Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

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JackRussell
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by JackRussell » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:36 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:04 pm
It seems that the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as the rest of the Delmarva region is forgotten when it comes time for making transportation links from east of the bay to the mainland. It is a bummer that there isn't any passenger rail or even daily frequent bus service from Baltimore and DC to the Delmarva region. There isn't even a multi-lane highway that goes from the mainland to the eastern shore. I think the Bay Bridge has multiple lanes in each direction but once you are on the eastern shore, it's pretty much no expressways.
The problem is that the heavy traffic is mainly on summer weekends. Off season or the middle of the week and traffic is relatively light. If they can't even make the business case for frequent express bus service, you sure aren't going to be able to make a case for train service.

I should add that the line from Georgetown to Lewes is being taken up and converted to a bike trail.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by RailVet » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:45 am

I should add that the line from Georgetown to Lewes is being taken up and converted to a bike trail.
Not the entire line, only the eastern portion from Cool Spring to Lewes. The Delmarva Central Railroad took over the western portion from the Delaware Coast Line Railroad as well as the short piece from Ellendale to Milton.

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Sand Box John
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by Sand Box John » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:18 am

"RailVet"
"Preston - Hurlock MDOT is inactive with most of the rail removed."

I know a fellow in that local area who has been trying to get a tourist train started on that line for many years without much apparent success. I haven't been out there for a while but the track was still intact when I last saw it, although it was in very poor shape. When was it mostly lifted? I hadn't heard about that.


I should have said, with some of the rail removed. Some of the grade crossings have been paved over and none are marked with railroad crossing signs.

I believe fellow you are referring to is the same person that was trying start up tourist train between Hurlock and Vienna just after the turn of the century.

JackRussell
It seems that the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as the rest of the Delmarva region is forgotten when it comes time for making transportation links from east of the bay to the mainland. It is a bummer that there isn't any passenger rail or even daily frequent bus service from Baltimore and DC to the Delmarva region.


Grayhound operates daily between DC and Norfolk along US-50 and US-13 by way of Salisbury they also operate between Wilmington and Norfolk along US-13. Bay Runner operates Amtrack through service multiple times a day between BWI and Ocean City. The MTA operates 5 Kent Narrows to DC and 2 Kent Narrows to Baltimore commuter bus round trips daily.

There isn't even a multi-lane highway that goes from the mainland to the eastern shore. I think the Bay Bridge has multiple lanes in each direction but once you are on the eastern shore, it's pretty much no expressways.

US-50 from the DC line to Queenstown is a control access Highway. from Queenstown to Ocean City it is a 4 lane divided highway surface arterial with a posted speed limit of 55 MPH. Salisbury is bypassed with a 65 MPH speed limit control access Highway. The only segments that are posted below 55 MPH are through Easton, Cambridge and West Ocean City.

The problem is that the heavy traffic is mainly on summer weekends. Off season or the middle of the week and traffic is relatively light. If they can't even make the business case for frequent express bus service, you sure aren't going to be able to make a case for train service.

Actually the heavy traffic is year round on weekends Thursday through Sunday, More so in the summer and on Monday holiday weekends.

I live over here and have been driving the roads on Delmarva daily for almost 20 years.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by RailVet » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:04 pm

I believe fellow you are referring to is the same person that was trying start up tourist train between Hurlock and Vienna just after the turn of the century.
I see you know him (or know of him) too. When I last spoke to him, he was hopeful the state would give him and his very small group a green light to start operating over the branch, even though all they have is a recently-acquired speeder and I'm not sure it's even operational. Even if he had a fully operational tourist railroad with equipment, volunteers, good track, a shop, plenty of funding, etc., I think he'd still be lacking what he needs the most -- passengers. I can't imagine why people would come from far and wide to ride over a short branch going past rather unremarkable countryside so far off the beaten path. Hurlock's fall festival draws sell-out crowds to ride the trains, but they only go once a year over MDDE track and the passengers are already there for the festival. The whole idea seems doomed to failure. The only real use I could see for that branch is car storage, and even that would require track repair before it could be done, as that line has been neglected for many years.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by JackRussell » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:47 pm

Sand Box John wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:18 am
Actually the heavy traffic is year round on weekends Thursday through Sunday, More so in the summer and on Monday holiday weekends.

