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Another Wisconsin HSR article

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Tracktwentynine

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I agree that the Hiawatha Service would be a good candidate for HSR upgrades. I think many of Amtrak's corridor services would do better if speeds could be increased, even marginally.

However, at least under the Obama Administration, I think the chances of Wisconsin getting any major money for HSR is miniscule. You can't turn down federal dollars (and insult the concept behind the money) and expect to get more later. Maybe if Wisconsin had a different gubernatorial administration, but that won't happen until the last 2 years of Obama's presidency, assuming he gets reelected and Walker does not.
 

ALC Rail Writer

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I agree that the Hiawatha Service would be a good candidate for HSR upgrades. I think many of Amtrak's corridor services would do better if speeds could be increased, even marginally.

However, at least under the Obama Administration, I think the chances of Wisconsin getting any major money for HSR is miniscule. You can't turn down federal dollars (and insult the concept behind the money) and expect to get more later. Maybe if Wisconsin had a different gubernatorial administration, but that won't happen until the last 2 years of Obama's presidency, assuming he gets reelected and Walker does not.
It isn't the Obama Administration you should be worrying about... Just ask Walker.
 

Eric S

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http://www.jsonline..../113828999.html

Not that I really care too much about the comments below the article, but it seems that there is a better split of pro- vs. anti-rail folks on there now than there used to be.
Yes, it seems articles dealing with the existing Hiawatha trains, rather than the proposed extension to Madison, tend to invite somewhat less of the ridiculous anti-rail comments, perhaps because it is harder to say "no one will ride the trains" when there is ample evidence that, indeed, people do ride the trains, and in increasing numbers each year at that.
 

fredevad

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Even though they talk about separating the CP freight traffic from the Amtrak traffic, I fear that if they don't add a third track south of Roundout, IL, half the Amtrak Hiawatha trains (on the new "every 30 minutes" schedule that's proposed) will still be delayed on advanced approach (which I think is about 40-45 mph, but I'm not 100% sure) behind the Metra trains. But unfortunately, adding a third track would be impractical because all the Metra platforms would have to be rebuilt.

Even still, I don't see how they would realistically separate HSR from the CP freight traffic in Wisconsin (right of way, track, bridges, etc.). But I'm no expert, so I could be wrong.

Comments?
 

Eric S

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Even though they talk about separating the CP freight traffic from the Amtrak traffic, I fear that if they don't add a third track south of Roundout, IL, half the Amtrak Hiawatha trains (on the new "every 30 minutes" schedule that's proposed) will still be delayed on advanced approach (which I think is about 40-45 mph, but I'm not 100% sure) behind the Metra trains. But unfortunately, adding a third track would be impractical because all the Metra platforms would have to be rebuilt.

Even still, I don't see how they would realistically separate HSR from the CP freight traffic in Wisconsin (right of way, track, bridges, etc.). But I'm no expert, so I could be wrong.

Comments?
A previous plan (from the mid-1990s I believe) involved shifting all freight traffic over to the parallel UP "New Line" from Truesdell (in Kenosha County where the CP & UP lines are less than a mile apart) southward. North of Truesdell a third track would be added. Except for a portion of the south side of Milwaukee, it appears that sufficient right of way exists to add a third track between Milwaukee and Truesdell.

As far as Amtrak/Metra conflicts, I would think a schedule could be constructed that would have an Amtrak departing Chicago immediately before a Metra, but I suppose if both Amtrak & Metra ran on a 30-minute headway the Amtrak might "catch up" with the previous Metra. Southbound, have the Amtrak scheduled to pass Rondout immediately before the Metra. (I haven't studied Metra's schedules closely enough to see if the Amtrak would still catch up with the previous Metra, but this might work outside of rush hours when Amtrak/Metra conflicts would probably be inevitable.)
 
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fredevad

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A previous plan (from the mid-1990s I believe) involved shifting all freight traffic over to the parallel UP "New Line" from Truesdell (in Kenosha County where the CP & UP lines are less than a mile apart) southward. North of Truesdell a third track would be added. Except for a portion of the south side of Milwaukee, it appears that sufficient right of way exists to add a third track between Milwaukee and Truesdell.
Can the WI/IL state/DOT mandate that CP detour off their own trackage and use UP's, or would the state and/or Amtrak have to buy the existing right of way south of Truesdell?

As far as Metra, and I don't ride it very often, but they seem to run about every hour not during rush hour (and I didn't even consider in my OP the rush hour frequency of Metra trains), and I think a little less frequently on weekends and holidays.
 

Eric S

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Can the WI/IL state/DOT mandate that CP detour off their own trackage and use UP's, or would the state and/or Amtrak have to buy the existing right of way south of Truesdell?
As far as Metra, and I don't ride it very often, but they seem to run about every hour not during rush hour (and I didn't even consider in my OP the rush hour frequency of Metra trains), and I think a little less frequently on weekends and holidays.
No, WisDOT/Amtrak would have to purchase the CP line, or at least come to some sort of agreement with them in order to move freights off the line. At the time of that previous study that recommended moving freight traffic off the line, CP was supposedly willing to sell at least one of the two tracks to WI/IL/Amtrak. Whether CP and UP would be receptive to any such plan today is unknown.

