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  #561  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2022, 8:12 PM
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So, IDOT, along with the City of Peoria, has released its feasibility study for Chicago-Peoria service.

http://www.peoriagov.org/content/upl...414494_add.pdf

Here are the basics-

1) Five round trips between Chicago and Peoria
2) Anticipated travel times of 2 hours 37 minutes
3) Average speed - 62mph
4) Stations - CHI, JOL, Morris (MOR), Ottawa (OTT), LaSalle-Peru (PER), and Peoria (PEO), plus a flag stop at Utica (UTC) for access to Starved Rock State Park.
5) Typical trainset - 1 loco, 1 business class/café, 2 coaches; 10 trainsets sought.

Here are a few slides from a presentation, showing the two potential sites for a Peoria station.

http://www.peoriagov.org/content/upl...414483_add.pdf
.....
.....

6) Oh, the price - the numbers are very preliminary, but after adding 25% for "soft costs" (which may be low) and a 40% contingency (which IDOT acknowledges is too high)......well.....$2.54 billion.

Not included in the price tag-

1) Any costs associated with CHI-JOL
2) Any capacity demands host railroads might make
3) Any maintenance demands host railroads might make
4) Operating subsidies for the route
5) Property replacement costs. Two possible properties are mentioned - The Goodman Theatre scenery shop if the 40th Street connector between NS and Metra-Rock Island was built, and the Will County Adult Detention Facility (which is erroneously referred to as "Joliet Correctional Facility"). If you view the crazy proposal for connecting the CN/Heritage Corridor tracks to the Rock Island tracks west of Joliet Union Station, you'll see the new tracks running right through Will County ADF.
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  #562  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 4:31 AM
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5) Property replacement costs. Two possible properties are mentioned - The Goodman Theatre scenery shop if the 40th Street connector between NS and Metra-Rock Island was built, and the Will County Adult Detention Facility (which is erroneously referred to as "Joliet Correctional Facility"). If you view the crazy proposal for connecting the CN/Heritage Corridor tracks to the Rock Island tracks west of Joliet Union Station, you'll see the new tracks running right through Will County ADF.
Neither of these connectors are needed if they build a ramp from the St Charles Air Line at 16th St, as Amtrak and CDOT are now proposing. Acquisition cost = $0.

I get that funding isn't guaranteed for the 16th St project (although it seems very likely) but it's a joke that the 16th St option is not even mentioned in the Peoria study. One hand has no idea what the other hand is doing.

Also for $2.5bn, IDOT should buy out CSX/IAIS and own the entire line to Peoria.
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  #563  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 1:32 PM
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Neither of these connectors are needed if they build a ramp from the St Charles Air Line at 16th St, as Amtrak and CDOT are now proposing. Acquisition cost = $0.

I get that funding isn't guaranteed for the 16th St project (although it seems very likely) but it's a joke that the 16th St option is not even mentioned in the Peoria study. One hand has no idea what the other hand is doing.

Also for $2.5bn, IDOT should buy out CSX/IAIS and own the entire line to Peoria.
Thats what I thought when I read the CN Heritage/CSX-IAS connector loop in downtown Joliet. Sheer lunacy to clearcut a fairly dense downtown core for a train that may have 5 rt/day. And to be oblivious of the near-term plan to reroute All Amtrak trains off of said CN Heritage to the Rock Island in Joliet..just challenges the veracity of this "study".
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  #564  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 2:35 PM
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^ Agreed on ownership. This should be the ideal model pretty much over any corridor where a regional hub and spoke network is built out. Amtrak owns the infrastructure and concessions the freight rail operator, in this case Iowa Interstate over the former Rock Island Line, thus putting the passenger rail needs in the driver's seat not the other way around. Of course I'm an advocate for rail infrastructure nationalization - I think it should have been done 50 years ago. I believe it is the primary reason our rail transportation reality is what it is. The "state" owns, maintains and has full control of planning for the public good, while leasing access to private freight carriers previously saddled with the burden of the infrastructure.
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  #565  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 3:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
Thats what I thought when I read the CN Heritage/CSX-IAS connector loop in downtown Joliet. Sheer lunacy to clearcut a fairly dense downtown core for a train that may have 5 rt/day. And to be oblivious of the near-term plan to reroute All Amtrak trains off of said CN Heritage to the Rock Island in Joliet..just challenges the veracity of this "study".
Yeah, the most charitable interpretation is that the study was mostly done before this was clear, but the ridership comps look a bit suspect. Still, I like the project. I do wonder how many people from Peoria currently travel to Princeton or Bloomington-Normal for Amtrak already, but this would be much more time efficient. And the Illinois River towns (Morris, Lasalle, Ottawa) all have really great bones but are a bit too far for Metra.

