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Best Chicago-Florida Route?

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What's the best Chicago-Florida route


  • Total voters
    24

Qapla

Conductor
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Jul 15, 2019
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Gator Country Florida
Jacksonville to Atlanta for the leg south of Atlanta - there are more options north of Atlanta than just the one through Indianapolis depending on available rails
 

railgeekteen

Service Attendant
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Mar 5, 2018
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162
Location
Boston area
Jacksonville to Atlanta for the leg south of Atlanta - there are more options north of Atlanta than just the one through Indianapolis depending on available rails
The traditional Floridan route through Bloomington does not exist anymore unfortunately.
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
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Baltimore. MD
I don't know about where the rails are, but it seems that Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville - Nashville - Chattanooga - Atlanta would maximize the number of larger intermediate markets that the train would serve. Anything further east would have to go through a whole lot more of Appalachia, slowing down the train, and anything running further west is taking the train out of its way, increasing travel time. Plus, both alternatives bypass all those big intermediate markets.
 

Anthony V

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
208
I don't know about where the rails are, but it seems that Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville - Nashville - Chattanooga - Atlanta would maximize the number of larger intermediate markets that the train would serve. Anything further east would have to go through a whole lot more of Appalachia, slowing down the train, and anything running further west is taking the train out of its way, increasing travel time. Plus, both alternatives bypass all those big intermediate markets.
While I favor the first route in your post the most, in reality, the most feasible way to re-establish Chicago-Florida service would be to extend the CONO to Florida, in the process restoring the long-awaited service along the Gulf Coast. This would be because there would be less new train miles than with any of the other options.
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
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2,069
I voted "other".

Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati-Louisville-Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta-etc.

I'd love to include Dayton in the Indianapolis-Cincinnati segment, but it would not be reasonable to do so. A bit too much out of the way, plus Amtrak already uses the route between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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I'd say Chicago - Ft. Wayne - Cincinnati - Lexington - Knoxville - Chattanooga - Atlanta - Macon - Jacksonville all on the NS.

I know the Cincinnati line is great... how's the line Chicago - Ft. Wayne - Cincinnati?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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You might need to put Savannah in between Macon and Jax
There are three NS routes from Macon that could be used. Macon - Savannah, Macon - Brunswick, and Macon - Jacksonville. I'm not sure which one is the quickest but I would think via Savannah would be the slowest.
 

Friends-261

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
27
Location
MSP
Adding to your poll ?

Best route economically
Fewest connections fast timeliness (point of connection WAS about a half hour connection - 3 times weekly)
Presume 100 % by rail - no motor coach connections

Just a brief glance the Cardinal 50 and the Silver Meteor 97 would fit these requirements with a 30 minute WAS connection
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
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Location
Toronto area
While I favor the first route in your post the most, in reality, the most feasible way to re-establish Chicago-Florida service would be to extend the CONO to Florida, in the process restoring the long-awaited service along the Gulf Coast. This would be because there would be less new train miles than with any of the other options.
This would certainly be the lowest cost option from a number of perspectives.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,209
Macon - Savannah is dark territory which limits speeds to 59 MPH. Atl - Macon by the old Cof GA line is also now dark. It is the intermediate cities that are most important. I would expect that the population of every city is considered within a stop's 25(?) mile location.
It is disappointing that CHI - Ciccnnattii routes are so poor.
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
177
While I favor the first route in your post the most, in reality, the most feasible way to re-establish Chicago-Florida service would be to extend the CONO to Florida, in the process restoring the long-awaited service along the Gulf Coast. This would be because there would be less new train miles than with any of the other options.
I'm all for that. I would love to have direct access from FL to New Orleans, and on to LA even if it were to require an overnight in The Big Easy.
 

Siegmund

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
178
Location
northwestern Montana
If I brought back the Floridian on a somewhat traditional diagonal route, I'd be happy with most any routing that put it through Atlanta rather than Birmingham. Given a free hand I think my first pick would be Cincinnati-Knoxville-Atlanta but I wouldn't mind Louisville-Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta either. I have hopes of seeing an Atlanta mini-hub someday: a second NY-Atlanta train like the Palmetto (maybe even two of them, one via Lynchburg and one via Raleigh), plus service to Florida and Chicago.

Purely from a speed standpoint, Chicago-DC-Florida and Chicago-New Orleans or Mobile-Florida are just about a tie with the diagonal route.
 

bms

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Jan 29, 2018
Messages
117
Location
Cleveland
Nashville is booming (or at least was before the pandemic) and is a great town to visit. I think Nashville-Atlanta is a critical missing link in the network and would be a great intermediate city pair for such a train.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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Nashville is booming (or at least was before the pandemic) and is a great town to visit. I think Nashville-Atlanta is a critical missing link in the network and would be a great intermediate city pair for such a train.
The existing CSX line isn't ideal... Nashville to Chattanooga is not an ideal route by rail or by car. I would love to ride that route though, some beautiful scenery.

