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Illinois vs Michigan High Speed rail


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#1 fulham

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Posted 02 December 2015 - 04:55 PM

Just read an article on NARP's website that Michigan plans on testing 110 mph between Kalamazoo and Dearborn beginning next year.  It seems that the Michigan corridor is getting "high speed" service before the Chicago - St. Louis corridor.

 

Has Michigan installed PTC yet, and where is the Chicago - St. Louis route in regards to increased speeds?  I know they have been doing a lot of work on the Chicago - St. Louis corridor but no word of any speed increases.  Anyone know how much work remains to be done on the Chicago - St. Louis corridor?

 

Now if we can get some good news on the new bi-levels..... 



#2 jis

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Posted 02 December 2015 - 05:02 PM

The Michigan high speed line will use Amtrak's ITCS as its PTC system. ITCS is alreay certified as FRA PTC compliant, and the area of the Michigan corridor where ITCS is deployed (the 110mph portion) already has PTC. This is being extended to Dearborn.



#3 afigg

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Posted 02 December 2015 - 05:52 PM

I posted a link several weeks ago to a Progressive Railroading article on the status of the Chicago to St Louis corridor project to the quiet Chicago - St Louis high speed rail thread.
 
Progressive Railroading November magazine article: The Chicago-to-St. Louis higher-speed rail project nears finish line. The upshot is that the EIS process and the local approval process to upgrade almost 300 grade crossings have been slowing the project down. I expect Gov. Rauner's freeze on new contracts when he took office also resulted in delays in awarding various small contracts, quite possibly (or likely) for many of the grade crossing projects. Some of which involve re-aligning and shifting the road at the grade crossing for safety and better visibility.

Presentations and documents on the CHI-STL project website from mid-2015 indicated that they were expecting to upgrade to 110 mph speeds between Dwight to Alton by the end of 2015. So perhaps there will be speed increases added in early 2016, if the schedule has not badly slipped.



#4 fulham

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 12:28 AM

Has the entire track structure between Kalamazoo and Dearborn been upgraded to support 110 mph operation once the signalling/PTC/grade crossing piece of the upgrade has been completed?



#5 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 01:00 AM

Has the entire track structure between Kalamazoo and Dearborn been upgraded to support 110 mph operation once the signalling/PTC/grade crossing piece of the upgrade has been completed?

Here's the site for the project:

 

http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/

 

It's apparently run by MIDOT but with support from the Indiana and Illinois DOTs as well.

 

Well past my bedtime so I leave it for others to search for particular info.



#6 seat38a

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 01:38 AM

 

Has the entire track structure between Kalamazoo and Dearborn been upgraded to support 110 mph operation once the signalling/PTC/grade crossing piece of the upgrade has been completed?

Here's the site for the project:

 

http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/

 

It's apparently run by MIDOT but with support from the Indiana and Illinois DOTs as well.

 

Well past my bedtime so I leave it for others to search for particular info.

 

So from what I am reading in the link, if they don't build, the trains will keep loosing money, but if they do fully build it out, they are projecting a profit from the operations? Also almost 2 hours shaved off the time is substantial.



#7 afigg

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 07:01 PM

Has the entire track structure between Kalamazoo and Dearborn been upgraded to support 110 mph operation once the signalling/PTC/grade crossing piece of the upgrade has been completed?

Here's the site for the project:
 
http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/
 
It's apparently run by MIDOT but with support from the Indiana and Illinois DOTs as well.
 
Well past my bedtime so I leave it for others to search for particular info.

The MI DOT website for the CHI- Detroit/Pontiac corridor is almost all about the EIS and studies for the South of the Lake portion of the route. I don't see anything on there about the status of or about the current upgrade projects for the corridor, either the Michigan owned segment nor the Indiana Gateway segment. Not a lot of transparency or status info for those projects beyond occasional news reports from what I have found.

#8 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 11:20 PM

 

 

Has the entire track structure between Kalamazoo and Dearborn been upgraded to support 110 mph operation once the signalling/PTC/grade crossing piece of the upgrade has been completed?

Here's the site for the project:

 

http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/

 

It's apparently run by MIDOT but with support from the Indiana and Illinois DOTs as well.

So from what I am reading in the link, if they don't build, the trains will keep loosing money, but if they do fully build it out, they are projecting a profit from the operations? Also almost 2 hours shaved off the time is substantial.

