• North Coast Hiawatha Study

  • 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 Tadman
 
gokeefe wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:06 pm
Kind of mystifying why Anderson chose to go after the Southwest Chief which had obvious political support across multiple states and not the Sunset Limited which seems a weak candidate at best for continued service.

Perhaps a lack of desire to stir up a hornets nest in Texas ...
Same here. They didn't have to even kick a hornet nest in Texas. Run daily NOL-HOU-San Antonio. Run daily LAX-TUS. No state loses service, only city of El Paso, which probably doesnt;' know they have a train.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Tadman wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:10 pm
gokeefe wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:06 pm
Kind of mystifying why Anderson chose to go after the Southwest Chief which had obvious political support across multiple states and not the Sunset Limited which seems a weak candidate at best for continued service.

Perhaps a lack of desire to stir up a hornets nest in Texas ...
Same here. They didn't have to even kick a hornet nest in Texas. Run daily NOL-HOU-San Antonio. Run daily LAX-TUS. No state loses service, only city of El Paso, which probably doesnt;' know they have a train.
The Burrito Lady on the platform does! :-)
  by Jeff Smith
 
I'm going to turn this off for a bit; if there are any developments related to NCH, PM me. Otherwise, we're talking about other legacy LD's that can go in those threads.

Thanks, I enjoyed the discussion.
  by Jeff Smith
 
okay then: NBCMontana.com
MISSOULA, Mont. — On Tuesday, Missoula County Commissioners partnered with Dorsey-Whitney law firm to review a draft resolution establishing the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority. Officials say they hope to roll out the final plan by the end of this week.

Commissioners proposed rebuilding the Hiawatha route for Amtrak back in January. In April, commissioners were to host a passenger rail summit for the project, but due to COVID-19 it got canceled.
...
“What we are talking about here is just not restored passenger rail service within the state of Montana but also connecting to points east and west. So in theory what we are looking at is you can hop on a train here in Missoula, Montana, and travel to Seattle or hop on a train here and travel east to Fargo or Minneapolis or Chicago,” Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmeier said.
...
And while I was Googling, I found a REALLY OLD article: BillingsGazette.com

YES, that's $1,000,000,000. $1B cost for revenue of $43m that likely wouldn't cover it's operating costs, either.
MISSOULA - An Amtrak report released Friday said the possible revival of the North Coast Hiawatha Route through southern Montana could attract nearly 360,000 riders a year, but startup costs are estimated at $1.043 billion.
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Strohmaier said it is no surprise that such a route would attract many riders - possibly from Glendive, Miles City, Billings, Forsyth, Livingston, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula and Paradise.

According to the report, "restoration of the North Coast Hiawatha would provide a passenger rail option that does not exist today, as well as creating a safe and environmentally friendly travel option for the three million annual visitors to Yellowstone National Park."

But U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said Friday he is concerned a southern route could compromise Amtrak's Empire Builder, which runs from Chicago to Seattle and serves the northern tier of Montana.
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The study, which projected an annual revenue of $43 million if the route were restored, said an estimated 65,800 riders would ride the southern tier line instead of the current Empire Builder route. That would mean an estimated $8 million reduction in annual revenue for the northern route.
...
  by Rockingham Racer
 
The only way to find out about Sen. Tester's concerns is to get the home addresses of passengers getting on and off in the northern tier states. If they live in Missoula, Miles City, Bismark, Jamestown etc. then yes: he has a point. Otherwise, his concern is baseless.
  by Tadman
 
Why why why does it have to be the same exact train that was bankrupt in 1971? These people are like children. I WANT I WANT IWANT!!!!

Why not build a train that works? At least pick some nearby major cities! Perhaps Boise, Spokane, Denver, Calgary.. Where are business people going from Montana?

I need to get into the million dollar plans business, just crap on a plate, throw some numbers on a spreadsheet done by a college intern... there we go!
  by Pensyfan19
 
Tadman wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:18 pm Why why why does it have to be the same exact train that was bankrupt in 1971? These people are like children. I WANT I WANT IWANT!!!!

Why not build a train that works? At least pick some nearby major cities! Perhaps Boise, Spokane, Denver, Calgary.. Where are business people going from Montana?

I need to get into the million dollar plans business, just crap on a plate, throw some numbers on a spreadsheet done by a college intern... there we go!
The cities you mentioned would be for the route of the Pioneer, which is proposed for restoration but have not heard much from recently. Also, there are large and developing cities along the route such as Bismark, the CAPITAL CITY of North Dakota, Jamestown, ND, Butte Missoula and Billings (the largest city in the state), MT. Not to mention, with the introduction of any public transportation system, especially rail transport which can carry hundreds of people in one trip, comes the spurring of residential and business developments in regions previously underdeveloped. That is what built the American West in the first place, and it still applies to this day as most new rail services bring a strong economy to the regions it serves.
  by Tadman
 
That's a gross oversimplification. Rails no longer make for economic development on their own. They help existing sites and initiatives become more viable provided the rail project is also viable. A long train to Chicago and Seattle is not viable. It's often late and not drive or air competitive. They carry less than one percent of the traveling population.

