Chicago-StL line evolving

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Chicago-StL line evolving
Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:17 PM

https://www.midwesthsr.org/chicago-st-louis-line-much-improved-not-done-yet?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=cd63f67b-8458-485a-b5c2-c07cc00caf3c

"The roadbed and tracks have been rebuilt from the ground up, providing a buttery smooth ride. It sets a new standard that all tracks that carry passenger trains should meet. Improved sidings give passenger trains more flexibility to pass freight trains or meet opposing trains with less delay.

All the grade crossings have been rebuilt and improved, with gates that are harder to drive around and systems to detect trapped vehicles. There are also lots of improvements around the tracks, including rebuilt roads and sidewalks, plus attractive fences to protect tracks as they pass through towns...Trains are now pulled by brand-new locomotives that are clean and quiet, accelerate quickly, and are more reliable. And although we were due to be riding on new bi-level passenger cars be now, the delay to that project has a serious silver lining: We’ll instead be getting beautiful new single-level coaches like the ones passengers are raving about on Virgin Trains (Brightline) in Florida.

One big remaining task is getting the trains up to the promised top speed of 110 mph, which will cut as much as an hour from a full-length trip. This relies on the signal system being capable and federally approved, but the Lincoln Service project has been caught in the storm of Positive Train Control (PTC) that has enveloped the entire American railroad industry for the past few years.

New stations are great for passengers and communities.

Track owner Union Pacific opted to install I-ETMS, the Interoperable Electronic Train Management System, which emerged as the de facto standard among the various railroads during the PTC transition. Interoperable is the key word, as it means one railroad’s locomotive should be able to pass over another railroad’s tracks. But, I-ETMS is so new that it has yet to go through any sort of federal approval process for trains operating faster than 90 mph.

The State of Illinois hopes to raise train speeds to 90 between Springfield and St. Louis later this year. And getting up to 110 is still planned, but the timeline is unclear. Getting I-ETMS certified for 110 mph is uncharted territory, but Illinois could be the one to blaze that trail. That could then be important for California as it looks to integrate its new high-speed line with existing tracks."

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, August 10, 2019 4:55 AM

I don't view the single level cars as an improvement or a success since they will carry less passengers per car and will reduce capacity.   I would call it settling for second best out of desperation.     Though if one looks at it as a high probability the Talgo will never run in the Midwest.......that small part of it can be viewed as a victory.

I hope the Texas Eagle can take advantage of the higher speeds as well as reduce it's stops (way too many) on the Chicago to St. Louis line too.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, August 10, 2019 1:35 PM

What stops would you remove?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, August 11, 2019 9:23 AM

daveklepper
What stops would you remove?

For the Texas Eagle, which really should be an Express train through most of Illinois..........

Chicago Union Station

Remove Summit, IL

Keep Joilet, IL

Remove Dwight, IL

Remove Pontiac, IL

Keep Bloomington-Normal, IL

Remove Lincoln, IL

Keep Springfield, IL

Remove Carlinville, IL

Remove Alton, IL

St. Louis, MO

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, August 11, 2019 10:24 AM

As a Chicago suburban resident,  I agree. There might be a case for stopping in Alton. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, August 11, 2019 4:01 PM

Pontiac is the location of a major prison in Illinois and a lot of families use the trains to come and see their family members that are currently guests of the state of Illinois at that location.  Plus out of state family members use it as a location to come and see their family members also.  The train does not stop at Dwight Carlinville is 60 miles south of Springfield in a remote area of Illinois that needs the connection.  

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Posted by GeoffS on Sunday, August 11, 2019 4:04 PM

Summit is not a stop.

GeoffS

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Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Sunday, August 11, 2019 5:41 PM

Texas Eagle Ridership by Stop:

https://www.railpassengers.org/site/assets/files/3444/32.pdf

In 2018,

Chicago: 160,517

Normal: 35,824

Springfield: 33,956

Alton: 16,239

Joliet: 10,800

Lincoln: 4,689

Carlinville: 3,138

Pontiac: 2,575

Based on these numbers, Lincoln, Carlinville, and Pontiac would be candidates for skipping. Alton would not be, the 5th most popular city pair by ridership is Chicago to Alton, the only non Illinois/St. Louis city pair above it is Ft. Worth-Austin.

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Posted by Philly Amtrak Fan on Sunday, August 11, 2019 5:42 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

Pontiac is the location of a major prison in Illinois and a lot of families use the trains to come and see their family members that are currently guests of the state of Illinois at that location.  Plus out of state family members use it as a location to come and see their family members also.  The train does not stop at Dwight Carlinville is 60 miles south of Springfield in a remote area of Illinois that needs the connection.  

 

I think the suggestion is removing the stops from the Texas Eagle, not from the Lincoln Service.

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Posted by Gramp on Sunday, August 11, 2019 11:48 PM

Though not the most convenient location, Alton can serve the wider car-oriented metro St.Louis area. That is, if it’s promoted so people know about it. 

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