Chicago/Milwaukee Commuter Rail Extension
(Chapters 14-15)

14. Amtrak

In 1989 and 1991 Illinois and Wisconsin joined with Amtrak to expand Chicago to Milwaukee service from 3 daily round trips to 5 then 7. Ridership increased in response. The need for service to Milwaukee was pointed up when Amtrak tried to eliminate the 7 daily round trips between Milwaukee and Chicago. The one trip on the Empire Builder would have remained....

    1. Illini: Chicago-Carbondale. Reduces from 7 to 4 round trips weekly.

    2. City of New Orleans: Chicago-New Orleans. Reduced to 5 round trips weekly.

    3. Hoosier State: Chicago-Indianapolis. Reduced from 7 to 3 trips weekly.

    4. Illinois Zephyr: Chicago-Quincy. Reduced from 7 to 4 weekly.

    5. Loop: Chicago-Springfield. Eliminated. Use Ann Rutledge=Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis Kansas City.

    6. State House: Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis. Eliminated. Use Texas Eagle=Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis-Dallas.

    7. Cardinal: Chicago-Cincinnati-Washington-New York. Replaced by Washington-Cincinnati only.

    8. Texas Eagle: Chicago-Dallas-Houston. Dallas-Houston segment replaced by busses.

    9. Broadway Limited: Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philadelphia-New York. Chicago-Pittsburgh segment eliminated. Use Capitol Limited.

Amtrak was formed to relieve the private freight railroads that had developed a $1 billion loss by trying to compete with governmentally funded highways, airports and barge routes. Northwestern purchased its way out of Amtrak effective 5/1/71 for 25 years. Railroad contracts to carry inner-city passengers with Amtrak expire in 1996.

After 1971, each railroad made a startup payment to Amtrak....

Instead of going out of business, Amtrak grew. On 5/1/71 only 25% of passenger trains that had operated the day before continued running. The 25% of routes left carried more passengers in 1971 than the four-times bigger 1970 system.

In 1971, Amtrak took over routes from all but 3 of the railroads then providing passenger service. The other 3 eventually turned over their business to Amtrak or went out of business altogether. In return for losing their common carrier obligation to provide passenger service, the railroads gave their passenger cars and locomotives to Amtrak. In 1971 these 1500 cars were average 22 years in age. In 1994, Amtrak's 1900 cars included 435 of the original passenger cars....

The 1970 Rail Passenger Services Act (Railpax) saved the railroads and let them sell off:

In the 1970's and 1980's the following went bankrupt:

Railroads paid heavy real estate taxes that they couldn't recoup from passenger service. In many cities, there were duplicate lines and duplicate passenger stations. Railroads had money losing operations in prime downtown land like where Mayor Daley now lives. The C&NW sold the Erie Street Coach yard where the Chicago Tribune now has its printing plant. River City is where the C&O, B&O and Soo Line came in.

Chicago had 6 passenger stations. Five (excluding Grand Central) handled commuter traffic. Grand Central Station at Wells and Harrison was eliminated. Dearborn Park replaced Dearborn Station which was where the Santa Fe, Erie, Chicago and Eastern Illinois came in....

The Port of Milwaukee has authority....

From 1991 to 1994, revenues were less than projected while expenses were higher than planned. Amtrak's difficulties are due to:

Amtrak's plan is to do the following:

  • reduce employees by 5,600 out of 25,000
  • passenger rail has no federal trust fund as do aviation, highways and mass transit
  • contract out maintenance work
  • consolidate crafts
  • reduce train crews
  • reduce engine crews....

    None of Amtrak's routes--including those in the Northeast--are profitable when capital costs are taken into account. Northeast corridor revenues cover 65% of costs compared with 50% for other routes.

    One reason the Northeast Corridor appears more profitable....

    Eight states reimburse Amtrak for 403(b) service:

    In fiscal 1993, Amtrak lost $82 million on Section 403(b) service $78? million on operating costs and $4 million in capital costs. Amtrak owns the following:....

    Total boardings and deboardings are measured for fiscal year beginning 10/1/93-
    2.4 million
    39,703 (No Empire Builder stop there)

    For the 12 month period 4/1/94-3/31/95:










    ....Amtrak carries 29 million passengers on commuter rail and 22 million intercity passengers. Commuter rail generates $270 million or 19% of Amtrak's operating revenues. Amtrak is the nation's largest commuter rail carrier. It has 22 million commuter passengers plus 22 million inter-city passengers. Commuter operations are not under Amtrak's name. Its profits on commuter operations help defray inter-city deficits. Amtrak runs:

    15. Federal Statutes Parts of the following Acts are codified beginning at 45 US 421:

    Parts of the following Acts are codified beginning at 45 US 501:

    Parts of the following Acts are codified beginning at 45 US 701:

    Parts of the following Acts are codified beginning at 45 US 801:

    Parts of the following Acts are codified beginning at 45 US 901:

    Parts of the following Act is codified at 45 US 1003:

  • Rock Island Railroad Transition and Employee Assistance Act Contact:
  • Illinois Chapter National Association of Railroad Passengers
  • Bernie Rain, retired
  • Mark Goldstein (ALJ)
  • Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
  • Corporation Counsel's Office
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Tim Gillespie, Amtrak Govt Relations VP has data what savings will be
  • Ask UP how much upgrade costs are Kenosha to Milwaukee
    Go to Chicago/Milwaukee Commuter Rail Extension Survey Table of Contents

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