Potential restoration of Chicago - Florida service via New Orleans or other routes

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GDRRiley

Lead Service Attendant
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Sep 16, 2022
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Didn't all the Florida-Chicago trains have problems with tracks? And aren't many of the old routes now torn up or unusable?
they were not in good shape during the Conrail era I doubt CSX or NS has made them much better.
That’s not always true, Iowa Interstate in Illinois has been fighting with IDOT for over a decade on running trains to Moline. Illinois has federal and state money to start the service but still no operating agreement.
I'd say thats down to them being a fairly busy class 2 who for whatever combination of reason wont accept investments
The Buckingham Branch is supposedly the reason why there isn’t a daily Cardinal yet, they’re refusing. Class IIs and IIIs are just as bad as the Is.
pretty sure its NS not them. Class 2/3 are better than the major players.
 

omaha

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Aug 22, 2015
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Is the City of Miami route no longer an option? Why was that route not originally selected when Amtrak was created? The condition of the Penn Central tracks in Indiana doomed any hope of success.
According to J Volpe's Final Report on Basic National Rail Passenger System (1971) "The route segment beyween Chicago and Birmingham via Indianapolis was chosen primarily because population along the Indianapolis route is nearly eight times that along the alternative Fulton (City of Miami) route; ridership is slightly better along the Indianapolis route, and although the present schedule via Indianapolis is 45 minutes longer, track conditions and mileage are essentially equal, which suggest that running time could be improved."
 

NES28

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Jan 18, 2019
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130
A single, slow daily Chicago-Florida trip on single-track lines shared with significant amounts of freight, on routes that miss key population centers, is not what we need. The FRA SE Regional Rail Plan proposed Orlando-Jacksonville-Atlanta-Chattanooga-Nashville-Louisville service and their Midwest plan recommended Minneapolis-Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago-Indianapolis-Louisville service, most of which was found to justify hourly, or better, high-speed service, that could be operated at a profit (not including construction cost). A through high-speed route serving multiple city pairs, with sleeping cars on trips that would operate in the overnight periods, would seem to be a great solution!
 

George Harris

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Apr 6, 2006
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finally! Back in Mississippi
According to J Volpe's Final Report on Basic National Rail Passenger System (1971) "The route segment beyween Chicago and Birmingham via Indianapolis was chosen primarily because population along the Indianapolis route is nearly eight times that along the alternative Fulton (City of Miami) route; ridership is slightly better along the Indianapolis route, and although the present schedule via Indianapolis is 45 minutes longer, track conditions and mileage are essentially equal, which suggest that running time could be improved."
That part of the referenced report has to have been a work of fiction. The route via Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville may have had a larger population but I have trouble believing it had higher ridership. In fact, in the last pre-Amtrak days the City of Miami (via Carbondale and Jackson TN) remained a through train, but South Wind (via Indy, Lou, Nsv) was not even through it last couple years. You had coaches on the PC from Chicago to Louisville, then changed at Louisville to the through portion which ran as part of the L&N's Pan American as far as Montgomery AL. In the early to mid 60's the C of M would normally be 20 cars in the wintertime, and the South Wind seldom more than about 15. The use of Fulton KY as a defining point for the C of M was somewhat of a cute play as well. The City picked up a coach and sleeper out of St. Louis at Carbondale, and the other defining point on the route woul have been Jackson TN. Fulton KY was a small town stop done primarily because it was a crew change point.

As to reinstatement: Several sections of the City of Miami route are no more.
Not certain, but I think part of the South Wind route in Indiana is no longer there. The Montgomery to Jesup portion, which was never signaled, is I believe to now be 25 mph freight, even if it is all in place.
 
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west point

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SW ATL airport
The FRA SE Regional Rail Plan proposed Orlando-Jacksonville-Atlanta-Chattanooga-Nashville-Louisville service and their Midwest plan recommended Minneapolis-Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago-Indianapolis-Louisville service,
That plan certainly does have the most potential passengers. In that case it certainly has my vote. Now for speed in the future I nominate once HrSR is in place for Chicago - Cincinnatti to Chattanooga. But thatwould not serve as many potential passengers but if Amtrak is a real operateror in the future a higher speed alternative is certainly warranted.
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
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5,206
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Baltimore. MD
A single, slow daily Chicago-Florida trip on single-track lines shared with significant amounts of freight, on routes that miss key population centers, is not what we need. The FRA SE Regional Rail Plan proposed Orlando-Jacksonville-Atlanta-Chattanooga-Nashville-Louisville service and their Midwest plan recommended Minneapolis-Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago-Indianapolis-Louisville service, most of which was found to justify hourly, or better, high-speed service, that could be operated at a profit (not including construction cost). A through high-speed route serving multiple city pairs, with sleeping cars on trips that would operate in the overnight periods, would seem to be a great solution!
In other words, first set up the corridor service, which would be hourly service for lots and lots of people making shorter trips and would be a far easier sell than spending $$$$ on a once-day long-distance service. Then, once the corridors are set up, it would be a lot easier to justify the Chicago-Florida train. The financial performance would certainly be better as a lot of the overhead costs will be shared with the corridor services.
 

GDRRiley

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 16, 2022
Messages
281
Location
SF bay/LA
In other words, first set up the corridor service, which would be hourly service for lots and lots of people making shorter trips and would be a far easier sell than spending $$$$ on a once-day long-distance service. Then, once the corridors are set up, it would be a lot easier to justify the Chicago-Florida train. The financial performance would certainly be better as a lot of the overhead costs will be shared with the corridor services.
which is also why amtrak should be working to get more slots and run better service on new routes. For 150m you maybe able to get 2RT daily but 250M would get you 8RT daily.
 
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