Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee’

Very Early Amtrak Motive Power

March 14, 2021

It took a couple of years before the locomotives that pulled early Amtrak trains could be repainted into the new passenger carrier’s livery and colors.

Therefore the motive power at Amtrak continued to wear whatever scheme it had when the passenger carrier commenced on May 1, 1971.

In the photograph above, the scene is in Milwaukee in April 1973. At the time, the trains between Chicago and St. Louis continued through to Milwaukee, alternating motive from host railroads Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, and The Milwaukee Road.

In a bit of an anomaly, the photographer caught two locomotives of the two railroads both carrying roster number 103A.

The two GM&O units are E7A units that were leased by Amtrak but never owned by it.

MKE No. 103A is an FP7A that also never was on the Amtrak roster. It was known for pulling the “Cannon Ball,” a Milwaukee Road commuter train between Milwaukee and Watertown, Wisconsin.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Hiawatha Expansion Price Tag Set at $195M

February 14, 2018

The price of expanding Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee has been put at $195 million by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

A WisDOT official told the Milwaukee Public Transportation Review Board that is how much adding three roundtrips to the route would cost.

The board is pushing for expanded service in order to serve Foxconn Technology Group’s planned Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, facility, which could employ up to 13,000 people. The facility is being built near a Hiawatha station in Sturtevant, Wisconsin.

Arun Rao, WisDOT’s passenger rail manager, said the $195 million figure includes $10 million for a second platform at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport station and $49 million for two projects at or near downtown’s Milwaukee Intermodal Station.

Amtrak currently operates seven roundtrips between Chicago and Milwaukee with much of the funding coming from grants provided by WisDOT and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

In fiscal year 2017, Hiawatha Service trains carried more than 829,000 passengers. Studies have projected that adding additional trains would boost ridership past 1 million.

Milwaukee Talgo Plant to Rebuild Transit Cars

July 18, 2017

A factory in Milwaukee built to manufacture Talgo trains has been converted into a shop to overhaul public transit cars.

The Spanish company Talgo created the facility to assemble its passive-tilt equipment that was to be used in high-speed service.

The high-speed rail program was killed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker shortly after he was elected in November 2010.

The state had been granted $810 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for two Talgo trainsets and infrastructure development.

Walker pledged during his campaign to end the project, raising objections to the state’s obligation to cover ongoing maintenance and operating costs.

The Milwaukee Talgo plant built four trainsets before it closed. Two of them are in service on Amtrak’s Cascades Service route while two others are being stored in Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops near Indianapolis.

The stored Talgos were intended to be used in Wisconsin, but never turned a wheel there in revenue service.

The former Wisconsin Talgo trainsets might be sent to California for use between Los Angeles and San Diego if a service plan by the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency is implemented.

In the wake of Wisconsin’s refusal to accept the two Talgo trainsets, the manufacturer sued the state. That litigation was eventually settled out of court with Talgo receiving a $10 million settlement and the right to sell the completed trainsets.

Talgo’s Milwaukee plant is now being used to rebuild transit cars used on the Los Angeles Metro Red Line and built between 1992 and 2000 by Breda Costruzioni Ferroviasrie of Italy.

The car will receive updates to their propulsion equipment, braking, signaling, and other components under a contract worth nearly $73 million.
The Talgo plant is located on the city’s north side in a former A.O. Smith factory, which built automobile frames.

The Los Angeles rebuilding project is expected to create 18 to 20 new jobs.

Columbus WI Ticket Office to Close April 28

April 3, 2017

The Amtrak ticket agent will be removed from the station in Columbus, Wisconsin, effective April 28.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers will continue to have access to the station waiting area for all train arrivals and departures during normal station hours from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Boarding assistance will be provided by Amtrak on-board personnel while a station caretaker will be available at the station approximately 30 minutes before and after train departures to answer questions about Amtrak service.

Trainside checked baggage and bike service will be available in Columbus, but Amtrak Express Service is being discontinued.

Baggage tags will be available inside the station and passengers will check and retrieve their baggage and bike from an Amtrak on-board crew member at the baggage car.

Amtrak said that passengers using cash can pay for tickets on the train, but tickets paid for in cash on the train will be priced at the highest fare and subject to availability.

Unaccompanied minors will not be permitted to travel to or from Columbus.

The closest Amtrak station to Columbus that will continue to provide agent service will be Milwaukee, 64 miles to the east.

Columbus is served by the daily Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle/Portland.

Empire Builder in Milwaukee

January 24, 2017

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The Milwaukee Amtrak station is larger than it needs to be given the level of service that it has. I’m speaking of the train shed, not the waiting room.

It’s not that Milwaukee sees just two trains a day as is the case in many cities. No, it has seven Hiawatha Service roundtrips plus the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Still, there appear to be more track in the station than what Amtrak uses. Shown are three views of the Milwaukee station during the station stop of the westbound Empire Builder in May 2014.

Talgo Saying Goodbye to Milwaukee

May 8, 2014

The messy divorce between Talgo and the state of Wisconsin is just about official now that Talgo plans to move two unused trainsets it built for the state out of Milwaukee and terminate its lease at a city-owned manufacturing plant.

Talgo, a Spanish manufacturer, had been using the facility at Century City in Milwaukee to store two trains it built under a contract with the state of Wisconsin.

Those trains are the subject of a state claim and a lawsuit Talgo filed in Dane County Circuit Court to resolve whether it, or the state, owns them.

The Wisconsin Claims Board on Wednesday will consider Talgo’s $65.9 million breach of contrct claim against the state.

Talgo expects to ends its lease with the City of Milwaukee later this month or in June.

“They are wrapping up in the coming weeks,” said Milwaukee Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming. “It also appears imminent that the trains will be leaving.”

Four years ago, the future of Talgo in Milwaukee looked bright. The company and city reached a pact in to locate U.S. manufacturing operations in Milwaukee.

The city renovated a vacant industrial building on North 27th Street and sought to recover those expenses through a long-term lease with Talgo.

Talgo built two trains for Wisconsin and two for Oregon in the facility. But work ended after Wisconsin canceled its order for two trains to run on a never-built high-speed rail service between Milwaukee and Madison.