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Additionally, the Toledo-Detroit connection seems interesting for me as well. According to my geo portal, there seem to be in minimum 4 different tracks running directly northwards between those two cities. Could it not be possible to acquire one line completely from the freight companies? Is there somebody here who can give me an explanation for the situation there?

It is completely feasible that the state of Michigan could acquire trackage to Toledo. They own the tracks from Kalamazoo to Dearborn, with Amtrak owning Kalamazoo to Porter, IN. And because there are so many active lines Detroit-Toledo and even Ann Arbor-Toledo, it seems there should be a willing partner at some point.
 

west point

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2 main tracks CTC Detroit - TOL seems much better. Combine and leave room for any future passenger only tracks . Run one or 2 services presently on the 2 MTs and when enough passenger trains are warranted build the passenger train only track next to the 2 MT.
 
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I'm not sure why they are pushing for a Dubuque connection when Chicago to Iowa City would be a home run...so many students at the U of I are from Chicago.
1) Why not both Dubuque and Iowa City *if* the money's available?

2) I imagine Galena alone merits service beyond Rockford as it's a popular destination for day trips and weekends from Chicago. If they get to Galena, why not a bit farther to Dubuque?

3) This is all a bit moot. For the foreseeable future -- as long as CN acts like it acts now -- nothing will get beyond Rockford on CN tracks, which is the only route between Rockford, Galena, and Dubuque.
 

GoAmtrak

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Thank you for your insights about Iowa, John Bredin. I would also like to have railway service expanded in Iowa. Currently, none of the 10 largest cities in Iowa are served by any sort passenger rail! Perhaps with the Amtrak 2035 plans there could be a chance to change that. But there is a need to step in by the Iowa Representatives to move things forward.

Concerning Ohio, future improvements seem to be more concrete, with a timeline of about 3 to 4 years to re-install passenger railway service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati:

4 years would be quite solid. Let's hope we don't end up waiting 40 years.

Strangely enough, I have no news about the Toledo-Detroit-connection we talked recently. Has anybody news about it? Such a short distance with such nice effects on the network in the region. Let's make it happen!

I appreciate the efforts and the media presence of some figures of All Aboard Ohio who push to move forward (especially concerning connections to and from Cincinnati). From All Aboard Wisconsin in contrast, there isn't a lot to hear in the media (despite quite impressive plans presented by Amtrak for Wisconsin).
 
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Concerning Ohio, future improvements seem to be more concrete, with a timeline of about 3 to 4 years to re-install passenger railway service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati
I appreciate the efforts and the media presence of some figures of All Aboard Ohio who push to move forward

If the Federal money needed to start this service is part of a grant program with the State providing equal amounts of money, that could be a very large stumbling block for Ohio. We have a conservatively centralist GOP Governor who has not committed on the starting of the 3C+D service. We have a General Assembly who is much more conservative than the Governor, but, when the proposal was first made by Amtrak, my own State Senator who is quite conservative seemed open to considering it. There is a Democratic candidate for Governor in 2022 who has voiced her strong support for the 3C+D service. The results of the 2022 election may be extremely important as to what happens to this proposed service.
 

GoAmtrak

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If the Federal money needed to start this service is part of a grant program with the State providing equal amounts of money, that could be a very large stumbling block for Ohio. We have a conservatively centralist GOP Governor who has not committed on the starting of the 3C+D service. We have a General Assembly who is much more conservative than the Governor, but, when the proposal was first made by Amtrak, my own State Senator who is quite conservative seemed open to considering it. There is a Democratic candidate for Governor in 2022 who has voiced her strong support for the 3C+D service. The results of the 2022 election may be extremely important as to what happens to this proposed service.
I learned it is Dayton major Nan Whaley who strongly supports Amtrak service from Cleveland to Cincinnati.


In another article, they said it would not take 3 to 4 years to re-open service between Cleveland and Cincinnati, but 10 years. Whaley Leads Drive For Infrastructure Bill

How can this take so long? Tracks are there, you just need to upgrade them a little bit. In ten years you could almost build an entire new line. It's not a trip from New Mexico to Alaska, it's Cleveland - Cincinnati :rolleyes: Additionally, with all those delays which frequently occur I fear we end up waiting that many years...
 

west point

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There may be incorrect assumptions made about how fast projects can be started. Is there an assumption that there is immediate availability of track and signal material. Ties probably will not be a limitation. But what about rail? Orders for rail may have been made for the next 2 - 3 years future delivery? There might not be any additional capacity in the short run? Then you have the necessity of grading for additional sidings and 2nd main track? If there are utilities under the tracks that are not encased that will have to be completed first.
 