Yes, that's it, tho probably better to say "surpluses" rather than "profits". The Midwest Regional Plan, iirc, envisioned that at least the main corridors (and maybe all) would generate surpluses, or positive returns, at some high level of frequencies and ridership.

 

Indeed, the Billion going into St Louis-CHI, cutting trip time by about an hour and adding another frequency, could be enuff to let the route show operating surpluses. (And won't the haters hate that? No wonder Gov Ruiner is lying down on the tracks to try to stop the improvements to passenger rail that were underway in Illinois!)

 

The Wolverines route has cost less money so far, but the big part of that job lies ahead -- South of the Lake, another $1.5 Billion, or $2 Billion. (One reason to watch that space -- the linked site -- is to see how the nearing decision on a preferred alternative may narrow down the cost range.)

 

The big spending to this point for CHI-DET has been at the "wrong end" of the route, the Detroit end, while the trains pick up more passengers as they head toward CHI. In the future, when SOTL is done and trip time slashed again, then more frequencies and more riders will bring operating surpluses.

 

If the STL-CHI Lincoln Service is the big success I'm still expecting to see, it will become the shining example and the template for the other Midwest Regional corridors, like Cleveland-Toledo-CHI, Cincy-Indy-CHI, Twin Cities-Milwaukee-CHI, Lincoln-Omaha-Des Moines-Quad Cities-CHI, and other corridors across the country.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 03 December 2015 - 11:26 PM.


#9 neroden

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Posted 04 December 2015 - 12:18 AM

I'm not expecting much from the Lincoln Service upgrades becuase the track is still owned by Union Pacific, which is quite capable of operationally sabotaging any improvements.

Worse than that, the upgrades of most value -- Alton to St. Louis and Chicago to Joliet -- haven't been *started*. Until Chicago to Joliet is done, CN, the Belt Railway of Chicago, and even *CSX* can mess up the schedule. Chicago to Joliet could cost as much as SOTL, and for less benefit.

I'm expecting the Michigan services to be more impressive in the near term.

Edited by neroden, 04 December 2015 - 12:20 AM.

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#10 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 04 December 2015 - 10:41 PM

I've been mulling over a long post about how good the new-and-improved Lincoln Service will be, even with only one more frequency. If I keep mulling, I may never get to it. So here's a highlight or two.

 

Currently the first train out of St Louis is 4:35 a.m. My aching eyelids, I'm not a morning person. Let's move that back to 4:55, using 20 minutes out of the "about an hour" time to be saved from even the half-baked first round of investment. At the other end, still get into CHI 30 or 40 minutes earlier, helping riders get a good start on the day. With a 9:20 or 9:30 a.m. arrival, a rider can make that 10 a.m. meeting at headquarters.

 

The second train out of St Louis is 6:40 a.m. Let's move that back to 6:55, using 15 minutes out of the "about an hour" time saved. At the other end, we'll still get into CHI maybe 45 minutes earlier. With an 11:35 arrival, instead of 12:20 p.m. as now, a rider can dash to catch that lunch meeting after all.

 

Now the Texas Eagle leaves STL at 7:55, and let's leave it right there.

 

See what we've done? Three clock-face departures already.

 

There's a big gap before the next train at 3 p.m. Let's slot our added frequency right in there, at 11:55 a.m., or perhaps 12:55 p.m. arriving at 4:25 p.m. or 5:25 depending on conflicts at Union Station.

 

Then push that 3 p.m. departure to 3:55 p.m. Passengers will still arrive at a reasonable 8:35 p.m.

 

The last train out is now 5:30 p.m., but let's push it to 5:55, to arrive in CHI at 10:35 instead of 11:10 p.m. A few minutes more to finish things in STL, and get into CHI at a slightly less scary hour.

 

 

Southbound, schedule changes could have an even more dramatic impact.

 

Currently the first train out of CHI is 7:00 a.m. and gets into STL at 12:20 p.m., so forget that lunch meeting. Let's make that first departure at 6:15 a.m., getting into STL about 10:35 using that "about an hour" time.

 

The second train out of CHI is 9:25 a.m. Let's try it at 8:15 a.m. At the other end, get into STL a lot earlier, at 12:50 p.m.  allowing a full afternoon in the city. (I know moving into an 8:15 slot could annoy Metra, but we just moved a train out of the 7 a.m. rush hour to 6:15, so that 8:15 slot should be an even trade.)

