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Any possibility of Amtrak serving South Dakota?

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me_little_me

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Atlanta to Florida
Atlanta to Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Chicago
Daytime Cincinnati to Chicago
Michigan to Toronto
Denver to Albuquerque
Albuquerque to El Paso
SLC to Las Vegas
 

jis

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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.
Or - restore NOL to JAX to connect the east-west coast like it used to be
Atlanta to Florida
Atlanta to Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Chicago
Daytime Cincinnati to Chicago
Michigan to Toronto
Denver to Albuquerque
Albuquerque to El Paso
SLC to Las Vegas
So to summarize, it is quite difficult to justify adding service to South Dakota, specially given that the state has never expressed any interest even in words, let alone resources, when there are dozens of other routes where there is greater interest sometimes backed with resources and enthusiastic backing from local politicians in many cases.

But as a hypothetical, should one be given a project to determine what service in S Dakota might make sense, we have discussed the possibilities, noting all along that usage will probably be pretty thin.
 

Siegmund

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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.
No argument there.

But there's a similarity between the two states, in that neither is likely to go ahead with state-supported service on their own anytime soon: the only way there will be service to Columbus or to South Dakota (or Boise or, say, Knoxville) is if some new national-network requirement requires service to both places.
 

Dakota 400

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the only way there will be service to Columbus or to South Dakota (or Boise or, say, Knoxville) is if some new national-network requirement requires service to both places.
Or, if there is a change in the priorities of those who control the levers of State government.
 

Dakota 400

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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.
And, please include Dayton in that route!
 

Dakota 400

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Why not? Might as well throw in Akron and Canton? Ohio has lots of populous cities that at one time enjoyed good rail service....
I agree. The most recent route that was under consideration was a Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati route. To add Akron and Canton to that would be doable, but would probably be a bit of a deviation slightly Southeast from Cleveland and then from Akron/Canton West to Columbus.
 

crescent-zephyr

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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.
I’ve been to brookings many time for business. I would take the zephyr to Omaha and catch Jefferson lines north. On the way back I would take Jefferson lines north to Fargo and catch the empire builder. Once I went by way of Kansas City on the Chief when returning from work in California, that connection was VERY close and I didn’t want to chance that one ever again. Ha.
 

Willbridge

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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.
I think it was in the early years, for me and Amtrak, when I was with Oregon DOT. As you may recall, the original Amtrak plan called for there to be no service in Oregon. Portland was slated to go from 7½ train departures a day to zero. One of the fallacies of the Gardner era and others from the dawn of Amtrak has been the idea that the states should set up corridor services in a vacuum. From the beginning we had support from our governor for corridor developments, interline bus services, intermodal terminals as primarily state and local responsibilities, but we held that the national government should provide a network that these things could be attached to.
 

Willbridge

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Why not? Might as well throw in Akron and Canton? Ohio has lots of populous cities that at one time enjoyed good rail service....
In 1969 I rode the E-L from Marion, Ohio Union Station to Hoboken Terminal and they still had a Youngstown <> Hoboken sleeper. People were using it.
 

railiner

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Amtrak's Broadway Limited operated briefly through Youngstown and Akron. I recall traveling on it a couple of times during that period.
That was when the historic PRR route thru Canton, Crestline, and Lima, was downgraded to the point they could no longer maintain the schedule, they shifted over to the old B&O routing...
 
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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.
Possibly for Mt. Rushmore, but I've looked into it and the tracks that run through Rapid City are not connected to any other track. Those tracks have a dead-end at a factory west of there.
 
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Dakota 400

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Possibly for Mt. Rushmore, but I've looked into it and the tracks that run through Rapid City are not connected to any other track. Those tracks have a dead-end at a factory west of there.
That is what I recall many years ago when I rode that C&NW train from Rochester, MN to Rapid City. There was no train service of any type that I could determine West of Rapid City.
 

Friends-261

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Strange in all those dead end tracks you never see the train set reversed - a wye or a turntable -
or does the train simply reverse itself all the way back to where it came from ?
Yeah even in dem Hollywood train classics - how does the train automatically turn around and go back ?
Maybe the back stage set façade it taken down and reconstructed on the other side of the tracks - a one way train to nowhere.

