Chicago Twin Cities second daily service

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Just-Thinking-51

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I know the Illini/Saluki trains use Superliners but I'm not aware of any other corridor trains out of Chicago that use them regularly.

There seem to be more than one set of Superliners in use out of Chicago for regional traffic. However I am not based there so can’t be sure. I am also sure they float around on assignment.
 

jis

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Funding is now in place for starting the second frequency between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

 

WWW

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So many variables here - - -
Just a few - - -
If these second trains operate in the daytime - no bilevel sleepers diners coach and lounge cars needed - a single level consist Hiawatha would work.
A baggage car in the mix adding a cafe car would replace a diner.
A consist of locomotive baggage and 5 more cars should work well
A Push-Pull configuration not required as both end points have a WYE
Duplication of service to some small cities Portage Columbus Tomah could be flagged or eliminated
Future expansion origin/termination at Duluth this consist would work well
Think of this second train more as a business/commuter express rather than a tourist excursion
CP Rail would no doubt like a shorter faster train set to run the tracks around their freights and
BNSF expansion included (Duluth ! St. Cloud ? Willmar ?)

Now if this hope dream doesn't get derailed - with the price of fuel - alternate transportation modes are going to be one solution !

The tracks are there - upgrade the slow deficient spots - lets getter done !
 

west point

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Unlikely but CPRR could allow quick start as long as improvements made later? Schedules would need to be longer at first but once improvements completed??? Wouldn't that upset the other class 1s?
 

SwedeC

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Was there any mention of using UP (Ex-C&NW) trackage north of Milwaukee to give service to other cities? Sorry I'm behind the curve on this one.
 

WICT106

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Was there any mention of using UP (Ex-C&NW) trackage north of Milwaukee to give service to other cities? Sorry I'm behind the curve on this one.
No. There is an effort afoot to add future service along the "400" route, diverting at Camp Douglas, and operating via Eau Claire, but following the existing route Camp Douglas - MKE.
 

jebr

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Unlikely but CPRR could allow quick start as long as improvements made later? Schedules would need to be longer at first but once improvements completed??? Wouldn't that upset the other class 1s?

I vaguely remember hearing a quick start being mentioned in one of the articles when the full funding was approved. Not sure about the details of that or if it's realistic, though, but the way I remember it mentioned made it sound like CP was okay with it. It certainly doesn't hurt that CP is trying to get approval for a big merger, so they're likely being a bit more flexible and friendly to Amtrak than normal - although I will note that they currently have the top grade from Amtrak, and in my experience they generally do a good job handling the Builder "on-schedule" even when BNSF has one of its frequent bad days and the train's delayed 2, 4, or 12 hours.
 

MisterUptempo

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From trains.com-

The final design phase of the project to add a second Amtrak passenger train between Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul has begun, with public comments now being accepted and public meetings to show plans for the service expected to be held this fall.

------------------SNIP-------------------

Final design is expected to be complete in summer 2023, with construction beginning late that year and concluding in 2025. The second train is expected to begin operating in 2024 or earlier.

WisDOT's TCMC page
MnDOT's TCMC page
Anyone wishing to comment on TCMC can do so here

TRN_TCMC_map.jpg
 

west point

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Several thoughts in no particular order.
1. Will the Amtrak ridership be within say 15 % +/- of projections ? If the numbers fall out those values what will happen? If more where will additioncar(s) be forth coming. Will Minnessota set a standard fare? Will it be reserved north of MKE or from CHI?. I would expect that fares will be the same at all times which may cause high overloads at peak times.
2. The realibilty of MSP departures will give more passengers confidence of booking the EB. The very late departures that happens too often. If EB more that ~ 4 hours late then EB originating passengers can take this new second train Will that overload the train?
3. Will Amtrak have to limit the passengers CHI to MKE since an ~~ 0800 departure could be very desireable.?
4. The improvements CHI - MKE may just improve schedule reliability and not provide for schedule reduction.
5. Equipment availability will be a problem thru most of 2023 and maybe 2024 if the Siements cars have an unanticipated delay becoming fully operational.
6. Will CP allow start of service as soon as equipment available with partial improvements ongoing before completion? Not likely but who knows for sure?.
 

