• Moving to one terminal per big city - wise?

  • 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

  • 291 posts
  • 1
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 20
  by STrRedWolf
 
RRspatch wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:38 am Amtrak does offer through ticketing to the NJT Atlantic City line at Philadelphia. I believe the only reason this is offered is because Amtrak pulled off of the AC line and turned it over to NJT. It would be nice to offer through ticketing on more Amtrak - commuter connections but sadly I don't see this happening. The main reason is the "balkanization" of public transit in this country. Cooperation between various agencies just doesn't happen, heck crossing state lines (with a few exceptions) doesn't happen either. Buying a German rail pass and transfering from an ICE train to an S Bahn in Munchen is easy because DB calls all the shots even if the S Bahn partly paid for by the city of Munchen.
I think part of that is having a route to areas not served by Amtrak or an affiliate bus service (Thruway). I would not be surprised if Amtrak would partner up with regional agencies "if they built it". I can see a few lines that way, including Brightline's Florida and Las Vegas lines.

I could produce a wish-list on these, to be honest...
electricron wrote:CUS may be poorly served by other public transit directly, but does it need other public transit.
Downtown Chicago is one of the most walkable cities in the world. There are no hills to climb or descend. It is flatter than a pancake. It is mostly situated within one square mile. Every downtown destination can be reached with less than a 20 minute walk. And every other public transit line runs through that one mile square. with a dozen stations to pick from for a transfer.

How many times do I read that train stations should be placed within walking distance of destinations? How many times do I read trains main advantage over jet planes is their downtown to downtown travel, not suburb to suburb travel. Yet here we have a perfect example of a downtown train station, and some criticize it for not having every possible public transit direct transfers.

I guess ole Honest Abe was correct, you can't please all the people some the time nor please some of the people all the time.
From a pure connection standpoint, I can see walking a few blocks to get to transit. That's fine and dandy. But then take Chicago's weather, especially in the winter. Do I want to freeze my butt off to get to a connecting train? Yeah, I did that before.
  by justalurker66
 
Being a rural person (but not a farmer) I was amazed when I realized how much walking was done in a major city like Chicago. We rural people fight for the closest parking slot to the Walmart entrance (and joke about wanting the closest parking slot to the gym where we pay to walk on a treadmill). But as a young adult walking out of a train station in Chicago a few decades ago I watched throngs of people walking their last *mile* to work. Getting to work is just part of the job.

I'd like to see CUS be better connected ... but CUS isn't the only Chicago terminal where people are expected to walk to their final destination. Chicago has CTA rail to both of the major airports (DC is working on connecting Dulles). The division between CTA and Metra seems to be a hot button issue in some of the community. The connections in the loop are walkable but ticketing is not integrated.

It is hard for me to argue that Amtrak should integrate with Metra on ticketing when CTA and Metra charge separate fares. Combined fares for CTA/Metra seem to be pushed by people wanting a cost savings - the most vocal proponents being from southeast Chicago which is served by Metra trains and CTA buses with separate fares. That desire was echoed in this thread ... an Amtrak ticket should include travel on Metra to any station on the MED. So who pays? Probably the passenger with a markup. $10 for a $6.75 ticket.

Commuters in Chicago seem to accept the separation of the Metra terminals. There has been some call to connect the MED to CUS (the opposite of what Tad as suggested). I don't see a high enough demand to change the status quo in either direction (moving Metra to CUS or Amtrak to Van Buren). The status quo works.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Having used Chicago Union Station many times, I have noticed that the CTA Rapid isn't connected to Union Station. From a point a view of a person who grew up outside of NYC where the busiest Amtrak station is which has several subway routes serving the station, it would be great if there was some sort of connection to the closest Red Line station in relation to CUS.
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:59 pm
Arborwayfan wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:48 am I still think the most attractive solution to the slow detour for CN-IC trains is to set up easy, advertised connections to Metra at Homewood.
Here is what the connection would look like ... first the City of New Orleans/Carbondale schedule. Then the closest connecting MED trains at Homewood (three after each arrival, three before each departure, plus the closest missed connection train for reference). (All schedules pre-COVID. Only one seat rides from Homewood are shown.)
So wait. We're going to make guaranteed connections between two separate carriers at Homewood, which is an unstaffed station with no elevator to the Amtrak platforms in order for people to get downtown on a local train that may or may not stop within 20-30 minutes of the downstate train taking the same rail time (but adding 20-30 minutes layover) and dropping them at Randolph while the downstate train still continues over the dumbest connection in the country to a station it wasn't meant to use. All this assumes the downstate train is perfectly on time, which they rarely are. The end result is a passenger dropped in downtown Chicago, just like they would be earlier, a lot more complexity, another ticket, another 30+ minutes assuming everything goes right, baggage down and up the steps at Homewood...

