Montana southern tier service?

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danasgoodstuff

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The other interesting part is that they are talking about this doing the old Empire Builder route in eastern WA so service will be restored to Yakima. Makes me wonder if maybe it shouldn't diverge from the Builder east of MT as well. But the tricky thing is scheduling - it would be great to have it go through Spokane at a sane hour (unlike the Builder) but how do you coordinate transfers between the two since there would be some traffic that would want to go north MT to Yakima or Wenatchee to Billings, etc.?
 

Ziv

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I hadn't heard about returning service to Yakima until recently. That would make the restoration more difficult but also more useful. Interesting.
My thoughts on restoring the North Coast Hiawatha were to complement the Builder by having the Hiawatha leave Chicago and Seattle at least 5 hours after the Builder. Leaving earlier would mean the WB Hiawatha would be arriving in Seattle at ZeroDarkThirty, though the potential timetable below doesn't agree with my supposition. But imagining potential schedules is way more complicated than I am skillful enough to pull off. Getting the Hiawatha to arrive in all three major Montana cities, i.e. Billings, Bozeman and Missoula (sorry Great Falls!) at a reasonable hour is going to be difficult, if only due to the distance between those cities. Billings and Missoula are around 345 miles/7-9 hours apart. The Hiawatha route would probably be a bit shorter than the Builder route if it split off early enough, but if it split at Williston it would probably be a bit longer.... And Williston is a pretty busy stop. But I think that having a second route across North Dakota as well as Montana would add more to the mix than duplicating the Chicago to Williston portion of the route.

The other interesting part is that they are talking about this doing the old Empire Builder route in eastern WA so service will be restored to Yakima. Makes me wonder if maybe it shouldn't diverge from the Builder east of MT as well. But the tricky thing is scheduling - it would be great to have it go through Spokane at a sane hour (unlike the Builder) but how do you coordinate transfers between the two since there would be some traffic that would want to go north MT to Yakima or Wenatchee to Billings, etc.?
 

John819

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Remember that as of now South Dakota is the only one of the 48 continental states that does not have Amtrak service. Getting the local pols on board for this (the governor has been urging it for some time) should provide additional support for funding.
 

jis

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Remember that as of now South Dakota is the only one of the 48 continental states that does not have Amtrak service. Getting the local pols on board for this (the governor has been urging it for some time) should provide additional support for funding.
Wyoming does not have Amtrak service at present too.

The proposed restoration of service through southern Montana goes nowhere near South Dakota.
 

danasgoodstuff

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It would be possible to route through South Dakota if you totally disconnect from the Empire Builder route and either cut through the NE corner of the state or go through the middle, but I'm not sure either of those options makes sense for a transcontinental route.
 

jis

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It would be possible to route through South Dakota if you totally disconnect from the Empire Builder route and either cut through the NE corner of the state or go through the middle, but I'm not sure either of those options makes sense for a transcontinental route.
There is no existing trackage to get to Montana from the middle of the state East - West route without doing an odd dog leg south to Nebraska to the BNSF through Neraska and Wyoming. There is no connection from Rapid City to the Northwest.

The most practical possibility would be the Northeast corner one via Aberdeen, which is a relatively stable BNSF route that connects into the Montana Southern Tier route.

 
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danasgoodstuff

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If there was a N-S thru Wyoming to MT, then a route through Rapid City could hook up to that. Aberdeen is small, Rapid City and Sioux Falls are the only cities of any size and Sioux Falls is going to take a weird dog leg, but not to big, but you're right - on the west end it's tough. Maybe you dead end at Rapid City, but is Rapid City - Sioux Falls Albert Lea - Rochester - La Crosse - Madison enough population to support a passenger line? I think that in principal you do want every State included in a national network, but it's hardly surprising SD hasn't had any passenger rail since well before Amtrak.
 

zephyr17

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Remember that as of now South Dakota is the only one of the 48 continental states that does not have Amtrak service. Getting the local pols on board for this (the governor has been urging it for some time) should provide additional support for funding.
No east/west rail line through South Dakota currently that can support passenger rail. What there is is pretty much a very long 10 mph industrial lead. A route through South Dakota would require a lot more funding, requiring the railroad be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Amtrak service generally depends on existing railroad infrastructure. There isn't much in South Dakota these days.

The proposal would use BNSF's ex-NP line through Bismarck, ND.
 
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Cal

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There no existing trackage to get to Montana from the middle of the state East - West route without doing an odd dog leg south to Nebraska to the BNSF through Neraska and Wyoming. There is no connection from Rapid City to the Northwest.

The most practical possibility would be the Northeast corner one via Aberdeen, which is a relatively stable BNSF route that connects into the Montana Southern Tier route.


This map is also pretty helpful.
 

sttom

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Am I right in thinking that the Milwaukee Road's collapse had a big effect in SD?
The Milwaukee Road tracks still exist between Aberdeen and Miles City via Standing Rock, no idea what state the track is in. Other than it being considered a secondary track.
 

jpakala

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SD service could be feasible with a KC to St. Joseph-Omaha-Sioux City-Sioux Falls route up to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I remember riding the "Dakota 400" from Rapid City to Brookings, SD on Aug 6-7, 1958. My sister & I had duplex roomettes in car "Northern Wildlife."
 
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