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About DSS&A

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  1. Thank you very much for your information. I look forward to when we can officially hear about the modifications. While it's almost a 50/50 coin toss, I would think that since the baggage-sleeper has been looked over and worked on for a while, that the next cars leaving the CAF plant may be more baggage-sleeper cars. Time (and possibly a highway sign) will tell......
  2. Okay, now that the first sleeper is on the way to Florida, it's been just over six months since the single baggage-dorm went "south for the winter... ". At least it has not been sent back north to New York for repairs. Does anyone have information about this car other than it's getting a suntan?
  3. Here is a good article that summarizes the political maneuvering on trying to secure funding for this project. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/06/gateway-tunnel-new-york-city-infrastructure-218839
  4. Virgin Trains (Brightline) is investigating a possible new station site in Fort Peirce. Fort Pierce owns the downtown property and has goals for the type of development they want built on it. https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/growth/2019/02/05/virgin-trains-usa-interested-h-d-king-site-fort-pierce/2775858002/
  5. Hi, The January 2019 news has been posted online. Here is a small portion of the updated status on the pasenger cars: Final assembly of carshell #1 is underway and progress is being made on the other initial 11 carshells. The expansion of the Sacramento production facility is structurally complete and cranes are being installed. Here is a link to the webpage with the monthly reports: http://www.highspeed-rail.org/pages/section305committee.aspx
  6. Hi, I am very familiar with these options and have been riding into Union Station for more than 20 years. The CTA Clinton station has only narrow stairs from street-level to the mezzanine and one stair and one escalator from the mezzanine to the platform. The direction of the escalator changes with the rush-hour time. It is also the deepest underground station. I would therefore not take the CTA from the Clinton Station. I would suggest the extra NCS option previously discussed as a first option, because the shuttle bus is supposed to meet each train. There is room on the Metra cars for luggage, especially in the ADA car.
  7. DSS&A

    Amtrak Cascades F59PHI's

    I saw that 3 of the former Amtrak F59PHI locomotives are in revenue service for Metra this morning while on my morning commute.
  8. DSS&A

    Chicago-Rockford Service On Hold

    As stated above, the Tollway I-90 has been rebuilt to 70mph 4-lane from O'Hare (I-294 interchange) to Elgin and 70mph 3-lane from Elgin past Rockford and then north to the Wisconsin State line. The former Blackhawk service was a morning train into Chicago with an evening departure from Chicgo (typical midwest service to Chicago until about 10 years ago when a second "mirror image (Chicago morning departure) round trip was added on most routes". A former co-corker, who worked for Amtrak in Chicago in the 1970s, told me Amtrak wanted to add a Saturday and Sunday 2nd round trip departing Chicago in the morning and returning to Chicago in the evening to handle " Galena day trippers and full-weekend trippers". Amtrak thought the ridership would noticeably increase with just those two extra weekend round-trips, but Illinois wouldn't fund the extra weekend trains. Now that I-90 is upgraded, some of the potential riders will use I-90, but the Galena area is still a big market. A smaller market on the route is the proposed station stop at Huntley northwest of Elgin. There is a large Dell Web retirement community in Huntley. Also, there are 7 colleges in or near Dubuque and two colleges in Rockford. The plan when Govenor Rauner stopped the project was to have the usual single round trip into Chicago and then add a mirror image round trip departing Chicago in the morning a year later. The service was only going to go as far west to Rockford routing via Elgin until negotiations could be completed with CN.
  9. DSS&A

    Chicago-Rockford Service On Hold

    The former Illinois Govenor Rauner put this project's funds on hold four years ago. Amtrak's statement the other day probably means they want to change the route again. Some of the routing issues are as follows, the faster route through higher populations is out the north side of Union Station on Metra (Chicago to Elgin), Union Pacific (Elgin to Rockford) and CN (Rockford to Debuque). This route has three different railroads and corresponding dispatcher "hand-offs". The slightly slower route is south out of Union Station to 21st interlocking and on to CN tracks (Chicago to Dubuque through Genoa). This route has only two railroads , so none less dispatcher "hand-off". I have attended a few of the public meetings over the years. The original route was the faster route via Elgin and then suddenly it was changed to the other route via Genoa. Amtrak publically made comments that Genoa was a close (23 minute) drive to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. So, they are interested in trying to attract college students. However, it's important to note that it is only a 22 minute drive from DeKalb to the Elburn Metra cummuter train station which has significantly more service and lower fares. So, most NIU students will most likely continue to use Metra train service and not Amtrak if Amtrak's service is routed via Genoa. The chosen route went back to the route via Elgin and was proposed as a "start up service Chicago to Rockford" and not use CN tracks at all. This implies they were having issues with CN. Illinois' next Governor and his administration will write the next chapter on this project.
  10. DSS&A

    Amtrak Cascades F59PHI's

    Metra F59PHI #73 was in revenue service on Friday January 11th. It was double heading with NP36 #405 which was just painted in a Milwaukee Road Heritage inspired paint scheme. Here they are at Union Station before the train departed.
  11. The AASHTO December 31st report is online. Some progress has been made on the previously reported carshells, but the Sacramento plant expansion is taking longer than originally projected due to permitting problems. There was no report of starting work on additional car shells.
  12. Here are a few photos I took today. The Burlington Room has blue light bulbs for the Polar Express train. The PE train this season consists of GE #64, followed by Horizon coaches 54514, 54577 & 54544, then baggage 61014 (to stage staff and supllies) followed by 3 more Horizon coaches; 54522, 54567 & 54502.
  13. This Sacramento newspaper article has a Siemens statement that it can build a Charger locomotive in 45 days and 4 locomotives at a time. Brightline is starting in the news this week that it intends to start construction to connect its service in March 2019 and trains will start running before the end of 2020. So, there will be more Brightline train equipment built before they start on the Amtrak Charger order. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2018/12/12/siemens-sacramento-factory-receives-735-million.amp.html
  14. Here is an interesting article to read about Amtrak and it's current sale practice. The lack of information from the current leadership on the direction they are taking our intercity passenger rail service is a huge concern. We are the "shareholders" of this railroad and they are sharing no information with the public. https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/amtraks-second-fire-sale-in-a-year/