what is predicted would be better.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Buff does raise a valid point in that any morning train cannot take connections from the Great Steel Fleet as could MILW #5. First, the "Fleet" is gone and the vestige of it remaining in the Amtrak era, meanders into town "whenever it does".

The only "safe" connection in a multi frequency pattern will remain a train on the Builder's existing schedule.

With its 8A CUS departure, the "Q's" Zephyr had to make do with the local business (plus maybe those trains on a "Night Owl" schedule; e.g. GM&O Midnight Special). This proposed train would need to rely on same.

May as well have it start as #333; 8A or thereabouts.
  by Pensyfan19
Federal funding attempt failed. Thankfully, it's not officially dead but rather delayed until 2021 for additional funding. Another example of railroads hurtin durin the pandemic, and another example of funding for a rail project in the region being delayed yet again due to politics funding other programs, thus placing rail transport as a low priority. Where´s Brightline North when you need it?

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... ties-train
Efforts to launch a second daily Amtrak train between Chicago and the Twin Cities suffered a setback when the Minnesota Legislature adjourned without providing $10 million in matching funds for a federal grant to advance the plan. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that the state needed to provide the $10 million, to go with $6.2 million from Wisconsin and $5 million from Amtrak, to accompany a Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant awarded last month [see “Effort to launch second Chicago-Twin Cities Amtrak train receives $31.8 million grant,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 23, 2020]. The Great River Rail Commission, which represents 18 governmental bodies in Minnesota and Wisconsin, says it will try again to get the funding in 2021.
  by NY&LB
Federal funding attempt failed.
Minnesota Legislature adjourned without providing $10 million in matching funds for a federal grant
NO, there was not a failed federal funding attempt, the STATE of MN FAILED to meet the matching requirement.

And since we are already into FY21, it seems to me that FY22 is the next opportunity to secure funding but ALL the stars must align, just MN providing the match might not do it since all the other parties would need to re-board.

And, aren't ALL government discretionary (those not required by law) funding decisions driven by politics?
  by njtmnrrbuff
Hopefully in FY22, MN can seriously look into adjusting the train times for the CHI-MSP run. There is no need to be leaving CHI at the 11:00 am hour. 9 is am is better.
  by Pensyfan19
Great news!

https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... sal--62794
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Feb. 22 released a $518 million capital investment bonding proposal that includes $10 million for a second Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) train, the Great River Rail Commission  announced this week.

The funds would provide a local match for a $32 million federal grant awarded last year, commission officials said in a press release. 

It will cost about $53 million to add a second round-trip passenger train between Saint Paul and Chicago, which would complement the existing Amtrak Empire Builder service, they said.
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