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Old May 4th, 2012, 03:19 AM   #2281
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Also astonishing is their third bullet at the bottom of Page 24 (see 7.2), which ends with, "...to create a single homogenous fleet of modern electric locomotives. This will displace the existing locomotives, including the HHP-8s which are relatively new. Various alternatives, including the retention of a reserve fleet, are under consideration." on Page 25.
I don't exactly see how this is soo astonishing...
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Old May 4th, 2012, 06:37 AM   #2282
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Six hours late?
One time my train from Portland to Seattle was more than ten hours late. Amtrak had to offer a bus as an alternative.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:40 AM   #2283
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Six hours late?
I took a train from New York to Chicago which was supposed to take 20 hours (already ridiculous), but it took 22 hours.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #2284
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What really contribute to the extreme lateness of Amtrak train?
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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #2285
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What really contribute to the extreme lateness of Amtrak train?
bagus, one problem is that Amtrak outside of the NE corridor in most cases runs on tracks owned by the freight railroads- the freight railroads depending on their management policy, may not be inclined to give priority to the Amtrak passenger train in the face of their own freight trains. So, the Amtrak train may be forced into waiting for freight trains to pass on busy routes.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 10:56 AM   #2286
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Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
bagus, one problem is that Amtrak outside of the NE corridor in most cases runs on tracks owned by the freight railroads- the freight railroads depending on their management policy, may not be inclined to give priority to the Amtrak passenger train in the face of their own freight trains. So, the Amtrak train may be forced into waiting for freight trains to pass on busy routes.
Yup, we were constantly either stuck behind freight trains, or waiting at a station or on a side track for a freight train to pass us.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #2287
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Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
bagus, one problem is that Amtrak outside of the NE corridor in most cases runs on tracks owned by the freight railroads- the freight railroads depending on their management policy, may not be inclined to give priority to the Amtrak passenger train in the face of their own freight trains. So, the Amtrak train may be forced into waiting for freight trains to pass on busy routes.
Not necessarily true. Class I railroads that host Amtrak services are required by federal law to grant passenger (Amtrak) services preferential right-of-way; although this is laxly enforced, and there are incidents of train dispatch "bullying" Amtrak trains, most freight companies seem to adhere to these rules.

The main reasons why Amtrak services are slow, according to my research, are attributed to the state of the railway infrastructure and capital maintenance.

Many freight companies don't keep their tracks in pristine condition--freight trains don't need that kind of quality; but it does mean the difference between moving at 79mph or 30mph. Furthermore, in a capitalist environment, companies are encouraged to profit more on less: this reflects the current trend of increasing freight traffic amidst a reduction in total railways.

The second part of the capitalist argument also applies; companies prune tracks that are less used and invest in areas that are heavily used, such as bottlenecks. Naturally, work in these areas will impede railway services while such improvements are being implemented.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #2288
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Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
Not necessarily true. Class I railroads that host Amtrak services are required by federal law to grant passenger (Amtrak) services preferential right-of-way; although this is laxly enforced, and there are incidents of train dispatch "bullying" Amtrak trains, most freight companies seem to adhere to these rules.
It is not quite like that.

Amtrak did indeed secure some paths when it was created in the 1970s. That was a compensation for the feds letting the then-private railroads drop their own passenger services.

So Amtrak can't just write BNSF and say "hey, I'm travelling here, your mile-long freight trains ain't my problem, get out of my way".

Outside NEC, Amtrak uses trackage from host railroads like CN, CSX, NS, UP etc...

However, nothing compels freight railroads to maintain their tracks to the highest standards. These day they operate mammoth-sized cargo trains that don't need tracks (and signaling and everything else) going much over 50mph. This mean they can "downgrade" their tracks and thus slow down Amtrak.

Moreover, more and more, especially in long-distance corridors, railways operate tight schemes with things like 10 trains, one after another as the signal allows. This means if Amtrak is late for its path for whatever reason, it will be kept waiting. And waiting.

A good example: to restore passenger service between New Orleans and Jacksonville, the host railways wanted almost US$ 400 million for track improvements, since after Katrina they downgraded many sectors there.

Sometimes Amtrak buy trackage from railways no longer wanting them. I know they bought some in Michigan recently.

The main reasons why Amtrak services are slow, according to my research, are attributed to the state of the railway infrastructure and capital maintenance.

