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11245Re: [carfree_cities] "Biden rolls out $1.3 billion for Amtrak"

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Mar 13, 2009
      You need dedicated track for 100+mph operation. And to maintain the
      kind of service that was normal in the old days--"You can set your
      watch by the express"--you need separate tracks for passenger and
      freight service, except for some local passenger service possibly.

      With the slower speed of freight service these days (in the days of
      steam there were a couple of 100mph passenger expresses) the
      railroad cos. can allow trackage to deteriorate somewhat without
      commercial penalty.If a container shows up a few hours late it's not
      a big deal. If 800 passengers show up a few hours late you have 800
      complaints. (The Coast Starlight is routinely two hours late into
      LA. In fact, Gina and I were so shocked that we arrived in San Jose
      on time that we broke out in hysterical laughter.)

      Passenger routes should be double tracked whenever possible, and
      freight should run on separate tracks. A freight train can pull onto
      a siding and wait for another freight to pass. A box of dog food
      headed to a warehouse doesn't have the same temporal necessity as,
      say, the bride's parents en route to the wedding.


      On Mar 13, 2009, at 8:40 PM, Matt Hohmeister wrote:

      > http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/13/biden.amtrak/index.html
      > *snip*
      > "That doesn't mean we shouldn't have a train service, but we
      > [shouldn't] give additional money and reward incompetency and
      > inefficiency. If that's what the stimulus is about, we're in a
      > whole lot worse trouble."
      > */snip*
      > Note 1: $1.3B is a hair less than the cost of the new international
      > terminal at the Atlanta airport [$1.4B]. Hurricane Katrina
      > permanently shut down the Sunset Limited from New Orleans on east;
      > let's say I'm not exactly holding my breath on our Amtrak station
      > seeing a passenger train.
      > Note 2: Rewarding incompetency and inefficiency? Isn't that what
      > Congress is doing by giving Detroit one handout after another?
      > This got me thinking about rail improvements here. The Sunset
      > Limited, especially if sped up to 125 mph, has the potential to
      > handle a lot of the I-10 corridor traffic between Los Angeles and
      > Jacksonville. Per FRA, exceeding 125 mph would require eliminating
      > every single level crossing.
      > Of course, the ROW here that carried the Sunset Limited is single
      > track, so 10-hour delays and outright bustitutions were pretty much
      > SOP. I guess that's what happens when a single track has mile-long
      > freight trains going in both directions.
      > A recent _Carfree Times_ proposed restoring double track. The ROW
      > around here looks wide enough to double-track with a bit of brush
      > cutting, and I have a feeling it _was_ double-track at one point.
      > However, there's a rail overpass inscribed "SEABOARD 1929"--and
      > only wide enough for single track. Was it common back then to have
      > single-track bridges to save money?
      > Ultimately, I'm wondering if it's possible to have ALL of the
      > following in the space of only two tracks:
      > - Freight trains, up to a mile long, up to hourly each direction,
      > accelerating up to 60 mph. There's a CSX yard here with a bypass
      > track, so they wouldn't tie up the main line while stopped.
      > - Passenger trains up to hourly each direction, stopping at a two-
      > platform station, accelerating up to 125 mph. Alternately, the
      > station platforms could be sidings to keep the main line
      > unobstructed, but this is likely unnecessary if the train has a
      > short dwell time.
      > With proper signaling, passenger trains should be able to go around
      > the slower-running and -accelerating freight trains.
      > Is this all feasible? Or would we need additional tracks?

      Richard Risemberg

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