We arrived in Chicago, finally, 3-4 hours late. Apparently a freight train broke down on single track territory. Which had two or three other trains on it that haf to be cleared. And a truck may have fouled a crossing to top it all off. Once we got moving things moved fine till we sat some more at Brighton Park crossing.
I was too tired, even, to takevthe L home. Got a Lyft.
On the positive side of things, another life goal achieved: walking around Union Station after 1 A.M. when it's typically closed.
This isn't even really the railroad's fault in the normal sense (loco maintenance may be another story, but a loco can die on anyone). The only thing (albeit not an insignificant one) the state would probably have gotten from owning the tracks with shared usage is the ability to somehow penalize them for the deadlined freight loco. The Moonlighters had this happen to it twice on CN last week and was like five hours late into Winnipeg (it made it up east of there), and that particular trip gets a "Do Not Delay" notice from CN.
Probably a stronger moral would be "double track or bust" wherever possible. Single-tracking is the main cause since if a train goes dead in single-track territory you can't un-frak the situation but so fast. At least with double tracking you still retain some ability to keep priority stuff moving.
Apropos loco maintenance I noticed that Amtrak under Anderson appears to be moving towards RCM for all, not just Acelas, perhaps something to be expected from someone coming from the evil airline industry which runs scads of ETOPS planes.
Neroden, you are on target with this whole fiasco. I've said this before, but funds allocated under ARRA09 with the intent of upgrading Chicago St Louis passenger service ended up providing the Union Pacific with upgraded access to their Global 4 intermodal facility near Joliet.
I've also previously noted that the route had been double tracked from the days of the C&A, which was known as the Alton Route. The GM&O removed the second track during '69, so sufficient right-of-way remains. If the intent was to operate additional trains beyond the present "five a day", as well as to give incentive to build the intermodal facility, then first order of business was to relay that second track.
The taxpayers got hoodwinked on this one.
disclaimers: author is an IL resident; also Long UNP.