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  1. M

    Planning a December trip! (Discussing SWC/CZ schedule performance etc.)

    Is it worth the rental savings to start and end the rental in SLO, and take the Coastal Starlight up to the Bay Area the night before you head out on the CZ? It's about a 12 hour overnight connection so your last overnight would be in EMY, but the northbound Coastal Starlight is rarely more...
  2. M

    Progress towards introduction of service to Madison WI

    Something which continues to drive me nuts about the new push for Amtrak to Madison is that in most local media it's repeatedly referenced as "Milwaukee to Madison". While that accurately represents the added Amtrak mileage, it ignores or underplays that Chicago is part of the picture. Back...
  3. M

    The effect of the potential rail strike on Amtrak

    What route are you taking? Assuming they do as they did a couple of months back in this situation they started winding down the long distances trains a couple of days ahead to avoid any getting stranded. You'll likely be just fine on the 6th, especially if you're not on a long-distance train...
  4. M

    Midwest Venture introduction

    For what it's worth the Hiawatha finally appears to be getting a 5th coach car during the week. Not sure if they have stopped at five for now or if they have gone back to (pre-COVID) 6 coaches. But given so many trains sold out or > 90% over the past several months the added capacity is...
  5. M

    Chicago Union Station observations

    Did you happen to catch if the Hiawatha was running with four coaches? And were you on the same train set both directions? There have been a higher number of sold out trips this week (especially Tuesday though I think at least one or two each direction have maxed all week) and I'm hoping they...
  6. M

    Ambitious restoration and transformation in the Chicago area

    Anybody with better insight have an idea of how much time this could shave off CHI-IND? That it's five hours between Chicago and Indy just kills what could be a potentially big rail market. Even if there's a way to overcome all the routine issues every potential expansion faces to one degree...
  7. M

    Amtrak Thruway connecting service - Indianapolis to Chicago

    Hi Jason-- 1. Yup, Amtrak Thruway is an intercity bus operated by a contractor. Sometimes it's on routes which are contracted (often by a state) to specifically feed Amtrak and may be painted with Amtrak's logo. In other cases it's on a bus which would run with or without Amtrak connection...
  8. M

    New Chicago - Kansas City service via St. Louis

    Indeed that's happening. For example if you want a coach seat CHI-ABQ on Monday 6/13 you can't get one because coach is sold out CHI-KCY, but now you can travel to KCY via St Louis and catch the SWC there. And while a local CHI-KCY passenger might cringe at the extra four hours the CHI-STL-KCY...
  9. M

    Long(ish)-term parking along Missouri River Runner route?

    Dang -- I guess if you wanted to give it a shot you can book that JEF-CHI and CHI-MKE as separate tickets -- the CHI-MKE bus is a thruway segment which can be bought independent of a rail connection. And like I mentioned if your inbound is running late it's a 10 minute walk to catch that same...
  10. M

    Long(ish)-term parking along Missouri River Runner route?

    Maddening that northbound this is only doable on Fridays from JEF and other points west of STL. Other days you'd need catch Lincoln Service in STL or ALN. (Or catch Southwest Chief in KCY of course.) The Missouri River Runner/Lincoln Service gets into CHI at 8:25pm and the last CHI-MKE train...
  11. M

    Markets along existing Amtrak routes with untapped ridership potential

    To me the lowest-hanging fruit is to add frequency to comparably short segments currently covered by LD. I don't think either of these categories are low-hanging fruit: --Trying to convince more people to take most existing trains. It's always hard to get people to change their travel habits...
  12. M

    Michigan City, Indiana station closing 4/4/2022

    For the small number of passengers using Michigan City the top destination was Chicago -- likely close to half -- so the South Shore is indeed there to absorb. Hammond, on the other hand, looks to have about 90% of their traffic...
  13. M

    Midwest coach shortage?

    Not sure if it's aggravated by Siemens cars not being in service as expected or what, but at least some days / trains for the Hiawatha are down to three coaches. This past Friday/Saturday five consecutive Chicago trains were sold out --if you missed the 11am on Friday the next southbound train...
  14. M

    How many stations have same code as the airport? (like LAX)

    Even better (or worse) with Milwaukee is that in addition to the airport rail station the airport terminal itself is served by Amtrak Thruway Bus (MKB) as well, and you can buy a bus-only ticket from Amtrak. When I've used the automated voice-response system calling Amtrak requesting Milwaukee...
  15. M

    Midwest coach shortage?

    Good to know -- thanks!
  16. M

    Midwest coach shortage?

    Both morning MKE-CHI trains sold out today on top of all three of yesterday afternoon trains. Am I correct assume running with 6 coaches requires more staffing than 4, similar to how aircraft in the US need at least 1 flight attendant per 50 seats? Perhaps it's staffing and not coach car...
  17. M

    Midwest coach shortage?

    I seem to recall hearing someplace that several coaches from the Midwest were sent out west for use. Anybody have further information, including if this is either temporary or to be relieved as the new SIemens equipment arrives? The Hiawatha has been reduced from 6 coaches to 4 since COVID...
  18. M

    Expansion of the Amtrak Cascades east

    Are we likely to be talking the same 9+ hours to get from Seattle to Spokane via Pasco and Yakima that the route was scheduled for when last served a couple decades ago? Trains don't need to approach or exceed the speed of cars to draw substantial ridership, but 4.5 hours in a car versions 9.5...
  19. M

    Amtrak long term service cancellations and restorations (2022-2023)

    The only other state-supported cuts I'm seeing so far: 1x Empire Service New York - Albany 1x New Haven - Springfield 1x Washington - Newport News