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  #21  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 4:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Hell, why not shift the Hiawatha over to Metra's North Central line? It would rejoin the Milwaukee Road using UP's tracks from Des Plaines to Northbrook.

This way, it would serve O'Hare. The O'Hare Transfer station will soon be connected to the People Mover directly, and a huge new parking garage will be built. Why not use this garage for rail travelers as well? The highway systems already exist to bring suburbanites to O'Hare.
Functionally, I think this is the best idea, as the O'Hare Transfer station and parking facilities are also highly accessible via the tollways (294 and 90). That said, I know nothing about the current freight operations on the lines nor what would be involved in obtaining operating rights. I suppose if we're talking about infinity billion dollars from the Feds anything is possible, but I can imagine Union Pacific and CN (? I think that's who owns the NCS?) would have a great deal to say about such a proposal.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 6:48 AM
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Functionally, I think this is the best idea, as the O'Hare Transfer station and parking facilities are also highly accessible via the tollways (294 and 90). That said, I know nothing about the current freight operations on the lines nor what would be involved in obtaining operating rights. I suppose if we're talking about infinity billion dollars from the Feds anything is possible, but I can imagine Union Pacific and CN (? I think that's who owns the NCS?) would have a great deal to say about such a proposal.
Let's fine them infinity billion dollars

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  #23  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 9:42 AM
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Functionally, I think this is the best idea, as the O'Hare Transfer station and parking facilities are also highly accessible via the tollways (294 and 90). That said, I know nothing about the current freight operations on the lines nor what would be involved in obtaining operating rights. I suppose if we're talking about infinity billion dollars from the Feds anything is possible, but I can imagine Union Pacific and CN (? I think that's who owns the NCS?) would have a great deal to say about such a proposal.
With CN's purchase of the EJ&E, freight traffic on this segment should decrease substantially - CN claims it will go down to 2/3 trains per day, since its freight trains will be using the new route. The segment is already (mostly) triple-tracked, which should be enough to support both high-speed rail and increased Metra service.

http://www.dhke.com/CRJ/others-ns.html Read the "Leithton Junction" section.

I'm not sure about the UP line (called the "New Line"). It might need to have additional sidings or tracks added.

Of course, all this discussion goes out the window when we start talking about 220mph service...
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Agreed....as much as it turns my stomach to have to pander to the disperse living arrangement crowd it may be necessary to have some strategic stops to jump start ridership.....
\
In the case of the north suburbs it is probably necessary for at least one stop maybe even 2 to make HSR competitive with auto at least if you are going to Milw.


Unfortunately, the cost in time is borne by all of us because some people cannot handle any density above about 3000 / sq mile
It's not about "pandering to the disperse living arrangment crowd," whatever in the world that means, it's about dealing with reality. And the reality is in America most people live in the suburbs. I realize that many people on this forum want us to be Europe but we are not Europe and Europe didn't develop the way it did for no reason, it developed that way because they didn't have cars. Now we can take some of the good things they have like HSR, but let's get down to earth, we will always have the suburbs. I don't think HSR should be exclusive to only people that live near the Loop! I take the Hiawatha a lot and the amount of people that get on and off at the suburban stops is quite enough to keep them, and there really are only 3 of them.

Now shifting that suburban stop from Glenview to O'Hare I would fully support and would make just too much sense to happen. It would give a HSR connection from O'Hare to Mitchell and Mitchell is easily the most used suburban stop along the line in my experience. O'Hare would blow it away. It would also give the advocates of an express train from O'Hare to downtown Chicago exactly what they want. Everyone would win.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 2:27 PM
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Just my opinion, but I think any O'Hare HSR station should be on a west bound line, like towards Quincy or the Quad Cities. You're discussing moving a north bound HSR train west. Soon you'll be discussing moving the south bound and east bound HSR trains west to O'Hare too.
I'll admit using an airport as a suburban HSR station is a good idea. But I disagree using it if that means routing the HSR train in the wrong general direction.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 2:53 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
Just my opinion, but I think any O'Hare HSR station should be on a west bound line, like towards Quincy or the Quad Cities. You're discussing moving a north bound HSR train west. Soon you'll be discussing moving the south bound and east bound HSR trains west to O'Hare too.
I'll admit using an airport as a suburban HSR station is a good idea. But I disagree using it if that means routing the HSR train in the wrong general direction.
???
Are you getting O'Hare and Midway confused?

O'Hare is about 15 miles north and west* of the city, and would add more ridership than any other station on the line. Further, it would reduce the need for plane traffic between MKE and ORD. It would also answer the demand for an airport to downtown shuttle.

*edit...sorry.

