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I also like the idea of a through branch going from DAL/FTW-ELP and travel between DAL/FTW-LAX would be way way better than it is today. Plus the route between DAL and ELP back then was 645.3 miles, 13:35 hrs where today via SAS is 919 miles, about 20.5 hours, not counting the layover in SAS. They must have had some shortcut. I had proposed breaking the SL and TE and run through cars from DAL-SAS connecting with the SL. If you can have through cars DAL-ELP to the SL that would be even better for DAL to get to LAX.

 

For more information on the service from El Paso to Dallas and east, check the schedule for the former Texas Eagles under MoPac....

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I also like the idea of a through branch going from DAL/FTW-ELP and travel between DAL/FTW-LAX would be way way better than it is today. Plus the route between DAL and ELP back then was 645.3 miles, 13:35 hrs where today via SAS is 919 miles, about 20.5 hours, not counting the layover in SAS. They must have had some shortcut. I had proposed breaking the SL and TE and run through cars from DAL-SAS connecting with the SL. If you can have through cars DAL-ELP to the SL that would be even better for DAL to get to LAX.

 

Yes, there's a UP line (former T&P) that essentially follows I-20 heading west from Fort Worth through Abilene, Midland, and Odessa.

 

 

Umm, from a standpoint of temporal coordinates I think it would be more correct to say that Interstate 20 follows the UP's former T&P route....

 

 

Umm, OK. But that distinction doesn't really aid one in finding the approximate route of the rail line in question.

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Unfortunately, Illinois is such a mess right now that the state government is unlikely to renegotiate anything. Although eliminating this "paper barrier" would be a really good idea.

What you call a "paper barrier" is what Union Pacific would call an invoice.

 

Paper barrier is a historic technical term in railroading referring to a contract which prevents something which is technically straightforward -- such as direct service from a point on one railroad to a point on another which is physically connected. That was the most common usage.

 

The fact that taxpayers paid to bring the tracks up to code doesn't change the fact that UP remains in firm control of operating speeds and dispatching.

Yeah, well, you know my view of the long term solution: buy the tracks, and if they don't want to sell take them by eminent domain. It's been done before.

 

But in the short term, the most I can say is... Illinois made a bad deal. And they're so disorganized that they're not likely to renegotiate it any time soon.

 

A much better deal was made by Massachusetts, which has slowly been purchasing every line from CSX and seems to have sufficient bargaining power to force CSX to lower unreasonable prices. Talk in the Statehouse is now about Springfield-Worcester.

 

Massachusetts has quite a lot of backlog of management cleanup, budget issues, and upgrades of existing lines to do first, but don't be surprised if in a few years there's a state buyout of Springfield-Worcester with an "offer you can't refuse" made to CSX. The Class Is pretend they're exempt from state eminent domain, but a unified Governor, Legislature, and Congressional delegation can have powerful effects.

 

Which is exactly what Illinois doesn't have.

Edited by neroden

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Well can Illinois pay UP for the extra speed, I can't imagine it would cost more than a few million dollars a year.

 

Yeahhhhh.......No.

 

There are folks in Rockford and the Quad Cities who have been patiently waiting for their state-supported routes. I wouldn't imagine that the state throwing millions at UP so that you can look at motorists' reactions with your binoculars is going to sit too well with them.

 

I suggest you get that bake sale started.

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The Stimulus committed a Billion or so to upgrading from near Chicago (Aurora) to near St Louis (more or less Alton). Everyone understood that was enuff to chew on for Phase One, and anyway they weren't ready with plans and permits for the Phase Two stuff right then.

 

Then after the mid-term election of 2010, Congress in its wisdom aborted the plans to further invest in passenger rail, because after all, Obama was for it and that meant the Crazies were agin it.

 

When or if funding ever materializes for the now phantom Phase Two, the CHI-Aurora segment will get the full 110-mph upgrade treatment: double tracking, new bridges, grade crossings fixed, fencing, etc.; and the Aurora-St Louis segment will get complete double tracking etc. That way Phase Two, costing about another Billion, will cut another 30 or 40 or 50 minutes out of the run time. At that point more frequencies will be added, and the Texas Eagle presumably will be allowed to move at 110-mph speeds. By the time Phase Two is finishing up, we might even see the Horizons replaced by new cars of one level or another. (A Phase Three could include a new bridge over the Mississippi among other projects to shave more minutes from the schedules.)

 

Anyway, no problem that can't be fixed by time and money and clear thinking in Congress. So don't count on any progress for the foreseeable future.

I am trying to figure out which Aurora you refer to in the context of the Chicago - St. Louis route. Did you perhaps mean Joliet, which is actually on the route? The only Aurora I can find is on BNSF route to Galesburg and then on to Kansas City and Omaha.

