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Old May 12th, 2012, 02:32 AM   #81
FM 2258
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Austin adds 10 miles to proposed urban rail system

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/...l-2350833.html

[IMG]http://i50.************/zvy3c2.jpg[/IMG]

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Austin's urban rail plan is growing tentacles.

With a potential November public vote on a first segment of a downtown-centric, electric-powered rail system, City of Austin transportation planners have added about 10 miles to the 16.5-mile, $1.3 billion proposed system that has long been public.

The newest map shows rail lines reaching Southpark Meadows shopping center in far south Austin, MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) near West Fifth Street and at West 35th Street, the Triangle on Guadalupe Street and MetroRail's Crestview Station on North Lamar Boulevard.

Construction of any part of such a system is far from certain, and decisions by officials or the public on the newly proposed sections likely would be many years away. Nonetheless, retired political consultant Peck Young said city officials are making a politically savvy move.

"The only way you can get citywide support for those kinds of things is to have a citywide plan," said Young, executive director of Austin Community College's Center for Public Policy and Political Studies. "And that looks like what they're trying to do. I'm glad in particular that we decided to remember that South Austin is part of the city too."

...
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Old July 30th, 2012, 11:56 PM   #82
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Here are some pics of MetroRail that I took this past Friday. The 8:43 am southbound train was full (seated) with only standing room. That is a good sign. This was my first time riding the train in Austin. I found it a great ride. Idle times at stations is minimal, and the trains are quiet. The passengers were really quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Lots of readers and three cyclists were on my train.

Highland Station:



Plaza Saltillo Station:


Down Town Station:


Inside the train:





Steve
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Last edited by tampasteve; July 31st, 2012 at 01:04 AM.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 10:18 PM   #83
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Good to see that the train is full of commuters in the morning.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 11:22 AM   #84
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I apologise if my question has already been answered in this thread, but how does this train draw power? There is not an overhead wire, and I do not see a third rail anywhere...

Never mind - I had to google DMU first. I guess it is unusual for me to see a DMU light rail considering that in most parts of the world (and the USA) light rail/metro is mostly electrical
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Old August 6th, 2012, 09:53 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
I apologise if my question has already been answered in this thread, but how does this train draw power? There is not an overhead wire, and I do not see a third rail anywhere...

Never mind - I had to google DMU first. I guess it is unusual for me to see a DMU light rail considering that in most parts of the world (and the USA) light rail/metro is mostly electrical
Yep, diesel power. The middle section is the "power module" that powers both cars, you can walk between the cars too. The system is really a commuter rail system though rather than light rail. APTA classifies it as commuter rail too.

Nice system, great trains.

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Old August 9th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #86
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Made it back to take a few pics of some more stations. The following are of Kramer, Crestview, and Howard stations. I also got a pic of the brand new bike locker facility at Kramer. That is a nice bike storage/cage! It makes me wonder why they did not do those individual lockers that close over the bike....quite a facility...
Kramer station:



The new Bike locker:


Crestview Station:


Howard Station:


Notice the space for an additional track, great planning at this station.




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Old August 9th, 2012, 09:28 PM   #87
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Must have rained there
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Old August 10th, 2012, 12:29 AM   #88
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My new job is kinda close to this rail line and there is a bus stop on the street I live on. I'm going to check it out today but it will probably mean an average of 20-30 minutes of walking and waiting in this 100 degree heat today.

I'll come back and update on my experience.

Edit, never made it to train, my friend wanted to pick me up after work, got driven to the station this morning, train was there and pulled away. Next train was in 38 minutes....uggghh. Anyway, when I do ride it I'll report back. Three things I would love for this line.

1. Electrification (might mean more frequency?)
2. More frequency, 38 minutes between trains is not fun. 10 min between trains would be nice.
3. Longer hours. 6 am to midnight every day would be wonderful.

Last edited by FM 2258; August 10th, 2012 at 04:19 PM.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #89
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Quote:
Where are the rails in this picture?
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Old August 10th, 2012, 02:43 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geography View Post
Where are the rails in this picture?
It is on the opposite side of the platform. The platform was designed so that it is currently a one track side platform, but when the line is double tracked it will be an island platform. This a GREAT planning that is often not thought about from the start. Howard station (the one pictured) is also a large park and ride and bus transfer point, so it is one of the larger stations on the Red Line. You can see how in the last picture the rail is on the right side of the platform, the non-rail side faces the park and ride lot where the picture was taken from.

