• Fredrick Douglass Tunnel (Replacement of the Baltimore and Potomac B&P Tunnel)

  • 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 F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:Any chance we can make Baltimore's (and New York's) tunnels high enough for Superliners?
B&P replacement is supposed to have full-on freight under wire clearances so Norfolk Southern can enhance its Port of Baltimore loading capacity. That should be fine. Gateway they may pour at 16'2" Superliner height for 100-year-plus future-proofing purposes, but you still have no means of getting anything taller than a 14'6" MLV through Penn and the East River Tunnels so it's a moot point for train ops.

There's no routes you could platform with an 8-inch boarding Superliner north of WSH anyway, so the equipment flat-out wouldn't travel there for revenue or non-revenue moves. The Cap Ltd. is the only route out of WSH that utilizes those cars today, and there's a case to be made for swapping that lone route over to single-levels for sake of equipment region hegemony once scarce Amfleet 2's get replaced by a bigger fleet of next-gen LD coaches. WSH-BAL wouldn't even be able to take an Auto Train extension from Lorton to a #2 terminal north of the Beltway without fixing a bunch of sub- 19'6" overpass clearances for the autoracks, so that nearby Superliner-bearing route is no practical consideration either.
  by STrRedWolf
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:WSH-BAL wouldn't even be able to take an Auto Train extension from Lorton to a #2 terminal north of the Beltway without fixing a bunch of sub- 19'6" overpass clearances for the autoracks, so that nearby Superliner-bearing route is no practical consideration either.
How about WSH to MARC's Camden Station, running over CSX lines used for MARC's Camden service? At the very least it'll need a terminal at Locust Point/Riverside. (That may be a different topic there for this)
  by scratchy
 
STrRedWolf wrote:
east point wrote:What will be interesting is how the tunneling work is scheduled. 4 separate tunnels including the one that ducks under another. Just how many TBMs can be used simultaneously will be determined later but that will definitely affect how long the project will take. Adjacent tunnel bores will need cross connection walkways. If one tunnel bore can be come operational when 2 are complete is another question to answer.

Also how many hours a day can the work be done ? The many trucks hauling away boring spoil will make a lot of noise.
It's going to be a mess no matter what, because it's not just the tunnels. You got a new bridge and station to build as well, given the chosen alignment, and the need to keep existing service in play until they're ready to connect the tracks by West Baltimore.
I've been wondering how they can build the new alignment without shutting off service, too. It's a shame the plan from the 90s to use the Claremont Branch as a way of getting penn line trains to camden station never went anywhere.
  by STrRedWolf
 
scratchy wrote:I've been wondering how they can build the new alignment without shutting off service, too. It's a shame the plan from the 90s to use the Claremont Branch as a way of getting penn line trains to camden station never went anywhere.
If the current state of the branch is any indication of what it was back then, it would of needed a fair bit of reconstruction of the line itself, plus some new connections at the Mt. Claire yard (having it end in a wye). Plus, it'll add more time to go Penn to Camden anyway. It wouldn't be worth it.

You might as well just go south of WINANS on the NEC and east of ST DENNIS on CSX/Camden Line where the two lines cross, move WINANS down, build a fly-over and double-track the outers to connect to CSX. I can't fathom how the logistics is going to work out there...
  by scratchy
 
I recall reading that at one point, there was a connection between the two lines at HALE, but I've never been able to spot the grade from it.

Maybe the claremont branch would make sense, if the S-Bahn like purple line service proposed by MTA in 2002 ever went somewhere.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Welp, the replacement tunnel is now called the "Fredrick Douglass Tunnel":
https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/b ... story.html

Nettie Washington Douglass gets chills when she thinks about her great-great-grandfather’s daring escape from the bonds of slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Disguised in a sailor’s uniform sewn for him by his future wife, Anna Murray, Frederick Douglass crossed the Chesapeake Bay by boat, then boarded a New York-bound train from Baltimore in 1838.

“If it had not been for the railroad,” Washington Douglass said in an interview, “I would not be standing here.”

The $4 billion replacement of Amtrak’s Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel, which will be renamed after Douglass, officially began Friday with a news conference attended by the famed abolitionist’s great-great-granddaughter and federal, state and local officials.

...

Construction of the new tunnel will be paid for by the federal and state government because it is used by Amtrak and MARC passengers, (Amtrak Senior director for the south end of the NEC Jeffrey) Ensor said. Negotiations are underway to determine how much each will kick in. Unlike the Howard Street Tunnel expansion for double-stacked freight trains, the city will not be asked to help pay for the new passenger rail tunnel, Ensor said.

...

The two-bore tunnel has been scaled back from Amtrak’s initial proposal, which would have created a four-bore tunnel that could have accommodated both passenger and double-stacked freight trains. The reduced project will offer less capacity but will reduce the cost by more than $1 billion and the construction time by two years, Ensor said.

