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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

Why does Amtrak go to Pontiac? Why not Flint?

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

Why does Amtrak go to Pontiac? Why not Flint?

 

They go to Flint (The Blue Water from Chicago)....but I'm assuming you mean the trains via Detroit....

I don't know exactly why, but it may be that there is no suitable place to 'park' or service the trains in Flint.....and if you're asking why not Flint...then why not Bay City...or anywhere, 'upstate'?

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

Why does Amtrak go to Pontiac? Why not Flint?

 

They go to Flint (The Blue Water from Chicago)....but I'm assuming you mean the trains via Detroit....

I don't know exactly why, but it may be that there is no suitable place to 'park' or service the trains in Flint.....and if you're asking why not Flint...then why not Bay City...or anywhere, 'upstate'?

 

Pontiac just seems like a weird place to end a train. It would be like ending the Silver Star at Bridgeport.

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

Why does Amtrak go to Pontiac? Why not Flint?

 

They go to Flint (The Blue Water from Chicago)....but I'm assuming you mean the trains via Detroit....

I don't know exactly why, but it may be that there is no suitable place to 'park' or service the trains in Flint.....and if you're asking why not Flint...then why not Bay City...or anywhere, 'upstate'?

 

Pontiac just seems like a weird place to end a train. It would be like ending the Silver Star at Bridgeport.

 

I agree somewhat...just guessing that it has a convenient place to store, service, and maintain trains that works better than downtown Detroit....

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

The key for any such proposal (and I don't really care which one) is that Michigan would have to purchase and upgrade at least one of the four Toledo-Detroit tracks, since they're currently undermaintained and have very low speed limits. :-( Until that's seriously under consideration, it's not a viable proposal sadly.

Edited by neroden

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

Why do no other Amtrak trains extend through the suburbs though?

Edited by railgeekteen

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

Why do no other Amtrak trains extend through the suburbs though?
There are a few other examples of trains extending past a city into the suburbs or nearby towns. For example, the Downeaster continues through Portland to Brunswick, the Vermonter continues through Burlington/Essex Junction to St. Albans, some Capitol Corridor trains continue past Sacramento to Auburn, and the Empire Service trains that operate west of Albany continue through Buffalo to Niagara Falls.

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

Why do no other Amtrak trains extend through the suburbs though?
There are a few other examples of trains extending past a city into the suburbs or nearby towns. For example, the Downeaster continues through Portland to Brunswick, the Vermonter continues through Burlington/Essex Junction to St. Albans, some Capitol Corridor trains continue past Sacramento to Auburn, and the Empire Service trains that operate west of Albany continue through Buffalo to Niagara Falls.

 

Well St. Albans was left over from the Montrealer days.

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

Why do no other Amtrak trains extend through the suburbs though?
There are a few other examples of trains extending past a city into the suburbs or nearby towns. For example, the Downeaster continues through Portland to Brunswick, the Vermonter continues through Burlington/Essex Junction to St. Albans, some Capitol Corridor trains continue past Sacramento to Auburn, and the Empire Service trains that operate west of Albany continue through Buffalo to Niagara Falls.

 

And Pacific Surfliners that run through Santa Barbara to suburban Goleta.

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

Why do no other Amtrak trains extend through the suburbs though?
There are a few other examples of trains extending past a city into the suburbs or nearby towns. For example, the Downeaster continues through Portland to Brunswick, the Vermonter continues through Burlington/Essex Junction to St. Albans, some Capitol Corridor trains continue past Sacramento to Auburn, and the Empire Service trains that operate west of Albany continue through Buffalo to Niagara Falls.

 

And Pacific Surfliners that run through Santa Barbara to suburban Goleta.

 

But the route goes much further north.

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

The key for any such proposal (and I don't really care which one) is that Michigan would have to purchase and upgrade at least one of the four Toledo-Detroit tracks, since they're currently undermaintained and have very low speed limits. :-( Until that's seriously under consideration, it's not a viable proposal sadly.

But at least Michigan has a history of buying track. Don’t they now own everything from Kalamazoo to the Indiana state line on the way to Chicago?

 

That said, they are probably more interested spending their money on a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter line and/or restoring some sort of Detroit - Lansing - Grand Rapids service.

 

As a Michigan native (although I live in IN now) I would love to see them add a third CHI-NY train routed through MI. In my opinion, if they had the equipment it would be a no brainer, and would probably be as successful as the LSL.

 

Michigan has great connections to western and southern trains through Chicago, but east coast connections are non-existent. There’s a lot of potential to pick up east coast bound ridership - with medium sized cities all along the route (Kalamazoo-Battle Creek-Jackson-Ann Arbor) & of course there’s Detroit.

 

That’s a lot more added ridership potential than a third train through South Bend and Elkhart.

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I might agree with that, if they could get the running time close to that of Chicago-Toledo via Elkhart, otherwise, I would stand by my suggestion of just extending an existing Michigan train to Toledo and time it to make the connections....and they could do that now, without adding another train...

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The State owns the line from Dearborn (I believe Town Line CP is the eastern end of the State's ownership) to Kalamazoo. From Kalamazoo to Porter Indiana the line is owned by Amtrak.

