TCMC TRAIN UPDATES and ADDITIONAL PASSENGER RAIL NEWS
March 26, 2019 – This Saturday, March 30, will mark the first WisARP General Meeting held in Portage, WI., an Empire Builder stop. The location is Dino’s Restaurant in Portage with the first speaker scheduled to start at 10:00am.
The primary topic of this meeting will be updates and more information regarding the Twin Cities- Milwaukee- Chicago (TCMC) train, a second daily train along the Empire Builder route. Portage would also be a stop for the TCMC train, potentially offering two daily Amtrak trains each direction daily.
This meeting is also a first, inviting members of the general public to attend for free during the morning session. Pre-registration is required to insure adequate seating. The morning session will feature Derrick James of Amtrak and Arun Rao of WisDOT. Mr. James will be speaking about updates to Amtrak Midwest and it’s role in supporting the TCMC train. Mr. Rao will be giving updates on the planning process of the TCMC train and current budget process in Madison.
Meeting Notice (2019 – March 30) FREE morning
A link to download the registration form is above. Free attendees can forward the information to Wisarpwisc@gmail.com. Those paying to enjoy lunch and the afternoon session can register online. Location details are on the registration form.
For those staying for the afternoon, City of Portage Director of Business Planning & Development Steven Sobiek will be offering a presentation about Portage and it’s transportation history. Jerry Ratliff from All Aboard Minnesota will update his state’s news on the TCMC train and an additional Amtrak train to Duluth/ Superior.
Check out WisARP on YouTube! Search for WisARP Wisconsin.
March 15, 2019 – PRESS RELEASE for immediate release, prepared by Terry Brown.
As I’m sure you are aware, several weeks ago Governor Evers released his biennial budget. The analysis began and several outlets have noted Line 18 of the Transportation section of the budget was aimed at passenger rail.
I’m certain most of these funds are for the Hiawatha, but not all. I believe the intent for some of this money should go towards the TCMC train.
WisARP PR mar15 TCMC budget correction
The link above is a PDF file containing the full Press Release. WisARP is asking everyone to please contact your Madison lawmakers and make them aware of this oversight.
March 12, 2019 – Yesterday the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) issued a press release trumpeting the record ridership on the Hiawatha train for 2018. This is good news for Milwaukee, and good news for the efforts to increase the frequency of the Hiawatha to 10 trains per day.
The link below is the WisDOT press release for this story. The site hosting the press release is UrbanMilwaukee.com.
February 24, 2019 – The recent Town Hall Meetings in Tomah and Portage have passed, but our work is far from finished. Our elected representatives in Madison are now and will continue to be working on the budget bill for several months. We need to encourage both Senators and Assembly Representatives to earmark money for the Second Daily Amtrak Train to help finish up the preliminary studies: Finishing the environmental impact studies and The Service Development Plan are next in line for this multi-year process. Without this allocation, this train could be set back years before it comes to fruition. To learn more, check out this video.
WisARP.info Call To Action
The attached PDF file ( WisARPinfo Call To Action ) has some instructions on how to find out who your legislators are in Wisconsin. Write them an e-mail! Make a phone call to their office. But please do not sit by and allow this chance to pass. Let your elected representatives in Madison know that you are hopeful the Second Daily Amtrak Train along the Empire Builder route is important to you!
February 18, 2019 – Rail Passengers Association (RPA) in their February 15, 2019 News Hotline divulged information that WisDOT will receive up to $5 million to construct a second platform at the Mitchell Airport Amtrak Station.
Although details of the grant were not specific, it is widely understood the second platform would be similar to the tower formation constructed at the Sturtevant Amtrak station, finished in 2006. The grant comes from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.
This station improvement is part of the process of increasing Amtrak Hiawatha frequency from seven to ten trains per day. Documents from the October 2016 public hearing of the Phase I Environmental Impact Study (EIS) specifically state a second platform on the west side of the tracks was necessary.
Among several Canadian Pacific comments in the Phase I EIS, a second platform was requested at the MARS (Milwaukee Airport Railway Station) stop to keep all trains on their normal track and eliminate crossover movements. This has been deemed more efficient in keeping all freight and passenger trains fluid through MARS compared to multiple crossovers.
This story prepared by Terry Brown.
February 8, 2019 – WisARP has scheduled two Town Hall Meetings during the second week of February 2019 in Tomah and Portage, Wisconsin. These meetings will review the current status of the second Empire Builder train (TCMC) and what action YOU can take to help make this train become a reality. The meetings will be led by Terry Brown, Vice-President of Communications.
Wednesday, February 13 in Tomah at 7p. The Meeting will be located in the Chamber Room of City Hall, 819 Superior Ave.
FEB8 UPDATE!! The Tomah meeting will include two guest speakers: Arun Rao, Passenger Rail Implementation Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and Marc Magliari, Public Relations Manager (Spokesman) and Amtrak Government Affairs & Corporate Communications Manager.
Thursday, February 14 in Portage at 7p. The Meeting will be located in the Portage Enterprise Center, 1800 Kutzke Road, in conference room 101. Please enter door one.
FEB8 UPDATE!! WisARP is obviously excited to have these two officials appear at the Town Hall Meeting in Tomah, but disappointed these two are unable to attend the Town Hall Meeting in Portage. Terry Brown will convey much of the information delivered by Rao and Magliari at the Portage meeting, so those attendees will be fully informed.
Attached to this blog below are flyers/ posters for the two meetings. If you live near Tomah or Portage and can help out notifying the public of these meetings, please download these flyers and post in appropriate places. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated!
Tomah meeting flyer
Portage meeting flyer
December 11, 2018 – HAPPY HOLIDAYS! everyone from the Wisconsin Association for Railroad Passengers. As a Holiday treat I’m posting a speech/ presentation that wasn’t within a WisARP meeting.
Hopefully everyone is familiar with the upstart passenger railroad in Florida named Brightline, a private company. Russell Roberts, Vice President Government Affairs and Brightline have given us permission to post Roberts presentation about Brightline from this past October at the Midwest Intercity Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) meeting. Roberts explains how the Florida endeavor is more than just a railroad experience.
In addition to the presentation, Mark Quam (West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition) has supplied a dozen pictures from his Florida visit in October. He had a first hand experience with Brightline. These are included at the end of Roberts’ presentation. Enjoy this special video! Happy Holidays!