 

Here we could insert our added frequency, say at 12:15 p.m., to arrive 4:45 in STL in time for a regular commute home.

 

We're not sure the Texas Eagle will keep the same speeds to get the "about an hour" time savings. So I'm only going to take 30 minutes out of its schedule and have it leave CHI at 2:15 p.m. instead of 1:45 as now.

 

The 5:15 departure remains a 5:15 train, but with a 9:45 p.m. arrival instead of 10:45.
 
The 7 p.m. becomes a 7:15 to keep the clock-face, and it will arrive on the friendlier side of midnight, at 11:45 p.m. instead of 12:30 a.m. as now.

 

 

There you have it. Every departure and every arrival is made much more convenient. The departure times are much easier to remember. If you miss your train, the interval before the next one is trimmed down nicely.

 

Ridership with five frequencies has been holding to 630,000 or so despite service interruptions, cancellations, bustitutions, etc. About 80,000+ of that has been Texas Eagle. So a little over 540,000 for four Lincoln trains; or roughly 135,000 riders per. The Lincolns will get a 30% boost in capacity when the bi-levels replace the Horizons. When they get 30% more riders, it's 175,000; times five = 875,000 riders plus a VERY conservative 80,000+ for the Eagle. That gets us 1,000,000+ riders pretty quickly with my proposed timetable. 

 

With a million riders a year, the route should show an operating surplus; it's reported to be very close to or above the line already. And now a million riders a year will be believers in higher speed rail, and they will want money to be invested CHI-Joliet and Alton-STL. Gov Ruiner will be on the losing side of that argument.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 04 December 2015 - 10:52 PM.


#11 Lake Country

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 11:56 AM

UP to build 2 track bridge cross Kankakee river

 

there have been a lot of structural improvement that lay ground work for higher speeds and fewer freight interference.

The focus on culvert and drainage ditches will allow for the installation of over 12 new higher speed passing sidings and extended sidings.

Leading to the eventual double tracking of the entire line.

 

And UP is replacing a single track bridge with a higher speed double track structure. over the Kankakee River


Edited by Lake Country, 05 December 2015 - 12:03 PM.


#12 Palmetto

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 12:44 PM

I'm fairly certain this is because of the increased intermodal traffic on the route coming out of Global IV.  Good news!



#13 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 01:20 PM

I'm fairly certain this is because of the increased intermodal traffic on the route coming out of Global IV.  Good news!

 

I'm certain it's because ... giving credit where due ... enuff of the taxpayer's money is making it happen:

 

Governor Pat Quinn announced a $102 million investment from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to improve system performance and reliability on a key segment of the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail line. The investment will allow the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Union Pacific Railroad to move forward with construction of a new bridge over the Kankakee River … 
The $102 million investment will build a second set of tracks between Mazonia and Elwood, including the new Kankakee River bridge to accommodate the increased capacity. The work, which will be performed by the Union Pacific Railroad and overseen by IDOT, will take place in 2016 and 2017. … 
Once completed, the improvements will eliminate about five minutes in travel time immediately and put the final upgrades in place between Joliet and Dwight in anticipation of the eventual double-tracking of the remainder of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor. This double-tracking will then allow more daily round-trips at increased 110-mph speeds. 
http://idothsr.org/p...inn invests.pdf
News stories were dated August 31 and September 1, 2014.

Sorry. Due to technical difficulties I can't get paragraphs, only unwanted quote breaks.

 

It is good news to see it underway!


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 05 December 2015 - 01:22 PM.


#14 Lake Country

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 02:18 PM

Thanks for the review Woody.  The Illinois project is making progress. But much of the investment is still in the underlying infrastructure stage. People are impatient for results, but this is what incrementalism looks like.  And Illinois is aware and intentional to enhance the freight system while improving train speeds and reliability. With the new FAST funding program moving through congress, there will be some money for the further Chicago terminal projects.



#15 neroden

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 01:28 AM

I realize that Illinois could theoretically have a clockface schedule on the St. Louis line.  I expect UP to veto that.

 

Michigan has some very serious plans for substantially expanded frequencies too...


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#16 mustangthz

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 03:05 AM

 

 

 

Has the entire track structure between Kalamazoo and Dearborn been upgraded to support 110 mph operation once the signalling/PTC/grade crossing piece of the upgrade has been completed?

