1.8.13

CONNECTIVITY, FREQUENCY, RELIABILITY.

Travel and Trains notes, "If You Build It (and Speed It Up), People Will Come."  That's in Michigan, where a Michigan Live article focuses on the speeded-up Wolverines between Chicago and Pontiac, still popularly referred to as the Chicago - Detroit service.  It may be more accurate to speak well of the accelerated service between Chicago and Dearborn, as east of there it's all poking along through yard limits.  I recall watching or hearing Grand Trunk Western's midday pig train buzzing through Royal Oak at about 60 or so on welded rail, and heck, the vestigial commuter service once offered by GTW with a state subsidy moved rather expeditiously from mile road to mile road,  thus there's precedent for faster train service to the northeast, and there are already plenty of riders making relatively local trips from the Oakland County suburbs to college in Ann Arbor or Kalamazoo.

The same article notes ridership is down on the Grand Rapids (only one train) and Port Huron (only one train, no connection, no through cars to Toronto) services.

Infrastructure improvements in Missouri have improved timekeeping on the relatively slow Kansas City and St. Louis service (there has to be a way of providing connections at Kansas City to the Southwest Chief, and at St. Louis to the Eagle), and faster running in Illinois is drawing passengers.
Business on Amtrak in Missouri and Illinois has been booming. Folks are parking their cars, skipping the airport and taking the train. More people are boarding the train in St. Louis and going north to Chicago or west to Kansas City than ever before.

Marc Magliari is a spokesman for Amtrak, “Ridership has more than doubled because there are more opportunities for people to arrive, more opportunities for people to go back and forth the same day.”

Kevin Hagerty rode the train recently to Chicago with his son. “I think people are trying to save money and this is the way to save money,” he said.

St. Louis can pay as little as $26 and go all the way to the Windy City, cheaper than driving or flying.

Madelynn Kennebeck enjoys traveling on the train with her grandchildren. “Be able to show the kids train travel for one to be able to show them what the country looks like on an intimate basis,” she said.

Between major cities like Washington and New York 3 times as many travelers choose Amtrak over the the airlines.  A greater number of business people are riding the rails in Illinois and Missouri. Andre Collins is one of them.  He said, “There`s no check-in there`s no lines, get right on the train.”

Ridership has also jumped on the Missouri River Runner, the train from St. Louis to Kansas City. Although there are only two round trips a day people are turning to Amtrak because it`s now dependable.
Note: with conventional Amfleet and Horizon cars, and with some relatively early departure or late arrival times at Chicago or Kansas City, and no connectivity to other Illinois corridor lines.  One thing at a time.

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