• “Transforming Rail in Virginia”

  • 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

  by Greg Moore
 
Yeah, the through tracks at Washington are all low-level boarding and at least some will remain that way for use with Superliner equipment, so VRE takes advantage of that.
  by KTHW
 
VRE has funding at plans to build storage along NY Ave in DC next to the NEC mainline. I believe it will hold up to 17 train sets (8 cars+ loco) once completed. They are also in the process of expanding their two South/West terminal storage facilities at Spotsylvania and Broad Run respectively.

For MARC run through, I imagine they’d lay over at the old Southern yard just south of ALX. Not much demand for reverse commute traffic south of Alexandria. Of course the yard would have to be rebuilt and there is still limited space to park multiple train sets.
  by MikeBPRR
 
Greg Moore wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:32 pm Yeah, the through tracks at Washington are all low-level boarding and at least some will remain that way for use with Superliner equipment, so VRE takes advantage of that.
Gotcha. Isn’t the Capitol Limited the only Superliner-equipped train that leaves from Union Station? I’m not sure why that would need more than one or two platforms. Forgive my ignorance! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to take a train into DC.

I would love to see all stations in VA as high-level platforms, as it is the fastest way to load a passenger car, and I didn’t realize that the low-level platforms in Union Station were part of the reason why VRE uses the equipment they do.
  by RRspatch
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:25 pm
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:49 pm There is the one unused low platform at Baltimore Penn, which seems to be for freights to pass by.
But it's a question of which companies crew to run it. Which is why an overarching agency is required for fitting these bit together.
Freights are on the F track next to track 7.

There are two low level platforms. Track 1 is reserved for MTA Maryland Light Rail and it uses that platform. Tracks 2 and 3 are storage tracks, and the stairway from gate B needs to be rebuilt (I wouldn't call it safe). The area around the elevator at gate A is used as storage for the cafe.
Close but not quite.

Track "F" (track 8 in CETC) is used at night to store MARC equipment. I believe the MARC yard at Martins Airport is being expanded and electrified so this might be enough to clear F track. Of course I've also heard of plans for a new platform (8 and 9) to be built in this area.

Track 2 is the main freight track through the station and was moved somewhat away from the platform.

Track 3 is the only through low level platform. This track used to be used by longer trains such as the Florida trains and the Crescent. Now that these trains are far shorter than in the past I assume they use tracks 6 and 7 unless there's a conflict in the station. One solution would be to move the MTA light rail station to the location of the old "sleeper yard" just west of Charles street. This would allow No.1 track to become the new freight track with the platform removed. Number 2 track would be shifted back close to the platform with the platform between No.2 and No.3 track possibly being raised to a high level platform.
  by STrRedWolf
 
RRspatch wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:37 pm Close but not quite.

Track "F" (track 8 in CETC) is used at night to store MARC equipment. I believe the MARC yard at Martins Airport is being expanded and electrified so this might be enough to clear F track. Of course I've also heard of plans for a new platform (8 and 9) to be built in this area.

Track 2 is the main freight track through the station and was moved somewhat away from the platform.

Track 3 is the only through low level platform. This track used to be used by longer trains such as the Florida trains and the Crescent. Now that these trains are far shorter than in the past I assume they use tracks 6 and 7 unless there's a conflict in the station. One solution would be to move the MTA light rail station to the location of the old "sleeper yard" just west of Charles street. This would allow No.1 track to become the new freight track with the platform removed. Number 2 track would be shifted back close to the platform with the platform between No.2 and No.3 track possibly being raised to a high level platform.
I did leave it off, yes, but Track F and track 3 are storage. I think I've seen Track 2 be storage as well.

If you move the Light Rail station to west of Charles (connect it to Penn station with a few elevators so it's got better access), you can rebuild Track 1 to be a proper low-platform/freight, rebuild track 2/3 platform to be high, and find space for that storage the cafe will lose (because elevator access to track 2/3 -- idea: extend the station by 12 feet towards Charles Street, put elevator access to the LR station there and storage for the cafe).
  by NRGeep
 
Would be nice to see an Amshak in Blacksburg/Virginia Tech area if realistic "down the road."
  by kitchin
 
Blacksburg would be new rail. The land bought for the station is across from the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, the closest possible site to Virginia Tech. It's 12 minutes away by car or shuttle bus. The next extension would be to the substantial railyard in downtown Radford. The college special! (Way further down the line, it goes through Emory & Henry's campus.) It's unlikely though that Amtrak will extend past Christiansburg. So much single track southwest of Radford to Bristol, and NS seems more serious about not liking this idea, compared to upline, where it took the money. Not to mention the small populations, and pressing needs elsewhere.

They could name the station "Christiansburg / Virginia Tech" but Amtrak doesn't really do that sort of naming.

