LSL Michigan Reroute Rumors & Speculation

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brianpmcdonnell17

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So confused. Test or reroute due to MOW conflict?

Test you can ask for compensation.

Maintance you get to complain.

Not that really matters, but it would be nice if the needs of the passengers are considered if this is a test. Hate to miss my connection due to a test.
The run time is actually supposed to be less than TOL-CHI via Chicago line due to less traffic and 110 mph. Without the heritage diners, they can go 110 with no issues.
I don't know how that is possible. Trains are scheduled between Chicago and Toledo in 4 hours, while Chicago to Dearborn is 5 hours 15 minutes plus at least an hour from there to Toledo. I think this an important market, but splitting the train in Toledo is a better solution than delaying the entire train by that much time.
 

jis

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The run time is actually supposed to be less than TOL-CHI via Chicago line due to less traffic and 110 mph. Without the heritage diners, they can go 110 with no issues.
I don't know how that is possible. Trains are scheduled between Chicago and Toledo in 4 hours, while Chicago to Dearborn is 5 hours 15 minutes plus at least an hour from there to Toledo. I think this an important market, but splitting the train in Toledo is a better solution than delaying the entire train by that much time.
Using the new Flux Capacitors installed in the P42s to be used on the diversion of course :p

However what Tyler quotes may not be his fault. The garbage may be emanating from Amtrak (well 6 hours, not 4) which even the union fellow in Toledo questions.

So confused. Test or reroute due to MOW conflict?

Test you can ask for compensation.

Maintance you get to complain.

Not that really matters, but it would be nice if the needs of the passengers are considered if this is a test. Hate to miss my connection due to a test.
The run time is actually supposed to be less than TOL-CHI via Chicago line due to less traffic and 110 mph. Without the heritage diners, they can go 110 with no issues.
Total disconnection from reality. But that is not unusual. ;)

Toledo to Dearborn is some 60 or so miles. 3 of that is covered at 10mph due to track condition. The rest at 50, so count 1:15 to 1:30 (account for slow speed running out of Toledo) for that.

Chicago to Dearborn is around 4:55 - 5:15 taken straight from the timetable.

Which on the best day gives a total runtime of 4:55 - 5:15 + 1:15 - 1:30 a running time of about 7:10 - 7:45.for Chicago to Toledo via Dearborn.

Eliminate a few stops in Michigan and possibly reduce runtime from Chicago to Dearborn to say 4:30 to get net runtime down to 6:45.

Runtime on NS from Toledo to Chicago is 4:20 - 4:30.

Now explain to us how the runtime between Chicago and Dearborn of 4:55 - 5:15 is shorter than the Chicago - Toledo time of 4:20 - 4:30, leaving aside the fact that the Chicago - Toledo via Dearborn running time will be something like 6:45 to 7:45.

The thing is, all of the few miles of 110mph cannot compensate for the sheer difference in distances:

Chiacgo - Dearborn : 273 miles

Chicago Toledo via SOB 229 miles

Chicago Toledo via Dearborn about 333 miles

Too bad that people are unable to do simple arithmetic anymore. :(

BTW, AFAIK the serviceable Heritage Diners have no issue with running at 110mph.
 
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jis

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I was told it would be under the 5 hour mark for the engineers/crew.
As I said - there has to be a flux capacitor involved there ;)

If they use a single crew they will need two Engineers in the cab.

Of course Toledo to Dearborn crew would be well under the 5 hour mark. But then there would be a Dearborn to Chicago crew which will be slightly over the five hour mark.

Moral of the story - do not believe everything that anyone says. Validate the claims yourself. It is a safe assumption that no one is powerful enough to change the laws of Physics on the fly (McFly?)

BTW, it raises another interesting question. I am sure they are not going to send an ITCS equipped engine all the way to Albany. So I suspect they will tack on an ITCS locomotive in front of the regular P42 for the Chicago - Dearborn stretch, and take it off/put it on at Dearborn, or possibly at Toledo.

Should be interesting to see what happens.

I expect to be on 49 in October on the way to the AU Gathering. Taylor, perhaps you should get yourself on the 49 too, to enjoy this jaunt through Michigan. :)
 
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You can always skip some stops on the LD train through Michigan to cut some time. It won't be less than going through South Bend but if it is less than 2 hours I'd consider the reroute. I'd probably make the Michigan stops only to eastern destinations so the Michigan stops will only receive passengers going east and only discharge going west and can leave before departure time.

