Author Topic: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?  (Read 5003 times)

ScottFlood

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"Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« on: September 20, 2013, 10:55:37 AM »
This morning's Inside Indiana Business report includes a story on cities indicating a willingness to put up money to keep the Hoosier State rolling.

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=61456

rrnut282

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 11:11:48 AM »
That's the community involvement that really gets INDOT's attention when they are deciding whether to fund a project or not.  Rallies and letter campaigns are nice, but $$ speaks much louder.
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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 04:22:48 PM »
That's the community involvement that really gets INDOT's attention when they are deciding whether to fund a project or not.  Rallies and letter campaigns are nice, but $$ speaks much louder.

Its just funny that AMTRAK uses this train to ferry their equipment between Beech Grove and Chicago, but that only comes up in passing.  I understand they don't want to delay the Cardinal with the 'shop' cars.  However, there is no reason they can't run a train to do that without passengers on it.  They did it in the 90's when the train was axed before.  W911 if I remember the symbol correctly from photos I've seen. 

AMTRAK is 'threatening' to cut the Grove off, and the good paying jobs, because they won't have the State paying to move the cars their for them.  They're acting like a kid threatening to take their football home because they can't get their way.  Such BS on AMTRAK's part in so far as that goes.  Again, they just want the State to foot a bill they'd probably have anyway if they were a 'regular' business.

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indyspy

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 04:40:35 PM »
W911/W918 used to be the Fernald dirty dirt trains.

I imagine the movements were given the rotating P9XX symbols.

These symbols are handed out in sequential order to excursions, office car trains, circus trains, and Amtrak extras/hospital trains.

Basically any extra passenger movement. When they get to P999 they go back to P900 for the next one. So you could have heard a P911 one day.
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CIOR

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013, 04:52:37 PM »
My question is, what did Amtrak do when Indy had no service?  I mean honestly they ran the hospital trains how they had to when they had to. 
They seem content to run the Amtrak less than daily and its only a service others provide to fill in the gaps. 

But hey there is more to this story then we all know.

indyspy

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 04:54:07 PM »
My question is, what did Amtrak do when Indy had no service?  I mean honestly they ran the hospital trains how they had to when they had to. 
They seem content to run the Amtrak less than daily and its only a service others provide to fill in the gaps. 

But hey there is more to this story then we all know.

Shuttle trains with no revenue cars as needed.
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arobb00

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 05:21:57 PM »
And isn't one of the reasons they kept Beech Grove is that it has the ability to perform heavy maintenance that no other AMTRAK facility can?  Seems to upgrade another facility (or even to contract the maintenance out) would cost them MORE than keeping the Grove open.  Plus Beech Grove has plenty of secure storage where they can keep equipment in storage without worrying about vandals and graffiti. 

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 05:40:55 PM »
Shuttle trains with no revenue cars as needed.

W means equipment/special moves.  P is used for true passenger trains/specials/circus trains/etc.  I'd have to ask, but I seem to remember someone telling me they used W911, which was ironic because it was a "hospital" train.

Not sure when the dirt from Ferdinan started moving, but symbols do get reused over the years.  In the case of W, they'll just activate a specific profile for whatever move they have.

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IndyHog

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2013, 07:30:28 PM »
My question is, what did Amtrak do when Indy had no service?  I mean honestly they ran the hospital trains how they had to when they had to. 
They seem content to run the Amtrak less than daily and its only a service others provide to fill in the gaps. 

Amtrak took over Beech Grove in Apr 1975. The Hoosier State came on in 1980 sometime. Between those two dates Conrail ran hospital trains between Beech Grove and Chicago for Amtrak. I caught one as a brakeman in the late 70's sometime. Have to dig out my time books to come up with the symbol.
   The train we operated out of Beech Grove was passenger equipment only. We took it over the P&E to Danville Il and handed it over to another crew who took it to Chicago via the Egyptian Line.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 08:02:26 PM by IndyHog »
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CIOR

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 08:41:53 PM »
Amtrak took over Beech Grove in Apr 1975. The Hoosier State came on in 1980 sometime. Between those two dates Conrail ran hospital trains between Beech Grove and Chicago for Amtrak. I caught one as a brakeman in the late 70's sometime. Have to dig out my time books to come up with the symbol.
   The train we operated out of Beech Grove was passenger equipment only. We took it over the P&E to Danville Il and handed it over to another crew who took it to Chicago via the Egyptian Line.

