Is it possible for CZ to go through Omaha - Des Moines - Iowa City - Davenport - Chicago?

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coventry801

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just came back from Iowa and it is huge inconvenience to take throughway bus from major cities in Iowa. As I counted, there is literally no passengers on and off at Burlington, Mt Pleasant, etc
 

danasgoodstuff

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I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the short answer is 'possible yes, easy no'. That is, the track exists and is in decent repair, but it would take a lot of doing in terms of stations and other issues. Still, it makes more sense to me to shift the CA route than to have a separate 2nd service run parallel to it. But maybe a second service to Des Moines or even Omaha from Chicago would make sense if the schedule would then be better.
 

CCC1007

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Part of the reason that the CZ currently operates on the BNSF line through the area is that Amtrak tends to stay on larger railroad's lines, but another part is that the towns along the route, like Burlington, have pushed their politicians to keep the line the way it is.

A better solution for total number of passengers would be a day train from Chicago to Omaha or even Denver, via the more populous route, along side the CZ.
 

George Harris

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finally! Back in Mississippi
And isn't a big part of this the history of the Rock Island Line which went through Des Moines, etc. not joining Amtrak in '71?
Yes, and then CRIP went down financially along with their track conditions, ultimately going bankrupt and was dismembered or abandoned. Have no knowledge of the track's present condition or signals or lack thereof. I suspect this was the first east-west railroad across Iowa, given that it goes through the capital and major cities and the CB&Q and C&NW came along later. (That is BN and UP for you young guys.)
 

Willbridge

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Yes, and then CRIP went down financially along with their track conditions, ultimately going bankrupt and was dismembered or abandoned. Have no knowledge of the track's present condition or signals or lack thereof. I suspect this was the first east-west railroad across Iowa, given that it goes through the capital and major cities and the CB&Q and C&NW came along later. (That is BN and UP for you young guys.)
The Q, backed by the Michigan Central and the RI backed by the New York Central were in something of a race. The Q chose the richer and wetter farmland for its line. It created lots of interesting real estate issues when land grants to the two companies overlapped.

The choice of lines is another pro and con story, as on the northern transcontinentals. Should a single rail line serve the Interstate freeway route with competing bus and auto and air service or a route in a smaller market which it dominates? And having spent evenings as a ColoRail volunteer at Denver Union Station I would not say that "no one" uses the intermediate stops.

In a better world, as suggested above, a daylight train would serve at least Lincoln<>Omaha<>Des Moines<>Chicago. If the Midwest high-speed association has its way between Chicago and Omaha, then it would be fast enough to reliably run a Denver<>Chicago coach train.

At current running times, there are three slots for an additional DEN<>CHI train. They are:
  • daylight to Lincoln, overnight to Chicago.
  • the Denver Zephyr (ahead of Train 6 from DEN, behind Train 5 from CHI).
  • overnight to Lincoln, daylight to Chicago.
 
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jphjaxfl

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There were originally 6 Railroads offering passenger trains between Chicago and Omaha. CB&Q, C&NW, CMSTP&P, CRI&P,CGW and IC. CB&Q had the most frequent service and the Zephyrs were the fastest. By 1971 when Amtrak started, the 2 Railroads remaining were the CB&Q and the CMSP&P. CB&Q had become BN shortly before. CMSP&P operated UP's through trains between Omaha and Chicago, but didn't serve much population. The CRI&P had discontinued passenger service between Rock Island and Omaha in 1969. Rock Island's tracks were never maintained to the level of Burlington's. Burlington still had 3 trains per day in 1971 so they were the logical choice to join Amtrak and even in 2021 have better tracks than the Rock Island's.
 

neroden

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just came back from Iowa and it is huge inconvenience to take throughway bus from major cities in Iowa. As I counted, there is literally no passengers on and off at Burlington, Mt Pleasant, etc
Don't get me started. The Iowa Interstate track through the major cities (the former Rock Island route) needs to be rebuilt for passenger speeds (it's currently in poor repair, with low speed limits suitable only for slow freight). This has been proposed repeatedly, but requires support from the state government of Iowa.

The Republican leadership of the state legislature has shot down and refused to spend a single dollar on any project to improve passenger rail service in Iowa -- even one which was 90% federally funded and backed by the Quad Cities, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids governments. Until the attitude of the state legislature leaders changes, nothing's going to improve in Iowa.
 
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