I think a Chicago to Florida Train should try to hit the most population centers in the shortest amount of time... Chicago - Ft. Wayne - Cincinnati - Lexington - Knoxville - Chattanooga - Atlanta - Macon - Jacksonville sure seems like it would be a knockout to me.

A Chicago - Atlanta train could meet that route in Chattanooga or Atlanta... would be the best of both worlds.

I do agree Nashville is a VERY happening city that could use rail transportation. Music City Star was started for dirt cheap and yet they can't get any support to expand it, which is a real shame.
 

bms

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Jan 29, 2018
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Location
Cleveland
The existing CSX line isn't ideal... Nashville to Chattanooga is not an ideal route by rail or by car. I would love to ride that route though, some beautiful scenery.

I think a Chicago to Florida Train should try to hit the most population centers in the shortest amount of time... Chicago - Ft. Wayne - Cincinnati - Lexington - Knoxville - Chattanooga - Atlanta - Macon - Jacksonville sure seems like it would be a knockout to me.

A Chicago - Atlanta train could meet that route in Chattanooga or Atlanta... would be the best of both worlds.

I do agree Nashville is a VERY happening city that could use rail transportation. Music City Star was started for dirt cheap and yet they can't get any support to expand it, which is a real shame.
The route certainly doesn't look too straight, even going through Alabama, but I did see articles from January where Amtrak proposed a Nashville-Atlanta corridor with a running time of 6 hours, 30 minutes. No mention of how much state money it would take, and my guess is neither state legislature would vote to pay anything.
 

toddinde

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Apr 23, 2015
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Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
I voted "other".

Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati-Louisville-Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta-etc.

I'd love to include Dayton in the Indianapolis-Cincinnati segment, but it would not be reasonable to do so. A bit too much out of the way, plus Amtrak already uses the route between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
That’s a lot of backtracking from Cincy to Louisville, but how about this: A Chicago section through Louisville, and a Detroit section through Cincy combining in Nashville.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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8,152
Location
South Florida
Just being a nit picker, but the original Floridian did go through Indianapolis; the South Wind Route.
Yes, but not the same way the Cardinal goes now...I would use the current Cardinal route, and then the original Floridian route from there on.

And the first Amtrak South Wind did not use PRR's South Wind route from Chicago to Indianapolis via Logansport...it used NYC's "Big Four" route, from IC's Central Station via Kankakee...it later switched to the original PRR South Wind route. That was the beginning of the constant rerouting of the Florida and Cincinnati routes across Indiana for years in search of "good track"...
 

me_little_me

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Jul 16, 2010
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3,261
The route certainly doesn't look too straight, even going through Alabama, but I did see articles from January where Amtrak proposed a Nashville-Atlanta corridor with a running time of 6 hours, 30 minutes. No mention of how much state money it would take, and my guess is neither state legislature would vote to pay anything.
Interesting that Amtrak is pushing for replacing the LD sleeper trains with city pairs only to have them need state funding which is likely to fail even in normal times, much less in reduced state income/increased state expense times. Methinks the city pair concept is set up for failure.

I think a Nashville to Atlanta train would be a great idea but a failure because, while Atlanta has one other train (which is too little), Nashville has zero so although you can get between these two cities, getting anywhere else is a problem. Now, if there was another train connecting to the CONO and/or TE from Nashville, that would add to its value as would a connection from Atlanta to the Silvers.
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
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That’s a lot of backtracking from Cincy to Louisville, but how about this: A Chicago section through Louisville, and a Detroit section through Cincy combining in Nashville.
I like your suggestion. A Detroit section through Cincinnati would probably go through Dayton. If so, we might be able to finally get a return of rail service.
 

west point

Conductor
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Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,209
IMO what is needed is an incremental approach. I would use the CNO to where it could split and the Florida train would go to Nashville - Chattanooga - Atlanta - Macon - Jacksonville. Combine with a Silver train on to Miami. Later when a HrSR line is built from CHI = Kentucky border then reroute to either Nashville or Chattanooga. CNO to Nashville will need track work . The old NC&SL route that crosses CNO just south of Fulton might be a choice ?

What is needed for this route needs is the highest populations of the stops within a certain distance ( maybe 20 - 25 miles ). Only ATL has any kind of rail service to make that distance longer.

Again it is all about getting much more equipment. 5 or 6 train sets.

Ideally CHI - Cincinatti can be the eventual route. That way then new Detroit , Cleveland, Toledo could all combine at CIN. And intermediate cities such as Indianapolis, Dayton , Columbus can come in play. It is all about the intermediate cities having coach passengers and sleepers mostly the 1000+ mile
 
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