Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Drucifer
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Drucifer » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:24 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:43 pm
Drucifer wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:19 pm
On my way to Tucson from New York I had to change trains at Jacksonville
That may have been the hardest way to get from Tucson to New York!
My return trip was via Chicago, but I only had an hour to kill.

Roadgeek Adam
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Roadgeek Adam » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:31 am

Tadman wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:46 pm
Guys. Listen to me. There is no single commerce or population center in the South Bend Metro area. There is no single spot that can feasibly serve walk-up passengers of more than 5% of the passenger base in the metro area.

Also, please note the current station is smack in the center of gang territory. Not super inviting to anybody, poor or not.
https://www.therealstreetz.com/2016/04/ ... ngs-hoods/
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I think Elkhart and South Bend should continue to be downtown walkup stations. Notre Dame students and others without cars should not be forced to go to Mishawaka.

I'm no fan of the Bendix stop, but the fact that it's in gang territory doesn't change my opinion. Bloods and Cryps are not going to be sitting outside guns ablazing waiting to kill 30 people who come off the train. That's a creation of the fear of poor neighborhoods and it's an invalid argument.
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Rockingham Racer
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Rockingham Racer » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:03 am

That's what's been happening to Hialeah, though. "Bad neighborhood" is used here by some to describe the area.

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Tadman
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Tadman » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:34 am

Roadgeek Adam wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:31 am

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I think Elkhart and South Bend should continue to be downtown walkup stations. Notre Dame students and others without cars should not be forced to go to Mishawaka.
No. The basic facts refute your entire argument. I'm not agreeing to a flight of fantasy.

1. There are almost no people to walk up in Elkhart and South Bend. South Bend Bendix is not even downtown, it's on the edge of a rotten neighborhood behind a large factory. Each station has a parking lot and that is how the passengers get on the train. And just because gangs aren't waiting for 30 people to get off a train doesn't mean the locals aren't aware of their presence and ability to break into a car. I won't leave my car there, nor will anybody else I know.

2. Notre Dame students have cars and a large portion of them live in Mishawaka already. Also, most ND students ride the South Shore or Coach USA to Chicago where they connect to a plane.

Please keep in mind: I grew up there. I have family there. I ride these trains all the time. I was there yesterday. I'm not talking out of my a**, I'm giving you the straight dope on how this works from almost 40 years of knowing this place in my sleep.
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mtuandrew
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:06 am

What I’m seeing is, Amtrak should be using a move to Mishawaka as a threat to both South Bend and Elkhart that they need to improve their station facilities, especially secure parking and amenities. (Also that South Shore needs to service Notre Dame directly if at all possible, rather than even trying to serve downtown South Bend.)

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Tadman
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Tadman » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:39 am

ND direct service was an open door from 1971 to about 2005. Very unfortunately, all parties - the class 1, city, county, and university closed that door firmly around 2005. It really stinks.

Multiple constituent New York Central System properties had secondary trackage around South Bend that led directly to campus for coal service and the Niles branch. When a proposal was raised to put that under shortline operation for coal to the university and perhaps steel to a local plant, every body freaked out. The university was neutral, then opposed. The neighborhoods and city were adamantly against "the dangerous and noisy trains". What they never considered was the coal was still moving across the city, now in trucks on city streets instead of trains in private right of way.

Long story short, they paved over and dismantled as much as possible and that will never happen. It was a shame.

As for using Mishawaka as a bargaining chip, why? Why are we protecting the status quo? There is literally nothing good about the status quo.

