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 23, 2019 #76

    seat38a

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    I only took basic economics and accounting just as electives in college but from what I remember, having enough capital is part of what makes a business model viable or not. Uber and Lyft don't make any money but they are viable business models because they have access to capital to get through their projected growing pains. Regardless if it comes from the bank, tax payers, shareholders, selling adjacent real estate or venture capital you got to line up the money. Based on what jis wrote in his posts above, their business model was dead on arrival when IP decided to use "Legal Zoom" instead of some good lawyers and accountants to tell them it was a bad deal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  2. Apr 23, 2019 #77

    seat38a

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    The people of Indiana decided what they wanted for themselves through their elections. Regardless of what non Indianan's think, if the majority of Indianan's do not want to fund something with their tax dollars, its their prerogative. I'm sure Indiana would gladly accept and keep the train running if the tax payers of Michigan gave an annual donation.
     
  3. Apr 23, 2019 #78

    NSC1109

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    Of course they didn’t want to fund it. Why fund a train that was frequently late, didn’t have daily service, and had almost no amenities?

    What I’m saying is that the Indiana government doesn’t appear to have even tried to work with Amtrak and CSX to solve the problems and develop the corridor. They just let the thing die. To the residents of Indiana who don’t have the knowledge that we do, it looked like the train was the perfect example of all that was wrong with passenger rail and an absolute failure.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2019 #79

    jis

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    Anyone who has cared to read Brightline's financial plan knows that they do not plan to turn a profit until three years after service starts to Orlando. That is at least six years away, and they have an outline plan for financing the whole thing for that period, both operations and capital construction, and are currently ahead of that plan. And they have a pile of real estate income to cover the gap in the interim. A lot of the real estate along the route belongs to a subsidiary of Brightline.

    IP never had a plan that had a prayer of getting adequately funded by anyone, long or short term apparently, and they were an incredibly under-capitalized operation depending on an unreliable state DOT and a hostile partner which held all the critical cards. Even where IP had much greater control, like at Saratoga and North Creek, they really did not have the financial side of it worked out. The results were predictable.

    Actually Brightline and Hoosier State with IP are so different from each other that one does not really provide a model for the other. One was a subcontractor operation, with no control over scheduling and dispatching and quality of track, while the other is a soup to nuts trackbed to stations and attached real estate operation on either owned or long time leased property, with full control of dispatching, through 50% ownership of the company that is responsible for dispatching. And yes, with deep pockets, though Fortress is unlikely to endlessly fund an operation that cannot stand on its own and provide them net income. They are an investment company, not a charity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  5. Apr 23, 2019 #80

    crescent-zephyr

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    I agree with that. The comparison with Brightline and IP was just that they are both start-ups in passenger rail trying to do something new and different, not proven, and they are hoping they can make it work. Obviously there is no apples to apples comparison.
     
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  6. Apr 23, 2019 #81

    Amtrak706

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    What did I claim was about me?

    You are absolutely correct. Assuming you trust Thirdrail’s information as I do then you have your source.

    I am referring to this:

    Glad to see we agree on this. I’m sure you intend to uphold this sentiment in your future posts as well.
     
  7. Apr 23, 2019 #82

    Ryan

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    Once more I will request that you drop the petty BS. I’m not sure why you have an attitude, but it isn’t conducive to reasonable discussion.

    No, I don’t. You claimed “astronomical rates”. Thirdrails’s post (which came after yours) called out rates paid to other Amtrak employees, which are not astronomical.

    So, we’re back at the place where we’re in need of a citation for your claim that Amtrak gouged IP with “astronomical rates”.
     
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  8. Apr 23, 2019 #83

    Ryan

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    For the record, this is the part where you made it personal, and there are plenty of your posts that I don’t respond to.

    Quit complaining and just engage in good faith discussion. It’s not hard.
     
  9. Apr 23, 2019 #84

    jebr

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    Let's bring things back on topic. There's no further need to debate the exact styles of different posters, nor to argue about things unrelated to the topic at hand (the Hoosier State.)
     
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  10. Apr 23, 2019 #85

    seat38a

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    And more trackage rights or track improvements are not going to cost State of Indiana tax dollars? Pretty sure Amtrak wasn't going to foot the bill for the extra cost for the rails or even allowed to and obviously CSX hasn't maintained it so far its a very good chance they are not going to without cold hard cash from the tax payers.