Last edited by ChicagoChicago; Jul 22, 2009 at 7:32 PM.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 6:37 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
Just my opinion, but I think any O'Hare HSR station should be on a west bound line, like towards Quincy or the Quad Cities. You're discussing moving a north bound HSR train west. Soon you'll be discussing moving the south bound and east bound HSR trains west to O'Hare too.
I'll admit using an airport as a suburban HSR station is a good idea. But I disagree using it if that means routing the HSR train in the wrong general direction.
The south- and east- bound trains can have a dedicated line, in the form of 2 tracks along the Metra Electric Line. It would be a waste not to use that line. The north- and west-bound trains, however, have to share the line with Metra and commuter trains regardless. At that point, the high-speed trains might as well use the alignment that serves O'Hare, out of the many possibilities.

As I've shown, the CN line between Des Plaines and Franklin Park is about to become very lightly-used, and the Milwaukee Road between Franklin Park and downtown Chicago is owned by Metra, so freight interference isn't a problem.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 6:51 PM
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???
Are you getting O'Hare and Midway confused?

O'Hare is about 15 miles north and east of the city, and would add more ridership than any other station on the line. Further, it would reduce the need for plane traffic between MKE and ORD. It would also answer the demand for an airport to downtown shuttle.
electricron brings up a good point. O'Hare is west of the city which is what I am sure you meant to say. I did a rough calculation and starting from the NCS (O'Hare) and MD-N (Glenview) route split at Western Ave. it is 35 miles to meet up back at the Rockland Rd. Junction where the EJ&E would feed back into the MD-N to head up to Milwaukee.

Going strait on the MD-N to that junction is 27 miles and pretty much a strait shot unlike the O'Hare route. So essentially going to O'Hare adds on another 7-8 miles with the important caveat O'Hare route is a good deal less straight. I also think there are locations on the NCS/O'Hare route where it is still single tracked which would have to be doubled or tripled tracked. Perhaps the O'Hare route would only put a few minutes extra on but there would be an increase and it would have to be studied how much and if the diverted route is worth it.

......Or another idea is to perhaps mothball airport x-press from Block 37 to O'Hare and instead do what arguably should have been done before and connect airport x-press service from the downtown HSR hub that could leave every fifteen minutes and connect to O'Hare in 20 minutes. While not the MOST ideal for the Chi-Mil travelers it would serve well those coming from the St.Louis, Detroit, and Cinny lines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Hell, why not shift the Hiawatha over to Metra's North Central line? It would rejoin the Milwaukee Road using UP's tracks from Des Plaines to Northbrook.

This way, it would serve O'Hare. The O'Hare Transfer station will soon be connected to the People Mover directly, and a huge new parking garage will be built. Why not use this garage for rail travelers as well? The highway systems already exist to bring suburbanites to O'Hare.

Just put together what route you are talking about. This does seem to make more sense then then NCS -> EJ&E -> MD-N route I was envisioning in order to include O'Hare. The UP track as a plus is much more strait then the EJ&E track which could connect the NCS and MD-N farther north.

I did a rough calculation from Western Ave of the two lines and along the O'Hare/NCS or NCS -> UP -> MD-N route came in about 21 miles. The strait shot along the MD-N from Western Ave. to that junction south of Techny where the train gets back on the MD-N on up to Milwaukee is a bit over 15 miles. So in this case it is going six miles out of the way to the divergent O'Hare route. Not bad as long as one can get UP on board.

Last edited by nomarandlee; Jul 23, 2009 at 12:02 AM.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 8:35 PM
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Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
Just put together what route you are talking about. This does seem to make more sense then then NCS -> EJ&E -> MD-N route I was envisioning in order to include O'Hare. The UP track as a plus is much more strait then the EJ&E track which could connect the NCS and MD-N farther north.

I did a rough calculation from Western of the NCS -> UP -> MD-N and got about 21. miles. The strait shot along the MD-N from Western to that junction south of Techny is bit over 15 miles. So in this case it is going six miles out of the way. Not bad as long as one can get UP on board.
All it would need is a flyover at Deval (Des Plaines Junction) and a third track between there and Higgins.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 4:14 AM
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http://www.insideindianabusiness.com...D=36765#middle


An unprecedented bipartisan coalition of supporters of intercity high speed passenger rail service today applauded the State of Indiana for seeking federal passenger rail stimulus funds.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recently submitted three pre-applications for passenger rail funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The pre-applications are a required first step in tapping some of the $8 billion available for designing and building regional high speed passenger rail networks, including the Midwest Regional Rail System which would serve Indiana.

“We commend Gov. Mitch Daniels and INDOT for taking this significant step to join our Midwest neighbors in making intercity high speed passenger rail a component of an integrated 21st century transportation system,” said Roger Sims of the Indiana High Speed Rail Association (IHSRA).

