• Chicago Hub

  • 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 ryanwc
I don't think I saw this discussed here at the time it came out.:
https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews ... perations/

With the Lincoln Service upgrades, CP's acquiescence in expansion of the already solid, fast Milwaukee service and an additional Twin Cities train, and fast track in Michigan, the Chicago Hub is starting to look like a real thing rather than a blot in the middle of the country where Amtrak trains head to die.

The remaining flaw is the Sargasso Sea that is the south and southeast approaches to/exits from the city. Amtrak appears to have a genuine plan to fix it, which leaked out last summer.

Though they're still talking about moving St. Louis trains to the Rock, they've apparently gotten serious about using the CN Lakeshore route to connect to South Shore trackage in Indiana.

Calling Tadman! Calling Tadman! I remember your absolute fury several years ago that they had seemed to abandon this common-sense solution for the Indiana tangle and its associated South Side stalls. I admit to being less expert in all this than you and many others. But does this plan pass muster? Are the cost estimates realistic?

A functioning Chicago Hub would absolutely transform Amtrak, in my opinion. This could be a big deal.
  by ryanwc
Two links -- first, to the Chicagoland forum here, where it was written up last June, including some useful maps and a link to the Amtrak grant

Next, a High Speed Rail Alliance update from March, 2023 - it was deemed inappropriate for the MEGA grants and Amtrak was reapplying as four separate projects.
https://www.hsrail.org/blog/update-on-t ... t-program/
  by GWoodle
Maybe get some money from CREATE?
  by ryanwc
CREATE itself isn’t fully funded.

CREATE envisioned Amtrak continuing to use the NS exit route from Chicago. One thing I’m not clear on is whether there are projects that wouldn’t be needed if Amtrak i stead used the St Charles Air Line to the Lakeshore Line to Kensington.

But, if so I think it would simply be offsetting unfunded projects, lowering the ultimate cost of CREATE.
  by eolesen
I miss Tadman. Anyone who has contact info, tell him he's missed.
  by electricron
City Nerd recently published a youtube video about a HSR Chicago Hub.
His gravity modeling assuming 180 mph average speeds for HSR trains, had disappointing numbers for 5 of 6 legs.
The only HSR leg looking decent was Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, London, Hamilton, to Toronto.
Here's a link to his video https://youtu.be/TcCQko9vJBg

I'm sorry, max speeds of 110 mph makes it impossible to reach an average speed of 180 mph.
Slower trains makes automobiles competitive range longer than 75 miles, and planes competitive range shorter than 400 miles. His 250 mph sweet spot turns into a 150 mph sweet spot.

Advocates for slow trains are the worse enemies of advocates for HSR.
  by Tadman
ryanwc wrote: Thu May 25, 2023 4:46 pm apparently gotten serious about using the CN Lakeshore route to connect to South Shore trackage in Indiana.

Calling Tadman! Calling Tadman! I remember your absolute fury several years ago that they had seemed to abandon this common-sense solution for the Indiana tangle and its associated South Side stalls
I hadn't heard this but it only makes sense. About 15 years ago the President of South Shore Freight lived around the corner from me and told me that he had a hard time approving this matter when there was a lot of single track where some big freight customers lived.

My beef was always that the feds paid NS for an extra main, that did not work worth a darn, and then paid NICTD to double track their passenger main. I still don't love the NICTD plan (thats mostly complete) to double track through downtown rather than buy and use the CSX that had a nice wide private ROW (barely used at that), but they don't pay me big bucks to think this up.

I hope they can get together and fund Amtrak through NICTD. That would probably required a significant rebuild of the South Bend interchange which was pulled up (and never a good one anyway - a steep short ramp between mains - and also this might mean they either (a) rebuild the SCAL bridge to get trains from CUS to IC or (b) do something really cool with the ex-NKP bridge at Grand Crossing.
  by eolesen
Glad to see you back, T

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by Gilbert B Norman
From Rocky River Inn New Milford CT--

Been to long, Mr. Danville.

  by Tadman
Good to see yall too. We moved to Mobile and on our side of the bay there is one sleepy ex-L&N track. I need my fix... Also it is hot as snot here.
  by eolesen
You'll have Amtrak soon enough.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by Tadman
I've seen the crew familiarization runs a few times from afar but never up close. I just found out they tie up down by the airport for lunch then turn around, which is odd because it's a rough area and you would think the CSX or TRSD yard would be better. Who knows... I just hope there are no more grade crossing incidents.

The route is supposed to be 3.5 hours which is pretty rough considering the drive is 2.5, but the traffic can be awful so I'll try it a few times. They key is going to be how long I can stay in NOLA during the layover. If they turn around and leave 2 hours later that's not great.
  by ExCon90
Do the current plans really call for offering only one round trip a day and using that to gauge real-world demand?
  by Tadman
2x each way. Much as I hate I-10, I might be willing to suck up the extra hour.
  by ryanwc
Came home on the Capital Limited today. We actually flew into town this time - 83 minutes South Bend to Union Station. Driving a somewhat more circuitous route, Google shows that as 95 miles. What is the max speed through there? Our speed dropped to maybe 15/20 mph from US Steel to the Calumet River, so we had to make that up somewhere else.

Alas, we left DC 5 hours late due to mechanical issues and then problems in the yard that that had all the NE Regionals late too. The Acelas departed promptly on the hour the whole time I was waiting.

And we lost an hour around Bryan, OH, with at least three freights involved in the cluster. I wonder how often that area is a problem. There seemed to be a couple yards nearby.

A kid across the aisle was wearing his Norfolk Southern t-shirt and taking pictures.

Our crew was great. Staff in DC were fine, particularly the giant Amtrak cop who posted up at the timeboard and kept asking people their train so he could give them info.

But management in DC is lacking. A few refinements could've made it a much less frustrating experience. For one, there's absolutely no reason to have an audio announcement providing random messages at random moments, in a computer-generated voice that's difficult to hear and mispronounces words. ApoloGIZE is not an English word, folks. If she announced that a train would be delayed before the delay began, maybe, but to announce for the first time at 6:45 that a train scheduled to depart at 6:00 is delayed is just idiotic noise pollution. They need bigger schedule boards with better placement. As it was, large numbers of customers gathered in front of the boards that were right at major station traffic crossroads, blocking people from moving through. They called one of the Regionals to a gate more than an hour before it boarded, which had the positive effect of getting them out of my way, but I'd have been furious if I'd been standing in a packed line all that time. I know it was a tough day, but that should be what management is paid for - making the best of a bad day.

Trains would drop out of the board at random moments, leaving you wondering if it had somehow boarded and left in the 10 minutes since you looked. The cop said it "times out." Maybe that's the explanation, but it's not really acceptable. And, the info at the station is not coordinated with the info in the app. As it turned out, the app correctly predicted at 7:00 that the train would depart at 9:00. But the schedule board didn't say that, and Amtrak staff told me "don't trust the app," advice I'd found accurate on a previous trip, so I couldn't put my faith in it last night.