kilroy wrote:Actually, no. I don't think there needs to be the purchase of new right of ways. I do in fact understand what you're referring to with the inter-urbans. Its not what I had in mind.gokeefe wrote:I don't know where Representative Chipman is getting his information or developing his opinion that, "Portland is big enough to support rail", but I don't think its very well thought out.Are you thinking of building inter-urban lines out to surrounding areas? I don't see how that would be more economical. The cost of acquiring the ROWs would be more than heavy rail subsidies for many, many years.
Heavy rail seems to be pure fantasy. Street cars on the other hand not so much. Why, oh why, this alternative doesn't come up is really beyond me.
If you're thinking of running DMU's on existing tracks, that's not going to happen. Light rail DMU's can't run on heavy rail tracks unless they are grade separated (which there may not be enough room for without acquiring more land) or time separated. That would mean no Amtrak or freight service on the lines during commuter operating times.
Sorry, I don't see anything but heavy rail for commuter service in Portland. They did the DMU time separated operations here in New Jersey on the River Line. It works well because Conrail only runs one or two locals a day over the tracks and they can usually get their work done during their overnight window of operations. But because of the success of the light rail, there is a desire to expand the operations later into the night and now they can't because the tracks belong to Conrail and they want to service their customers.
Street cars run on the street, hence there is no need for puchasing a new right of way as its already publicly owned.
Perhaps more importantly street cars are considered 'transit' and are therefore eligible for transit funds through the FTA. Heavy rail commuter projects likely would be as well, if they're done correctly. However when the costs are compared to the benefits I don't think a project out of Portland, ME would be competitive against anywhere else in the country that likely would be submitted proposals for heavy rail work, as all other areas would be larger by population.
That's why I think streetcars are probably the right answer. I think they're on the right scale for Portland, ME. Heavy rail is exactly that, too much train for too little demand.