• Illinois Amtrak Service

  • 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 Rhinecliff
 
The new frequencies sound great.

I hope Amtrak's beltway management team does not "reward" the good people of Illinois for their iniative by discontinuing the local stops presently being offered by Amtrak's longer-haul trains, or dropping food service, or closing stations, etc.

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
A prediction for which I hope I'm mistaken:

'they'll be gone in a year".

It looks like the "Boy King' has got the Illinois gubernatorial election in the bag. I sure would like to think it was for merits that make the voters believe he can continue to do the job better than could his opponent, but then we know voters tune out negative ads....don't they?? :P :P

But be that as it may, these new trains are on the weaker schedule of 'big town out to little town" in the morning, rather than the reverse that even the railroads could tell you were the stronger frequencies.

Lastly, unlike some sponsiring jurisdictions where 403(b) trains have a way of making like the Eveready Bunny ("they just keep going and going"); Illinois has a reputation of killing them. Just ask the folk wishing to travel to Peoria, Rockford, or Freeport about that.

Amtrak Press Release

  by ne plus ultra
 
This isn't right at all. The Carbondale line WILL be adding small-town-to-big-town morning service. The current trains leave at 4:05 pm from both Chicago AND Carbondale, crossing in mid-state, so they're adding morning trains leaving from both terminals, using the same equipment.

Likewise on Chgo-St. Louis they're adding morning trains in both directions. Quincy already has a morning train to Chicago, and when you reach Galesburg on the same line, there are three. It would be crazy to add another morning train there, so the only thing that made sense is to add afternoon service, which allows for customers with a completely different travel plan in mind.

I think this criticism, whether of Blagojevich, IDOT or Amtrak, is very unjustified.

  by hsr_fan
 
Is Illinois still planning on running at speeds above 79 mph anytime soon between Chicago and Springfield? Right now, all that upgraded Class 6 track is going to waste.

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. NEPLUSULTRA, There is much historical evidence establishing that "little town to Big town in the morning, back to little town in the evening" is the strongest market. If what the railroads did is of no concern (it has been pointed out to me that likely half the forum participants here were not even born on A-Day), then simply let us note how Amtrak schedules in its "one a day" medium distance markets.

But if there is to be a 403(b) train added, the Chi-Carbondale market is likely where to start. This simply is because no additional equipment will be required. The existing schedule of 391-392 Illini calls for two sets that presently meet near Champaign.

But allow me to note, that compared with my 1960's days back at the UofIll , the Southbound IC schedules have now been emulated by Amtrak. The morning departure of the rescheduled Illini 391 is roundly that of IC's City of New Orleans, new Saluki 393 is roundly The Seminole (also extra fare Panama) and the Amtrak "City' 59 is that of The Louisiane. Only the midnight departing "Southern Express" is uncovered.

Northbound, it appears that some new ground will be broken. #58 City is roundly on schedule of IC's extra fare Panama (funny how Kam's just had to get by with a few less suds on my part so as to have the $$$ to ride such) or Seminole, #392 Illini is roundly on The Creole's schedule. However, 390 Saluki is "breaking new ground" with a 1030A Champaign departure. I understand that IC once did have a midday 'doodlebug' from both Chi and Champ, but that long predated me. Remaining uncovered NB is IC City of New Orleans (945PM) and the 430A Louisiane.

In short, even though the IC offered "five a day' (actually 5.5 if one considers the every other day City of Miami - this would handle 'locals" space available - how often did I hear "hey light bulb - my frat nickname - is it on day of off day for the Miami??"), the schedules "back in my day" were not geared for the Chi-Champaign-Carbondale "corridor', although in its later years the IC did adopt a "mini corridor' scheduling pattern.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

  by usa4624
 
It appears the Illinois has given up on this for the time being; all of the work on this corridor has stopped. There are 4 quadrant crossings and new signals that have been waiting to be cut in for a year or more.

fff
hsr_fan wrote:Is Illinois still planning on running at speeds above 79 mph anytime soon between Chicago and Springfield? Right now, all that upgraded Class 6 track is going to waste.

  by hsr_fan
 
usa4624 wrote:It appears the Illinois has given up on this for the time being; all of the work on this corridor has stopped. There are 4 quadrant crossings and new signals that have been waiting to be cut in for a year or more.
That's too bad. Yet another Amtrak disappointment in the long list of broken promises....maybe they can remove the new signals and send them to Delaware to sit in storage alongside the Turboliners! :wink:

  by Vincent
 
from the esteemed Mr. Norman:
This simply is because no additional equipment will be required.


The "additional equipment" problem is cropping up in most expansion scenarios. California needs additional equipment, expanded Cascades service requires additional equipment, almost every expansion plan requires additional equipment. What happens if more state legislatures decide to invest in steel rail instead of asphalt ? Reliable service requires reliable equipment and I don't see a deep pool of reliable spare rolling stock in storage. One big problem with the "state investment" political solution to Amtrak's financial situation is the lack of available rolling stock (new or refurbished) to the states.

  by hsr_fan
 
Doesn't Amtrak have over 100 Amfleet coaches wasting away in storage, along with P40's, Turboliners, ex-Metroliner cabs, Heritage cars, and who knows what else?

