Midwest Rail Plan final Report

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danasgoodstuff

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Midwest Regional Rail Plan Final Report | FRA (dot.gov) I haven't read in detail yet, but I noticed on the map on p.8 they show E-W thru Iowa rerouted thru Des Moines (as it should be) and closing the Louisville to Nashville gap so trips thru Nashville and on to Atlanta and Fla would be possible sometime in the future (2035? or 2050!?). Sorry I couldn't figure out how to post the map without downloading the whole report to my computer.
 

Ziv

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I have wondered whether a train that covered the tracks between Denver CO, Kansas City MO, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Charleston WV, Culpepper VA to DC Union Station would work in a more train friendly future. It seems that, as danasgoodstuff points out, having all the EW trains route through Chicago is logistically logical but kind of a pain for real world train users.

 
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jis

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It needs to be remembered that, as stated by Jim Matthews who was a participant, these are projected demand for flow studies based on a model and a bunch of data sources for relevant data to feed to the model. They were validated for short terms. It is difficult to validate over a 20 or 30 year period since the data needed does not exist into the future (naturally). Given those caveats, these are the observed major data flows justify certain levels of service by the end of the projection period. It is possible that by the time t+20 years rolls around the projections prove to be invalid, and a new one has to be worked out.

In any event for planning purposes for now this will be one input to what actually gets built. Finding funding for building anything will depend on willingness of the communities involved to participate and local state political haggling, and what not. So what actually gets built may or may not resemble what this particular model projection suggests.

Having said that, I find it interesting that St. Louis - Indy did not make the cut. There are similar omissions of what I expected would be there. But my expectation was based on feelings, not data. So who knows?
 

danasgoodstuff

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Curious as to why you feel this is a bad thing.
Not an opinion, just wondering yours.

I suppose because it’s inconveniently a double terminus?
Two reasons: 1) If you are somewhere in the Midwest like southern Ohio or Indiana and want to go west to say KC or Denver, then Chicago is out of the way; and 2) what if there are problems in Chicago, it would be nice to have a bypass in place.
 

danasgoodstuff

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It needs to be remembered that, as stated by Jim Matthews who was a participant, these are projected demand for flow studies based on a model and a bunch of data sources for relevant data to feed to the model. They were validated for short terms. It is difficult to validate over a 20 or 30 year period since the data needed does not exist into the future (naturally). Given those caveats, these are the observed major data flows justify certain levels of service by the end of the projection period. It is possible that by the time t+20 years rolls around the projections prove to be invalid, and a new one has to be worked out.

In any event for planning purposes for now this will be one input to what actually gets built. Finding funding for building anything will depend on willingness of the communities involved to participate and local state political haggling, and what not. So what actually gets built may or may not resemble what this particular model projection suggests.

Having said that, I find it interesting that St. Louis - Indy did not make the cut. There are similar omissions of what I expected would be there. But my expectation was based on feelings, not data. So who knows?
Given that KC to St. Louis is the strongest corridor that doesn't involve Chicago, I would think something from St. Louis to the east would make sense. But just because I, as an outsider looking at a map. think something makes sense doesn't mean it will make sense to the folks on the ground. St. Louis was once tremendously busy, but that was long ago and I'm not sure which ways all that traffic went much less whether it would flow that way today. Nor do I know what track is still there or what condition it or existing stations might be in.
 

danasgoodstuff

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There are things to consider like where did folks in the various midwest cities come from, and was that too long ago for them to still have ties. As the report says, they did not factor in condition of rails or exact routes or location of existing or potential stations, all of which can have a large effect.
 

Bob Dylan

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My instinct would be to go St. Louis to Louisville to Cincy, rather than to Indy, but I have no idea if that really makes sense.
Amtrak ran the National Ltd. to St Louis,and there was a Bus connection to the CONO from St Louis @ 0 Dark 30, but both are long gone.

It would be nice to be able to not have to go to/through Chicago when making Connections or traveling on any New Routes that may be started!
 

SubwayNut

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There is still a connection a Thurway bus leaves St. Louis for Carbondale at 11:30pm to connect to the southbound CONO, Northbound Arrives St. Louis at 5:30am
 

neroden

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From my perspective, this is all very well as long as they beef up that "Cleveland -> Buffalo & NYC" connection so I can get to it all by train. And the 3C corridor needs to come back and be taken more seriously, too.
 