I go right back to my suggestion - let's look at cities where today's commerce is in that neck of the woods. Where are people traveling to from Bozeman and Missoula? Is it mining? Is it wind power? Is it farming? Engineering? Where is that located?

Imagine if we told NEC passengers they had to sit on a train for 18 hours that doesn't go to their destination. They'd think it was a crazy idea and the NEC would die overnight.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
Re: startup costs estimated at $1.043 billion: why does it seem to be so much more expensive to start a train in this country than it does anywhere else in the world? And we know that even if people want it, it won't be done in twenty years. Meanwhile the Chinese are building high speed rail as though the devil himself were after them. Magadan in eastern Siberia will probably have service before Bozeman does.
  by wigwagfan
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:15 pm Re: startup costs estimated at $1.043 billion: why does it seem to be so much more expensive to start a train in this country than it does anywhere else in the world?
For starters, there's little to no such thing as environmental protections or private property rights in China. If the government wants your land, they get your land. Your house in the way? Too bad so sad. If you protest, you go to prison. Here the railroad/government still has to pay you for your property and in many cases pay your relocation expenses. Land in Montana is highly desirable in the populated areas as many formerly city slickers are looking to Montana to get away from the big city.

Next, China frequently uses forced labor/prison labor for construction projects. Just imagine the outcry if that happened here...
  by wigwagfan
 
Tadman wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:12 pm I go right back to my suggestion - let's look at cities where today's commerce is in that neck of the woods. Where are people traveling to from Bozeman and Missoula? Is it mining? Is it wind power? Is it farming? Engineering? Where is that located?
As an example, I lived in Kalispell from 2000-2003. While I did make use of the Empire Builder for trips to Seattle or Portland (actually quite convenient - get on the train, fall asleep, wake up at my destination) the EB was utterly useless if I was going to Spokane (midnight to 1:30 AM arrival AND departure).

Missoula? A two hour drive on "Pray for me, I drive (U.S. Highway) 93" or...yeah. There's no other option. Rails never got south of Somers on the north shore of Flathead Lake, nor north of Polson on the south shore.

East? Frankly...there's nothing east. Nothing. The next town that was a destination anyone spoke about was Minneapolis, and Northwest (now Delta) had us covered with two DC9 (later A320) flights daily. Salt Lake City? Again Delta had us covered with three flights a day to SLC, later bumped up to six CRJ flights a day. Not bad for a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere America. I could even get to Seattle with three Horizon flights a day and continue onto Portland rather easily.
  by mtuandrew
 
wigwag and Charles River: I remember the $1B largely going to BNSF for signal replacement & track work on their portions of the ex-NP. Montana RailLink didn’t ask for much, maybe $50m, probably because they maintain a better physical plant than BNSF (or are content with it not being gold-plated.)
  by SouthernRailway
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:15 pm Re: startup costs estimated at $1.043 billion: why does it seem to be so much more expensive to start a train in this country than it does anywhere else in the world? And we know that even if people want it, it won't be done in twenty years. Meanwhile the Chinese are building high speed rail as though the devil himself were after them. Magadan in eastern Siberia will probably have service before Bozeman does.
High costs in the US compared to other First World countries is a valid point. It costs many times more to build a transit system the US than even in, say, France or Germany. I saw a recent study about the issue and the study pointed to inefficiencies in the project management and construction sectors in the US, compared to systems in other countries.

China, though, is not a free country, as other posters have already pointed out, so I'd think that comparing the US to maybe Canada, Australia and Western Europe is a more valid basis of comparison.

In this case, I'd also think that freight railroads are lumping together all infrastructure improvements that they think are necessary for this and are throwing a large number around. Perhaps it will scare off people who want this train and thus kill any hopes of the project.
  by dgvrengineer
 
I agree a BILLION Dollars is a lot of money. However, when you are talking about any form of transportation it's a drop in the bucket. Across the border in WV, they are building 6 miles of 4 lane highway with only 1 interchange and that is only a half of an interchange. The cost is just a hair under 1 billion and will probably be over that with the standard cost overruns. There are a lot of miles on that route that will have to be upgraded to allow return of passenger trains. Also, the line to Butte from the east has been out of service for many years. Any passenger train would have to go via Helena which is probably better anyway. Always good to serve the Capital of a state.
  by west point
 
Mr. Tadman: Agree only 1% travel by train for the USA. However what are the percentages for the routes with multi service ?
1. NYP - ALB
2. NYP - BOS / WASH
3. PHL - Harrisburg
4. LA US - San Diego
5. Sacramento - Bay Area
Now what percentage would be carried on these routes if many an timely routes were implemented ? Timely means high average speeds.
11. SEA - PDX
12 LA - PHX / Tucson
13. Orlando - SE Florida. Oh wait that is being built.
14. WASH - Richmond
15. ATL - CLT
16. CHI - STL
17. CHI - CLE / TOL

Of course there are many more/.
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