Kramerica

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Regarding the TCMC (Twin Cities Milwaukee Chicago) second frequency, that is actually a go. They have the funding, the environmental approvals, and a schedule to start construction in 2023. So there will be two round trips now, including the one Empire Builder frequency. The TCMC will leave MSP around noon and Chicago around 11 AM.

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/projects/multimodal/tcmc.aspx

Article with more information:
Transportation: TCMC Train Poised for 2024 Start

Basically the only construction needed is some spot track and siding improvements in Winona, La Crescent, and La Crosse.


Hopefully once TCMC is running, it will increase demand for more service and service to Madison. Personally, I'm looking forward to taking train trips from MKE to MSP and utilizing their light rail system.
 

Anderson

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Several thoughts in no particular order.
1. Will the Amtrak ridership be within say 15 % +/- of projections ? If the numbers fall out those values what will happen? If more where will additioncar(s) be forth coming. Will Minnessota set a standard fare? Will it be reserved north of MKE or from CHI?. I would expect that fares will be the same at all times which may cause high overloads at peak times.
2. The realibilty of MSP departures will give more passengers confidence of booking the EB. The very late departures that happens too often. If EB more that ~ 4 hours late then EB originating passengers can take this new second train Will that overload the train?
3. Will Amtrak have to limit the passengers CHI to MKE since an ~~ 0800 departure could be very desireable.?
4. The improvements CHI - MKE may just improve schedule reliability and not provide for schedule reduction.
5. Equipment availability will be a problem thru most of 2023 and maybe 2024 if the Siements cars have an unanticipated delay becoming fully operational.
6. Will CP allow start of service as soon as equipment available with partial improvements ongoing before completion? Not likely but who knows for sure?.
(1) Acquiring additional cars is almost assuredly plausible since the production line should be going for some time. Getting an option of another 2-6 cars is hardly implausible. As to the other questions - that's all TBD, I suspect.
(2) Possibly, on a case-by-case basis. The ideal approach (which would involve different equipment) would be to go back to running a train (I believe it was) 807/808 that was a set of cars that was run CHI-MSP on the Builder - you'd simply attach the cars to this train if the Builder was running stupidly late (and I might suggest, up-stock the cafe car as well). Of course, that would require Amtrak to do a few things differently...
(3) Probably, but this could be handled via simple space management - only selling X number of tix CHI-MKE.
(4) This is, of course, true. Another possibility is that intermediate times are adjusted but endpoint times aren't.
(5) Of course.
(6) No clue.
 

Willbridge

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Regarding the TCMC (Twin Cities Milwaukee Chicago) second frequency, that is actually a go. They have the funding, the environmental approvals, and a schedule to start construction in 2023. So there will be two round trips now, including the one Empire Builder frequency. The TCMC will leave MSP around noon and Chicago around 11 AM.

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/projects/multimodal/tcmc.aspx

Article with more information:
Transportation: TCMC Train Poised for 2024 Start

Basically the only construction needed is some spot track and siding improvements in Winona, La Crescent, and La Crosse.


Hopefully once TCMC is running, it will increase demand for more service and service to Madison. Personally, I'm looking forward to taking train trips from MKE to MSP and utilizing their light rail system.
I pulled out a 1963 Milwaukee Road schedule and found that Train 5 departed Chicago at 10:30 a.m. and Train 2 departed St. Paul at 12:40 p.m. Aside from glamorous equipment, the former Hiawatha service had many connections at Chicago. The new train has few connections but is in a far bigger marketplace. It will be interesting to see how it does.
 
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So are there actually any concrete dates for service starting up? It sounds like late '23 if I'm reading right.

Anybody have more concrete info?
 

Eric S

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I suspect 2024 or 2025 is likelier than 2023. Construction is programmed for 2023-2024-2025 (MnDOT says 2024-2025, WisDOT says 2023-2024).
 

west point

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Last I was told (which was back in early summer,) CP has agreed to let the trains start running before construction is complete. The limiting factor right now is staffing and equipment availability on Amtrak's end, and who knows when that will be ready.
That will be good as patrons like the idea of reduced running time after servicehas started. Look at NC.
 
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