• Amtrak Empire Builder 2nd Daily Frequency Chicago - St Paul

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by GWoodle
 
The Twin Cities Zephyr ran on the Burlington Route from Chicago to St. Paul.[21] Today these lines belong to the BNSF Railway as these subdivisions of the BNSF Northern Transcon:

Chicago Subdivision - Chicago, Illinois to Aurora, Illinois
Aurora Subdivision - Aurora to La Crosse, Wisconsin
St. Croix Subdivision - La Crosse to St. Croix Junction, Minnesota
St. Paul Subdivision - St. Croix Junction to St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Morning and Afternoon Zephyr trains were limited stop runs.[21] Because some stations were not in central downtown areas, connecting "Burlington Bus" service was provided at East Dubuque, Illinois, for Dubuque, Iowa; North La Crosse for La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Winona Junction, Wisconsin, for Winona, Minnesota. In 1947, the Morning and Afternoon Zephyrs left Chicago at 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., respectively.[21] The times varied during the season, with the Morning Zephyr leaving at 8:00 a.m. and the Afternoon Zephyr at 4:30 p.m. from Chicago during the summer, with a 2:30 afternoon departure in the non-summer months.[22]

If Amtrak follows this schedule, 1x a day could be with the Empire Builder.
On MILW rails it could be the Twin Cities Hiawatha. One in Morning, one in Afternoon for 2x a day service each way.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It's probably better that this proposed second Amtrak train ends at St Paul Union Depot. It's like how in Philadelphia, all Amtrak trains don't go into the core of Center City but instead Septa does. Septa honors those people with Amtrak tickets who are getting off and boarding Septa trains at any of the stations in Center City at Suburban and Jefferson(formerly Market East) stations.
  by bdawe
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Wed May 06, 2020 1:43 pm It's probably better that this proposed second Amtrak train ends at St Paul Union Depot. It's like how in Philadelphia, all Amtrak trains don't go into the core of Center City but instead Septa does. Septa honors those people with Amtrak tickets who are getting off and boarding Septa trains at any of the stations in Center City at Suburban and Jefferson(formerly Market East) stations.
Sure, but 1) the intercity mainlines that Amtrak is oriented around don't point towards centre city. Since no trains terminate in Philadelphia, they would have to go out of their way to do so.
2) Minneapolis is 10 miles from St. Paul. 30th Street is a mile from Central City
3) if there were Amtrak trains terminating in Philadelphia, and you didn't have the path dependency of existing terminal facilities, would it be a bad thing if Amtrak served Centre City? Currently, no trains terminate in the Twin Cities and so a turning facility has to be placed somewhere, but it doesn't have to be St. Paul.
  by Arborwayfan
 
Boston South Station, Back Bay, 128. In principle, it would make sense to stop in both cities. But how much money would it make to invest in making it possible to do so?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
That's true about the distance from Minneapolis to St. Paul and the distance between 30th Street Station and Center City. I checked the MetroTransit Green Line schedule and it looks like from Target Field to St Paul Union, it's about a 45 minute ride on the light rail. Maybe there is an argument to be made to turn this Amtrak train in Minneapolis.
  by Arborwayfan
 
Why can't the second train stop at Target Field? Wrong platform height? Northstar trains always parked there? Transit authority unwilling to allow track access? No place to turn and too far to back up to wherever the set would be turned and no chance of using a cab car on one end?
  by gokeefe
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed May 06, 2020 7:40 am A Zephyr on "MY MILW"????

Oh, please.

Yes I know, it was about as poorly managed a road out there, and at the end, much corruption came to light. But it still was "MY road", on which my eleven year railroad career was spent.
Somewhere a retired CB&Q accountant is snickering ... :-D
  by gokeefe
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Wed May 06, 2020 11:42 amTherefore: the Twin Cities Hiawatha would be a preferable name for this second Chicago to St. Paul Train as it runs along former Milwaukee Road trackage.
No question the heritage is right. Having actually worked a train platform (in whatever minor capacity) I am comfortable saying that there's going to be passenger confusion if you stick with that name.

Try figuring one out (correct heritage or not) and assume that you can't use the words "Empire", "Builder" or "Hiawatha". Maybe the real answer is just to call it The Twin Cities or perhaps the Minnesotan.
  by dgvrengineer
 
A second frequency should leave Chicago early am(~8am) and St Paul around 2pm to complement the Builder. If a Minneapolis stop is used, I would suggest a new station on Hennepin Av east of where the old GN-NP station was located and also located on the currently used former NP main line. It is just south of the wye used to get to Target Field and near an I35 interchange. The Target station is small, cramped and not possible to be used for any through train on the current route without a backup move. If service was established sometime in the distant future on the Wilmar line, or to Sioux City/Omaha on the former Minneapolis & St Louis(now UP), trains could just use the south leg of the wye past Target Field and head west and/or south.
  by dgvrengineer
 
I agree that an overnight train would be a good addition to the schedule. I rode the Amtrak version(seems like it was still called the Pioneer Ltd, but not sure) in the 70's. I don't think, however, that Wisconsin will want to help pay for a train that travels through almost the entire state in the middle of the night.
  by gokeefe
 
Perhaps Twin Cities Limited. Recalls the MILW Pioneer Limited service to MSP but also avoids confusion with any former Amtrak service (not that this would be a problem for anyone) and also avoids the Hiawatha moniker which I am convinced would result in confused passengers. Also uses the strength of the Twin Cities designation. It seems kind of generic at first until you realize it's a really nice to way give a nod to history and also better service to passengers.
  by gokeefe
 
I think it is absurd to propose an overnight service that leaves out the markets between MSP and CHI. Amtrak has suceeded to the extent that it has in recent decades by mastering the art of regional daylight service.

With regard to naming (which I think is very important for passenger wayfinding) I would suggest the Twin Cities Limited which gives a respectful nod to the MILW's Pioneer Limited and also helps avoid passenger confusion.

"You're on the wrong Hiawatha" really isn't something the public will tolerate at all. It leads to hundreds of "never again" however wrong headed such sentiment might be.
  by gokeefe
 
Just this brief paragraph from the wiki makes me even fonder of the "limited" designation for this new service ...
The Milwaukee Road began trains No. 1 and No. 4 in 1872, the first through trains between Chicago and the Twin Cities. The Pioneer Limited name first appeared in 1898, chosen in a public contest. It was among the nation's first named trains and the first named train on the Milwaukee Road.
Either Twin Cities Limited or Pioneer Limited would be great. I think Twin Cities Limited really does the trick.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
dgvrengineer wrote: Wed May 06, 2020 7:45 pm...I rode the Amtrak version(seems like it was still called the Pioneer Ltd, but not sure) in the 70's...
Mr. DGV, the only overnight Amtrak-era CHI-MSP was circa '77-'78 when #7 and #8, Empire Builder or North Coast Hi (depending on date of origin), was placed on a schedule emulating that of GN #7, Western Star or NP#1 Mainstreeter. That connected nicely with the MSP-Duluth Arrowhead.
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