Long(ish)-term parking along Missouri River Runner route?

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jackal

Conductor
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Nov 15, 2007
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I'll be traveling from Springfield, MO to CHI (and onto MKE) in a couple of weeks and will be gone for about 5 days. I had thought about driving to Alton, IL and catching the Lincoln Service there (parking looked plentiful and free last time I drove by the station), but it looks like the fares from various stations in Central Missouri aren't much higher and would shave off ~100 miles of driving (at the cost of adding several hours of Amtrak travel time, which I'd consider a positive, not a negative ;)).

Warrensburg, Sedalia, and Jefferson City are all roughly equidistant from me (~130 miles, 2 hours). All three are listed as having overnight parking available (and knowing small-town Missouri, I'd be surprised if it weren't also plentiful and free), but can anyone comment on:

  • Cost
  • Availability
  • Safety
of parking at those stations?
 

como

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
251
Jefferson City has free parking adjacent to the station in either the next to the Lohman Building or in some spaces in front of the Union Hotel Building (where the station is under repair, maybe). All of this is part of the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site and a 30 second walk from the station and tracks. The station hosts will give you a tag to place on your dashboard.
 

moselman66

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May 28, 2021
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Milwaukee
I'll be traveling from Springfield, MO to CHI (and onto MKE) in a couple of weeks and will be gone for about 5 days.

Maddening that northbound this is only doable on Fridays from JEF and other points west of STL. Other days you'd need catch Lincoln Service in STL or ALN. (Or catch Southwest Chief in KCY of course.)

The Missouri River Runner/Lincoln Service gets into CHI at 8:25pm and the last CHI-MKE train is 8:05pm except for the 11:25pm Friday night train. There is a 9:05pm thruway bus CHI-MKE but that 40 minute connection (8:25pm arrive, depart 9:05pm) isn't legal to sell, apparently. I get wanting to avoid tight connections with no later protection, but if a connection could be made legal with a little tweaking it would open a whole new set of options for Milwaukee-bound travelers. Other than Friday the last STL-MKE option is at 7:55am. This would add a 3pm STL (and all intermediate points) option to MKE, plus open up JEF and all the other Missouri stations to a MKE connection.

That CHI-MKE thruway leaving Union Station at 9:05pm subsequentially leaves the Greyhound station at 9:50pm and it's only about a 10 minute walk from CUS to Greyhound, so that KCY-STL-CHI train could arrive a good hour late and the passenger still catch that bus to Milwaukee if they walk to the Greyhound station. But I don't know how keen they would be to routinely tell misconnects to walk to the bus station to catch their bus at that time of night. Then again some years back Amtrak had no hesitation cobbling together alternate transportation for me which included a late night walk. My inbound train missed the last Hiawatha by 6 minutes and they realized the Greyhound for MKE they were planning to put me on wouldn't help because my car was in Sturtevant, not MKE. So they bought me a Metra ticket for the last local to Kenosha and directions on how to walk from CUS to Oglive late at night to catch Metra. They also gave me $25 in cash for a cab from Kenosha Metra to Sturtevant. It wasn't quite enough but it got me home...eventually.
 
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jackal

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Maddening that northbound this is only doable on Fridays from JEF and other points west of STL. Other days you'd need catch Lincoln Service in STL or ALN. (Or catch Southwest Chief in KCY of course.)

The Missouri River Runner/Lincoln Service gets into CHI at 8:25pm and the last CHI-MKE is 8:05pm except for the 11:25pm Friday night train. There is a 9:05pm thruway bus CHI-MKE but that 40 minute connection (8:25pm arrive, 9:05pm) isn't legal to sell, apparently. I get wanting to avoid tight connections with no later protection, but if a connection could be made legal with a little tweaking it would open a whole new set of options for Milwaukee-bound travelers. Other than Friday the last STL-MKE option is at 7:55am. This would add a 3pm STL (and all intermediate points) option to MKE, plus open up JEF and all the other MRR stations to a MKE connection.

That CHI-MKE thruway leaving Union Station at 9:05pm actually leaves the Greyhound station at 9:50pm and it's only about a 10 minute walk from CUS to Greyhound, so that KCY-STL-CHI train could arrive a good hour late and the passenger still catch that bus to Milwaukee if they walk to the Greyhound station. But I don't know how keen they would be to routinely tell misconnects to walk to the bus station to catch their bus at that time of night. Then again some years back when my inbound train missed the last Hiawatha by 6 minutes and they realized the Greyhound for MKE they were putting me on wouldn't help because my car was in Sturtevant, they bought me a Metra ticket for the last local to Kenosha and directions on how to walk from CUS to Oglive late at night to catch Metra. They also gave me $25 in cash for a cab from Kenosha Metra to Sturtevant. It wasn't quite enough but it got me home...eventually.
I was wondering why it wouldn't offer a connection to that bus--the potential for delays and misconnects and not wanting to guarantee it makes sense, though. It's kind of irrelevant, though--I have a 6pm dinner Friday to be at in MKE, so if I want to get there by that time, I'll either have to depart Thursday and overnight in CHI (there are worse things) or I'll be driving the 4 hours to STL/ALN the night before and overnighting there to catch an early-morning train. Either way, there's an overnight involved. :/

Honestly, with having to overnight, plus rail fares that are pretty close to the cost of gas to just drive it, I might just bail on the train and drive instead. I can leave at a very civilized 9am and make it there in time for dinner and spend less than I would for gas+train+hotel. Too bad the routings and timings aren't just a touch more conducive to working out well for this routing.

That said, does AGR allow multi-city redemptions by phone? If I can get a reasonable points redemption for JEF-CHI/>24h overnight connection/CHI-MKE, that might bring the effective cost down enough to make the overnight in Chicago worth paying for. I'll call them when they open and see, I guess.
 

moselman66

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May 28, 2021
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Milwaukee
I was wondering why it wouldn't offer a connection to that bus--the potential for delays and misconnects and not wanting to guarantee it makes sense, though. It's kind of irrelevant, though--I have a 6pm dinner Friday to be at in MKE, so if I want to get there by that time, I'll either have to depart Thursday and overnight in CHI (there are worse things) or I'll be driving the 4 hours to STL/ALN the night before and overnighting there to catch an early-morning train. Either way, there's an overnight involved. :/
Dang -- I guess if you wanted to give it a shot you can book that JEF-CHI and CHI-MKE as separate tickets -- the CHI-MKE bus is a thruway segment which can be bought independent of a rail connection. And like I mentioned if your inbound is running late it's a 10 minute walk to catch that same bus at the Greyhound station. If you're unlucky and the JEF-CHI train is running really late then you'd end up having to book an overnight in Chicago last minute, but as long as it's running without an hour or so of schedule you can make it to Greyhound.

What would be nice (though too late for your 6pm dinner) would be a JEF originator at about 7-730am which ran through STL to Chicago. The return CHI-STL-JEF would be noon-ish and get to JEF about 8:00. That would close some mid-day gaps in the STL-CHI-STL schedule, offer day trips into STL from JEF/HEM/WAH and open a ton of new or better connections over CHI to/from points east. One can dream but I'm not exactly holding my breath on this one, of course.
 
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PaulM

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Jun 27, 2008
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Quincy, IL
I just thought I'd mention Herman, which has plenty of parking. Several times I have parked at Herman and taken the train to Sedalia. Then biked several days back to Herman on the Katy Trail. No problem with the car.
 
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