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Iowa Pacific - Can It Be Duplicated Elsewhere?


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#21 Eric S

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 12:20 PM

CHI-MKE service is fortunate to have a route that is far superior to CHI-IND service - whereas CHI-IND bounces from segment of one freight railroad to another, basically pieces of a handful of different routes cobbled together to try to form a halfway-reasonable CHI-IND route, CHI-MKE benefits from running on a single, relatively high quality route largely owned by a single freight railroad (in addition to parts owned by Amtrak and Metra). Also, CHI-MKE service is supported by states (25% IL and 75% WI) that have generally been far more supportive of passenger rail than Indiana has.



#22 A Voice

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 01:28 PM

I wonder why Chi-Indy (180 miles) can't be modeled more on Chi-Milwaukee (90 miles) which has 6 Amtrak trains a day, evenly spaced out. The MKE trip takes about 1 hr 20 minutes and has no food service. Ridership is just short of 1 million a year. It helps that there is an airport stop. 

 

The Chi-Indy schedule is not a good one. Not everyone likes a 6 AM departure (from Indy) nor a midnite arrival into Indy. Yet these are the only options today.

 

If there were say 4 trains a day in each direction, prices were reasonable, and food and beverages were available, I think it would catch on.

 

Indeed, multiple trains per day would help immensely, even without a faster schedule; Food service is already available on trains to Indianapolis.  Further, while the current schedule mirrors the Cardinal on the four days a week it doesn't operate, those times are hardly the most convenient or marketable for local traffic.  

 

Problem is, you have to get the state of Indiana to pay for more trains, when it was a bit of a reach to get them to fund any service at all.  That's the real stumbling block to any service improvements.  As a modest first step, I'd suggest merely running the Hoosier State daily on a better schedule.  The incremental cost increase should be quite reasonable, but again, how do you interest Indiana in paying even a penny more?  


Edited by A Voice, 17 January 2017 - 01:29 PM.


#23 Anthony V

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:26 PM

 

I wonder why Chi-Indy (180 miles) can't be modeled more on Chi-Milwaukee (90 miles) which has 6 Amtrak trains a day, evenly spaced out. The MKE trip takes about 1 hr 20 minutes and has no food service. Ridership is just short of 1 million a year. It helps that there is an airport stop. 

 

The Chi-Indy schedule is not a good one. Not everyone likes a 6 AM departure (from Indy) nor a midnite arrival into Indy. Yet these are the only options today.

 

If there were say 4 trains a day in each direction, prices were reasonable, and food and beverages were available, I think it would catch on.

 

Indeed, multiple trains per day would help immensely, even without a faster schedule; Food service is already available on trains to Indianapolis.  Further, while the current schedule mirrors the Cardinal on the four days a week it doesn't operate, those times are hardly the most convenient or marketable for local traffic.  

 

Problem is, you have to get the state of Indiana to pay for more trains, when it was a bit of a reach to get them to fund any service at all.  That's the real stumbling block to any service improvements.  As a modest first step, I'd suggest merely running the Hoosier State daily on a better schedule.  The incremental cost increase should be quite reasonable, but again, how do you interest Indiana in paying even a penny more?  

 

That's a great idea to do once the Cardinal goes daily.


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#24 Seaboard92

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 10:03 PM

According to somewhat reliable reports on Trainorders, Iowa Pacific failed to meet payroll for some at the end of December, laid off a whole bunch of people, and is teetering on the bring of bankruptcy.
 
There are also some less than ideal financial behavior discussed in a few posts. I don;t know the veracity of those. But they are mentioned by those that have had financial dealings with IP.

Where have we heard this before on this board? I've been saying this for awhile ride it while you can, photograph it while you can. I expect them to fail by May. The private car market will be ripe with cars with Ringling shutting down so all in all about three hundred cars between them and IP landing on a depressed market. It's a buyers market.

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#25 Anderson

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 01:02 AM

I've been wondering about the Ringling equipment.  I know the sets are bespoke, but IIRC there were either two or three trains with a ton of cars.


