Jump to content
dlagrua

South Dakota Passenger Rail

Recommended Posts

In PA they have a posted limit of 70, a legal limit of 76, and an unofficial tolerance of 80-85. And sometimes snow, too.

That's just on the Turnpike. All the 2-lane roads have a 55 mph limit max (and a good thing, too, given the curves and hills and cross traffic that you can't see until the last minute.) And I-70 from the Maryland line to Breezewood is 55 mph, for some obscure reason, it doesn't seem to be any different from any other interstate in PA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initial points:

1. I'm brand new here.

2. As far as I can tell I'm the only poster on this particular thread who is from South Dakota.

3. I personally haven't ridden on Amtrak in 40 years, the last trip being from Fargo - that's about 4 1/2 hours north of here - to Seattle and back.

4. Why a 40 year hiatus? Passenger service in South Dakota ended some 55 years ago AND Amtrak is 4 1/2 hours north of here.

 

I appreciate the early posters' suggestions about the positive aspects of bringing passenger rail in South Dakota. It's a long ways to anyplace, from anyplace, out here. Business people spend hours on the road between Mitchell, Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen, Huron, Watertown, Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Yankton. Just to name the bigger - relatively speaking - cities in the state. Even at 80 mph interstate speed - and a number of the aforementioned places are not on the interstate - the windshield time is a colossal waste of resources. Air service is darn near non-existent in places other than Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

 

I have no answer to the initial posters suggestion/question. But I do believe that intercity, if not interstate, passenger rail would be a godsend. Granted, given our sparse population, much of the year there wouldn't be large numbers of people filling a commuter train, but a Budd car would probably fill up without any trouble.

 

Considering it's snowing again, the wind is coming up, and the temperature is about +10 with a low tonight near 0, intercity travel without worrying about icy roads, oncoming traffic, and the ability to sit and read or work a laptop would be outstanding!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initial points:

1. I'm brand new here.

2. As far as I can tell I'm the only poster on this particular thread who is from South Dakota.

3. I personally haven't ridden on Amtrak in 40 years, the last trip being from Fargo - that's about 4 1/2 hours north of here - to Seattle and back.

4. Why a 40 year hiatus? Passenger service in South Dakota ended some 55 years ago AND Amtrak is 4 1/2 hours north of here.

 

I appreciate the early posters' suggestions about the positive aspects of bringing passenger rail in South Dakota. It's a long ways to anyplace, from anyplace, out here. Business people spend hours on the road between Mitchell, Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen, Huron, Watertown, Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Yankton. Just to name the bigger - relatively speaking - cities in the state. Even at 80 mph interstate speed - and a number of the aforementioned places are not on the interstate - the windshield time is a colossal waste of resources. Air service is darn near non-existent in places other than Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

 

I have no answer to the initial posters suggestion/question. But I do believe that intercity, if not interstate, passenger rail would be a godsend. Granted, given our sparse population, much of the year there wouldn't be large numbers of people filling a commuter train, but a Budd car would probably fill up without any trouble.

 

Considering it's snowing again, the wind is coming up, and the temperature is about +10 with a low tonight near 0, intercity travel without worrying about icy roads, oncoming traffic, and the ability to sit and read or work a laptop would be outstanding!

Welcome to AU!

Always nice to see new member's.....

 

While it would be nice to have passenger service in South Dakota, and many other places, as well...unfortunately, .the reality is that it is not very likely to happen, in a long time to come, as there just aren't the numbers to justify it, and SD is no longer on a through transcontinental route, since the demise of the Milwaukee Road.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Even when the NCH ran, the EB was the better performer, mainly because it serves an area that is not well served by the interstate road network. Only the basic two lane undivided Hwy 2 up there.

 

 

 

But those 2 lane roads up in the Hi-line area have 70 mph speed limits! :) Kind of like Texas with snow. I once rode the EB to havre, rented a car, and then drove to Great Falls and Yellowstone.Drove 70 mph on the 2 lane highway to Great Falls, except when I had some blowing snow.

 

You can legally do 75 on some rural roads where I live in Texas. Amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In West Texas, somewhat like South Dakota in its remoteness( we do have the Sunset Ltd. 3 times a week between San Antonio and LA)you can drive 85mph, and also on a Toll Road here in Austin the Speed limit is 80!!

