Monday, April 19, 2010

Chicago's Auto Train and Madison's downtown station

The Tribune discusses the benefits enjoyed by the increasing number of riders on Amtrak's Auto Train between Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL (near Orlando). The Midwest is being factored into expansion plans for the unique service. According to Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Romero, "We would love to go east to west and also head from Florida to Chicago."

Future routes are examined on the basis of vacation and retiree markets, according to the Auto Train's operations supervisor, Larry Vollten. Besides Florida to Chicago, Chicago to Arizona and Chicago to Texas are being considered. Routes like these will only move closer to realization as more and more passengers, and in this case motorists, shift to Amtrak.

Vollten went on to say, "The fascinating thing about this crowd is that we did a feasibility study in Chicago and it found there is the same clientele in Chicago as there is in the Northeast United States."

Meanwhile, The Wisconsin State Journal mentions the progress that is being made to bring the city's HSR station closer to downtown. Alderman Mike Verveer, District 4, says it best,“From my perspective, the closer we can get Amtrak to downtown and the campus, the better."

Amtrak has also committed to servicing La Crosse, WI regardless of La Crosse's inclusion or exclusion on the HSR route between Milwaukee and Madison.

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Blogger plaws said...

What makes AutoTrain work is that Lorton, Va, is less than a day's drive from eleventy-million people in the Northeast and Sandford, Fla, is within an hour or two of some of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA.

Those conditions don't exist anywhere else.

You can study the other routes if you'd like, but they won't have the same economics that AutoTrain does.

Note, too, that if you try to say "well, let's add some tri-levels to such-and-such train" please keep in mind that the AutoTrain is as popular as it is and works as well as it does **because there are no stops**.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:20 AM  
Blogger neroden@gmail said...

There is demand for an AutoTrain from Chicago to Florida -- it would work if the tracks were there.

The problem is that there is no suitable route which would allow overnight service from Chicago to Florida. There's a finicky CSX route via Nashville and Atlanta, but it would require major upgrades.

4:10 PM  
Blogger mmk said...

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9:28 AM  

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