Semaphore Sam wrote:Would the Greenway go where freight has to go? Of course (assuming a viable Hiawatha Ave. crossing) it could easily meet with the old line coming across the river, which used to use the Greenway ROW, straight on. I've walked it from the river crossing to Hiawatha, and onwards to 35W...it seems ready and waiting for trackage replacement (bikers might b**ch, though). Is there talk of a branch off the Light Rail down the Trench for passengers from West Minnie? The controversy might have unusual answers, but, as in all such solutions, there will be winners, and angry losers. Sam
Freight from the TC&W currently goes to the CP Pig's Eye yard, just southeast of downtown St. Paul. These trains use the ex-MILW up until they enter the Kenilworth Corridor, and again from Merriam Park Junction onward. So, yes, the Greenway Corridor would be the most direct route to access its current major interchange points at the Minnesota Commercial and at Pig's Eye Yard. In fact, the current route represents a significant detour over the original all-Milwaukee alignment. To be fair, the only on-line traffic is from the mills along Hiawatha, and that is Minnesota Commercial territory now. The TC&W doesn't serve customers over the BNSF or the Kenilworth though, so that's a wash.
The single track worth of space appears to have enough clearance for Plate F freight cars, at a cursory glance. The unused right-of-way parallel to the trail is reserved for transit, and the most common mode proposed is streetcars (modern or heritage) rather than full LRT. That makes dual-usage just a bit more difficult, to say the least. That said, I think there is enough FRA-compatible lightweight equipment that Metro Transit could have transit without resorting to a complex RIVERline-style time separation system.
The trail itself wouldn't be affected, aside from a few areas where it would need to be realigned or rebuilt. Residents might be justifiably unhappy, so TC&W and the city would need to provide for soundproofing for houses and nice-looking and effective fences to keep out trespassers. Mostly though, transit along the corridor seems to be what would satisfy residents - and it might
soothe harsh feelings about freight traffic returning after 20+ years.