I live over here and have been driving the roads on Delmarva daily for almost 20 years.
Heavy is a relative concept, I guess. I have seen days when it was literally faster to drive to NYC than it was to drive to the beach. There was one day that we spent an hour stuck in a near gridlock just to get to Annapolis - we got off, had dinner, and turned around. It is those 5+ hour trips that I never want to ever do again.

We recently bought what will be our retirement home out there, so I regularly spend some amount of time on the roads there myself. Usually for me the key is avoiding rush hour in DC - anything on eastern shore is usually secondary. I often leave DC at 4AM, I can guarantee no traffic anywhere unless there is a weird crash on the beltway.

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Sand Box John
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by Sand Box John » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:27 pm

JackRussell
Heavy is a relative concept, I guess. I have seen days when it was literally faster to drive to NYC than it was to drive to the beach. There was one day that we spent an hour stuck in a near gridlock just to get to Annapolis - we got off, had dinner, and turned around. It is those 5+ hour trips that I never want to ever do again.


I use to cross the bridge daily westbound around 1730 with a return at 1930. On a few occasions it was faster to return home from Baltimore to west of Salisbury by way of Rising Sun. On the US-50 corridor the volume thins out in Easton as much of that traffic is going to Saint Michaels. On the MD-404 corridor the volume thins out east of Federalsburg Highway as much of that traffic is heading to the northern Delaware resorts.

We recently bought what will be our retirement home out there, so I regularly spend some amount of time on the roads there myself. Usually for me the key is avoiding rush hour in DC - anything on eastern shore is usually secondary. I often leave DC at 4AM, I can guarantee no traffic anywhere unless there is a weird crash on the beltway.

Welcome to the sand box. Most days if you hit the toll plaza after 1900 it's a reasonably smooth ride.

I will note the Maryland Transportation Authority is going to undertake a two year wearing surface rehabilitation project on the north (westbound) span beginning this fall.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

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STrRedWolf
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by STrRedWolf » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:40 pm

Sand Box John wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:27 pm
JackRussell
Heavy is a relative concept, I guess. I have seen days when it was literally faster to drive to NYC than it was to drive to the beach. There was one day that we spent an hour stuck in a near gridlock just to get to Annapolis - we got off, had dinner, and turned around. It is those 5+ hour trips that I never want to ever do again.


I use to cross the bridge daily westbound around 1730 with a return at 1930. On a few occasions it was faster to return home from Baltimore to west of Salisbury by way of Rising Sun. On the US-50 corridor the volume thins out in Easton as much of that traffic is going to Saint Michaels. On the MD-404 corridor the volume thins out east of Federalsburg Highway as much of that traffic is heading to the northern Delaware resorts.
I should of asked you about traffic when I attempted a drive down to northern Ocean City (gotta burn those hours on the learners permit). Did a Saturday trip and ended up about 5 miles out off MD 90 before turning off for lunch at McDonalds. I so wanted to go to Abbey Burger...
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by Arlington » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:04 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:04 pm
It seems that the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as the rest of the Delmarva region is forgotten when it comes time for making transportation links from east of the bay to the mainland. It is a bummer that there isn't any passenger rail or even daily frequent bus service from Baltimore and DC to the Delmarva region. There isn't even a multi-lane highway that goes from the mainland to the eastern shore. I think the Bay Bridge has multiple lanes in each direction but once you are on the eastern shore, it's pretty much no expressways.
I think the Eastern Shore of MD is similar to the South Coast of Massachusetts: the logical connection is not "in-state"

For the Eastern Shore, I'd say the goal has to be to get to Newark DE or PHL (and onward to NYC), and more as a "super commuter" and "second home" market (and possibly Seasonal).
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

JackRussell
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by JackRussell » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:38 pm

Sand Box John wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:27 pm
On the MD-404 corridor the volume thins out east of Federalsburg Highway as much of that traffic is heading to the northern Delaware resorts.
404 was recently widened to 4 lanes from US50 to just past Denton. If you are heading that direction you probably have about 30 miles of 2-lane road. Improvements out here seem to come gradually.

