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jis

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Well I meant to say not facing towards La Salle Street station. But for a train coming from outside Chicago it could get to Union Station the same way that the trains coming in from the New Orleans side do.

Take a look at the map and there clearly is (or at least was when the photo was taken) a track connection from the La Salle St. lead to the St. Charles Air Line.
 
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MisterUptempo

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Well I meant to say not facing towards La Salle Street station. But for a train coming from outside Chicago it could get to Union Station the same way that the trains coming in from the New Orleans side do.

Take a look at the map and there clearly is a track connection from the La Salle St. lead to the St. Charles Air Line.
That's true, there is a connection between the Air Line and the Rock Island tracks, and a backup maneuver could be executed.

My concern is the time required to actually do the backup, which adds too time onto a long distance train like the CONO, and contributes to making the 300-plus-mile Illini/Saluki uncompetitive, has the potential to be absolutely ruinous to a 160-mile route like a revived Peoria Rocket.
 

jis

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My concern is the time required to actually do the backup, which adds too time onto a long distance train like the CONO, and contributes to making the 300-plus-mile Illini/Saluki uncompetitive, has the potential to be absolutely ruinous to a 160-mile route like a revived Peoria Rocket.
Yes. Neither of those are ideal situations.

Theoretically at least a tight curve connector could be built at 63rd St possibly to avoid any backup moves. This would be somewhat like the proposed CREATE connector between CN and NS at Grand Crossing. But that is a very expensive proposition for just one or two trains.
 
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MisterUptempo

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Yes. Neither of those are ideal situations.

Theoretically at least a tight curve connector could be built at 63rd St possibly to avoid any backup moves. This would be somewhat like the proposed CREATE connector between CN and NS at Grand Crossing. But that is a very expensive proposition for just one or two trains.
If Amtrak/IDOT were to consider that, they'd probably still be better off with a connector at 40th Street. The costs might be similar, but they wouldn't have to deal with a change in elevation like they would at 63rd Street.

There would certainly be more than a couple of trains. The Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle have to be taken off the Alton Line to Joliet. Also, if they were to shift the promised Quad Cities trains onto the Rock Island route through the Illinois Valley to Moline they could save the money they'd otherwise have to spend building a connector between the BNSF and Iowa Interstate at Wyanet.

The 16th Street connector would be the best alternative of all, providing far more flexibility for both Amtrak and Metra, but would, without question, be the most expensive to build.

Back in April, 2021, Marc Magliari from Amtrak appeared on a Zoom call with the High Speed Rail Alliance and mentioned that they are now considering the 16th Street connector, and that Amtrak would be providing financial support to either 16th Street or Grand Crossing. Don't know if he was merely attempting to ingratiate himself with his audience or if he was serious.
 
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I think that LaSalle Street is probably completely off the table.

I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't been following any of the CREATE plans lately, but I do remember that the plan was to shift Amtrak off CN and the Air Line completely - I think CN wants/wanted to abandon everything that would have fallen north of the junction where ever that fell, although the line gets a reasonable amount of freight.
 

MisterUptempo

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I think that LaSalle Street is probably completely off the table.

I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't been following any of the CREATE plans lately, but I do remember that the plan was to shift Amtrak off CN and the Air Line completely - I think CN wants/wanted to abandon everything that would have fallen north of the junction where ever that fell, although the line gets a reasonable amount of freight.
The efforts to move the Lincoln Service and the Eagle off the CN Joliet Sub (former Alton) are (or were) part of Phase II of the Chicago-St. Louis HSR project. The CREATE Program has no plans that will help.

But on the subject of CREATE, your post prompted me to get up-to-date myself. What I did find interesting is that Project P6, which would have the CN Joliet Sub tracks fly over the Indiana Harbor Belt at Control Point Canal (located just south of the Summit Amtrak station), has started Phase I engineering and design. CN claims it "supports" the CREATE Project, but has made it clear they will not throw any cash into the pot to help it along.

I was unaware that CN was considering unloading the Joliet Sub. Any more details?

The only benefit P6 provides towards passenger rail in the long term would be for the Heritage Corridor. But, from what I understand, Metra and the RTA have yet to get a firm commitment from CN to allow Metra to inherit Amtrak's slots for expanded Heritage Corridor service, when the Lincoln Service and the Eagle finally do move to the Rock Island.

