Amtrak Chicago to St. Louis

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by TrainNewbie, Jul 25, 2016.

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  1. Jul 25, 2016 #1
    Hi,

    I plan to travel on Amtrack Lincoln express from Chicago to St. Louis and back. I was wondering if anyone can help me understand how much delay to expect? I already checked Amtrack's own website and it shows 50% on time performance but it does not tell me how much delay approximately to expect? Also, is it safe to travel on this route for a single woman? Is coach class ok? I am not too tall so, if it is better than plane seats, I think I will be ok. Can anyone help me please with advice?
     
  2. Jul 25, 2016 #2

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    You'll be fine in Coach between Chicago and St Louis though Business Class is nice on this route since you get to use the New Lounge in Union Station.

    Lots of the delays on this route have to do with scheduled trackwork which had been going on for several years.

    You didn't indicate when you are riding but the trackwork days are listed on the Amtrak website and you can call and ask about this if it concerns you! ( on some days the trains are cancelled and you actually ride on buses which suck, we call this bustitutions here on AU!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2016
  3. Jul 25, 2016 #3

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

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  4. Jul 26, 2016 #4

    KmH

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    There is no Amtrack, but there is an Amtrak.

    Amtrak doesn't own the railroad tracks between Chicago and St. Louis, though the freight railroad that does notifies Amtrak of scheduled track work.

    So Amtrak's train schedules are to some extent disrupted by the freight railroad dispatchers having an Amtrak train stopping on a siding so a fright train can pass.

    The other fly in the ointment is infrastructure or weather problems, and right-of-way trespass incidents resulting in injury or death that can't be anticipated.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2016
  5. Jul 26, 2016 #5
    Thank you all. I called up Amtrak ( Thank you @KmH) and spoke to rep there who ran down times for specific runs over last 5 days. What I learned is - #301 is about 30-50 min late generally while #304 is about 20 min late once. This of course is not valid for ALL runs but that's what I thought I can hope to see.

    @Bob Dylan - I am going in September this year. So, not much weather issues I hope.

    @AmtrakBlue - the link to provided is not working for me. Not sure why. Thank you anyway!

    Appreciate the help, guys! I am on my way to do my very first Amtrak journey!
     
  6. Jul 26, 2016 #6

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

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    Try typing this into your browser

    juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php
     
  7. Jul 26, 2016 #7

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    I ride the route weekly. If I miss 307 the night before, I usually take 301 the next morning.

    301 may be reported as typically late, but is nice as you do not stop at most intermediate stations. If you look at the total travel time, it's about 10 minutes less than other trains. The times I have taken it (5-10) , I have never arrived later than 1pm, with half of the arrivals about 10 minutes early. It seems to depend if the train is routed over the McAuthur Bridge or the Merchants bridge when approaching St. Louis. If routed over Merchants, typically that's where the 30-50 minute delay happens. You have no control or knowledge it's happening, and that is just my non-professional opinion. It feels like the train is speed limited if on the Missouri side of the river. Coach has never been full. Business is nice but does fill up, you do get unlimited coffee and tea, one bottled, non-alcoholic beverage and a USA Today. I dont know if the Chicago Lounge is open that early for you to take advantage. Overall, Business is worth $21.00 for the 5+ hour journey.

    The return, on 304, is a popular departure out of SPI/BNL, suggest you upgrade as coach seems to fill up consistently on this train at BNL. Lately, been early by 10-15 minutes into Chicago.

    If you are not getting picked up in stl, taxi cabs are always available at the station, the ones that idle at the station prefer cash over credit. I prefer Laclede cab, but they don't idle at the station, 314-652-3456. I also prefer Uber as it's credit only.

    The Metrolink departs from the Civic Center stop. The metrobus center is currently under renovation, so all metro buses depart about 4 blocks west from 18th/Clark.

    Best way to find out about track work is the Illinois High speed rail service, they seem to post it in a format that I prefer, vs. Amtrak where it's loaded into the schedule and not really sent out to the customer as a press release. http://www.idothsr.org/info_center/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2016
  8. Jul 29, 2016 #8

    tommylicious

    t

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    We did this on the Eagle...it was delightful in a roomette. St Louis great town. Enjoy!
     
  9. Jul 29, 2016 #9

    Ryan

    Ryan

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    Here's some more data from that site - not sure why it isn't working for you...

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    Unknown-1.png
     
  10. Aug 14, 2016 #10

    iggy

    i

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    "So Amtrak's train schedules are to some extent disrupted by the freight railroad dispatchers having an Amtrak train stopping on a siding so a fright train can pass."

    Are we still going to keep that misinformation alive? Granted issue is still being debated and passed back and forth politically and in courts.

    Amtrak is supposed to have priority on tracks - granted this can be hit and miss and not always the case.

    As stated above - most delays on Chicago to St Louis route are do to ongoing track work to increase travel speeds to up to 110MPH on majority of route. Hopefully this work will finally be completed next year.

    "Also, is it safe to travel on this route for a single woman? Is coach class ok?"