 

As for South Dakota, your politicians will have to fund any kind of rail service, which doesn't seem likely based on who you have in office and the small population.

 

Welcome to AU however and consider a trip on the California Zephyr between Chicago and the Bay Area since you've been on the Builder!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initial points:

1. I'm brand new here.

2. As far as I can tell I'm the only poster on this particular thread who is from South Dakota.

3. I personally haven't ridden on Amtrak in 40 years, the last trip being from Fargo - that's about 4 1/2 hours north of here - to Seattle and back.

4. Why a 40 year hiatus? Passenger service in South Dakota ended some 55 years ago AND Amtrak is 4 1/2 hours north of here.

 

I appreciate the early posters' suggestions about the positive aspects of bringing passenger rail in South Dakota. It's a long ways to anyplace, from anyplace, out here. Business people spend hours on the road between Mitchell, Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen, Huron, Watertown, Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Yankton. Just to name the bigger - relatively speaking - cities in the state. Even at 80 mph interstate speed - and a number of the aforementioned places are not on the interstate - the windshield time is a colossal waste of resources. Air service is darn near non-existent in places other than Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

 

I have no answer to the initial posters suggestion/question. But I do believe that intercity, if not interstate, passenger rail would be a godsend. Granted, given our sparse population, much of the year there wouldn't be large numbers of people filling a commuter train, but a Budd car would probably fill up without any trouble.

 

Considering it's snowing again, the wind is coming up, and the temperature is about +10 with a low tonight near 0, intercity travel without worrying about icy roads, oncoming traffic, and the ability to sit and read or work a laptop would be outstanding!

As one who has spent time in South Dakota (going there again in May) I saw firsthand the effects of the closing of the Milwaukee Road Mainline that ran from near Sioux Falls across the state to Rapid City. As you may know the route went West parallel to Rt 90 to Kadoka then continued around the badlands through Interior and Scenic to Rapid City. The closing of this line devastated farms, mines and small towns along its route. Farmers and Ranchers lost a way to get their produce to market and towns became ghost towns. Until Rt 90 was built there was little in the way of transportation. The good news is that with the states help, the Dakota Southern RR is working its way West on that old mainline bringing new hope to the grain and seed industries. The track refurbishment is nearly halfway across the state at Presho. They hope to be as far as Murdo this year and eventually to Kadoka where the tracks now end.. I see great hope for another railroad across the southern portion of the state, an agricultural resurgence there, but I believe passenger rail is still far off. IMO, the only cities that could support passenger rail are Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre. We would love to hop on an Amtrak train in Chicago and head West to Rapid City/the Black Hills but until the demand for passenger service returns it will be a long wait. The Milwaukee Road Sioux train stopped service in the 1950's. Many stations along the old main line still remain, and some have been re-purposed; a sad reminder of lost passenger trains in your state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the last passenger service that the Milwaukee ran across South Dakota was on the former route of their Olympian Hiawatha to the Pacific, which ran across the northern part of the state.

The last passenger service on that line was a stub from Minneapolis to Aberdeen, up until April of 1969.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As one who has spent time in South Dakota (going there again in May) I saw firsthand the effects of the closing of the Milwaukee Road Mainline that ran from near Sioux Falls across the state to Rapid City. As you may know the route went West parallel to Rt 90 to Kadoka then continued around the badlands through Interior and Scenic to Rapid City. The closing of this line devastated farms, mines and small towns along its route. Farmers and Ranchers lost a way to get their produce to market and towns became ghost towns. Until Rt 90 was built there was little in the way of transportation. The good news is that with the states help, the Dakota Southern RR is working its way West on that old mainline bringing new hope to the grain and seed industries. The track refurbishment is nearly halfway across the state at Presho. They hope to be as far as Murdo this year and eventually to Kadoka where the tracks now end.. I see great hope for another railroad across the southern portion of the state, an agricultural resurgence there, but I believe passenger rail is still far off. IMO, the only cities that could support passenger rail are Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre. We would love to hop on an Amtrak train in Chicago and head West to Rapid City/the Black Hills but until the demand for passenger service returns it will be a long wait. The Milwaukee Road Sioux train stopped service in the 1950's. Many stations along the old main line still remain, and some have been re-purposed; a sad reminder of lost passenger trains in your state.

