Category Archives: Indianapolis

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.

Louisville Not Alone Anymore; “Skinny Budget” To Bring MORE!

In the middle of the picture is the Louisville railroad station. No AMTRAK here!!! Better for Louisville to donate station for the Louisville to Chicago HYPERLOOP. (Some money to fix would be appreciated too).

Now we are going to get more “Louisville’s” thanks to President Trump’s Skinny Budget”.

Headline (really bottom line) Cutting Off ‘Fly-Over’ States, Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities.

President’s so-called “skinny budget” will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak’s national train network.

Some of what we know:

In addition to slashing funding for the arts, education programs, climate change research, and worker protections (among many other things), another lesser known casualty of President Donald Trump’s “morally obscene” budget proposal: Amtrak.

The president’s so-called “skinny budget” will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak’s national train network, meaning 220 cities will lose all passenger service, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) warned this week.

“It’s ironic that President Trump’s first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office,” said NARP president Jim Mathews.

“These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like ‘flyover country,'” Mathews continued. “But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak’s long distance trains, the Trump administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S..”

“These hard working, small town Americans,” he added, “don’t have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains.”

Specifically, Trump’s proposal slashes $2.4 billion (or 13 percent) from transportation spending, threatening long distance routes including the east coast’s Silver Star and Silver Meteor lines, the New York-Chicago Cardinal train service, the Empire Builder, which connects Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, as well as the effort to restore the Gulf Coast line.

Indianapolis and Cincinnati will now join the “club” of NO AMTRAK.

Last week HYPERLOOP ONE (the leader in the HYPERLOOP world) held a conference in Washington. They “show-cased” projects they are supporting. Pittsburgh-Columbus-Chicago is included. Cincinnati-Chicago is affiliated with another Hyperloop manufacturer. Louisville-Chicago will be built with private funding using HYPERLOOP ONE technology. They attended the conference and were very, very impressed.

Louisville-Chicago “The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink” will offer other HYPERLOOPs use of it’s entrance to Chicago’s Millennium Station. And YES! They are into freight (like steam-ship containers).

Stay tuned to this blog! We will be the first to know.

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.

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.

Important Dates In New York Central Railroad History From Mark Tomlonson

July 1, 1900 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad leases the Boston & Albany for 99 years. Map featured at top, heavy freight at Pittsfield, MA below
BostonAlbanyFreightPittsfield
June 23, 1831 The Boston & Worcester Railroad Corporation incorporates in Massachusetts. It is the oldest element of the New York Central system in New England.

July 1, 1870 The Kalamazoo & South Haven is leased in perpetuity to the Michigan Central.
July 4, 1870 The first train enters Bloomingdale MI on the Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad (later MC, NYC, PC, CR).
July 1, 1937 Passenger service ends on the former Kalamazoo & South Haven, now a branch in Michigan of the New York Central.
SouthHavenStockCertificate
June 30, 1937 Last day of mail service on the former Kalamazoo & South Haven as the Post Office shifts the contract to motor freight.

July 1, 1935 The New York Central Lines (subsidiary companies) are re-named the New York Central System.

July 1, 1958 The New York Central withdraws from The Pullman Company and begins staffing its own passenger trains.
NYCentralSleepingCar

July 1, 1964 The New York Central opens its first “Flexi-Flo” terminal, in Indianapolis. The system uses steel pipes to transfer loads directly from covered hoppers to trucks.
NYCFlexiFlowCar

DewittClinton
July 2, 1831 First test of the “Dewitt Clinton” on the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad. Read more about the original NY Central

July 3, 1948 The New York Central issues a report that only 20 per cent of its long-distance passenger trains are diesel powered, but the number is expected to rise to 50% by year’s end.

July 4, 1871 The Detroit, Hillsdale & Indiana (later LS&MS) begins service to Saline MI.

July 4, 1878 The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad opens between Youngstown and Beaver Falls (some sources say July 3).

June 30, 1889 The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (The Big Four) is formed from the merger of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis & Chicago Railway and the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railway.

June 30, 1908 Last day steam trains could legally operate south of the Harlem River in New York City. Read about the Harmon Shops where electric locomotives were maintained.
HarmonOldPixWayneKoch03

June 30, 1940 Last day “archbar” freight trucks could legally operate in U.S. interchange service, and then only on empty cars returning to their home roads.

June 28, 1832 The Detroit & St. Joseph Railroad (MI) is chartered. Although little is actually constructed, the proposed route will form the basis of the Central Railroad of Michigan [later MC/NYC/PC/CR/NS] charter. The proposed route closely follows the present State of Michigan/Amtrak line from Detroit to Kalamazoo. From Kalamazoo it was planned to go west through Paw Paw to St. Joseph, a route that was never constructed.

June 27, 1859 An express train bound from Chicago wrecks between South Bend and Mishawaka on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. The train was passing over a fill that, because a culvert had plugged, was serving as an unintended dam. The saturated earth was not able to support a train. At least five of the crew were killed. Many passengers were swept downstream and drowned, as well as being killed in the wreck. There was an estimated 150 persons on the train, but a death toll has never been determined.

June 27, 1937 First train over Michigan Central’s Michigan Avenue viaduct in Kalamazoo. Auto traffic will not run under the bridge until October.

June 27, 1960 Demolition of the Grand Central Terminal office building begins to allow construction of the Pan Am Building.

GrandCentralOfficeBuilding

June 24, 1878 William H. Vanderbilt gains control of the Michigan Central.

June 24, 1928 The New York Central inaugurates Day Coach De Luxe No. 1 & 2 between New York and Buffalo on a 10 hour 20 minute schedule with 18 stops. It is the first luxury coach train.

June 25, 1844 The Central Railroad of Michigan reaches Albion from the east.

June 25, 1866 The Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad [later MC, NYC, PC, CR, NS, JAIL] completes its line from Jackson to Lansing via Mason.

June 25, 1902 Michigan Central and Pere Marquette Railroads open Union Station in Lansing.

June 26, 1918 The USRA contracts with the American Railway Express, making it the sole U.S. express operator on U.S. railroads.

June 23, 1954 Robert Heller & Associates present the result of their passenger train study to representatives of the Pennsylvania, New York Central and Baltimore & Ohio railroads. The study finds that passengers are leaving trains for automobiles and airplanes and the railroads are unable to price their services by cost because so many of the rates are frozen by regulations. The railroads decline to follow any of the study’s recommendations to consolidate long-distance trains. Most of the study’s recommendations will be made under Amtrak.

Thanks again Mark Tomlonson

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.”