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  #821  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2012, 8:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
That certainly is excellent news. Hopefully other corridors will follow suit, preferably something linking Chicago and Cleveland at the very least...

Should Cleveland see an increase in daily trains, will they build a new train station? That shack is a huge disappointment and an embarassment, and this is coming from a guy born and raised in Pittsburgh!!
Cleveland is planning a "West Shore" commuter rail service, which might include a new set of platforms at Tower City under a proposed casino. You'd need a couple more track connections elsewhere in the Cleveland area to bring Amtrak to Tower City, but the station itself is the most complex part.
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  #822  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2012, 11:02 AM
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Another article on the speed-up on the Wolverine & Blue Water:

Quote:


Feds give Amtrak permission to speed up trains between Detroit, Chicago

Matt Helms | Detroit Free Press

February 8, 2012

Faster Amtrak service between Detroit and Chicago got a big boost with federal approval for passenger rail to travel at up to 110 m.p.h. on part of the route, officials said Tuesday.

In fact, some passengers may have traveled that fast already without knowing it, at least for short distances, as the state and Amtrak tested safety systems in recent months.

Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation said the Federal Railroad Administration approved the higher speed limit on 80 miles of track in southwest Michigan and Indiana in an effort to shave travel time between the two cities -- likely about 30 minutes.

The track serves Amtrak's Wolverine line between Pontiac and Chicago through Detroit and Ann Arbor as well as the Blue Water line from Port Huron to Chicago through East Lansing.

Amtrak has been working for more than a decade to raise top speeds between Detroit and Chicago -- from 79 m.p.h. to 90 m.p.h. in 2002 and then to 95 m.p.h. in 2005. The agency said successful testing of safety systems on Amtrak-owned track between Kalamazoo and Porter, Ind., led the feds to approve the 110-m.p.h. speed.

The nation's fastest passenger train is the Acela Express, traveling up to 150 m.p.h. between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

On Feb. 15, Amtrak plans to release details about when the higher speeds will be in regular service.

...

Amtrak said success on the west Michigan portion of the tracks will help the state and Amtrak boost speeds to 110 m.p.h. on 135 miles of track between Kalamazoo and Dearborn that MDOT is buying from Norfolk Southern for $140 million. Negotiations could conclude this spring, said MDOT spokeswoman Janet Foran.

...
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  #823  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2012, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Cleveland is planning a "West Shore" commuter rail service, which might include a new set of platforms at Tower City under a proposed casino. You'd need a couple more track connections elsewhere in the Cleveland area to bring Amtrak to Tower City, but the station itself is the most complex part.
Having a couple more track connections? I'm not sure what you mean by that. Do you mean Amtrak having more train routings in the Greater Cleveland area? Amtrak could have been going in that direction, but the genius governor killed the proposed Ohio-hub project. He said it was excessive spending, and I think he's full of it.
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  #824  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 7:53 PM
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This is taking place today/tonight.


You're Invited!

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is hosting public information meetings for the Illinois State Rail Plan. IDOT is seeking public input on the current and future passenger and freight rail needs within the state.

Illinois State Rail Plan Public Meetings To Be Held

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
233 S. Wacker Drive # 800, Chicago, IL 60606-6466
*To pre-register for building access, please contact
Ingrid Witherspoon at (312)-454-0400.
(http://campaign.r20.constantcontact....ONte7sEgSqx7AO)
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  #825  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:14 PM
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Once MIchigan gets their rails up to 110mph standard, how much more of a leap is it to get to 150mph standard and run some Acela trains in the Midwest?
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  #826  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:45 PM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Once MIchigan gets their rails up to 110mph standard, how much more of a leap is it to get to 150mph standard and run some Acela trains in the Midwest?
Full grade separation is an FRA requirement for Class 7 track and up, IIRC. Also since there is no electrification in place new locomotives (probably turbine powered) would be needed.

I also seem to recall that some of the curvature on the route inside Michigan isn't conducive to high speed but that could possibly be overcome with tilting trainsets.
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  #827  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 10:24 PM
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I thought tilting trainsets were fairly impractical in the US because they require a much higher level of maintenance? Otherwise we would have seen them a long time ago.

