Thursday, April 7, 2016

Passenger rail service is way behind schedule in South Dakota, elsewhere

Chicago is home to an infamous rail bottleneck that slows coast to coast service to a crawl.

As coal dies and more commodities are being shipped by trucks burning cheaper fuel flowing through pipelines the timing for increased passenger rail is at hand.
Come May 1, among the 48 states, only two are AMTRAK-less: South Dakota and Wyoming. I wish to see a change to South Dakota’s current passenger transportation status. As a railroad travel advocate from neighboring Minnesota, I have started an organization called, “TORTA” – “Tri-Otas Railorad Travel Advocates.” We are a daughter chapter of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, which is based in Washington, D.C. TORTA consists of: South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota’s current Seventh Congressional District) which runs nearly the Western length of the state). Three states ending with the letters a-t-a. Thus, Tri-otas. [LTE, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
Curious why the Postal Service and Amtrak have not formed a strategic partnership.

South Dakota's Republican Representative Kristi Noem voted for an amendment that would have ended federal funding for Amtrak. A bill investing $8 billion in Amtrak's future was ultimately passed.

Recall that former GOP governor, Mike Rounds, squandered Amtrak money on an airplane for his personal use now Pierre continues to suffer Essential Air Service woes and low boarding numbers even while the legislature is in session.

Yes, overcoming the task of building a bridge at Chamberlain across (under?) the Missouri River and over the Pierre Shale should lead to passenger service being built on the abandoned Milwaukee bed between Sioux Falls and Rapid City including access for rural communities then connect with a future line built to Colorado's rail line. It's not hard to imagine a future without passenger rail of some kind in the I-29 corridor.

Building two east-west rail systems exclusively for freight in South Dakota is lunacy.

Build track and bed good enough to offer passenger service from Minneapolis through Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Cheyenne, Wyoming with stops near tribal communities to link with the proposed line between the Empire Builder at Shelby, Montana and the Southwest Chief at Pueblo, Colorado. Sioux Falls should get behind passenger service between Omaha and the Empire Builder at Fargo, too.

13 comments:

  1. It would be fabulously expensive, but if you lined the entire right of way with solar, kinetic energy storage, and the occasional wind turbine, you might be able to reduce the amount of fossil fuel needed. The kinetic energy storage would be by several means; energy is wasted when trains are braked to station, so in a kinetic system they catch a device the same as air craft carrier, essentially winding up a giant rubber band, and the energy is stored only a short time (or used immediately in an action/reaction response) to launch another train. Getting it all going down the rails is where you would burn the most fossil fuel, so using the kinetic band system, the trains can be kept rolling with renewables. High tech materials in the trains themselves, along with the removal of heavy traditional technology would greatly lighten the trains, leading to levitating them magnetically, which is the best. I don't believe our society has the maturity for such a thing. I see more of a Blade Runner meets the New Deal.

    I'm totally writing a post apocalyptic script where the indians attack the New Pioneers on the Russian/Chinese built levitating trains, as they cross what was the American West. It's been at least a year since a future/old west combo movie has come out, 'Merica is ready. I'll add plenty of tits, and dragons in the Yellowstone Caldera.

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    1. You're absolutely right: South Dakota doesn't deserve infrastructure improvements that would enhance quality of life in the state; but, thanks for the satori anyway.

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  2. I didn't know you ran this blog anymore since you were booted into obscurity. Is it just a personal diary for you now? If so good for you!

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  3. So what do you think percentage wise Heidelberger's chances are in winning a state senate seat?

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    1. Jonathan Ellis thinks he's going to have a hard time with Novstrup.

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    2. Adios Amigo! Hold on to that toilet rim and don't let them flush you down!

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    3. I have a yuge agenda for South Dakota and ain't going anywhere.

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  4. I'd say by the time it's all done Novstrup will win 70% Heidelberger 30% if even that.

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    1. No doubt, Cory looks like an opportunist and a carpetbagger to the people of Brown County as he just parachuted in there and told everyone how to do shit.

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    2. And, he's allowed his blog to be overrun by earth haters with no names to gild his facade of tolerance.

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  5. But back on topic here, Milwaukee abandoned that line because the Cretaceous shale West River broke up the rail bed every year and it became unrealistic to maintain just like RCPE is learning in spades. Exactly why KXL will never be built.

    The School of Mines has studied the substrate out there and concluded radioactive waste should be stored on high plains far more suited to habitat restoration instead of providing wildlife egress across I-90, too.

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