• Illinois Amtrak Service

  • 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

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  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Messrs. Pennsy and Stephens, as I noted previously in this discussion. the C&A was double tracked until about '69, so the ROW for such is there.

I've also noted that I'm ashamed how my railroad (Long UNP) took ARRA09 funding to rebuild an additionsl route to Chicago. I'm sure if the double track were restored, freight and passenger could peacefully coexist.
  by eolesen
 
You really expect UP to simply give up the more direct line to STL, plus any local traffic they might have in Springfield, Normal, Pontiac, etc? What's the incentive for them?



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  by Gilbert B Norman
 
No I don't Mr. Olesen; after all they own it. Further, and any of the others - C&EI (UP), WAB(NS), or IC(CN) routes are circuitous compared to the C&A (GM&O, ICG, CM&W, SP, UP).

But I hold it was wrong was to take Federal Funds, intended for improvement of passenger train service, to rebuild this line - and throwing "a lot of show" but little substance.

disclaimer (again): author long UNP
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by eolesen
 
To be fair, it was the State took the money and asked UP to do the upgrades, and just another example of their willingness to engage in boondoggles of grandeur that are little more than castles made of canvas and wood...

It's also safe to say UP really couldn't say no without appearing to be a bad host, and risk pissing off the government who happens to hold the Great Sword of Regulatory Power over them...
  by Backshophoss
 
This was the route that was first done with concrete ties that were defective from the plant,UP and the manufacturer paid to replace all the defective ties.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Observed:

380(24)

SC-44, A-I Cafe. A-I Coach, 3 Horizon Coaches.

Apparently the consist has grown by one car - and for half as many trains.

No wonder the TV News crews have seen no need to visit CUS this year.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Well, Amtrak got 5 seconds of "screen" on 6PM Local NBC News this evening. "File Footage" or live, I know not.

But long enough for the reporter to state "Amtrak is reporting a sharp decline in its passengers this year".
  by Pensyfan19
 
I think this might be an eventual expansion to the proposed Black Hawk service. A group is planning a study for passenger service between Rockford, IL to Dubuque, IA. I´m not sure if this group is proposing service via Amtrak, but it will be interesting to see nonetheless. I would think they would gain much support as their proposed route is part of the original Black Hawk service.

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... il-service
A Dubuque, Iowa, group is planning to contract for a study to restore rail passenger service between Dubuque and Rockford, Ill., once a proposed Chicago-Rockford service is revived. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports the committee of government and economic officials from Dubuque and three Illinois counties has approved a request for proposals for a consultant to conduct the study. The approximate 14-month study would consider such aspects of the potential service as routing, station locations, and infrastructure needs, as well as costs and revenue potential. Proposals are due in December with the contract likely to be awarded in mid-January. The Chicago-Dubuque route was last served by Amtrak’s Black Hawk, which ceased operation in 1981. The long-discussed revival of Chicago-Rockford service received a boost when the Illinois Department of Transportation hired a manager for the project earlier this year [see “Digest: Effort to restart Chicago-Rockford passenger service takes step forward,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 25, 2020] after receiving $275 million in funding in 2020 Illinois budget [see “Illinois passes budget with funds for transit, commuter, intercity rail,” News Wire, June 3, 2019].
  by eolesen
 
I had some business in Elgin this week and made a quick stop at Big Timber, which is where the connection between the UP and CP/Metra is planned for the long-promised-never-delivered Rockford service...

Looking east, CP Almora is immediately adjacent to the platform & crosswalk over the tracks:
2021-04-19 10.11.02.jpg
Looking south, the UP line is clearly visible, and within 2-3 feet of grade:
2021-04-19 10.11.29.jpg
Looking west, there's clear room for a third track...
2021-04-19 10.12.08.jpg
Whether or not it actually happens, it doesn't appear real estate or the difference in grade between the two lines should be a problem. It's just a matter of money, and moving CP Almora a half-mile east or so might actually be justified.

