Hoosier State tickets sales suspended for after June 30

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by TylerP42, Apr 8, 2019.

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  1. Apr 11, 2019 #26

    TylerP42

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    As someone who lives in Indianapolis and is a rail advocate, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The bad timings (can't even make a day trip to Chicago for "fun"), the fact that it's slower than driving or bus, and at times just as expensive or more expensive.

    There is almost nothing, other than the "you're not driving" aspect to lure people in. Couple that with a city that isn't big on public transportation in the first place, and is doing alright without a lot of it, I am not sure what a saving grace would be.
     
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  2. Apr 11, 2019 #27

    IndyLions

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    I don’t agree with the assessment you can’t make a day trip to Chicago on the Hoosier State / Cardinal. I’ve done it many times for everything from Sunday NFL football games to summer days riding my bike along Lake Michigan.

    And the schedule is terrific for a weekend in Chicago. Head out Saturday morning early, come home Sunday evening late.

    I guess I’m going to be one of the few that is very disappointed in the loss of this train. Yes, there are other ways to get to Chicago that are quicker and cheaper. But the schedule is not nearly as bad as everybody thinks – and you end up right downtown in Chicago without a car as an expensive anvil around your neck every time you want to leave your hotel and go do something like see a museum or go to dinner. Has anyone seen traffic and the cost of parking in Chicago lately? I’d rather walk or take a cab, and I’ll be at the museum/restaurant before the car drivers even get their car out of the hotel parking lot from the valet.

    Yes, the line needs upgrading so the speeds can be made better and the service expanded. The best case scenario would be the state of Indiana purchasing as much of the tracks as possible to keep that as a future option – but of course we know that’s not going to happen.
     
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  3. Apr 12, 2019 #28

    Pere Flyer

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    Have you seen the CTA, El, and Metra service lately? I’m with you in disappointment over the Hoosier State (and I’m the last person to be an apologist for car use) but it’s perfectly reasonable for a Chicago visitor to drive to the city, lock their car in a hotel garage, and walk or take public transit to restaurants, museums, and all of Chicago’s attractions—just as it is perfectly reasonable for you to take the HS to Chicago Union Station and walk/bike/take a cab wherever you please.
     
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  4. Apr 12, 2019 #29

    TylerP42

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    You could also drive to an outlying Metra station, park your car, and arrive downtown as well.
     
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  5. Apr 12, 2019 #30

    crescent-zephyr

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    If they could have gotten the Iowa Pacific Equipment to run daily and gotten slightly better times I think they would have possibly gotten the ridership (and fare box recovery) up a bit.
     
  6. Apr 13, 2019 #31

    SubwayNut

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    Indiana is funding some commuter rail. NICTD's got its Double Tracking project for the South Shore Line from Gary to Michigan City fully funded. http://www.doubletrack-nwi.com
     
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  7. Apr 14, 2019 #32

    TylerP42

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    There's rumblings and rumors that lawmakers want to use the Hoosier State funding for the Indianapolis Airport.
     
  8. Apr 16, 2019 at 1:41 PM #33

    fredmcain

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    Amtrak has stated that they have to have $3 million per year from the state to operate this train. However, one thing that might not have been brought out in this thread, doesn’t Amtrak use the Hoosier State often as a “hospital train” to pull equipment back and forth from Beach Grove? I really thought they did.

    If so, that suggests that Amtrak is getting more benefit out of this train than they let on. I mean, sure, they can continue to do so by using the thrice weekly Cardinal but they are going to be losing some flexibility there. So, I wonder what the state legislature would do if Amtrak were to lower their demands for the $3 million? Would the state consider one million per year? Two million? Whatever. It’s something to think about. Has such a possibility been missed in all this rigmarole? It seems like both sides ought to be able to come together, make a deal and keep the train running.

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain
     
  9. Apr 16, 2019 at 4:08 PM #34

    keelhauled

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    When Iowa Pacific equipment operated on the train, Amtrak used the Cardinal to shuttle equipment to and from Beech Grove. I would imagine they will do the same should July 1 come around and there is no Hoosier State.
     
