Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest KJP

Cincinnati-Indy-Chicago passenger rail

Recommended Posts

All Aboard Ohio's SW Director and I had a long phone conversation with Corridor Capital's communications director whom I've known for about 15 years. Here is my take:

 

> Corridor Capital will provide the train equipment and the marketing for the Hoosier State service. Amtrak will continue to provide the crews, a reservations system partnership, and liability insurance which is essential to have clout with the track-owning freight railroads (in this case, CSX).

> Lafayette, IN and Purdue University are the drivers of the Hoosier State train service. Purdue has more foreign students than all but one other university in the USA (Don't know #1 but it is in California) who expect decent train service to Chicago and O'Hare Airport. The new chancellor of Purdue is former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels who is somewhat supportive of the train service. Purdue students and the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce are big supporters.

> Indiana's new conservative governor is supportive of passenger rail. And thus Indiana DOT is legitimately interested in the long-term success and improvement of the Hoosier State.

> However, as before, communities with stations and INDOT need to ante up operating funding to continue the Hoosier State service. And they need to pay for track improvements to speed up the service.

> The route north of Lafayette into Chicago is SLOW. It's 122 miles and the Hoosier takes 3 hours, 15 minutes to make the trip.

> A reroute costing as little as $200,000 to convert a handthrown switch at Harvey, IL to electronic-dispatcher control will allow the Hoosier to reroute via faster CN tracks into Chicago. This could save 20 minutes.

> However, Amtrak has a pending case against CN for non-performance. This is what has kept Amtrak from rerouting before. But now that other parties are involved (INDOT, online communities, Corridor Capital) and if they -- not Amtrak -- request the reroute via CN, then Amtrak doesn't undermine its own case against CN.

> CSX also has a major new customer between Lafayette and Chicago, a $350 million Magnetation Inc. hematite iron ore plant in Reynolds, IN. This will add 3-5 freight trains a day to the line, prompting CSX to construct three 10,000-foot-long passing sidings in Dyer, Shelby and Taylor, IN and may also result in the replacement of jointed rails with continuous welded rails that could result in passenger train speeds being raised from 60 mph to 79 mph.

> Funding will be sought to operate the Hoosier daily and on a new schedule that is separate from Amtrak's Cardinal train schedule. Later, funding will be sought for a second-daily train on a counter schedule to the first.

> INDOT's contract with Corridor Capital includes provisions that encourage it to seek faster, more frequent service --- as well as expansion of service south of Indianapolis, with one route to Louisville and the other to Cincinnati.

 

Yes, a future extension to Cincinnati is mentioned in INDOT's contract with Corridor Capital.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amy Murray @Amy_Murray  ·  3h

1st time Taking megabus to Chicago - have been looking into high speed rail to Chicago - that would be great for cincy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She took Megabus to Chicago, but is taking the train from Chicago to the Bay Area. Here she is getting ready to board the California Zephyr in Chicago. She's been tweeting today as she's going through the Rocky Mountains and is loving it......

 

14717518384_9b7d5a1775_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indy pulls support for passenger rail service

Ron Wilkins, rwilkins@jconline.com 3:23 p.m. EDT July 24, 2014

 

Passenger rail service between Chicago and Indianapolis might end before a new vendor gets the chance to take over the line and make good on its promises to dramatically improve service.

 

Last year, Indianapolis officials signed on for the one-year deal to subsidize the Amtrak line running between Indy and Chicago after Amtrak announced in 2012 that it would end its shorter routes, which meant Indiana’s last passenger line. Now they have announced they’re ending that subsidy.

 

“They have told me they are not interested in doing it next year, and take that as a final no,” said Bob Zier, director of multimodal program and planning for Indiana Department of Transportation.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2014/07/24/passenger-rail-service-indy-chicago-future-uncertain/13110955/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indy pulls support for passenger rail service

Ron Wilkins, rwilkins@jconline.com 3:23 p.m. EDT July 24, 2014

 

Passenger rail service between Chicago and Indianapolis might end before a new vendor gets the chance to take over the line and make good on its promises to dramatically improve service.