Many freight companies don't keep their tracks in pristine condition--freight trains don't need that kind of quality; but it does mean the difference between moving at 79mph or 30mph. Furthermore, in a capitalist environment, companies are encouraged to profit more on less: this reflects the current trend of increasing freight traffic amidst a reduction in total railways.

The second part of the capitalist argument also applies; companies prune tracks that are less used and invest in areas that are heavily used, such as bottlenecks. Naturally, work in these areas will impede railway services while such improvements are being implemented.[/QUOTE]
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Old May 7th, 2012, 09:43 PM   #2289
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Hi, I would like to know more about Milwaukee Union Station (the now-demolished Everett Street Depot). Did the railway access track feature street running? And I was wondering when did they built highway on its former right of way?
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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:10 AM   #2290
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
If Amtrak is or aims to be a transportation service, not a touristic attraction offering heavily subsidized rides from Chicago to West Coast, it MUST improve its average commercial speed.
And how is it supposed to do that when it doesn't even own the track? Amtrak operates on a shoestring budget yet gets criticized for shoestring results. It is NOT heavily subsidized. ROADS and AIRPORTS are HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 04:18 AM   #2291
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And how is it supposed to do that when it doesn't even own the track? Amtrak operates on a shoestring budget yet gets criticized for shoestring results.
Lack of focus... something that applies to any business to be honest.

Amtrak should ditch transcontinental routes altogether (or drastically raise prices and cut stops operating them as profitable tourist-oriented trains with costly tickets and luxury sleepers only), and focus on regional transportation corridors where it can break even.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 05:19 AM   #2292
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^Many small town folks need those train services, and they cost next to nothing to operate, compared to operating airports near those small towns.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 05:24 AM   #2293
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I have to agree with Suburbanist (fancy that). Amtrak should be broken up, with its LD services scrapped. If certain rural states still want passenger service as a public service to their residents, they should pay for a state rail or bus service that would likely serve passengers better anyway (2 or 3 roundtrips a day vs. one LD train in each direction, often stopping at ungodly hours e.g. 4:45am). Amtrak can run its NEC, and continue partnerships with Caltrans, NW states, and the Midwest states. Maybe one transcon train can be kept running for symbolic purposes, as a tourist train, such as the Califonia Zephyr.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 08:52 PM   #2294
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Hi, I would like to know more about Milwaukee Union Station (the now-demolished Everett Street Depot). Did the railway access track feature street running? And I was wondering when did they built highway on its former right of way?
I-794 was originally built in the mid-late 1960s.

The original station that you are thinking of was the former Milwaukee Road station, also called the Everett St station or indeed, Union Station. Prior to the new Union ('Union' means that many railroad companies' trains stop there) Station, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad had their station at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue on a bluff overlooking the Lake Michigan lakefront - it was a VERY ornate and grand structure and it was a true shame that it was abandoned and demolished. It was cleared and CNW's trains moved to the new Union Station in the mid 1960s to make room for a proposed freeway/motorway that was never built.

Site of the former CNW station:
http://maps.google.com/?ll=43.038611...13797&t=h&z=16
It was at the end of Wisconsin Ave by Prospect Ave, west of what is now the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Union Station, now called the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, is here:
http://maps.google.com/?ll=43.035443...13797&t=h&z=16

The original Union Station station (Milwaukee Road and Soo Line trains called there) was indeed along Clybourn Ave where I-794 and the WE Energies offices on the north side of Clybourn are now. At the station's west end, the access trackage crossed over to the current mainline on a diagonal that ran under the I-43/94/794 'Marquette Interchange. Before that interchange was rebuilt during the mid to late 'double aughts', that former railroad grade was a street called 'Hinman St', built when the access track was abandoned. I am unaware of any major street running by that station - just lots of street crossings.

Also, before the early 1960s, Milwaukee was heavily laced with interurban and local electric streetcar trackage, especially concentrated in the southern part of the downtown area - literally, there was track EVERYWHERE.

Milwaukee has a truly fascinating railroad history, indeed!

Mike
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Old May 9th, 2012, 01:55 AM   #2295
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Yepper - Chicago - the 'nexus' of railroading in North America. The old cliché from the time when most of the USA's intercity passenger travel was by rail - "Regardless of where you are coming from or going to, you *MUST* change trains in Chicago".



