Hoosier State last run

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by WindyCityTexan, Jun 25, 2019.

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  1. Jun 25, 2019 #1

    WindyCityTexan

    WindyCityTexan

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    Another Amtrak friend and I are going to be on the last Hoosier State, departing IND around 6am on Sunday June 30th.

    We're on the Cardinal from CHI on Saturday evening, and turning around the next morning.

    Anyone else going to be on board? We're in Coach on the Card, and BC on the HS.
     
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  2. Jun 25, 2019 #2

    dogbert617

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    Won't be, but it's super sad and ridiculous that Indiana lawmakers cut that train from the 2019 budget. Heck, even equally conservative states like Missouri and Oklahoma, still are keeping their Amtrak state supported trains! Ugh, it is so painful that the Hoosier State is getting cut for good.

    Please do post here if the train employees do anything special for the passengers, on that last Hoosier State run to Indy. Since other than Lafayette and Indy, there won't be any alternate bus service between Chicago and ____(Dyer, Rensselaer, and Crawfordsville), on days the Cardinal doesn't run. :( AFAIK, only Lafayette and Indy have regular bus service between Chicago and those 2 respective places.
     
  3. Jun 25, 2019 #3

    WindyCityTexan

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    I have read that bus service is being expanded, but I don't know the details.
     
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  4. Jun 25, 2019 #4

    dogbert617

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    Interesting. I do wonder if say like Dyer or Crawfordsville, may get extra bus service? Not sure if Rensselaer will get extra service(as it isn't right on an interstate, plus the college that was in that town supposedly discontinued operations sadly to say), but I hope any extra bus service might also stop there as well.
     
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  5. Jun 25, 2019 #5

    WindyCityTexan

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    I'm sure much of the reason for the HS demise is the schedule and reliability. My friend, like me, doesn't have a car here in Chicago. He always takes Megabus to IND to visit his mother. I never could get him on Amtrak.
     
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  6. Jun 25, 2019 #6

    dogbert617

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    Also if you're taking Amtrak to/from Indy, the schedule is BOTH early and late when it departs/arrives in Indy(northbound 851, where it leaves at 6am), and southbound arrival time into Indy(southbound 850, doesn't get to Indy till like 11:39pm I believe?). That probably doesn't help its ridership, either. And yep like you said, Megabus' arrival times into Indy are more regular and less weird, vs. when Amtrak arrives into Indy. I suppose things could be worse when it comes to Amtrak train arrival times, though(i.e. Cincinnati, Cleveland, Fargo, ND, plus the eastbound arrival time of California Zephyr into Salt Lake City is VERY awful at something like 3:30am!).
     
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  7. Jun 25, 2019 #7

    Bob Dylan

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    Every Amtrak LD Train has Poor Calling times in various Places.

    It's a Big Country with Slow Trains! I especially am not fond of the Sunset Ltd and the Crescent and Silver Trains since their best Scenery is @ O-Dark Thirty.:(
     
  8. Jun 25, 2019 #8

    IndyLions

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    As a local, the most frustrating thing is the pittance of savings. $3M is a lot of money to you and me, but almost nothing for a transportation budget. I believe it is about 3 miles of two lane highway. That savings will do virtually nothing to make transportation better in any way in the state.
     
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  9. Jun 27, 2019 #9

    DSS&A

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  10. Jun 27, 2019 #10

    Pere Flyer

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  11. Jun 29, 2019 #11

    dogbert617

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    I saw this quote, in that linked article from jconline:

    “And the reality is we’ve seen a pretty goodly drop in passengers because of on-time performance and service issues,” Olson said. “Six years ago, when we talked about saving this, the rule of thumb on the subsidy was somewhere between $80 (and) $85 a passenger. The reality is, the subsidy had not gone down to $70, as we said our goal was in doing this. It had gone to $100. … It’s hard to argue with that.”
    -----------------------------
    Scott Manning, an INDOT spokesman, said the revenue per rider during fiscal year 2019 was $32.85, with a state and local subsidy cost of $100.89 per rider.

