• Amtrak Michigan: Wolverine, Blue Water, Pere Marquette

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Arlington
 
EDIT; Since the whole project was billed and funded as “State of Good Repair” a lot of my recent hopes and comments are vastly overblown. The typical results of state a good repair work our schedule reliability.

Separately, Vertical curves are a thing (I Googled and learned about crests and troughs)

Now that we understand that “quick hits” on horizontal curves is like some mix of superelevation (banking) and straightening , I wis we had more details on what kind of noticeable improvements could/will be made.

SOGR on superelevated curves usually involves (1) ballast touch-ups and (2) replacing the lower rail because slow/freight trains have worn against it from the tilt

But are there curves yet to be straightened? I get that some curves are curvy because they were laid along a curvy centerline because they anticipated “freight” sidings that are either long gone or never existed

Now that we know the track will never be constrained between sidings and the ROW boundary, it’s free to drift within the ROW in the interests of being straightened. Was that all done 2011-2018?
  by justalurker66
 
Arlington wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:59 amI get that some curves are curvy because they were laid along a curvy centerline because they anticipated “freight” sidings that are either long gone or never existed

Now that we know the track will never be constrained between sidings and the ROW boundary, it’s free to drift within the ROW in the interests of being straightened. Was that all done 2011-2018?
There is always more work that can be done. I don't believe Amtrak/DOT have reached the limit of possible improvements. Just the limit of money available (until the next funding cycle).

I am glad that you get the concept of "drifting" within the ROW. I do not know the entire history of the Michigan Central line, but many railroads were built as double track and had one track pulled or had sidings removed as you suggested. The ROW is wide enough that curves can be realigned to take advantage of the full width instead of following the path where one track was laid 100+ years ago. Given enough money there may be additional ROW acquisition to change the arc of the curves.
  by electricron
 
justalurker66 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:38 pm There is always more work that can be done. I don't believe Amtrak/DOT have reached the limit of possible improvements. Just the limit of money available (until the next funding cycle).

I am glad that you get the concept of "drifting" within the ROW. I do not know the entire history of the Michigan Central line, but many railroads were built as double track and had one track pulled or had sidings removed as you suggested. The ROW is wide enough that curves can be realigned to take advantage of the full width instead of following the path where one track was laid 100+ years ago. Given enough money there may be additional ROW acquisition to change the arc of the curves.
More money can solve many problems. But since most railroads tracks are placed in the center of a 100 feet wide corridor, adding 50 feet to the radius of a curve is not going to change the speed allowed through the curve much.
From https://web.engr.uky.edu/~jrose/Railway ... 202010.pdf
High speed railroad curve radius is 5,729 feet for a 1 degree curve
Typical speed curve radius is 2,865 feet for a 2 degree curve
Low speed curve radius is 1,433 feet for a 4 degree curve.
Industrial speed curve is 764 feet for a 7.5 degree curve.
Assuming 4.5 inches of super elevation for maximum train speeds; for a 2 degree curve 70 mph is allowed, for a 4 degree turn 45 mph is allowed, and surprisingly 70 mph is allowed for a 1 degree turn with just 1 inch of super elevation. an extra 50 feet radius is not going to change these curve degrees much.
Double the radius distance between from a 4 degree turn to a 2 degree turn only increase the speeds by 25 mph (more than 50%). If you are wishing to increase 80 mph speeds to 105 mph speeds, another doubling of the radius distance should be required at least. in CSX's case freight speeds do not increase, but super elevation required is reduced. Never-the less, its doubling the radius by almost 2,000 feet, not a tiny additional 50 feet within the existing row.
  by justalurker66
 
electricron wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 11:07 pmBut since most railroads tracks are placed in the center of a 100 feet wide corridor, adding 50 feet to the radius of a curve is not going to change the speed allowed through the curve much.
That is not the assumption that I am willing to make. What I am suggesting is that the track was originally a double track ... possibly centered in the ROW, possibly not. Thanks to the "lets rip out rail to save money" trend one track was removed with no expensive effort to recenter the tracks on the ROW. The cheapest solution.

