Category Archives: Indiana

An Older Rail “Chicago Bypass”

If you have been following us for a while, we ALWAYS keep talking about a “mythological” Chicago Bypass.

As late as 1964 there was a great one: The Kankakee Belt Route is the nickname for the Illinois Division of the New York Central Railroad, which extended from South Bend, Indiana, through Kankakee, Illinois, and westward to Zearing, Illinois. It was marketed as the “Kankakee Belt” route to connect with western railroads and avoid the congestion of the Chicago area.

Today, the Norfolk Southern operates the Kankakee Belt Route (ex-Conrail, ex-NYC, Kankakee Belt Line). Sections at the east end (to South Bend) and West End (Zearing area) have been removed. The Kankakee Belt Route sees around eight to ten trains daily, from the BNSF (old AT&SF main line) at Streator, Illinois to Norfolk Southern Railway interchanges and facilities in Indiana. It still serves as a Chicago bypass.

It’s gone now although sections remain. Many of the connecting railroads have disappeared!

The Kankakee Belt Line and connections (1964)

Location Railroad
South Bend, Indiana New York Central and Grand Trunk Railway
North Liberty, Indiana Wabash
Walkerton, Indiana B&O and Nickel Plate
Hamlet, Indiana Pennsylvania
Knox, Indiana Nickel Plate
North Judson, Indiana Pennsylvania and Erie
San Pierre, Indiana Monon
Shelby, Indiana Monon
Schneider, Indiana New York Central
Delmar, Illinois Milwaukee
Momence, Illinois Chicago & Eastern Illinois
Kankakee, Illinois Illinois Central and New York Central
Reddick, Illinois Wabash
Dwight, Illinois GM&O (Alton)
Streator, Illinois Santa Fe, Burlington
Lostant, Illinois Illinois Central
Depue, Illinois Rock Island
Ladd, Illinois Northwestern, Milwaukee, LS&BC RR
Zearing, Illinois Burlington

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Barriger shows success in 1948 at the Monon

In the August, 1948 TRAINS Magazine, Barriger was showing profits with the Monon Railroad. When Barriger took over the Monon in 1946, he became aggressive! He announced fast freights that run on schedule no matter how much business was at hand. The “old” Monon had held freight until a maximum trainload was accumulated. The “new” Monon ran short, profitless freights for many months until shippers realized that good service was available.

Many railroad executives thought Barriger’s policies would bring disaster, but they did not realize the cautious operating ability that went along with his willingness to spend money to make money, and in his belief in the future of the Monon.

Find other stories on the Monon Railroad
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-monon-railroad/

Indianapolis Union Railway

The Indianapolis Union Railway Company succeeded in 1883 to the enterprise inaugurated in 1853 by the Union Railway Company. The company operated fourteen miles of track known as the Belt Railroad, which was double-tracked and extended around the city, and also had a mile of track in the city, connecting the Belt with the Union Passenger Station, which was also owned by this company. The station was one of the finest in the United States, had a train shed 300 x 650 feet, and had a handsome three-story brick building surmounted by a lofty tower, which was a beautiful structure in Romanesque architecture, used for offices and waiting rooms of the station. Over one million freight cars were handled annually over the Belt Railroad. It was the first switching railroad to be built in the country, and transferred freight from factory switches to all roads.

The Sorry State Of The AMTRAK Hoosier State

Working on the HYPERLOOP from Louisville, Kentucky to Gary, Indiana, we cannot help but notice Indianapolis. We go right thru it on Interstata 65. But we have “ignored” it because: (1) Indianapolis HAS AMTRAK and (2) Indianapolis to Gary is “too short” to be an efficient HYPERLOOP.

We forget how the “Hoosier State” was nothing more than a “hospital train” to Amtrak’s Beach Grove shops near Indy. It received a name and Horizon cars only so CSX would move it in some semblance of a designated schedule between Chicago-Indy. Hard to believe this once was a vibrant corridor into the early 1960s for NYC, PRR, and Monon. The NYC’s “James Whitcomb Riley” was featured in a 3 hour timecard on its way serving Cincinatti, including change of power between IC/NYC in Kankakee, operating over jointed rail with multiple grade crossings, and making several stops en route.

Given the starvation diet assessed to Amtrak by Congress, the lack of any economic incentives for CSX, and Indiana’s deferred approach to rail infrastructure investment, frankly we can expect nothing will change without federal involvement, as well a spirited encouragement of major P3. To compete with the bus and auto relying on the toll-free I-65 to achieve 3 hour runs, significant funds will be required for rail to achieve:

1) Re-building the antiquated signal system and right-of-way of the CSX between Dyer-Indy. Approximately a minimum of $1 Million per mile just for track infrastructure over that 150 route.

