FRA's Corridor ID Program and possible new routes

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jis

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the UK has decided any town above 10k should get rail service. Even if we use a high standard of 20k Athens is sitting at 40,000 when college is in session.
Chillicothe is 25k
I don't see why towns this size shouldn't get it.
Specially when dreams are relatively inexpensive :D Cynical? Moi?
 

jis

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class 3 ideally class 4 track, PTC maybe some CTC in a few sections is 1-2m per mile and freight gets to move a lot faster. sure beats building roads
I agree. But more likely than not, lanes will be added to roads in Ohio before anything on rail will be contemplated with any seriousness. Of course I am always happy to be pleasantly surprised otherwise ;)
 

PaTrainFan

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the UK has decided any town above 10k should get rail service. Even if we use a high standard of 20k Athens is sitting at 40,000 when college is in session.
Chillicothe is 25k
I don't see why towns this size shouldn't get it.

Not saying it shouldn't; saying Ohio will never pay for it.
 

Northwestern

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I haven't heard of of any plans for a connection between Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada. That would be interesting. If the Front Range project goes to Pueblo, CO could it also connect Pueblo with La Junta and the SW Chief?
 

GDRRiley

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I haven't heard of of any plans for a connection between Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada. That would be interesting. If the Front Range project goes to Pueblo, CO could it also connect Pueblo with La Junta and the SW Chief?
there is no existing rail line that goes direct and so its a long round about way to connect the 2
 
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the UK has decided any town above 10k should get rail service. Even if we use a high standard of 20k Athens is sitting at 40,000 when college is in session.
Chillicothe is 25k
I don't see why towns this size shouldn't get it.
Brunswick ME with a population of 21,576 today gets 5 round trips a day. Seems reasonable to me.
 
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View attachment 30565
Found this map on Twitter, its an unofficial update to the connects map based on responses so far to the Corridor ID program.

Relatively short gap between Nashville and Atlanta should be closed I would think. Both corridor and Chicago-Florida service would seem a logical market if the schedules work.
 
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Relatively short gap between Nashville and Atlanta should be closed I would think. Both corridor and Chicago-Florida service would seem a logical market if the schedules work.
The problem is that the "short gap" involves crossing the Appalachian Mountains. Any existing routes are so curvy that travel times won't be competitive with driving, and building a new higher speed route would cost a lot of money and probably take decades to complete.

Same problem with a Washington-Pittsburgh corridor. I think the only reason that the Pennsylvanian works is because so many of the intermediate communities don't have any other transportation alternatives.

Anyone proposing such a corridor will need to get strong buy-in from the small, intermediate towns along the route.
 

VKurtB

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The problem is that the "short gap" involves crossing the Appalachian Mountains. Any existing routes are so curvy that travel times won't be competitive with driving, and building a new higher speed route would cost a lot of money and probably take decades to complete.

Same problem with a Washington-Pittsburgh corridor. I think the only reason that the Pennsylvanian works is because so many of the intermediate communities don't have any other transportation alternatives.

Anyone proposing such a corridor will need to get strong buy-in from the small, intermediate towns along the route.
Isn’t Washington - Pittsburgh already served by the Capitol Limited? I’ve already gone Lancaster - Philly - Washington - (Pittsburgh) - Chicago, just to avoid waiting at Pittsburgh.
 

jis

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I think the 'same problem' is going over the mountains and being slow as a result.
Indeed. Additionally the current route of the Cap through Pennsylvania has very little en route ridership, which has made the Cap a perennially weak train. In comparison the route of the Pennsylvanian has a lot of enroute ridership. Frankly the Sand Patch route is really not capable of supporting a second train in any meaningful way.

I am not sure why the Pennsylvanian is mentioned in the context of the Washington - Pittsburgh market since it does not currently form part of it.

Here are the en route ridership of the two routes:

FY 2021
Altoona (ALT) 10,281
Greensburg (GNB) 4,900
Huntingdon (HGD) 2,566
Johnstown (JST) 13,966
Latrobe (LAB) 1,608
Lewistown (LEW) 5,016
Tyrone (TYR) 1,595

The busiest intermediate stops PGH-WAS are Cumberland (CUM) 5,117 and Harpers Ferry (HFY) 4,025
(same ballpark at Greensburg and Lewistown)

There is virtually no ridership originating/terminating between Cumberland and Pittsburgh, and the ridership originating/terminating elsewhere on the route is small compared to the route of the Pennsylvanian. And note that the Pennsylvanian ridership between Philly and Harrisburg is not even taken into consideration in the list since it is helped incredibly by multiple frequencies through densely populated area.
 
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George Harris

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Same problem with a Washington-Pittsburgh corridor. I think the only reason that the Pennsylvanian works is because so many of the intermediate communities don't have any other transportation alternatives.