    Lets just say I highly doubt Indiana is prepared to fork over hundreds of millions (billions?) to improve the corridor.
     
  11. Apr 23, 2019 #86

    crescent-zephyr

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    That’s never been in question. Of course it would cost money. Money that other states (north Carolina, Michigan, etc.) have invested and can show what they have gotten for their investments.
     
  12. Apr 23, 2019 #87

    seat38a

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    My point is Indiana doesn't want to invest in it like the other states do and its up to the voters of Indiana to decide for themselves. NSC1109 make a post above that Indianan's should feel ashamed of their State government and my point is its up to Indianan's to decide how and what they want to do in their state and not for people from Michigan, California etc to point fingers and shame them.
     
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  13. Apr 23, 2019 #88

    TylerP42

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    Again, as someone who lives in Indianapolis, it is almost impossible to advocate for the Hoosier State. Even as a foamer, as a railfan, whatever you want to call me, I simply look at the numbers, look at it's effectiveness, and look at it's revenue, and A. Do not see many options to advocate saving it, and B. Realize that Indiana does not want it, and will never want it.

    The people of Indiana and Indianapolis in general (aside from the Chicago Metropolitan area/along South Shore Line) do not use much public transportation, nor do they use rail transportation. We don't have light rail, we barely used our heavy rail (Amtrak).

    To argue that people depend on the train is hard to believe, considering its awful schedule, delays, and timings to places.

    While college towns may suffer a bit, it won't be as drastic as we think. The train was bare bones, offered nothing more than "not driving". It was slower, more inconveniencing, and some may argue less pleasant than just driving to Chicago.

    Cost wise, you can drive for about the same price of taking the Train.

    I was quoted about 140 dollars round trip for my little brother and I to go to Chicago last week, Tuesday to Wednesday.

    I drove there for 30 dollars (gas), 15 dollar meal on the way, and parking was free (hotel) but for kicks, let's say parking was 30 for the overnight. That's 65 dollars to drive to Chicago. Another 40 for four one day Ventra cards (one for Tuesday, one for Wednesday) and it's 105 in total. I'd still have to buy Ventra if I took the train in.

    That's 35 dollars cheaper to drive. 35 dollars that can be used for a museum admission, a meal, whatever.

    It may be hard to see it go, but I don't see a good reason for it to stay, either.

    Please excuse my devil's advocacy.
     
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  14. Apr 23, 2019 #89

    crescent-zephyr

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    So you have a working crystal ball?
     
  15. Apr 23, 2019 #90

    NSC1109

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    I'm not blaming the Indiana voters. Like I said before, they had every reason to dump it because it was just not a good service. OTP was down the crapper, almost no amenities, and only 4x a week, switching off with the Cardinal. By all accounts, it just wasn't doing what it needed to do.

    But: my point is that the State of Indiana, who provided the money for this train, appears to have made no attempt to better their return on investment. NS didn't maintain the Michigan Line east of Kalamazoo after they pulled out during the recession. It took a bit, but the State of Michigan got involved because it was having a serious effect on the service. They made the effort to better their ROI and it's paying off now with higher ridership levels and (soon) new equipment. Indiana could have done the same thing by either negotiating with CSX and Amtrak to better maintain the line or perhaps using federal or other grants to outright purchase the line at let CSX retain trackage rights, much in the same way Michigan did. Now, I do not know the financial situation of the State of Indiana, but from what I understand of the situation and my education on the AMTK/MI/NS deal, they could've had options that possibly could have gone a long way to improving ridership and reliability.
     
  16. Apr 23, 2019 #91

    MisterUptempo

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    And if I-65 was maintained by INDOT in the same manner in which they "maintained" the Hoosier State, you probably wouldn't drive to Chicago, either. Not without a blown out tire or two or some frame damage to your car, anyway.

    Indiana decided long ago that intercity rail wasn't going to be something they wanted to invest any real resources on, so they chose to make the Hoosier State their stalking horse. And considering that Lafayette and Crawfordsville and Rensselaer coughed up a share of the money themselves, it was a cheap scheme for them to hatch.

    So, they ran what could have been a promising service into the ground, said, "we tried", and picked up their participation trophy.

    Obviously they succeeded, if you are advocating for the route's demise without at least understanding why it performed so poorly and why the State of Indiana wanted it to do just that.