 

Last year, Indianapolis officials signed on for the one-year deal to subsidize the Amtrak line running between Indy and Chicago after Amtrak announced in 2012 that it would end its shorter routes, which meant Indiana’s last passenger line. Now they have announced they’re ending that subsidy.

 

“They have told me they are not interested in doing it next year, and take that as a final no,” said Bob Zier, director of multimodal program and planning for Indiana Department of Transportation.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2014/07/24/passenger-rail-service-indy-chicago-future-uncertain/13110955/

 

Stupid. I hope they lose Beech Grove shops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am so confused about this initiative. I thought high speed from Indy to Chicago was a done deal, and that was prompting Cincinnati to think about hooking into it?

 

If they had daily service to Chicago from Cincinnati, I'd go way more than I do now. And by that I mean I haven't been since 2007.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am so confused about this initiative. I thought high speed from Indy to Chicago was a done deal, and that was prompting Cincinnati to think about hooking into it?

 

If they had daily service to Chicago from Cincinnati, I'd go way more than I do now. And by that I mean I haven't been since 2007.

 

Nothing is a done deal until you see the train on the second day. First day may have been a hallucination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This doesn't have any effect on the Cardinal, right? 

 

No. The Cardinal is a national system train (750+ miles) which is federally funded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=66702

 

INDOT Extends Amtrak Contract For Passenger Rail

August 20, 2014

 

News Release

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana Department of Transportation and the communities of Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove announce plans to continue Hoosier State passenger rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago through Jan. 31, 2015.

 

INDOT and the local communities have agreed to use the four-month contract extension allowed under the state’s existing agreement with Amtrak. INDOT is also negotiating with Corridor Capital LLC to improve the service and its funding model by the end of the contract extension in January.

 

“For the Hoosier State, we are hoping to build from the experience of North Carolina’s successful Piedmont service, in which the state and its private contractors worked with Amtrak to improve and grow passenger rail,” said INDOT multimodal director Robert Zier.

 

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act ended federal support for certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles effective October 2013. Indiana was the first in the nation to seek competing proposals from independent providers as allowed by the Act. Corridor Capital partnered with RailPlan International, which has provided train inspection and maintenance services for state-supported passenger rail services in North Carolina and Maryland, to submit the highest-scoring among four proposals.

 

About the Hoosier State

 

The Hoosier State and Amtrak’s long-distance Cardinal services combine to provide once-daily, roundtrip passenger rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago with stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer. To purchase tickets, call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or visit www.amtrak.com/cardinal-hoosier-state-train

 

Source: Indiana Department of Transportation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, a streak of good sense strikes the Hoosier state... Though highly conservative (like Ohio), this is the same state that, decades ago, had its northwestern counties band together to bail out  the moribund South Shore line interurban out of Chicago.  So maybe they value passenger rail a little bit, . . . which puts them thousands of miles ahead their Buckeye neighbors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill Rinehart ‏@700BillRinehart  34m

Haile Foundation says they're interested in supporting feasibility study for higher speed rail, CIN to CHI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Promoting Daily Rail Service to Chicago

Posted Monday, September 22nd 2014 @ 3pm  by 700WLW News

 

(Cincinnati) -- Right now, it's not very convenient to take a train to Chicago.  The only service is a couple of times a week, and it leaves Union Terminal at around 2 in the morning.

 

But there are calls to change that.  The rail advocacy group All Aboard Ohio is pushing for daily passenger service between the Queen City and the Windy City.  And two proponents took the idea to the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District Board.

 

Derek Bauman says it's not a new idea, having been proposed in the 1990's, and it's not radical either.  He says they simply want to upgrade rail lines to handle passenger trains that can hit 110mph, and apply to Amtrak to increase the stops.  Bauman says they don't have a route planned out yet, as they're simply trying to get a region-wide consensus to move forward.