Now with appropriate funding the tracks can be shifted appropriately and possibly beyond the original ROW line (if land is purchased or traded with land owners). Amtrak/MDOT may not be able to change the track to allow 110 MPH through every curve, but they can make adjustments that can get the curves closer to 110 MPH.
  by Arlington
 
Given track on the centerline of a curve and a 100’ wide ROW, I believe the opportunity is to add nearly 100’ of radius by moving between the outside property line and inside property line.

I picture moving 50’ at the center of the curve and 50’ in the /other direction/ at the entry and exit of the curve. (Call it 90’ worth of radial play, allowing for a second track?)
  by Arlington
 
Trains Magazine says 110mph service is coming Kalamazoo to Albion on May 25, And Albion to Deerborn later this summer.

As described it appears to be the fruits of the work on track curves and signals that we discussed upthread.

The improvements seem small enough that Michigan for now will not reflect them in the schedule but hopes to use the extra speed to improve schedule reliability
  by Jeff Smith
 
To wit^

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/busin ... 132486001/
Amtrak announced Monday it will increase the maximum speed of its trains along a 45-mile stretch between Kalamazoo and Albion next week and restore an additional Pontiac/Detroit-Chicago Wolverine Service round trip this summer.

The federal government granted approval to Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation to increase maximum speeds of Amtrak Midwest trains to 110 miles per hour between stations in Kalamazoo and Albion.
...
Accelerated speeds between Kalamazoo and Albion will be effective May 25 and follow infrastructure improvements and testing. This is another phase of accelerated speed increases for Amtrak along the Detroit/Pontiac-Chicago corridor. The train service can run at up to 110 miles per hour on an Amtrak-owned track between Porter, Ind., and Kalamazoo.
...
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Johnson, allow me to reiterate, as a UNP shareholder, I'm "not exactly" proud of my railroad for their finagling to have a new St Louis-Chicago route built for them at taxpayer expense.
  by Arlington
 
I really wish, though, that MDOT would say how many new miles of 110mph is being added?

[EDIT] Upon further reading, I think this is the first time that anything between Kalamazoo and Albion will be more than 79 mph, because they are bragging about the extension the longest stretch of 110mph (the Porter to Kalamazoo)[EDIT]

From MLive:
Train trips between Detroit and Chicago will be a little faster starting May 25, as the Amtrak trains will speed up from 79 mph to 110 mph between Kalamazoo and Albion.

It joins the stretch of track from Porter, Indiana to Kalamazoo that’s already been sped up to 110 mph. This will become the longest stretch of track at 110 mph in the United States outside of the northeast, Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari.
(bold added)

THen how about Albion-Dearborn? That seems like it will also be new "first time since the state bought it" 110? What to make of claims that there's currently some 110 around Dearborn?
  by Arlington
 
At last, MDOT has a picture that does suggest that, until this upgrade, the state owned stretch must have been 79mph,
Image
  by Arlington
 
How much faster would it be to Grand Rapids as a spur off Kalamazoo instead of at the end of the Pere Marquette?
  by daybeers
 
So glad to see actual speed increases unlike in IL. Plan on coming to Chicago on LSL #49 in a few weeks and was planning on hopping off in Toledo to catch the afternoon Wolverine to Chicago to ride some of the Chicago-area trains, but was disappointed to see there's only one roundtrip per day! Honestly I know it's a much shorter corridor, but props to Wisconsin for running a full pre-pandemic schedule. Might go with a trip to Milwaukee and back.
  by The EGE
 
Arlington wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 6:19 pm How much faster would it be to Grand Rapids as a spur off Kalamazoo instead of at the end of the Pere Marquette?
Holland almost equals Grand Rapids (36k vs 40k) and SJM and BAM add another 18k. So you certainly wouldn't want to replace the Pere Marquette. However, Michigan Service could really do with better Thruway connections - the existing Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo buses don't allow for train connections, and bizarrely there's no connection to Muskegon.
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