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#26 neroden

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:21 AM

I've been wondering about the Ringling equipment.  I know the sets are bespoke, but IIRC there were either two or three trains with a ton of cars.


OK, Google is my friend:
http://www.trainweb....rainConsist.htm

32 or 33 "coaches" per train -- but although originally coaches, they appear to mostly be converted to sleeping accomodations. I can't find any photos of the interior layout. Each consist has a dining car and a generator car. Not sure what other types.

This may be the largest and best-maintained uniform fleet of historic cars out there; hopefully someone (Iowa Pacific?) can pick it up in one piece and arrange to use it to add capacity to certain Amtrak trains.

OK, I found ONE interior photo:
https://www.fatwalle...finance/1270774

Yeah. A private operator should pick these up and operate them as top-end sleepers (similar to the top-end sleepers on the Canadian) on the back of some Amtrak trains. They've been rebuilt recently enough that they'll be in decent shape, and there are *enough of them* to run daily. Even on several trains. If Amtrak would agree to hauling.

Edited by neroden, 21 January 2017 - 08:34 AM.

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#27 Lonestar648

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 01:11 PM

Looks like IP could not make the Hoosier even break even.  Press Release today says Amtrak takes over March1st. 


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#28 iggy

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 08:10 PM

The Indiana Department of Transportation announced today that, beginning March 1st, the Hoosier State (train nos. 850 and 851) will transition back to utilizing Amtrak equipment"

 

The decision brings an end to an exciting experiment that saw the train run as a joint partnership between Iowa Pacific Holdings; INDOT; Amtrak; and the cities of Crawfordsville, Lafayette, and Rensselaer. Iowa Pacific hoped to drive ridership increases by providing enhanced passenger amenities, such as full-service dining and dome cars. (Iowa Pacific relied on Amtrak crews to operate the train, utilizing Amtrak's experience and national structure to meet federal safety and insurance requirements.)

 

INDOT did not immediately provide a reason for the transition back to Amtrak equipment. In its statement, the agency did say it was planning on providing enhanced on-board amenities, including Wi-Fi and business class seating.

 

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Edited by iggy, 30 January 2017 - 08:12 PM.


#29 jis

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:08 PM

The issue of discontinuance of IPH handling of the Hoosier State is being discussed here:

http://discuss.amtra...back-to-amtrak/

#30 dlagrua

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 07:48 PM

The way I envision Hoosier State service being successful is that the route must be made into a regional commuter route, a similar service to the BNSF/Burlington, and South Shore Line  trains currently serving Chicago. This means that the route must see regular and faster service, perhaps a train every two hours. The train service must be made to fit the commuter needs and not the other way around. Right now you have an LD type train on what can be considered a commuter route.  I know the chances of regular service on the HS line are nil but I believe that my suggestion has some validity.


Edited by dlagrua, 24 February 2017 - 07:50 PM.


#31 A Voice

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 08:54 PM

The way I envision Hoosier State service being successful is that the route must be made into a regional commuter route, a similar service to the BNSF/Burlington, and South Shore Line  trains currently serving Chicago. This means that the route must see regular and faster service, perhaps a train every two hours. The train service must be made to fit the commuter needs and not the other way around. Right now you have an LD type train on what can be considered a commuter route.  I know the chances of regular service on the HS line are nil but I believe that my suggestion has some validity.

 

A commuter operation between Indianapolis and Chicago is neither a practical nor appropriate service model for the route.  Passengers on the route - even after schedule and frequency improvements (a pipe dream at this point) - are generally not going to be daily commuters.  Rather, what is ideally needed is something more akin to the San Joaquins or Lincoln Service to St. Louis; At least four or five daily departures spread every few hours throughout the day, supplemented by long-distance service.  With such service wholly being an Indiana responsibility, I wouldn't hold my breath.  In an ideal world, we'd have a new 403(b) program (or similar), which might - emphasis on might - get the ball rolling on this and several other viable regional routes. 

 

However, regular service will remain on the Hoosier State route, only it will be operated by Amtrak for the interim instead of Iowa Pacific. 



#32 west point

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 10:49 AM

Can it be duplicated ? Yes the failure certainly can.




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