    ETA - anyone have a proposal to bore a tunnel under Lake Michigan to connect Illinois to Michigan by rail while by-passing Indiana? :D
     
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  17. Apr 23, 2019 #92

    TylerP42

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    I drove I-65 to Chicago from Indy. I didn't run into much issues.

    The only issues I had was some of the highways in Chicago, and the scenic tour I took of Gary on accident.
     
  18. Apr 23, 2019 #93

    crescent-zephyr

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    The reason I keep bringing up Iowa Pacific is because somebody at the state did care. Somebody said "we are paying this much and only getting a single coach? Aren't there other options to make this train a nicer experience?" - not only did the nicer service attract more riders, it also increased revenue.

    That's why I was saying it's such a shame the IP thing didn't work out... things were moving in a good direction.
     
  19. Apr 23, 2019 #94

    Seaboard92

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    One thing a lot of people tend to forget when they mention North Carolina paying NS for track and capacity improvements is that the State of North Carolina officially owns the line. From 1871 to when it was leased to the predecessor of the Southern Railway (Richmond & Danville) to 1999 it was leased from the state to the railroad.

    Since 2000 however Norfolk Southern hasn’t had an actual lease they have exclusive Trackage Rights that first expired in 2014 and are now good till 2044. While the state owns the physical right of way and contracts with NS to maintain it. So in the case of North Carolina the state holds all of the cards because NS cant afford to lose that line. The Charlotte-Greensboro section forms a key segment of their Crescent Corridor. With no viable reroutes.

    Indiana has never owned the physical right of way so in their situation CSX holds all of the cards. And with Indiana if you remember in the 70s the Cardinal orbits successor ran multiple different routes to dodge bad Penn Central Indiana track. Moral of the story if you want things own the right of way. It’s not the only mainline NS doesn’t own actually. The rathole from Cincinnati south is owned by the city of Cincinnati.
     
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  20. Apr 23, 2019 #95

    MisterUptempo

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    Yes. It's obvious you didn't read my my post thoroughly enough...

    You see, the point is that Indiana doesn't and never has dedicated any real resources to the Hoosier State, while it lavishes massive funding to maintain I-65. If the state treated I-65 in the same manner in which it treats the Hoosier State, that road would be an absolute disaster.

    And considering that Indiana takes a disproportionate share of federal dollars relative to what it puts into the US Treasury, they should be able to afford even a modest attempt at improving the route.
     
  21. Apr 23, 2019 #96

    MisterUptempo

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    I have no doubt that there have been individual players in this drama who have had good intentions. Just that the overall arc of the government's involvement has been one in which "crash and burn" was the design all along.
     
  22. Apr 23, 2019 #97

    PVD

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    The level of amenities provided is based on what the State and Amtrak agree upon. Want more, pay for it. They don't want to. Which would be preferable, a more commuter like service with better calling/running times, or what was attempted? At some point, though it is saddens me a bit to see it happening, you can't keep trying to drive the square peg into the round hole.
     
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  23. Apr 24, 2019 #98

    crescent-zephyr

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    Well what was attempted with up increased ridership and revenue.... so it wasn’t a terrible decision.

    I agree more frequency and better times would have been great. Also, getting out of the bus station and into something that felt even slightly charming would have helped as well.
     
  24. Apr 24, 2019 #99

    SarahZ

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    Don't tease me like that.

    This is what Facebook does whenever I travel from Kalamazoo to Chicago, so really... it needs to happen.

    Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 9.27.56 PM.png
     
  25. Apr 24, 2019 #100

    seat38a

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    I'm confused why you seem to keep decoupling the State of Indiana with the voters of Indiana? Is there a dictatorship in Indiana that I don't know about? If the people of Indiana cared about public transportation don't you think that would be reflected in their government? Mind you, Indiana is a State that has a ban on light rail for goodness sakes. Regardless of how knowledgeable Indianan's are about rail or not, that's for the citizens of Indiana to rise up and educate their fellow citizens and advocate for it themselves and then vote the right people in. Things seem to be moving in the right direction through: https://www.wishtv.com/news/indiana...ants-light-rail-ban-lifted-in-2019/1620067488

    Regarding Federal Grants, you obviously haven't kept up with the latest TIGER grant amounts and what they've been approved for lately. PS it involves asphalt and not steel. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019

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