Thanks for the info..  Interesting move.

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 08:47:25 PM »
Its good to see someone else is willing to step up to help amtrak and show how things are done here in Indiana. Since we're on the subject, I thaught i wasnt dreaming about seeing 3 or 4 trains a day on the I&F in the early 90's. Do these hospital trains look any different than regular passenger trains? What was the difference in 20 years time that there no longer a demand to go to chicago anymore?
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CSX_CO

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 08:49:11 PM »
Its good to see someone else is willing to step up to help amtrak and show how things are done here in Indiana. Since we're on the subject, I thaught i wasnt dreaming about seeing 3 or 4 trains a day on the I&F in the early 90's. Do these hospital trains look any different than regular passenger trains? What was the difference in 20 years time that there no longer a demand to go to chicago anymore?

It isn't that there isn't demand, its just that the State of Indiana doesn't want to have to subsidize the train.  I doubt anyone would take the train if they had to pay the 'true cost' of operating it through ticket fares.

Not saying anyone could afford to fly either, if you paid the true costs.

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doublestacks

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2013, 08:55:13 PM »
It isn't that there isn't demand, its just that the State of Indiana doesn't want to have to subsidize the train.  I doubt anyone would take the train if they had to pay the 'true cost' of operating it through ticket fares.

Not saying anyone could afford to fly either, if you paid the true costs.

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That makes sense. I draw that assumption because any amtrak train i've ever seen really didnt have too many passengers on it. Looked rather empty. Unless i just happen to catch it on its slow days, hell one night it came into town with 1 car on it.
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E-Unit

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 10:58:17 PM »
The last two non-standard Amtrak moves used the symbols P935 and P939.
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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 12:36:22 PM »
There's a well-written book, "Amtrak in the Heartland", that has quite a bit of detail on the history of the Hoosier State, and the reasons why it was established (one was to not pay Conrail to shuttle trains, as mentioned already).  It is probably no secret to any of us why the Hoosier State didn't get to keep the initial success it enjoyed in the mid-late 80s....lousy scheduling (Indy departure times changed wildly in the 90s...departures as early as 3:50am for a couple of years), frequent delays south of Chicago (although, I did notice it has improved somewhat over the past few months...only to be negated by what seems like more frequent delays between REN-LAF and CRF-IND, lately).   On top of that, longer trip times than 20 years ago, no food service, inconvenient departure/arrival times, and lack of frequency typically seen on corridor routes invariably will make it a less-attractive travel option.   If Amtrak had more frequent trains, an additional stop in the west suburbs of Indy (a station in Brownsburg was proposed once, but never built) for westsiders, a better, cleaner terminal in Indianapolis...the list goes on.  Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Amtrak supporter...if done right, it can be a viable transportation option..but it amazes me somewhat that, as it stands today, that it has lasted this long, given the long laundry list of things going against it.  That said, I will continue, and still ride the Hoosier State/Cardinal between CRF and Chicago, for as long as it's around.

Oh...I agree with CSXCO...the front-page story in the Indianapolis Star seemed like nothing more than fear mongering..it's not like the tracks will be ripped up, once the Hoosier State stops running.

ScottFlood

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 06:17:34 PM »
And now INDOT seems to be working on a plan that's contingent upon local financial participation ...

http://www.indystar.com/article/20130924/LOCAL18/309240054/State-hashing-out-plan-save-daily-Amtrak-trains-from-Indianapolis-Chicago

The article refers to the Hoosier State as a "commuter" train, so you have to wonder how much of the rest is accurate ...

doublestacks

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2013, 07:03:08 PM »
September 26th at 4pm is going to be a rally at the statehouse to save the hoosier state.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=617808234937148&set=a.166556843395625.45145.165733830144593&type=1&theater
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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2013, 04:53:34 PM »
If Amtrak had more frequent trains, an additional stop in the west suburbs of Indy (a station in Brownsburg was proposed once, but never built) for westsiders, a better, cleaner terminal in Indianapolis...the list goes on.

Hard to predict.

I rode one of the "Capitol Corridor" trains in California over the holiday weekend.  Oakland-San Jose.  I was one of just four passengers on board.  But that's in car-crazy California....