“With two high-capacity tunnel tubes, which is what we’re going to do, we’re still going to triple the capacity of this segment,” he said. “After this is done, and MARC has their new electrified trains, they could run express trains from Baltimore to Washington, that would get there in under 30 minutes.”
This... is a mixed bag. $4 billion for two higher-speed tunnels (down from 4 in the approved EIS) and a rebuild West Baltimore station... I'm not happy about it.
  by KTHW
 
Wow it seems very short sided to build only two new tubes. Is there any way the current tunnels could be taken out of service and rebuilt for local MARC trains once the other tunnels are completed?

Also what is “MARC’s new electric fleet”? They just bought 8 SC-44s, are they finally investing in new electrics as well?
  by CraigDK
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 5:34 pm Welp, the replacement tunnel is now called the "Fredrick Douglass Tunnel":
https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/b ... story.html

This... is a mixed bag. $4 billion for two higher-speed tunnels (down from 4 in the approved EIS) and a rebuild West Baltimore station... I'm not happy about it.
The pessimist in me says that other than a revision to the concept and a name there is not much to see here. The optimist says that Maryland has agreed to work to advance the project.

Now for the realist. The funding details are still non existence, but they are at least actively discussing it. The price difference is ~20% between 2 and 4 tunnels. I would suspect they will not eliminate the possibility of adding the two additional bores at a latter date, and they will probably do everything originally planned except actually boring them. Beyond that, it is still wait and see.
  by CraigDK
 
KTHW wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:24 am Wow it seems very short sided to build only two new tubes. Is there any way the current tunnels could be taken out of service and rebuilt for local MARC trains once the other tunnels are completed?

Also what is “MARC’s new electric fleet”? They just bought 8 SC-44s, are they finally investing in new electrics as well?
It would be short sighted if in building only 2 tunnels they eliminate their ability to come back later and bore the other 2. It is not mentioned, but I would guess that they are leaving open the option to do just that. If you read through the EIS, they had rejected the idea of rebuilding the current tunnel. Both as a stand alone option and as a 2 new, 2 rebuilt scenario.
  by Arlington
 
They are building with 4 bores in mind. The just happen to be starting construction with budget for the first pair and will provision for two more later
  by west point
 
Some where read that freights will use the old bore(s). Makes sense as there will be no possibility of freight derailing in new bores.

MARC really needs electric on the Penn line. Otherwise it will have to either use to use 2- SC-44s or wait for Amtrak to get ahead with the higher speed trains. That does not include the LD trains with sleepers as the V-1s are limited to 110 MPH as of present.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Washington Post article has some more info:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/transpor ... reddit.com
The proposal is a scaled-down version of a plan approved four years ago by the Federal Railroad Administration that called for four single-track tunnel tubes. Railroad officials say by building only two tunnels, the project will save $1 billion and up to two years on construction while still tripling train capacity to accommodate future demand. The additional two tunnels could be built in a second phase as funding becomes available, Amtrak said.

The proposal is dependent upon Amtrak securing federal and state funding. Amtrak has budgeted $65 million for design and preconstruction work in the next year, including negotiations to acquire more than three dozen properties, including 22 residential buildings, 13 businesses and four churches that would be demolished.

The passenger railroad also is seeking $257 million for the tunnel project this year from Congress.
  by STrRedWolf
 
The article itself has a mistake but it's still worth noting a few things about how MARC service operates.

MARC has 6 HHP-8 engines -- those are electric and they're in service. But they're not used on ALL the sets on the NEC. Why?

There isn't enough train sets to go around.

For normal (pre-pandemic) service, MARC would send an entire set, diesel et al, up to Penn Station and back from the Brunswick line. Brunswick Line P870 would turn to be Penn train 406 (now 410) and then train 423. It'll probably take another run back up, down, and then back over to the Brunswick Line... or may do a "grand tour" off the Camden Line. I know the "870 to 410" trick because I occasionally find printed train orders in the coach I was riding up from Odenton to Baltimore!

Now, to pull this "exclusive electric" off AND be cheap/lazy about it by not switching engines, lets grab the schedule and see how many engines we would need... and with a rough guestimation, using a rough 30 min turn spacing (shorter up in Perryville)... I'm counting 9 engines. Add one to spare, and it's 10 electrics... and 9 full train sets.

So that $4 billion, if split 50/50, isn't just going to be $2 billion. It'll be $2 billion plus how much to buy extra equipment... and where to store them, since it can't be at the stations.
  by realtype
 
To add, I doubt that all 6 HHP-8s have been in service at once for many years, but Amtrak does lend MARC electrics from time to time.

As far as I remember nearly all mid-day Penn Line service would be run with Brunswick/Camden Line sets. It was rare to see an electric on the Penn Line outside of rush hour or late evening. If they continue with the same service pattern I think they would have to get dual-mode locomotives to put on some Brunswick/Camden sets plus pure electrics for the exclusive Penn Line sets, or just all dual-mode.
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