Amtrak Empire Builder and Intercity Rail to Chicago

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mattaudio
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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby mattaudio » December 3rd, 2012, 8:33 am

612transplant wrote: I've thought for some time that an MSP to Winnipeg HSR would make a lot of sense, but assumed that the international politics of funding it make it almost impossible...
Somehow I think that if the United States built HSR from Mpls to Fargo to Grand Forks to the border, Canada would find a way to pick up the last 100 miles to Winnipeg.

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Nick
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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby Nick » December 3rd, 2012, 9:25 am

There are routes between cities where air travel makes sense. Connecting our medium-sized city to a metro of under a million across hundreds of miles of sparsely populated prairie is about a good of an example as I can think of where crossing an ocean isn't involved.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby mattaudio » December 3rd, 2012, 9:34 am

Maybe my point wasn't clear, I was implying that Canada would build 75 miles of HSR... maglev... whatever crazy idea there is, if it connected to a network in the U.S.... because it would be a great deal for them and a sour deal for the U.S.

I think Mpls is about as far from Chicago as we'll ever see high speed rail. Someday when our urban rail network and core HSR are built, then maybe some intercity rail could return in other corridors. But not for a few decades.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby beykite » December 3rd, 2012, 10:06 am

Nick wrote:There are routes between cities where air travel makes sense. Connecting our medium-sized city to a metro of under a million across hundreds of miles of sparsely populated prairie is about a good of an example as I can think of where crossing an ocean isn't involved.
But of course that new rail line would spark tons of development around those small towns park and ride lots, which would in turn transform that sparsly populated prairie into a densely populated megatropolis!!!!

Sorry sometimes I like to throw my degree out the window and join in on the fantasy.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby mulad » December 3rd, 2012, 11:31 am

Regarding speed, it seems that most HSR lines top out around 185 mph. Some routes are faster -- up to about 220 mph -- but those remain fairly rare for the moment. I think the Shanghai maglev is still the only operational route in the world, or at least the only one that pushes the speed envelope, with a top speed of 268 mph. There have been a few low-speed maglevs in commercial service to test out the technology. There's been a flurry of news about the Chūō Shinkansen in Japan recently (I think they just received a new train for their short test segment), but its first phase isn't expected to be done until 2027, with a second phase due to be complete in 2045. It would top out around 310 mph in regular service.

The first significant study of MSP-CHI HSR back in 1991 (the original "Tri-State Study") included 125-mph diesel, 185-mph HSR on rails, and 300-mph maglev options. For a Minneapolis-Rochester-La Crosse-Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor, they came up with these travel times:
  • 125 mph: 4h20
  • 185 mph: 3h15
  • 300 mph: 2h15
While I don't want to be overly dismissive of the technology, I tend to think of maglevs as far too complicated. They seem to get trotted out as a magical alternative every so often, and end up becoming a reason to delay investment now because they're always just over the horizon. But looking at the timeline for the Japanese line, we could build several steel-wheel-on-steel-rail HSR lines in the same period of time it will take to build one maglev route.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 3rd, 2012, 1:07 pm

185-220 is good enough, and would be enough to seriously compete with air travel or the slower (but cheaper) car travel.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby UptownSport » December 3rd, 2012, 2:16 pm

mulad wrote:
  • 300 mph: 2h15
:shock:

Transrapid said infrastructure costs same (TGV vs Maglev) but somewhere else said it was 50million a mile-
No idea what TGV costs, but assume it wouldn't be that much.

Since it is installed and actually functioning, I don't really think it's beyond reasonable complication.

IF the vehicle were capable of 300 MPH there's be 'no contest' between it and aircraft, plus, it's a absolutely dedicated (I got held up for over an hour with Empire builder @ Chicago and I recall some lady freaking out) guideway and all weather.

I do think at that rate it should use the 'hub' system, and not stop at every farmhouse on the way

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby talindsay » December 3rd, 2012, 10:30 pm

TGV would be practical and relatively cheap to build, but it requires dedicated ROW in current US regulatory climate - once it has any junctions with conventional rail, it falls under the insane FRA rules about being able to survive a head-on with a freight train, which obviously no legitimately high-speed train could do. This is why our only "high speed" line in the US is the pathetic Acela line - a big, heavy, slow TGV-derived trainset running on legacy tracks for big portions of its run.

