• Washington DC Union Station Expansion

  • 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

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  by ExCon90
 
Greg Moore wrote:Slight nit, the Pentagon was completed in January 1943 and occupied shortly after.
Didn't realize they were undertaking a project of that size during the war. I was on a school tour of it in 1947 and assumed it was postwar.
Contrary to my expectations, the RF&P had a Fredericksburg local in 1944, making all stops including flag stops at 7th Street and Potomac Yard. It was gone by 1955, and while a Richmond train with intermediate stops had been added, it arrived in Washington too late and left too early to be of any use to daily commuters.
The southbound lineup through the tunnel from 4.30 to 6.30 pm was as follows:
SOU 4.30 Birmingham Special
RFP 4.40 West Coast Champion
RFP 5.40 Fredericksburg local
C&O 6.00 George Washington
RFP 6.10 Silver Meteor (West Coast)
SOU 6.25 Crescent

Not much concentration around rush hour; the East Coast Champion and Silver Meteor were outside the 4.30-6.30 period.
  by Greg Moore
 
Yeah, they realized they really needed more office space, and fast.
The biggest limitation was the amount of steel used. Hence why so much concrete.
  by gokeefe
 
So does this mean that in terms of trains that Union Station currently is seeing similar numbers (or more) trains than it once did if you count all of the agencies together?
  by ExCon90
 
A quick-and-dirty check of the December 1944 Guide and present schedules shows the following:
Weekday (Mo-Fr) departures
December 1944:
PRR 49, B&O 38, RF&P 21, SOU 12, C&O 3 = 123
Current (Amtrak Jan. 2016, others current website):
Amtrak, North 43, South 11; MARC 49, VRE 8 = 111

Included for both periods are trains from the South not receiving passengers, since they still have to be dealt with (including changing engines), and discharge passengers anyway.
PRR and B&O each had a few locals outside evening rush hours, which are all included in their respective totals above.
The Cardinal is not included, triweekly trains being considered as lost in rounding.

It appears that the discontinued "main line" trains have almost been made up for by MARC and VRE; of course the passenger mix (and time compression) is vastly different, with a lot less baggage (and children) but a lot more bodies in a short time.
  by ExNYC63
 
I heard from a usually very reliable source that the current remodeling will
reduce tracks from 23 to just 19. Any truth in that?
  by inlogan
 
I went to the October meeting in Union Station where they presented their preliminary concepts for public review. They had a presentation and boards with options set up around the meeting room and did a PowerPoint presentation outlining the different options. They posted all of the material here https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0982" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The main differences in the proposals is whether to orient the soaring train hall parallel to the tracks and only be over the middle few tracks or have it perpendicular to the tracks where it would only be over the end closest to the concourse. The other big issue is whether to put the car parking below the tracks or build another garage over the tracks in various locations along with a bus loading area. The similar things between the proposals would be new concourses perpendicular to the tracks under H Street and also between the current concourse and the new H Street concourse but below and parallel to the tracks.

If you go to the link above and look at the Concept Displays you can see the different options. It also has a sample track layout on page 19, and it does show 19 tracks (12 stub-end and 7 run-through). Once the current parking garage is removed they'll be able to realign the tracks and widen the platforms.

They've already begun the current Claytor Concourse modernization which will remove the holding rooms between the waiting area and the tracks, and also move the Acela lounge on a new second level above the waiting area. These designs are located here: https://nec.amtrak.com/content/washingt ... on-project" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by east point
 
ExCon90 wrote:A quick-and-dirty check of the December 1944 Guide and present schedules shows the following:
Weekday (Mo-Fr) departures
December 1944:
PRR 49, B&O 38, RF&P 21, SOU 12, C&O 3 = 123
Current (Amtrak Jan. 2016, others current website):
Amtrak, North 43, South 11; MARC 49, VRE 8 = 111

.
OOPS you only counted the VRE Fredericksburg trains = 8 Manassas has an additional 7. However am not too familiar with the Florida trains but didn't PRR have some trains at certain times of the year that bypassed WASH Union by not stopping or go by way of the Virginia ave tunnel and change from GG-1s to diesels at POT yard ?
It would be interesting if someone could find WW-2 number of passengers and compare to today. The WW-2 numbers might have been considered secret info.
Wonder if anyone can find the number of thru passengers both before Amtrak and today ?
  by ExCon90
 