This is All Aboard Ohio's proposal: http://allaboardohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Keystone-Wolverine_linkup.pdf
 

rrdude

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From a FB post earlier today, in Amtrak Fans group. It seems to be written by a supervisor, to their employees, no way to authenticate, so "take it as is" Somewhat jibes with some of what is written above.

My biggest questions are. (if there is any truth to the story) :

  1. Is it because of TRACK WORK on NS ? (Makes some sense)
  2. Is it a "Test" independent of TRACK WORK on NS?
  3. Did Amtrak decide to TEST because of TRACK WORK? (That would be a win for Amtrak Mgmt)
IMHO, it would make sense to "TEST" only:

  1. Once all track work in Michigan is done
  2. Once all track work east in ALB-SDY is done
  3. Only if sell tickets to/from online Michigan stations. (otherwise, it's just a detour)
Amtrak is running the Lake Shore with one unit as it is--I can't see it sparing another one for a split section. Here's what engineers in the Toledo Crew Base are being told by their union:

I received a phone call on July 13, 2016 from **** to inform me of upcoming changes to 49/48 service. Effective October 1, 2016 the carrier will implement a pilot program to operate 49/48 from Toledo to Chicago over the Michigan line. The pilot program will last until October 31, 2016 and at that point they will decide if the pilot program was successful and could implement this change as permanent. With that said the new route will depart Toledo and use the Detroit Line to CP-YD, then route over the Junction Yard Running Track to the Michigan Line at CP-Townline and continue to CP-482 at Porter. They plan on this being a one engineer job because of the 110 MPH and the running time is under 6 hours according to their figures but I will need to monitor this because I believe the running time is over the 6 hour rule. This has been being pushed by the State of Michigan who has wanted a long distance train through Michigan and has been talked about for several years and the State of Michigan has pumped a considerable amount of State funds to keep passenger rail alive in Michigan .

The current jobs will not change except for the change in the route, schedule may change if the pilot program is successful. The carrier plans on the train being staffed by Toledo crews and the crews will need to get qualified over the new route and will need to get CN, NORAC, and ITCS Cab Signal Rules. The schedule and who will start qualifying will be up to **** who will be working with **** to get a plan in place to schedule crews for the rules and qualifying. Currently this is in its infancy and they will need to work out all of the logistics but it will be done quickly, understand this, they intend on this as a being permanent change to the way 49/48 operates and intend on seeing this being a success with or without our help.

I know this is a lot to swallow but we must remain positive. Michigan has an overflow of engineers on their extra boards and they are already qualified over 85% of the route and they could easily qualify them over the remainder of the route and we could potentially lose this work. I ask each of you affected by this to look at the big picture and try to protect our work. I will work with the carrier to make sure everything is in place and that we all have the necessary materials and training prior to the October 1st start up. And yes we will continue to qualify in the yard and this change will only effect the current 49/48 crews and the extra board.


I will continue to give you information as it comes in.
 
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TylerP42

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I talked to someone in Chicago who's a part of it and he said he was shocked I knew about it so fast and knew so much. It's currently in early planning stages.

They're also training engineers and conductors on those subs.
 
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jis

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Amtrak leaks like a seive :D

So far it sounds like it will be another typical Amtrak CF. But I am hoping that they will work out the kinks before it gets there and eventually it will succeed.
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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Succeed how?

What the goal?

Simple run a train on a different route?

Ridership improvement?

How many customer are going to lose out with a short notice change of routing? If Amtrak plug in a reroute 11 months ahead, that would be great, but the short notice change will impact how many customers?
 

SarahZ

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RRdude touched on a lot of the questions I have.

If they're testing ridership, it doesn't make sense to do it on such short notice, and in October no less. If they advertised this for, say, next spring or summer (or even maybe the holidays), that would be a better test. The key is advertisement. I think people in Michigan would be pumped to have a long-distance train that goes to NYC and Boston, but with little advertising and during a month that's not exactly vacation-heavy... meh.

If they're testing speed, it doesn't makes sense to do it until the construction between KAL and DER is finished.
 

jis

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I suspect they are trying to make some sort of lemonade out of some sort of lemon that they have been handed or created for themselves. Not the first time that such has happened. Putting lipstick on a pig is one of the specializations.... We just don't know the whole story and probably never will.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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I don't think the extra locomotive should be too much of an issue because the Chargers should free up some P42s relatively soon and I imagine that due to its length the LSL should be one of the first to get it's second loco back. Also as previously mentioned it is possible that the extra loco may be removed in Toledo due to Michigan having their own pool of locos with extra requirements.
 

jis

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We are talking October this year. Do we expect Chargers to be deployed in significant numbers by then?