It looks like there actually are express buses from DC (bestbus), but they are geared towards weekend partiers more than anything else. Friday through Sunday, and it probably ends in the fall. And they start in Dupont Circle, Union Station, and Vienna Metro.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by mmi16 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:29 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:53 pm
From the MARC HHP-8 thread:
STrRedWolf wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:28 pm
mtuandrew wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:36 am
Would be nice to electrify the Camden and Brunswick lines, but I’d rather focus on rebuilding to Annapolis and a “dinky” to Westminster. I’d love to figure out how to connect to Hagerstown, Ocean City, and York, PA too, but those aren’t best served by train in my opinion.
For that, you connect using the old WB&A Electric's path from Odenton (existing junction, but two crossings as well) down to Annapolis and Ocean City. This will require building new track along a now bike path and some more crossings, unfortunately. It will require building some new track as well, although MDOT (MARC) owns a good section of track that can be used. There's some abandoned track as well that is in unknown shape.

For Hagerstown, I would build from just west north west of Brunswick to Sharpsburg, and hook into the line there to Hagerstown. The CSX track between Brunswick and Hagerstown is gone, so you'll need to hook into Norfolk Southern track. The plus side? Tourist traffic to Antietam.

York, PA? Already served by a commuter bus, the RabbitTransit RabbitEXPRESS 83S. 6 trips daily York to Hunt Valley and Timonium (transfer to Light Rail).

BTW this will help: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Fr ... ailmap.pdf
Thanks for the map! I note that there’s an abandoned B&O branch between Brunswick and Hagerstown, but can’t tell from Google whether the ROW even exists let alone is encroached upon or used as parkland. If not on all counts, that seems an obvious rebuild for Hagerstown-DC access if such is a priority for Maryland. MARC is formally a regional provider and not a commuter provider, so for such a small state it might be politically worthwhile to reach distant points even at a large subsidy.
As I recall, the Weverton to Hagerstown line was abandoned about the 2nd day after the B&O (Chessie System) took over operating control over the WM. Hagerstown traffic was routed over the WM line from Cherry Run account a much more favorable grade situation (even though coal trains did require a helper from Williamsport to Hagerstown).
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:54 am

mmi16 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:29 pm
As I recall, the Weverton to Hagerstown line was abandoned about the 2nd day after the B&O (Chessie System) took over operating control over the WM. Hagerstown traffic was routed over the WM line from Cherry Run account a much more favorable grade situation (even though coal trains did require a helper from Williamsport to Hagerstown).
Got it; so that B&O branch if rebuilt could require a second locomotive even for passenger service. Cool for foamers, not good for operations.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by mmi16 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:16 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:54 am
mmi16 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:29 pm
As I recall, the Weverton to Hagerstown line was abandoned about the 2nd day after the B&O (Chessie System) took over operating control over the WM. Hagerstown traffic was routed over the WM line from Cherry Run account a much more favorable grade situation (even though coal trains did require a helper from Williamsport to Hagerstown).
Got it; so that B&O branch if rebuilt could require a second locomotive even for passenger service. Cool for foamers, not good for operations.
Remember - I70 from Frederick to Hagerstown has to climb both Braddock Mountain and South Mountain. Weverton is nominally in the same longitude as Frederick. I don't know the exact geography that would have to be defeated by the railroad, however, on I70 those are long sustained grades.
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:49 pm

Did a little research - the B&O branch from Weverton to Hagerstown was called the Washington County Branch. Part of it south of Hagerstown is active but much of it has reverted to adjacent owners, and it looks like a major bridge has been removed.

mmi16: it doesn’t follow I-70 or cross the same ridgelines, though the grades out of the Potomac Valley seem plenty steep enough.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by danib62 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:42 am

I'm a simple man, all I want is a Camden Line train back to DC following the end of an O's game and gameday service on weekends.
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STrRedWolf
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by STrRedWolf » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:51 pm

danib62 wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:42 am
I'm a simple man, all I want is a Camden Line train back to DC following the end of an O's game and gameday service on weekends.
Yeah, I remember when they came about. Problem was CSX was charging a premium for it, and the Federal Transit Admin said MARC/MTA couldn't pass the cost along for such a service. So MTA just canceled the trains when FTA objected.
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