About a decade ago, Metra released a study for adding service to Marengo (still within the RTA taxing area) that would piggyback on the improvements being made for the Amtrak service.

https://metrarail.com/sites/default/fil ... 022410.pdf

If you jump to page 38, you'll see a diagram for how Almora (the historical name for the unincorporated area around Big Timber...) was envisioned back in 2010. Seems really overbuilt, but that's what planners do...

Assuming that connector track gets built, perhaps there's another opportunity for UP and CP to work together, by adding a connector at B-17 in Bensenville to the UP New Line. Doing that might allow UP to drop Elgin to West Chicago. I don't think there are any customers left between West Chicago and Gilberts...
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  by StLouSteve
 
Anyone hear when the new coaches might enter Lincoln revenue service? Horizons and Amfleet are in need of a rest. If we are never getting higher speed service, at least we should have comfortable seats!

Also when are additional frequencies to be added back on the route? A check of the Amtrak website for Chicago to St Louis now shows an option to ride the CONO and take the van connection to STL making for a long trip. Don't recall that option showing up before.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
StLouSteve wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:57 am Anyone hear when the new coaches might enter Lincoln revenue service? Horizons and Amfleet are in need of a rest. If we are never getting higher speed service, at least we should have comfortable seats!

Also when are additional frequencies to be added back on the route? A check of the Amtrak website for Chicago to St Louis now shows an option to ride the CONO and take the van connection to STL making for a long trip. Don't recall that option showing up before.
There used to be a connecting train--one coach, I believe--from St, Louis to New Orleans. The coach was added/dropped to 58/59 at Carbondale, IIRC.
  by eolesen
 

StLouSteve wrote:Also when are additional frequencies to be added back on the route?
Probably not until demand picks up. If Metra is still sitting 5% of pre-pandemic levels, I can't imagine downstate demand has picked up especially with conferences and trade shows in Chicago shut down and many Illinois colleges and universities still in hybrid or remote learning.

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  by Bob Roberts
 
eolesen wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:48 am
StLouSteve wrote:Also when are additional frequencies to be added back on the route?
Probably not until demand picks up. If Metra is still sitting 5% of pre-pandemic levels, I can't imagine downstate demand has picked up especially with conferences and trade shows in Chicago shut down and many Illinois colleges and universities still in hybrid or remote learning.
FWIW, NCDOT returned NC rail service to pre-pandemic frequencies at the start of April. It appears that ridership is running somewhat above the lowered pandemic expectations.
  by electricron
 
Interesting video from Midwest Rail Initiative about what went right and wrong with the Lincoln Service track rebuild.


So far, $1.8 Billion spent on keeping what we already had, but now with almost all brand new infrastructure in place over almost all of the corridor. :wink:
It is sad to learn that the newly installed I-ETMS is not fast enough for dispatching faster than 90 mph speed trains safely. :( :(
The MRI presenter/host suggests it can be fixed, but really how much more will that fix cost?

On a side issue also mentioned in the video, scheduling of the trains is an important issue. Since Illinois subsidizes the trains, St. Louis gets burned with the scheduling. For regional trains to work on a national scale, better scheduling is needed for both city pairs - not just for the major city in the state subsidizing the train. This is going to be a major issue with Amtrak's proposed regional trains crossing one or more state lines. Too many posters here think regional trains will solve the terrible scheduling of long distance trains at middle of the night stations, but as the Lincoln service scheduling proves, that is not always the case. As the MRI host suggests, multiple frequencies during the day, like 10 per direction (or 20 trains a day) will be needed to solve scheduling difficulties. That is the main lesson to learn with the Lincoln Services difficulties.
  by west point
 
Another thing to remember is that day trains are subject to absolute work windows (AWW) several times a year. That is usually a 4 day AWW although the LAX - San Diego has AWWs Friday - early Monday morning. The Eagle get diverted to another route and Lincoln service cancelled or cut short. The classic example is NS 's AWW in January and February south of Atlanta. So no day trains then Monday - Thursday.
These AWWs will always be a problem and we will find that running trains 12 hours opposite LD trains will help provide continuous service to many stations. The main item would be to make sure no route has 2 or more AWWs that would cut all service to that route. Freight RRs will need to be held accountable.
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