• Amtrak Michigan: Wolverine, Blue Water, Pere Marquette

  • 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 justalurker66
The comments on the first clip help explain ... multiple railroads, multiple entities. Not to mention private cars.

When it is all one operation (all Amtrak as in the second clip) only one entity needs to be represented. I am surprised by the lack of high-vis vests in the second video. It almost seems like a second skin around railroads.

The South Shore MU cars cut and add fairly quickly ... but even with their cars (no loose hoses, cabs at the break point) there is time involved. And less cuts and adds done now than they did a couple of decades ago. It seems easier to simply keep the train in one piece even if some cars are empty.
  by Rockingham Racer
Ann Arbor is not New Haven nor Albany in that this was a unique move. I don't imagine the NS crew was very used to handling passenger equipment, especially vintage and classy stuff like this.

If the same adding/dropping is done on a regular basis, there's no reason why it should be a cause for delay to a train. Engines used to get dropped and added at New Haven in 7 minutes, with one car knocker. Practice makes perfect,
and I would hope the operation at a place like Spokane would be done pretty darn quickly. If Amtrak can't do this maneuver efficiently, it's a problem with
Amtrak, not the operation itself.
  by ExCon90
Comments have appeared in other forums that such operations today are subject to FRA step-by-step procedures that didn't exist back in the day and consume a lot of time now. And of course there weren't today's HEP connections that apparently resist being disconnected and reconnected.
  by David Benton
Tadman wrote:INteresting video, but do we really need five pickup trucks and umpteen men standing around to make a joint? I know there's HEP cables here, but if the conductor can't do that, isn't one electrician required? Are that many men required to make a joint in the yard or at Spokane or Albany?

I count something like three guys here at Albany's engine change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azlxuNWlhm4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I recall seeing photos or videos of Albany with 3 to 5 men hanging around the engine change as well. I think there was even a thread about it , though it may be in a previous incarnation of Railroad.net.
Some time back anyway .
  by Balerion
Next round of rail improvements begin in southern Michigan
Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation announced Monday that work has begun between Battle Creek and Jackson that includes grade crossing, track and signal upgrades. That's leading to temporarily shortened or suspended routes for Amtrak Wolverine Service trains as part of the Accelerated Rail Program.
  by gokeefe
I like the fact that they've named it. "Accelerated Rail Program" has a nice non-HSR sound to it.
  by Balerion
Ypsilanti to close railroad crossings for Depot Town train stop project
The city of Ypsilanti will close two railroad crossings in its historic east side neighborhood.

The Michigan Department of Transportation asked the city to close the crossings at Park and Grove Streets prior to the agency approving a train stop proposed for Depot Town.


"Completing the grade closures at Park Street and Grove Street does not guarantee that the train will stop, but not doing so guarantees that it will not," Lange said.

The city is planning an approximately $2 million train stop in Depot Town that would serve Amtrak's Wolverine line. An Amtrak train last stopped in Depot Town in 1984, and the last time Amtrak added stops was 22 years ago.
  by Arlington
New timetables took effect Jan 22 2018
http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-1 ... --,00.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Press Release:
Michigan rail line infrastructure enhancements lead to improved rail travel
Contact: Michael Frezell, MDOT Office of Communications, 517-335-7176; Marc Magliari, Amtrak Media Relations, 312-544-5390
Agency: Transportation

Fast Facts:
- New Amtrak schedules take effect Jan. 22.
- New Amtrak Wolverine Service and Blue Water schedules include reduced travel times.
- Capital improvements have been made to 135 miles of MDOT-owned track, allowing for faster speeds.

January 22, 2018 -- Rail infrastructure improvements along the Chicago - Detroit/Pontiac Michigan Line will allow for safe, dependable, and faster travel along this vital passenger and freight corridor. Passengers on the Amtrak Wolverine Service and Chicago - Port Huron Blue Water will get to their final destinations in less time and with fewer delays. These new times take effect on Jan. 22, with a new Amtrak schedule available online.