Selfishly, I want this this because of 1) Starved Rock access without renting a car (assuming there will be a shuttle from Utica... the Utica bridge has no sidewalk and looks perilous for bicycles) 2) easy access to the I&M canal trail in Morris for biking.
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  #566  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 4:20 PM
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Yeah, the most charitable interpretation is that the study was mostly done before this was clear, but the ridership comps look a bit suspect. Still, I like the project. I do wonder how many people from Peoria currently travel to Princeton or Bloomington-Normal for Amtrak already, but this would be much more time efficient. And the Illinois River towns (Morris, Lasalle, Ottawa) all have really great bones but are a bit too far for Metra.
I have no interest in being charitable to an agency that thought it was acceptable to release this study with a $2.5bn published cost and not even an addendum to indicate that a huge portion of their cost estimate is now moot. Just wildly irresponsible behavior. The cost of this project is now pegged at $2.5bn and planners, politicians, and contractors will keep it at that pricetag. Taxpayers will suffer as a result.

I agree the river towns have great bones, and the historic stations are all intact except Utica which was brought down by a tornado 20 years ago. Not sure if they will be re-used; planners for these projects usually (and insanely) assume that a new station is needed at each town with a huge costly parking lot and road improvements. Even Peoria seems to assume that the old station is now off-limits.

Quote:
Selfishly, I want this this because of 1) Starved Rock access without renting a car (assuming there will be a shuttle from Utica... the Utica bridge has no sidewalk and looks perilous for bicycles) 2) easy access to the I&M canal trail in Morris for biking.
The Utica bridge was rebuilt last year and now has a generous side path for bike/ped. I doubt there is any sustainable funding source to run a shuttle bus service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
Thats what I thought when I read the CN Heritage/CSX-IAS connector loop in downtown Joliet. Sheer lunacy to clearcut a fairly dense downtown core for a train that may have 5 rt/day. And to be oblivious of the near-term plan to reroute All Amtrak trains off of said CN Heritage to the Rock Island in Joliet..just challenges the veracity of this "study".
Didn't you hear, IDOT thinks urban Joliet is a sacrifice zone. The 1950s mentality refuses to die:

https://i-80coalition.com/wp-content...ined-North.png
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  #567  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 4:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
Thats what I thought when I read the CN Heritage/CSX-IAS connector loop in downtown Joliet. Sheer lunacy to clearcut a fairly dense downtown core for a train that may have 5 rt/day. And to be oblivious of the near-term plan to reroute All Amtrak trains off of said CN Heritage to the Rock Island in Joliet..just challenges the veracity of this "study".
Add to that the fact that long ago the Surface Transportation Board ruled Amtrak must get the Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains off the CN/Heritage Corridor line, though a deadline for complying was never issued. Likely one of many reasons Amtrak is fronting the Air Line Connector project.

Also, given CN's open hostility to passenger rail, there is absolutely no way they would have allowed a single new passenger train on the Heritage line, much less ten. IDOT's experience trying to place the entire Blackhawk route onto the Freeport sub, and then attempting just the Rockford-Mississippi River portion, would have taught them that.
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  #568  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 4:52 PM
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Even Peoria seems to assume that the old station is now off-limits.
This is largely due to flooding, and since I have some relationship to the area I can assure you it's indeed a perennial problem. The old RI station is realistically impractical to be reactivated for modern needs. A lifting above the flood zone would be needed and that alone would likely cost 25-50 million and whether or not it's landmark status would even allow it is dubious. It's a handsome station. It used to have a tower that came down in the 30's or 40's for structural reasons.
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  #569  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 6:26 PM
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This is largely due to flooding, and since I have some relationship to the area I can assure you it's indeed a perennial problem. The old RI station is realistically impractical to be reactivated for modern needs. A lifting above the flood zone would be needed and that alone would likely cost 25-50 million and whether or not it's landmark status would even allow it is dubious. It's a handsome station. It used to have a tower that came down in the 30's or 40's for structural reasons.
The old Rock Island station is currently home to a restaurant and a bar.