    Over years I haven't seen issues where a single female would feel unsafe. Although I have seen a few drunks that probably should have gotten the boot. But this route has many business and young college women passengers.

    Coach should be a comfortable ride - experience can vary depending on those you share passenger car with. Level of cleanliness can vary at times.

    If you can afford it - Business Class on this route is worth upgrade. 1 free non alcoholic beverage, free newspaper, slightly nicer seats and fewer passengers to deal with.

    Won't get to far into my opinion - but always prefer longer Merchants Bridge route versus roller coaster to bridge featured in Amtrak commercial.

    Was recently on early morning train out of St Louis on Lincoln Service into /out town at various times - haven't been routed out or in using Merchants Bridge in about a year. Always roller coaster in and out.

    "The Metrolink departs from the Civic Center stop. The metrobus center is currently under renovation, so all metro buses depart about 4 blocks west from 18th/Clark."

    Very good information for first time travelers - especially with current construction. MetroLink will get you to many hotels other attractions. MetroLink tickets still have to be purchased at outside kiosk. MetroLink has told me for over a year that ticketing kiosk will be added inside Gateway Station - have yet to see it. MetroLink also goes to airport from Amtrak.

    Once again a thread gets hijacked with information that really wasn't needed to be added - which normally just scares off new users.

    When is the last time the debater actually took a ride on this route? I've done so in past few weeks several times and for years before and during ongoing track service upgrades.

    And honestly I think it is a disservice almost flat out lie to tell someone freight has been an issue recently when it has been track work creating majority of delays past 12 months.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  11. Aug 14, 2016 #11

    Ryan

    Ryan

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    What part of that statement do you think is actually misinformation. (hint: it isn't)
     
  12. Aug 14, 2016 #12

    iggy

    i

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    Hint it isn't? Since when? The statue has not changed - Amtrak gets priority - now in reality yes that doesn't take place.

    But unless you are talking coming into / leaving Chicago for past year freight has NOT been an issue with delays. Yes coming into / leaving those cities I have seen delays in past 12 months - but on actual route - not an issue. Last week leaving St Louis freight was given priority over MacArthur Bridge (St. Louis) - this caused less than a 5 minute delay out of Gateway Station ( yes 5 minute delays can add up quick). Track work along route that day did create slowdowns for work crew safety. Recently in between St Louis and Alton had a 30 minute delay do to TRACK WORK that day - NOT freight.

    It is track work that has caused majority of delays when in route between cities - for past year - freight had been an issue on and off in years past - do to legal / political debate going on - carriers not giving a damn etc. Most of times Amtrak Lincoln Service takes a siding it has been to wait for another Amtrak train to pass = not freight getting involved.

    I'm so sick of hearing passengers claiming freight gets priority - when law of land states exactly opposite!!

    This is a key reason I took a break from this forum - "the click" wanting to argue instead of helping people.

    And what exactly wasn't clear about my statement that priority is still a hot topic being passed around courts, agencies and politicians?

    Amtrak passengers Federal Surface Transportation Board decided to drop controversial proposal to allow freight rail to get priority on train tracks August 2nd 2016 would you like other sources?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2016/08/02/amtrak-passengers-just-dodged-a-major-bullet/

    Amtrak has priority over freight — but passengers don’t benefit http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Amtrak-has-priority-over-freight-but-5923268.php

    Getting there on time: Who goes first, Amtrak or a freight train? A court rules. http://wpo.st/Yuzr1

    A Message from Amtrak Regarding On-time Performance http://blog.amtrak.com/2015/02/message-amtrak-regarding-time-performance/

    Reading for those who would like to read about ongoing battle from earlier this year - my first article link is newer and takes informational priority.

    Round 2 for Amtrak: A major defeat in appeals court https://shar.es/1ZS4gO

    Amtrak Priority law 49 U.S.C. § 24308 : US Code - Section 24308: Use of facilities and providing services to Amtrak

    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/49/V/C/243/24308

    "© Preference Over Freight Transportation. - Except in an emergency, intercity and commuter rail passenger transportation provided by or for Amtrak has preference over freight transportation in using a rail line, junction, or crossing unless the Board orders otherwise under this subsection."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  13. Aug 14, 2016 #13

    Ryan

    Ryan

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    The statute is irrelevant.

    The statement was that delays are in part because of waiting on freight traffic. That is indisputably true.

    It's not about the statute. It's about what happens in the real world.

    If you want to argue less, you may want to look into not accusing people of spreading misinformation when they make factually correct statements. Might go a little better for you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  14. Aug 26, 2016 #14

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

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    All true and I might add:

    In plain language, the statue is being ignored. Period.

    Delays can also be caused by following a slow freight train.

    Living with some degree of delay is what you must accept when riding Amtrak but IMO the positives far outweigh the negatives. Delay only becomes a problem for trains arriving and connecting mainly in Chicago but Amtrak usually allows enough layover time so that missed trains due to delay are infrequent.

    What mode of transportation isn't subject to a possible delay?
     

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