2) $500,000 for 2 power switches at Dyer, IN to divert the train off of the current slow 29 mile route thru 5 dispatchers into Chicago Union Station (CUS) and instead, onto the CN to the St. Charles Air Line access into CUS.

3) How long before the South Shore Line extends to Munster to allow running the “Hoosier State” on its ROW from the St. Charles Air Line to connect there to Dyer?

4) How long for the CREATE program to be funded to eliminate Chicago region rail gridlock by re-building Grand Crossing/75th Street to facilitate passenger rail?

Current Indianapolis Union Station is a decrepit, dark, dank hole in the wall, in an unsafe neighborhood, frequented by the homeless and panhandlers; shared as a bus depot. Rehabilitation drastically required.

By now, we should have learned that an acceptable schedule and timecard are paramount to a train’s potential to attract traffic; with the reality that convenience is key as interpreted by every market metric as provided by more than one frequency each way.

a) The “Hoosier State” must immediately change it current departure and arrival at Indy to be more convenient. Schedule should be changed to leave Indy between 0730-800 and leave Chicago between 1545-1615. HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!

b) The train is currently non-competitive on a 5.05 schedule vs. bus or auto at 3-3.30, despite the I-65 truck conga lines, Chicago parking rates, and weather. HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!

c) Ideally, there should be 3 daily frequencies (morning, noon, afternoon) HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!.

d) If Amtrak ever takes “The Cardinal” daily, it could potentially operate the “Hoosier State” daily on an alternative schedule.HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!

1) Indiana got used to the service enhancements provided by Iowa Pacific, but was willing to accept only when the bid was under the full cost to provide.

2) Iowa Pacific under-bid its services apparently with the intent to get one state corridor on the board, so it would have that story to offer to other potential current, or, new state corridor interests, seeking to have an option to Amtrak.

3) Passenger railroading is not cheap, with no flexibility for neophytes and wannabes; little room to negotiate costs, e.g., Class 1 track access and dispatching; cost of slot to achieve optimal timing and scheduling.

4) Without a 180 change in Congress, the “Hoosier State” will best exemplify our failed national transportation policy, bouncing along on freight trackage at almost twice the travel time required by interstate.

Thanks to Mark E. Singer for his AMTRAK comments.

Hyperloop One has a short list of cities for its 760-mile-per-hour trains

Above: Hyperloop One’s test site in Las Vegas.

Image Credit: Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One is working on a transportation technology that can make trains go as fast as 760 miles per hour. The company has raised $160 million in several rounds to build the transportation systems that seem like something out of science fiction.

Despite a lawsuit from former high-ranking employees, the company has moved swiftly to add new executives and expand its search for sites where it can build its lightning-fast transportation networks in cities around the world. (The company denied the allegations and countersued the former employees.)

Hyperloop One continues to build out its 100,000-square-foot Metalworks fabrication facility and 137-acre Apex test and safety site in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Construction of the company’s full-system development loop is underway as Hyperloop One prepares for its “Kitty Hawk moment” in the first quarter of 2017.

Last week, during CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas, I met with Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One. We talked about the company’s global challenge contest to find the world’s best Hyperloop routes. The list is now down to 35 possible projects around the world, and some cities such as Dubai are actively pursuing approvals.

More than 2,600 proposals were registered in five months, and the semifinalists come from 17 countries. A handful of finalists will be named by May. Lloyd and I talked about that process, as well as what Hyperloop transportation will mean for society in the future.

See an interview with Rob Lloyd by DEAN TAKAHASHI@DEANTAK

We are particularly interested in one of HYPEROOP ONE’s 35 FINALISTS: “The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink”

Designed to provide high speed trannsportation between Louisville and Chicago. It fills a void that AMTRAK has not been able to.

hyperloopmap

Anybody building into Chicago will have a big problem in finding space. As a sensible alternative, We suggested that the new railroad start instead at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. It is already served by the “South Shore” railroad which has a great terminal in downtown Chicago. Gary Airport is receiving Federal funding from Dept. of Transportation and South Shore railroad is receiving State/local funding for expansion.

Very recently Hyperloop One, announced that « cargo will be implemented before passengers ».

We anticipated this with the selection of Gary, Indiana (at the international airport) as our Northern Terminal. Of course passengers will still transfer to the South Shore commuter line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. But operating on the same right-of-way is the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad. It provides freight service between Chicago and South Bend. It has important connections to the Indiana Harbor Railroad, Norfolk Southern, CSX Corporation. It is also connected to the in-formation Great Lakes Basin Transportation. It proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area. The purpose of the new railroad is to expedite freight movements across the nation and to provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic.

Ridership and revenue grow on Hoosier State Train

The Hoosier State welcomed 2,428 riders in September, a 46 percent increase from September 2015 and the fifth straight month that ridership exceeded the same period in 2015. Ticket revenue totaled $82,324 in September – a 64 percent increase from September 2015 – marking a full year of revenue exceeding the same months the prior year.