The loco used on the Michigan corridor will have to be ITCS equipped, and the loco used to Albany has to be Eastern Cab Signal equipped. Chargers will release midwest locomotives. It will take a bit of work to equip them with different cab signal systems. All can be done. But I am curious what determined the 1st October date. Haven't found a real explanation for that yet.
 

MikefromCrete

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I think the union leader's comments posted above are sheer fiction. I still don't see the sense in detouring a LD train from a long established route for just a month to conduct a "test." There are other ways to test potential ridership for a reroute. Amtrak never rerouted a SWC over the Southern Transcon to "test" ridership at Amarillo and other points along the way. Amtrak went out of its way to protect business on the traditional SWC route.

A six-hour run with one engineer? Others here have figured out the time will be closer to 7.5 hours, and that's without any possible problems. If they do this, the LSL will be sitting at Niles or Porter everyday waiting for an emergency recrew.

Michigan wants a long distance train? Michigan's priorities are improving the Wolverine to higher speed standards, starting up the "coast to coast" Holland-Grand Rapids-Lansing-Detroit train, starting up an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter line, starting up that other silly commuter line west of Ann Arbor, and maybe, just maybe, sending a train up to Traverse City. What are MDOT's concerns about passengers riding a through train to NYC rather than a bus from Dearborn to Toledo?

The reroute, if there is one, will be due to NS construction.
 

SarahZ

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Michigan's priorities are improving the Wolverine to higher speed standards, starting up the "coast to coast" Holland-Grand Rapids-Lansing-Detroit train, starting up an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter line, starting up that other silly commuter line west of Ann Arbor, and maybe, just maybe, sending a train up to Traverse City.
I couldn't find any news about a commuter line "west" of Ann Arbor. Are you talking about the proposed commuter line between Ann Arbor and Howell, a.k.a. WALLY?
 

Burns651

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Distance between Dearborn and Toledo is 57 miles via the Junction Yard Secondary and Detroit Line.

Responding to earlier queries about why people wanted a train to go through Canada: it wasn't about serving Canada, it was about finding the most direct way to the East to serve Michigan. Now, probably, Customs and ISIS hysteria have shut down that option for good.
 

PaulM

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I'll go out on a limb and say that the source of this is the CUS janitor, or was it the station manager, who insisted that arriving sleeper car passengers would be kicked out of the metropolitan lounge. :p
 

MikefromCrete

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Michigan's priorities are improving the Wolverine to higher speed standards, starting up the "coast to coast" Holland-Grand Rapids-Lansing-Detroit train, starting up an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter line, starting up that other silly commuter line west of Ann Arbor, and maybe, just maybe, sending a train up to Traverse City.
I couldn't find any news about a commuter line "west" of Ann Arbor. Are you talking about the proposed commuter line between Ann Arbor and Howell, a.k.a. WALLY?

Yeah, that's the one. It even has a cartoon name.
 

afigg

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I don't think the extra locomotive should be too much of an issue because the Chargers should free up some P42s relatively soon and I imagine that due to its length the LSL should be one of the first to get it's second loco back. Also as previously mentioned it is possible that the extra loco may be removed in Toledo due to Michigan having their own pool of locos with extra requirements.
The schedule for the SC-44 Charger production as of earlier this year called for the first units to be accepted by IDOT in December 2016. That presumably is based on no major issues being found in the months of testing the first units have to undergo. So, the Chargers won't be in service to free up P-42s for the LSL trial re-route if it takes place in October.
 

afigg

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Michigan wants a long distance train? Michigan's priorities are improving the Wolverine to higher speed standards, starting up the "coast to coast" Holland-Grand Rapids-Lansing-Detroit train, starting up an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter line, starting up that other silly commuter line west of Ann Arbor, and maybe, just maybe, sending a train up to Traverse City. What are MDOT's concerns about passengers riding a through train to NYC rather than a bus from Dearborn to Toledo?