Rapid City was the terminal (i.e. the last) station on a MILW and CNW branch line. The ex-CNW Line still exists operated by DME. The MILW line has been abandoned. Beyond Rapid City there was a Fremont Elkton and Missouri Valley (FEMV) line to a mine north of Belle Fourche, This is the line one sees running along I-90 west of Rapid City today. It still operates under the short line DME (Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern) , The other line west was a Rapid City, Black Hills and Western Railway twisty turny line to M&B Junction, where it met a north-south running CBQ branch line. All of that is abandoned. So effectively there is no "main line" that went west of Rapid City. Only local lines.

 

The only other line from Rapid City is to the South, the ex FEMV currently DME Line to Chardonne, Nebraska.

 

As railner correctly points out above, the MILW Main Line ran across the North of the state, through Bristol, Aberdeen and Mobridge.

 

Strongly recommend that all interested take the trouble to crack open the Dakotas and Minnesota volume of the SPV Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America.

Edited by jis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, the only cities that could support passenger rail are Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre.

This sounds about right to me. Unfortunately we can't even get Iowa -- whose governments are much more supportive of passenger rail than South Dakota -- to support passenger service to Iowa City, which is a hop, skip, and jump from the end of the Moline line.

 

Sioux Falls - Sioux City - Omaha - Kansas City is a plausible line, but the political support appears to be beyond nonexistent and well into total hostility. If we can't even get Cleveland - Columbus due to anti-rail forces (and we can't), there's just no chance.

Edited by neroden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

IMO, the only cities that could support passenger rail are Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre.

This sounds about right to me. Unfortunately we can't even get Iowa -- whose governments are much more supportive of passenger rail than South Dakota -- to support passenger service to Iowa City, which is a hop, skip, and jump from the end of the Moline line.

 

Sioux Falls - Sioux City - Omaha - Kansas City is a plausible line, but the political support appears to be beyond nonexistent and well into total hostility. If we can't even get Cleveland - Columbus due to anti-rail forces (and we can't), there's just no chance.

Missouri is supportive of a KC to Omaha train via St Joseph, as it's in their state rail plan. Nebraska isn't against the idea, but there's no leadership on the ground to push the idea. The only weird part is a good chunk of the routing would be in Iowa, who has zero interest in this route (only stop in Iowa would be Sioux City) and definitely wouldn't be willing to fund it. I have no idea what SD thinks about it.

 

Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

South Dakota does not connect the two concepts "passenger" and "rail" together in any of their transportation planning. All their rail planning and funding is about freight.

 

South Dakota has a comprehensive state rail plan in two volumes. The word "passenger" does not appear even once in the two volumes. The word "transit" appears only in the context of transit in cities and towns and seemingly refers to road based transport, basically to provide the context within which their "multi-modal" transport plan operates wherein rail has not much to do with carrying passengers..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A pipe dream I have is Chicago-Minneapolis-Pierre-Rapid City-Cheyenne-Ogden-Salt Lake City-Emeryville train. Would restore service to both of the 48 contiguous states without Amtrak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the Thousands of people in South Dakota and Wyoming definitely deserve to have Passenger Rail IF they Pay for it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the Thousands of people in South Dakota and Wyoming definitely deserve to have Passenger Rail IF they Pay for it!

This.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This comes back to my old argument. If South Dakota and Wyoming want rail service they are expected to pay for it. But North Dakota and Montana get free service. Is that fair? The real fair thing would be all states would get federally funded rail service but we don't have the equipment for it. Plus there are other areas in the country that also don't have rail service as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Historical facts and continuation of things that already existed is relevant in this discussion.

 

For example the fact that you have US citizenship whereas someone born in Nigeria does not has more to do with the historical accident that you were born in the US than anything to do with fairness, being more deserving or any other such. ;) The Empire Builder is there because it was part of the original system that has survived, more than anything else. There is nothing in South Dakota because there was nothing there when Amtrak was created. Which makes it one step further removed than those places that lost service at the creation of Amtrak. Nothing to do with fairness or otherwise. All historical accidents.

Edited by jis

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

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×