One is a 50-year old temporary station in a bad area bordering an interlocking. The other is a dilapidated station on a sharp curve, shortline junction, and massive yard. Neither offers amenities. Neither has walkup traffic. Neither serves an educational institution. It's like someone said "How can we dream up the crappiest station possible?" and this is what we got.
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Suburban Station
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Suburban Station » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:42 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:06 am
What I’m seeing is, Amtrak should be using a move to Mishawaka as a threat to both South Bend and Elkhart that they need to improve their station facilities, especially secure parking and amenities. (Also that South Shore needs to service Notre Dame directly if at all possible, rather than even trying to serve downtown South Bend.)
elkhart is kind of where you want to be. it's on the main street so when the train is late you have somewhere to go, maybe have dinner, etc. it's also a purpose built station from the days when they put money into stations . ideally some of the underutilized land or post office could be repurposed as a garage to expand parking capability (though there are a plethora of lots nearby ) but for Amtrak itself it probably just makes sense to keep up with maintenance at the existing station. Elkhart is as busy as south bend despite the latter ostensibly being bigger. in a more sensible future there will be more service, not just overnight trains. if someone is willing to pay to move south bend, so be it. it's not downtown, it's not particularly nice building, etc. SOB has clearly made a lot of bad decisions over the years.

mtuandrew
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:56 pm

For Mayor Pete’s opinion on South Bend Station (at least for NICTD), see here: https://www.nwitimes.com/business/local ... d12c0.html
South Bend mayor wants commuter rail to run downtown

Staff and wire report Aug 16, 2018

SOUTH BEND — The mayor of South Bend is pushing for a downtown relocation of the South Shore Line.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg told the City Council on Monday that he plans to pursue bringing the South Shore downtown by 2025, despite a $100 million price tag that's four times as high as a commitment the city made last year to relocate the train station at South Bend International Airport.

The city's redevelopment commission pledged the $25 million in tax increment financing district property tax money to move the airport station to the west side of the terminal and realign the railroad's approach to the airport. The effort would cut travel time to Chicago to 90 minutes.

But, Buttigieg argued, South Bend residents "at every level of our economic ladder" would have more opportunities "if the heart of our city was 90 minutes away by train from the heart of one of the most dynamic economic centers in the world."

ryanov
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by ryanov » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:06 am

SouthernRailway wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:27 pm
NY Penn Station

(Dumpy station in a semi-dodgy area)
Midtown is a dodgy area? Lord, where are you from?
Tadman wrote:Please keep in mind: I grew up there. I have family there. I ride these trains all the time. I was there yesterday. I'm not talking out of my a**, I'm giving you the straight dope on how this works from almost 40 years of knowing this place in my sleep.
Opinions don't magically transform into facts because you've held them for a long time.
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mtuandrew
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:32 am

Yikes guys. Maybe it’s possible that South Bend-Mishawaka-Elkhart-Niles is a diffuse and relatively small metropolitan area that really ought to only rate two stations, not three (especially since the LSL and Cap have fairly limited utility as compared to Wolverine service?) And maybe it’s also possible that from the perspective of operations, current and future urban development, Northern Indiana politics and current travel patterns that it’s best to keep & improve stations in both SOB and EKH?

Also, Notre Dame and its neighbors really did shoot themselves in the feet by not pushing past the NIMBYs to extend the South Shore. It seems obvious to build a BRT or LRT system between Niles, Notre Dame, and South Bend, especially if NICTD and/or Amtrak does ever rebuild a South Bend Station downtown.*

Finally, I think we all agree that Bendix is the worst possible place for an Amtrak station as it stands, and that the Bendix station itself is objectively one of the worst in the Amtrak system. It needs to be demolished and moved anywhere; even total closure in favor of Elkhart-only might be better.

* Mods, please delete if off topic: One of my criticisms of Mayor Pete is that he hasn’t thought outside of the box for solutions like these, and regardless of his intentions, hasn’t effectively whipped and negotiated support for such regional projects. Other presidential candidates seem to be better at walking and chewing gum at the same time, as the expression goes. The same criticism goes to VP Pence; even if he hates passenger rail, he’s stuck with it and ought to either push for improvements or for closure. Don’t ignore it when it’s your home state.

