LSL Michigan Reroute Rumors & Speculation

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PerRock

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Disclaimer this is atleast 3rd hand information now...

Discussion on railroadfan.com is talking about the Lake Shore Limited being permanently rerouted thru Michigan. The current plans are for the LSL running on the Michigan Line starting in Oct. and running for a month.

Beyond that known information there is a bunch of speculation, including station stops, schedule, etc.

Peter
 

tim49424

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Disclaimer this is atleast 3rd hand information now...

Discussion on railroadfan.com is talking about the Lake Shore Limited being permanently rerouted thru Michigan. The current plans are for the LSL running on the Michigan Line starting in Oct. and running for a month.

Beyond that known information there is a bunch of speculation, including station stops, schedule, etc.

Peter
Someone had mentioned it in a comment on the LSL Facebook page as well. I'm curious about the details of when in October this will take place as I'm riding from Boston to Chicago on the 10th.
 

jis

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Has anyone traced the origin of this to any credible source yet?

I am curious about whether it will take place at all. ;)
 
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jis

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Yup. I will wait for a reliable source. ;)
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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How far into Michigan does the proposed route go before branching off of the Wolverine?
Most like it would join the Wolverine route at Dearborn.
I don't think this is the most effective way to serve Michigan for 3 reasons:

1. It bypasses Detroit

2. It would serve Eastern Michigan at overnight hours, especially eastbound.

3. It adds about 2.5 hours to runtime.

I think a more effective solution is a Wolverine backing into Detroit and continuing to Toledo. If possible, thru cars could be added at Toledo.

Proposed Schedule:

Chicago 4:15 PM

Detroit 9:45 PM

Arrive Toledo 11:15 PM

CL Departs 11:49 PM

LSL Departs 3:20 AM

CL Arrives 5:08 AM

LSL Arrives 5:55 AM

Depart Toledo 7:00 AM

Detroit 8:30 AM

Chicago 2 PM

If thru cars were operated, I think they should be on the CL, keeping it on time Westbound and giving it a shorter runtime eastbound. It would also allow better connections at WAS.
 

CHamilton

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I've now heard four different versions of something involving Michigan. I suspect that we have a massive game of telephone on our hands. I love brainstorming ideas as much as anyone, but wake me up when an official announcement is made, please.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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I think there should be access from Michigan to the NEC better than what exists now (Thruway Bus). Connecting from Michigan to Toledo will eliminate the bus so that's a start. I'd say the thru cars to one of the two trains would be better to avoid late night transfers in Toledo. Don't forget Amtrak owns the Michigan branch and can run faster as opposed to running between Porter and Toledo (of course it is a longer distance).
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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If the goal is to service Detroit/Dearborn, wouldn't re-routing thru Canada make more sense? Though, that would eliminate Erie and Cleveland.
 

fairviewroad

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How far into Michigan does the proposed route go before branching off of the Wolverine?
Most like it would join the Wolverine route at Dearborn.
I don't think this is the most effective way to serve Michigan for 3 reasons:

1. It bypasses Detroit

2. It would serve Eastern Michigan at overnight hours, especially eastbound.

3. It adds about 2.5 hours to runtime.
Detroit isn't as big of a traffic generator as you might think. It's only the fifth busiest Amtrak station in Michigan, and is far outpaced by Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, both of which would be served under this proposal. I would suggest that under this yet-to-be-verified proposal, you could serve Detroit with a Thruway bus connection in Dearborn, and then have that bus run up to Pontiac.

As far as the overnight hours issue, unless you're suggesting an entirely new train under a radically different schedule, that's going to be a fact of life for any kind of Michigan-to-the-east reroute.

I wouldn't be too sure about adding 2.5 hours to the runtime. I doubt this idea would gain much traction if it resulted in a huge time penalty for thru passengers.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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I think there should be access from Michigan to the NEC better than what exists now (Thruway Bus). Connecting from Michigan to Toledo will eliminate the bus so that's a start. I'd say the thru cars to one of the two trains would be better to avoid late night transfers in Toledo. Don't forget Amtrak owns the Michigan branch and can run faster as opposed to running between Porter and Toledo (of course it is a longer distance).
I agree it is important we improve NE to Michigan service, especially considering that there is only a 60 mile gap. It is possible the time could be less then my estimate, I was just going off of the current schedules which is 4 hours CHI-TOL and 5 hours 15 minutes CHI-Dearborn. I estimated about an hour Dearborn-TOL plus 30 minutes if it detoured to serve Detroit. I also think ridership would be improved with thru cars, I am just not familiar enough with TOL to know if that is possible. I also don't know how they would operate the LSL or CL with the train being split in both ALB/PGH and TOL.
 

afigg

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I wouldn't be too sure about adding 2.5 hours to the runtime. I doubt this idea would gain much traction if it resulted in a huge time penalty for thru passengers.
A revised route through Michigan would add at least 1.5 to 2 hours to the LSL trip. But only after the upgrades in Michigan are completed and realistically only if the LSL does not stop in Detroit with a slow backup move (which may not be acceptable to the freight railroad anyway).

