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  #681  
Old Posted May 17, 2011, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan View Post
CMAP’s list of capital projects specifically mentioned three tracks on the RI as a means of accommodating a rerouted SW service and express trains, although the express point seemed a bit odd to me since the triple-tracked sections would start north of 79th, leaving 35th as the only station to skip. And with the new station apparently not leaving any room for a third track, I don’t know where all of this fits in now.
My best guess is that, with the 75th Street corridor problems solved, the SWS travel times from Wrightwood to LaSalle St, currently 30 minutes or more, will drop by about 10-15 minutes (this is how long the Rock takes to get from Gresham to LaSalle St). Since the SWS has a low number of station stops, the attractiveness of this service to south suburbanites will greatly increase.

With the SWS travel times dramatically reduced, SWS can become a sort of "local" service for the mid-South Side, allowing for additional stations to be built while still preserving room in the schedule. The Rock Island trains can run express from Gresham to 35th, since they already make quite a few stops.
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  #682  
Old Posted May 26, 2011, 5:38 PM
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Report: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Spend up to $2 Billion on New Roads

http://www.infrastructurist.com/2011...-on-new-roads/

Do that many people drive on I-90 to widen it to 6 lanes, and there's that much truck traffic?

If one is just going to look at roads, there's got to be some crumbling overpasses, viaducts, and other basic but heavy duty infrastructure work that needs to be done in Milwaukee that would take precident over that.

Scott Walker is high.
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  #683  
Old Posted May 26, 2011, 9:35 PM
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Report: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Spend up to $2 Billion on New Roads

http://www.infrastructurist.com/2011...-on-new-roads/

Do that many people drive on I-90 to widen it to 6 lanes, and there's that much truck traffic?

If one is just going to look at roads, there's got to be some crumbling overpasses, viaducts, and other basic but heavy duty infrastructure work that needs to be done in Milwaukee that would take precident over that.

Scott Walker is high.
Don't worry, they are planning on large-scale Milwaukee area projects, too, that are supposed to begin in the next few years. Like the forthcoming Zoo Interchange reconstruction. And the Hoan Bridge/Lake Freeway reconstructions.
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  #684  
Old Posted May 27, 2011, 1:00 PM
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The last 2 comments are not related to Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.
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  #685  
Old Posted May 27, 2011, 1:35 PM
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The last 2 comments are not related to Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.
I felt the need to jump on the Scott Walker H8 dogpile because it goes back to his stance on rail.
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  #686  
Old Posted May 27, 2011, 8:00 PM
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I'll allow for a little dialogue in the thread, especially since it reveals Scott Walker's hypocrisy about curtailing wasteful spending.

-----

A recent Greg Hinz blog post said that, in the forthcoming new schedule for the Chi-StL line, there will be five round trips, but only three of them will attain 110mph speeds. The other trains will have to go slowly - probably not much faster than they are today.

Also - I always wondered the reason why the HSR improvements were cut short at Dwight. Turns out the Peotone airport boosters wanted the St. Louis trains to detour through Kankakee up to Peotone. (the improvements should extend north to the edge of Chicagoland, at least, where costly second-tracking and flyovers become necessary).

Greg Hinz sees the recent award of money for tracks north of Dwight as a nail in the coffin for the Peotone rail-access plan, but it's not dead yet (in my best Monty Python voice).

-----

Has anybody heard anything about the railcar/locomotive procurement? The Midwestern states just got a huge pot of money to buy new trainsets, but so far we only have two Talgo trainsets which may or may not enter service.

There are plenty of local manufacturers... ElectroMotive, Nippon Sharyo, possibly Talgo, etc...
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  #687  
Old Posted May 28, 2011, 1:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
A recent Greg Hinz blog post said that, in the forthcoming new schedule for the Chi-StL line, there will be five round trips, but only three of them will attain 110mph speeds. The other trains will have to go slowly - probably not much faster than they are today.
The three trains running at 110 mph while the other 2 (one Lincoln Service, the Texas Eagle) don't run at high speed have struck me as odd. However, if you look at the applications that IL submitted it refers to the 2003 FEIS and 2004 ROD in some of the references to 3 high speed trains. Back when all that analysis work including scheduling and track use modeling was done, the Lincoln Service was 3 trains a day.

