• Hoosier State Discussion (both Amtrak and Iowa Pacific)

  • 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
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:57 am that's disgraceful about this is that they couldn't spare $3 million of a billion dollar budget to save this train
Come again? They spend $12m/year on the entire NICTD subsidy to operate 40 trains/day, own 90 miles of electrified mainline with ABS and PTC, and own 85 EMU cars, two geeps, twenty stations. 12,000 riders/day.

For 1/3 of that we're supposed to be ok with three randoms from the 14th street pool running one way/day over someone else's track with 100 people aboard? Those numbers don't hunt.
west point wrote:Had wondered if using NICTD to Dyer would speed up Amtrak when that is finished but have to wonder if Superliners would clear the wires especially on the IC portion ?
A bilevel Hoosier state routed up the NICTD Dyer line could lateral to the CN at Kensington. While under NICTD wires, it would be okay as the Capitol has detoured here a few times. This would require CN to play well, as well as NICTD, who isn't a big fan of Amtrak given Amtrak's Michigan City interlocker shenanigans. Amtrak will hold a South Shore train for 15+ minutes if there is a Detroit train within light years of that stupid crossing.
  by CarterB
 
No way a "Hoosier State" or any other IND -CHI train will ever make sense unless they find or improve a route that is time competitive. The old Riley route would do, if they could ever rebuild it.
  by justalurker66
 
mtuandrew wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:09 pm Besides, I-65 is busy but isn’t THAT crowded with either cars or buses. (Semis, absolutely, and any future CHI-IND rail investment would be best to include freight access.)
Freight has a better route than passing through Indy. I agree that the level of freight on I-65 demonstrates the need for a link. I'm not sure if it needs to be a rail link. Considering all of the historical paths between Indy and Chicago only one survives and it survives in the form of what CSX provides? NS runs daily freight from Illinois via Lafayette and Peru north to Elkhart for interchange to Chicago.

Before trying to replace the trucks on I-65 with a train we need to look at where those loads originate. Any of them that originate in the intermodal yards of Chicago probably should be diverted to intermodal yards in Indianapolis with a diversion that doesn't pass through Chicago.

The various Indy to Chicago rail links died for a reason. I don't see enough demand to spend billions on a revival.
  by justalurker66
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:12 pm It was a slow train whose schedule was set up to take people from Indiana to Chicago for the day -- not exactly what Indiana wanted to subsidize.
Not even that much thought went in to the schedule. The Hoosier State was intended to fill in the four days each week when the Cardinal does not run. It followed the Cardinal schedule - for better or for worse. Day trips to Chicago were a result, but that was just a happy coincidence.

The only way I see daily service returning is if the Cardinal becomes a daily service. Perhaps in the uproar about maintaining the other LD trains as seven days per week the Cardinal will get an upgrade? Not likely - but not losing hope that some day a daily service could be provided.
  by justalurker66
 
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:00 am A) Amtrak wouldn’t use the Metra Electric lines north of Kensington, it would use the parallel non-electrified IC freight line that’s essentially unused but in great shape.
Track that is already in use for daily Amtrak services (with a 17ft height restriction).
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:00 am B) unknown about the clearance on NICTD proper; if that worried about clearance, Amtrak could pay for poles that are 1 foot taller :wink:
A Superliner is four inches taller than a Gallery car.

NICTD has 16' 9" clearances in Laporte and St Joseph Counties, 18' 3" and 18' 9" in Porter County and 18' 10" clearances in Lake and Cook Counties. The MED has a couple of places with just over 17ft clearances. But most of the line is 18ft or better. Assuming a NICTD to CN-IC routing, the CN-IC has a lower height restriction - and they run Superliners every day.

NICTD also has constant tension catenary, so not a lot of drooping in hot weather.
  by gokeefe
 
As a general rule if your answer to a particular route question is "rebuild something that was abandoned" it's a non-starter. Upgrade existing track? Yes. Add passing sidings? Sure. Signalize dark territory? You bet. Rebuild an entire main line? "Not gonna happen".