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I learned it is Dayton major Nan Whaley who strongly supports Amtrak service from Cleveland to Cincinnati.


In another article, they said it would not take 3 to 4 years to re-open service between Cleveland and Cincinnati, but 10 years. Whaley Leads Drive For Infrastructure Bill

How can this take so long? Tracks are there, you just need to upgrade them a little bit. In ten years you could almost build an entire new line. It's not a trip from New Mexico to Alaska, it's Cleveland - Cincinnati :rolleyes: Additionally, with all those delays which frequently occur I fear we end up waiting that many years...

I am unsure as to the accuracy of this TV stations reporting. Of the three TV stations in Dayton, this one has the weakest news department.

If the money is available, it won't take 10 years to get this route started. Maybe the largest issue will be where to locate the stations in Columbus and Dayton. There is nothing in Dayton that would be remotely adequate to serve Amtrak and I suspect Columbus has the same issue.
 

Just me

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When I was a kid, one of my fondest memories was riding the train from a small town in SW Indiana to St. Louis to visit relatives. Passenger service stopped after a few years of my being "of travel age" according to my family. Logistically, it is almost a straight shot. It would be nice if they would consider a route from Louisville through Evansville, IN through Carbondale and then on west to St. Louis.
 
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Stations will be a sticking point, but even with some appropriate process around that it should be possible to get this done in 5-6 years.

And, I think sooner than that. If all of those at all levels of government in Ohio are on board with the plan. And, if it's a matching grant type of funding, Ohio's General Assembly will do its part. (The last I read, Ohio has a sizable "rainy day fund" and if the economy continues to improve, our tax revenues ought to increase.)
 
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I'm excited for some of this to happen - I haven't really checked into it yet, but hopefully Illinois snags some of the infrastructure money to push ahead with Rockford and Quad Cities to get them/be ready for when the new Siemens cars finally arrive...
 

Anthony V

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Who gets elected in Ohio is key. Remember, a single election of one Republican governor killed the Cincy-Dayton-Columbus-Cleveland line for 10 years.
Current Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who is a centrist Republican, is playing a wait-and-see game when it comes to the feasibility of the 3C+D corridor based on how much it will cost the state. However, he has supported Amtrak funding in the past, so there may be some hope there, but so far there has been no action to getting this route started, despite its high ridership potential.
 
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Current Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who is a centrist Republican, is playing a wait-and-see game when it comes to the feasibility of the 3C+D corridor based on how much it will cost the state. However, he has supported Amtrak funding in the past, so there may be some hope there, but so far there has been no action to getting this route started, despite its high ridership potential.

Governor DeWine has to work with a very conservative General Assembly and has had to move to the "right" in recent months because of the opposition he has experienced from some members of that body. If he wins the GOP Primary in May and is re-elected in November, he will have the opportunity to return to his more centrist position (which I would consider is one of a pragmatic conservative who wants to get "stuff done"). At that point, the Governor would be in a better position to support the 3C+D corridor than he does now.
 

GoAmtrak

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Governor DeWine has to work with a very conservative General Assembly and has had to move to the "right" in recent months because of the opposition he has experienced from some members of that body. If he wins the GOP Primary in May and is re-elected in November, he will have the opportunity to return to his more centrist position (which I would consider is one of a pragmatic conservative who wants to get "stuff done"). At that point, the Governor would be in a better position to support the 3C+D corridor than he does now.
I feel somewhat discouraged by the party strength in the Ohio State Senate and some tendencies. I just checked on Wikipedia, the Ohio State Senate has 25 Republicans and 8 Democrats - the fewest number of Democrats since 1952 (!). Why the party of the great again man is that popular in Ohio? Are the Democrats increasingly in decline in Ohio?

Under this circumstances, is there any chance any improvements of passenger rail can come to Ohio? I heard not all Republicans are against passenger rail, but most aren't they. Is it not highly likely Ohio politicans just give proposed money back as it was already the case with John Kasich? Would be quite "impressive" if Ohio doesn't go any step further for centuries :(
 
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I feel somewhat discouraged by the party strength in the Ohio State Senate and some tendencies. I just checked on Wikipedia, the Ohio State Senate has 25 Republicans and 8 Democrats - the fewest number of Democrats since 1952 (!). Why the party of the great again man is that popular in Ohio? Are the Democrats increasingly in decline in Ohio?