The only substantial expense for Acela operation above and beyond baseline "HSR" service is electrification. I know, "only", but really electrification is a smart investment since it allows huge operational savings due to dramatically higher efficiencies. According to a phone conversation I had with the Minnesota passenger rail chief at Mn/DOT several years ago, Mn/DOT is slowly and incrementally working to upgrade all crossings, and to eliminate crossings wherever possible in preparation for a time in the future when we can build high speed rail.

True TGV is a proven technology with a huge installed base and decades of experience in operations. Given that several LGVs currently operate at speeds exceeding 200 mph, there's no realistic reason to adopt questionable, unproven technology that *may* be able to go 300 mph when the Europeans have a well-established service that's not much slower. But frankly it's basically a moot point for now anyway, as the dedicated ROW just isn't going to happen. 400 miles of dedicated electrified two-track line, fenced off and grade-separated, wouldn't add *that* much cost over the baseline, but we as a nation don't have the political will to do it.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby 612transplant » December 3rd, 2012, 11:08 pm

beykite wrote:
Nick wrote:There are routes between cities where air travel makes sense. Connecting our medium-sized city to a metro of under a million across hundreds of miles of sparsely populated prairie is about a good of an example as I can think of where crossing an ocean isn't involved.
But of course that new rail line would spark tons of development around those small towns park and ride lots, which would in turn transform that sparsly populated prairie into a densely populated megatropolis!!!!

Sorry sometimes I like to throw my degree out the window and join in on the fantasy.
All cynicism and anonymous internet elitism aside, Twin Cities-to-Winnipeg was apparently a good enough idea for MNDOT. They studied it and included it as a potential Phase II intercity rail corridor in their 2009 comprehensive rail plan.

So, you know....I think the guys working for MNDOT might just have degrees, too. Maybe :roll:

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Nick
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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby Nick » December 4th, 2012, 7:26 am

612transplant wrote:
beykite wrote:
Nick wrote:There are routes between cities where air travel makes sense. Connecting our medium-sized city to a metro of under a million across hundreds of miles of sparsely populated prairie is about a good of an example as I can think of where crossing an ocean isn't involved.
But of course that new rail line would spark tons of development around those small towns park and ride lots, which would in turn transform that sparsly populated prairie into a densely populated megatropolis!!!!

Sorry sometimes I like to throw my degree out the window and join in on the fantasy.
All cynicism and anonymous internet elitism aside, Twin Cities-to-Winnipeg was apparently a good enough idea for MNDOT. They studied it and included it as a potential Phase II intercity rail corridor in their 2009 comprehensive rail plan.

So, you know....I think the guys working for MNDOT might just have degrees, too. Maybe :roll:
Yeah, but Cs get degrees.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby beykite » December 4th, 2012, 11:24 am

It was more a jab at the small town/suburban planners who view rail/freeway links as the second coming. Just look at the Big Lake station and how terribly short it fell of the cities expectations. Or look at the hwy 212/101 interchange in Chanhassen. And to be fair phase two includes rail links to just about every city around with 30, 000+ people.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 4th, 2012, 12:38 pm

beykite wrote:It was more a jab at the small town/suburban planners who view rail/freeway links as the second coming. Just look at the Big Lake station and how terribly short it fell of the cities expectations. Or look at the hwy 212/101 interchange in Chanhassen. And to be fair phase two includes rail links to just about every city around with 30, 000+ people.
In fairness I can totally see the Hwy 212/101 interchange being necessary in Chanhassen, if/when that SW area finally develops to its potential. I'd much rather have the infrastructure in place for once instead of always trying to chase it like we do now. I can see Hwy 212 becoming fairly congested within 10-15 years with continuing development in that SW corner of the suburbs.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby moda253 » December 4th, 2012, 2:04 pm

612transplant wrote:
beykite wrote:
Nick wrote:There are routes between cities where air travel makes sense. Connecting our medium-sized city to a metro of under a million across hundreds of miles of sparsely populated prairie is about a good of an example as I can think of where crossing an ocean isn't involved.
But of course that new rail line would spark tons of development around those small towns park and ride lots, which would in turn transform that sparsly populated prairie into a densely populated megatropolis!!!!