I had a problem interpreting "special schedules for holidays and snow days" in the VRE schedules. The way it's written it could mean the "S" trains run only on snow days, or are regular trains which are the only ones which also run on snow days; apparently it's the latter. I never heard of passenger trains running via Anacostia other than in some emergency; the PRR liked to keep passenger and freight trains out of each other's hair wherever possible, and I can't believe it would have been faster to take the freight route. I think the "Magruder Branch" from Landover was good for 80 mph almost right up to Union Station, while there would have been no reason to maintain the Potomac Yard route for more than 50 or so--the earliest employee TT I have is from the 1960's, but I'll check to see what the situation was then. And I'm sure it would have been troublesome for both the PRR and RF&P to arrange for passenger crews to report and be relieved at Potomac Yard rather than their usual location. I also have trouble believing that either the ACL or SCL would operate trains which could not receive and discharge passengers at Washington.
  by STrRedWolf
 
"S" in this case is "Special" (said like Chevy Chase sarcastically during Saturday Night Live, ie "SPEHSHULL"). MARC initially thought "Snow" but started using it for other items, but this past month got enlightened and changed it from "S" to "R" for Reduced service.

How that has to do with adding tracks under the existing tracks at DC I don't know...
  by dumpster.penguin
 
inlogan wrote:I went to the October meeting in Union Station where they presented their preliminary concepts for public review.
A presenter at that event informed me that one of the goals for the new passenger concourse is to accommodate "stacked" trains. She also said that the tracks would be realigned and the platforms rebuilt. She did not tell me that the number of tracks might shrink. On the other hand, each track and switch must cost something to keep spiffy, and when they rebuild the platforms, with, let's suppose, escalators and elevators on each platform going up or down to the concourse, all of that construction and all of those escalators and elevators will add up. So perhaps it is a question of weighing the merits of "right-sizing" at this opportunity to do so, vs overdoing it (with the current number of tracks) on the theory that it would be more difficult after the cap went on.
  by gokeefe
 
I think it is astounding to consider that Union Station is closing in on its previous peak. I would imagine the passenger count must be getting close as well. Especially if you exclude the unusual WWII period.
  by ExCon90
 
Further to my post yesterday in response to east point, Chesapeake Region Time Table No. 10, October 30, 1960, shows the following speeds:

MP 128.0 LANDOVER
............80 mph for passenger trains
MP 133.2 Region Post Washington Terminal

MP 128.0 LANDOVER
............50 mph for passenger, 40 for freight
MP 133.0 Signal F-1300
............30 and 30 (20 through Virginia Ave. Tunnel)
MP 135.9 VIRGINIA (junction with route from Union Station)

Although a speed for passenger trains is provided on the freight route, I doubt that the route ever saw a passenger train except in a emergency (maybe troop trains during the war?, but that would probably have been for security reasons, if done).

A historical sidelight is that the timetable contains a Special Instruction requiring southbound passenger trains destined to Washington Terminal to make a running brake test immediately after passing Lanham, the last station before Landover. Not hard to guess when that went in, or why.
  by ExCon90
 
gokeefe wrote:I think it is astounding to consider that Union Station is closing in on its previous peak. I would imagine the passenger count must be getting close as well. Especially if you exclude the unusual WWII period.
Not only that, there's a lot more concentration around morning and evening peaks.
  by afiggatt
 
ExNYC63 wrote:I heard from a usually very reliable source that the current remodeling will
reduce tracks from 23 to just 19. Any truth in that?
A question is how many of the 23 tracks are currently in active use? As I recall from the Union Station Master Plan of several years ago, the lower level was proposed to be reconfigured to 8 tracks total (with all running through to the First Street tunnel). The key to the reconfiguration is to install wider platforms, mostly high level, with more access points to greatly facilitate passenger boarding and disembarking from the trains. A modern station layout with wider platforms and a small reduction in number of tracks is likely better in general than narrow platforms and more tracks.
  by STrRedWolf
 
afiggatt wrote: A question is how many of the 23 tracks are currently in active use?
That depends on the time of day. If it's mid-day, a good chunk is used to store MARC trains all the way out into low-level boarding areas. Boarding a train all the way out there is not what I would call "good fun."

I think this remodelling will require another storage area for trains. I remember that there was the "Ivy City Yard" planned but I don't know where it would be and what came out of the plans.
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