... how to introduce/re-introduce Amtrak to the largest metro areas that do not have service.
You could probably go in several directions:
a) to IND/CHI via Louisville (which would take care of Louisville as well),
b) to ATL,
Maybe you can have a CHI-ATL train through Nashville. But I'm not aware of any practical routes.
You could go to IND/CHI or to CIN. Perhaps you can combine with Nashville. ...
That's how it would go: Nashville-Bowling Green-Louisville-Indianapolis-Chicago.
Indianapolis is so badly served by Amtrak that it deserves a mention here. The segment Indianapolis-Chicago is the bastard child of passenger rail city pairs. Nearby, with large populations, strong business links, connections at Chicago to the national system. The route was part of the Midwest HSR plans. But, it happens.
Now the poor Cardinal runs only 3 times a week, a schedule designed to fail. Then the state of Indiana more or less pays for the Hoosier State for the other 4 days of the week. The route is convoluted and congested and most of all slow. A study for the Dept of Highways was lacking stuff, but concluded that half an hour could easily be cut from the trip time by upgrading the tracks within Indiana alone (not including any future upgrades in Illinois).
So about $250 million for two long sidings and rehab of the existing tracks to get trains from Indy into Chicago half an hour earlier. Adding another departure or two on the corridor could get riders home from the business trip by bedtime.
Indiana is not gonna invest $250 million. It would need a large federal match before any such thing could happen. But get a daily Cardinal, two more corridor trains Indy-CHI (as per the Dept of Highways study), a train Nashville-Louisville-Indy-CHI and another ATL-Knoxville-Louisville-Indy-CHI, and perhaps one or two Cincy-Indy-CHI, and this corridor would really hum.
Edited by WoodyinNYC, 28 December 2015 - 04:32 PM.