Sorry sometimes I like to throw my degree out the window and join in on the fantasy.
All cynicism and anonymous internet elitism aside, Twin Cities-to-Winnipeg was apparently a good enough idea for MNDOT. They studied it and included it as a potential Phase II intercity rail corridor in their 2009 comprehensive rail plan.

So, you know....I think the guys working for MNDOT might just have degrees, too. Maybe :roll:
ha nice call!

beykite
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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby beykite » December 4th, 2012, 4:00 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:In fairness I can totally see the Hwy 212/101 interchange being necessary in Chanhassen, if/when that SW area finally develops to its potential. I'd much rather have the infrastructure in place for once instead of always trying to chase it like we do now. I can see Hwy 212 becoming fairly congested within 10-15 years with continuing development in that SW corner of the suburbs.
Definitely necessary in terms of traffic volume, but it wasn't quite the boon the city was hoping for. I'm sure it will develop down the line though. That said even with the infrastructure in place the one apartment building in the works for Chanhassen is choosing to go no where near 212. My whole point was that too many times these rail lines are seen as the Messiah bringing with them tons of development and money, but in reality we're better off trying to serve already densely populated corridors instead of building it and waiting for "them" to come.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby talindsay » December 4th, 2012, 10:55 pm

Hey wait, isn't this thread titled, "Intercity Rail to Chicago"?

mattaudio
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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby mattaudio » December 5th, 2012, 8:27 am

So that means we can only discuss the Empire Builder, right?

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby UptownSport » December 5th, 2012, 3:29 pm

Didn't say which city ...
Perhaps there should be an intercity rail thread with popular destinations sub threads

Interesting that with one exception, no one considers 110MPH HSR, that's higher speed rail-
HrSR or something. Semantics are important in the irony that what we're calling HSR isn't-

There's also a note on distance considered being an ideal for HSR by EU,
Above 900 km, air travel gains the upper hand,
except for journeys on which rail offers specific advantages
(HS snow train, overnight services, car trains, etc.).
This is a .PDF:
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/in ... ail_en.pdf

Also noted is that at similar distances, HSR eliminated aircraft service between connected city's!!!!!!!

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 6th, 2012, 8:54 am

UptownSport wrote:Didn't say which city ...
"Intercity Rail to CHICAGO"

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 6th, 2012, 8:56 am

beykite wrote:
min-chi-cbus wrote:In fairness I can totally see the Hwy 212/101 interchange being necessary in Chanhassen, if/when that SW area finally develops to its potential. I'd much rather have the infrastructure in place for once instead of always trying to chase it like we do now. I can see Hwy 212 becoming fairly congested within 10-15 years with continuing development in that SW corner of the suburbs.
Definitely necessary in terms of traffic volume, but it wasn't quite the boon the city was hoping for. I'm sure it will develop down the line though. That said even with the infrastructure in place the one apartment building in the works for Chanhassen is choosing to go no where near 212. My whole point was that too many times these rail lines are seen as the Messiah bringing with them tons of development and money, but in reality we're better off trying to serve already densely populated corridors instead of building it and waiting for "them" to come.
Oh I totally agree with you on that one! My understanding was that these TOD revenue-generators are the REASON that projects like the SW Corridor, etc. get funded -- because they are showing an ROI based on future redevelopment. Without that I think it's a very hard sell, unfortunately.

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Re: Intercity rail to Chicago

Postby UptownSport » December 6th, 2012, 3:58 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:
UptownSport wrote:Didn't say which city ...
"Intercity Rail to CHICAGO"
Thanks, Chi- Although I have mastered the obvious. Title doesn't give departure location ...
Rochester to Chicago ...
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