Washington DC Union Station Expansion

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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby MCL1981 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:17 pm

Having them turn around and go back would not be ideal. The whole point would be for passengers to not have to get off and change trains. If they have to get off and change trains to go through, that's no different that getting on the Metro. Pointless. To be worthwhile, MARC needs to keep going through to Alexandria, and VRE needs to keep going through to Silver Spring, maybe even Rockville. If they can't do that, then there's no point in doing anything differently than they are now.

Good luck getting more slots from the freight carriers though. Not gonna happen. None of this is happening with more tracks. Ever.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby east point » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:20 pm

Now all you need to do is get that Long Bridge work started and done to get 4 tracks. Hurry up !!!
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby Arlington » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:30 pm

Union Station Expansion is on Trump's list of priority projects:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politic ... 164.html#0
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:26 pm

That is a very impressive list that has some major benefits for Amtrak built in.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby Tadman » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:52 pm

This is an interesting read. Ive been through WAS a few times recently and it's grubby, cramped, and reminds me of Chicago before current management cleaned up and set order to the place.

What I think is utterly stupid is that my biz class ticket didn't get me in to the premium lounge. It gets me in at Chicago which is a far nice lounge, why not DC? Makes you wonder why the F pay for biz class if you get to sit with the general population at DC and then ride in a crummy coach-configured Amfleet. Gee thanks guys...
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby Jehochman » Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:38 pm

The lounge in Washington is too small as it is. If they let business class passengers in, there'd be nowhere to sit. They need to expand that lounge, bigly.

Went through WAS with my 18 year old son today. His comment, "Why are all the train stations so much nicer than the airports?"
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby BandA » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:14 pm

Interesting that WAS, NYP, and BOS are all contemplating track expansion and all three have train storage space issues.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby east point » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Viewing this problem from a distance it may be that the very large increase in commuter traffic and train cars has cramped storage space. MBTA, NJ Transit, MARC have all increased ridership over NYNH&H - NYC - PRR days. As well there is the new kid on the block of VRE. VRE is starting preliminary work to build its own yard east of Ivy City to hold 12+ 8 car trains. Added to the problem is the reduction at WASH 's Ivy city yard by Conrail..
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby BandA » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:52 am

On the Boston end, there was severe "rationalization" of facilities in the 1960s and 1970s. In Boston, South Station was sold to the (City of) Boston Redevelopment Authority about 1972, which tragically tore down a huge chunk and sold it off for an office tower. MA Turnpike Authority stupidly sold the underlying rights to CSX's Beacon Park freight yard in the 2000s for short money to prop up their balance sheet and handle some of the soaring I-93 "Big Dig" debt. Sizing passenger facilities at the historical low point for Commuter Rail ridership turned out to be a bad idea.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:35 am

BandA wrote:Sizing passenger facilities at the historical low point for Commuter Rail ridership turned out to be a bad idea.

Not to defend them, but perhaps to sympathize, was it clear that ridership was bottoming at the time? Calling the bottom in a trend that, nationally, anyway, was thought to run straight down from 1947 to the 1990s would take exceptional fortitude and foresight, particularly at the "DOT" level, where selling rail assets to pay for cars was a political winner.

Only in NYC, where the Triboro Bridge & Tunnel Authority's cash was yoked into the MTA by Nelson Rockefeller to pay for NYCTA, can I think of anybody anywhere willing to make the money flow the other way.

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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby Tadman » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:22 pm

Arlington wrote:
BandA wrote:Sizing passenger facilities at the historical low point for Commuter Rail ridership turned out to be a bad idea.

Not to defend them, but perhaps to sympathize, was it clear that ridership was bottoming at the time? Calling the bottom in a trend that, nationally, anyway, was thought to run straight down from 1947 to the 1990s would take exceptional fortitude and foresight, particularly at the "DOT" level, where selling rail assets to pay for cars was a political winner.


Agreed. Until 2002-ish, when gas started going up, nobody really thought passenger trains were coming back. There was still seriously talk of completely dumping Amtrak and ridding commuter carriers of all but rush hour trains on the busiest routes. I recall a 1989 attempt to abandon South Shore, Metra continually hinted the ME branch to Blue Island was toast, and it was a given that urban subways were going to be neglected until they fell apart completely. Half of the expansion projects of the last ten years have simply been adding back capacity that was dumped for lack of maintenance money around 1980, when public carriers took over and decided not to subsidize 1920's-levels of infrastructure.

All this is unthinkable today. Perhaps a year or two back, I had a recollection of 1990-ish times when they were really thinking of dumping the Blue Island line, Skokie Swift, Pere Marquette, et al... Despite clearly remembering this, I was just stunned when compared to the current mindset of added capacity and new service.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:46 pm

On a trip recently to Washington I had the chance to walk through the Great Hall in Union Station for the first time since the Center Cafe was removed.

I have never known the Great Hall in any other configuration and I have to say the change was absolutely breathtaking. The sight lines and proportions feel completely different and the effect is to greatly magnify upon the viewer the impression of the sentinel statues guarding over the proceedings from their pedestals atop the entryways.

Even during the relative calm of February the Great Hall was busy the whole time with passengers coming and going everywhere. It was clearly the right decision and you can easily begin to imagine the enormous crowds that would be present at other times of the year when passenger travel runs at far higher volumes.

There are even more restaurants now than I recalled and I had the distinct impression that some of the previous retail shops had converted to eateries. The north hallway in particular is where I seemed to recall more fashion than food. These restaurants were all absolutely mobbed.

Another pleasing change was the new location for the taxi stand which is now located in the driveways at the north end of the entryways with taxis entering from First Street NE and exiting onto Columbus Circle.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:31 pm

gokeefe wrote:On a trip recently to Washington I had the chance to walk through the Great Hall in Union Station for the first time since the Center Cafe was removed.


You know, I've been through there numerous times, but I've never *stopped* and had anything from the Center Cafe. Plus, it's such an unusual configuration for a restaurant... I kinda want to know how it worked. From memory and a photo search on Google, all I can think of is that the actual kitchen/food prep area was underneath everything, and two bars were up at top (one up the stairs, one at ground level). It would be interesting to get the floor plans for that.
I ride the (MTA Maryland) Penn Line (between Odenton and Baltimore). I used to work for MTA Maryland's IT department, and out of professional courtesy my responses may be limited. Wikimapia is wonderful (for track/interlocking locations)!
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby gokeefe » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:24 pm

Pretty sure there was actually a kitchen in the middle and everything was brought in the "back" end which faced towards the concourse.
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Re: Washington DC Union Station Expansion

Postby jstolberg » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:31 pm

Arlington wrote:Union Station Expansion is on Trump's list of priority projects:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politic ... 164.html#0

That McClatchy article is the first I've seen that indicates the projects that have a revenue stream associated. Yet some of those projects which don't have an indicated revenue stream could. Both Chicago and Washington Union Stations include the development of air rights. The Amtrak plan for WUS includes $1.5 billion in development rights. Not enough to pay for the station, but a start. Some of the interstate expansions in Colorado have historically included a tolled third lane.

Are TIF districts around station improvements and highway interchanges being considered?

Charlotte's gateway station was supposed to have 1 million square feet of mixed use development, but hasn't proceeded. Can Trump learn from Flagler's example and make infrastructure-oriented development pay?
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