 

Read more: http://www.700wlw.com/articles/local-news-119585/promoting-daily-rail-service-to-chicago-12788818#ixzz3E4u1l7ks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rooting for you guys. Just think its going to be tough with so many tea party types.  But then again, after watching the streetcar battle,  I am not going to bet against you.

 

The 55krc/700wlw AM radio machine is already ramping up attacks against it.

 

'I typically drive to chicago in under 4 hours' Brian Thomas 55krc yesterday

 

Bill Cunningham also went off on it yesterday(The same bill cunningham who helped destroy metro moves in 2002 by saying 'Rail will bring in thugs & gangbangers from OTR to rape, pillage and plunder your loved ones").  Sloan was supportive and non supportive of the project at the same time. 

 

On the positive side, tea partier City Council member Amy Murray is endorsing researching the plan. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Bill Cunningham admitted publicly to speeding and/or reckless driving?

 

FYI: all three Hamilton County Commissioners will support funding for the Cincy-Chicago business plan and economic impact analysis (aka feasibility study).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the positive side, tea partier City Council member Amy Murray is endorsing researching the plan.

 

Are you just calling the Republican Party the Tea Party now? Murray is about as establishment as it gets. I do think that getting Republicans and the business community on board (in addition to the usual rail-supporting suspects) is a great way to actually make something like this happen. On the other hand, didn't Cranley support one of the early streetcar studies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the positive side, tea partier City Council member Amy Murray is endorsing researching the plan.

 

Are you just calling the Republican Party the Tea Party now?

 

Amy Murray was endorsed by the tea party along with Melissa wegman last election. She also went to numerous tea party fundraisers. the tea party does not endorse establishment Republicans

 

That said I'm encouraged by her soundbites. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Ohio:

 

Hamilton County commissioners want Cincinnati-Chicago high-speed rail study

Sep 24, 2014, 5:38pm EDT

Chris Wetterich

Staff reporter-

Cincinnati Business Courier

 

Hamilton County commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to sponsor a potential Cincinnati-to-Chicago high-speed rail project and ask the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments to fund a feasibility study for it.

 

The resolution passed by commissioners was a big first step toward making the project a reality. A study would develop a cost estimate and outline exactly what would need to be done to increase the frequency of trains between Cincinnati and Chicago at speeds of up to 110 mph. At that speed, travelers would be able to travel from Cincinnati’s Union Terminal to downtown Chicago’s Union Station in four hours.

 

The feasibility study is estimated to cost $150,000.

 

The vote “is a bold move forward toward creating multiple transit options for the people of Greater Cincinnati that in turn will become the catalyst for jobs and development in the OKI region,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune. Portune, a Democrat, leads both the OKI Regional Council of Governments board and the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2014/09/24/hamilton-county-commissioners-want-cincinnati.html

 

 

And in Indiana:

 

updated: 9/24/2014 1:21:38 PM

Group Raising Money For Passenger Rail Study

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

 

LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The board of directors of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA) has voted to engage Transportation Economics and Management Systems, Inc, of Frederick, Maryland (TEMS), to prepare a business plan and economic impact study of a rail corridor that runs from Chicago to Cincinnati and to Louisville, by way of Dyer, Rensselaer, Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Indianapolis and Connersville.

 

The proposed study will cost between $150K and $200K, and will determine capital costs, the projected revenue and the operating expense of modern 21st Century passenger trains. The study will also include projections of the economic impact on the state and the various communities served by the trains. The study will be completed in about four months, once the funding is secured. The study is a prerequisite for an environmental impact study (EIS) of the corridor, and for securing the federal funding for capital improvements.