On-time arrivals between Indianapolis and Chicago averaged 86 percent in August and 82 percent in September. Yesterday CSX Transportation replaced the manual switch near the Crawfordsville station with a new switch that is expected to cut 8 to 15 minutes from a one-way trip.

INDOT and the on-line communities contract with Iowa Pacific Holdings to provide the train equipment, train maintenance and new on-board amenities. Under a separate contract, Amtrak serves as the train operator, works with host railroads, provides train and engine crews, and manages ticketing and reservations.

Train traffic, speed to increase on LIRC line in Kentucky, Indiana

Train traffic will increase on the Louisville and Indiana Railroad (LIRC) between Louisville, Ky., and Seymour, Ind., on or after Sept. 1, according to the short line’s parent company Anacostia Rail Holdings.

Over several weeks, CSX and LIRC train speeds will increase incrementally from the current speed limit of 25 mph to a maximum of 49 mph at many locations, Anacostia officials said in a press release.

Track and signal improvements have been made to allow for a safe increase in speed. The number and average length of CSX trains also will increase from four trains to 10 trains daily on the LIRC line.

The number and length of CSX trains will vary and continue to adjust depending on freight volume.

The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink COULD Go From Jeffersonville to Louisville UNDERWATER (No. 15)

Hyperloop One Plans to Take the Ultrafast Transport System Underwater

By Kelly Tatera on June 24, 2016

It just keeps getting better.

As if the Hyperloop concept itself isn’t impressive enough, Brogan BamBrogan, the co-founder and CTO of Hyperloop One, announced the company’s plans to take the ultrafast transportation system underwater.

For a little background, tech guru Elon Musk pitched the idea of the Hyperloop transportation system back in 2013, and it’s quickly becoming a reality. Basically, the Hyperloop is a supersonic transportation system that will theoretically transport people or cargo in levitating pod-capsules at rates near the speed of sound.

Just last month, Hyperloop One, one of the companies developing the Hyperloop technology, demonstrated its first successful public display of a Hyperloop pod in the Nevada desert. Impressively, the propulsion speeds went from zero to 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers) in just 4 seconds. You can watch a video of the demonstration here.
DON’T MISS: MIT Unveils Their Winning Hyperloop Pod Prototype

Now, as if on-land Hyperloop systems weren’t futuristic enough, Hyperloop One also plans to test out an underwater system.

BamBrogan sat down with Science Friday to discuss the technology, and he claims that the company already has the capability of building an underwater Hyperloop system, but is trying to find a more cost-effective approach.

“The DNA of my time at SpaceX has got its fingerprints all over Hyperloop,” BamBrogan says. “There’s nothing new that has to be invented, but (what) we are doing is innovating and doing things to bring the cost down.”

At this point, BamBrogan says the production costs are still too high, but hopefully these costs will go down as the technology develops. Plus, he says that many people probably don’t even know how much they want the Hyperloop system since it’s new and yet to become available.

“We think we can deliver things people don’t even know they want yet, and that’s going to manifest itself in a lot of ways,” he says. “So I think we will see some above-grade systems, we’re definitely going to see tunneled systems, and we also want to see some underwater systems.”

The Hyperloop One underwater concept can be seen in the image above — exciting things to come.

JUST THINK: Not Another Ohio River RIDGE!!!

Amtrak’s Hoosier route improves on-time performance, revenue

The Hoosier State route between Indianapolis and Chicago averaged an on-time performance rating of 86 percent and ticket revenue increased 20 percent since October 2015, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced last week.

The Hoosier State line is now among the highest-rated Amtrak routes, with 90 percent of riders reporting in a recent survey that they are “very satisfied” with the service, INDOT officials said in a press release.

At the end of June 2015, INDOT signed new contracts with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings to continue the service after Congress voted to phase out financial support. INDOT and communities along the route agreed to jointly fund the service.

Amtrak serves as the train operator and works with host railroads, provides train and engine crews, and manages ticketing and reservations. Iowa Pacific provides the train equipment, train maintenance, marketing and onboard amenities.

“Instead of being discontinued, the Hoosier State train was improved,” said Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis. “On-time performance and customer service leading to more riders will be key to future success and improvements.”

The Future Of Freight (HYPERLOOP Ali No 9)

Yes we are excited about HYPERLOOP!

We want to carry passengers between Chicago and Louisville.But JWH Financial Services has never carried a passenger anywhere.

There are some great technology articles on HYPERLOOP ONE. a company working to make business magnate Elon Musk’s magnetic tube travel dream a reality, has been making significant progress in the last few weeks, including a cost-softening “tube deformer.” Could the pipe dream become pipe reality? A Hyperloop is a theoretical high-speed transportation system in which capsules containing cargo — and eventually passengers — would be placed in reduced-pressure tubes and launched at almost 800mph. The speed would significantly reduce traveling time between US cities. Los Angeles to San Francisco (usually 5 hours), for example, would take a mere 36 minutes in the Hyperloop.In just the past few weeks, Hyperloop One announced its first public test on a track in the Nevada desert, followed by a prototype pod and a new “tube deformer” revealed on Instagram on June 8.