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If i had some extra time from reducing the layover in DAL and FTW, I'd (at least on the westbound side) push the westbound departure out of CHI back (currently 1:45pm, the earliest of the four western trains). I don't think it is as big of an issue with passengers missing transfers from the CL/LSL but pushing the 21 departure back would make it even less of an issue.

 

The reason for the long layover between the TE and SL is the pathetic (at least westbound) SL schedule. I don't know what's less attractive, getting to SAS at 2:45am to board the train or spending six hours in SAS if traveling from DAL/FTW to LAX. And in either case, you arrive in LAX during the graveyard shift. With a better schedule, you'd have way more business between DAL/SAS-:LAX. Based on the markets served, the SL (including passengers from DAL/FTW and south heading to LAX via SAS) should be blowing the Cardinal out of the water in terms of ridership/revenue. IMO the schedule is the biggest reason it's not.

 

Well can Illinois pay UP for the extra speed, I can't imagine it would cost more than a few million dollars a year.

Yeahhhhh.......No.

 

There are folks in Rockford and the Quad Cities who have been patiently waiting for their state-supported routes. I wouldn't imagine that the state throwing millions at UP so that you can look at motorists' reactions with your binoculars is going to sit too well with them.

 

I suggest you get that bake sale started.

the binoculars are just another way to pass time, I'm hoping for a TE that shaves off more time, so I can connect to the EB, although that woukd be a lot of time shaving, but a minute here, a minute there...

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... a through branch going from DAL/FTW-ELP and travel between DAL/FTW-LAX would be way way better than it is today.

For more information on the service from El Paso to Dallas and east, check the schedule for the former Texas Eagles under MoPac....

Philly, what you are calling a thru branch Dallas-El Paso, Union Pacific calls their main line in the Southwest. (San Antonio-El Paso was the main line of the Southern Pacific, but since the merger not so much).

 

Others have posted that the UP will fight to the last against passenger trains on this route. Maybe that's why Amtrak doesn't run here, and hasn't for decades, if ever.

 

Meanwhile, the UP seems reconciled to the idea of a daily Sunset Ltd. on the San Antonio-El Paso segment, and indeed, on the whole Sunset route, now that they've double tracked west of El Paso.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++

 

ehbowen, That schedule if full of info nuggets. Lots of fun.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

The Stimulus committed a Billion or so to upgrading from near Chicago [Joliet] (Aurora) to near St Louis (more or less Alton). Everyone understood that was enuff to chew on for Phase One, and anyway they weren't ready with plans and permits for the Phase Two stuff right then.

 

Then after the mid-term election of 2010, Congress in its wisdom aborted the plans to further invest in passenger rail, because after all, Obama was for it and that meant the Crazies were agin it.

 

When or if funding ever materializes for the now phantom Phase Two, the CHI-[Joliet] Aurora segment will get the full 110-mph upgrade treatment: double tracking, new bridges, grade crossings fixed, fencing, etc.; and the [Joliet] Aurora -St Louis segment will get complete double tracking etc. That way Phase Two, costing about another Billion, will cut another 30 or 40 or 50 minutes out of the run time. At that point more frequencies will be added, and the Texas Eagle presumably will be allowed to move at 110-mph speeds. By the time Phase Two is finishing up, we might even see the Horizons replaced by new cars of one level or another. (A Phase Three could include a new bridge over the Mississippi among other projects to shave more minutes from the schedules.)

 

Anyway, no problem that can't be fixed by time and money and clear thinking in Congress. So don't count on any progress for the foreseeable future.

I am trying to figure out which Aurora you refer to in the context of the Chicago - St. Louis route. Did you perhaps mean Joliet, which is actually on the route? The only Aurora I can find is on BNSF route to Galesburg and then on to Kansas City and Omaha.

I can no longer plead early-onset Alzhies. It's done onset already.

 

Joliet, of course. Thanks. The as yet untouched portion of the Lincoln Service route is CHI-Joliet.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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The TE still has the DAL/FTW buffer in the schedule from before the switch to the current track. FYI - the current Eagle only runs with one P42, no protection anywhere along the route, which is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Can confirm there is still a protect unit stored at Fort Worth. Saw it today.

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The TE still has the DAL/FTW buffer in the schedule from before the switch to the current track. FYI - the current Eagle only runs with one P42, no protection anywhere along the route, which is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Can confirm there is still a protect unit stored at Fort Worth. Saw it today.
according to the VP of operations at Amtrak, there is also a protection engine at Marshal, TX

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The TE still has the DAL/FTW buffer in the schedule from before the switch to the current track. FYI - the current Eagle only runs with one P42, no protection anywhere along the route, which is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Can confirm there is still a protect unit stored at Fort Worth. Saw it today.
according to the VP of operations at Amtrak, there is also a protection engine at Marshal, TX
Marshal, TX? Why would they have a protection locomotive there? Did he mean a freight locomotive could be borrowed from there?