At the same time, Phase I work on Project P4, the connection at Grand Crossing, has been placed on hold. What it does or does not signify, who knows? I just find it odd that resources aren't going towards Grand Crossing, yet money is being spent on P6, to benefit a railroad that has repeatedly shown nothing but disdain for passenger rail.
 
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neroden

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Also, I wonder how "rabidly anti rail" rural people really are. Support for passenger rail may not be high on their personal agenda, which might cause them to vote for candidates who are "rabidly anti-rail" because of the candidates' position on other issues, which are more important to the average rural voter.
Conceded.

I personally think a lot of people in rural areas are being defrauded by listening to propaganda talk radio, which is full of ********, and that as a result they are voting for candidates who don't really support *any* of the issues those voters care about. Corporate propaganda talk radio (Clear Channel / Sinclair Media) has bought up most of the rural radio stations. Clear Channel / Sinclair type companies are much more dominant in rural areas than in urban areas: partly because urban areas have more media options in general (Sinclair can't afford to buy up all the urban radio stations); and partly because people in rural areas spend much more time in their cars where radio is one of the few things they can listen to while driving.

Which I think is an underappreciated problem with car dependence...
 
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I was actually referring to the old IC mainline and the CONO and Carbondale service being moved off of that and the Airline. That's been talked about forever (iirc before CREATE in fact) - the "south loop" generally wanted the Airline removed- but it seems to have started getting a bit more freight usage and they've installed new signaling and track upgrades over the past few years.
 

jis

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I was actually referring to the old IC mainline and the CONO and Carbondale service being moved off of that and the Airline. That's been talked about forever (iirc before CREATE in fact) - the "south loop" generally wanted the Airline removed- but it seems to have started getting a bit more freight usage and they've installed new signaling and track upgrades over the past few years.
It is the CREATE Grand Crossing connector that would move the ex-IC route Amtrak trains off of the Airline and backup moves, and onto NS at Grand Crossing, IIRC. And yes, the idea about building a connector at Grand Crossing does predate CREATE.
 

GoAmtrak

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This Peoria proposal just came out of nowhere. It's not part of the Midwest report and IDOT is probably leary of it since the failure of the short-term Prairie Marksman many years ago.
Indeed for me it also came out of nowhere. I always thought states and Amtrak primarily work on their 2035 expansion plan at best. And the Peoria line wasn't in it. Possibly it wasn't even in the Illinois state plans as John Bredin mentioned. But it would be a very positive surprise.

In another article which just appeared a few days ago, officials said they wrote to all students of Bradley university (which is located in Peoria) to ask if they would use Amtrak. Now they wait for responses.

Their strategy is indeed mentioned in the text: "If Indiana and Ohio don't want to jump at the chance, we'are glad to take it by ourselves".

In another article I read the author estimates the state of Ohio would just need to give 9-10 million dollars a year to Amtrak - and for the first five years of service, they don't have to give anything. 10 million dollars a year, that's really nothing. Some NBA players earn double a year. And... How much does the Ohio government spend on highways a year without thinking? 100 million a year?

Generally, more passenger rail is a no-brainer for Ohio. It would help the economy, bringing tourists and attract more skilfull workers... Additionally, it would be essential for people who don't drive a car or who don't want to...
 

GoAmtrak

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The Peoria city council said they were impressed how many people would use a train from Peoria to the Chicago area. They said it was necessary to do such a survey to confirm a true demand. Now they plan to go further with it. They praised the fact city councils in Morris, Ottawa and LaSalle also support the idea.

While I frequently read about groups and politicians showing support for Amtrak expansion in Illinois and Ohio, I don't find too much articles from Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Mostly, those are articles which came out about one year ago when Amtrak published its 2035 plan. Are people and governments there less interested in the possibilities?
 

rs9

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The Peoria city council said they were impressed how many people would use a train from Peoria to the Chicago area. They said it was necessary to do such a survey to confirm a true demand. Now they plan to go further with it. They praised the fact city councils in Morris, Ottawa and LaSalle also support the idea.

While I frequently read about groups and politicians showing support for Amtrak expansion in Illinois and Ohio, I don't find too much articles from Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Mostly, those are articles which came out about one year ago when Amtrak published its 2035 plan. Are people and governments there less interested in the possibilities?

I think the challenge for Amtrak is not just establishing this route but also being creative with it, which I would have to say doesn't always seem like one of their strong points.

This would be one of the rare Midwest Corridor train that directly services a tourist location, that being Starved Rock and Matthieson state parks. For selfish purposes, this is what has me excited.

