• 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 CarterB
 
You'd have to have total average time from IND to CHI at or over 65mph to even start to be competitive.
  by CraigDK
 
Bob Roberts wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:20 am Which leads me to wonder (somebody needs to, its probably my turn): If Indianapolis to Chicago got the Texas Central treatment (new ROW and new construction true HSR) and it was only an hour for the train to travel the 160 miles between downtown Indy and the Loop, Including a stop near Lafayette, what would ridership look like? (with trains leaving every 30 minutes)

Would either city gain economic heft from the combination of labor markets? Would quality of life be improved at either end of the track? Could there ever be a long-run economic justification for the investment?

(This is a purely theoretical question, I am not trying to suggest this is a great idea)
While it certainly would be interesting to see that, I think you have to answer this question first; how feasible is it? I think the answer to that question is a no. I do not think, at least with in the greater Chicago area, that you could get the support to build a new ROW. Even once you get south of Chicago, it would be difficult to build up the will to do so. So you probably cannot get to to a trip time of an hour.
justalurker66 wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:14 am Although I agree with Bob Roberts' question, if we build it will people come? Is there really a high enough ridership demand to make any major investment in this link? Would there be an economic return on the investment?
So we get to here, in the spirit of Bob's original question, what can be built and will people come? I think it makes sense to answer the latter first. I don't know off the top of my head the population of Indianapolis or any of the other cities along the route. However, if we consider the relative popularity of the Hiawatha, Lincoln, and Wolverine services, it is probably not a stretch to assume that since there is a general demand in the Midwest for passenger travel to and from Chicago that that demand would also be present on the route to Indianapolis. Therefore, if you build something similar, if not better, people will use it

What do these services, at least in theory, provide that the previous Hoosier State did not? Frequency, a competitive travel time, and reliabilty. They all do the first, and in various degrees of success, attempt to do the other two. So a resurrected Hoosier Service would need to as well.

A one a day trip, that operates only on days that the Cardinal does not, is not frequent. Having multiple trips a day is the answer, the question is how many? Two or three a day would be acceptable as a starting point. The experience with Hiawatha and Lincoln services suggest additional trips result in more than a simple linear increase in ridership.

What is a competitive travel time? Using Google maps for times, driving takes around 3 hours (outside of rush hour and ignoring the time change) from CUS to Indy, and the travel time on a bus ranges from around 4 to 4.5 hours. So, I would suggest that anything longer than 4 hours would not be competitive. If you could get the trip down to 3 hours that would probably significantly increase ridership.

Reliability comes from some of the same investment in the route that decreases the trip time and having good equipment. I would define good equipment as not a beat-up Genesis locomotive and two or three Horizon coaches. If the state is underwriting this hypothetical new Hoosier service and wants Amtrak to run it for them it would make sense to become a member of the Midwest pool and pay for some additional Siemens Chargers and Venture cars.

That leaves the route, how do you improve it to get to that 4 hour or less trip time? And what does that cost?
  by west point
 
IMHO the present route suffers from too much single track without adequate number and length of sidings. A 15 - 20 thousand foot siding every 10 miles would help a lot. As well that would reduce the number of freight train delays due to engineers pulling a train apart. Upgrading the whole CSX to a common freight speed capable allows the trains to maintain constant drawbar pull. That prevent much slack action on drawbars and knuckles breaking trains apart.
  by justalurker66
 
CraigDK wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:57 pm ... what can be built and will people come? I think it makes sense to answer the latter first.
The answer to "will people come" is dependent on "what can be built". You suggest that the service cannot be competitive unless it is under 4 hours and 3 hours would significantly increase ridership. If one cannot build a four hour service the answer to "will people come" is different than if a 3 hour service can be provided.

Once one gets beyond the speed of service the frequency will help. A daily frequency on the Cardinal would probably raise passenger loads ... probably not 133% but maybe 100%. Losing the daily frequency created by the Hoosier State probably cut ridership between Indy and Chicago more than 55% (the number of trains cut) because the service left only allows a same day return to Indy twice per week.

A daily Cardinal paired with a Hoosier State on a reverse schedule (morning to Indy, evening to Chicago) would be my service plan ... assuming the trip time could be competitive and the passengers could be found. That is the essence of "build it and they will come". But don't build it unless they will come.

west point wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:39 pm adding to my post ( cannot edit ) PTC should allow class 5 track speeds for passenger trains of 90 MPH.
Track geometry must be right as well. PTC doesn't let a train do 90 through a curve designed for 50. Or at least it shouldn't. PTC apparently fills the "cab signalling" requirement for 90 MPH.
  by John_Perkowski
 
All all y’all have to do is convince the State of Indiana to pony up the bucks.

