• “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 RRspatch
 
kitchin wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:01 pm 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!
As someone who grew up in the DC area it always surprises me that Metro runs as well as it does. Getting two states and the District of Columbia to agree on anything is going to be a tough job. This is in addition to all the many technical problems that will stand in the way of run through operations between MARC and VRE -

1) Two railroads with different rule books. Amtrak uses NORAC and CSXT uses their own book.
2) Two PTC systems. CSXT uses the freight version of PTC while Amtrak uses ACSES.
3) Three different operating companies - Bombardier, Keolis and Amtrak providing crews.
4) Three types of signal systems - CSXT (renewed for PTC), Washington Terminal (B&O) and Amtrak (PRR).
5) Different platform heights.

If you're hoping for something along the lines of Crossrail, the Paris RER or the Munchen S Bahn I wouldn't hold your breath. The difference there is you have ONE operator (Network Rail, SNCF or DB) running the show with one set of operating practices. It also helps that you have national. state and local governments committed to making it work.

kitchin wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:01 pm 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.
Sub-optimal is perhaps a good way to describe VRE's equipment. I assume VRE is still running their service as a POP (Proof Of Payment) system where the conductor doesn't have to check every ticket every day. The whole idea behind the gallery car concept is to allow just that. At the start of service VRE was using leased Bombardier cars from Seattle's Sounder service. These cars featured low level boarding (without the need of elevators for ADA) and carried more passengers. I've never understood VRE's decision to buy out of date gallery cars. Heck ever METRA and Caltrains are moving away from those cars.

BTW - this probably belongs in the Washington DC area sub forum or for that matter at Greater Greater Washington.
  by STrRedWolf
 
RRspatch wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:39 pm 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.
Alstom's METRA fleet does both. I rechecked before I posted.

That said, you forget about operations at WAS: Amtrak is surely going to object to a train tying up ALL of the tracks to get from Track 22 to Track 1 in order to exit K-Tower to QN Interlocking. Yes, the through tracks are on the wrong side to reach the Brunswick line.

MARC equipment works on both CSX and Amtrak's lines, and thus works with both PTC standards. The exception would be MARC's electrical fleet, which requires the catenary and thus is ACES only.
  by RRspatch
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:28 am 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.


Alstom's METRA fleet does both. I rechecked before I posted.
Snip.

No it doesn't provide both low and high level platform access. Please refer to the video I've linked to below. I watched this video twice and the cars only show low level access to the lower level of the car. Yes I suppose Alstom could make a car with high level platform doors at the car ends for a joint VRE/MARC order.



BTW - these cars (to return this thread to "Amtrak") could be a replacement fleet for California and midwestern services with the single level Siemens cars being bought by Amtrak (with an add on order) for the NEC. Hopefully Alstom can do what Nippon Sharyo couldn't do .....
  by eolesen
 
The Metra cars are multilevel but only have low level doors. Alstom could build these with dual level boarding but there's no need since all of Metra's diesel lines use low level platforms. That's not likely to change given freight also moves on all but one of the lines.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by kitchin
 
Reply from the Governor of Va.'s office. I don't think they would mind me quoting it. Currently the Amtrak Thruway between Richmond and Charlottesville only serves the Cardinal.
Pre-pandemic, DRPT was looking to enhance bus service between Newport News and Charlottesville with stops in Richmond and align the schedules with state-supported service - stopping at train stations only so it did not compete with Greyhound.
  by KTHW
 
Virginia DRPT posted some really detailed documents about proposed future service schedules, ROW modifications, and track diagrams as part of Transforming Rail in VA.

https://transformingrailva.com/document-library/

Quick Edit: This track diagram is very insightful for the future RF&P ROW. I see nothing more than 3 track ROW on the RF&P north of Spotsylvania and mostly 2 track south of it.

https://transformingrailva.com/wp-conte ... 25-CRA.pdf
  by BlueFlag
 
Less noticed, it seems, is that Virginia plans to use the newly-purchased rail between Charlottesville and Doswell as part of cross-state service dubbed the "Commonwealth Corridor".

Image

Doesn't look like there are any immediate plans for additional passenger rail Clifton Forge-Charlottesville.

BTW, the state purchased the former VGN rails between Salem and "Merrimac", a point near the Blacksburg and Christiansburg town lines. It is findable at Google Maps. It seems clear any Amtrak extension to that area will use that line; exact station location not yet determined, but at first glance, there do not appear to be any immediately-usable access roads there.

Haven't seen this posted elsewhere -- hope this is isn't repeating something already reported here.
  by jonnhrr
 
Seems to me that of they are planning more service, they are going to need a better setup in Richmond. What are the plans for expanding the Richmond station (presumably Staples Mill unless a new station site is found)?

Jon
  by KTHW
 
Staples Mill and Main Street are both being kept as Richmond stops as they serve two different markets.

I believe Staples Mill will eventually flip their platforms to the other side of the CSX tracks based off of early diagrams I’ve seen. RVM will then have 4 platform edges with two tracks on either side of the station building.
  by MattW
 
RVM will have four platform edges serving two tracks? Like sandwiching the train? That has advantages for some very high throughput mass transit lines, but what would be the purpose for Amtrak?
  by KTHW
 
RVM will have two tracks on either side of the station, each one with platform access to a single platform. This will increase operational flexibility with freight trains moving through the area, not to mention what will eventually be 24+ passenger trains per day. I can try to dig up an initial track diagram for a visual.
  by dgvrengineer
 
The biggest problem with the purchase of Roanoke to Christiansburg Virginian line is there is no connection south towards Bristol so basically Christiansburg will be the end of the line.
  by electricron
 
dgvrengineer wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:57 pm The biggest problem with the purchase of Roanoke to Christiansburg Virginian line is there is no connection south towards Bristol so basically Christiansburg will be the end of the line.
Why worry about going to Bristol when you are only buying the rail corridor as far west as Christiansburg?
  by BlueFlag
 
There have been calls to eventually extend service to Bristol, but as a practical matter, the population concentration diminishes considerably west of Christiansburg, and if I recall correctly from an excursion several years ago, the NS right of way there does not permit reasonably high passenger train speeds on a regular basis until you are west of Abingdon. I-81 is a much faster option. I, too, do not see any connection from VGN to NS in or near Christiansburg without creating a new right of way.