In all those wide open mountain prairie spaces Wyoming does not have much to offer along the Montana border west of S D
except for those coal trains.
North of that there was the Great Northern - Northern Pacific and the Milwaukee Road
South of that the Union Pacific semi following I80.

Railroad tracks over the Rockies as well as the Sierras Cascades and other ranges was an impressive effort of engineering.

The wild west beautiful country to view but to build a railroad just to view it questionable - but build it and they will come !
 

jis

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That is what I recall many years ago when I rode that C&NW train from Rochester, MN to Rapid City. There was no train service of any type that I could determine West of Rapid City.
As @coelallen says, the line ends a little beyond Rapid City at a few factory and mine sidings. I have driven to its end. The only other route out of Rapid City is to the south.
 

Siegmund

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That is what I recall many years ago when I rode that C&NW train from Rochester, MN to Rapid City. There was no train service of any type that I could determine West of Rapid City.
In the ancient past, before Pactola Dam was built, there was a line up Rapid Creek to Mystic. Getting from Rapid City to Mt. Rushmore by train would have involved 60 track miles, on 3 different trains on 2 different railroads (Rapid City - Silver City - Mystic, then south to Hill City, then east along the branch that is still a tourist railroad), to cover 15 miles as crow flies. It was never a practical alternative.

The lines west of Rapid City were built for mining - two separate sets of them, C&NW coming into Deadwood from the north and CB&Q from the south, plus some shortlines.

Through service to anywhere, 100 years ago or now, requires a sharp left turn in Rapid City.
 

neroden

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Why not? Might as well throw in Akron and Canton? Ohio has lots of populous cities that at one time enjoyed good rail service....
While we're talking Ohio, Youngstown, too. Viable routes, given support and funding, include Detroit-Toledo, Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati, Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Cleveland, and of course more service Buffalo-Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago...

Ohio is more densely populated than France and can support a rail network as extensive as France. (South Dakota isn't.)
 

dlagrua

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South Dakota currently has two long freight RR lines. One goes East to West and I believe was the C&NW now the Rapid City Pierre and Eastern that travels East to West across the center of the state and the Dakota Southern (former Milwaukee Road) that has trackage from Mitchell to Kadoka but the small section that once went across the Badlands to Rapid City is currently rail-banked. The Dakota Southern service is currently being restored and its usable as far as Presho.
The final train to use the Dakota Southern Route was the Sioux passenger train but that was discontinued in the 1950's
Freight left in the 1980's. I followed the DS line by car as it parallels Rt 90. When train service was halted it left many ghost towns along that route. I can see farms and grain trains returning in the South part of South Dakota but passenger service would be a stretch. Most of the small towns along that route died or nearly died when the train left so there is probably no demand for passenger service.
 
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Qapla

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Most of the small towns along that route died or nearly died when the train left so there is probably no demand for passenger service.
Proof that passenger trains bring money into an area they pass through - a good reason to keep them running even if they don't "make a profit" (since they are Gov't owned) because the profit is the money the communities take in - like Mathews said
 

Trogdor

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Proof that passenger trains bring money into an area they pass through - a good reason to keep them running even if they don't "make a profit" (since they are Gov't owned) because the profit is the money the communities take in - like Mathews said
Correlation or causation? Did the towns die because the train left, or did the train leave because the towns died?
 

Just-Thinking-51

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A parallel highway is also a reason why a railroad would fail, but a boom for the towns along the route.
 

Barb Stout

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Freight left in the 1980's. I followed the DS line by car as it parallels Rt 90. When train service was halted it left many ghost towns along that route. I can see farms and grain trains returning in the South part of South Dakota but passenger service would be a stretch. Most of the small towns along that route died or nearly died when the train left so there is probably no demand for passenger service.
Farms left?
 

Dakota 400

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Ohio is more densely populated than France and can support a rail network as extensive as France. (South Dakota isn't.)
2007-2011, I don't recall that either South Dakota or France being mentioned about population density that could support a simple rail network in Ohio, but that point was made.
 
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