Under this circumstances, is there any chance any improvements of passenger rail can come to Ohio? I heard not all Republicans are against passenger rail, but most aren't they. Is it not highly likely Ohio politicans just give proposed money back as it was already the case with John Kasich? Would be quite "impressive" if Ohio doesn't go any step further for centuries :(
This really shouldn't be a partisan political issue. There are many states that have strongly supported at least some Amtrak service under the leadership of both parties (Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania (especially for the Keystones), New York, even Wisconsin if you only count the Hiawatha Service). For some reason, the leadership in Ohio (probably mostly in the Legislature) has come under the spell of an ideological position that intercity passenger rail is not worthy of the expenditure of any public money. Indiana seems to be in a similar position, though they are quite willing to spend zillions on upgrading the South Shore Line, they had no interest in supporting the Hoosier State or any more extensive corridor service between Indianapolis and Chicago.

While some of this might be the fact that rural and exurban interests are ascendant mainly due to gerrymandering, I think it's mainly a ideological thing -- a belief that mobility needs are best met through the private automobile, or maybe buses for the unfortunate minority who can't afford a car or are unable to drive one. And the more extreme forms of the ideology would say that the bus service should be financed solely by private capital and from the farebox. I'm not sure that a majority of the electorate buys that ideology, but they do vote for politicians who have that ideology. Support for Amtrak or other intercity passenger rail services is not one of those issues that voters feel so strongly about that they'll vote against a candidate who opposes their position.

I'm not a political operative, so I have no idea what can be done to change this situation. I guess all the local rail advocates can do is keep talking to as many elected officials from both parties as they can. Perhaps a leader from an unexpected place can be convinced that passenger rail is a god thing and will be able to slip in support for this service, which, after all, in the big scheme of state budgets and such, is really small change.
 

sttom

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The only expedient way to change the minds of state legislators is to take support for rail out of their hands. We did so with roads under the Interstate Highway Project, doing the same for rail would be no different. They would become more willing to support rail as it becomes a more normal form of transportation. Congress could be talking into supporting rail more so than 50 states that will get on their knees for 15 cents of federal funding. Congress at least sees the value of Amtrak as it exists now, talking them into giving the states proportionally allotted money might take work, but I'm willing to bet it would be way easier than talking every state to give an inconsistent amount of money to Amtrak.
 
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The only expedient way to change the minds of state legislators is to take support for rail out of their hands. We did so with roads under the Interstate Highway Project, doing the same for rail would be no different. They would become more willing to support rail as it becomes a more normal form of transportation. Congress could be talking into supporting rail more so than 50 states that will get on their knees for 15 cents of federal funding. Congress at least sees the value of Amtrak as it exists now, talking them into giving the states proportionally allotted money might take work, but I'm willing to bet it would be way easier than talking every state to give an inconsistent amount of money to Amtrak.
This is probably true, but I don't think that at the national level the votes are there yet for a dedicated funding source for passenger rail the same way that the highways have such a source in the fuel tax. But it's true that once there's a pot of Federal money that can go to the states and be used only for passenger rail projects, there may be more interest in such projects.

But you still can't discount the power of ideological opposition to government funding of such things. Consider the case of Merritt H. Taylor Jr., the owner of the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, one of the last fully privately run transit companies in the US. He was very conservative and believed the government had no business subsidizing companies like his. He resisted all forms of regional cooperation, especially with governmental entities like SEPTA, and kept his company private for as long as he could. However, in the end, he did sell out to SEPTA. The ideology is still there, which is why there are a lot of people rooting for Brightline, because they're not taking government money. The problem is, I'm not sure the Brightline model can be repeated in other places. Even their Las Vegas line is not really going to work without partnering with the publicly owned railroads serving central Los Angeles.
 

jis

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The ideology is still there, which is why there are a lot of people rooting for Brightline, because they're not taking government money. The problem is, I'm not sure the Brightline model can be repeated in other places. Even their Las Vegas line is not really going to work without partnering with the publicly owned railroads serving central Los Angeles.
Unbeknownst to the ideologues, Brightline is actually selectively taking public money specially for enabling commuter service on their lines, and for building stations in Florida. As long as the ideologues don't notice on both sides, things should be fine - as long as the pragmatists rule the roost of action while ideologues spend all their time and energy just arguing with each other that is.
 