The track mileage from Chicago to Dearborn is 271 miles and to Detroit 281 miles. The current CHI to Toledo route is 234 track miles. Figure roughly 60 to 65 miles for Toledo to Dearborn, but also over likely class III track at best. So CHI to Dearborn to Toledo is roughly 336 miles or about 100 miles more than the current route. So there is a considerable extra distance in re-routing through Michigan regardless of trip time.

Re-routing either the LSL or CL through Michigan is a valid idea. However I think it would only make sense to do so AFTER all the current track projects in MI and IN are completed on the western end and on the Empire corridor in NY. Get the entire 230 mile segment in Michigan up to 110 mph, implement the hour reduction in Wolverine trip times and see how well the MI trains stay on schedule. Get the upgrades done on the Empire corridor and tighten up the LSL and Empire/ML schedules first and see how the OTP holds up. That is not going to happen by October, so my reaction is that the rumor mill is getting well ahead of any such big change to the LSL.
 

SarahZ

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How far into Michigan does the proposed route go before branching off of the Wolverine?
Most like it would join the Wolverine route at Dearborn.
I don't think this is the most effective way to serve Michigan for 3 reasons:

1. It bypasses Detroit

2. It would serve Eastern Michigan at overnight hours, especially eastbound.

3. It adds about 2.5 hours to runtime.

I think a more effective solution is a Wolverine backing into Detroit and continuing to Toledo. If possible, thru cars could be added at Toledo.
As a resident of Michigan, I would much rather board the LSL during the overnight hours than board a Wolverine and then board the LSL. It means more rest/sleep and isn't quite the pain in the butt that it is to either transfer in Toledo or backtrack to Chicago.

"Bypassing Detroit" made me laugh, but not in a critical way. Ann Arbor is #1 in ridership, with Kalamazoo at a very close #2. Dearborn is #3. If you look at this map, you'll see that Dearborn is only several miles from Detroit. If I'm on the highway, it takes me about 5-10 minutes to get from the Dearborn exits to the Detroit exits.

Untitled.png

(I forgot to include the map scale. Just trust me. ;) )

So, really, "bypassing Detroit" isn't a big deal at all. The majority of "Detroit's" population lives in the metro area, not the city itself. Detroit's population is approx. 689,000. The metro area is 3.5 million. Detroit isn't like Chicago and other large cities where the largest chunk of the population resides in the city itself.
 
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jis

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If the goal is to service Detroit/Dearborn, wouldn't re-routing thru Canada make more sense? Though, that would eliminate Erie and Cleveland.
No. Because that will immediately add four hours for two border crossings in this day and age. Any through running through Canada is out even if the necessary tracks actually still existed.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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I'll just re-mention the proposed All Aboard Ohio train but it certainly serves two purposes that I think would really benefit Amtrak and potential passengers in those states. Then you can just leave the LSL as is.
 
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jis

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See section 3.6 on page 47 of the Lake Shore Limited PIP.

3.6 Initiatives Examined but Not Included in the Plan

Amtrak conducted a ridership, financial and schedule analysis of a possible reroute of the Lake Shore Limited over the route of the Wolverine service between Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan.

While this reroute would have provided direct rail service between Michigan cities and the Northeast, it would also have eliminated Lake Shore Limited service at a number of stops in Indiana and Ohio, and trip time and operating costs would increase due to the longer distance traveled. The financial analysis indicated that the reroute would worsen the financial performance of the train.
 

SarahZ

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See section 3.6 on page 47 of the Lake Shore Limited PIP.

3.6 Initiatives Examined but Not Included in the Plan

Amtrak conducted a ridership, financial and schedule analysis of a possible reroute of the Lake Shore Limited over the route of the Wolverine service between Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan.

While this reroute would have provided direct rail service between Michigan cities and the Northeast, it would also have eliminated Lake Shore Limited service at a number of stops in Indiana and Ohio, and trip time and operating costs would increase due to the longer distance traveled. The financial analysis indicated that the reroute would worsen the financial performance of the train.
Why do you have to come in here and depress me with your facts and citations?
 

ToniCounter

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See section 3.6 on page 47 of the Lake Shore Limited PIP.

