I know in Ann Arbor, they frequently only open one pair of doors on the raised platform. When I last took the Wolverine out of there during the pandemic in April, the station staff demanded we all crowd up onto the small raised platform to board; which made no sense at all because there then wasn't room for disembarking passengers, not to mention not enough space to socially distance.One minor thing Amtrak could do to help out in my view is make quicker station stops in Michigan. I don't know if the crews are checking tickets on the platform or only opening one door or something but the trains seem to lose a few minutes more at the station stops than you would expect.
Porter to Chicago has just got massive traffic. Also, and this is understandable given the number of tracks, the passenger trains basically slow to 30 mph for most of the way, probably to keep pace with the other traffic. If the other two tracks which used to be there were reinstated, passenger trains could *fly* past the freight trains, since it's very straight; double the speed and cut half an hour off the trip time probably.They did raise the speeds east of Kalamazoo higher than 79mph for the first time earlier this year. I saw 365 on the asm train tracker at 91mph between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo today for instance. I think it is up to 110mph depending on curves as far as Albion Michigan now but I could be mistaken. Lately the trains seem to be getting across the NS railway section to Chicago better on average than they were a few months ago. Which is a repeating pattern over the years if you watch it closely. They will be pretty good for a while, months at time, then it might be very rough timekeeping for a while. I know people like to talk about Porter to Chicago as if it is a gordian knot of some sort but the fact is it is already 2 and 3 track mainline with crossovers every couple miles.
Yeah, the issue with it is boat traffic. It's the lowest bridge on the Chicago river so it has to open more often than any other. Due to Coast Guard rules, it opens *on demand* which means the trains have to wait for the boats! This causes random disruptions. The best thing to do there would be to get a special rule from the Coast Guard so that boats have to wait for the trains. Also because it's old it apparently sometimes gets stuck open, which is bad, but basically just requires maintenance.That drawbridge people mention is already 2 track main.
Yeah. But we could cut the trip time meaningfully if there were exclusive passenger tracks.They already built a flyover at Englewood for the Metra Rock Island Line. If NS is running their railroad ok with enough crews so trains aren't tied down everywhere on the main line, there is more than enough capacity to run the current Amtrak trains at least close to on-time.
Yeah. :-(The issue with the freights the last couple years especially has been huge cost cutting and cuts of crews in the yards for example so their own trains can't move in and out of the area quickly. All in the name of a quick bump to the share price.