It may be that the current agreement language with UP only covers up to 3 110 mph trains. The IL applications also just repeat a lot of the 2003 material. So the three 110 mph trains in the applications and public material may in effect be a placeholder. My guess is IL DOT does not want to spend the time and money to update the schedule modeling, until the improvements to entire corridor, including the announced upgrades for the East St. Louis to Alton sections are fully defined. Then rerun the schedule modeling with UP for 5 or more round trip trains to work out all of them would be able to run at 110 mph. There are years of construction work to be done before the trains on the corridor will be able to take full advantage of it. They have time to rework agreements and schedules.

However, one would hope that for the amount of money now being spent on the corridor that they would be able to add an additional daily train. Spending that much without increasing the frequency by even only one additional daily train is not going to look very good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Has anybody heard anything about the railcar/locomotive procurement? The Midwestern states just got a huge pot of money to buy new trainsets, but so far we only have two Talgo trainsets which may or may not enter service.

There are plenty of local manufacturers... ElectroMotive, Nippon Sharyo, possibly Talgo, etc...
The recent grant the mid-West received along with CA are to purchase bi-level passenger cars which are compliant with the recently published new standard bi-level specification. I added up the total number of bi-level cars listed between the earlier CA and IL grants along with the Florida HSR redirection grants and it came to a interestingly round number of 120 bi-levels. Sizable enough order to attract competitive bids. It certainly appears that the plan is that CA, IL, and the other mid-West states (excluding WI) will combine their order. It is likely going to take a while for the state DOT agencies, Amtrak, and the FRA (who is providing almost all the funding here) to work out agreements, sign them, put together a rfp package, and go through the whole bid process. Probably won't hear much until a contract award is announced, and my guess is it won't happen for a year or longer.
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  #688  
Old Posted May 28, 2011, 4:32 AM
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^ Ah, ever more red tape.

I wonder if the economies of scale gained by combining the California/Midwest orders are offset by the amount of time required to reach a deal? The production cost of the railcars could increase quite a bit while Amtrak and state transportation officials wring their hands for a year (I'm guessing the price of steel will start rising very soon if it has not started already).
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  #689  
Old Posted May 28, 2011, 9:53 PM
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Did some more digging on the plans for the Chicago-St. Louis corridor and found a website put up by IDOT on the project at http://www.idothsr.org/. They have started a Tier 1 EIS for the entire corridor to assess double tracking the entire route, increasing # of daily trains, and looking at route alternatives between Chicago and Joliet, through the city of Springfield and Alton to St. Louis. Once the EIS is done, they may have a plan to run 4-5 high speed Lincoln Service trains a day (with 6 trainsets they will have the equipment) and have a cost estimate on what it will take to get to the goal of 8 daily round trip trains and trip times approaching 4 hours. Likely another $1 to $2 billion

There is a recent public presentation slide set on the EIS at http://www.idothsr.org/pdf/tier%201%...rch%202011.pdf.
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  #690  
Old Posted May 31, 2011, 3:16 PM
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I was wondering, has electrification of the most patronised lines in the Midwest ever been considered?
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  #691  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2011, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2330947.story

Illinois to study 220 mph bullet trains

By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

4:32 p.m. CDT, June 2, 2011

The University of Illinois will lead a study examining the options to build tracks exclusively for 220 mph bullet trains operating initially between Chicago and Urbana-Champaign and eventually carrying passengers the length of the state in about two hours.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the $1.25 million state-funded study today at a meeting in Chicago of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, whose leaders have questioned the benefits of the federal government and numerous states, including Illinois, investing in train service that tops out at 110 mph.

Quinn acknowledged that building a 220 mph network will be costly and likely take up to 50 years. He compared the rail project to the construction of the nation’s interstate highway system, which kicked off in 1956............
.............
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  #692  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2011, 2:35 AM
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I don't know if we will ever really see true HSR in the US outside of a few places on each coast. This 220 thing will be talked about as long as nuclear fusion has been with the same results IMO.

EDIT

BTW I did not mean to thumbs down this post I must have clicked it and it cannot be removed by an edit. So take no offence to it, thanks in advance.
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  #693  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2011, 3:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnk View Post
I don't know if we will ever really see true HSR in the US outside of a few places on each coast. This 220 thing will be talked about as long as nuclear fusion has been with the same results IMO.