The reroute, if there is one, will be due to NS construction.
From Michigan's viewpoint a trial re-route of the LSL through Ann Arbor and Dearborn may either not cost the state anything or likely only a little because it is a national LD train. Michigan gets a 4th daily Chicago to Ann Arbor and Dearborn train out of it. Now, if the new LSL route were to become permanent or planned as a future permanent shift, then the state and Amtrak might submit TIGER applications with some matching state funds for improvements to the Toledo to Dearborn NS tracks.

If it is a one month re-route required for NS track work, selling tickets in Michigan is a good way to see how much interest there is in and build political support for a direct Michigan to east cost service.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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So why is the Capital Limited not getting impacted.

West bound the two trains run one hour apart.

Capital Limited arrives 0845 hrs in Chicago.

Lake Shore Limited arrives 0945 hrs in Chicago.

East bound

Capital Limited leaves Chicago at 1840 hrs.

Lake Shore Limite leaves Chicago at 2130 hrs.

Unless the MOW is working at night, the morning run are right in top of each other. So if one is impacted the other must also be impacted.

Makes no sense.
 

reppin_the_847

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The more I think about this idea and the fact that the Chicago to Toledo stretch (via Michigan) would be lengthier in distance, I think that there has to be a compromise in the # of stops in Michigan. I'm thinking that the LSL running through Michigan might be able to limit its stops to Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor & Dearborn potentially. But then again, having a stop in Niles, Michigan could help to serve the customers that used to board in South Bend, Indiana. Niles (MI) is about 11 miles north of South Bend (IN). I have personally boarded & deboarded at other stations such as picturesque New Buffalo (gorgeous area in the summer) and the newly revamped Battle Creek station so I'm truly torn.
 
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neroden

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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.
Well, I'll just say that the pre-packaged meals apparently have documented ingredients, per Jim Matthews, so with my allergies I am likely to be able to eat them, and the dining car meals currently don't (for no reason which I can imagine), so putting the pre-packaged meals on the LSL would actually help me.
Also, I have friends who routinely go back to visit their familes in Lansing and Grand Rapids. They have taken the bus from Toledo (and found the transfer unpleasant), but their families would probably happily pick them up from Jackson or Kalamazoo, and they'd get to sleep longer.

Anyway, to realize this sort of a change, I surmise that the LSL will have to leave New York at around 1pm instead of 3pm, if not a bit earlier, to preserve the Western connections in Chicago.
Improvement for me in Syracuse heading west -- I get to board earlier in the day (it's really late when we board right now).
Similarly, it will need to depart Chicago a couple of hours earlier in order for the Boston section to get to Boston at a reasonable hour, and to preserve the few connections still possible at New York, specially allowing for the regular hour or two delays.
Vast improvement which is *already recommended by the PIP*, which said it would increase ridership a lot. It allows me to tuck into bed in the Viewliner earlier!

Folks from SOB and EKH can always use NLS which is a short drive, to catch the rerouted LSL.
Yep.When we've analyzed this before, the sticking point has always been running times. It's critical that Toledo-Dearborn be done pretty fast, otherwise the detour adds too much delay.

Yeah, if the whole train goes via Dearborn then CL will definitely get a stop at Bryan. That is a no brainer to maintain service at Bryan.
For what it's worth this helps out Amtrak's ADA compliance issues (Bryan is never gonna get a high-level platform) and saves time on double-stopping (the LSL often has to spot twice, sometimes three times, while the shorter CL doesn't). Norfolk Southern might actually be quite happy to move the very long, frequently double-spotting LSL off this part of the Chicago Line and willing to make a good deal for access to the Detroit-Toledo line (which is mostly Conrail) in exchange.

Soooo, apparently the Detroit Line has a 50 mph speed limit (this is fine) but the "Junction Yard Running Track" is 10 mph (this is not fine). From looking at the overhead maps, I don't think the Junction Yard running track gets used that much, so freight traffic *along* it shouldn't be an issue. It does have annoying flat junctions with CN in two places and NS in one, however (not counting the dead-end NS track which looks unusable). It's very curvy but it could be upgraded to reasonable speeds (30 mph) without too much trouble, I'm sure -- I really hope there's some consideration of this since it doesn't cost that much to get up to Class 2 track. If a train could get clearance to cross through CP-YD, the CN Shoreline Sub, NS Ecorse Junction, and the unnamed NS dead-end line all at once (they are all very close together, about 1.6 miles), the only other obstacle is crossing the CN access to Ford's River Rouge complex.
 
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