"This is a great opportunity for citizens of the state of Indiana to have a first class passenger rail system,” said Marvin B. Scott of Indianapolis, a member of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission.

The state’s action was encouraged in a series of letters sent by 10 Indiana mayors, local Chambers of Commerce, businesses, and passenger rail advocates. Already two metropolitan planning organizations – Lafayette and Northwest Indiana – have passed resolutions of support for intercity passenger rail.

“We are very encouraged that the State is moving toward capturing a portion of these critical federal stimulus funds,” said Tim Maloney, senior policy director of the Hoosier Environmental Council. “The economic benefits to mass transit and high speed rail – such as better access to jobs and local economic development – have the potential to increase land values and local tax revenues. Our environment stands to gain as well, with improved air quality and a reduction in congestion and carbon emissions.”

The pre-applications INDOT submitted focus on: 1) the proposed line running through Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Northwest Indiana between Chicago and Cincinnati (environmental and pre-engineering) 2) the proposed line running through Northwest Indiana and Fort Wayne between Chicago and Toledo/Cleveland (environmental and pre-engineering) and 3) initial steps to relieve major rail congestion in Northwest Indiana, which will benefit all three proposed Indiana high speed passenger rail lines as well as freight rail.

“Although communities along the routes would initially benefit the most, this investment will have positive economic development ramifications for the entire state and for the Midwest. According to an analysis conducted for the nine-state Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, an improved passenger rail system will bring more than 4,500 permanent new jobs to Indiana, generate an additional $86 million of extra household income, and bring $2.3-$3.5 billion in user benefits to the state,” said Dana Smith, Director, Chamber of Commerce/Greater Lafayette Commerce, and an IHSRA board member.

Indiana’s three applications for funding are compatible with an application submitted by the State of Illinois for a Chicago high speed rail terminal, which would also benefit the lines running through Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and beyond.

Source: Indiana High Speed Rail Association, Hoosier Environmental Council, Lafayette-West Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 6:03 AM
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I wonder if these applications are just for study money, or for actual design/construction costs? I can't imagine Indiana's plans are very advanced currently, since there's been almost zip from the state up until now.

Lots of states are just requesting money to conduct feasibility studies and draft EIS.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 7:40 AM
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It depends on the state. Here in Michigan, for instance, we're well past the study stage and have been upgrading the current high-speed route for a few years, now.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 3:50 PM
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The key is that the Indiana applications are compatible with the Illinois and Michigan Apps. The HSR route to Indiana includes the "South of the Lake Reroute" which is also part of CREATE.

In other words this is extremely good news, and if the SOTLRR is granted stimulus funds for study/EIS, then we could actually have true HSR to Indy and Detroit before 2016.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 3:55 PM
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Another interesting note in the Indiana press release is that for the first time (that I have seen) an elected official from Indiana has actually named the preferred eastern route to Cleveland. IE. the Ft. Wayne route as opposed to the South Bend route. Most Indiana sources always showed both routes as "under study". We know that both routes will not be upgraded to HSR. The FtWayne route is far less populated with freight than the SB route.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 5:27 PM
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SB and FW could theoretically be included in a single route. This would only add 10-20 miles to the route depending on if / how much greenfield ROW they decided to build between SB and FW.

If the line is built as 150-220mph, and express trains are alowed to proceed through SB / Elkhart at high speed, you'd hardly notice the extra mileage at all.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2009, 6:25 PM
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I think that could work, connecting SB to FW. And not to be glib, but in reference to building greenfield row, there's really a lot of nothing in that area of the Midwest. Wouldn't it be cheaper to build new HSR track or at least bypasses around every podunk little town, rather than erecting all the viaducts necessary for grade separation?
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  #37  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2009, 9:54 AM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...0,376023.story


Iowa optimistic that trains are in state's future

By NIGEL DUARA

Associated Press Writer

2:25 PM CDT, July 26, 2009

IOWA CITY, Iowa

The days of the Corn Belt Rocket are long gone, but state officials and railroad supporters are optimistic that passenger trains could soon crisscross Iowa again.

First Iowa must vie with others states for a share of $8 billion in federal rail funding, which Gov. Chet Culver intends to win by lobbying transportation officials and teaming up with the state's neighbors.

He was doing both on Sunday, building public support by riding a special train to Chicago and picking up a key passenger, Amtrak Board of Director Chairman Tom Carper, along the way. Once in Chicago, Culver planned to attend a Midwest rail meeting Monday and was expected to sign a rail agreement with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

"This will not be a project that is going to take us years or cost us tens of millions of dollars" in state funds, Culver said. "It's very affordable and something I think most Iowans are very excited about."

The Midwest appears to have some advantages because central states for years have worked together promoting lines that would stretch from Chicago to regional centers, such as St. Louis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The region also has a strong network of freight rails that could be upgraded and used for passenger trains.

