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  #1361  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 1:58 PM
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No, rail planning has been basically nil under the Trump administration (and even the last years of Obama, after the stimulus ran out). Even then, train routes crossing a border are seemingly not a priority because Homeland Security is unable/unwilling to guarantee quick inspections at migration/customs.
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  #1362  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2020, 9:57 PM
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TCMC Twin Cities Milwaukee Chicago Rail Project

The TCMC https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/proje...odal/tcmc.aspx Gets another round of grant money. This time $31.8M

A joint Wisconsin-Minnesota passenger rail project designed to enhance connectivity between the Twin Cities, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Chicago is to receive a $31.8 million federal rail grant, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced. https://biztimes.com/wisconsin-minne...federal-grant/

Seems they have scored quite a few grants in the past 12 months. Not sure if it is fully funded. But I know they got some money for the Milwaukee Airport 2nd platform and the Muskego Yards Rail bypass and some new pax cars.

Earlier this year, FRA provided a $12.6 million grant for operating support to offset the cost of the first three years of service.

Planning for TCMC service began in 2012 when project partners requested Amtrak assess the feasibility of providing a state-supported second round trip intercity passenger train service between the Twin Cities and Chicago Union Station.

Amtrak completed its study in 2015, and its findings indicated favorable ridership and revenue projects. This provided the premise for a more detailed study of the proposed service.

WisDOT is also working with its counterpart in Illinois and Amtrak to add more round trips to the Hiawatha service. The department earlier this year sought public input on the proposed Muskego Yard bypass project, which is one of several projects that would allow Hiawatha to expand to 10 daily trips. The Muskego Yard is a railyard location in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.

Last year, WisDOT was also awarded a separate $25.7 million grant to purchase new passenger rail cars for use on the Hiawatha service. The new cars will add seats to the Hiawatha and cut costs related to its operation
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  #1363  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2020, 2:10 AM
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  #1364  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2020, 4:41 AM
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Originally Posted by seabee1526 View Post
Any word on the Chicago-Detroit-Toronto loop?
On the US side, while MDOT is slowly working on improvements to the rails between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, the South of the Lake proposal, which would greatly benefit most passenger rail routes running south and east from Chicago (including to Detroit), has all but faded from memory.

On the Canada side, Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives, in a move to please the rural vote that made Ford Premier of Ontario, stuck a shiv in the Windsor-to-Toronto high speed rail plan last year.
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  #1365  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2020, 2:37 PM
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On the US side, while MDOT is slowly working on improvements to the rails between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, the South of the Lake proposal, which would greatly benefit most passenger rail routes running south and east from Chicago (including to Detroit), has all but faded from memory.
Well, there's arguably no funding source to tap into. The planning process was started during the Obama administration when several big pots of money were available for intercity rail and the FRA wanted to spread the money across several different regions. The Northeast Corridor has also had key projects languishing, most famously the Gateway tunnel into NYP.

Illinois has not really sunk serious state money into intercity rail, and we are (theoretically) a rail-friendly state. Most of SOTL lies within Indiana, and they're sure as hell not gonna fund more than a tiny percentage of it.

If Biden is elected, I hope Congress will authorize proper rail funding again. I'm sure the planners have not forgotten about SOTL. However, the plan may need to be re-designed since NS continues to use Park Manor Yard at 63rd/State, which is a key source of freight conflicts for SOTL. If NS ever builds their Englewood yard expansion, hopefully Park Manor can be closed and Amtrak trains routed up the Rock Island to 40th St and then into Union Station. If not, then planners may need to look at the St Charles Air Line again and see if CN is willing to sell.
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  #1366  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2020, 8:13 PM
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Most of SOTL lies within Indiana, and they're sure as hell not gonna fund more than a tiny percentage of it.
Once the rest of the line is high-speed, how much pressure would there be on Indiana to improve their section? It will be pretty striking going from 150 mph to 60.
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  #1367  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2020, 8:37 PM
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That's not really how this works. First, none of the Amtrak lines passing thru Indiana will even come close to 150mph... I think a few short sections of the Michigan Line are at 125mph but the trains don't actually hit that in regular service. Even if they did, the problem in Indiana is NOT speed limits but conflicts with freight trains.

Second... the number of people who ride Amtrak is not enough to create any kind of political pressure at the state level. It's a small number of riders and they are split among multiple states. Usually the demand to invest in rail service comes from the cities and towns who see the benefits, not from individuals. Notably, the study for SOTL was done "in partnership with" IL, IN and MI but it was Michigan who paid for the study, since they stood to benefit the most. The problem is, Michigan DOT can't fund a project in Indiana. All they can do is make a good case for it, and hope the Feds come in with full funding so Indiana doesn't have to spend a dime.
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  #1368  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2020, 12:20 AM
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Something the founding fathers probably couldn't foresee.
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  #1369  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2020, 2:00 PM
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Who knows, Biden loves the train, maybe if he wins this stuff gets more funding. We have Durbin in our corner to, he likes to get us funding for this stuff. Indiana probably STILL would not do it though. Like when the govs of Wisconsin and Ohio turned down rail funding...short sighted political grandstanding.
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  #1370  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2020, 4:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 View Post
Who knows, Biden loves the train, maybe if he wins this stuff gets more funding. We have Durbin in our corner to, he likes to get us funding for this stuff. Indiana probably STILL would not do it though. Like when the govs of Wisconsin and Ohio turned down rail funding...short sighted political grandstanding.
omg we were thisclose to livin the dream of a 3C's commuter train in ohio. nitwits -- phooey!

btw -- ohio hasn't had a commuter train since the cleveland-youngstown line shut down in the early 80s.
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  #1371  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2020, 4:33 PM
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Yeah, Ohio turned down rail funding - when Kasich was governor. You know, the same Kasich that just spoke at the Democratic convention and is supporting Biden for president. Not sure this has any significance for Biden's rail plans, but certainly ironic.

I'm not sure if a Biden administration would see the same level of obstructionism from red/purple states that we saw under Obama, but I'm not optimistic. There is even less bipartisanship now than there was back then.

For SOTL, I think Indiana might be open to it if the Feds provide funding. Northwest Indiana is already a place with established Amtrak service (some of it very successful) as well as South Shore service. They recently supported an expansion of South Shore with a new branch. So they're not totally hostile to rail, and rail service that is Chicago-bound is something with a proven history of success in Indiana. If SOTL can be done with the full support of freight railroads (mainly CSX) even better. On the other hand, they have been totally unwilling to support the Hoosier trains that go Chicago to Indianapolis.
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