ScottFlood

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2013, 06:44:08 AM »
And now the state is advocating increased train frequency as a way to reduce the subsidy ...

http://www.indystar.com/article/20130926/LOCAL18/309260081/Improving-Amtrak-service-would-lower-state-subsidy-INDOT-study-finds

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2013, 01:43:18 PM »
And now the state is advocating increased train frequency as a way to reduce the subsidy ...

I'd be curious to see the numbers behind THAT one?  How is it you run two trains for the price of one?  With the schedule they propose, you're going to need two trainsets, two crews, etc.  No change in the subsidy.  Yet, when they want to run 3 trains, the subsidy 'doubles' to almost $7 million?


From the linked article:
"Amtrak’s current single-train service departs Indianapolis at 6 a.m. and leaves Chicago at 5:45 p.m. It draws about 37,000 riders a year and needs a state subsidy of about $2.9 million, the study found.

Adding a second daily train departing Indianapolis at 8 a.m. and leaving Chicago at 5:30 p.m., according to the study, would boost ridership to 88,000 and lower the subsidy to $2.8 million a year.

Another option, adding a second daily train leaving Indianapolis at 8 a.m. and leaving Chicago at 3:30 p.m., would boost ridership to 86,000 a year, the study found. The subsidy would stay at about $2.9 million a year."

That really confuses me...they repeat themselves, and yet the numbers don't match up...

indyspy

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2013, 01:54:03 PM »
Well you might be able to run the Cardinal separate from the Hoosier State. But I think that would be all the equipment situation will allow.
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CSX_CO

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2013, 02:00:27 PM »
Well you might be able to run the Cardinal separate from the Hoosier State. But I think that would be all the equipment situation will allow.

But then you wouldn't be offering two trains 7 days a week.  You'd be offering one train in the Cardinal slot on the days it runs, then another that leaves at 0800, 7 days a week.  If AMTRAK proposes running another train the days the Cardinal doesn't run, then how is there the reduction in subsidy?  The 2.9 million right now is for the Hoosier State to 'fill in the gaps' between Cardinal runs, right?  Again, that article is very confusing on what they really want to do.

Then in Chicago you're going to have two departures from CUS at the same time?  Yeah, that's great schedule planning.  Nevermind when the Cardinal is running late, and you're going to need two trains downtown at the same time.

If anything, the article tells us they should back up the departure from Indy (since the rideship for the 2nd train alone is going to be 50,000 over the course of a year) and maybe just add an additional car or two.  But...then CSX freight schedules get impacted as AMTRAK is now running 2 hrs later, and backs everything up on the Monon.

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ScottFlood

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2013, 02:24:03 PM »
Confused me, too, but given the quality of the reportage on this issue, I think the Star may be the source of the confusion. (Not that INDOT isn't skilled in that regard ...)

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 03:30:19 PM »
Skip the Star's reporting and any slant they want to add to it - go straight to the source

http://www.in.gov/indot/3200.htm

The study results are posted on line - it's a 47 page, 11.35 MB report with 4 appendixes.   It's about 1/2 down the page in the Cost Benefit Analysis.  Read it and make your own conclusions (I have not had a chance to read all of it yet, and probably won't until next week some time).

IndyKing

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2013, 03:56:09 PM »
"Amtrak’s current single-train service departs Indianapolis at 6 a.m. and leaves Chicago at 5:45 p.m. It draws about 37,000 riders a year and needs a state subsidy of about $2.9 million, the study found.

Adding a second daily train departing Indianapolis at 8 a.m. and leaving Chicago at 5:30 p.m., according to the study, would boost ridership to 88,000 and lower the subsidy to $2.8 million a year.

Another option, adding a second daily train leaving Indianapolis at 8 a.m. and leaving Chicago at 3:30 p.m., would boost ridership to 86,000 a year, the study found. The subsidy would stay at about $2.9 million a year."

I wonder on what kind of ridership their analysis is based?  Two trains leaving Chicago within 15 minutes of each other at that time of day only makes sense to me for commuters.  With day trippers and shoppers I would have thought that having the second train leave Chicago later in the evening would allow people to have dinner up there and might make train travel more attractive to them.
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E-Unit

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2013, 04:49:32 PM »
How does Amtrak work out track usage with CSX, ect? Do they have the right to run multiple daily trains at will if they choose to add more?