Blue Duck Barbeque Tavern
Martini's on Water

Likely no room for railroad operations. From the photos on Martini's site, it looks like a very pretty station on the inside.

Building a new station near the old one was actually a third option, but was tossed out early in the process because they claimed there was not enough room for it.
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  #570  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2022, 7:16 PM
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^If the old station was a serious contender I doubt the current tenants would be an impediment. Take my word for it, I have family there.. the reason is because it would be cost prohibitive. You're talking full restoration of a landmark building, structural alterations and elevating of a landmark building, both of which would be in the tens of millions, and then you would still have facilities which aren't ideal for the open, light and airy aesthetic currently in vogue for passenger train stations. It's been ages since I've been in there but it's pretty dark as I remember. It would be neat, but it's probably best to leave it as a former-station.
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  #571  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2022, 8:09 PM
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^If the old station was a serious contender I doubt the current tenants would be an impediment. Take my word for it, I have family there.. the reason is because it would be cost prohibitive. You're talking full restoration of a landmark building, structural alterations and elevating of a landmark building, both of which would be in the tens of millions, and then you would still have facilities which aren't ideal for the open, light and airy aesthetic currently in vogue for passenger train stations. It's been ages since I've been in there but it's pretty dark as I remember. It would be neat, but it's probably best to leave it as a former-station.
The last Amtrak station to open in Illinois was Alton:
https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.town...=crop%2Cresize

Does that look "open, light, and airy"? Or at least, any more open/light/airy than a restored Peoria depot would be? As for the flooding concerns, I think that could be addressed with a little levee or floodwall around the historic building. Take the excuse to put in a high platform, with a gauntlet track for freight.

Funnily enough, Alton had a historic depot in use, although it was pretty small. They moved it to a worse location behind a Home Depot so they could add a giant parking lot.
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  #572  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2022, 4:10 PM
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Reposted from CityComp thread:



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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
These renderings look great.

Grimshaw and Arup unveil designs for their massive Union Station revamp in D.C.

By Josh Niland
July 26, 2022
Archinect


Rendering courtesy of Architect.

Rendering courtesy of Architect.

"A short month removed from its last update on the $10 billion project, Grimshaw Architects has unveiled renderings for the expansion of Union Station in Washington, D.C. that provide a clearer picture of how the revised plan will take shape over the coming two decades.

At the center of the design is the new train concourse defined by a clear-span roof canopy and beset with a series of skylight features lying directly north of the existing Beaux-Arts hall from 1907. Much of that original structure has been left untouched, while transportation upgrades are present in the form of expanded rail platforms, an elevated and greenery-lined new drop-off area, and new entry portals that alleviate crowding from the Columbus Circle side while allowing access to the nearby H Street corridor..."

https://archinect.com/news/article/1...-revamp-in-d-c
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  #573  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2022, 7:13 PM
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Reposted from CityComp thread:
That's fine, you could post the renovation of NY Penn as well or LA Union Station. What I'm saying is, I haven't seen any evidence that smaller cities and towns in the Midwest prefer Modernist designs for new train stations.

If you look at new Metra or Amtrak stations in the Midwest from the last 15 years, it's a pretty good mix of modern/traditional styles. Where a historic stationhouse is available, cities tend to use it unless there are fatal flaws (e.g. at Alton there was not enough parking in a residential neighborhood, and no room for indoor waiting). In Peoria, the building is already there and the flood risk is already there, it will remain whether the building is used as a restaurant or a train station. Unfortunately it seems like parking is driving this decision, which is asinine when the old station is surrounded by under-used parking already.
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  #574  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2022, 7:54 PM
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Ardecila, that repost wasn't in response to that, I was just putting the DC Union Station news in the Amtrak thread.
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  #575  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2022, 10:55 PM
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Ah... oops!

