• Maine Commuter Rail

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

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  by Cosmo
 
Don't laugh, that WAS on the table at one point.
  by NHV 669
 
Doesn't the swing bridge need to be replaced anyway?
  by gokeefe
 
NHV 669 wrote:Doesn't the swing bridge need to be replaced anyway?
Yes, at last check to the tune of well over $10 million.
  by markhb
 
A Maine Voices column in Thursday's Press Herald makes a case for a Portland light rail system:
Tracks already exist for a regional light rail system around Portland. These tracks are either publicly owned or a strong claim can be made for their public use.

When U.S. railroads were built, they were heavily subsidized by the federal government (taxpayers) providing free or very-low-cost land for rights of way, for example. Lightly used or unused tracks exist between Portland and towns along the Western Division of the old Maine Central Railroad, south toward Kittery and north to Brunswick, Rockland, Augusta, Lewiston and intermediate towns.
I didn't say it was a very good case....
  by Cosmo
 
markhb wrote:A Maine Voices column in Thursday's Press Herald makes a case for a Portland light rail system:
Tracks already exist for a regional light rail system around Portland. These tracks are either publicly owned or a strong claim can be made for their public use.

When U.S. railroads were built, they were heavily subsidized by the federal government (taxpayers) providing free or very-low-cost land for rights of way, for example. Lightly used or unused tracks exist between Portland and towns along the Western Division of the old Maine Central Railroad, south toward Kittery and north to Brunswick, Rockland, Augusta, Lewiston and intermediate towns.
I didn't say it was a very good case....
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.................................
  by kilroy
 
they were heavily subsidized by the federal government (taxpayers)
With that argument they should take a highway and convert it to light rail as they are 100% government owned and paid for. Ooops, that would inconvenience those in power who don't take mass transit but drive (or are driven) locally.
  by gokeefe
 
I agree with Mark. Not well stated. But nonetheless notable that rail continues to be a recurring issue. Bodes well for the future of any rail-centric policy proposal.
  by MEC407
 
From the Bangor Daily News:
Bangor Daily News wrote:Lawmakers on the Legislature’s Transportation Committee heard Tuesday from a diverse lineup of speakers touting a bill that would complete a study examining the economic impacts of a passenger rail link between Portland and Lewiston-Auburn.

The study would also develop a specific rail service development plan that would likely determine how many daily trips between the cities would be offered and how the system would link into the state’s existing passenger rail system and schedules.
. . .
Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald and state Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, both offered their support for the bill. Macdonald, a conservative politician, said he supported the bill because it would benefit his growing economy and support jobs and the ability of residents in his town to find jobs.
. . .
Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce President Chip Morrison said a passenger rail connection for the Twin Cities to Portland has been a top priority for chamber members for the past 20 years.

Morrison repeated Tuesday his belief connecting Maine to Montreal via Lewiston-Auburn and Oxford County could be “the largest single economic development project for Maine.”
Read the rest of the article at: http://bangordailynews.com/2015/03/11/n ... d-support/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by BM6569
 
"A bipartisan group of advocates of bringing passenger rail to Lewiston-Auburn urged state lawmakers Tuesday to approve putting a $25 million bond package before voters this year. The money is meant to upgrade rail lines connecting the Twin Cities to Portland."

"Under the bill, LD 438, $5 million would be allocated for upgrading about 6 miles of rail line between Danville Junction in Auburn and downtown Lewiston. Another $8 million is earmarked to upgrade 11 miles of rail between Danville Junction and Royal Junction in Yarmouth, where the Amtrak Downeaster passes through."

Did they leave the junction in at Yarmouth when the tracks to Brunswick were upgraded?

http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/20 ... ee/1717733" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/b ... 016701.asp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by BostonUrbEx
 
BM6569 wrote:Did they leave the junction in at Yarmouth when the tracks to Brunswick were upgraded?
The diamond is there as the SLR still occasionally runs down to Portland. There's a connecting track between PAR/SLR, but I don't know that anything other than MOW equipment can actually use it.

---

I'm starting to wonder if all these OCS runs by PAR is them trying to woo local legislators into upgrades. Er- I mean, convince them that passenger rail is a great investment.