Also any departure past 6pm CT would put arrival past midnight ET. Not sure if anyone would ride that.  The 6AM, 8AM, 330PM, 545PM sounds better. The second train set could use cabbage to avoid a quick turn around. 
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xgap

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2013, 11:42:59 PM »
Any updates?

1976

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2013, 11:48:05 PM »
Any updates?
Still negotiating. I'm sure it will be all over the news if something happens.

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Courtesy Trains Magazine - Published: October 3, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana and Amtrak are making progress towards a short-term agreement to keep the Hoosier State in operation between Indianapolis and Chicago until a comprehensive funding deal is reached, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation tells the Associated Press.

The Hoosier State makes a 196-mile trip between Indianapolis and Chicago four days a week on the days the Chicago-Washington Cardinal does not operate. Its stops in Indiana are at Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer, and Dyer.

Will Wingfield, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, says the agency and Amtrak are continuing discussions with local communities on a short-term agreement that would serve as a stopgap measure for a few months until a long-term deal is reached on the line, which last year carried nearly 37,000 passengers.

“The negotiations are moving forward productively and positively on our side, and I feel that’s the case with the other parties as well, so it’s just a matter of coming to an agreement,” he says. Wingfield says a short-term agreement is still needed on how much Indiana and the communities along the line would pay to keep it running. Most of the communities the line serves have said they’re willing to provide financial support, and INDOT’s goal is to boost ridership while aiming to minimize state support for the line, he says.

Wingfield says a state-funded analysis released last week of Amtrak’s various proposed options for improving the line and increasing its ridership “would form a starting point for longer term discussions” on a comprehensive funding agreement.

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association will discuss the ongoing negotiations during a Thursday conference call with the Hoosier State line’s supporters, says Christian Ficara, the Chicago-based association’s organizational director. He said supporters plan to rally next week before a legislative committee meets Oct. 16 to discuss state funding for the line. “There’s a pretty comprehensive backing to sustain this train. These are mayors throughout northwest Indiana, families in those communities, university students at Purdue University and Wabash College, environmental organizations and unions,” Ficara says. “We want the legislators to know this is something we care about incredibly much.”

JAGGERS

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2013, 08:59:01 AM »
The town of Dyer has chosen not to participate in the funding of the Hoosier State. Their share was to be $5000 per month. Since the ridership for last year was just a little more than 2900, they felt it wasn't worth it.

CSX_CO

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2013, 11:26:45 AM »
The town of Dyer has chosen not to participate in the funding of the Hoosier State. Their share was to be $5000 per month. Since the ridership for last year was just a little more than 2900, they felt it wasn't worth it.

If the 'shortfall' for that station is $5000 for 2900 riders, why can't AMTRAK just charge $1.75 to $2.00 more per ticket for passengers boarding there?  I don't get why AMTRAK has to keep coming to the tax payers to keep their operation going, when a small increase to those using the service, will help pay for it?

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1976

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2013, 11:30:14 AM »
Yet they're building a brand new station...

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2013, 11:33:55 AM »
If the 'shortfall' for that station is $5000 for 2900 riders, why can't AMTRAK just charge $1.75 to $2.00 more per ticket for passengers boarding there?  I don't get why AMTRAK has to keep coming to the tax payers to keep their operation going, when a small increase to those using the service, will help pay for it?

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Total shortfall for the year is $60k based on $5k per month over the 12 months in which the 2900 ride.
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CSX_CO

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2013, 11:39:21 AM »
Total shortfall for the year is $60k based on $5k per month over the 12 months in which the 2900 ride.

So the total 'subsidy' required per paying passenger, over and above ticket price, is $20 to $21 a rider then.

At that point, buy them a bus ticket to a station on the IC or CSS&SB if going to Chicago, or just a bus ticket to Indy.  AMTRAK could come out ahead.

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xgap

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2013, 12:11:47 PM »
The town of Dyer has chosen not to participate in the funding of the Hoosier State. Their share was to be $5000 per month. Since the ridership for last year was just a little more than 2900, they felt it wasn't worth it.
Does that mean it is no longer a stop?

CSX_CO

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Re: "Skin in the game" for Hoosier State?
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2013, 01:32:56 PM »
Does that mean it is no longer a stop?

The article I saw said Dyer was going to remain a stop.

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