Easy to forget there is Amtrak service outside of the Illinois Valley!
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  #576  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2022, 1:41 PM
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Boise Mayor collecting support for passenger train service to Salt Lake City
Mayor Lauren McLean continues to see support on the concept of high speed train service returning to Boise.

By Joe Parris
KTVB7
Sept. 13, 2022


"BOISE, Idaho — It’s been 25 years since a passenger train traveled out of the Boise Depot. From 1977 to 1997, Amtrak ran service through Boise on the Seattle to Salt Lake City route. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean is working to make that history a new reality.

“We're working hard to bring folks together to make sure that we can be considered to have a train route from Boise to Salt Lake City,” said Mayor McLean.

Tuesday night at Boise City Council, the Mayor’s Office will present the support they have in their appeal to the Federal Rail Administration to get passenger rail service back to southern Idaho..."

https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/lo...4-2ffe8aa7015c
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  #577  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2022, 12:38 PM
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Amtrak switch to Miami airport station again moving forward
Facility has been used since 2015 opening by commuter operator Tri-Rail


By Bob Johnston
Trains
Sept. 29, 2022


A Tri-Rail train arrives at the Miami Intermodal Center in February 2018. In the foreground is the unused track for Amtrak trains. (Photo via Bob Johnston)

"MIAMI — A long-delayed plan to bring Amtrak trains to a station at Miami International Airport is being revived.

A dedicated track for the Silver Meteor and Silver Star has been gathering rust at Miami Intermodal Center since the building connected to the airport opened seven years ago. Despite the operating challenges involved in backing trains from an existing out-of-the-way terminus adjacent to its Hialeah Maintenance Facility, Amtrak has expressed renewed interest in consummating legal agreements with three South Florida transportation agencies that would finally make the move possible.

Miami Today reports Amtrak management has restarted lease negotiations with the Florida Department of Transportation for use of a spacious terminal that has been used by commuter operator Tri-Rail since 2015. A move there would allow Amtrak passengers convenient access to the airport’s rental car, food concession, and public transportation options — features not available at the existing station about 10 miles north of downtown Miami, built in 1978..."

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-revi...oving-forward/
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  #578  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2022, 7:33 PM
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Boise Mayor collecting support for passenger train service to Salt Lake City
Mayor Lauren McLean continues to see support on the concept of high speed train service returning to Boise.
"High speed" is an overstatement of course, but I think this is going to happen. There have been a lot of discussions happening lately and there's talk that UTA is involved.

Paniolo Man made a good comment about this in the Mountain West forum a few days ago:

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Could Amtrak return to Boise? Idaho leaders want rail service to Salt Lake City, Seattle - Idaho Statesman

Boise may lure Amtrak back – with a lot of help from Salt Lake City
- Boise State Public Radio

Both articles have very interesting info. I assume if they just go through with the Boise - Pocatello - SLC route they would need equipment and a place to maintain it. I wonder if the article from last week mentioning UTA being in on this has anything to do with that. UTA has lots of wiggle room at Warm Springs, Regional Amtrak service could benefit from a consolidated shop shared with Frontrunner. New equipment would be needed if it was ran as a National Network train because Amtrak does not have enough cars. Since the Superliners entered service they've lost between 50 and 80 to accidents and irreparable wear, they cancelled a Zephyr last week for a lack of equipment, they have been reducing the cars on trains despite record demand. Amtrak wouldn't have equipment available until they have a Superliner replacement ready in 5-10 years. Even with a complete restoration of Pioneer and Desert wind they would likely want space for maintenance in SLC, Warm Springs is an ideal place for that.

We can base equipment for a train to Moab there as well!
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  #579  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2022, 3:23 AM
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Reposted from CityComp thread:
Omg, this looks beautiful! (DC Union Station pics)

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  #580  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2022, 7:52 PM
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This seems significant:

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