Winning federal money won't be easy, though, as 40 states have submitted 278 plans that total $102 billion for federal rail funding.

"All across the nation now, communities and states are really jumping on the bandwagon, saying `We want our passenger rail line, too," said Laura Kliewer, director of the Midwest Passenger Rail Commission. "But the Midwest really has been planning for so long, and states have moved forward. ... I think that the region's poised to know exactly what needs to be done."

In Iowa, the initial focus would be on two lines from Chicago, one reaching to Dubuque and the other to Iowa City via the Quad Cities. State officials hope trains could run on those lines by spring 2012 or sooner.

The state also is seeking $29 million to improve a Burlington Northern Santa Fe line across southern Iowa, speeding up the cross-country California Zephyr that already makes several stops in Iowa.

The additional lines would mean Iowa would be served by four Amtrak routes, although the Southwest Chief only passes through the southeast corner of the state with a stop in Fort Madison.

"There's an interest and belief that we can see things done sooner once we know the funding commitment," Culver spokesman Phil Roeder said. "It's our feeling that 2012 might be a bit too conservative."

Culver and state transportation officials have called for an Iowa City line eventually to be extended west to Des Moines and Omaha, Neb. That effort suffered a setback recently with word that Amtrak won't complete a study of the extension until next year.

Rail service has been limited in Iowa since the 1970s, when the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad dropped its passenger service as the company was struggling and in bankruptcy. At one time, the railroad ran several trains through the state, including the Corn Belt Rocket from Chicago to Omaha and the Twin Star Rocket from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Chicago.

Tammy Nicholson, director of the state's Office of Rail Transportation, said initial reaction by federal officials to the plan has been positive.

"We're getting more enthusiasm for `Let's get it going' and expand across the state and potentially go north and south across the state," Nicholson said.

The state's plan relies on funding from the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. The name of the federal program is a bit of a misnomer because it will divide the $8 billion into three segments: actual high-speed rail, with top speeds of 150 mph; conventional rail, called Intercity Passenger Rail; and congestion grants, which would add tracks to reduce delays in heavily traveled intercity rail corridors.

The Federal Railroad Administration hasn't specified the breakdown of the $8 billion.

The rail lines being proposed in Iowa won't feature speeds seen in Japan, parts of Europe or even the Amtrak express lines between Boston and Washington, D.C. Instead, trains would travel at top speeds of 79 mph across improved tracks. That means passengers would make the Iowa City-Chicago trek in about 5 hours.

Kliewer, of the Midwest Passenger Rail Commission, said the region considered high-speed rail years ago but figured the time saved wouldn't be worth the money spent.

Even at the lower speeds, travel by rail would be faster than by car because passengers could avoid traffic and arrive in the heart of downtown Chicago, train supporters argue. Business passengers also could work during the trip rather than watch the road.

The planned Iowa City to Chicago route would feature two daily round trips between the cities and would carry 187,000 passengers annually, according to an Amtrak feasibility study. Most of the line to Dubuque would be in Illinois, and depending on the route, officials estimate the daily round trip would see annual ridership of between 44,000 and 74,000.

In cities where the trains would stop, local officials would be responsible for financing the construction or rehabilitation of depots. Federal money would be available for upgrades such as wheelchair-accessible platforms.

The $57 million cost of the Chicago to Iowa City line would be divided between Iowa and Illinois. Iowa's share is estimated at $34 million, plus the expense of building train stations.

Illinois would pay nearly the entire $60 million cost of the Chicago to Dubuque line because only the end of the route would be in Iowa.

If the rail lines are approved, Iowa would spend $3 million a year to bridge the gap between the rail lines' expenses and their ticket revenue.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Not to be a Debbie Downer but, Im just sayin that the Dubuque line is costing Illinois $60 million + annual op subsidues, why not just run that baby north from Rockford up to Madison. Then we can get Wisco to help pay + we would be connecting 2 actual urban populations; Rockfrd+Madison to Chicago.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Every town is jumping on the MWRRI bandwagon

And now some of the more obscure rail expansion plans:

South western Indiana is reviving an old plan for a Chicago-Terre Haute to Evansville line. This is a short line revival of the old Dixie Flyer route and Floridian route that used to connect Chicago to Evansville, Nashville, Birmigham and eventually Miami,FL.

http://www.utu.org/worksite/detail_n...rticleID=46817
and
http://www.tribstar.com/local/local_...122220016.html


And in Iowa, long range vision for extending the Chicago - Dubuque line further into Iowa with a terminus at Waterloo.

http://www.iowadot.gov/IowaPassengerRail/plans.htm

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  #40  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2009, 4:51 PM
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'All paths lead to Chicago', via air, road, rail... Kinda has a nice ring to it
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