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  #941  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 9:11 PM
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The apocalypse is nigh! 2012, 2012!

With the Michigan track work completed, on time improvements for the Wolverine have been pretty astounding. In fact, on Sunday all three westbound trains were early arriving into CUS. Has this ever happened, sometimes there would be whole months without a single train being on time.

Sunday May 6:
351-4 minutes early
353-24 minutes early
355-25 minutes early

There have also been the run of the mill 25-40 minute late trains, and one train which was over two hours late, but those seem to be the exceptions. For a train that was routinely 30 minutes down without super slow zones, these times are impressive. Bring on more upgrades. Or maybe because it is 2012 we should just stop the upgrades since the world is going to end and all, for on time Wolverine is surely foretelling the end of the Earth.
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  #942  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 9:15 PM
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This also talks about transit delays.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/us...pagewanted=all

May 7, 2012


Freight Train Late? Blame Chicago

By JOHN SCHWARTZ


CHICAGO — When it comes to rail traffic, Chicago is America’s speed bump.

Shippers complain that a load of freight can make its way from Los Angeles to Chicago in 48 hours, then take 30 hours to travel across the city. A recent trainload of sulfur took some 27 hours to pass through Chicago — an average speed of 1.13 miles per hour, or about a quarter the pace of many electric wheelchairs.

With freight volume in the United States expected to grow by more than 80 percent in the next 20 years, delays are projected to only get worse.

The underlying reasons for this sprawling traffic jam are complex, involving history, economics and a nation’s disinclination to improve its roads, bridges, and rails.

Six of the nation’s seven biggest railroads pass through the city, a testament to Chicago’s economic might when the rail lines were laid from the 1800s on. Today, a quarter of all rail traffic in the nation touches Chicago. Nearly half of what is known as intermodal rail traffic, the big steel boxes that can be carried aboard ships, trains or trucks, roll by, or through, this city.

The slowdown involves more than freight. The other day, William C. Thompson, a project manager for the Association of American Railroads, stood next to a crossroads of steel in the Englewood neighborhood pointing to a web of tracks used by freight trains and Amtrak passenger trains that intersected tracks for Metra, Chicago’s commuter rail. The commuter trains get to go first, he said, and so, “Amtrak tells me they have more delays here than anywhere else in the system.”

More delays than anywhere else in the Chicago area? No, he explained. “In the entire United States.”

...
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  #943  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 9:19 PM
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High-speed rail service from Chicago to East gets a boost

May 07, 2012


Advocates of higher speed rail travel — and, frankly, sensible transportation policy — can take some cheer from an announcement that came out late Friday regarding Chicago-to-Detroit service.


The headline is that the U.S. Department of Transportation and four Midwest states have agreed to fund a $4 million study of how to speed passenger service via always-congested northwest Indiana.


(See related story: Englewood flyover may wind up a train wreck)


But the real news is that serious money finally is going not into the Chicago-St. Louis line but in the much higher-potential stretch to the east, which keeps going past Detroit all the way to New York and Washington. And this time, even notoriously tight-with-a-buck Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is joining in.


According to Joe Shacter, Illinois' director of public and intermodal transportation, the study will focus on what can be done to unclog the roughly 40-mile stretch from Chicago to Porter, Ind.


Improving that area could take a full half-hour out of the trip to Detroit

...


Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...#ixzz1uDnj9Yim
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  #944  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 9:25 PM
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checkout this clusterfk





Englewood Flyover may wind up a train wreck

May 03, 2012

| 31 comments




A critical railroad improvement project needed to speed freight, Metra and Amtrak trains on the South Side has suddenly hit a couple of big bumps that threaten to derail the long-awaited job.


In one of two separate but equally meaningful steps, Chicago's three African-American congressmen asked Metra to rebid the proposed $133 million Englewood Flyover contract because it would give hardly any work to black-owned firms.


The three did not say what they would do if Metra balks. But in comments a couple of weeks ago, Democrat Bobby Rush threatened to stop the project "in its tracks" unless changes were made.


Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...#ixzz1uDpM1AJ5
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  #945  
Old Posted May 8, 2012, 2:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bnk View Post
checkout this clusterfk


Englewood Flyover may wind up a train wreck
Sounds like the congressmen just found out about this project and wanted to raise a fuss without reading any of the background information.
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  #946  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Why can't St Louis and Kansas City handle more of the rail traffic and intermodal burden of Chicago ? I think they are already number 3 and number 2 hubs already. I'm guessing St Louis is a bit of a bottleneck though too with the Mississippi as well as the lack of trackage cutting through the Ozarks and the weird mashup of eastern and western railroads. A few years ago it seemed like KC was really expanding multimodal capacity.
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Last edited by Centropolis; May 9, 2012 at 12:35 PM.
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  #947  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 2:19 PM
min-chi-cbus min-chi-cbus is offline
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Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
Why can't St Louis and Kansas City handle more of the rail traffic and intermodal burden of Chicago ? I think they are already number 3 and number 2 hubs already. I'm guessing St Louis is a bit of a bottleneck though too with the Mississippi as well as the lack of trackage cutting through the Ozarks and the weird mashup of eastern and western railroads. A few years ago it seemed like KC was really expanding multimodal capacity.
Or Minneapolis, OKC or Dallas, for that matter (all central cities along that I-35 corridor). Minneapolis, particularly, isn't a large detour for shipments to/from places North of (and including) San Francisco, and is/was also one of the largest rail hubs in the U.S. So they could share the burden for those shipments. Not to mention that trains could detour North of Chicago through the U.P. of Michigan. Dallas, Indy, STL, KC, OKC, etc. could all be options for shipments to/from areas south of (and including) San Francisco, including the almighty LA.
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  #948  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 3:00 PM
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http://transportationfortomorrow.com...ort/ex_3_5.gif

KC looks pretty central to the rail system according to this map. Perhaps some rail lines servicing St Louis and cutting through central Illinois are underutilized. There's a dense mesh of rail lines all over central Illinois.

A more vague major freight corridor map. In this case St Louis is more centralized to service the Midwest and at the beginning and end of a lot of rail lines. Seems like there should be more intermodal facilities...



http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/frei...tcorridors.jpg


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MMQib1nH6v...ilroad-map.gif
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Last edited by Centropolis; May 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM.
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  #949  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 3:11 PM
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Originally Posted by min-chi-cbus View Post
Not to mention that trains could detour North of Chicago through the U.P. of Michigan.
how do you propose trains get across the straits of mackinac? the mackinac bridge only carries truck and car traffic.
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  #950  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 3:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post

http://transportationfortomorrow.com...ort/ex_3_5.gif
KC looks pretty central to the rail system according to this map.
The problem with Kansas City is that it's not served directly by the two largest east coast railroad companies. Most of the corridors into and out of Kansas City belongs to BNSF. St. Louis or Memphis would make a better choice for coast to coast shipments, because all four major freight carriers meet (UP, BNSF, NS, and CSX). The reason these two cities are not growing as fast is that there are mostly single track lines both east and west of the Mississippi River to them.
Additionally, of the 6 Rocky Mountain mainline passes, all 6 have lines aiming for Chicago, 2 have lines aiming for Texas. DFW or Houston would make good hubs, but both CSX and NS don't have good lines heading to them. New Orleans has both CSX and NS from the east, but not both UP and BNSF from the west.
The reason Chicago has so much traffic is that all four major freight carriers meet in Chicago, most of the corridors are at least double tracked approaching Chicago from both east and west directions. St. Louis and Memphis could gain a larger share of coast to coast shipments only if all 4 of the largest railroads increase their capacity in and out of them. That takes cooperation, but these railroads companies are in competition. It's easier for them to make shipment deals through Chicago than elsewhere, because when that deal expires, there's competition available for the next deal....
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  #951  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 3:40 PM
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So we fucked around with steamboats too long...

Memphis already seems to have big modern intermodal facilities and it looks like Norfolk Southern is opening a new one this year. The ones in St Louis seem pretty long in the tooth collecting dust or associated with the ports. St Louis also has the furthest east KCS facility.