Image

The whole object of this entire thread is to restore corridor trains to their original terminals in order to avoid planned and unplanned extra time in the Chicago terminal, thus making the schedule more viable for riders.

The above idea makes the planned and unplanned times even longer, still drops the passengers at a terminal different than CUS (the idea you so vehemently oppose), and adds 5 degrees of new complexity for the rider, and continues to use the SCAL.
  by west point
 
Spent many a day in downtown CHI. Unfortunately mid summer can be oppressive and not worth walking about. Also those below 0-F winters not able to walk about either.
Too long ago so have no idea if an "L" stop could e built next to Union station connected by a tunnel. Seems like all the Chicago rail stations need a stop.
I have always admired the way Minneapolis did their downtown with the many pedestrian bridges between buildings across streets. That might be a solution for Chicago but how will any bridges clear the Chicago river ?
  by Tadman
 
west point wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:51 pm
Too long ago so have no idea if an "L" stop could e built next to Union station connected by a tunnel. Seems like all the Chicago rail stations need a stop.
The only one that doesn't really have a stop is Union Station. Randolph has Randolph/Wabash, LaSalle has one right out front, and Ogilvie has one over the throat tracks. There are stairs mid-platform allowing passengers to exit without walking all the way south to the headhouse.

We don't often put CUS/CPT in perspective. It's basically one big campus with three concourses, especially when one considers that Midway Airport is about five blocks from tip of most southerly gate to tip of most northerly gate. From the tip of the most southerly platform at CUS to tip of most northerly platform at CPT is seven blocks. If someone were to arrive on the last car of the LSL and walk to the lead car of a Geneva train, they could accomplish the whole transfer save for one street crossing under a roof. Walk up the south platform, into the concourse, up the north (metra) platforms to the Madison stairs, up to Madison street. Cross Madison in daylight, then enter Riverside Plaza Building and use the skybridge to access CPT and walk out on the platform.

The walk from a farther gate at O'Hare or Midway to the blue or orange line is not materially longer/shorter than the walk from the last car on the LSL to the Clinton green/pink station over the throat of CPT (Ogilvie) tracks, and can be mostly accomplished under roof. The walk to the Quincy pink/green/orange station is about the same, but completely open to the elements.

I'm not picking on you, but the overall sentiment that "CUS doesn't have an L station" is a bit hyperbolic. There's not one in the basement with the name "Union Station", but it's not a big leap to Quincy or Clinton.

west point wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:51 pm I have always admired the way Minneapolis did their downtown with the many pedestrian bridges between buildings across streets. That might be a solution for Chicago but how will any bridges clear the Chicago river ?
I lived there on and off for fifteen years, we didn't get quite the cold MSP gets. Most Chicagoans are pretty hardy when it comes to walking that last mile in snow and cold. We also have the underground pedway which connects most of the hotels in River East with Randolph Street Station and both blue and red lines as well as city hall, Thompson Center, etc... There is currently no underground or skyway river crossing. As of late, the drawbridges only have to clear sailboats and barges that can already duck under lowered bridges. There hasn't been a freighter downtown since 1990 perhaps.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:13 pmThe above idea makes the planned and unplanned times even longer, still drops the passengers at a terminal different than CUS (the idea you so vehemently oppose), and adds 5 degrees of new complexity for the rider, and continues to use the SCAL.
Tad, if you would bother reading instead of violently reacting to posts (including yet ANOTHER personal attack included in your response) you might figure out that I was exploring someone else's idea for the sake of discussion. I recommended no changes to operation just better promotion of the transfer options available. Just like I explored your ideas for the sake of discussion.

Calm down, take a step back, take a vallium if needed.

And don't worry ... I still believe your proposal to create new Amtrak regional terminals stinks to high Heaven and doesn't have an ice cube's chance in Hell of ever being taken seriously by anyone in charge at Amtrak. My opinion of your idea has not changed.