I am not sure why the Pennsylvanian is mentioned in the context of the Washington - Pittsburgh market since it does not currently form part of it.
In early Amtrak days there was a through coach into DC off the National Limited that did go through Pittsburg and Harrisburg. My wife and our two oldest, then the only two and very young rode it from Indianapolis to DC. I met her in Pittsburg. It took the original Pennsylvania RR main (obviously) to Harrisburg, at which point the DC coach was cut out. It took the Port Road along the Susquehanna River to Perryville, then the Corridor the rest of the way into DC. (In Pennsylvania RR passenger train days, Harrisburg to Baltimore was operated on the Northern Central line via York PA. This route was not very fast, either.) At that time the Port Road was still electrified. I do not know what the speed limit on it was at that time, but shall we say with a GG1 on the front in and only two coaches for a train we were moving on. I don't at this time recall the schedule times, but we did arrive in DC ahead of schedule. Don't remember how many people were on the Washington section, but it was not very many. Compared to driving this route was/is roundabout and slow.
 
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Indeed. Additionally the current route of the Cap through Pennsylvania has very little en route ridership, which has made the Cap a perennially weak train. In comparison the route of the Pennsylvanian has a lot of enroute ridership. Frankly the Sand Patch route is really not capable of supporting a second train in any meaningful way.

I am not sure why the Pennsylvanian is mentioned in the context of the Washington - Pittsburgh market since it does not currently form part of it.
I mentioned the Washington - Pittsburgh route in the same post as the Pennsylvanian mainly because they are both two routes that have to cross the Appalachians, and have very slow running as a result. You are probably correct that the Sand Patch route has a lot less potential in terms of intermediate stops, though I would think that a Baltimore/Washington - Cumberland service would do very well. There's certainly enough traffic on I-70 and I-68, and avoiding the traffic jams as an auto driver approaches Baltimore and Washington might make the slower train running along the Potomac more competitive.

West of Cumberland, there aren't many large towns, but there are a bunch of smaller towns (Myersdale, Garrett, Rockwood, etc.), and McKeesport actually had commuter rail service into Pittsburgh some years ago. Rockwood is actually close enough to serve as a station for Somerset, which is a county seat, and a reasonably decent-sized town.

The real problem with the route is that it's so slow. The current Capitol takes 8 hours to travel between Washington and Pittsburgh. You can drive it in 5 hours most of the time. (The highway distance is about 40 miles shorter than the rail distance, and even on the Pennsylvania Turnpike with its 1940's curves and grades, most cars can maintain the speed limit of 70 mph for nearly all the distance, sunless you get stuck behind a big rig grinding up some of the steep grades.) While it might be possible to speed things up, there are limits with the current track. The B&O ran a train in the 1950s and 1960s called the Daylight Speedliner that did the Washington-Pittsburgh run in 6:20 (7 hours towards the end of the service). This was done using RDC's (i.e. DMUs), and it even had dining car service. Maybe with modern tilting trains, it could be run on a faster schedule, but who knows.

In short, the mountains really limit the possibilities of new corridor service unless somebody (the public, investors, who knows?) is willing to pay some really big bucks to upgrade the tracks across them by eliminating curves and such. It would involve cuts, viaducts, and maybe even a base tunnel or two. But if they could, consider a route like Washington to Cleveland at 450 miles, which is sort of close to the distance of Washington - Boston (457 miles). Washington- Boston can be done at 6-7 hours, even including slow running in Metro-North territory, plus the other NEC bottlenecks, whereas Washington - Cleveland is 11 hours. Washington - Pittsburgh is about 280 miles (240 miles by highway) but takes 8 hours on the Capitol. New York to Washington is 226 miles and can be done in 3:20 in a Northeast Regional. If they could speed up the running time across the mountains, there would be opportunities for fast day trains between New York, Philadelphia and Washington to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toldeo, and even Detroit. And even more, if they could get a Washington - Chicago service to average 70 mph, one could have an 11-hour day train between the east coast and Chicago to complement the overnight trains. (And with 70 mph average speeds, they could have 12 -13 hour NY - Chicago day service on the Lake Shore Limited and the old Broadway Limited route.
 
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In early Amtrak days there was a through coach into DC off the National Limited that did go through Harrisburg. My wife and our two oldest, then the only two and very young rode it from Indianapolis to DC. I met her in Pittsburg. It took the original Pennsylvania RR main (obviously) to Harrisburg, at which point the DC coach was cut out. It took the Port Road along the Susquehanna River to Perryville, then the Corridor the rest of the way into DC. (In Pennsylvania RR passenger train days, Harrisburg to Baltimore was operated on the Northern Central line via York PA. This route was not very fast, either.) At that time the Port Road was still electrified. I do not know what the speed limit on it was at that time, but shall we say with a GG1 on the front in and only two coaches for a train we were moving on. I don't at this time recall the schedule times, but we did arrive in DC ahead of schedule. Don't remember how many people were on the Washington section, but it was not very many. Compared to driving this route was/is roundabout and slow.
The Amtrak version of the Broadway Limited also had a Baltimore-Washington section that split/joined in Harrisburg and used the Port Road to access the NEC. I rode it in 1973, but when we got to Harrisburg, it seemed that the Port Road was still at least partially blocked from damage caused by Tropical Storm Agnes that had come through about 9 months earlier. Thus, they sent us down the Main Line into Philadelphia (without stopping), then on to the NEC. I enjoyed the ride in the observation car, and still remember all the grade crossings along the NEC (that got removed in the 1980s), especially around Aberdeen.
 