EDIT

BTW I did not mean to thumbs down this post I must have clicked it and it cannot be removed by an edit. So take no offence to it, thanks in advance.
We'll see HSR or its replacement eventually, but first Florida, Texas, and Illinois will have to grow as large as California in population and tax revenues, which is barely funding its HSR. California has been lucky there was a bad recession and some stimulus funds to help fund its HSR. Otherwise, I'm not so sure it's $9 Billion in bonds would have built much.

Just to put some of this into prospective, the largest corporations in the world are valued at... 4th Quarter 2010.....
1. Exxon Mobil $368,711.5 Million
2. PetroChina $303,273.6 Million
3. Apple Inc. $295,886.3 Million
4. BHP Billiton $243,540.3 Million
5. Microsoft $238,784.5 Million
6. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China $233,369.1 Million
7. Petrobras $229,066.6 Million
8. China Construction Bank $222,245.1 Million
9. Royal Dutch Shell $208,593.7 Million
10. Nestlé $203,534.3 Million

There's $Billion$ of private capital out there. If the marketing models were positive, some private entity surely would fund HSR. TGV has offered to help fund 50% of many potential HSR lines - it's just than no one has been willing to fund the other 50%....

California needs to get it's PPP (PrivatePublicPartnership) deal done. Chip their $9 Billion of bonds onto the Feds Stimulus $4 Billion, that's nearly $15 Billion. Get TGV or the Japanese to pitch in another $15 Billion, that's around $30 Billion. That should fund the CHSR line to San Jose (last Caltrain station) and Los Angeles (last Metrolinx station). Finish the line the rest of the way later when the projected profits start coming in.

None of the great Railroad corporations was completed all at once. All were built city by city, merger by merger, over decades and centuries. Even the Interstate Highways were built county by county, state by state, over decades. Maybe our expectations for a 250-300 miles HSR line to be funded and completed all at once is too much?
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  #694  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2011, 3:57 AM
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This is why it's going to be so difficult to get true high-speed rail in many parts of the country. So long as we're using other people's tracks...

Quote:
Amtrak passengers to face slower rides on Detroit-Chicago line

Tom Greenwood/ The Detroit News

June 14, 2011
Railway passengers may face delays of up to 90 minutes on trains running between Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo due to a decision by the Norfolk Southern railway to decrease speeds on their tracks between the two cities.

Norfolk Southern dropped the speed that Amtrak passenger trains can run on its tracks, stating it would only pay maintenance costs for the tracks for trains traveling at speeds between 25 and 60 mph.

MDOT is trying to buy the 135-mile stretch between the two cities in anticipation of using nearly $350 million in federal funds to upgrade the tracks to handle high-speed passenger service between Detroit and Chicago.

"What we're saying to Amtrak and MDOT is that we don't have a problem at all with passenger trains running over our railroad. It's just that we don't feel we should pay for the maintenance for high-speed passenger service," Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband said. "We will maintain the standard, which will allow us to serve our freight customers."

Husband said the speed restrictions would be in place indefinitely.

According to Husband, most freight trains only travel at speeds of up to 40 mph, while high-speed passenger rail service can hit speeds of up to 110 mph.

...

Magliari said Amtrak is working with Norfolk to "see if we can make some improvement to reduce the amount of delay."

MDOT spokesman Janet Foran said the state has been in discussions with Norfolk to purchase the tracks since it received two government grants.

"We received $150 million last year and $196 million this year," Foran said. "The monies will be used to first purchase the line and then make improvements to the track, the signal movements, crossings and stations in anticipation of high-speed passenger service."


...
Norfolk Southern must be asking an arm-and-leg. I guess I can't blame them for running a business, but I do wish they'd be more cooperative with, and more understanding of, what the public is trying to do.
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  #695  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2011, 4:02 AM
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This is why it's going to be so difficult to get true high-speed rail in many parts of the country. So long as we're using other people's tracks...



Norfolk Southern must be asking an arm-and-leg. I guess I can't blame them for running a business, but I do wish they'd be more cooperative with what the public is trying to do.
Running a business...barely...on those lines. My apartment overlooked the track back when I lived in AA. I rarely....RARELY saw freight trains. It was a huge surprise when I'd see one come by.