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  10. Apr 17, 2019 at 2:18 PM #35

    GBNorman

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    Looks like a possible last minute reprieve to save this loser has struck out:

    https://www.jconline.com/story/news...nate-too-prospects-fade-save-line/3482102002/

    Fair Use:

     
  11. Apr 17, 2019 at 4:36 PM #36

    jis

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    This business about requiring a train service to be running in order to transport hospital stuff is just a red herring. If there is a service then naturally that is used. If there isn't then a special move is used. Afterall the lack of passenger service to Bear DE has never stopped any equipment move to that shop.

    keelhauled is right about how the Cardinal was used when IP equipment was in Hoosier State service. I was on a Cardinal that was used for a hospital move. The equipment train was a separate consist with its own engine that was hooked to the Cardinal, which was a separate consist with its own engine. At Indy they simply unhooked the two trains, the Cardinal went on its way and the equipment moved headed off to Beech Grove.
     
  12. Apr 19, 2019 at 1:16 AM #37

    crescent-zephyr

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    The Hoosier State is a bare minimum start up. It needed more investment, more frequencies, more money put into the infrastructure so it could have better times, etc.

    They also needed to a day train to the west to Cincinnati. But all of these cost $$$ and also states working together.
     
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  13. Apr 19, 2019 at 5:28 PM #38

    Lake Country

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    You're not wrong CrescentZephyr, this has been the issue with the HS from the onset. I have read and posted and read again the same comments on many boards about the HS. At this point I have given up hope on this train. Let it die, reallocate the meager trainset pieces to other routes, wish Indiana the best with their skeleton passenger rail. Bright side is that it also opens up an inbound and outbound slot at Chicago Union Station south concourse for additional Metra trains. From that POV I would rather see a Metra train pull in with 150 commuters than the HS Amtrak with 30 pax.
     
  14. Apr 19, 2019 at 7:28 PM #39

    toddinde

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    It is wrong headed thinking to let the Hoosier die. I lived in Indy for two years and used it often. After I moved, I used it to visit often. Yes, it needs improvement and investment. The problem with the rail advocacy community is small thinking like we can use the cars somewhere else. The reality is that three freaking million dollars is a rounding error in the Indiana budget. We need to stop acting like that’s a lot of money. It’s nothing. The reality is when these trains are gone, they’re gone. They’re gone for good. Quad Cities may just get a train back after 40 years! For a tiny subsidy, the Rockets could have been improved and maintained. We need, as advocates, to have a zero loss mentality. Especially on a corridor that’s been designated as part of the Midwest high speed network. Maybe you don’t ride the Hoosier. Maybe you don’t care. But then why should someone in Indy or Lafayette care about your train? They shouldn’t if you can’t support the Hoosier.
     
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  15. Apr 19, 2019 at 7:49 PM #40

    Lake Country

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    toddinde - I might have given the wrong impression, I am just frustrated with the hand wringing on the HS. I definitely want it to survive and agree that when it is gone it will be hard to bring it back. I agree the equipment reallocation is peanuts, the $3 mil is a blip. It is not up to me - it is up to the Indiana reps and gov. As far as I can tell the anti rail sentiment is part of a political skew which is embedded in the current brand of the gop.
    For those interested-Sign the petition here https://www.midwesthsr.org/indiana . tell your friends and family in indiana.
    For me- i have given up and dont expect a change of course.
     
  16. Apr 19, 2019 at 9:21 PM #41

    bretton88

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    I'm going to note Amtrak is doing the right response here. If Indiana does cut funding for the train, Amtrak is going to treat it as a "suspension." In that way they can keep the train slot available in case of future need versus a cancellation in which Amtrak would lose that access.
     
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  17. Apr 19, 2019 at 10:28 PM #42

    neroden

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    Not only that, many corridors were started on routes which already had national network service. (This includes all the Northeast Regional extensions in Virginia prior to Roanoke, and all the Pacific Surfliner/San Diegan services, and all the Capitol Corridor services, and the Cascades service, and the Carbondale service, and the St. Louis service.) Some were started when national network service on the same route was threatened (Vermonter). Others exist only because they can connect to national network service (Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner). It's hard to come up with a corridor service which doesn't depend on the national network services (maybe the Downeaster; it mostly depends on Boston's MBTA).