3.6 Initiatives Examined but Not Included in the Plan

Amtrak conducted a ridership, financial and schedule analysis of a possible reroute of the Lake Shore Limited over the route of the Wolverine service between Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan.

While this reroute would have provided direct rail service between Michigan cities and the Northeast, it would also have eliminated Lake Shore Limited service at a number of stops in Indiana and Ohio, and trip time and operating costs would increase due to the longer distance traveled. The financial analysis indicated that the reroute would worsen the financial performance of the train.
I was amused that the words Amtrak and financial analysis belong in the same sentence?
 

jis

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Apparently strange things amuse you :p
 

CHamilton

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I'm scratching my head as to why this "Whatever-It-Is Limited" seems to be popping up now. And I've heard enough different variants from separate sources to be cautiously convinced that something is happening, although the details are obviously unclear.

So here's my theory as to the factors that are coming together:

  • The new Viewliner diners and sleepers won't be showing up any time soon.
  • Beech Grove has let it be known that they can't maintain the Heritage diners through another winter.
  • Michigan is pushing Amtrak to pay them back for all the work they've done.
  • The new pre-packaged meals are being received well enough to convince Amtrak that they can run more eastern LD trains with diner-lite equipment and staffing, thus stretching their equipment roster and making Mica happi(er).
  • Boardman is looking for a legacy.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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See section 3.6 on page 47 of the Lake Shore Limited PIP.

3.6 Initiatives Examined but Not Included in the Plan

Amtrak conducted a ridership, financial and schedule analysis of a possible reroute of the Lake Shore Limited over the route of the Wolverine service between Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan.

While this reroute would have provided direct rail service between Michigan cities and the Northeast, it would also have eliminated Lake Shore Limited service at a number of stops in Indiana and Ohio, and trip time and operating costs would increase due to the longer distance traveled. The financial analysis indicated that the reroute would worsen the financial performance of the train.
That was 2011. Since then Amtrak purchased the Wolverine route (http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/story/news/local/2015/07/29/track-fixes-allow-mph-amtrak-travel-bc/30842183/). I would consider that a big factor that would at least change their financial analysis compared to when it was done.

Why do you have to come in here and depress me with your facts and citations?
I thought that was his job. I think we should nickname him "Mr. Cold Water".
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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How far into Michigan does the proposed route go before branching off of the Wolverine?
Most like it would join the Wolverine route at Dearborn.
I don't think this is the most effective way to serve Michigan for 3 reasons:1. It bypasses Detroit

2. It would serve Eastern Michigan at overnight hours, especially eastbound.

3. It adds about 2.5 hours to runtime.

I think a more effective solution is a Wolverine backing into Detroit and continuing to Toledo. If possible, thru cars could be added at Toledo.
As a resident of Michigan, I would much rather board the LSL during the overnight hours than board a Wolverine and then board the LSL. It means more rest/sleep and isn't quite the pain in the butt that it is to either transfer in Toledo or backtrack to Chicago.

"Bypassing Detroit" made me laugh, but not in a critical way. Ann Arbor is #1 in ridership, with Kalamazoo at a very close #2. Dearborn is #3. If you look at this map, you'll see that Dearborn is only several miles from Detroit. If I'm on the highway, it takes me about 5-10 minutes to get from the Dearborn exits to the Detroit exits.

Untitled.png

(I forgot to include the map scale. Just trust me. ;) )

So, really, "bypassing Detroit" isn't a big deal at all. The majority of "Detroit's" population lives in the metro area, not the city itself. Detroit's population is approx. 689,000. The metro area is 3.5 million. Detroit isn't like Chicago and other large cities where the largest chunk of the population resides in the city itself.
1. If Michigan cars are operated as thru cars onto the CL/LSL at Toledo, you could sleep through it.

2. I realize Detroit is not the most important city in Michigan for Amtrak, but serving it would still be a huge advantage. Amtrak is a form of public transportation, so not everyone onboard has a car and can drive the last few miles. I think Detroit will have higher ridership once the streetcar opens.
 

PerRock

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Disclaimer this is atleast 3rd hand information now...

Discussion on railroadfan.com is talking about the Lake Shore Limited being permanently rerouted thru Michigan. The current plans are for the LSL running on the Michigan Line starting in Oct. and running for a month.

Beyond that known information there is a bunch of speculation, including station stops, schedule, etc.

Peter
Someone had mentioned it in a comment on the LSL Facebook page as well. I'm curious about the details of when in October this will take place as I'm riding from Boston to Chicago on the 10th.
My source, implies that it will be the whole month. So you would be in MI, if it happens.

peter
 
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