• MTA Purple Line Bethesda - New Carrollton Light Rail

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

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  by MattW
 
It sounds like this will be similar to Atlanta's Beltline, except farther into the suburbs.
  by gokeefe
 
afiggatt wrote:Came across this favorable column on the Purple Line by the Railway Age managing editor: Purple Line LRT: Suburban harbinger. I don't personally see the Purple Line as national transit game changer, but it will be a significant expansion of the reach of the DC Metro transit system.
I lived in Bethesda for quite some time growing up and know the western end of the proposed right of way quite well.

As one of the oldest post-war suburbs in the country, (with some construction dating to the late interwar period) I think Mr. Bowen makes a very accurate point, specifically that the suburbs require this density of infrastructure in order to continue to thrive. Much as the Downeaster has constantly challenged notions of demand for passenger service in a relatively lightly populated area so too the Purple Line is going to be making that case that light rail solutions need not be confined to large Central Business Districts with a high density of residents. What is left unstated in his article is exactly what the population size of the two end points are. At last count I understood Bethesda (an unincorporated area) to have an estimated population over 100,000 people. I can't imagine New Carrollton is far behind that. As always with rail ridership between intermediate points will probably be just as significant as ridership between the end points.
  by realtype
 
Sand Box John wrote:"afiggatt"
Came across this favorable column on the Purple Line by the Railway Age managing editor: Purple Line LRT: Suburban harbinger. I don't personally see the Purple Line as national transit game changer, but it will be a significant expansion of the reach of the DC Metro transit system.


I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Purple line will end up being suburban Washington's version of Baltimore's White Snail, as it will not reduce trip times between points along the corridor for both transit and non transit users.

The Purple Line isn't just about trip times (and seeing how bad the traffic on the Beltway and East-West highway is in rush hour now, I doubt that it wouldn't improve trip times 5-6 years from now) but, more importantly, connectivity. I've taken the Red Line from Shady Grove to SIlver Spring and Fort Totten hundreds of times and have hated the fact that I had to go all the way down through DC to make my trip (I'm also convinced that the Medical Center-Farragut North stretch is the most boring in the entire system). Being able to switch to the Purple Line at Bethesda to get to SS would have been a tremendous help. The fact that it connects to 4 Metro Branches, 3 MARC lines, and Amtrak really makes it a no-brainer. When the line is complete New Carrollton will be one of the very, very few stations in the nation with access to light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, and intercity rail.

This is where Baltimore's transit system fails. The lack of a true connection station between the current light rail and metro-subway lines (and the fact that the light rail line sidesteps Towson) really hurts its potential. The new Red Line will do a lot to improve the system by connecting to MARC's Penn Line at two points, as well as having a direct connection to the current light rail line. Even more importantly it will provide a critical east-west connection linking employment centers like the Medicaid/SS complexes , UMD Baltimore, and John Hopkins' Bayview campus as well as booming city neighborhoods such as Harbor East, Fells Point, Canton, and the Inner Harbor. In addition to its own ridership the new line will undoubtedly boost ridership on the existing lines.

In my opinion there's an appropriate time and place for every surface method of transportation: highways, expressways, BRT, streetcars, light rail, heavy rail/RT, commuter rail, and intercity rail. Light Rail suits the Purple Line perfectly as opposed to BRT which probably couldn't handle the capacity and would discourage potential riders, or Metro/RT which would be extremely expensive and probably not cost effective. As the article states, the Purple Line corridor is located in densely populated with suburbs built out decades ago, requiring nearly the entire alignment of a Metro line to be underground. Conversely there was plenty of space to build the Silver Line, the vast majority of which is in a highway median with the remainder mostly elevated. On top of that the MWAA had a guaranteed source of funding: toll road tolls. The state's contribution was pretty much a drop in the bucket.
  by Sand Box John
 
"realtype"

This is where Baltimore's transit system fails. The lack of a true connection station between the current light rail and metro-subway lines (and the fact that the light rail line sidesteps Towson) really hurts its potential. The new Red Line will do a lot to improve the system by connecting to MARC's Penn Line at two points, as well as having a direct connection to the current light rail line. Even more importantly it will provide a critical east-west connection linking employment centers like the Medicaid/SS complexes , UMD Baltimore, and John Hopkins' Bayview campus as well as booming city neighborhoods such as Harbor East, Fells Point, Canton, and the Inner Harbor. In addition to its own ridership the new line will undoubtedly boost ridership on the existing lines.


Baltimore failed to follow through on their original plan to build a 63 station 71 mile 8 route 5 line heavy rail rapid transit system.