"Between Porter, Ind., and Dearborn, this rail corridor is now dispatched by Amtrak staff, which ensures the efficient movement of passenger trains," said Tim Hoeffner, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Rail director. "We hope this encourages people to consider the train for their next trip, especially with upcoming construction and high traffic volumes along the I-94 corridor."

Maximum speeds on the line is 110 mph on the Amtrak-owned section between Porter and Kalamazoo. On the MDOT-owned portion, the maximum speeds are 79 mph, but they are expected to increase to 110 mph this year in certain sections once the testing of the positive train control system is completed and when new locomotives are put into service.

MDOT purchased 135 miles of the rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn from Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) in 2012. Thanks to $347 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding and High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funding, MDOT was able to acquire and make the following improvements to the line:

- Replaced worn railroad track and smoothed curves for higher speeds.
- Upgraded railroad crossings and signals for train and motorist safety.
- Upgraded the train signaling and communication system for efficient operations.

Outside of MDOT ownership, other improvements have been made that will benefit the efficient movement of both passenger and freight trains. A new bridge connection was installed in west Detroit allowing for a faster connection for trains bound for Detroit, Royal Oak, Troy, and Pontiac. Amtrak has made continual maintenance improvements to their infrastructure as well.

"At MDOT’s direction, Amtrak work crews have corrected years of deferred maintenance and have taken over dispatching," said Joe McHugh, Amtrak vice president, State-Supported Services. "We have created the longest railroad segment outside the northeast that is being made ready for an even more reliable and faster Amtrak service."

Projects outside of Michigan have benefits to Amtrak trains. In October 2014, the Englewood Flyover in south Chicago was placed in service, eliminating the at-grade crossing between the Metra Rock Island Line and NS's Chicago Line, which is Amtrak's primary entrance into Chicago from the east. The Indiana Gateway (a partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, Indiana Department of Transportation, NS, and Amtrak) has improved a major congestion point of trains between Porter and the Illinois border.

All together, these improvements demonstrate a long-term commitment to safe and faster movement of trains along this growing passenger rail corridor
  by gokeefe
All of this is quite remarkable and very good to see. OTP and ridership should improve substantially.
  by Tadman
I wish they would get full length biz class now, it's hard to get a ride in the good seats these days. I don't mean price, they're just sold out.
  by Jeff Smith
https://www.wmuk.org/post/amtrak-travel ... s#stream/0
Marc Magliari is a spokesman for the railroad. He says Amtrak’s been updating its tracks in central and southwest Michigan.

“Because the volumes of trains are down, both our trains and freight trains, we’re getting a lot of work done,” Magliari told WMUK.

“Some of that work will enable us to increase speeds and decrease travel times across mid-Michigan,” he added.
“Ridership on the Wolverine route, as you could guess, is down pretty significantly because instead of running three round trips every day we’re only running one,” he said.

Amtrak is running one round trip on the Blue Water line between Chicago and Port Huron, as usual. That route did a little better, but still lost about 9 out of 10 customers.

Amtrak has suspended a third Michigan service, the Pere Marquette train between Chicago and Grand Rapids.
  by Tadman
Given that ridership is off like 90% , I'm not sure why they're not running a Blue Water stub Port Huron to Battle Creek.
  by gokeefe
Interesting release from Amtrak on the speed up of track work. Does anyone have any more detail?

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

Last edited by gokeefe on Thu May 28, 2020 7:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by Pensyfan19
Apparently there is a call to link the Pere Marquette to the other two services!!!

At New Buffalo...

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... gan-trains
The St. Joseph (Mich.) City Commission has called for building a connection that would link the routes used by Amtrak’s Pere Marquette, Blue Water, and Wolverine service in New Buffalo, Mich. WJSM radio reports this would allow all the routes to serve New Buffalo, and provide a connection for Pere Marquette passengers to trains serving the eastern part of the state. The trains travel on parallel routes through New Buffalo that cross just northeast of the city, but Pere Marquette trains do not currently stop in New Buffalo. Currently, passengers from St. Joseph and points north on the Pere Marquette would have to travel to Chicago to make a rail connection to the other route.

I legitimately thought at first that they were talking about expanding the Pere Marquette to Detroit or somewhere else to connect the two... :(
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