Rick Harnish Midwest High Speed Rail Association Executive Director Ray Lang Amtrak

This video shows beginning of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association 2014 Annual Spring Meeting inside the Crowne Plaza Metro Chicago Illinois. It starts off with Midwest High Speed Rail Association Executive Director Rick Harnish addressing attendees. Then transitions to a presentation from Amtrak Midwest Senior Director – National State Relations Ray Lang.

I did learn a few new things from this portion of the meeting. But some of the content was a rehash of information I was already aware of – do to the fact that I attended the Chicago Union Station Master Plan Public Meeting on December 15 2011. In my opinion – at the end of this year it will be 3 years since that event and not much has changed. Still cramped, heat / cooling is a joke especially in main Amtrak passenger area. Not much better when passengers exit the door to head to boarding inside the Metropolitan Lounge. Signage needs reworked – especially for first time visitors to Union Station Chicago. Long walk to board from Metropolitan Lounge in hot and cold weather is miserable. Especially when you have the extra long walk to sleepers on trains that have those compartments up front. Whoever thought that 2 small restrooms and 2 elevators in main area would be enough to handle the amount of traffic that comes through the station – must have been clueless about future growth or intoxicated when they designed the building.

Ray Lang did clearly point out that there is a lot of work that has been done to Chicago Union Station that the public is not aware of. It’s worth taking the time to watch the video for just that information and to learn the history of the station.

From a customer service perspective – things haven’t gotten much better – Amtrak is definitely not listening to legitimate feedback that has been given. There are some very simple things that can be done to improve the customer experience – that are not being done at this time. The increased presence of the TSA ( Transportation Security Administration ) inside Amtrak boarding area is not a comforting sight. This is also helping to almost eliminate one of the key selling points of passenger rail in recent years – no TSA hassles, harassment and being able to still travel in the USA without being molested, nudie scanned or baked with radiation. TSA has slowly been working it’s claws into Union Station Chicago for several years now.

Again apologies for the audio – no microphones were in use and I forgot to make a settings change to compensate for that. Light not the best – I didn’t actively record – thus the reason the presentation screen is not zoomed in on. Just made sure the video camera was on, recording and pointed in the general right direction.

Only railfans will know what the term Head house means.

“A head house is an American railroad term for the part of a train station which does not house the tracks and platforms. In the context of rail transport, it usually refers to the portion of a large passenger terminal which contains the ticket counters, waiting rooms, toilets and baggage facilities.”

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Jeff Sriver Chicago Department of Transportation detailing Chicago Union Station refurbishment future upgrades

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Chicago Union Station Master Plan Public Meeting December 15 2011

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Been a Crowne Plaza Metro Chicago guest / customer since 2011. Never got my 2nd article up and running. Have new video of their suites – haven’t gone live with it yet.

Crowne Plaza Metro Chicago

Midwest High Speed Rail Association

National Association of Railroad Passengers ( NARP )

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Official Website of Midwest High Speed Rail

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Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group

Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (515.4 km) in 1964,[1] the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,387.7 km (1,483.6 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph), 283.5 km (176.2 mi) of Mini-shinkansen lines with a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph), and 10.3 km (6.4 mi) of spur lines with Shinkansen services.

High-speed rail by country – Wikipedia

TSA Spotted at Chicago Union Station

TSA Security Checks – Amtrak Rail Discussion

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TSA on Amtrak

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Amtrak – Government Affairs Staff

Transportation Security Administration – Wikipedia

Head house – Wikipedia

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