    Corridor services are only possible, politically, where national network service exists nearby. Is anyone talking about new Amtrak service in Amarillo? No? Why not? Because there's no service anywhere near there and so awareness is nonexistent. Same with Brownsville and McAllen.

     
  18. Apr 19, 2019 at 10:36 PM #43

    neroden

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    If Amtrak had forward-thinking management (rather than idiots who don't seem to understand how broken their accounting system is), they'd replace the Hoosier State with a daily Cardinal pretty much ASAP. Or at *least* get a quote from CSX.

    The Cardinal would have much better financials if daily, and it's already more or less breaking even before phony overhead allocations. It's gotta be possible to scrape up the equipment one way or another. Support could be obtained from the Ohio cities along the route (we know this for a fact), and possibly from the WV cities.

    The painfully slow part of the Hoosier State route is scheduled to have NICTD's West Lake Corridor built. Amtrak oughhta talk to them.

    I miss the guys who wrote the PIPs and got the Texas Eagle moved to the TRE corridor. I don't know their names, but they're the ones I want in management. They understood passenger railroading.
     
  19. Apr 19, 2019 at 10:58 PM #44

    Philly Amtrak Fan

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    You mean city (assuming you are talking about the current stops only and not including Oxford or any other potential new stops). And if I'm Cincinnati, why would I throw money into a train for graveyard shift service? They want my money, they better make the train suit my needs more.
     
  20. Apr 20, 2019 at 2:58 AM #45

    looshi

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    Cincinnati City Council supports a daily Cardinal as a precursor to a Chicago corridor train, even at the current times. That is why the Cardinal conference a couple of years back was held in Cincinnati. The city also offered to help pay to keep the station staffed but was rebuffed by Amtrak.
     
  21. Apr 20, 2019 at 3:56 PM #46

    Thirdrail7

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    I wonder what Amtrak's upper management thinks of this development. If they thought states would just take over sections of the long distance service with a little seed money, this has to bring them back to reality.
     
  22. Apr 21, 2019 at 1:27 AM #47

    jis

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    It is very hard to tell whether they have a rational chain of thinking where each step in the thought process bears any causal or logical relationship to the previous step. In a sidebar conversation Boardman used the word "transactional" to describe the modus operandi of the current Amtrak management. They react with a dictum to one particular stimulus with little consideration for anything else and little due diligence on the possible unintended consequences, and it shows. But such intentional incompetence is very much in fashion these days, unfortunately.

    In this specific case of "corridorization" I have never heard them say or provide in writing anything giving an explanation of how that scheme is going to get funded federally without undoing a very significant part of PRIIA 2008. Maybe that is what they think they will do in the new reauthorization. Who knows? I don't think anyone has seen a draft of Title 7 of the new Transportation Reauthorization Act yet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019 at 10:50 PM
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  23. Apr 21, 2019 at 5:31 AM #48

    crescent-zephyr

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    The Wiki page for Hoosier State claims that under Iowa Pacific the Hoosier state ridership was up and revenue was up by like 30% (business class)... is that true? Seems the state would have done well to find someone who could provide Iowa Pacific level service. I know the Downeaster trains staff and stock their own cafe cars... could the state have leased the Amtrak Dome Car (or just purchased their own premium car that could be used for business class) and staffed it on their own?
     
  24. Apr 21, 2019 at 9:24 AM #49

    seat38a

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    But how does that solve the issue of Indiana not wanting to fund the train? Revenue might have been up 30% but I'm pretty sure it didn't turn a profit or break even. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)
     
  25. Apr 21, 2019 at 4:21 PM #50

    crescent-zephyr

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    I wasn’t saying it did turn a profit, but if simply providing a nicer service brought ridership and revenue up, one would think decreasing trip times and increasing frequency would bring many more riders.
     

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