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Old August 10th, 2012, 10:20 PM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
is might be double-tracked
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Old August 11th, 2012, 10:52 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
It is on the opposite side of the platform. The platform was designed so that it is currently a one track side platform, but when the line is double tracked it will be an island platform. This a GREAT planning that is often not thought about from the start. Howard station (the one pictured) is also a large park and ride and bus transfer point, so it is one of the larger stations on the Red Line. You can see how in the last picture the rail is on the right side of the platform, the non-rail side faces the park and ride lot where the picture was taken from.

Steve
Thanks for the photos!

Is there room to double track the entire line or just near the stations? And is the ROW still shared with freight and if so, how will that effect future expansion?
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Old August 13th, 2012, 02:54 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Easy View Post
Thanks for the photos!

Is there room to double track the entire line or just near the stations? And is the ROW still shared with freight and if so, how will that effect future expansion?
I hope to get a few more pics over the coming months!

The line is still shared by freight, but only on the off hours. IIRC, Cap Metro controls the line, so they decide when the freight runs. So, more expansion during operating hours can easily be done. Some of the line already is double tracked, and the parts that are not have plenty of room. The design of station areas to leave room for another track is also present at other stations on the system that are not double tracked already:

Stations:

Room for another track with difficulty:
Down Town: On the convention center side, will affect sidewalk and road area
Plaza Saltillo: Room, but will affect auto travel lanes

"Easy" to add another track to current station:
Highland: Add another track and make station an island
Crestview: Add another track and make station an island
Howard: Add another track and make station an island
Lakeline:Add another track and make station an island

Currently Double tracked station:
MLK: Currently island station
Kramer: Two side platforms
Leander: Currently island station

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Old August 13th, 2012, 05:24 PM   #94
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I've brought it up a few times, never really asked directly...would it be better if this line were electrified? Would electrifying the line make it easier for Capital Metro to add more frequency? Would it make it cheaper for them to operate this line in the long run?

The idea of needing to fill up these trains with diesel every so often(not sure how often they have to) would hinder increase of frequency.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
I've brought it up a few times, never really asked directly...would it be better if this line were electrified? Would electrifying the line make it easier for Capital Metro to add more frequency? Would it make it cheaper for them to operate this line in the long run?

The idea of needing to fill up these trains with diesel every so often(not sure how often they have to) would hinder increase of frequency.
I would like to see it electrified eventually, but at this point I think it is an unnecessary cost. Cap Metro tried to keep start up costs low, so that is one reason for diesel. It would have cost significantly more to electrify the line from the start. One of the major benefits of electric is the faster acceleration, but that is really not needed in this corridor.

Also, at this point it would mean investing in a whole new set of trains, which would cost millions, not to mention the cost to run the electric catenary. I do not think that refueling time is really hurting frequencies. More of a hindrance would be the single track over a good portion of the line.

Operational range of the GTW trains in New Jersey (an older model) was/is 530 miles to the tank. So, we can assume the GTW's in Austin are similar. That would mean that they need to refuel after 16 one way or 8 round trip runs (since the Red Line is 32 miles). So, in essence, I think that each train can go the whole day without refueling at the current frequency. Maybe they refuel once around mid day.

Steve
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Old August 14th, 2012, 10:47 PM   #96
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Well slowly but surely Austin is figuring out how to make this line work. So much room for improvement but there has to be the money to do it first.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 10:41 PM   #97
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BRT

Austin MetroRapid BRT will begin in 2014. Here is an article about what the buses will look like.

http://capmetroblog.com/2013/07/26/f...ing/#more-5262
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Old August 8th, 2013, 05:37 AM   #98
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The trains look nice. It doesn't look like a commuter rail to me but a light rail.

They definitely need to increase the frequency. 35 minutes headway is a joke for a city. Perhaps it is constrained by the shared tracks with the existing freight railway. They should consider building separated tracks and expand the network.
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Old August 8th, 2013, 07:04 AM   #99
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How large is the Metro Rapid Bus system going to be? Also, will it be 100% bus-only lanes throughout and will there be any stretches that are exclusive busways like Ottawa, Pittsburgh, or L.A.?
Thanks.
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Old November 11th, 2013, 12:25 AM   #100
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Catching the Morning Train to Work by thor_mark, on Flickr
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