Baltimore Region Rapid Transit System

Had they followed through there would be no light rail and the existing single truncated heavy rail line would have gone to White Marsh.

It should be noted, had Maryland followed through and fully built out the Baltimore system, then extend to the south to connect to Metrorail extensions heading north, shared trackage through service would have been Impossible because the load gauge of the 2 systems are incompatible.
  by farecard
 
Sand Box John wrote:
It should be noted, had Maryland followed through and fully built out the Baltimore system, then extend to the south to connect to Metrorail extensions heading north, shared trackage through service would have been Impossible because the load gauge of the 2 systems are incompatible.

I don't know the gauge differences in this case, but dual-gauge track is used in some places. Australia comes to mind.
  by Sand Box John
 
"farecard"
I don't know the gauge differences in this case, but dual-gauge track is used in some places. Australia comes to mind.


Load gauge and track gauge are 2 different things. Both railroad use the same track gauge for all practical purposes. WMATA's track gauge is 1/4" narrower then the Baltimore Metro's Track Gauge.

Load gauge is the maximum width, height and length of a given piece of rolling stock that can be run on a railroad. Platform height is not normally included in load gauge dimensions, but platform height is also important here.

WMATA cars can fit in Baltimore Metro tunnels however the floor height of WMATA's rolling stock is lower then the platform height of the Baltimore Metro stations, Baltimore Metro stations are 450' long limiting train length to 6 cars, WMATA platforms allow 8 car 600' long train. Baltimore Metro's rolling stock is to tall to fit through WMATA's tunnels and WMATA platforms are lower then the floors of Baltimore Metro's rolling stock.

The only way to allow through service is to modify the platform height of the Baltimore Metro stations and replace the rolling stock with rolling stock with the same floor height as WMATA rolling stock.

Train control is another issue as well. The Baltimore Metro does not use automatic train control. The signaling system does transmit speed commands to the trains to prevent over speed and collision during normal manual operation. Not sure if the coding of the speed commands use on the Baltimore Metro is the same as the speed command coding used by WMATA.
  by YOLO
 
Does anyone have the document that shows the breakdown of anticipated ridership at each planned purple line station? I get a 404 if I pull up the links from Google.
  by Sand Box John
 
"YOLO"

Does anyone have the document that shows the breakdown of anticipated ridership at each planned purple line station? I get a 404 if I pull up the links from Google.


What is the full URL that's giving you the 404 error? The Maryland Transit Administration may have moved the PDF file that contains those estimates.
  by Sand Box John
 
"YOLO"
This is what I found, http://www.purplelinemd.com/en/images/s ... ership.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

if I click on it , it takes me to a page that talks about power traction or something along those lines


The URL indicates to me that 11_ridership.pdf was displayed in the scoping workshops in 11 2011. My guess is the Maryland Transit Administration either deleted the document or moved it and did not provide link to its new location.

You might shoot them a query at http://www.purplelinemd.com/en/contact-us" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and ask them where the document is.

None of the scoping workshops documents for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project are accessible on the web anymore.
  by YOLO
 
Chevy Chase is hell bent on stopping the Purple line at any costs, which got me thinking - would they put up this big of a fight if the purple line ROW at the Chevy Chase area was underground?
  by Sand Box John
 
Sense no one has bother to mention this I thought I would:

Hogan: Maryland will move forward on Purple Line, with counties’ help
Robert McCartney, Joshua Hicks and Bill Turque
06 26 2015
The Washington Post

The Baltimore Red Line is a different story:

In West Baltimore, frustration over Red Line's demise
Luke Broadwater and Michael Dresser
06 26 2015
The Baltimore Sun
  by afiggatt
 
Good news for the Purple Line. Gov. Hogan approved the selection of the Purple Line Transit Partners consortium to build and operate the line. The projected completion date is now Spring of 2022, so the project slipped a year or more due to Hogan's delay. But that is better than slipping to never or a restart post Hogan which was a possibility with Hogan's election.

PURPLE LINE CONTRACT RECEIVES GREEN LIGHT FROM GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN. Starting excerpt:
Governor Larry Hogan today gave the green light for the Maryland Department of Transportation to move forward with the Purple Line, a 16.2-mile-long transit system connecting New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County. Purple Line Transit Partners has been selected by Maryland to build the light rail system. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with rail service opening for service in spring 2022.
  by gokeefe
 
This is a very interesting testament to the political strength of this project. The Governor's calculus was such that he chose to keep it moving forward.
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