Here's the site for the project:

 

http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/

 

It's apparently run by MIDOT but with support from the Indiana and Illinois DOTs as well.

So from what I am reading in the link, if they don't build, the trains will keep loosing money, but if they do fully build it out, they are projecting a profit from the operations? Also almost 2 hours shaved off the time is substantial.

Yes, that's it, tho probably better to say "surpluses" rather than "profits". The Midwest Regional Plan, iirc, envisioned that at least the main corridors (and maybe all) would generate surpluses, or positive returns, at some high level of frequencies and ridership.

 

Indeed, the Billion going into St Louis-CHI, cutting trip time by about an hour and adding another frequency, could be enuff to let the route show operating surpluses. (And won't the haters hate that? No wonder Gov Ruiner is lying down on the tracks to try to stop the improvements to passenger rail that were underway in Illinois!)

 

The Wolverines route has cost less money so far, but the big part of that job lies ahead -- South of the Lake, another $1.5 Billion, or $2 Billion. (One reason to watch that space -- the linked site -- is to see how the nearing decision on a preferred alternative may narrow down the cost range.)

 

The big spending to this point for CHI-DET has been at the "wrong end" of the route, the Detroit end, while the trains pick up more passengers as they head toward CHI. In the future, when SOTL is done and trip time slashed again, then more frequencies and more riders will bring operating surpluses.

 

If the STL-CHI Lincoln Service is the big success I'm still expecting to see, it will become the shining example and the template for the other Midwest Regional corridors, like Cleveland-Toledo-CHI, Cincy-Indy-CHI, Twin Cities-Milwaukee-CHI, Lincoln-Omaha-Des Moines-Quad Cities-CHI, and other corridors across the country.

 

Not to dismiss what you're saying, but I completely disagree.  Michigan's acquisition of the NS line from Kalamazoo to Dearborn, in conjunction with the Amtrak owned portion from Porter to Kalamazoo is a huge part of shaving off time on this route and improving reliability.  Before the state bought the line from Kalamazoo to Dearborn, NS was slow ordering that route like nobody's business.  Couple that with the West Detroit Connector... by the end of 2016, at least an hour will be shaved off the commute.  Lets call this the low hanging fruit on the route.  Amtrak will have roughly 2/3 of the CHI<->DET corridor upgraded to 110mph.  

 

With regards to the SOTL plans mentioned earlier.  If you read the EIS, I would suspect option 2 or option 5 will be chosen as the ROD.  Since a complete dedicated passenger ROW from Porter, IN to CUS is out of the question, either of the alternatives will move to significantly less used ROW and will install flyovers and various other improvements.  In any event, once the Porter<->Dearborn upgrades are complete and the SOTL route is completed, the Wolverine corridor is going to be pretty sweet.  



#17 DSS&A

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 07:41 PM

Michigan has completed the new connecting and double track project in west Detroit. The new track is now in operation an will save approximately 10 minutes and have fewer train conflicts that the old route and its interlocking plant. Here's a link to the article.
http://www.railwayga...r-services.html

#18 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 01:52 AM

Michigan has completed the new connecting and double track project in west Detroit. The new track is now in operation an will save approximately 10 minutes and have fewer train conflicts that the old route and its interlocking plant. Here's a link to the article.
http://www.railwayga...r-services.html

This is such good news it deserves repeating. But it has been discussed in this thread:

 

http://discuss.amtra...for-wolverines/



#19 grover5995

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 01:08 AM

Much of the Chicago-St. Louis route upgrades will be completed in 2017 which will cut 60 minutes from previous schedules.  Further improvements to the corridor involve double track which would allow additional trains.

 

Michigan service upgrades between Kalamazoo-Detroit will also be ready this year.  Separate passenger tracks between Chicago and Porter would eliminate most freight interference but this is still in the study stage. Most likely route would use existing tracks from CUS to Englewood and then a new line built on the former NYC right-of-way to Porter.  

 

The new year will also see the arrival of new Siemens Charger diesel locomotives designed to run up to 125mph.  Unfortunately, a previous intercity passenger car order for CA and the Midwest is stalled due to cars failing crash tests.  Maybe Siemens could build a couple extra Brightline train sets for the Midwest, but there is no funding at the present.  


Edited by grover5995, 09 January 2017 - 01:10 AM.


#20 CSXfoamer1997

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 02:22 PM

Why are they building the track for 110 rather than 125?






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