If any states wish to purchase their own equipment, like North Carolina, California, Washington, and other states have done, Amtrak has quite a selection to choose from!

  by metrarider
 
usa4624 wrote:It appears the Illinois has given up on this for the time being; all of the work on this corridor has stopped. There are 4 quadrant crossings and new signals that have been waiting to be cut in for a year or more.

fff
hsr_fan wrote:Is Illinois still planning on running at speeds above 79 mph anytime soon between Chicago and Springfield? Right now, all that upgraded Class 6 track is going to waste.
According to a reputable industry insider posting on another board (and IIRC occasionally posts here as well) a week or so ago, the PTC system was deemed a failure, and the contractor (Lockheed Martin) is going to pop for a more conventional cab signal alternative.

So it sounds like we'll still see higher speeds, but the question of just when exactly this will happen is a good one.

[edit] I also found this relatively recent press release on the FRA site, indicating the project is still moving forward, all though it's very light on the details

http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/press-releases/106

[further edit]
Also, as an aside, IIRC the PTC system envisaged used differential GPS to precisely locate trains. The use of differential GPS requires Federal Differential GPS infrastructure, which I beleive is slated to have it's funding cut, in favor of WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System). This may have had some effect on the PTC program, although I imagine it wouldn't be technically difficult to switch from one to the other.

  by Rockingham Racer
 
One market that could open up as a result of the new trains is Milwaukee to points south and southwest of Chicago. [ First train out to connect with the new morning trains to Carbondale and Quincy.]

On another note, these two routes pass through a lot of college towns, or near them. It will be interesting to see if the college set uses the train now that service has doubled on the two lines I'm referring to. From what I know, the largest factor in building ridership is frequency, then dependability, not speed.

And finally, having decent suburban stops [Homewood & Lagrange] id a plus that could capture some suburban passengers.

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
TomNelligan wrote:
Doesn't Amtrak have some significant student markets in the Midwest too, like the University of Illinois?


Mr Nelligan's inquiry was made as part of discussion at another topic, but to respond there would have drawn that discussion off topic.

Ignoring any consideration of election eve goodies by the incumbent Governor (who's "got it in the bag"), the IC has three on line universities all with student population in excess of 20K. Southern Illinois University (Salukis 21,589) is at Carbondale, Eastern Illinois University (11,651) is in Charleston near Mattoon, and University of Illinois U/C (Illini, 40,694) is in Urbana and Champaign ("back in my day"; East Berlin or West Berlin - West was your town; East was the other guys).

The GM&O serves Illinois State (20,757) at Normal and an array of schools in St Louis (Washington Univ et al) that draw students from Illinois.

The CB&Q Illinois Zephyr serves Western Illinois Univ (13,556) at Macomb.

Unserved is Northern Illinois University (Huskies 24,818) which is on the C&NW at DeKalb. UP of course takes pride that the Overland Route is a "passenger free zone" Elburn IL to Wells NV and obviously intends to keep it that way. However there is perpetual 'talk' of METRA extending service to DeKalb.

Please excuse me if I omitted your school; my scope was limited to the major State universities.

GBN
Univ of Illinois/UC '70

  by John_Perkowski
 
Moderator's Note:

The data analysis on West Coast corridors has been given its own thread.

  by mkellerm
 
For those who have not seen this, the following is from this week's NARP Hotline:
Also on October 30, Illinois will unveil their new service: one additional train each to Carbondale and Quincy and two more trains to St. Louis. Inaugural events for the new Illinois service will take place as follows: October 17, Carbondale-Chicago (morning departure from Carbondale); October 18, Chicago-St. Louis (morning departure from Chicago); and October 19, Chicago-Quincy (morning departure from Chicago). All three trains will make all scheduled stops; length varies by events scheduled at each stop.
Unfortunately, Illinois is a bit of a hike for me, but maybe some of our colleagues will be able to participate in the festivities. As far as I know, there is still no official word on train names or schedules for the Chicago-St. Louis or Chicago-Quincy trains.

  by byte
 
I'm heading off to UIUC this coming January, and I've noticed that there are some graduates who post here. So, relating to the topic at hand, how well-used is the Illini by students going between Urbana-Champaign and Chicago? I'm pretty happy to see the new Saluki service being implemented, as the departure times are easier to work around.

The reason I ask about how well-used the trains are by students is because a friend of mine, who's gone there for two years, didn't even know about Amtrak's service there. According to him, most students use a bus company called "Suburban Express" which runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They look to be in competition with Amtrak (their website makes false claims about Amtrak's seating policies, saying that you will have to "sit on the floor because they overbook"), and don't look like a very professional operation, as compared with most privately-owned bus lines.

I've actually read numerous complaints (about students being treated unfairly or denied service for some ridiculous reason) about a few of the "college shuttle" bus companies that work in the area, and I would hope that Amtrak's improved service would help cut into what appears to be a small monopoly these bus lines have over the students of UIUC, EIU, and ISU. Now would be a good time for them to start publicizing the service for the big rush in December when everyone goes home for break, since the $12 advance reservation price cannot be beat by any bus line.
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