The Christiansburg service is a sure success, whenever it happens. Tech is Amazon's partner at HQ2 in Arlington. It would be a success even without that, as Roanoke has been.
  by MattW
 
As I recall, Gallery Cars actually have their floor at "high level" height. Would it be possible to install traps in them to allow for high level boarding? In fact, wasn't there a Gallery Car design that had a trap over the main stairway? I don't mean something like the South Shore Highliners that have one narrow trapped door at one end, but the central door.
  by eolesen
 
Traps would be very easy to add on the Nippon-Sharyo and any relic Pullman or Budd cars. It's simply a matter of getting the crew to drop and lower them.

They're not practical on the GO family of Bombardier bilevel cars, but I don't think there are any of those in the MD/VA area.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by realtype
 
First time posting in a long while...

In addition to all the physical obstacles STrRedWolf mentioned:

- Like the Superliners the VRE Gallery cars are too tall for the B&P Tunnel, which will be operational for probably another decade.
- The Gallery cars are also speed limited to 80mph.

Regarding adding traps on the gallery cars, the traps themselves would be easy to add, but the doors would present a major problem since they begin at the bottom of the steps and aren't tall enough to accommodate level boarding from high platforms.
  by STrRedWolf
 
eolesen wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:59 am Traps would be very easy to add on the Nippon-Sharyo and any relic Pullman or Budd cars. It's simply a matter of getting the crew to drop and lower them.
realtype wrote:First time posting in a long while...
In addition to all the physical obstacles STrRedWolf mentioned:

- Like the Superliners the VRE Gallery cars are too tall for the B&P Tunnel, which will be operational for probably another decade.
- The Gallery cars are also speed limited to 80mph.

Regarding adding traps on the gallery cars, the traps themselves would be easy to add, but the doors would present a major problem since they begin at the bottom of the steps and aren't tall enough to accommodate level boarding from high platforms.
Agreed. The VRE Gallery cars can "fit" under the catenary, but when I was at Amtrak Day in Union Station, the display cars were being powered by a diesel for hotel power. The power line was turned off.

To be honest, if VRE and MARC wants to have the best of both worlds, why not buy some new equipment like what Metra is buying from Alstom? It'll do both. Handicapped access, though... may be a problem w/o built-in lifts to go up/down stairs inside each car.
  by eolesen
 
Yeah, the height of the doors might be an issue... ;)

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  by RRspatch
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:57 pm
eolesen wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:59 am Traps would be very easy to add on the Nippon-Sharyo and any relic Pullman or Budd cars. It's simply a matter of getting the crew to drop and lower them.
realtype wrote:First time posting in a long while...
In addition to all the physical obstacles STrRedWolf mentioned:

- Like the Superliners the VRE Gallery cars are too tall for the B&P Tunnel, which will be operational for probably another decade.
- The Gallery cars are also speed limited to 80mph.

Regarding adding traps on the gallery cars, the traps themselves would be easy to add, but the doors would present a major problem since they begin at the bottom of the steps and aren't tall enough to accommodate level boarding from high platforms.
Agreed. The VRE Gallery cars can "fit" under the catenary, but when I was at Amtrak Day in Union Station, the display cars were being powered by a diesel for hotel power. The power line was turned off.

To be honest, if VRE and MARC wants to have the best of both worlds, why not buy some new equipment like what Metra is buying from Alstom? It'll do both. Handicapped access, though... may be a problem w/o built-in lifts to go up/down stairs inside each car.
No, don't buy what METRA is getting from Alstom. Instead by what Caltrains is getting from Stadler. Those cars have BOTH high and low doors. I'm sure Stadler would be happy to build a locomotive hauled version to be pulled by MARC/VRE ALP45's or some such dual mode locomotive. Power changeover on an ALP45 type locomotive would be at Washington where crews will be changing as well.

Another thing to remember is that you have three MARC lines (Penn, Camden, Brunswick) connecting with two VRE lines (Manassas and Fredericksburg). The obvious thing is to leave the Penn line as a stand alone line and connect the two VRE lines with the two CSXT MARC lines. Spend some money to re-double track the Old Main line (Halethorpe to Point of Rocks) to get east/west freight off of the line through Washington. Only freights going north/south and west/south would need to go through Washington and Hyattsville. This would open up slots for run through trains going east via Greenbelt and west via Silver Spring. This idea would avoid the use of dual mode locomotives and would use the existing MARC and VRE diesel fleet.
  by eolesen
 
You'd think that a joint purchasing agreement here would make sense between the two agencies. Or one agreement from a state consortium who then distributes the equipment... sort of like how the Midwest states and California teamed together on locomotives and cars.
  by kitchin
 
MARC carries 9m per year on 187 miles; VRE carries 4.5m on 90 miles. The political & management cultures in the so-called DMV area make regional cooperation and trust difficult, and the history of Metro rail hasn't helped. But there's always the future!

VRE started out timidly, so it's good to see it growing now, with some bipartisan support. It makes sense the cars are sub-optimal, given its incremental origins.