• 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 Anthony
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:47 pm 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.
What would need to happen for this proposal to pass with the funding for this connection? What would be the next steps if it does pass?
  by eolesen
 
It's a shaky bet. A similar bill in October didn't go anywhere. Bonding bills require a supermajority to pass, and the DFL doesn't hold a majority in the Senate.
  by Anthony
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:06 am It's a shaky bet. A similar bill in October didn't go anywhere. Bonding bills require a supermajority to pass, and the DFL doesn't hold a majority in the Senate.
Yes, but this time, the appropriation is just a small portion of the entire bill. It would be foolish for the legislature to not pass the bill solely because it includes this funding.
  by eolesen
 
I never said that this particular item was controversial. But the bonding bill as a whole seems to be. It's a lot of money at a time where the DFL is also proposing huge tax increases, and you don't raise taxes when workers and small businesses are suffering...

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  by gokeefe
 
That number looks like it might include adding passing sidings or potentially acquiring rolling stock.

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  by electricron
 
Per the new Tier 1 study fact sheet
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrai ... -sheet.pdf
"The recommended alternative is for the TCMC service to operate as an extension of one of the existing seven Hiawatha service schedules. This alternative best meets the purpose and need for the project."

The linked earlier feasibility study assumed using Superliners.
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrai ... ort%20.pdf
It also included the following recommended schedules:
Westbound leaves Chicago at 9:25 am and arriving in
4:47 pm in St. Paul or 5:32 pm at Target Field in Minneapolis
Eastbound recommended departure from St. Paul recommended a 12:25 pm which would arrive in Chicago at 9:54 pm

The layover location for the train will be at the existing Amtrak Midway facility in Minnesota. Whether existing Hiawatha trains can do this schedule or an additional two trains will be needed I do not know, I am assuming a future Tier 2 EIS study would answer that detail.

As for the proposed state government subsidized HSR trains between Chicago and the Twin Cities, that died a few years ago when the Minnesota legislature refused to fund its' share of the EIS studies. That's why these new EIS studies to increase the frequency of the slower 79 mph trains arose.

Another potential HSR line bites the dust. This time, not even with higher speed trains going faster than 79 mph.

No doubt, a second frequency train along this corridor will help, but not as much as a true HSR line would. Which would you take, the existing train taking almost 8 hours over 410 rail miles or ?
410 miles / 70 mph average speed (110 mph max) = 5.8 hours
410 miles / 90 mph average speed = (150 mph max) = 4.5 hours
410 miles / 110 mph average speed (190 mph max) = 3.7 hours

At almost 8 hours, flying will still be the preferred choice for most passengers between Chicago and the Twin Cities. ;)

For the staff, I am not sure Amtrak Long Distance trains is the correct sub forum this thread should be located. Sure, mentioning the Empire Builder in the title misleads, but the details of using an existing Hiawatha train set sort of kills that. This thread should be in the Amtrak Corridors sub forum, imho.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Sounds like good news!

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews ... ound-trip/
ST. PAUL, Minn. — It was only $10 million out of a $7 billion state omnibus transportation package, but the legislation signed into law on Monday by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz adds the last required match to a $31.8 million 2020 Federal Railroad Administration grant that paves the way for a second Amtrak round-trip between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

An information campaign to citizens and legislators along the route by Amtrak Government Affairs officials and “Virtual Town Forums” conducted by members of the Great River Rail Commission, elected officials representing 18 local and regional governments from St. Paul to La Crosse, Wis., was able to counteract concerns by Minnesota Senate Republicans initially opposed to funding any passenger rail projects.

The argument: more than $53 million worth of infrastructure improvements unlocked by a $10 million Minnesota grant, along with $6.5 million committed by Wisconsin and $5 million by Amtrak, would provide not only economic benefits to communities by increasing passenger patronage but also improve service for Canadian Pacific’s local freight customers.
  by Ridgefielder
 
