STrRedWolf wrote:I still think it'll need significant rail capacity expansion to pull off, though (4-track WAS-WIL at least).
Isn't it about filling fuller the MARC trains that already run (giving them double-ended demand)? As far as that goes, why wouldn't the high-density signal system (described by ThridRail7, above) be sufficient to extend just today's existing MARC service Perryville-Newark? (and let all of WAS-WIL wait for another day).
ThirdRail7 wrote: Do you really think that Amtrak is going to overturn their previous thoughts on track capacity? Even with a high speed crossover at Bacon, you'll need another track between Bacon and Prince for MARC to extend service to Elkton. Ideally, you'll have 4 between Bacon and Iron, but I can't imagine an increase in MARC service without a third track.
I can think a few reasons why a high-density signal system wouldn't be sufficient:
- The big elephant called the B&P Tunnels. (For those late in reading: Civil War era, 2 track tunnel, max speed 30 MPH, MARC and Amtrak shove trains through that)
- Sharing of two tracks where MARC service runs. Seriously, you got MARC trains stopping at New Carrolton and BWI. MARC gets delayed for late Amtrak trains at Baltimore. It works half-way decently at Seabrook, Bowie State, and Odenton but you got Amtrak servicing BWI as well, and that's essentially a two track station. The scheduling headaches must be horrendous...
For an example of how bad it could get, look at current operations WAS-BAL, where Amtrak has track 3 out of service for track work between GROVE and BRIDGE. Yes, you got a section between GROVE and WINANS that's now essentially two-tracked. Guess what major station is there? BWI. Guess what Amtrak and MARC had to do just to keep the delays down to a minimum because of two stations with track bridges? In the mornings, switch tracks between GROVE and ether BRIDGE, FULTON, or CHARLES to get the heaviest passenger traffic taken care of quickly. Before they did that, trains got delayed badly. Now, it's not too bad.
Oh, did I mention that those trains start getting packed hard during rush by around Odenton or Bowie when they start at Baltimore? Odenton and BWI are MAJOR stations for a reason. You run more trains from Wilmington, I will put in a sure bet they will start looking full after Baltimore and run express or discharge-only by Halethorpe... and carry the extra reason of being late because Amtrak's pissed off at them taking a ton of passengers and being slow about it.
Packing more trains in with tech? Sure... but when things break down, you'll have what... twice as many trains to rescue because they're all backed up? And in two track territory? I see the folks at Amtrak and MARC reaching for the antacids already.