As Mr. Norman will confirm although "Why? Why? Why?" is an oft repeated phrase when it comes to main line abandonments that doesn't make it a viable proposal for a return of the Hoosier State or the restoration of something more extravagant such as the Royal Palm.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by Backshophoss
 
Again,The state didn't fund it,didn't care about,the congress critters forced the issue.
THIS IS A LOST CAUSE,END OF STORY.
  by mtuandrew
 
justalurker66 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:52 pmThe various Indy to Chicago rail links died for a reason. I don't see enough demand to spend billions on a revival.
Worth addressing this point. There were four main CHI-IND routes at first, the NYC-IC route via Kankakee, the PRR Panhandle route via Lafayette, the Nickel Plate route via Argos, and the Monon went via its namesake village, plus all sorts of other combinations of routes via NYC, PRR, Monon, Nickel Plate, Erie, C&O and other roads. All of those routes have been partially abandoned, not because there isn’t traffic potential between those two cities but because no single one of those four railroads survived to the modern day.

Conrail was tasked with creating a system out of a ball of rotten spaghetti. Since they didn’t have interchange partners at Indy, I-65 took away their fast freight opportunity between Indy and Chicago, and Indiana was so extremely overbuilt with railroads, they chose which routes would hit the most traffic sources instead of the fastest route. That meant they eliminated the entire Panhandle and sold off the Kankakee route (who wanted to use ICG trackage?) and eventually settled on routing CHI-IND freight the long way east to Warsaw, south to Anderson, and back west to Indy.

When Seaboard bought Monon prior to the CSX merger, they had the same math. Indianapolis was at the end of a stub; they could have chosen to interchange with Chessie at Indianapolis, but Chessie had its own CHI-CIN route through Muncie and Seaboard owned a CHI-Louisville route that also bypassed Indianapolis.

Finally, Indianapolis was also at the end of a NKP/N&W/NS branch with no interchange partner (Southern didn’t have its own line north to Indianapolis.) Instead of keeping their own branch intact at the Conrail breakup, they took over the Conrail route mentioned before.

None of these were abandoned because there isn’t traffic, they were abandoned because individual corporations made the choices that worked for them - and when the situations changed (CSX beginning to route freight via the L&I ex-PRR route), they had already cut away too much to change course. And Amtrak didn’t get its own route in 1976 because there were too many routes between those cities - until there just weren’t. It’s rather lucky that CSX got the ex-NYC Connellsville branch, because otherwise there would be nothing at all like a direct route between these cities.
  by justalurker66
 
mtuandrew wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:10 pm [Conrail] eventually settled on routing CHI-IND freight the long way east to Warsaw, south to Anderson, and back west to Indy.
Are you saying traffic was routed on the PRR now CFER line to Warsaw then turned south to Anderson and Indianapolis? Or are you thinking of NYC routed traffic following the Marion Branch down from Elkhart/Goshen through Warsaw (as mentioned in my post)?

Amtrak getting their own line was rare between cities outside of the NEC. We are fortunate to have the Amtrak Michigan line. How many Indy to Chicago trains existed when Amtrak was formed?
  by mtuandrew
 
justalurker66 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:32 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:10 pm [Conrail] eventually settled on routing CHI-IND freight the long way east to Warsaw, south to Anderson, and back west to Indy.
Are you saying traffic was routed on the PRR now CFER line to Warsaw then turned south to Anderson and Indianapolis? Or are you thinking of NYC routed traffic following the Marion Branch down from Elkhart/Goshen through Warsaw (as mentioned in my post)?
My mistake, I did mean Elkhart rather than Warsaw. Apologies for (poorly) reiterating your post!
justalurker66 wrote:Amtrak getting their own line was rare between cities outside of the NEC. We are fortunate to have the Amtrak Michigan line. How many Indy to Chicago trains existed when Amtrak was formed?
As far as I know, two: the James Whitcomb Riley and the soon-discontinued South Wind. The National Limited visited IND too, but northeast-southwest instead of northwest-southeast
  by justalurker66
 
mtuandrew wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:27 pm As far as I know, two: the James Whitcomb Riley and the soon-discontinued South Wind. The National Limited visited IND too, but northeast-southwest instead of northwest-southeast
A little Sunday afternoon research to add ... The Riley was one of two Indy trains via Kankakee Illinois to survive on day one of Amtrak. In 1975 the Riley served Indianapolis from Muncie (buy your own bus ticket - connection not guaranteed). The 1975 iteration ran via Lafayette with stops in Peru, Muncie and Richmond Indiana before turning south to Cincinnati.