electricron wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:47 am It also included the following recommended schedules:
Westbound leaves Chicago at 9:25 am and arriving in
4:47 pm in St. Paul or 5:32 pm at Target Field in Minneapolis
Eastbound recommended departure from St. Paul recommended a 12:25 pm which would arrive in Chicago at 9:54 pm
I find it both astonishing and depressing that this is over two-and-a-half hours slower than the schedule maintained *over the exact same route* by the Milwaukee Road prior to WW2. In 1937 the Hiawatha was carded at 7 hours flat between Union Station in Chicago and the Milwaukee Depot on 3rd & Washington in Minneapolis. With an oil-fired 4-4-2 on the head end.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 12:13 pm
electricron wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:47 am It also included the following recommended schedules:
Westbound leaves Chicago at 9:25 am and arriving in
4:47 pm in St. Paul or 5:32 pm at Target Field in Minneapolis
Eastbound recommended departure from St. Paul recommended a 12:25 pm which would arrive in Chicago at 9:54 pm
I find it both astonishing and depressing that this is over two-and-a-half hours slower than the schedule maintained *over the exact same route* by the Milwaukee Road prior to WW2. In 1937 the Hiawatha was carded at 7 hours flat between Union Station in Chicago and the Milwaukee Depot on 3rd & Washington in Minneapolis. With an oil-fired 4-4-2 on the head end.
Not to mention, the Milwaukee road went over 100mph on average; much faster than the federally mandated 79mph PTC limit. I'g guessing an increase to 90 or 100 would involve upgrades in signaling and trackage?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It looks like the latest draft schedule is to have this state supported train be an extension of the existing Hiawatha Train # 333 heading west and then heading back to CHI, it would probably be an extension of Hiawatha Train # 340 or 342. Not sure if this would be great for those people who would want to arrive into the Twin Cities just before dinnertime. I would love to see this train follow the schedule proposed that Electricon posted. While it doesn't depart CHI super early, it departs at a time when it would enable people to make daytrips to some of the towns like the Dells and Lacrosse from CHI and Milwaukee and back. Plus it would allow people continuing to St. Paul to get dropped off just before dinnertime. The 11:05 departure has its advantages though such as people connecting from other Amtrak trains in Chicago like 49/449 as long as if its not running more than about an hour late and 29 if it's not more than a few hours late. The same thing goes with passengers connecting from CONO Train # 58 at CHI.
  by David Benton
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 3:34 pm
Ridgefielder wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 12:13 pm
electricron wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:47 am It also included the following recommended schedules:
Westbound leaves Chicago at 9:25 am and arriving in
4:47 pm in St. Paul or 5:32 pm at Target Field in Minneapolis
Eastbound recommended departure from St. Paul recommended a 12:25 pm which would arrive in Chicago at 9:54 pm
I find it both astonishing and depressing that this is over two-and-a-half hours slower than the schedule maintained *over the exact same route* by the Milwaukee Road prior to WW2. In 1937 the Hiawatha was carded at 7 hours flat between Union Station in Chicago and the Milwaukee Depot on 3rd & Washington in Minneapolis. With an oil-fired 4-4-2 on the head end.
Not to mention, the Milwaukee road went over 100mph on average; much faster than the federally mandated 79mph PTC limit. I'g guessing an increase to 90 or 100 would involve upgrades in signaling and trackage?
I would think it went to around 100 mph , but to average 100 mph it would have to go 150 mph or so .
  by eolesen
 

Pensyfan19 wrote:
Not to mention, the Milwaukee road went over 100mph on average
Source?..............

Those of us who were actually alive when the MILW was still running beg to disagree.

There were a few places where 100 mph was possible, but certainly not as an average. Not even on occasion towards the end of the Twin Cities Hi...

Pre-war, the CNW and MILW each ran about seven hours on average CHI-MKE-MSP. 400 miles in 400 minutes is where the 400's name came from. MILW was a little longer route.p


Math hasn't changed since then.

Averaging 70 leaves plenty of time for short station stops and a seven hour timetable.

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  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 8:50 pm Pre-war, the CNW and MILW each ran about seven hours on average CHI-MKE-MSP. 400 miles in 400 minutes is where the 400's name came from. MILW was a little longer route.
Math hasn't changed since then.
Averaging 70 leaves plenty of time for short station stops and a seven hour timetable.
400 miles in 400 minutes is one mile per minute, or 60 miles per hour.
Per the internet, Chicago to St. Paul along I-94 takes 6 hours and 9 minutes to travel 403 road miles.
Math = 403/6.15 = 65.5 mph on average
The Empire Builder schedule suggest 7 hours and 48 minutes to travel 411 rail miles.
Math = 411/7.8= 52.7 mph on average.
Yes, you can drive it one hour and 41 minutes faster!
  by eolesen
 
Sure you can, but try making stops every 40 miles and see how much time that takes... There are three more stops on the Builder today than the MILW ran, and I suspect the dwell times at stations are a little longer as well.
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