 

As a result, the Alliance will have a realistic estimate of the capital costs to be incurred by the infrastructure improvements; and which will support a 21st Century passenger rail operation in Indiana. Revenue and expense projections will also be used to predict the profitability of various combinations of the proposed speed and frequency of service. The end result will be a demonstration of the utility and economic viability of modern passenger rail across Indiana.

 

TEMS was chosen to compliment another passenger rail study it did in Indiana. The firm recently completed a feasibility study and business plan for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA) which is headquartered in Fort Wayne. The focus of that study was a corridor from Chicago to Fort Wayne and Columbus. This study has since paved the way for an application to the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), for matching funds for that corridor’s EIS.

 

READ MORE AT:

https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=67241

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it bad I am skeptical that Lucy (Kasich) is waiting around the corner to pull away the proverbial football?

 

No, because this doesn't have anything to do with the state. No one is asking the state for any money. Furthermore, this is an interstate route, so neither ODOT or the PUCO have jurisdiction.

 

BTW, among all those to worry about in state government, Kasich is actually the adult in the room when the Ohio General Assembly is present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Business Courier article says it would take four hours to get to Chicago.  Is that right?  Just going by Google maps I can get there in four hours and 20 minutes by car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Business Courier article says it would take four hours to get to Chicago.  Is that right?  Just going by Google maps I can get there in four hours and 20 minutes by car.

 

I've heard it's possible to drive the 300 miles in so little time..... When there's no traffic. Or when the road is dry. Or when the highway patrol is on break.

 

But can you do it for less than $100 round trip?

 

And can the car help you make up for lost time the way the train can? Like get any work done enroute? Or catch up on sleep? Or stroll to the cafe car for a snack/meal/soda/beer/wine? Or arrive refreshed?

 

And while Cincinnati lacks a 100+ mph train to Chicago, your competitors in St. Louis, Springfield, Bloomington, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and elsewhere are all getting 100+ trains to the Midwest's economic capital city. Meanwhile you are forced to drive to Chicago from Cincinnati unless you want to fork over $800+ to fly.

 

Competition. It doesn't just make companies better. It makes cities more attractive, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it depends on traffic but every time I've ever gone to Chicago by car it has taken around 4:45-5 hours. 4 hours isn't much faster but it's going to be consistent and you won't sit in traffic ever which is the worst part of a road trip. Plus you don't have to deal with a car once you arrive which is extremely beneficial.

 

As for less than $100 that can be done. I did a weekend trip a month or so ago and we drove my Fiat and it ended up being around $48 worth of gas and we were staying at my friend's place which had free on street parking. But if you're staying in the Loop or close vicinity add in another 30 dollars minimum a day to park. So it all just depends on what you're doing and where you're staying.

 

That being said if tickets on a train were $100 I'd gladly do that over driving. Napping and futzing around on the computer beat driving any day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Competition. It doesn't just make companies better. It makes cities better, too.

 

The key is that people in your city have to know that they are missing out on something.  Most people in Cincinnati don't even think about Amtrak because we really don't have it, and most of our nearby cities don't have much either (Dayton, Louisville, Lexington, Columbus?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Business Courier article says it would take four hours to get to Chicago.  Is that right?  Just going by Google maps I can get there in four hours and 20 minutes by car.

 

I've heard it's possible to drive the 300 miles in so little time..... When there's no traffic. Or when the road is dry. Or when the highway patrol is on break.

 

But can you do it for less than $100 round trip?

 

And can the car help you make up for that lost time the way the train can? Like get any work done enroute? Or catch up on sleep? Or stroll to the cafe car for a snack/meal/soda/beer/wine? Or arrive refreshed?

 

And while Cincinnati lacks a 100+ mph train to Chicago, your competitors in St. Louis, Springfield, Bloomington, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and elsewhere are all getting 100+ trains to the Midwest's economic capital city. Meanwhile you are forced to drive to Chicago from Cincinnati unless you want to fork over $800+ to fly.

 

Competition. It doesn't just make companies better. It makes cities better, too.

