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  • 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 Steamguy73
electricron wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 12:45 am Elapse time of two and a half hours to travel ~150 miles only averages ~60 mph.
Why does Amtrak keep suggesting starting a new passenger train service with so slow speeds?
I read 90 mph max speeds in that article, but for how long?
Because in this country that requires billions of dollars that states don’t have/don’t want to spend for new lines. It makes perfect sense not to support that and I absolutely agree with it every time, especially in places where preserved ROW’s or operating lines exist. Suggesting that all of these services need to be speedy is putting the cart before the horse, and putting the cart before the wheels as well. You’re not going anywhere even with a jumpstart by putting up a gigantic price tag.

The rightful goal for Amtrak is not to beat planes, or to beat cars, but to provide an alternate transport reliably, and comfortably, and in the interim, acquire and upgrade what’s available. Who needs to get between Duluth and the twin cities within an hour? Why?

What’s going to make everyone in the state of Minnesota happier? A 2 and 1/2 hour service that doesn’t exceed budget proposals, can actually be a reasonable alternate transport, and runs reliably? Or a money pit that costs several billion dollars and countless more years and decades just to get there 30 minutes faster?

I’d wager the former.
  by lpetrich
Metropolitan-area populations -- Twin Cities: 3,690 K -- Duluth: 291 K

Google Maps highway distance: Minneapolis - Duluth 154 mi

A speed of 60 mph is rather respectable for Amtrak corridor routes. Here are some:
  • Cascades (Seattle - Portland OR): 187 mi, 3h 25m, 55 mph
  • San Joaquins (Emeryville - Bakersfield): 315 mi, 6h, 53 mph
  • Lincoln (Chicago - St. Louis): 284 mi, 5h 6m, 56 mph
  • Downeaster (Boston - Portland ME): 107 mi, 2h 30m, 43 mph
Source: Amtrak Timetable Archives - Home
  by eolesen
I'm perfectly fine with having the average 60 MPH speeds for emerging corridors.

It's unfortunate that the Obama Administration was so focused on High-Speed Rail that they ignored any-speed rail.

Just think what could have been done with all of that money wasted on Chicago-St Louis or California High-Speed Rail had it been invested into some of these other places like the second daily Minneapolis to Chicago, or Minneapolis to Duluth.

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  by ryanwc
Ummm, just no. There is definitely more bang for the buck on Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis than Milwaukee-Twin Cities. I'm glad there'll be a second and even a third train on that segment and all. But speaking as a businessman, I'm awfully glad Amtrak didn't get derailed on that stretch rather than focusing on a tighter, more heavily traveled set of cities.

Tomorrow, 3 of 5 St. Louis trains are sold out. Monday, 2 of 5 are full, and Business class is sold out for one of the other three. This corridor is a huge bright spot for Amtrak.

You may think the it wasn't worth the expense, but that's pretending they could have cherry-picked Wisconsin trackage for free 15 years ago. And then the idea they should have been investing in Minneapolis-Duluth over Chgo-St. Louis... SMH.

The real question is why they didn't invest in running a brush through the rat's nest south of Chicago Union Station. The tangle of delays there is THE problem preventing Amtrak outside the NEC from becoming a functioning system. Service everywhere between the NEC and Chicago is ridiculous to non-existent, in large part because no train can count on leaving Chicago on time or getting in on time in that direction. Chicago-Milwaukee and Chicago-St. Louis finally work. Get Chicago-Detroit running on time and the rest of the Midwest will fall into place on its own, on business analysis without the prospect of operating subsidy.
  by eolesen
Sorry, as an Illinois taxpayer, I just don't see the benefit from pouring 2.5 billion dollars into Joliet to Alton.

People don't ride the train because it's fast, green or convenient.

People ride it because it's cheap. It cost me more to take Uber to the airport than it does to buy a walk up ticket between Chicago and St Louis.

Putting money into flyovers for CREATE would have been a much better use.

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