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Any possibility of Amtrak serving South Dakota?

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railgeekteen

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The state has no trains and hasn't for decades, and I've never heard of any plans to bring trains back there. What routes would be possible?
 

Palmetto

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The state itself does not seem interested in passenger rail. Just as Ohio isn't. There won't be any service until the state asks for it, then. If any route would be viable, it might be Rapid City in the west to Sioux City in the east, but remember: South Dakota is not the most populous state, either.
 
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bms

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The Minnesota DOT's Rail Plan of 2015 proposed a 79 mph line from the Twin Cities to Sioux Falls, S.D. That line could eventually be continued to Omaha.

I don't think service from Sioux Falls to Rapid City would ever happen because the tracks you would need to head west from Sioux Falls have been removed.
 

Dakota 400

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The state itself does not seem interested in passenger rail. Just as Ohio isn't.
There is interest among a small minority of Ohio's citizens. There isn't interest when a certain political party has control of the levers of State government. We had a Governor in 2007-2011 who did support the concept of rail service between Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati. Had he won a second term, it's possible, but unlikely given our conservative General Assembly, that some of the plans might have come to fruition.
 

Palmetto

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The Minnesota DOT's Rail Plan of 2015 proposed a 79 mph line from the Twin Cities to Sioux Falls, S.D. That line could eventually be continued to Omaha.

I don't think service from Sioux Falls to Rapid City would ever happen because the tracks you would need to head west from Sioux Falls have been removed.
I don't think that's correct. RCP&E runs east, thru Pierre, all the way to Tracy, MN, southwest of Minneapolis. That being said, I just think that the demand is not there to support passenger train service. It would be great, of course, but can't see it happening.
 

bms

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I don't think that's correct. RCP&E runs east, thru Pierre, all the way to Tracy, MN, southwest of Minneapolis. That being said, I just think that the demand is not there to support passenger train service. It would be great, of course, but can't see it happening.
I stand corrected!
 

Friends-261

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If they had good tracks and a locomotive and 1 coach car and did distance spacing I doubt that they could fill that car for a profit.
The population centers are Sioux Falls and Rapid City some 300 miles apart.
In between are farm and badlands - you might pick-up a prairie dog on a whistle stop occasionally.
Just what is needed another subsidized railroad doomed for bankruptcy from the git go.
This is not one of those build it and they will come !
Consenses let Jack Rabbit Bus Lines handle the traffic - Interstate Highway 90 works well.
 

Siegmund

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As already mentioned, the easiest route to put in place, and the one with most online traffic, is one that either goes to Sioux Falls, or passes through it on its way from Minneapolis to Omaha. But that only "serves South Dakota" the way the Empire Builder "serves Idaho" now.

There aren't many ways to run a train-to-somewhere-else across the state.

The old Milwaukee Road line through Aberdeen and Mobridge still exists; theoretically a restored North Coast Hiawatha could operate through South Dakota instead of through Bismarck. (But absent a Congressional mandate for Amtrak to serve all 48 contiguous states - why would you want to route it that way?)

The one big chance for new service to somewhere other than Sioux Falls, IMO, was when the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern was planning a major track upgrade along with their proposed extension to the Powder River Basin coal fields. If that upgrade had happened, service all the way across the state at competitive speeds would have been possible, and even Minneapolis-Rapid City-Denver (switching to BN in northwestern Nebraska) might have been feasible if the political will existed.

Come to think of it, I wonder if the promise of passenger service would have helped placate the cities that objected to DM&E's increased freight service.

Purely coincidentally, it was one Joseph Boardman who nixed the FRA loan that was going to pay for the DM&E expansion.
 

Dakota 400

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Once upon a time, there was a C&NW train that ran from Chicago to Mankato, Minnesota with an extension (I don't think it was daily, however) to Rapid City. I rode that trip one Summer while visiting Rochester, MN and found it to be interesting from a scenic stand point. The route went through Pierre and Wall and I got to see the Badlands and the Black Hills including the Mt. Rushmore National Monument. I think the equipment was a Coach, maybe 2, a Pullman sleeper, and a Cafe/Lounge Car. The train may have originally been called the Dakota 400 (that's why I chose my AU Forum name), but I think when I rode on the train, it was called the Chicago & Black Hills Special.
 

Palmetto

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So ironic. My SD relatives traveled a lot between Aberdeen and Huron. If they had to depend on bus service, look at the round about way they would have had to go.
After I wrote what I did, I said to myself that S. Dakota is a big state. The routes shown on the map really don't cover that state all that well, but they do cover what appears to be the more populous areas.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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The first question is? Where are the Railroad tracks. Then you can start talk about service plans after.
 
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railiner

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So ironic. My SD relatives traveled a lot between Aberdeen and Huron. If they had to depend on bus service, look at the round about way they would have had to go.
Up until sometime in the '70's, there were a lot more intercity bus routes to and thru South Dakota...
It was served by Jack Rabbit, Greyhound, Intercity, Arrow and Black Hills Stageline, Continental Trailways, and a few "short lines" like PYN, etc...
 

Willbridge

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The Minnesota DOT's Rail Plan of 2015 proposed a 79 mph line from the Twin Cities to Sioux Falls, S.D. That line could eventually be continued to Omaha.

I don't think service from Sioux Falls to Rapid City would ever happen because the tracks you would need to head west from Sioux Falls have been removed.
When I looked into this, it looked feasible to run a daylight Omaha<>Sioux Falls<>St. Paul train that would connect from Train 6 to Trains 7/27 and from Trains 8/28 to Train 5. That was in regard to the question that if Amtrak were to be required to serve the largest population center of each of the 48 contiguous states, what might have a chance of working for SD?
 

Siegmund

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That was in regard to the question that if Amtrak were to be required to serve the largest population center of each of the 48 contiguous states, what might have a chance of working for SD?
That's quite an interesting question. Was it posed online somewhere, with various solutions proposed for it? Or just an internal question?

I have played around with variations on it - along the lines of "must enhance existing service to every state" - but the largest population center bit adds a new twist.
 

jis

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And here is a good reference to a list of cities in South Dakota with their populations:


Interesting that there is only one city in S. Dakota with a population greater than 100,000 and only 5 with a population greater than 20,000, and the capital is not among them.

The only reasonable hope of serving a city by a train passing through S. Dakota would appear to be Sioux Falls and Aberdeen, and maybe Brookings. The top five cities together have a population of around 350,000. Of them the only line serving Rapid City do not go to anywhere in particular beyond Rapid City, so the onlt way to serve it is with a train that terminates and turns there. That one could also serve Pierre I suppose. But it is doubtful that it will be able to earn its keep, even at a 30% of cost level.
 
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railiner

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I still believe that before any Amtrak train serves South Dakota, they should run a train Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati...not what we're discussing, I'm aware, but just to illustrate there are far more routes deserving of rail passenger service, before they think about going to South Dakota.
 
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