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TCMC Update

TCMC Update, July 2018

MnDOT Provides Update on TCMC Second Train Progress

The Minnesota Department of Transportation gave a presentation on the TCMC Second Train project at the recent MNHSR Commission meeting. A report is being finalized for approval by the Federal Railroad Administration. The report would then be sent for review by Canadian Pacific which owns the tracks that would be used by the service. Frank Loetterle, MnDOT, and Craig Lamothe, HNTB Consulting provided the update.

The presentation focused on the accomplishments of the nearly completed Phase I Study, which included the Purpose and Need Statement, route and service alternatives, operations analysis, proposed infrastructure improvements, and capital costs estimates.

Five service alternatives were analyzed with two advancing to operations modeling. Alternative 1 would have the TCMC service operating as an extension of an existing trip of the Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee, while Alternative 4a would operate as a separate, additional train from the Hiawatha service.

Both alternatives would operate in conjunction with the existing Empire Builder service, with the Second Train leaving after the Empire Builder in St. Paul and before in Chicago. The arrival in Chicago would be in the evening, while the St. Paul arrival would be late afternoon. These alternatives would offer great opportunity for business and tourism travel with significant convenience.

The operations analysis was done using RTC Software that simulates railroad operations and helps identify capital improvements to track and systems to support. Some improvements that may be required include additional or upgraded main track, lengthening or upgrading sidings, installation of universal crossovers, and modifying signal systems.

The next steps for the project will be to finalize capital costs estimates and move into Phase 2 which includes environmental review and engineering, preliminary design, and a Service Development Plan.

View the Full Presentation Here.

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