Yeah, Metra generally runs on one-hour headways on weekdays, 1-2 hour headways on Saturdays, and 2 hour headways on Sundays. So long as Metra and Amtrak are only on one-hour headways each, it would seem entirely possible to construct a schedule that would not require either the addition of a third track or having to run an Amtrak around/past a Metra in Metra territory. (Something like departing CHI, Amtrak leaves on the hour and Metra leaves at five minutes past the hour, and a similar concept inbound to CHI.) As far as rush hours are concerned, it is interesting to note that Amtrak Trains 330 & 339 already operate on slightly lengthier schedules than all other Hiawathas.
 

Shawn Ryu

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High speed rail between Minneapolis and Chicago screams ridership. No one wants to drive nor fly that short distances. I think a high rail service can cut the time of travel between Minneapolis and chicago to 4, 5 hour ride. Maybe 3?

with stops between such as Milwaukee and Madison, it again, screams ridership. Chicagoans are like people in the Northeast in many ways, they are used to taking trains.
 

Green Maned Lion

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High speed rail between Minneapolis and Chicago screams ridership. No one wants to drive nor fly that short distances. I think a high rail service can cut the time of travel between Minneapolis and chicago to 4, 5 hour ride. Maybe 3?

with stops between such as Milwaukee and Madison, it again, screams ridership. Chicagoans are like people in the Northeast in many ways, they are used to taking trains.
It screams ridership to people who already ride trains.
 

dlynbid

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High speed rail between Minneapolis and Chicago screams ridership. No one wants to drive nor fly that short distances. I think a high rail service can cut the time of travel between Minneapolis and chicago to 4, 5 hour ride. Maybe 3?

with stops between such as Milwaukee and Madison, it again, screams ridership. Chicagoans are like people in the Northeast in many ways, they are used to taking trains.
It screams ridership to people who already ride trains.
I had to go to Madison the end of December, from Indianapolis-Chicago, I took the train to Chicago, then transferred to a VanGelder Line Bus to Madison, WI. There were SO MANY PEOPLE waiting for the Chicago-Rockford-Beloit-Janesville-Madison BUS, that they had to call up TWO MORE BUSSES! I had an actual pre-purchased ticket, so I got on the scheduled bus, but the observation I made was that the number of people that use public transportion via bus, from CHicago to Milwaukee and Madison is STAGGERING!! There was a man on my bus, who said had I gone on to Milwaukee by train, then switched to a bus in Milwaukee, the situation would have been worse.

Bus Ridership between Milwaukee and Madison is HUGE, the numbers are indeed staggering! and to extend that on up to Minneapolis WOW! I used to hate that drive when I lived in Wisconsin.

Oh well, we can dream, can't we??
 

Eric S

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I had to go to Madison the end of December, from Indianapolis-Chicago, I took the train to Chicago, then transferred to a VanGelder Line Bus to Madison, WI. There were SO MANY PEOPLE waiting for the Chicago-Rockford-Beloit-Janesville-Madison BUS, that they had to call up TWO MORE BUSSES! I had an actual pre-purchased ticket, so I got on the scheduled bus, but the observation I made was that the number of people that use public transportion via bus, from CHicago to Milwaukee and Madison is STAGGERING!! There was a man on my bus, who said had I gone on to Milwaukee by train, then switched to a bus in Milwaukee, the situation would have been worse.

Bus Ridership between Milwaukee and Madison is HUGE, the numbers are indeed staggering! and to extend that on up to Minneapolis WOW! I used to hate that drive when I lived in Wisconsin.

Oh well, we can dream, can't we??
And ridership on CHI-MKE Hiawatha Service has increased by about 30% from 2007 to 2010. And that is without new equipment, without additional frequencies, without any real service improvements.

But, unfortunately, no one rides trains (or buses). Or maybe it's just that no one rides trains that don't exist.
 

Steve4031

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30 minute frequencies? Now that is European style service. How many trainsets needed for that?
 

Anderson

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You know what? I'd give him the money conditioned on him climbing down on the Madison route. Make it all or nothing...forcing Walker to choose between getting the service he wants and ultimately admitting he screwed up, and not getting what he wants? I'd be game for that.

Edit: Another thought: that comes to mind: Let him have the money, but rip Walker a new one in the PR announcing the funding. "While the Governor of WI decided he didn't need rail funding before, he wants it now. So he can have it, and he sholud remember that people do damn well ride the trains, or he wouldn't be asking for this money, now, would he?"
 
