• 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 Anthony
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:47 pm Great news!

https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... sal--62794
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Feb. 22 released a $518 million capital investment bonding proposal that includes $10 million for a second Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) train, the Great River Rail Commission  announced this week.

The funds would provide a local match for a $32 million federal grant awarded last year, commission officials said in a press release. 

It will cost about $53 million to add a second round-trip passenger train between Saint Paul and Chicago, which would complement the existing Amtrak Empire Builder service, they said.
What would need to happen for this proposal to pass with the funding for this connection? What would be the next steps if it does pass?
  by eolesen
 
It's a shaky bet. A similar bill in October didn't go anywhere. Bonding bills require a supermajority to pass, and the DFL doesn't hold a majority in the Senate.
  by Anthony
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:06 am It's a shaky bet. A similar bill in October didn't go anywhere. Bonding bills require a supermajority to pass, and the DFL doesn't hold a majority in the Senate.
Yes, but this time, the appropriation is just a small portion of the entire bill. It would be foolish for the legislature to not pass the bill solely because it includes this funding.
  by eolesen
 
I never said that this particular item was controversial. But the bonding bill as a whole seems to be. It's a lot of money at a time where the DFL is also proposing huge tax increases, and you don't raise taxes when workers and small businesses are suffering...

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  by gokeefe
 
That number looks like it might include adding passing sidings or potentially acquiring rolling stock.

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  by electricron
 
Per the new Tier 1 study fact sheet
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrai ... -sheet.pdf
"The recommended alternative is for the TCMC service to operate as an extension of one of the existing seven Hiawatha service schedules. This alternative best meets the purpose and need for the project."

The linked earlier feasibility study assumed using Superliners.
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrai ... ort%20.pdf
It also included the following recommended schedules:
Westbound leaves Chicago at 9:25 am and arriving in
4:47 pm in St. Paul or 5:32 pm at Target Field in Minneapolis
Eastbound recommended departure from St. Paul recommended a 12:25 pm which would arrive in Chicago at 9:54 pm

The layover location for the train will be at the existing Amtrak Midway facility in Minnesota. Whether existing Hiawatha trains can do this schedule or an additional two trains will be needed I do not know, I am assuming a future Tier 2 EIS study would answer that detail.

As for the proposed state government subsidized HSR trains between Chicago and the Twin Cities, that died a few years ago when the Minnesota legislature refused to fund its' share of the EIS studies. That's why these new EIS studies to increase the frequency of the slower 79 mph trains arose.

Another potential HSR line bites the dust. This time, not even with higher speed trains going faster than 79 mph.

No doubt, a second frequency train along this corridor will help, but not as much as a true HSR line would. Which would you take, the existing train taking almost 8 hours over 410 rail miles or ?
410 miles / 70 mph average speed (110 mph max) = 5.8 hours
410 miles / 90 mph average speed = (150 mph max) = 4.5 hours
410 miles / 110 mph average speed (190 mph max) = 3.7 hours

At almost 8 hours, flying will still be the preferred choice for most passengers between Chicago and the Twin Cities. ;)

For the staff, I am not sure Amtrak Long Distance trains is the correct sub forum this thread should be located. Sure, mentioning the Empire Builder in the title misleads, but the details of using an existing Hiawatha train set sort of kills that. This thread should be in the Amtrak Corridors sub forum, imho.
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