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feel somewhat discouraged by the party strength in the Ohio State Senate and some tendencies. I just checked on Wikipedia, the Ohio State Senate has 25 Republicans and 8 Democrats - the fewest number of Democrats since 1952 (!). Why the party of the great again man is that popular in Ohio? Are the Democrats increasingly in decline in Ohio?

Gerrymandering is the name of the game in Ohio. Two Constitutional Amendments were passed in 2015 and 2018 that ought to have impacted what the alignment of Ohio State Representative/Senate Districts as well as our Congressional Districts ought to realistically represent on the basis of the distribution of votes for both Parties. TOTALLY IGNORED by the "those in power" to make such decisions. The issues are now before the Ohio Supreme Court with a one vote margin tilt towards the GOP. But, and I think it may be a major factor, the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, a GOP politician, has shown that she is unafraid to "go off the reservation" at times. And, she is term limited. If that happens and the entire redistricting issues on State and Federal levels are thrown back into the legislative hopper for our General Assembly to resolve, who knows what will happen. Having such happen, in my opinion, has the potential to be good news for the 3C+D plan.
 

sttom

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This is probably true, but I don't think that at the national level the votes are there yet for a dedicated funding source for passenger rail the same way that the highways have such a source in the fuel tax. But it's true that once there's a pot of Federal money that can go to the states and be used only for passenger rail projects, there may be more interest in such projects.

But you still can't discount the power of ideological opposition to government funding of such things. Consider the case of Merritt H. Taylor Jr., the owner of the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, one of the last fully privately run transit companies in the US. He was very conservative and believed the government had no business subsidizing companies like his. He resisted all forms of regional cooperation, especially with governmental entities like SEPTA, and kept his company private for as long as he could. However, in the end, he did sell out to SEPTA. The ideology is still there, which is why there are a lot of people rooting for Brightline, because they're not taking government money. The problem is, I'm not sure the Brightline model can be repeated in other places. Even their Las Vegas line is not really going to work without partnering with the publicly owned railroads serving central Los Angeles.
The votes can be secured if you give Congress something to vote on and someone at Amtrak were actually competent at making the point that they can provide a much more useful service for the money. For twice what Amtrak did manage to get from the Infrastructure bill, they could easily double the number of route miles served a dramatically increase it's ridership.

As for convincing people, it really depends on the crowd. Rural Congress people already support Amtrak, so it's not like it would take them much to support an expansion program. Politicians from urban areas would be fairly easy to convince as well. The main lines of convincing would be traffic relief and economic development around stations. Which would help their developer friends. The wild cards would be suburban Republicans, politicians from right along the NEC and Northeastern politicians not along the NEC.

The NEC politicians would demand a pound of flesh for sure and their Senators would guarantee that. I would consider northeastern politicians a separate group because they might vote as a block within their states, but I don't see why a politicians from say Buffalo would care about better trains between New York City and DC. Suburbans Republicans might be a lost cause depending on what state they are from. I doubt someone like Dan Crenshaw would vote to expand Amtrak no matter how good it was for Texas whereas someone from North Carolina or Virginia would be more open to it.

Then there is what devil's are in the details? Obviously relying on the states to play along with a small amount of federal money is a failed idea. Which is why I have pondered just giving Amtrak a set amount annually to run "State Services" and just letting them stretch it as far as they can if a state decided to be a pain. Which after digging through some of the regulations around rail and Amtrak, it doesn't seem like they would need the states if the feds foot the bill. The issue is more about how much is being spent, how is it allotted and can we spin this into an economic development argument.
 

neroden

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Governor DeWine has to work with a very conservative General Assembly and has had to move to the "right" in recent months because of the opposition he has experienced from some members of that body. If he wins the GOP Primary in May and is re-elected in November, he will have the opportunity to return to his more centrist position (which I would consider is one of a pragmatic conservative who wants to get "stuff done"). At that point, the Governor would be in a better position to support the 3C+D corridor than he does now.
Or will he? Unfortunately, we discovered in Iowa that a fanatically anti-rail Republican legislature can kill a rail project even if the governor supports it and it's 80% federally funded.
 
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