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The Davy Crockett

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Maybe if his name was Rider, and not Walker, he would have been in favor of the HSR funds from the start? :unsure: :wacko: :wacko: :lol:

Maybe he figures, after the collective bargianing maelstrom, he can slip this in and nobody will notice the hypocricy. :eek:hboy: :eek:hboy: :eek:hboy:

Either that, or he now realizes that when gas hits $6.00 a gallon, the voters are going to be really p.o.'d at him for making political hay out of the HSR funds instead of taking the $$$.
 

jis

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Just for kicks they should give him $120 million from the 80-20 part of the available money as usual conditional upon he coming up with $30 million local match and see if he then turns it down. :)
 
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afigg

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I agree that the Hiawatha Service would be a good candidate for HSR upgrades. I think many of Amtrak's corridor services would do better if speeds could be increased, even marginally.

However, at least under the Obama Administration, I think the chances of Wisconsin getting any major money for HSR is miniscule. You can't turn down federal dollars (and insult the concept behind the money) and expect to get more later. Maybe if Wisconsin had a different gubernatorial administration, but that won't happen until the last 2 years of Obama's presidency, assuming he gets reelected and Walker does not.
That is, if Walker does not lose in a recall election. He has ticked off enough people with his recent actions on the whole collective bargaining thing, that he may face a recall election next year. But that is a topic for another forum.

As for the Hiawatha service, it would be a good candidate for more funding. I think for the mid-West Chicago corridors, the funding for the next several years - whatever there is - should be focused mainly on Chicago-St. Louis, Chi-Detroit/Michigan, Chicago CREATE projects, and if the politics were not so complicated, Chi-Milwaukee. But the politics of this are messy. Gov. Walker may be submitting these applications, figuring the Obama administration and the US DOT won't grant them, just so he can claim the Obama administration is playing partisan politics and play to his own base. Will be interesting to see what LaHood does.
 

bretton88

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This isn't hypocrisy. Walker has said many times that he is in favor of the Hiawatha corridor. He says that it's a proven commodity that people use. And as a plus, any improvements made to the corridor will decrease Wisconsins subsidy. Lost in all the fuss over the refusal of funds was that Walker tried to divert this same amount of money to the Hiawathas for this. So this isn't hypocrisy.
 

rrdude

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I agree that the Hiawatha Service would be a good candidate for HSR upgrades. I think many of Amtrak's corridor services would do better if speeds could be increased, even marginally.

However, at least under the Obama Administration, I think the chances of Wisconsin getting any major money for HSR is miniscule. You can't turn down federal dollars (and insult the concept behind the money) and expect to get more later. Maybe if Wisconsin had a different gubernatorial administration, but that won't happen until the last 2 years of Obama's presidency, assuming he gets reelected and Walker does not.
That is, if Walker does not lose in a recall election. He has ticked off enough people with his recent actions on the whole collective bargaining thing, that he may face a recall election next year. But that is a topic for another forum.

As for the Hiawatha service, it would be a good candidate for more funding. I think for the mid-West Chicago corridors, the funding for the next several years - whatever there is - should be focused mainly on Chicago-St. Louis, Chi-Detroit/Michigan, Chicago CREATE projects, and if the politics were not so complicated, Chi-Milwaukee. But the politics of this are messy. Gov. Walker may be submitting these applications, figuring the Obama administration and the US DOT won't grant them, just so he can claim the Obama administration is playing partisan politics and play to his own base. Will be interesting to see what LaHood does.
Now THAT is some serious outside-the-box thinking. And I hope that Obama, or LeHood's people realize that. Paint the MF into a corner, a corner he created himself.
 

Ryan

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This isn't hypocrisy. Walker has said many times that he is in favor of the Hiawatha corridor. He says that it's a proven commodity that people use. And as a plus, any improvements made to the corridor will decrease Wisconsins subsidy. Lost in all the fuss over the refusal of funds was that Walker tried to divert this same amount of money to the Hiawathas for this. So this isn't hypocrisy.
From Walker's letter to Ray LaHood:

More than 60 years ago, the federal government had the foresight to recognize that the American people no longer wanted to be limited by fixed-track passenger rail. The massive investment in our federal interstate highway system spurred the greatest economic expansion in our nation's history. For us to now to go backwards on transportation makes little sense. I believe that continuing responsible investments in our road infrastructure is a key to growing our economy and creating jobs.
I strongly encourage the federal government to halt all investments in new passenger rail lines and instead devote this funding to state and local road projects. All across the country, in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, the voters chose new governors who are opposed to diverting transportation funding to passenger rail. I believe it would be unwise for the Obama Administration to ignore the will of the voters.
http://www.wqow.com/Global/story.asp?S=13472336

Nice try, but he's a hypocrite.
 

bretton88

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Ok, now that letter I didn't see/hear of. That definitely makes for some good hypocrisy. Especially with the 60 million that is in his state budget to upgrade the tracks from Milwaukee to Madison which the federal grant would have covered.
 

Ryan

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I don't see it as holding grudges. I'd much rather the money go somewhere that the voters didn't elect a governor that ran on a "stop the train" platform.

Plus, as was mentioned in the other thread, the rebuild of the BWI station (my home station) is one of the other possible destinations, which I'd love to see come to pass).
 

Shawn Ryu

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Using it on BWI station is a waste of money. Nothing wrong with that station. Unless you meant something other than Baltimore Airport Station.
 
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