One thing that always strikes me is all the flat industrial zoned space, unused rail yards/lines, and wide open overbuilt expressways in and near East St Louis, IL all up and down the valley.
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Last edited by Centropolis; May 9, 2012 at 4:09 PM. Reason: Jc
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  #952  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 10:12 PM
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New Orleans has both CSX and NS from the east, but not both UP and BNSF from the west.
I beg to differ. All five American Class Is have lines into New Orleans, plus CN.
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  #953  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 10:20 PM
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STB approves Michigan rail line assets transfer
Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Surface Transportation Board said the Michigan Department of Transportation does not need board approval to acquire certain physical assets of a Norfolk Southern rail line in Michigan to enable MDOT's plans for high-speed passenger rail service over the line.

On March 30, 2012, MDOT requested expedited board action on its argument that its proposal to acquire and make capital improvements on the NS line assets in several counties across southern Michigan did not require board approval because MDOT would not become a "common carrier" (here, a freight railroad offering its transportation services to the public) as a result of the transaction.

The request was unopposed, and the board agreed with MDOT's position. This action permits MDOT to execute its plan to improve the line, so that Amtrak may run its Wolverine service at speeds of up to 110-mph across the line, while NS continues to provide freight service, as well. MDOT received two High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program grants from the Federal Railroad Administration of more than $346 million for this purpose.

In announcing the board's decision, Board Chairman Daniel Elliott III said, "It's gratifying for the board to be part of a project that benefits so many. I commend the parties on working together to make this venture a reality."
This is the final step, so construction should begin soon.
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  #954  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 12:14 AM
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^
Bad ass. It has taken a really, really long time but it is good to see it coming to a close. Can't wait for more upgrades. Last time I took Amtrak through Jackson, they had to flag every crossing. It will be quite the improvement if they get ITCS throughout.
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  #955  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 1:54 PM
min-chi-cbus min-chi-cbus is offline
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how do you propose trains get across the straits of mackinac? the mackinac bridge only carries truck and car traffic.
I figured there was for certain a railroad going through there....guess not.

BTW, the first two maps don't seem 100% accurate to me. I clicked on the link but didn't see the source of the data.
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  #956  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 2:10 PM
min-chi-cbus min-chi-cbus is offline
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This link looks promising, and should show all system maps by company:

http://www.angelfire.com/tn/johnscno...ystemmaps.html

*Edit: most didn't pop up for me but I'm at work, so lemme know if it sucks and I can remove it.
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  #957  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 2:26 PM
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I couldn't say wether the maps are accurate or not, but the first map doesn't show all railroads of course, it's just a representation of traffic. There's a lot of railroads not even shown. I'm on a smartphone in a pickup cab drinking coffee and checking email at a job site so I only have small spurts of time to look this stuff up.
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  #958  
Old Posted May 11, 2012, 1:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
I couldn't say wether the maps are accurate or not, but the first map doesn't show all railroads of course, it's just a representation of traffic. There's a lot of railroads not even shown. I'm on a smartphone in a pickup cab drinking coffee and checking email at a job site so I only have small spurts of time to look this stuff up.
You're right, the first map does represent traffic. And it's the most important one, because the lines with the most train traffic are the ones the freight railroad companies are willing to reinvest on. Those with little to no train traffic are, or should I state will be, the ones they want to abandon in the future.
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  #959  
Old Posted May 11, 2012, 2:22 AM
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how do you propose trains get across the straits of mackinac? the mackinac bridge only carries truck and car traffic.
Nananananananana nananananananana BOAT TRAIN!
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  #960  
Old Posted May 11, 2012, 2:38 AM
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I couldn't say wether the maps are accurate or not, but the first map doesn't show all railroads of course, it's just a representation of traffic. There's a lot of railroads not even shown. I'm on a smartphone in a pickup cab drinking coffee and checking email at a job site so I only have small spurts of time to look this stuff up.
The first map isn't accurate at all. It doesn't show any connection between Detroit and Chicago, and there is a fair amount of traffic on that line. If they just wanted to show traffic between cities, they should have used straight lines rather than try to make it look like they were representing actual rail corridors.
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