It's absolutely critical these improvements happen. And service frequency must be increased. I'm fed up with sold out trains when I try to travel to Michigan.
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  #696  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2011, 7:00 AM
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To simplify, Norfolk Southern wants to maintain those tracks at Class 3 specifications (60 mph passenger - 40 mph freight). Shucks, that's what they want to maintain all their rail lines at. It costs significantly more money over time to maintain tracks at Class 4 or Class 5. They're wanting either the State or the Feds to pitch in that extra money.
I've written this before, and I'm writing it again, the freight railroads will not allow faster than 90 mph using shared tracks on their corridors. The only way you'll see faster than 90 mph is if some government agency owns and therefore controls the corridor. The sole exception being UP's Chicago to St. Louis corridor, where UP agreed to the higher speeds in a past merger closing. Even so, UP expects someone else to pay to implement and maintain the higher speeds on that line.
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  #697  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2011, 8:34 AM
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Amtrak already owns 97 miles of the line between Porter, Indiana and Kalamazoo, Michigan, so this won't be uncharted territory, but it is a pain seeing as how much the government has already poured in to, and allocated for, the project (over $400 million, already). Actually, I think we're coming up on $600 million for this line counting the money allocated for it in this year. I wonder how much NS is asking for that MDOT is hesitant to pay?
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  #698  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2011, 5:40 AM
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NS' asking price may not be all that high, but MDOT wants to get the price as low as possible.

Once the price is agreed upon, then MDOT will also know how much money is left over for capital improvements, and they can figure out which improvements will offer the most bang for the given bucks.

If MDOT holds out, they may get a concession from NS and save quite a bit of money, which can then be invested in increasing speeds or frequency.

My guess is that MDOT is waiting for a lower offer from NS, but NS is shrewd enough to know they've got Michigan over a barrel.
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  #699  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2011, 2:59 PM
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NS' asking price may not be all that high, but MDOT wants to get the price as low as possible.

Once the price is agreed upon, then MDOT will also know how much money is left over for capital improvements, and they can figure out which improvements will offer the most bang for the given bucks.

If MDOT holds out, they may get a concession from NS and save quite a bit of money, which can then be invested in increasing speeds or frequency.

My guess is that MDOT is waiting for a lower offer from NS, but NS is shrewd enough to know they've got Michigan over a barrel.
Among the applications MDOT submitted for the Florida HSR fund reallocation was $5.1 million to perform maintenance on the NS owned tracks to 'stabilize" the corridor. The maintenance involves replacing up to 24,000 ties and minor ballast/surfacing work. The project is the result of combined Amtrak/NS study and the application states that there is a current Amtrak/BS agreement in place. This application was granted, so the hold-up is likely the procedural process of getting contracts negotiated and the funds obligated.

In the application, it also states "This would allow time for MDOT and NS to complete an ownership arrangement by the end of 2011." The purchase of the NS tracks was covered the $150 million grant MI got last fall in the FY10 grants. The price for the 135 miles of track may not be the major hold-up, but the details of the terms, future access rights for NS, and all the various state agencies and legal staff who have to sign off on a deal.

So there may be relief coming for the slow orders in a few months if the paperwork can get done. The funding is also there to upgrade the 135 miles to 110 mph speeds if I am reading the FRA announcements correctly. What NS is looking for is for someone else to pick up the tab of maintaining the tracks because they make it clear that for the low volume of freight service over the corridor that 25 mph freight speeds are acceptable to them.
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  #700  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2011, 10:57 PM
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Englewood flyover deal set to be signed today
Posted by Greg H. at 6/22/2011 11:53 AM CDT


It looks like the last legal hurdle has been cleared for a critical piece of the rail decongestion work on the South Side known as the Englewood Flyover.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski's office reports that the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Norfolk Southern railway are expected to sign a contract today for the $133-million flyover, which will bridge an often horrific bottleneck centered at 63rd and State streets.

If the contract really is signed today, the money will be obligated and presumably isolated from congressional budget cutters.

* * * 3:20 p.m. update -- It's a done deal, says the state in a press release. An agreement has been reached with the Federal Railroad Administration, Norfolk Southern and Amtrak for construction to begin later this year. Construction will take about two years.
Finally!!

This is incredibly important, and it's a needed step before many of the other big CREATE projects can happen, such as the 75th Street corridor routing the Southwest Service into LaSalle Street Station, or the Grand Crossing project, routing New Orleans and Carbondale trains off of the St. Charles Air Line.
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