It's still that way with Amtrak.
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(Above: A Metra maintenance centre)


Freight Train Late? Blame Chicago

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

Chicago is the place where many of the nation’s trains grind to a halt, but a major construction project may speed things up.

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".
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:04 AM   #2296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
I-794 was originally built in the mid-late 1960s.

The original station that you are thinking of was the former Milwaukee Road station, also called the Everett St station or indeed, Union Station. Prior to the new Union ('Union' means that many railroad companies' trains stop there) Station, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad had their station at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue on a bluff overlooking the Lake Michigan lakefront - it was a VERY ornate and grand structure and it was a true shame that it was abandoned and demolished. It was cleared and CNW's trains moved to the new Union Station in the mid 1960s to make room for a proposed freeway/motorway that was never built.

The original Union Station station (Milwaukee Road and Soo Line trains called there) was indeed along Clybourn Ave where I-794 and the WE Energies offices on the north side of Clybourn are now. At the station's west end, the access trackage crossed over to the current mainline on a diagonal that ran under the I-43/94/794 'Marquette Interchange. Before that interchange was rebuilt during the mid to late 'double aughts', that former railroad grade was a street called 'Hinman St', built when the access track was abandoned. I am unaware of any major street running by that station - just lots of street crossings.

Mike
In the past a few days, I began to get interested with major railway station in US. The buildings, in my opinion, have spectacular architecture design.
The likes of New York Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station (now demolished) really amazed me.

There are also several major railway stations that still stood despite the fact that they no longer functioning or their tracks have been removed, such as St Louis Union Station or Reading Terminal. Some others are not that fortunate as they have been demolished, despite the fact that they posses spectacular architecture design, such as Pennsylvania Station in New York or Great Northern station at Minneapolis.

It is rather unfortunate that only small number of those stations still serving their original role, some even with reduced tracks. (I think Los Angeles Union Station and Washington Union station are two examples of Union Station that still serve their original role, and still have most of their tracks intact)

By the way, unlike in Europe or Asia, where the term Central station referring to the largest main station in a major city, due to the fact that there are no "State Railway" in United States (it's all competition between major companies from the beginning of railway) it is not unusual that there are more than one major railway stations in large city in USA. Such as in Chicago, Omaha, or New York.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #2297
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Talkin' about Chicago freight train "crosstown" problem (NYT report):


There aren't no project to build a new railroad to freight train across Chicago Region by South, in 70 miles far from city? I think Union Pacific and BNSF could make a partnership with Norfolk Southern to use It railroads from Kansas City to Ohio, avoiding Chicago Metropolitan Area... Let's see this map below:


http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...go.html?ref=us

The Kansas City-Cleveland line don't have heavy traffic of freight trains (20 milions of ton.) and conect the "Eastern Coast Network" with Transcontinental Railroad. By the way, Kansas City don't have commuter train system and freight trains would have no problems to cross the city.

I believe It's cheaper pay the right of way to NS or transfer wagons in Kansas City than cross Chicago in a transcontinental freight trip.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 05:04 AM   #2298
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I took a train from New York to Chicago which was supposed to take 20 hours (already ridiculous), but it took 22 hours.
Why the hell are you complaining? You took a train which you KNEW would take 20 hours. Its merely 2 hours late (compared to 20 hours it takes its nothing).

If you are in a hurry DONT TAKE THE TRAIN.

Goodness gracious.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #2299
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Why the hell are you complaining? You took a train which you KNEW would take 20 hours. Its merely 2 hours late (compared to 20 hours it takes its nothing).

If you are in a hurry DONT TAKE THE TRAIN.

Goodness gracious.
This is the mentality that kills any reliability of Amtrak.

A 10% delay is significant in any mode of transportation. Saying people should "just deal with it" is just the average vitriol of the rail fan who ignores that, at the end of the day, Amtrak is there to provide TRANSPORTATION, not a thrill ride.

If Fedex, USPS or even the average container shipper hold this mentality, the industrial paradigms of present times would be just CHAOTIC.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:51 AM   #2300
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If you are talking about NER or Pacific Surfliner or any trains used for commute, reliability is important, certainly. But a long distance trains that takes more than 18 hours? dude, if you need to get there in hurry or time is important WHY take the train?
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