    Wow, so it was subsidies over each passenger riding it, where they thought too few passengers were utilizing the Hoosier State? Seems like a disappointing reason for Indiana lawmakers to eliminate it, all because the average subsidy per passenger was just over $100. And that their goal was to get it to about $70, per passenger.

    Seems like from what I hear, the allegedly scenic segment in eastern California and western Arizona is another one that's passed through, late at night sadly. And to a lesser extent, you also can add the scenery that surprised me, near Sandusky, OH on both the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore. Since once I rode the Cap westbound coming back from Pittsburgh, and I was surprised how the part by Sandusky was scenic. Another area that's passed through overnight that seems to have good scenery, would be the part of the Empire Builder through western Montana, and also through Sandpoint, ID.
     
  12. Jun 29, 2019 #12

    Maverickstation

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  13. Jun 29, 2019 #13

    Barb Stout

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    Yes, well there are also very scenic areas in NM and CO that would be passed in the dark if they changed the schedule for daylight runs in western AZ and eastern CA. It's just so darn pretty for about 1000 miles.
     
  14. Jun 30, 2019 #14

    lordsigma

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    Those affected by the loss of the Hoosier State should get behind the effort to try to turn the cardinal into a 7 day service. This would at least restore what was lost in a back door sort of way. Not only that, having a 7 day Cardinal as a base would make a potential down the road revived Hoosier State state corridor more attractive as you’d be adding additional train times instead of just running on the days the Cardinal doesn’t.
     
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  15. Jun 30, 2019 #15

    IndyLions

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    Not disputing that - but there’s no way in Hades Amtrak is adding any LD Service unless Congress mandates it. I don’t see that happening - even if the Democrats completely take over the White House and the Senate. While you could argue the Obama administration helped passenger rail - how many LD routes were added or expanded? Where did service on the LD network improve over those 8 years? I didn’t see any tangible evidence of any improvement while I rode the trains.
     
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  16. Jun 30, 2019 #16

    Metra Electric Rider

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    Indiana can't even maintain their highways well, you think they can maintain train service? I just drove down to Indy, well, to Bloomington, and back on Friday and I-65 was worse than I remember - potholes and poor condition and, while not directly state-run, the Tollway had dirty and broken cash boxes. 65 really needs to be 3 lanes all the way to Indy from Crown Point with it's traffic volume - there were constant slow downs from trucks passing and people having to brake for them. Most of the traffic was local (observing the county sticker on the Indiana license plates) and truck rather than long-distance, so I don't think the Hoosier State would have picked up much of that or helped thin out traffic. The new stretch of I-69 to Bloomington was great however.
     
  17. Jun 30, 2019 #17

    lordsigma

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    Amtrak’s 5 year plan does include a feasibility study at making the SL and Cardinal daily trains - whether they are serious or not who knows but it is in there...
     
  18. Jul 2, 2019 #18

    Anthony V

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    With those plans, Amtrak should keep the Hoosier State's slot open for the potential daily Cardinal. This would reduce startup costs of this plan.
     
  19. Jul 2, 2019 #19

    iliketrains

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    Well how was the last run?
     
  20. Jul 2, 2019 #20

    Pere Flyer

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    Infrastructure is subject to the theory of induced demand (aka “if you build it, they will come”). Widening a road to relieve traffic just creates more traffic, and additional maintenance costs to the owner.
    Michigan, my home state, is in a similar position as Indiana, with several counties having billion-dollar road maintenance backlogs because they built what they couldn’t afford.
    The great thing about induced demand is that it gives power to a government to control its transportation future. Want more of your residents to bike? Build protected bike lanes. Want more pedestrian activity? Build trails and car-free streets. Better transit? Paint bus-only lanes. Want more car traffic? Widen roads and raise speed limits.
    I-69 may seem nice now, but in a few years it’ll be just as congested as it was before the expansion. That’s why train service is so important for Indiana’s future.
     