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Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
Having a couple more track connections? I'm not sure what you mean by that. Do you mean Amtrak having more train routings in the Greater Cleveland area? Amtrak could have been going in that direction, but the genius governor killed the proposed Ohio-hub project. He said it was excessive spending, and I think he's full of it.
The West Shore project is a commuter line out to Sandusky, and as I understand it, the project has the support of the state government (probably the project boosters are not asking for any state money). Initially it would simply link to the Red Line at West Blvd, but later phases call for the commuter trains to be extended to new platforms at Tower City. If these are built, then Amtrak could switch to them instead of the crappy site on the lakefront. But in order to do this, there are a couple of junctions that would need to be reconfigured.
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  #828  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 10:51 PM
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I thought tilting trainsets were fairly impractical in the US because they require a much higher level of maintenance? Otherwise we would have seen them a long time ago.
The Acela Express trainsets are tilting, though restricted on certain parts of the NEC due to clearance issues. I think the general lack of tilting trains in the US has more to do with the limited speeds that most of our passenger network operates at and the loooong times in between equipment replacement. IIRC, all the new Talgo cars purchased for Amtrak will be tilting models also.
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  #829  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
Full grade separation is an FRA requirement for Class 7 track and up, IIRC. Also since there is no electrification in place new locomotives (probably turbine powered) would be needed.

I also seem to recall that some of the curvature on the route inside Michigan isn't conducive to high speed but that could possibly be overcome with tilting trainsets.
Doubt if anyone will switch to turbine powered diesels in the US anymore because of high fuel consumption and high maintenance costs. At current fuel costs, just not going to happen.

To get Acela type speeds, full grade separation will be necessary on the >=125mph portions and really anywhere above 100-110 mph. And the line would have to be electrified, which is going to the less expensive than the curve straightening and grade separation components. Should point out that the NEC still has 11 grade crossings, all in eastern CT on a stretch of the Shore Line East, so one does not have to close all grade crossings to have a 150 to 160 mph train route. Amtrak should restart efforts to close some of those grade crossings permanently over the protests of the NIMBYs, but that is a NEC subject.

The best options in general for electrified HSR corridors in the Midwest will be on abandoned rail lines or barely used lines which can brought from the freight companies and used to construct or cobble together a HSR route. Will not be inexpensive.
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  #830  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
The Acela Express trainsets are tilting, though restricted on certain parts of the NEC due to clearance issues. I think the general lack of tilting trains in the US has more to do with the limited speeds that most of our passenger network operates at and the loooong times in between equipment replacement. IIRC, all the new Talgo cars purchased for Amtrak will be tilting models also.
All the Talgos used for the Cascades service are tilting trainsets as are the 4 new Talgo sets being built. To enable tilting, fixed trainset consists are effectively necessary, AFAIK. Amtrak prefers to utilize standard single and double level cars for its primary fleet so it can swap cars and adjust consists as needed. Fixed length consists work best on well defined corridor services where the trainsets stay on that corridor with a higher frequency of service.
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  #831  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by afiggatt View Post
Doubt if anyone will switch to turbine powered diesels in the US anymore because of high fuel consumption and high maintenance costs. At current fuel costs, just not going to happen.

To get Acela type speeds, full grade separation will be necessary on the >=125mph portions and really anywhere above 100-110 mph. And the line would have to be electrified, which is going to the less expensive than the curve straightening and grade separation components. Should point out that the NEC still has 11 grade crossings, all in eastern CT on a stretch of the Shore Line East, so one does not have to close all grade crossings to have a 150 to 160 mph train route. Amtrak should restart efforts to close some of those grade crossings permanently over the protests of the NIMBYs, but that is a NEC subject.

The best options in general for electrified HSR corridors in the Midwest will be on abandoned rail lines or barely used lines which can brought from the freight companies and used to construct or cobble together a HSR route. Will not be inexpensive.
Some variation of the Bombardier Jet Train would be a practical option. It has a diesel engine in addition to the turbine to get around the fuel consumption issues with low speed operation/idling.

Amtrak is also limited to 75mph through the remaining grade crossings in CT. You can have crossings on an high speed route, you just can't be going fast through them...which if you have a lot of crossings kind of defeats the point.
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  #832  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2012, 1:50 AM
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Originally Posted by afiggatt View Post
To enable tilting, fixed trainset consists are effectively necessary, AFAIK.
Not necessarily. The Canadian LRC cars can tilt, and they can be intermixed freely with other rolling stock.

EDIT: although, according to Wikipedia, they usually run them with the tilting mechanism disabled these days, and apparently a capital investment program is going to remove the tilting mechanism entirely from the cars (!) over the next couple years.
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  #833  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2012, 2:41 AM
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That sounds to me like the tilting mechanism is a maintenance nightmare, so much that they're spending scarce capital dollars to un-tilt the coaches.