From the sounds of it, no state money to bridge the signal system's gap, nor improve the existing signal system where it does exist. Would these commuter trains be operating in DCS? And I also presume this is a MaineDOT train, no more Amtrak involvement?
  by MEC407
 
Passenger trains can operate up to 59 MPH in dark territory, so a lack of signal upgrades wouldn't shock me. Even with signals, I don't think the Downeaster operates above 60 on the POR-BRK route. (correct me if I'm wrong; just recalling something I read in a news article a while back.)
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
MEC407 wrote:Passenger trains can operate up to 59 MPH in dark territory, so a lack of signal upgrades wouldn't shock me. Even with signals, I don't think the Downeaster operates above 60 on the POR-BRK route. (correct me if I'm wrong; just recalling something I read in a news article a while back.)
It could be a problem for PTC implementation. Right now the only commuter rail operation that is outright exempt from PTC compliance is LIRR Greenport Scoot*, which only runs 3 round trips per day in dark territory. 6 total trips is the current maximum you can stay dark with absolute zero PTC installation under the law on a qualifying RR, so Greenport is the only one not in hurry-up mode for compliance (like, say, Metro North-Waterbury is) unless the upper limit is lifted >6 with tack-on legislation. Which it *probably* will, but you can't assume that with a whole lot of confidence today.

Where it gets extra-special fuzzy is that LIRR is a qualifying railroad for PTC, and thus we don't know how the mandate's legalities would go on track for a non-qualifying railroad. And whether there is an upper traffic limit before even the non-qualifiers qualify...such as a trackage rights share with passenger service. SLR I don't think is big enough to need it (not that they run frequently enough to really need it), but MEDOT could be considered the qualifying RR if its service is on the state-owned segment. We can't even parse what SLR's corporate sisters NECR qualification status is because the combo of them + the Vermonter doesn't get anywhere close to 6-per-day north of WRJ...it's only a consideration on the NECR + PAS + Amtrak overlap. And...PAR is still disputing its inclusion at all in the mandate, and I don't think that decision has been adjudicated yet. It seems improbable that they'd escape it on their own non-passenger shared track now that a Class I has infiltrated the ownership share of their route network. So if they're a qualifying RR and the "6 or under" rule goes into effect--anywhere, or just on PAS?--what does that mean once you get to Danville Jct.? Maybe you can dodge the mandate on SLR but you run on a little bit of the Back Road to Lewiston. Do you need PTC installed on top of the existing signals to get into downtown?

Let's ask the Feds. . .
United States Congress wrote:¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Given how many loose ends are left untied with who qualifies for what around what threshold...well, I don't even think the FRA can answer that question today with how many holes and unanswered questions there still are in the regs. So...uh...somebody kind of needs to get an answer on that before saying with any degree of confidence how far their money's gonna go. And if that's not the agency tasked with overseeing deployment of this freakshow who can answer the question, I don't know who is. I suspect nobody does as of 6/3/2015.




(*Princeton Dinky was granted a special exemption, but that's because with only 1 in-service car touching the branch at any given time the FRA creatively deemed that it never technically stops occupying its block. A decision summed up more or less by: "We're just gonna make up stuff as we go along and hope we don't contradict ourselves into a real pickle, m'kay?")
  by kilroy
 
Thought I would post a little something from the NJ Transit forum. I've mentioned here previously that New Jersey, with a kazillion people per square mile, still doesn't have 100% farebox recovery. Here is the latest NJT recovery rates by line.

Atlantic City 19.6%
Coast Line 54.7%
Main Line Bergen County 43.0%
Montclair-Boonton 42.0%
Morris & Essex 48.6%
Northeast Corridor 88.4%
Pascack Valley 47.8%
Raritan Valley 39.9%
Hudson Bergen Light Rail 33.2%
Newark Light Rail 29.5%
River LINE 10.0%

The best is the NEC from Trenton to NYC at just under 90%. Come ride a few of those trains and see how packed they are (I know, I ride them daily) and tell me if Maine commuter rail will have that many passengers.

I'd love for there to be more passenger service in Maine but to be honest, there aren't enough people up there. Maybe if they let the moose buy tickets you might have a better recover rate.
  by BandA
 
Maybe open up remote lines to private speeders. You could have a Google app that provides the PTC on an Android phone and connects to the speeder's propulsion by USB. Railroad would fly an automated drone over the line once a day before service to check for obstructions.

I can dream...
  by artman
 
BandA wrote:Maybe open up remote lines to private speeders. You could have a Google app that provides the PTC on an Android phone and connects to the speeder's propulsion by USB. Railroad would fly an automated drone over the line once a day before service to check for obstructions.

I can dream...
Uber for rails? Hmmmmm
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