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Spine Line Northfield, MN

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Spine Line Northfield, MN
Posted by Ed Kyle on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 4:31 PM

I just spent the better part of two days within sight of the UP Spine Line in Northfield, Minnesota.  I saw 11 trains during 34.6 hours (6 UP, 3 PGR, and 2 CP - 24 hour averages of 4 for UP, 2 for PGR, and 1 for CP).  The traffic pattern was unusual.  For example, I watched two southbound UP trains pass within 8 minutes during the early evening on October 19, then waited 12 more hours without any trains.  Etc.  One of the UP trains had a block of double stack containers - first time I've seen those in that location.

 - Ed Kyle

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:15 PM

A significant amount of traffic to and from the Twin Cities runs on the Omaha Road. You can also see blocks of doublestacks on trains using that line to Omaha.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:28 PM

There is directional running for some traffic to/from the Twin Cities.  The old Omaha Road is used for some northbound traffic, the ex RI for southbound traffic.  It's not absolute, you'll see trains going both ways on both lines.

The stack business to/from the Twin Cities just started a few months ago.

Jeff

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, October 22, 2021 7:22 AM

You know, I never understood why Amtrak never considers this route for Passenger Service.    It would be a very logical routing  Twin Cities - Kansas City for passenger rail but is never mentioned by Amtrak.    For that matter, niether is Ohmaha to Kansas City Service or KC to Tulsa, OK service.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, October 22, 2021 10:03 AM

The last passenger service on the Spine Line (the "Plainsman) was discontinued around 1969 or 1970.  Like a lot of trains at that time, it was probably discontinued when the mail contract was cancelled.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, October 23, 2021 1:55 AM

CMStPnP

You know, I never understood why Amtrak never considers this route for Passenger Service.    It would be a very logical routing  Twin Cities - Kansas City for passenger rail but is never mentioned by Amtrak.    For that matter, niether is Ohmaha to Kansas City Service or KC to Tulsa, OK service.

 

Consider who now owns the route.  At least the majority of it.  No way are they going to allow a passenger train without a big fight.

Jeff

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Posted by Ed Kyle on Sunday, October 24, 2021 4:27 PM

jeffhergert

There is directional running for some traffic to/from the Twin Cities.  The old Omaha Road is used for some northbound traffic, the ex RI for southbound traffic.  It's not absolute, you'll see trains going both ways on both lines.

The stack business to/from the Twin Cities just started a few months ago.

Jeff

I did see four southbound and two northbound Union Pacific trains during those 34.6 hours spanning most of two days.  Two were really the same train - the S. St. Paul / Northfield Job, which ran south then returned north 1.5 hours later.  It was led by what looked like four SD-40-2s.  The other four trains were led by cab units.  Three of those were giants.  Only one of these went north.  It was the only one with DPUs.

Re:  Passenger Trains.  Minnesota has studied the idea of Twin Cities/Northfield commuter trains on the former Minneapolis, Northfield, & Southern line that remains in use between Northfield and Lakeville, served by PGR.  In addition to commuters, Northfield has two small colleges that could provide riders.

 - Ed Kyle

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, October 25, 2021 2:43 PM

CMStPnP

You know, I never understood why Amtrak never considers this route for Passenger Service.    It would be a very logical routing  Twin Cities - Kansas City for passenger rail but is never mentioned by Amtrak.    For that matter, niether is Ohmaha to Kansas City Service or KC to Tulsa, OK service.

 

There's been talk for over 20 years of Amtrak needing another north-south route in the middle to western part of the country, that would intersect with all of Amtrak's east-west routes. A new "Rocket" going from the Twin Cities to Kansas City to Dallas/Ft.Worth and Houston would fit the bill.

Stix
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Posted by tree68 on Monday, October 25, 2021 3:12 PM

wjstix
A new "Rocket" going from the Twin Cities to Kansas City to Dallas/Ft.Worth and Houston would fit the bill.

Need to get your politicians on board, so to speak.

LarryWhistling
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There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, October 25, 2021 9:27 PM

For through trains, all things being equal - our new favorite phrase, there's one manifest that goes north on the old Omaha Road and one that goes north on the old RI Short Line.  The one on the Omaha Road originates out of North Platte.  The one using the Short Line originates in Texas.

Southward there's two manifests that go south on the Short Line.  One goes to Des Moines, the other to North Platte.  There's one that goes south on the Omaha Road as far as Butterfield, then swings over to Mason City, then south to Des Moines.

Grain and ethanol trains, both loads and empties, use either line depending where they are going to/coming from.  There's still one coal train that has been using the Short Line both loaded and empty.  For a while it was going via the Omaha Road.

Right now, South St. Paul is the originating/terminating yard for the Twin Cities.  Valley Park currently doesn't originate/terminate any through freights.  It has before and probably will do so again.  Things seem to change every so often.

If Iowa would have to provide any financial support for a north/south passenger train, I don't see it happening for the forseeable future.

Jeff

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, October 25, 2021 10:07 PM

jeffhergert

For through trains, all things being equal - our new favorite phrase, there's one manifest that goes north on the old Omaha Road and one that goes north on the old RI Short Line.  The one on the Omaha Road originates out of North Platte.  The one using the Short Line originates in Texas.

Southward there's two manifests that go south on the Short Line.  One goes to Des Moines, the other to North Platte.  There's one that goes south on the Omaha Road as far as Butterfield, then swings over to Mason City, then south to Des Moines.

Grain and ethanol trains, both loads and empties, use either line depending where they are going to/coming from.  There's still one coal train that has been using the Short Line both loaded and empty.  For a while it was going via the Omaha Road.

Right now, South St. Paul is the originating/terminating yard for the Twin Cities.  Valley Park currently doesn't originate/terminate any through freights.  It has before and probably will do so again.  Things seem to change every so often.

If Iowa would have to provide any financial support for a north/south passenger train, I don't see it happening for the forseeable future.

Jeff

 

   The question of an extension for the currently, running edition of "The Heartland Flyer" ; and an extension for that portion of a "Midwester N-S Flyer" has been a 'pet project' around Wichita(Ks)  for several years....The local pol that has spark-plugged it in the past/Pete Meisner(sp?) has even managed , in -the past-to get AMTRAK to run a test train (OKC to Wichita?), along with some coverage in the local fish-wrapper.   
So far bup-kiss, Plans have included, the extended Flyer, to go on to terminate in KC [Ks/Mo?], or also to tie in to theSWC at Newton,Ks ( and turn back South there(?).
   A problem seems to be that the 'schedule' on the SWC seems to be a lack of a consistant arrival at Newton,Ks.   Not to mention, that of:  Who's is going to 'PAY' for the 'extension'....The State of Kansas (specifically, K DOT, seems to only want 'somebody' else to pay for it).... Practically, K-DOT is avoiding the extension of the The Heartland Flyer, as if it were their Barn on Fire....and they are  unable to coerse the State of Oklahoma into funding the extension Whistling

 

 


 

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