Note that this is my opinion of your idea not you as a person. I suspect you are a perfectly nice <product redacted> sales person. I might even consider buying a <product redacted> from you if 1) my company needed one and 2) our sales meetings were limited to you explaining the operation of the <product redacted> that you sell and you were not arrogantly telling me how to operate completely unrelated parts of my business.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 8:01 pmI'm not picking on you, but the overall sentiment that "CUS doesn't have an L station" is a bit hyperbolic. There's not one in the basement with the name "Union Station", but it's not a big leap to Quincy or Clinton.
A completely covered passageway from Clinton (Pink/Green) to Clinton (Blue) would be a good addition to Chicago. It has been a few years since my wife and I took the hike two blocks south to Clinton (Blue). It was night and definitely had the "seedy underbelly of the city" feel. Unfortunately covered walkways can become long homeless shelters so it may still feel seedy.
Tadman wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 8:01 pmMost Chicagoans are pretty hardy when it comes to walking that last mile in snow and cold. We also have the underground pedway which connects most of the hotels in River East with Randolph Street Station and both blue and red lines as well as city hall, Thompson Center, etc... There is currently no underground or skyway river crossing. As of late, the drawbridges only have to clear sailboats and barges that can already duck under lowered bridges.
It isn't all about the local Chicagoans. I'm sure people have arrived at Dulles and thought where am I and how do I get to the city? Fortunately Washington has a centrally located Union Station for train passengers (and is building rail service to Dulles).

The Chicago drawbridges only open on specific weekends to allow sailboats to pass. Amtrak's 21st St bridge gets plenty of exercise because it is low to the water. It would be good to have a river crossing similar to Michigan Ave and others with a lower level.
  by west point
 
Tadman : I did omit that very long walk from the Orange line to the Midway airport terminal. Haven't done that in 15 - 20 years.
  by electricron
 
it's just 1600 feet from Union Station (either east corner entrance) to Quincy/Wells Station (either north or south entrance). Just 3 or 4 streets to cross; Canal, Wacker, Franklin, and Wells, depending upon what platform you need to catch the elevated train on. And that includes crossing the Chicago River between Canal and Wacker. That is less than the length of two football fields.
  by STrRedWolf
 
west point wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:19 pm Tadman : I did omit that very long walk from the Orange line to the Midway airport terminal. Haven't done that in 15 - 20 years.
That walk isn't bad, because it's sheltered. Granted, once you're walking around (literally) the parking garage to get to the Orange CTA L station, it is chilly in winter.

Contrast that with walking in the elements from most METRA stations to CTA... or Rosemount Blue L to the convention center there. *brrrrr*
  by electricron
 
If 1600 feet is too far to walk in downtown Chicago, it is too far to walk out in residential neighborhoods as well. No one expects door to door service with public transit in residential neighborhoods, why do they expect it downtown? I do not believe CTA ridership data shows a spike or drop during the heat of summer vs the freeze in winter. It is just as hot or cold and windy in residential neighborhoods as it is downtown. If two football fields is too far to walk, we need to quintuple the number of rail lines crossing our cities.
  by Tadman
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:59 am
west point wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:19 pm Tadman : I did omit that very long walk from the Orange line to the Midway airport terminal. Haven't done that in 15 - 20 years.
That walk isn't bad, because it's sheltered. Granted, once you're walking around (literally) the parking garage to get to the Orange CTA L station, it is chilly in winter.

Contrast that with walking in the elements from most METRA stations to CTA... or Rosemount Blue L to the convention center there. *brrrrr*
There was once heaters and moving sidewalks, and either Airport Authority or CTA tanked them. It's still a coverd walk.
  by Arborwayfan
 
The above idea makes the planned and unplanned times even longer, still drops the passengers at a terminal different than CUS (the idea you so vehemently oppose), and adds 5 degrees of new complexity for the rider, and continues to use the SCAL.
Nobody here has opposed dropping passengers who want to be somewhere along the Michigan Avenue Cliff at Van Buren or Millenium. People have opposed (and some people have merely questioned) dropping all the passengers from the CN-IC trains there, because some do transfer at CUS and some presumably want to be over by CUS rather than over by the lake, and because there would be various capital and operating costs for Amtrak to make that change.

Right now, you have an easy one-seat ride to CUS and a not especially difficult two-seat ride to anyplace on the Metra Electric, a fact that is not sufficiently advertised. Your change would give an easy one-seat ride to the Cliff and a not especially difficult train+cab or train+walk to CUS and things over that way (eg Willis Tower), and keep the two-seat ride to anyplace on the Metra Electric, a fact that would still not be sufficiently advertised especially since you think it's really complicated and difficult. In that situation, a lot of us prefer the status quo for free rather than a change for some cost. I put up my suggestion about making the connections via Homewood more obvious and easier for non-METRA geeks to understand because that seems like an essentially free way of getting some of the benefits you're looking for, as well as some you are not looking for but probably aren't against; it feels like picking very low-hanging fruit.
  • 1
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 20