rookzie

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View attachment 30565
Found this map on Twitter, its an unofficial update to the connects map based on responses so far to the Corridor ID program.
I don't know which map is most recent for a Nashville connection to the network. The most recent several maps I can find show a Nashville link to Chattanooga and beyond, with Atlanta being somewhat of a hub-node.

Chattanooga-ATL had been the subject of rigorous regional discussion several years before Amtrak ConnectUS became a buzz-phrase. Not saying that the existing RoW is amenable to even costly upgrade, and a new alignment between Chattanooga and ATL also had been in dialog a few years back. A Nashville link to Chattanooga basically was conceived as a pigtail from a proposed Chatta-ATL route of the I-75 corridor, and to my knowledge a Nashville link to Chattanooga was conceived prior to a Nashville-Louisville-Chicago route. The primary reason Nashville has been considered a candidate for new service is that Metro Nashville and Davidson County, the only consolidated city-county government in the state (since 1963), has undergone a high rate of urban growth, since it lost intercity passenger rail in 1979 ─ particularly since 1990.

The three major interstates passing through Nashville's central core each parallel passenger-rail routes which existed concurrently into spring 1967, when service Nashville to Memphis ended. Service to Chicago via Evansville ended in winter 1968, while service ATL-StL via Nashville and Evansville ended April 1971. That was before much of the interstate system had been constructed within the state, except for the section of I-40 east of Nashville, the oldest completed interstate roadway along an appreciably extended distance from the city. That segment roughly paralleled sections of the former Tennessee Central, which went bankrupt in August 1968. Its last passenger service ended in 1955 ─ Nashville to Harriman, TN.

Sentiment indeed has been more popular locally in favor of a Nashville-Midwest connection. But any proposed service only has been in concept, since we all know that CSX controls all Middle-Tennessee, except for a few short lines. Five CSX "spokes" radiate from Nashville directly, and a massive infusion of funding would be required one way or another.

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View attachment 30565
Found this map on Twitter, its an unofficial update to the connects map based on responses so far to the Corridor ID program.
Chicago to Nashville would be a huge thing. It would be bachelor and bachelorette party express for sure. But if they connect Chicago to Nashville, why not continue to Atlanta and have a new north south route from Chicago to Florida? Seems like an easy one?
 
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I remember a few years ago a 'new' poster come on and stated that they were a RR employee and had been briefed at the time that Amtrak would be using/sharing their tracks, but iirc they never came back to clarify or with any further details. I believe the route was Atlanta-Nashville, possibly via Chattanooga, but I don't off hand remember.

I believe that the user posted a grand total of once (it was in the before times, but not much before).
 

Willbridge

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there is no existing rail line that goes direct and so its a long round about way to connect the 2
The route that once existed was torture for all concerned. Reno was part of the important business world of the SF Bay area and Las Vegas was a tank town on the way to sleepy Southern California (historian Earl Pomeroy noticed that they didn't even capitalize Southern in those days).
 

jis

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Chicago to Nashville would be a huge thing. It would be bachelor and bachelorette party express for sure. But if they connect Chicago to Nashville, why not continue to Atlanta and have a new north south route from Chicago to Florida? Seems like an easy one?
There is an entire thread discussing why Nashville to Atlanta is not "an easy one":

 

jis

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Already gonna be an uphill battle in Wisconsin it seems.

There is an entire thread discussing Madison ...

 

WICT106

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Well, it Madison can bypass any State funding requirements, it's all good. There has long been an "anti- Madison" sentiment in Wisconsin.
 

TransitTyrant

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Well, it Madison can bypass any State funding requirements, it's all good. There has long been an "anti- Madison" sentiment in Wisconsin.
If Madison or any city in states less friendly to passenger rail can actually raise the money to run them then great.
 

Anthony V

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In 2010, shortly before federal funding for the Madison extension was sent back to the feds, the City of Madison and Dane County offered to pick up the tab for the ongoing operating costs in an effort to change Walker's mind about rejecting the funding. Walker's reason for rejecting the funding was that he didn't want the residents of the state who don't live in and around Madison to pay for a service that they won't use. Thus, Madison and Dane County picking up the tab should've took away the only reason for Walker to reject funding. As we all know, despite these offers, he still rejected the funding. This tells me that the decision to reject funding was made purely for political reasons.
 
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