 

I should first clarify that I am not against this.  I would love to see it happen.  I also understand the case for it when it is a business related travel.  Most people aren't going to need to go on business trips to Chicago, though.  Yes, I've made the trip multiple times (but not driving) in about 4 1/2 hours.  And at this time for under $100 as well. 

 

But the main thing I'm asking is how is it taking four hours if the train is traveling 110mph most of the time?  I know you will probably have to make a stop in Indianapolis, but it shouldn't take that long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The car "savings" come into play when you are more than one person in a car.  While it is a great sell to a business person or young and single individual, taking a family of four is still much cheaper by car than by train, unfortunately.  And the latter are often the voting public.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^I've found it to be more like 5-5.5, because you almost always hit traffic on the south side of Chicago, and most people stop for at least one gas/food/restroom break.

 

When I went a month ago we hit bad traffic a bit before crossing into Illinois. My phone redirected me through some of the most depressing places I have ever been (Whiting and East Chicago Indiana) but then we wound up on the new extension of Lake Shore Drive and used that the rest of the way. We definitely saved time and got a great view the whole way. I'd still take a train over a nice lake view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the main thing I'm asking is how is it taking four hours if the train is traveling 110mph most of the time?  I know you will probably have to make a stop in Indianapolis, but it shouldn't take that long.

 

Trains aren't like planes. They make multiple station stops along the way. This corridor is likely to have a suburban stop on the north/west side of Cincinnati (I-275 vicinity) and Indianapolis (by the airport). If the preferred routing is via Hamilton and Oxford, then most trains will at least stop in Hamilton to draw from Middletown, the southern suburbs of Dayton, and possibly a feeder bus from central Dayton. A few local-stop trains will stop in Oxford, as many Miami University students come from Chicago and other Midwest cities. Ditto for Lafayette, which is actually the busiest station between Indy and Chicago thanks to Purdue which has the second-largest foreign-born enrollment -- many of whom want a train to O'Hare Airport (which is definitely doable with this route). BTW, the few local-stop trains will probably also stop in Connellsville, Crawfordsville, and Dyer or Valparaiso. Most trains may stop in NW Indiana -- such as at the Gary Regional Airport which undergoing a major expansion to become Chicagoland's third airport, which is also where trains from Michigan and Columbus/Ft Wayne would converge, enabling multiple connections.

 

So while the local trains would make most stops, the express trains would probably make only 3-4 stops between downtown Cincinnati and downtown Chicago. And if you board at a north/west suburban station outside Cincinnati, then you've just chopped the slowest part of your trip where the train would most definitely not be 110 mph (and probably not even 79).

 

EDIT: here is how the current schedule could be expanded with more trains and faster speeds over multiple phases as funds become available (for those who have never seen a train timetable, note that each column of times represents a train and the time shown is when the train would stop at that station. If a dashed line is shown for that station, then train wouldn't stop there. If no time is shown, then the train wouldn't go through that station.....

 

http://freepdfhosting.com/b575b8c4da.pdf

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Yep, seasonally this line would get a ton of use from Miami students. Saying that 1,000 Miami students are from Chicago is probably a conservative estimate, and probably all of them would take advantage of this service at some point in time. Heck, I'd do it just because I could get homework done to and from home haha.

 

Right now, a number of students take a bus from Oxford back to Chicago every holiday (like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). They have routes that go to different clustered suburbs, like I think one goes to Joliet, one to Schuamburg, etc. Miami could probably discontinue the bus service if there was a dedicated train line, since students could easily get to Union Terminal in Chicago and take the metro lines on out to wherever they are from (they run quite deep into Chicagoland).

 

But yeah, wouldn't want to slow the line down too much. I know it runs through both Hamilton and Oxford, which both would make great stops, but aside from that probably not the best idea to stop anywhere else between Cincy and Indy? Connersville might be big enough to merit a stop, but aside from that.... I don't know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×