Tom V
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Tom V » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:52 am

The entire Silver Services should shift to the FEC from West Palm Beach to downtown Miami, it would bring travelers closer to tourist areas (Beach). Also split the trains at Jacksonville, half the trains to Orlando and Tampa the rest through Downtown Jacksonville to Downtown Miami via the FEC.

Paul1705
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Paul1705 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:55 am

WhartonAndNorthern wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:03 pm
Bob Roberts wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:30 pm
As an out of towner I'll add Richmond Staples Mill to the list as well. I know it offers parking and is convenient for folks in the North burbs but that location has discouraged me from visiting Richmond for the past 20 years -- it was always just too much of a pain to get from the trains (coming from NC) to downtown for me to ever bother stopping. Fixing the Southern approach to RMS will fix this problem and I suspect their new BRT service may get me to visit before then.
Positives for Staples Mill is the parking, ability to handle checked baggage, ability to store trains over night, and multiple tracks and platforms including through tracks for freights to bypass the station. I think there's 5 tracks through the station (1 advance, 2 (freight main), 3 (main/platform), 4 (platform), 5 (stub?)). It's not uncommon for two Amtraks to be in the station at once. The AutoTrain does not stop, but can use the through tracks when other trains are in the station.

In short, it's Amtrak's LD base for the Richmond area: all LDs (except AT) and Regionals stop at Richmond.

Problems: too close to Ashland (regionals only) and Richmond Main Street (RVM). Right now, RVM only gets the Newport News trains but there's a push to get all trains stopping at RVM as part of SEHSR. RVM doesn't have a dedicated lot and with lots of the station re-purposed it probably doesn't have room for a baggage office. It would be nice if it had a rental car counter.

Ashland will be a choke point on the line (I don't want to rehash that debate) and the town would be happy if all trains stopped there. Trains already have to slow down to 35mph at Ashland. The problem I see is that Ashland doesn't have the parking, track capacity, or even a station to replace Staples Mill. Ashland's "station" is the town's visitor center.
Restoring the S-Line so Main Street Station has through service is on the table as part of the SEHSR plan. Note Alternative 6F chosen in the Record of Decision.

http://dc2rvarail.com/rollovermap/Maps/ ... erview.pdf

http://dc2rvarail.com/files/9615/6803/8 ... age_09.jpg

conductorchris
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by conductorchris » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:48 pm

Northampton Massachusetts is in a good location that is 1 block from downtown, walkable from Smith College and right on a bus route to Amherst. The parking is a problem, but I wouldn't want to trade parking for location.

There was a proposal to put Northampton's stop on the north side of town, accessible only by car. I'm sure it would have cut ridership quite a bit. But it would have favored the project of some local developers.
Christopher

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Tadman
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by Tadman » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:57 am

ryanov wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:06 am

Tadman wrote:Please keep in mind: I grew up there. I have family there. I ride these trains all the time. I was there yesterday. I'm not talking out of my a**, I'm giving you the straight dope on how this works from almost 40 years of knowing this place in my sleep.
Opinions don't magically transform into facts because you've held them for a long time.
I agree. Which is why I posted a link to a gang territory map, which is a fact.. It's also why I've discussed the population density, which is a fact. It's also why I've discussed the benefits of moving a station out of heavy gang territory, which statistically increased ridership for the South Shore when it moved out. That's a fact, too.

I've only asserted my opinion that Mishawaka would be a good site because the facts are that the stations are in bad to suboptimal areas. The facts are that Mishawaka has a vibrant downtown if you were to count going businesses versus empty spaces. The facts are that the hospital moved and there's a large parcel of land that could be repurposed.

Stay in your lane bro.
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gokeefe
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Re: Stations that Amtrak should move elsewhere

Post by gokeefe » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:54 pm

A study has been done for relocation of the Portland, ME station. The intention is to put it on the main line. More to come on that topic soon.

Cumberland, MD looks pretty bad. Minimal parking, low visibility and difficult access. The entire station location is potentially an ADA violation (can't park a vehicle for wherlchair access) and probably would not pass muster today.
gokeefe

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