Here is the link: Hyperloop One

Sorry for the format, but WordPress changed how you added links but told nobody. SHAME ON YOU WORDPRESS.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) says it has created a new material that is ten times stronger than steel but 5 times lighter than aluminum. Think about that for a minute. Assuming those claims can be verified and also assuming the material is not otherworldly expensive, it may take the place of carbon fiber the way Saran Wrap displaced waxed paper.

But I never said we were techies. We are good at logistics.

We know air, trucking,ocean and especially rail.

The future of freight transportation is taking shape. While bursting with opportunity, the shifts will see any who don’t adapt discarded to the bone yard of history. We’ve seen this to a degree already with the robot revolution taking place on factory floors. Outsourcing has taken the brunt of the blame for disappearing manufacturing jobs, but automation is just as culpable. That’s “progress,” and it’s not sentimental. Why would a manufacturer who can automate pay more for less efficiency? Nostalgia? Explain that one to shareholders.

The logistics overhaul is already in the news. How is the industry responding to the piling on of regulations that constrict drivers and prevent them from meeting delivery deadlines? It’s turning to new technology, investing in driverless trucks. Wal-Mart introduced its prototype last year; this year a start-up founded by former engineers from Google’s self-driving vehicle unit is taking up the mantle, looking for 1,000 volunteer truckers to have the technology retrofitted on their rigs. The irony won’t be immediately apparent, as the company says truckers will still be onboard. But the future will keep on coming; what do you suppose will happen once this technology has been long perfected?

Hit the road, Jack.

Above the trucks, skies will be abuzz with drones making on-demand deliveries. A few are up there already, but the full realization isn’t far behind. Why? Andreas Raptopoulos, founder and CEO of Matternet recently explained to MarketWatch: “It’s much more cost-, energy- and time-efficient to send [a blood sample] via drone, rather than send it in a two-ton car down the highway with a person inside to bring it to a different lab for testing.” And that’s just B2B; what are the parcel carriers and final-mile truckers planning for when Amazon eventually rolls out its massive drone fleet?

The development I’m excited about is Hyperloop. If you haven’t heard of it, essentially the design is a network of tubes through which a magnetically levitating pod travels at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour, shortening travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, to just 30 minutes. While the concept isn’t new, the basic science for making it a reality was hashed out by Elon Musk (he noodled on it while stuck in L.A. traffic) who then open-sourced it to anyone willing to make it a reality. Musk was apparently busy pioneering the electric car industry, the solar industry, dabbling in A.I. and, y’know, colonizing Mars.

Futuristic as the Hyperloop sounds, a company that jumped on the technology, Hyperloop One, recently conducted a successful acceleration test in Nevada that had its CEO harkening to the Wright Bros.’ “Kitty Hawk” moment. But here’s what we know: It may be a while before you grab dinner at a chic San Fran restaurant before the Dodger game, but the Hyperloop’s first tasks will be to move freight. This makes sense; no lives will be at stake, and if something catastrophic happens, it will be to non-living/breathing goods that can be replaced if properly insured.

Airline execs are supposedly gritting their teeth and maybe even plotting against the Hyperloop, but what about the rail companies, long-haul truckers and even air cargo execs? Should they not be as worried?

Let me back up and say I started thinking about all this while working on the first-time feature we’re publishing in this issue, “13 Logistics Thought Leaders,” which salutes well-deserving executives who have been ahead of the curve in the industry—and in some cases are shaping the curve. While the feature focuses on their successes rather than tomorrow’s technologies, I found myself wondering who among them would embrace these advancements first.

Embrace competitive technology? Well, yeah. It’s mom’s old advice, right? “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Rather than fight against the future, if in 10 years your shipment is zipping along the BNSF track of the new Hyperloop, arriving faster, safer and cheaper thanks to some forward-thinking executives who accepted the new era would come and jumped onboard, wouldn’t everyone win?

Well, everyone except the ex-engineer.

And herein lies the problem. The march of “progress” always leaves casualties in its boot tracks. It’s easy enough for me to embrace this future—I only write about the transportation industry. It did occur to me though, if I were the CEO of Delta, for example, I would invest in Hyperloop technology the instant it proved viable. It may indeed be damaging to air travel, but travelers will still need attendants, tracks and vehicles will still need maintenance, and who knows what other needs will arise—a slow transition could save a lot of jobs, and whoever plans ahead will be well positioned. Likewise with freight transportation, a long view of the future, embraced by the right executives, will make for an exciting, thriving logistics industry a decade or two from now.