I guess I'm leery of the whole tilting concept because it feels like we've been there, done that already. Numerous railroads introduced tilting technology in the 1960s and 70s, and all it did was give them some nice publicity and 2 shiny new trainsets while the tracks continued to degrade and the US railroad industry continued to crumble.

If we're gonna spend a boatload to get fast locomotives, I hope we can do better than the JetTrain. The Acela is cumbersome and clunky, and the JetTrain is the exact same thing with a jet engine instead of a pantograph.
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  #834  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2012, 5:03 AM
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Some variation of the Bombardier Jet Train would be a practical option. It has a diesel engine in addition to the turbine to get around the fuel consumption issues with low speed operation/idling.

Amtrak is also limited to 75mph through the remaining grade crossings in CT. You can have crossings on an high speed route, you just can't be going fast through them...which if you have a lot of crossings kind of defeats the point.
Yes, I should have added the grade crossings on the NEC are on a slow winding part of the Shore Line East route. All of the NEC crossings have quad gates I believe except the 3 crossings in the middle of New London, but the speed through new London is a non-HSR 25 mph.
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  #835  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2012, 9:47 PM
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County helps fund Fort Wayne-Chicago train study
Vivian Sade | The Journal Gazette


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FORT WAYNE -- The Allen County commissioners agreed unanimously Friday to contribute money to study the viability and economic benefits of passenger train service from Fort Wayne to northern Indiana and Chicago.

Rich Davis, director of the Downtown Improvement District, said the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association is close to having the $80,000 needed to proceed with the first of several studies involving rail service from Fort Wayne to Chicago. Davis is also a member of the rail association.
http://journalgazette.net/article/20...OCAL/120229734
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  #836  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2012, 10:48 PM
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County helps fund Fort Wayne-Chicago train study
Vivian Sade | The Journal Gazette



http://journalgazette.net/article/20...OCAL/120229734
This certainly is good news! Aren't there two trains that pass through the area, the Lakeshore and Capitol Limited? I know the Capitol gets in there absurdly early in the AM (it stops at Pittsburgh between 11pm and 1am in each direction). Hopefully this can lead to eventually getting HSR service out to Cleveland and hopefully Pittsburgh... This corridor is considered to be a megalopolis just like the NEC altho not quite as populous...
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  #837  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2012, 12:58 AM
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The preferred corridor for high-speed rail passes through Fort Wayne on the way to Toledo. The tracks are straighter, not as busy, and serving Fort Wayne is better than the other option, which is to serve South Bend/Elkhart.

Since Ohio wants nothing to do with rail service, though, we'd have to start with a Chicago-Ft Wayne line and worry about a Toledo extension later. However, even Indiana is on the fence about rail service, and they've made no motions toward upgrading Chicago-Indy service. In fairness, though, the biggest problems on that line are in Illinois, not Indiana.
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  #838  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2012, 2:23 AM
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The biggest problems might be in Illinois, but the Indiana portion still needs a lot to make it a competitive route—it takes a little under five hours to get from Dyer to Indianapolis via the Cardinal or Hoosier State, whereas Google gives me 2:47 by car (and almost all the Indiana trackage is owned by CSX, too).
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  #839  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2012, 3:09 AM
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The Illinois problems are those of reliability... more often than not the Hoosier State and Cardinal get delayed at Dolton Junction for an hour or several.

Fortunately, any number of solutions will be constructed in the next 10 years (Grand Crossing, St. Charles Air Line into Union, etc).

Speeding up the scheduled times is great, and that's Indiana's problem, but all that means nothing if the train loses 90 minutes exiting Chicagoland.
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  #840  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2012, 3:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The preferred corridor for high-speed rail passes through Fort Wayne on the way to Toledo. The tracks are straighter, not as busy, and serving Fort Wayne is better than the other option, which is to serve South Bend/Elkhart.

Since Ohio wants nothing to do with rail service, though, we'd have to start with a Chicago-Ft Wayne line and worry about a Toledo extension later. However, even Indiana is on the fence about rail service, and they've made no motions toward upgrading Chicago-Indy service. In fairness, though, the biggest problems on that line are in Illinois, not Indiana.
Yeah, at least 4 years later or whenever Kasich goes away. I agree that it is a high-priority HSR line. It is a line that will eventually link 3 of the largest economic centers in the region.

Regarding Indiana tho, I thought part of this HSR corridor that just got the green light for 110 mph goes through a portion of northern Indiana and uses a portion of the Chicago-to-Ft. Wayne line. Maybe I'm wrong...
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