  21. Jul 3, 2019 #21

    dlagrua

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    The way that it was explained to me is that Amtrak accounting factors in all costs at all stations equally among the LD trains. For instance the Cardinal is being charged a share of the total cost for 7 days of Red Cap, ticket, baggage, police, cleaning and other services at NYP although it only uses it for three days or not at all. Now with the extra Hoosier state equipment available it would not cost much extra for a daily Cardinal
     
  22. Jul 3, 2019 #22

    Matthew H Fish

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    I hope people don't mind me stating the obvious, but to me it is a little weird that there could be any trouble at all filling a daily, or bidaily train, between Indianapolis and Chicago. Indianapolis and Chicago are 180 miles apart, and are a metro area of 2 million people and a metro area of 9.5 million people. There are also no terrain barriers between the two cities.

    Compare that with Portland and Seattle, also 180 miles apart, with smaller populations (2.5 million and 4 million, approx), and with some harder terrain to pass through in places...and where there are five trains a day between Portland and Seattle. I do wonder what type of political and social factors lined up that all of these cities in the east-central region of the US ended up without good (or any) train service between them. Cities like Cincinnati to Cleveland and Nashville to St. Louis seem to be cities that would be perfectly suited for intermediate distance rail travel: not worth the expense and hassle of flight, too far to drive comfortably, and between large population centers with easy terrain.
     
  23. Jul 3, 2019 #23

    zephyr17

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    Easily explained. The state governments of Washington and Oregon want and pay all costs for the Cascades service, which is popular and well patronized. Including buying their own equipment .

    Good frequency to allow flexibility and times designed for traveler convenience, demanded by WashDOT and ODOT.

    The line itself between Seattle and Portland is a heavy trafficked BNSF mainline, double tracked with some triple track. It is maintained to 79 mph standards. It isn't the patchwork of (mostly) CSX secondary lines used by the Hoosier State. The trip times are a bit longer than ideal traffic driving times, but still competitive, especially considering traffic that can be encountered on I5.

    Really short answer: Blue states, plus well maintained, heavily used rail infrastructure owned by a reasonably cooperative railroad.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  24. Jul 4, 2019 #24

    Matthew H Fish

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    The political climates in Oregon and Washington do seem to be an obvious factor, but often people and politicians' views on transit vary from their stated political ideology. Mississippi seems to be happy to have train service.

    But I understand how it could be a matter of culture. People who are used to car travel tend to dismiss other things out of hand. People who are familiar with train travel will want to use it more.
     
  25. Jul 4, 2019 #25

    zephyr17

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    Washington and Oregon have traditionally been very car centric, there was not really a tradition of using the train or public transit other than air between those city pairs. The Cascades service basically got off to a standing start in the 90s, and has been built, somewhat incrementally ever since (more frequencies have been added and the service extended to Vancouver and Eugene). Demand was built, it wasn't something that was there before the service started.

    It was a matter of leadership and foresight, building it through use of appealing equipment (Talgo), convienent scheduling, publicity and willingness to invest. The only piece of luck is there was already a modern, fast railroad in place. There is no reason why Indiana or the other states could not do it, subject to the availability of a practical rail routes, if they were willing to make the investment. Washington and Oregon have, Illinois has, Michigan has, California has (and you do not get more car centric than California). Heck, even North Carolina has. I'd look at North Carolina as an example of a reddish state that invests in Corridor passenger rail.

    But you really have to figure out what can work or would be needed between the specific City pairs. At least twice daily at decent times would be the minimum to build on, otherwise it won't be convienent enough for most people to even try.

    Once a day each way, slowly, and at bad times (6 am and midnight, for example) and the service is pretty much doomed, IMHO. You can't build on it very well because a lot of folks won't go out of their way to give it a try.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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