Second Empire Builder gets Federal Funding sent to Wisconsin (for start-up costs).

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Second Empire Builder gets Federal Funding sent to Wisconsin (for start-up costs).
Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, June 12, 2020 10:12 AM

So Feds coughed up funds to Wisconsin for startup of the Second Empire Builder frequency.   MNDot says service could start as early as 2022.    However, MN has not passed any funds or allocations via the state legislature yet and had not recieved federal matching funds yet as a result (as Wisconsin has).   Minnesota stated they would try with the next budget cycle.

As part of this package of a second Empire Builder startup, MnDOT stated in a study they would like to see WisDOT build a new Amtrak station in the Village of Pewaukee, WI to serve the Western Milwaukee suburbs.     The station would be roughly at the location where WCTC has a ramp to Highway 16.    That was identified via their studies as an "ideal" location.     Not sure if anything will get built there but if it does it would probably be a new stop for both Empire Builder frequencies.    

The second Empire Builder would only travel Chicago-Milwaukee-St.Paul part of the current Empire Builder route.

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Posted by Gramp on Monday, June 15, 2020 10:55 PM

Then maybe the Hiawathas could extend to Hwy 16, too. 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 7:05 AM

Gramp
Then maybe the Hiawathas could extend to Hwy 16, too. 

That might be a good idea for one or two of them but....

I think they need to restore the former Milwaukee commutter service to Watertown with stops in Oconomowoc, Nashotah, Hartland, Pewaukee, Brookfield, Elm Grove and Wauwatosa.    Build stations and parking at each station stop. 

I just read that Amtrak is changing all it's LD trains to tri-weekly by the fall.    So this new change in direction might place this emerging corridor in jeapordy as well as the second Empire Builder.     We'll see.    It's too bad because historically the LD trains have served as the first frequency in an emerging corridor.   Once they are gone or reduced in frequency, starting short distance corridors is going to cost a lot more money on the part of the states as each state will have to pay the full cost of corridor startup (track improvements, new stations, etc) vs incremental cost of just adding a train.  

Off topic but the historical significance of Brookfield:

Brookflield unfortunately is about to demo it's historic Civil War era depot which is I believe is one of the oldest in the state.     CP has threatened to do the job itself and wants the depot gone as well and views it as a safety hazzard.   Brookfield used to be a junction between the Milwaukee and Mississippi and Milwaukee and Watertown (later Milwaukee and LaCrosse).   

The first line laid through Brookfield was the Westbound main by the Milwaukee and Mississippi (took the easier grade), it crossed over the later Milwaukee and LaCrosse which was the Eastbound main (steeper grade through Brookfield) as it turned South towards Waukesha.     Brookfield was an interchange point and had three interchange sidings.    Once Milwaukee took over both railroads the crossing of the Eastbound main was eliminated and it became a secondary branch to Waukesha and Prarie Du Chien (Mississippi River) and the Eastbound main was extended to Watertown and beyond as a double tracked Milwaukee mainline.   The Brookfield Depot used to have a Couplola in the center with a four sided clock that was kept in time via telegraph signals.    That was removed long before I was born and you can't spot externally on the roof line where it sat.

https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Image/IM89924

I remember when I was a kid the interchange sidings were slightly reconfigured but still in place, buried under weeds in places but still used in part by the Milwaukee Road for traffic from the now Waukesha branch.     The old sawmill was still there across the Westbound main from the depot and Milwaukee still spotted lumber cars there (now it's a condo complex).     The Milwaukee also had a small warehouse with concrete truck loading platform on the same siding but on the otherside of Brookfield Road.    Suspect but have no proof it was also used as an ice house for ice delivery and distribution for Town of Brookfield from lakes further down the mainline.   Most of that is gone now and all that remains is the Depot.

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Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 8:56 AM

   Clickbait!

   A Second Empire Builder?  Why on earth does Wisconsin want a train named for Napoleon III?  I bet it has something to do with the cheese surplus there.

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Posted by Gramp on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 9:29 PM

Interesting map, CMStPnP.  Another indicator to me of how Galena was expected to grow into a metropolis.  Rockford, where I grew up, was where the Rock River was forded when traveling between Galena and Chicago.  The east bank town was originally known as Midway, midway between Galena and Chicago.  Rockford was actually founded from the west rather than from the east.

I stopped at the old bar/hotel at the Brookfield crossing a couple years ago when I was driving through.  Had a sarsaparilla in honor of the locale.  I thought it interesting that there was so much open space in the immediate area.  Would've loved to have seen it in its railroad prime.

I think it would've been interesting if railroad building had not gone overboard.  If the original lines had just improved as was wise through time.  Neat to see the 19th century mapping.  How the development made sense.  Maybe had the ICC and its ways not developed, things would have shaken out quicker.  Don't know.  (I think the same way of our era, and how overbuilt our road system has become).  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 8:41 AM

Gramp

Interesting map, CMStPnP.  Another indicator to me of how Galena was expected to grow into a metropolis.  Rockford, where I grew up, was where the Rock River was forded when traveling between Galena and Chicago.  The east bank town was originally known as Midway, midway between Galena and Chicago.  Rockford was actually founded from the west rather than from the east.

I stopped at the old bar/hotel at the Brookfield crossing a couple years ago when I was driving through.  Had a sarsaparilla in honor of the locale.  I thought it interesting that there was so much open space in the immediate area.  Would've loved to have seen it in its railroad prime.

I think it would've been interesting if railroad building had not gone overboard.  If the original lines had just improved as was wise through time.  Neat to see the 19th century mapping.  How the development made sense.  Maybe had the ICC and its ways not developed, things would have shaken out quicker.  Don't know.  (I think the same way of our era, and how overbuilt our road system has become).  

The C&NW built in that direction as well, leading to the "Ridge Runner" line west of Madison to the C&NW's network of Narrow Gauge lines in SW Wisconsin.     I believe the railroads thought SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois would be a mother lode in mineral deposits beyond just lead.     Same reason Northern Pacific , C&NW and WC built to Ashland, WI.     They all thought it would be a major mineral transfer point on the Great Lakes.    Both areas didn't grow as thought.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 10:43 AM

Gramp
I think it would've been interesting if railroad building had not gone overboard.  If the original lines had just improved as was wise through time.  Neat to see the 19th century mapping.  How the development made sense.  Maybe had the ICC and its ways not developed, things would have shaken out quicker.  Don't know.  (I think the same way of our era, and how overbuilt our road system has become).  

Remember the human condidition - when things are 'good' the bubble of good keeps expanding until the bubble bursts.  When things are good, everybody thinks the good will never end and keep going 'overboard'.  After the bubble bursts and everything has gone overboard a 'new normal' becomes established, it is at a level that is lower than the peak of the bubble but still higher than the 'old normal'.  Thus humanity marches onward in fits and spurts, boom and bust.  The patterns have repeated during the time man has recorded history.

Remember the statement - Go BIG or go home.

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