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Passenger Trains > MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?


Date: 01/11/22 22:09
MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: railstiesballast

There is an active coalition in Montana that has plans to begin regional passenger service, with the core on the MRL/NP line from Spokane to Missoula to Bozeman or further east.If they are smart they should demand that the STB make this service a condition of approval of the BNSF takeover.  Not that the BNSF would be the operator but that they would not place unreasonable demands on two round trips per day on the route.
The worst bottleneck, the single track bridge at Sandpoint, is well on the way to being complete by the time this could start.
If the agency was equal to the several west coast operators (Cascade, Surfliner, Capitol Corridor etc.) they could have good dining options and community oriented stations and services.



Date: 01/12/22 01:28
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: altoonafn

Amtrak gave up any right to the line when the last train was discontinued years ago. 

The STB making Amtrak service a condition of this minor transaction would be an abuse of power. 



Date: 01/12/22 03:28
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: joemvcnj

Besides RR slots, it would need modifications to grade crossing timings, probably increase super-elevation on curves, which BN promptly flattened after the North Coast Hi came off 42 years ago, someone needs to purchase 6 sets of equipment, and do station restoration work. 



Date: 01/12/22 04:36
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: dan

Some online montana communities, the state is fairly red, have said they do not want to pay any taxes towards it as well, but you gotta dream!

i think with BNSF we could see higher speed limits sooner , it needs to connect with  the empire builder,  in spokane and MSP on the other?   Have to look at the  old amtrak timetables when and how they

did  that,       and maybe empire builder detours would be easier to arrange?  Not that amtrak does much of that anymore or BNSF would say yes even if requested, use to be an automatic yes

first decade of amtrak, if not longer.  Perhaps ramp up investment in capabilities if the public uses the service?   If Bidens build back better would get ratified, maybe the only hope?  But if it connects

with empire builder may not be the best times for running thru montana as far as the communities, and scenery are concerned, so will see what the studies show, connecting at spokane

perhaps cars could go to portland and seattle easiest.    Wonder what the second   chi -msp time might offer, if the EB times don't work easily?  The STB  or someone suggested/legislated that

were service was pre-amtrak, it can be looked at to resume iirc.

 



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/22 16:26 by dan.



Date: 01/12/22 08:48
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: dendroica

Since BNSF is doing directional running, would it ever make sense for Amtrak to follow suit?

Westbound on the hi line, eastbound on the MRL. Connection points in Sandpoint and Fargo. Move the west coast departures later by an hour or two to improve the connection times. Could serve more cities without any added equipment, but would lose some short haul rides across MT and ND which don't seem to amount to much traffic-wise anyway. Eastbound connections in Chicago get broken but these are frequently missed as is given the short west coast turn times and frequent delays to #8.

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Date: 01/12/22 10:13
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: MEKoch

BNSF does not do directional operation in MT.  It was tried years ago, but ended soon.  

If that were true, they would have to transport all kinds of dead-head crews.  Distances between the GN main line and NP mainline are long.  But both lines are good CTC railroads and handle their traffic loads quite well.  



Date: 01/12/22 10:38
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: toledopatch

Directional running for Amtrak would basically render every intermediate stop between Sandpoint and Fargo useless unless some sort of Thruway bus or van service were provided to get returning passengers back to their originating stations and transfer visitors between counterpart stations.

Not that there is much of a leverage situation here anyway.



Date: 01/12/22 11:14
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: PHall

railstiesballast Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There is an active coalition in Montana that has
> plans to begin regional passenger service, with
> the core on the MRL/NP line from Spokane to
> Missoula to Bozeman or further east.If they are
> smart they should demand that the STB make this
> service a condition of approval of the BNSF
> takeover.  Not that the BNSF would be the
> operator but that they would not place
> unreasonable demands on two round trips per day on
> the route.
> The worst bottleneck, the single track bridge at
> Sandpoint, is well on the way to being complete by
> the time this could start.
> If the agency was equal to the several west coast
> operators (Cascade, Surfliner, Capitol Corridor
> etc.) they could have good dining options and
> community oriented stations and services.

But is it really a "takeover"?  The way I read it they just decided to end the operating lease early.



Date: 01/12/22 15:18
Re: MRL-BNSF Maybe something positive?
Author: ProAmtrak

Sorry, but until Gardner wakes up (which I doubt) it'll be the carrot trick just like other states, go figure why most aren't buying into that so called 2035 "expansion" plan!



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