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Dakota 400

Mar 5, 2014
There is a potential Amtrak ridership for those who are attending the universities in the Cincinnati area. The University of Northern Kentucky, the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Wilberforce University, Central State University, etc. Properly developed, this could be "low hanging fruit" for Amtrak.

The Cardinal's route goes through Oxford, Ohio, the site of Miami University. A flag stop, if not a scheduled stop, has been proposed for a long time. Yet to happen, but, I think, it is a missed opportunity. If, as I said, it is properly developed.


OBS Chief
Aug 19, 2016
Chicago, IL
Ok - this is potentially a big job - and I’m still trying to wrap my arms around the financial rules. But let’s get started in my backyard in the Midwest...

Routes that impact Indiana
This is my adopted home. From a travel perspective, it's always been more of a place to pass through rather than an destination - and that continues in this exercise. It's a nice place to live - but the politicians here have absolutely no vision when it comes to transportation.

New Corridors
Cincinnati - Indianapolis - Chicago (300 miles) - new
Nashville - Louisville - Indianapolis - Chicago (500 miles) - new
Cleveland-Toledo-South Bend-Chicago (350 miles) - new
Columbus-Indianapolis-Terre Haute-St. Louis (425 miles) - new

In this scenario, Indianapolis gets lucky and becomes a cross connecting point for trains heading to and from Chicago from Cincinnati and Nashville (through Louisville). A new connection to the east for St. Louis passes through Indy as well as tracks are acquired and upgraded from St. Louis to Columbus OH. The Indianapolis Union Station train shed is finally upgraded so that it is no longer a hellhole. A connector train is also added between Indianapolis International Airport and Union Station. South Bend gets a few more intercity connections with new Cleveland-Chicago service. No connection Indy-Fort Wayne is established because Indiana still won't spend any money.

Routes that Impact Michigan
My birth state is a much rail friendlier state. The corridor investment will allow them to expand frequencies, speed and destinations further. New Coast-to-Coast service is established Detroit-Lansing-Grand Rapids-Holland. Track acquisitions include the track between Detroit and Toledo - providing connectivity with Cleveland and ultimately New York. Michigan Central Depot is also up and running, all Detroit trains operate from there, including new commuter service Ann Arbor-Dearborn-Detroit. In cooperation with Canada, a new corridor is established Detroit to Toronto, and the old connection at Port Huron to Toronto is re-established.

New & Existing Corridors
Pontiac-Detroit-Battle Creek-Kalamazoo-Chicago (300 mi) - existing
Toronto-Port Huron-Flint-Lansing-Battle Creek-Chicago (500 mi) - extended
Grand Rapids-Holland-St. Joseph-Chicago (175 mi) - existing
Detroit-Lansing-Grand Rapids-Holland (190 mi) - new
Detroit-Windsor-Toronto (250 mi) - new
Detroit-Toledo-Cleveland (175 mi) - new
If you're talking about expanding Michigan passenger train service, I'd add considering doing a train from Grand Rapids to Traverse City as well. Heck, even some in Michigan Department of Transportation have thrown that idea around, as well. And flight costs of flying into TC are sadly absurd, whenever I check passenger flight ticket costs(into TC) online. I've heard of some people flying North Country Sky into Manistee, MI to save money, then renting a car to go the rest of the way.

And on the idea of thinking REALLY big for passenger rail expansions, maybe extending train service north of Pontiac-Holly-Flint-Saginaw-Bay City could be done? It looks like some railroad track would have to be restored within the city of Flint for this to happen, though. Not sure if the rest of the tracks would have to be upgraded, to allow for passenger rail again along this route. Ditto with the route between Grand Rapids, and Traverse.
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Lead Service Attendant
Nov 6, 2016
Brownsburg IN
If you're talking about expanding Michigan passenger train service, I'd add considering doing a train from Grand Rapids to Traverse City as well...
In the mid/late 60s - right when I was born - my Dad worked as a block operator on the Pennsy’s Grand Rapids & Indiana (GR&I) line. That included trackage all the way from Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City. At the beginning of the week he’d hop a ride with a crew in Kalamazoo - they’d drop him up north - then do it in reverse at the end of the week. At that point they were shutting things down - and he told me he was one of the very last (if not THE last) block operator to work up there.

I think there’s still a lot of track in place along 131 - but it obviously would need a lot of work.