Good luck with that.
  by west point
 
By no means did I mean that the tracks did not need elimination of all slow spots. Yes change the tracks to be able to maintain 90 MPH with the PTC. It just amazes this poster that there is not a major RR route that is high speed, direct , high capacity CHI - IND - Cincinnati ?
  by Arborwayfan
 
Markets -- uncertain. I wonder about tourists from Chicago to Indiana. You have a big city with a fair number of prosperous people who choose not to own cars and instead use transit, Zipcars, and whatnot. So if the Hoosier State had been able to attract a lot of them to take the train to, for example, west central Indiana's wildest vacation area Park County, maybe it could have done a better job justifying it's subsidy. There are two gorgeous state parks within half an hour of Crawfordsville station (200 foot canyon at Shades, an nice Inn and lots of intricate canyon trails at Turkey Run, some of the darkest skies in the lower midwest for stargazing, canoe trips on a clean wild river, various campgrounds and cabins and whatnot scattered through the county, Amish crafts, covered bridges, bike routes... So if the Hoosier State had made it to Crawfordsville in 2.5 hours instead of 4.5, and had gotten in at 8:30 instead of 10:30 (roughly) then maybe a shuttle bus loop through Park County could have paid for itself and created a new source of tourist income. But I kinda doubt it could have brought in enough tourist revenue to really justify the cost of any major improvements.
  by CarterB
 
Indianapolis is just a corn field with electricity!!! I know, I used to live there, and so did my parents.
  by mtuandrew
 
west point wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:03 pm By no means did I mean that the tracks did not need elimination of all slow spots. Yes change the tracks to be able to maintain 90 MPH with the PTC. It just amazes this poster that there is not a major RR route that is high speed, direct , high capacity CHI - IND - Cincinnati ?
It’s pretty stunning how critical portions of every direct route were not only abandoned but turned into bike trails. I went through the corporate reasons earlier, but that doesn’t make it any easier for rail advocates.
  by GWoodle
 
Something else that needs to happen is a separate Beech Grove repair shop run. Maybe now there are enough P40 B32's to bring cars down from Chicago & back. Maybe even make a deal on NS or CSX from Beech Grove to NYC & the Bear shops.
  by mtuandrew
 
GWoodle wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:39 pm Something else that needs to happen is a separate Beech Grove repair shop run. Maybe now there are enough P40 B32's to bring cars down from Chicago & back. Maybe even make a deal on NS or CSX from Beech Grove to NYC & the Bear shops.
Meaning that Amtrak would pay NS or CSX to haul cars for them via interchange at Wilmington? I just want to make sure that’s what you mean.
  by GWoodle
 
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:19 pm
GWoodle wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:39 pm Something else that needs to happen is a separate Beech Grove repair shop run. Maybe now there are enough P40 B32's to bring cars down from Chicago & back. Maybe even make a deal on NS or CSX from Beech Grove to NYC & the Bear shops.
Meaning that Amtrak would pay NS or CSX to haul cars for them via interchange at Wilmington? I just want to make sure that’s what you mean.
Yes. Separate daily train with P40/ B32 GP38-3 Chicago- Beech Grove with no passengers. Interchange with NS/CSX have direct routes Beech Grove- NYC, Wilmington for shops in the East. Interchange with BNSF UP for shops west.
  by Backshophoss
 
Beech Grove ,Wilmington,Bear,and Sanford are the Major backshops for Amtrak,
La,Emeryville,Seattle,Chicago,New Orleans, Albany,Southamton Street ,Sunnyside ,Ivy City and Hialeah are running repair shops that can do part swaps/quick fixes.
The Hoosier State did double duty as the shop ferry to Beech Grove.
The state didn't fund it,didn't care ,Amtrak carried it as a "loss leader" and necessary part of the business, till the critters made a fuss about it,IP tried and failed,and started down the road to Bankruptcy
CSX just hated Amtrak and didn't care as well,and that's what forced the discontinuance .
END OF STORY!!!
  by gokeefe
 
I think the above unintentionally absolves the State of Indiana to an extent they don't deserve. In my view they were the *sole* reason for the loss of the route. The problems with CSX had a strong correlation (and even causation) with the lack of state investment in track improvements (which could have been federally funded on part).

The State of Indiana is reason number 1, 2 and 3.

Everybody else was just trying to work around them.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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