Hard to say, but the Cardinal/Hoosier State via CSX service was probably the best we saw in over 50 years.
  by knope2001
 
mtuandrew wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:10 pmWorth addressing this point. There were four main CHI-IND routes at first, the NYC-IC route via Kankakee, the PRR Panhandle route via Lafayette, the Nickel Plate route via Argos, and the Monon went via its namesake village, plus all sorts of other combinations of routes via NYC, PRR, Monon, Nickel Plate, Erie, C&O and other roads. All of those routes have been partially abandoned, not because there isn’t traffic potential between those two cities but because no single one of those four railroads survived to the modern day.
mtuandrew wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:10 pm That meant they eliminated the entire Panhandle and sold off the Kankakee route (who wanted to use ICG trackage?) and eventually settled on routing CHI-IND freight the long way east to Warsaw, south to Anderson, and back west to Indy.
Any idea if any of those shorter routes still have complete tracks? Early Amtrak timetables have 4-hour Chicago-Indy travel times via Lafayette / Kankakee / Homewood versus the current 5 hours. Four is much more competitive with driving, especially given the risk of traffic. Five hours is nasty.

Of course even if those tracks are complete and in great shape there are many countless obstacles, but if there are big gaps it's even more of a nonstarter.

Two other comments/questions:

a. Would a west-suburban stop like Brownsburg help much if a daily IND-CHI train was restored?

b. With only one daily trip an early morning northbound / evening southbound is probably the best traffic generator. Traffic tends to be strongest with originators going to (rather than from) the bigger city, and even at five hours you can do a day trip with 7:45 in Chicago. And for anything more than a day trip you aren't wasting most of the day on travel with this schedule. A four-hour train with 2x or 3x/day would probably work wonders, though obviously plenty needs to change before that's anything but a fantasy.
  by dgvrengineer
 
That route through Kankakee is still in existence, however downgraded and operated by a short line. The tracks in Lafayette have also been rearraigned with the elevated tracks through that city. However, it is still possible to use that route which I think would be a better option than the current route. It would require a backup move in Lafayette, Kankakee and Chicago and of course, rebuilding the tracks.
  by mtuandrew
 
dgvrengineer wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:39 pm That route through Kankakee is still in existence, however downgraded and operated by a short line. The tracks in Lafayette have also been rearraigned with the elevated tracks through that city. However, it is still possible to use that route which I think would be a better option than the current route.bIt would require a backup move in Lafayette, Kankakee and Chicago and of course, rebuilding the tracks.
I don’t see why it’s a better option at all. I’ve attached two images - the one lined in blue is the current route (approximately) and the green is the Canadian National/Kankakee, Beaverton & Southern/CSX (ex-IC/NYC) route. The distance isn’t much different, the current route is two carriers (mainly CSX, then UP coming into Chicago) rather than three and the (mostly) ex-Monon route has been upgraded in recent years in ways the KBS has not. There’s also no backing moves needed on the current route, whereas the other route requires passengers to ride backwards between Lafayette and Kankakee!

There’s a lot you could do to improve the routing, of course. Step 1 for me would be to finally secure an independent (or at least shared with NICTD) eastern entry into Chicago, step 2 would be building in some track & signal upgrades and minor realignments, and step 3 would be to improve the northwestern access to Indianapolis (there really should be a passenger rail line that passes through Speedway immediately next to the track, as the NYC once did). Major realignment can come later.
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  by lstone19
 
mtuandrew wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:21 pm There’s also no backing moves needed on the current route, whereas the other route requires passengers to ride backwards between Lafayette and Kankakee!
What am I missing? I'm looking at what I thought was the route through Kankakee and I'm not seeing a need to go backwards between Lafayette and Kankakee. At Lafayette, I see the junction to head towards Kankakee is south of the station so a backing move in Lafayette to/from the station would be needed but that would be it. At Kankakee, it joins the IC/CN route pointed north so no reversal needed there. Then just the normal backup move into CUS like anything off the IC/CN.
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