If this route is one train per day in each direction, I would guess it runs to Chicago in the morning and to Peoria in the evening. Amtrak would have an opportunity to run additional weekend trains in the summer and fall that go to Peoria in the morning and to Chicago in the evening for people who want to go to the state parks. I guess what I'm saying is, give us a reason to use this train!
 
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Looking at the old route of the Peoria to Chicago route on the old Rock Island Route. I saw that there was an old ramp that still exists between 81st Street and 79th Street on the west side of the viaduct that connects to the CSX main line toward Union Station direct.

Screen Shot 2022-02-17 at 11.56.07 PM.png

I believe thats a better and more direct route than trying to make a curve on the intersection with CSX and CN in Joliet.
 
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Eric S

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Except Wisconsin keeps electing Officials that turn down Money for Rail Expansion!
Support exists, nonetheless. That it does not always translate into electoral success is a different matter. And, it's worth noting, the current governor is supportive, as were most recent office-holders with the obvious exception of his immediate predecessor.
 

jebr

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Except Wisconsin keeps electing Officials that turn down Money for Rail Expansion!

WisDOT is quite receptive to passenger rail - so much so that I believe they're the lead agency in the consortium for the second daily train to MSP despite many of the larger destinations being in Minnesota. I get the sense that Tony Evers, the governor, is also generally receptive to passenger rail. Right now the biggest hurdle in Wisconsin is likely the state legislature, whose districts have been heavily gerrymandered by the GOP to favor getting GOP representatives into office.
 

WICT106

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WisDOT is quite receptive to passenger rail - so much so that I believe they're the lead agency in the consortium for the second daily train to MSP despite many of the larger destinations being in Minnesota. I get the sense that Tony Evers, the governor, is also generally receptive to passenger rail. Right now the biggest hurdle in Wisconsin is likely the state legislature, whose districts have been heavily gerrymandered by the GOP to favor getting GOP representatives into office.
The elected officials of a certain political party know their voters -- and their voters have grown up without ever having taken a train trip, anywhere, and don't use transit. They've never used it, and can't perceive themselves or anyone else ever riding a train, for any reason. They drive everywhere, and that's what they are highly accustomed to doing. I have had to explain the costs of ownership and operation versus the value of traveling. Another poster has phrased it better, elsewhere:
"What is the value of such a system for this particular route.
" Is this supposed to be a 'gotchya'? The value is...being able to have a fast and reliable public transit option to go from Milwaukee to Madison. That's literally the whole point. You're looking at this from the perspective of someone who already has the funds and means to travel easily, when it's actually an issue of having regional transport that doesn't rely on owning a car.

But let's play your game. Let's say you live in Milwaukee and want to go to Madison. Grab your phone and wallet and walk 5 minutes to your nearest bus stop, ride 15 minutes to the train station, and wait 5 minutes for your train (because you're good at planning ahead :D). You ride the train to Madison and the 80 mile trip takes 45 minutes. You hop off the train, find a bus (5 mins) and ride 15 minutes to downtown or wherever. So instead of a 90 minute drive you spend...90 minutes traveling. And instead of driving you get to read, listen to music, study for that upcoming exam, or watch your favorite TV show for 75 of those 90 minutes.

As far as cost, you got it covered with your $96 monthly bus pass. Though I'm sure it might cost extra for the regional ride, so let's use Denver's RTD network for comparison and say that it would be an additional 10 bucks (or alternatively you could just spend $200/month and make the trip as often as you want! )

And to get it out of the way, it's pretty obvious that this timing/cost breakdown isn't universal. Maybe you live further away or are incapable of planning ahead to catch the bus/train on time. Obviously it isn't perfect, but it doesn't have to be; it's a convenient and helpful option to have that is, again, in contrast to owning a car. Which requires:

  • Buying a car (name your price). Remember, you live in Wisconsin! The land of snow and salt and RUST, so your car probably won't hold it's value for as long as it otherwise could! ( To this, I also add that, the bank owns your car until you have paid off your automobile loan )
  • Paying for insurance (picking $759 per year as the halfway between average min and full coverage prices)
  • Registration ($85 annually)
  • Paying for gas (assuming 15,442 miles a year, average for Wisconsinites, 25 mpg, $3/gal gas comes out to $1853 for the year)
  • Vehicle upkeep. Let's be real anemic here and say best-case (no new tires, major repairs, etc.) 3 oil changes plus a few extra fluids come out to $150 a year.
So with this bare minimum (no accidents, no speeding tickets, no repairs aside from oil, no car washes, no parking costs, and assuming your new car magically appears for free) you're still looking at a real nice $2847 a year, ~$240 a month. Or just pay 200/month and go to Madison and back every single day. Maybe you could even gasp live in Madison and work in Milwaukee! Without having to deal with highway traffic! Just because it isn't perfect doesn't mean it wouldn't be amazing to have in our state."
 