Dakota 400

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I am not clear as to what that proposed map shows regarding Columbus and Dayton in relation to connecting to Cincinnati and Cleveland.
 

danasgoodstuff

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I am not clear as to what that proposed map shows regarding Columbus and Dayton in relation to connecting to Cincinnati and Cleveland.
I think what it's saying is that it may very well happen, and may be great for those 4 cities, but that it won't impact the rest of the network much - you could connect to the LSL in Cleveland or the Cardinal in Cincinati, or what ever else is going by then, but their modelling doesn't show much of that, they expect this to be a locals mostly thing.
 

neroden

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I think what it's saying is that it may very well happen, and may be great for those 4 cities, but that it won't impact the rest of the network much - you could connect to the LSL in Cleveland or the Cardinal in Cincinati, or what ever else is going by then, but their modelling doesn't show much of that, they expect this to be a locals mostly thing.
That means their modelling is crap. Failure to account properly for network effects == crap.
 

danasgoodstuff

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That means their modelling is crap. Failure to account properly for network effects == crap.
Supposedly they did some work to account for network effects, at various levels of service, they just don't think this line will have as much as others. I don't know enough about OHIO to know if that's true - it's not just how far apart these cities are but what traffic there is now by car and air and how people in that region think about what's close to them and where they want to go. I don't know enough about the inputs they used nor about the CONNECT modelling they used to know whether the end result is 'crap' or not. Until they get the other service thru Cincy at some time other than the middle of the night, there's likely to be little network effect from any other service.
 

danasgoodstuff

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I think it would be interesting to use the tools used here to predict lines in service as if they weren't and see how good the predictions are.
 

neroden

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Yeah, you'd need a second frequency on the Water Level Route from Cleveland to Buffalo to connect with the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincy line to see significant connecting traffic, but that second frequency should be built for its own sake anyway.

I suspect that the model has unnatural boundaries and fails to properly model traffic across the boundary line. Common.
 

danasgoodstuff

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Yeah, you'd need a second frequency on the Water Level Route from Cleveland to Buffalo to connect with the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincy line to see significant connecting traffic, but that second frequency should be built for its own sake anyway.

I suspect that the model has unnatural boundaries and fails to properly model traffic across the boundary line. Common.
They did model at different frequencies and with different additional legs added, but I'm not sure if they varied existing services (if that makes sense). I don't think they did schedule variations...all these things matter, but at some point there gets to be too many variables.
 

IndyLions

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That means their modelling is crap. Failure to account properly for network effects == crap.
From what I read they did take networking into account and claimed increased connections would have a huge impact on ridership overall. They just didn’t identify the CLE-COL-CIN corridor as a “pillar”. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
 

Willbridge

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I have wondered whether a train that covered the tracks between Denver CO, Kansas City MO, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Charleston WV, Culpepper VA to DC Union Station would work in a more train friendly future. It seems that, as danasgoodstuff points out, having all the EW trains route through Chicago is logistically logical but kind of a pain for real world train users.
In 1975 Secretary Coleman selected extension of the National Limited to Denver from Kansas City as the first route under legislation requiring Amtrak to add a two-year experimental service each year. This never happened, due presumably to the bad problems on the National's tracks and the rapidly growing coal traffic between Pueblo and Denver and the single-tracking of the Palmer Divide.

The National had a tri-weekly Washington, DC section and a daily NYC section so it would have done somewhat the same as the suggestion above.
 
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IndyLions

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Having said that, I find it interesting that St. Louis - Indy did not make the cut. There are similar omissions of what I expected would be there. But my expectation was based on feelings, not data. So who knows?
If the other corridor routes become popular, I could see IND-STL emerging as a gateway connection to the west, kind of like a NAS-ATL gateway to the south.
 

Dakota 400

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They just didn’t identify the CLE-COL-CIN corridor as a “pillar”. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Well, it is important for those of us who would be impacted by such service. Weeks ago, when Amtrak made the initial proposal for starting this service, I recall that there would be sufficient service to make decent connections in CIN and CLE.
 
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