• 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 Rockingham Racer
 
Going to Fargo brings another state into the equation. When this federal funding dries up, I imagine the states getting the service will be required to kick in some funds. I think that support personnel has to be thought about, as well: specifically fueling and cleaning--especially the latter in this day and age.
  by Tadman
 
Perhaps the Big Lake station is the right place to terminate. I'm assuming the Northstar facility there was built with capacity for a few additional trains over today's schedule for growth reasons. Amtrak could lease a track there and pay the local boys to clean/stock the train.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Tadman wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 9:26 am Perhaps the Big Lake station is the right place to terminate. I'm assuming the Northstar facility there was built with capacity for a few additional trains over today's schedule for growth reasons. Amtrak could lease a track there and pay the local boys to clean/stock the train.
That is a bit far from St. Paul/Minneapolis. But I can see why it is a good place to store things. It is a big town after all since its name is Big Lake... :P

I would recommend storing this train at some sort of used or semi-abandoned yard within the city.
  by Tadman
 
It's 40 miles. I would weigh the costs:

1. Terminate in MSP - means constructing a new service facility, leasing space from CP/BN/261, or operating out of trucks and trailers on a leased siding. Get the crews home.

2. Terminate in Big lake - means running extra 40 miles, fuel, crew, etc.. but purchase servicing and space from transit authority with ready-trained rail workers and mechanics. Get the crews home.

I think the real question is how far the crews can get from their change. Upon review of a crew map linked below, Winona is the easterly terminal. Crews are considered "away" there and work home, to St. Cloud. So the crews on that half of this new mini-builder (if the big one is Empire Builder, is this the Region Builder?) would have to proceed to St. Cloud after tying up in MSP or Big River. Given that crews have to go through Big River anyway, and there is already a service point there, it's a logical place.

Crew map: https://trn.trains.com/~/media/files/pd ... 0506_a.pdf
  by Arborwayfan
 
How many potential passengers would there be on that extra forty miles? For local travel, might there be a possibility of shared ticketing or coordinated marketing with the commuter rail service, to add an off-peak RT serving a couple major stations? I assume there would be one or two intermediate stops worth serving in that distance, and with the stations already there it would be pretty simple to pilot service to different ones. (Compare to Providence - 128 - BBY - BOS.) I wonder what the Big Lake to Red Wing (or similar trips via the Twin Cities) demand might look like, or Big Lake to Milwaukee, for that matter.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Here is a most recent article about the proposed second train. One error that I want to point out in it is that they say it will be a second Empire Builder. Instead, it will be a daytime train. It looks like as of right now, the second train would only go as far as St. Paul. While the Green Line runs from St. Paul to Minneapolis, there are bus routes as well. It looks like the light rail takes about 50 minutes to travel from St. Paul Amtrak Station to Target Field Station. There seems to be a few Metro Transit bus routes that you could take between Union Depot and Target Field Stations.
https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2020/05/06/t ... ties-line/
  by dgvrengineer
 
According to the crew district map Tad posted, if I'm reading it right, the district runs from Winona to Minot not St. Cloud. This means there is no advantage to going to St. Cloud or Big Lake. The ridership would probably be low and there is no wage savings. Storing and servicing at Midway that Amtrak already owns and uses, seems to be the logical answer whether you stop at St. Paul or Minneapolis.

Edit: After looking at the crew district maps, I realize St Cloud is the home base and crews work both ways. It appears the study ends in St Paul, so that is all the farther it will go for now.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It's best that this second train doesn't go past one of the two Twin Cities. If there is no way to have the trains travel on a direct route from St. Paul to Minneapolis, then I would just have the train end at St. Paul Union. Doing reverse moves is time consuming as well.
  by mtuandrew
 
dgvrengineer wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 6:56 pm According to the crew district map Tad posted, if I'm reading it right, the district runs from Winona to Minot not St. Cloud. This means there is no advantage to going to St. Cloud or Big Lake. The ridership would probably be low and there is no wage savings. Storing and servicing at Midway that Amtrak already owns and uses, seems to be the logical answer whether you stop at St. Paul or Minneapolis.

Edit: After looking at the crew district maps, I realize St Cloud is the home base and crews work both ways. It appears the study ends in St Paul, so that is all the farther it will go for now.
I wasn’t aware SCD was the home base either. Would have guessed it would be MSP (I was told once that Midway Station still serves as a crew point, guess it doesn’t now.) It’d be great to see a cross-ticketing agreement with Northstar Commuter Rail between Big Lake and Minneapolis, as well as Amtrak multi-trip passes between St. Cloud and points southeast.

Also, the reverse move out of Minneapolis Target Field Station is a much easier proposition with proposed cab cars. I think any daytime Twin Cities Hiawatha should rely on a cab car, a second engine, or a NPCU on the other end of the consist from the engine.
  by gokeefe
 
If Target Field isn't an option then I would build an island platform station here. I believe the main line is right in the center.
  by west point
 
Midway can be made a rather large terminating point. The reversing of a train is avoided. One item that does need fixing is to have all the route with controlled power switches. Was not happy last time thru there with all the manual switches delays.

Remember switching ends on major routes requires engineer to initiate PTC with concurrent delays. Can cost 10 - 20 minutes.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Dawe, there were two sets assigned to the Q's Twin Cities Zephyr, and both did a round trip daily, or some 850 miles. The turnaround time was barely over two hours.

The MILW, not so "aggressive"; one way trip only - four equipment sets.

Just one reason the "Q" was part of two quite successful mergers; the MILW? Well........
  by Tadman
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 3:48 pm How many potential passengers would there be on that extra forty miles?
It's not so much about passengers as it is getting the train to a service location and the crew home. Pretend it terminates at SPUD, then where does it go? If the answer is Big Lake for service, why not carry passengers that extra 40 miles? It's free money.
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