GoAmtrak

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Nothing happened for too many months in Ohio concerning the long awaited Amtrak expansion, as the government was too shy to comment on it. But recently, I saw numerous articles saying governor Mike DeWine is open towards expansion and wants a feasibility study to predict the costs of passenger railway service between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati:


Business leaders in Columbus, Ohio, are behind the idea bringing passenger railway back to the city for the first time since 1979. In the article it is written states have to show interest in Amtrak expansion, otherwise the money goes to other states. Remember John Kasich :rolleyes: ?

Positively, finally there are some news about Amtrak expansion in Ohio :) But I guess there is still a long way to go.

Unfortunately, there are no news about extending passenger railway service between Toledo and Detroit, which would connect Detroit with Cleveland. Perhaps the main problem there is the bureaucracy between Ohio and Michigan. Would be sad if it doesn't go through. Amtrak expects it would take only 3 hours between Cleveland and Detroit. Wouldn't that be quite attractive, especially with the revival of the inner cities in Cleveland and Detroit?

Apart from that, the most important things for a new line would be much better departure and arrival times, especially if there is only one train a day. For example, a departure in Cleveland or Cincinnati at 09:00 am would be better than in the middle of the night. Amtrak hopes to establish 3 trains between Cleveland and Cincinnati, as written in Corrido vision. That would of course be even better.
 
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Nothing happened for too many months in Ohio concerning the long awaited Amtrak expansion, as the government was too shy to comment on it. But recently, I saw numerous articles saying governor Mike DeWine is open towards expansion and wants a feasibility study to predict the costs of passenger railway service between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati:


Business leaders in Columbus, Ohio, are behind the idea bringing passenger railway back to the city for the first time since 1979. In the article it is written states have to show interest in Amtrak expansion, otherwise the money goes to other states. Remember John Kasich :rolleyes: ?

Positively, finally there are some news about Amtrak expansion in Ohio :) But I guess there is still a long way to go.

Unfortunately, there are no news about extending passenger railway service between Toledo and Detroit, which would connect Detroit with Cleveland. Perhaps the main problem there is the bureaucracy between Ohio and Michigan. Would be sad if it doesn't go through. Amtrak expects it would take only 3 hours between Cleveland and Detroit. Wouldn't that be quite attractive, especially with the revival of the inner cities in Cleveland and Detroit?

Apart from that, the most important things for a new line would be much better departure and arrival times, especially if there is only one train a day. For example, a departure in Cleveland or Cincinnati at 09:00 am would be better than in the middle of the night. Amtrak hopes to establish 3 trains between Cleveland and Cincinnati, as written in Corrido vision. That would of course be even better.

If the business community in Central Ohio continues to support Amtrak's plan, the politicians in our Statehouse will take serious note of that support, I believe.
 
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""I don't know if people are aware we already have strong Amtrak service in Ohio," Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency Executive Director Grace Gallucci said."

I wonder what her definition of :strong Amtrak service" is. A couple of LD trains that stop in the middle of the night?

Note that this statement is by someone from NORTHEAST Ohio. Amtrak's plan does not include that part of the State (other than Cleveland). This is a "sour grapes" type of statement. "Where's our piece of this new pile of money?"
 

George Harris

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You ride the train to Madison and the 80 mile trip takes 45 minutes. You hop off the train, find a bus (5 mins) and ride 15 minutes to downtown or wherever. So instead of a 90 minute drive you spend...90 minutes traveling. And instead of driving you get to read, listen to music, study for that upcoming exam, or watch your favorite TV show for 75 of those 90 minutes.
Some is wrong with this picture. You are not going to have a 45 minute train ride for an 80 mile trip. That is up there with the 300 km/hr HSR systems and a non-stop run on those. Think more on the order of something in range of 90 minutes. You will be taking 1hr15min. However is still a good choice for the other reasons, that is can do something other than white knuckle driving while traveling.
 
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