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Not sure if a P-42 protect engine is actually there, I've never seen one or heard of it on my many trips on this route, but Marshall is a Crew Change point for Trains that operate through there since its a junction point.

 

The nicely restored Station, now a Museum, is off the Main that the Eagles use, so a backing move and two spots are required for the Crew Change and Station work.

 

Passengers are not allowed to get off the train for a smoke/freah air stop during the stop.

 

As for protect engines on the Eagle route, the only non-Freight rescue engine I've experienced while aboard the Eagle, on my many trips requiring such, came out of Ft. Worth as has been discussed.

Edited by Bob Dylan

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The TE still has the DAL/FTW buffer in the schedule from before the switch to the current track. FYI - the current Eagle only runs with one P42, no protection anywhere along the route, which is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Can confirm there is still a protect unit stored at Fort Worth. Saw it today.
according to the VP of operations at Amtrak, there is also a protection engine at Marshal, TX
Marshal, TX? Why would they have a protection locomotive there? Did he mean a freight locomotive could be borrowed from there?
thats what he said, in person, to me in the CNOC building.

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Could he be wrong, sure, but he is the VP of operations

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I was on 21 today and looked around when we pulled into Marshall. I did not see an Amtrak unit anywhere. Plenty of places it could have been that I could not see from the train though.

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Two possibilities I can think of:

  • FTW protection unit was temporarily moved to Marshall during the reroute but is back home now.
  • Brain fart

 

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If there is a protection unit there I don't remember it being used. Definitely don't remember seeing a unit, do remember a unit in FTW but was told it wasn't for protection, rather for switching. Never could figure out what was being switched by Amtrak.

 

The SL/CS connection going west is used by several people I know and might by many more if the SL was daily.

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The SL/CS connection going west is used by several people I know and might by many more if the SL was daily.

 

A daily Sunset would be best, but simply returning to the previous schedule could help many of us. I'd like to take Amtrak from SAS to LAX but the 2:45AM - 4:50AM dwell times are not conducive to a pleasant experience.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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The middle of the night SAS times are poor. A solution would be to open up the 421 Sleeper when it arrives in SAS at 9:55 or as early as 8:45 if running on time. Going the opposite direction, allow Sleeper passengers to remain on Board until after all the switching has. Even completed. This would ease some of the middle of the night boarding times of Sleeper passengers without spending much since the SCA is already. Another thought would be to make better use of San Marcos just north of San Antonio.

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Couple of comments about Lonestar648's Post:

 

The Texas Eagle #21/#421 usually arrives into SAS between 930pm and 1030pm while the Sunset Ltd.#1 often arrives early from Houston about 11PM.

 

Pasengers on the #421 through Sleeper and Coach can stay aboard during the switching or detrain, their choice.

 

Several times I have boarded the #1 and #421 Sleeper or Coach in SAS soon as the Switching was over. (after talking with the New Conductor and SCA.) The train then left at the scheduled 245am departure time.

 

On the #421 and #422 Cars New SCAs take over the Cars after the Switching is complete.

 

Same thing for #2/#422 which generally arrives around 6am ish, and the #22/422 then leaves @ 700am headed for CHI.

 

As for San Marcos,its 50+ Miles North of SA on the 24/7 Parking Lot aka I-35. There is a lack of parking spaces, and no safe parking, at the Unstaffed Intermodel Station where one boards/detrains at a small shed like structure with a short platform.

 

I agree that the dwell times are too long in San Antonio, especially for the #1/#421 Train, and the Wee Hours arrival into LAX is Ridiculous!😣

Edited by Bob Dylan

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Two possibilities I can think of:

  • FTW protection unit was temporarily moved to Marshall during the reroute but is back home now.
  • Brain fart

 

true, but we were talking with the people in charge of western Diesel operations, and the guy backed up Chris (VP of operations)

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Two possibilities I can think of:

  • FTW protection unit was temporarily moved to Marshall during the reroute but is back home now.
  • Brain fart

 

true, but we were talking with the people in charge of western Diesel operations, and the guy backed up Chris (VP of operations)

 

 

If your conversation happened during the reroute which was in effect from mid-May to mid-June, I'm very much inclined to side with the theory that the protect unit which is normally parked in Fort Worth was temporarily relocated to Marshall to be on the actual route of the train in the event it was needed.

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Two possibilities I can think of:

  • FTW protection unit was temporarily moved to Marshall during the reroute but is back home now.
  • Brain fart
true, but we were talking with the people in charge of western Diesel operations, and the guy backed up Chris (VP of operations)

If your conversation happened during the reroute which was in effect from mid-May to mid-June, I'm very much inclined to side with the theory that the protect unit which is normally parked in Fort Worth was temporarily relocated to Marshall to be on the actual route of the train in the event it was needed.

He said that was normal and had been there for years.

 

Sent from my SM-G930P using Amtrak Forum mobile app

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