Reconnecting The Region

April 05, 2017

The Midwest is home to some of the nation’s most vibrant cities, millions of hard-working families, rich agriculture and incredible tourist attractions. Today these assets are dispersed and our outdated transportation infrastructure makes them difficult to reach. Fast, frequent and dependable train service will make travel more productive, more convenient and more affordable, allowing people to enjoy all that the Midwest has to offer.

One desirable destination is Columbus, IN, a strong town with a unique story. The first railroad reached Columbus in 1844, with three more reaching the city by 1850. This spurred growth and turned Columbus into one of the largest communities in Indiana.

While the railroad fostered growth in Columbus, the Cummins Engine Company transformed it into what you see today. The 2nd CEO of what is now Cummins Inc. instituted a program where the company would pay the architect’s fee for buildings housing local public schools, non-profits and civic organizations. This program was incredibly successful and turned Columbus into a small-town architectural mecca and a destination for thousands of visitors every year. (City Hall pictured above)

Situated between Indianapolis and Louisville, Columbus is in an advantageous position to attract visitors but our current infrastructure makes it difficult to access. Long car trips are inefficient, polluting and expensive. Short haul flights are also expensive, infrequent and make little sense. Bringing back fast, frequent and dependable train service would make effortless, same-day, round-trip travel to Columbus possible for hundreds of communities in the Midwest.

We are developing a roadmap for a network that will strengthen the connections between our vibrant cities. The future of the Midwest is explained in the Phased Network Model. Using this model, trains will use both upgraded tracks shared with freight trains and new passenger dedicated mainlines to reach their destination.

Built in phases, this broad network of high-frequency services, with strategically placed segments of new High Speed Line, will serve the majority of communities in the Midwest. The Phased Network Model will bring people together and strengthen our already vibrant towns, making them more accessible and connected to the rest of the region.

Best,

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Last Week at MHSRA:

A big thank you to our speakers, sponsors and all of you who traveled from around the Midwest to attend our 2017 Annual Meeting. The event covered topics ranging from the key to success in passenger rail corridors (frequency), an update on passenger rail in Michigan & Indiana, Amtrak’s future, innovations from Brightline’s upcoming service in Florida and details of the Phased Network Model. Keep an eye out for pictures, videos and a full recap of the event in the coming weeks. If you couldn’t make it we hope you can join us next year!

Articles We Enjoyed:

Amtrak’s Gardner Calms Fears Over Trump’s Budget Cuts
"Amtrak has sought to calm concerns about budget cuts affecting its inter-city passenger services in the wake of federal government budget proposals presented by President Trump on March 16."

Canadian Budget Commits to Transit Funding
“Canada's federal budget for 2017 was released on March 22 and highlights the government’s continued push toward public transit projects by allocating $C 25bn ($US 18.7bn) through various avenues.”

The Right Way to Run a Railroad
“Railroads have every right to increase service on their rights of way -- that’s what successful railroads do"

West Virginia Senate Passes Bill for Daily Amtrak Service
"Legislation to promote daily service for the Amtrak Cardinal passenger train passed the Senate Tuesday"

Upcoming Events:

The 58th Transportation Research Forum - Annual Conference

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is excited to be part of an important national conference – the 58th Transportation Research Forum, at the University of Illinois – Chicago campus on April 20 – 21. This is a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of the latest policy issues surrounding rail, air and highway travel and network with national experts.

The event includes a Friday Awards Luncheon with keynote Samuel K. Skinner, former US Transportation Secretary, at which our Association will be represented. There are free Saturday morning tours, including Union & Ogilvie stations and CTA rapid-transit plans.

To learn more or register, click here. Questions?  Email Dana Yanocha at trf-chicago@depaul.edu

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
773-334-6758