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The Pontiac extension allows Amtrak to serve Troy and Royal Oak as well as Pontiac. The three Oakland County stops had 71,163 passengers use them in 2017, mostly at Troy and Royal Oak. Oakland county is the wealthiest county in Michigan and as such a good source of potential traffic. I think it is fair to say that these passengers are less likely to use Amtrak if they have to drive to Dearborn or Detroit.

Why do no other Amtrak trains extend through the suburbs though?

Detroit is a bit of an anomaly in that the majority of the population lives in the suburbs rather than downtown, so the extension is necessary (especially since Detroit doesn’t have regional rail like Metra, MARC, etc).

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I might agree with that, if they could get the running time close to that of Chicago-Toledo via Elkhart, otherwise, I would stand by my suggestion of just extending an existing Michigan train to Toledo and time it to make the connections....and they could do that now, without adding another train...

Except it is a overnight train. Two hours extra time on an overnight train is not a big deal. You can easily adjust the departure time by two hours to arrive at the destination in the desired time window.

 

And a cross platform connection at zero-dark-thirty in Toledo for Michigan passengers is infinitely less attractive than a one-seat ride, and ticket sales will reflect that.

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I might agree with that, if they could get the running time close to that of Chicago-Toledo via Elkhart, otherwise, I would stand by my suggestion of just extending an existing Michigan train to Toledo and time it to make the connections....and they could do that now, without adding another train...

Except it is a overnight train. Two hours extra time on an overnight train is not a big deal. You can easily adjust the departure time by two hours to arrive at the destination in the desired time window.

 

And a cross platform connection at zero-dark-thirty in Toledo for Michigan passengers is infinitely less attractive than a one-seat ride, and ticket sales will reflect that.

Just because it is an overnight train doesn't mean two hours doesn't matter. Most people on LD trains travel relatively short distances, such as Chicago to Toledo, which would be severely harmed by such a change. Even for overnight passengers, it could make a big difference. For example, one trip I'm planning on taking in the future is a long weekend trip from Chicago to Upstate New York, and with only one overnight at the destination would be much less attractive if my time there was cut short by 4 hours. Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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I would say reroute either the Silver Star or the Crescent to Augusta, GA and provide thruway bus service for the other route. In other words, if the Star is rerouted, the bus would run between Gainsville, GA and Augusta (for the Crescent). Likewise, if the Crescent is rerouted, the bus would run between Augusta and Denmark, SC (for the Star).

 

I know that this would require upgrading the RR infrastructure between Augusta and both Denmark, SC and Gainsville, GA (the two closest Amtrak stops to Augusta), but.................

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I would say reroute either the Silver Star or the Crescent to Augusta, GA and provide thruway bus service for the other route. In other words, if the Star is rerouted, the bus would run between Gainsville, GA and Augusta (for the Crescent). Likewise, if the Crescent is rerouted, the bus would run between Augusta and Denmark, SC (for the Star).

 

I know that this would require upgrading the RR infrastructure between Augusta and both Denmark, SC and Gainsville, GA (the two closest Amtrak stops to Augusta), but.................

I don't think it would be worth the huge infrastructure improvements and additional runtime, especially for the Crescent. If Augusta is to gain service, it should be via a new train. Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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Realistically, Augusta is best served by a Thruway bus. The infrastructure cost to get a train there without adversely affecting the train for everyone else is completely unreasonable.

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Before doing anything as radical as rerouting existing thru trains from the East via the slower route thru Michigan....I would suggest reviving the "Lake Cities"....a Chicago-Detroit-Toledo train with cross platform connections at Toledo...only loss would be from Detroit to Pontiac for the one train...

I like the idea of reviving the Lake Cities train, myself. Even though that'd mean that Toledo bound trains would have to cut off the Pontiac-Chicago line after Dearborn IIRC, it wouldn't be bad to bring back that train. Also, I think it'd be nice to have 1 through car sleeper and 1 through car coach that'd be hooked/unhooked at Toledo, to connect onto the Lake Cities through Michigan(or outbound going east onto the eastbound LSL). Also it'd be a ridership hit, if LSL no longer stopped at South Bend and Elkhart.

 

And as for the person who talked about downtown South Bend, I'd personally like to see Amtrak train service in South Bend moved from the former South Shore Line station(where the SSL served between the 70s and 90s, before it was rerouted to South Bend airport), to the unused South Bend Union Station. The inside of the building appeared to be restored the last time I was in South Bend(and I think are now used as offices when I peered inside that building?), but I would not be surprised if the platforms would need to be rebuilt for that to occur. And it'd work well, since the local city public transit bus agency(Transpo) has their main central bus terminal a block away from the former South Bend Union Station. Also South Bend's downtown seems to slowly be coming back, with also the South Bend Cubs playing across the street. And there's also plans for Bare Hands Brewery(currently has a taproom in Granger, IN), to open a taproom across the street from the SB Cubs stadium.

Edited by dogbert617

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Would losing South Bend and Elkhart really be that big of a hit? They’ve already got the Capitol Limited that runs on nearly the same schedule.

 

I’ve ridden that train (LSL) out of that station multiple times - there’s been solid but unspectacular ridership at least when I rode it. And there’s a lot more total population along the MI route than IN.

 

Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Detroit offers a lot more ridership potential than Elkhart & South Bend - especially when you consider 75% of the current IN riders would probably take the CL and transfer.

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