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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
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Old December 12th, 2015, 10:47 PM   #6161
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Wilmington is skipped over in the Master Plan...so its not that powerful...
They replaced Joe Biden with Chris Coons in the Senate. Coons's a nice guy but he does not have the clout and power (to bring home the bacon) as Biden did.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 06:13 AM   #6162
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First of all, there are two Class I freight roads that service the Northeast: Norfolk Southern (NS) and CSX. Both of these routes now have mainlines from points south to Boston that completely bypass the NEC.

CSX historically owned the second mainline between NYC and DC, one which closely parallels the current NEC. As a result of the Conrail breakup, they also got the old NYC West Shore Line and the Boston & Albany, extending their route to Boston. The problem with this route, however -- one which is increasingly operationally compromising -- is that the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore doesn't have double-stack clearance and can't be undercut to get it without going below the water table. (Tunnels that go under the water table are much much more expensive to maintain than ones that don't.) The upshot of this is that double-stack trains originating on the north side of the Port of Baltimore have to take an almost ridiculously circuitous route to reach the Midwest: Baltimore -> Philly -> Jersey City -> Albany -> Buffalo.

The Norfolk Southern wasn't blessed to inherit such infrastructure. Nor was it able to fully capitalize on Conrail's bypass, because the half heading from New York east went to CSX. Instead, its bypass route heads waaaaaay inland but the routes leading to individual cities pretty much converge at Harrisburg. The NS mainline basically runs from Albany across the Catskills, then down the Susquehanna to Harrisburg, and then across the Cumberland Valley down towards the Shenandoah Valley where it meets with the old N&W and Southern mainlines somewhere in the Roanoke area. At Albany, it connects with a Class II railroad, Pan Am, with which it has a through-haulage agreement to Boston; from Harrisburg, branches run to New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore; a separate route runs from the Shenandoah Valley to DC. NS has, naturally, greatly expanded operations in Harrisburg, where it now owns both the old PRR and Reading facilities.

NS' purchase of the Delaware & Hudson a few months back completed this route.

On the NEC proper, the most significant freight/passenger conflict south of New York occurs between Baltimore and Wilmington, as the NS' route from Harrisburg to those cities meets it at Perryville. While most of those conflicts can be solved by giving NS their own tracks on the side of the passenger ROW (perhaps with bypasses in areas where widening the easement poses problems, like Elkton), the elephant in that room is the Susquehanna crossing. Keep in mind, also, that the NS alignment uses the low-grade PRR route, and the old fast passenger route from Baltimore to Harrisburg is now abandoned.

North of New York, things get more complicated. The NEC is also a Class II railroad's mainline -- the Providence & Worcester -- from the Hell Gate Bridge all the way to at least Providence, if not Boston proper. While a second mainline through upstate Connecticut (the New York & New England) did historically exist, it has largely been abandoned and converted to a rail-trail, something that is ... less-than-useful for the PW's purposes.

This section is also problematic for passenger operations, due to the fact that its progenitor railroad, the New Haven had inferior engineering relative to the PRR. (Every railroad had inferior engineering relative to the PRR, but that's neither here nor there.) The preponderance of sharp curves etc. means that a bypass for fast passenger traffic between New Haven and the CT-RI border is badly needed, which of course separates the PW mainline from the NEC mainline, thereby improving both passenger and freight operations.

As for accessing New York from the east, well that's a cluster**** with no good solution in sight, I'm afraid.

Baltimore Penn is accessed via two tunnels: the Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) complex to the west and (IIRC) Union Tunnels to the east.

I have yet to hear a convincing argument for doing anything with the Union Tunnels: They are dry tunnels, so they're low-maintenance; they have three tracks, therefore adequate capacity; any speed restrictions due to the tunnels themselves appear to be arbitrary (they're straight); the track geometry around either portal approach does not appear to be a significant issue ... and across the way you've got the B&P Tunnels.

The B&P Tunnels are the second-biggest bottleneck, after the North River Tubes, on the NEC west of New York. That's because they have pretty much any problem you can name that the Union Tunnels don't:

(1) They're wet tunnels, unlike either the Howard Street or Union tunnels. That means they lie below the water table and have to be pumped dry more or less continuously.
(2) They suffer from deferred maintenance, which due to them being a high-maintenance facility in the first place, is a double whammy.
(3) There is insufficient capacity in the tunnels -- only two tracks heading towards the station throat on what is otherwise a 3- or 4-track main.
(4) There are significant track geometry problems within the tunnels themselves, including a sharp curve.

Basically, you just need to fiddle with the Union Tunnels a bit if you want to add a fourth track, while the B&P Tunnels need to be replaced whole. Daylighting the Union Tunnels is an extreme -- and extremely pointless -- solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.
How about constructing an elevated PDL line for HSR like what China has done?
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Old December 14th, 2015, 06:39 AM   #6163
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Quote:
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How about constructing an elevated PDL line for HSR like what China has done?
Two reasons:

(1) Baltimore Penn lies in the Jones Falls valley. That puts it at a lower elevation than West Baltimore. Tunnels are usually better at going through things with higher elevations than you.

(2) Beyond the engineering challenges required to get it up to the level of an aerial, such a structure would require the acquisition of an entirely new transportation corridor through West Baltimore. That would be several thousand properties. And of course there's the visual blight and you'd trigger protests and somebody somewhere would say it's racially motivated and a whole lot of other stuff you seriously do not want to deal with.

A deep tunnel would be somewhat easier, in that, instead of having to acquire properties outright, all you need to do is procure an easement (in American law, easements revert back to landowners upon abandonment; they're more like a lease than outright ownership). Drill it through bedrock and literally the only way most people would know about it is that it's in the fine print of their deeds.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 11:20 AM   #6164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
Two reasons:

(1) Baltimore Penn lies in the Jones Falls valley. That puts it at a lower elevation than West Baltimore. Tunnels are usually better at going through things with higher elevations than you.

(2) Beyond the engineering challenges required to get it up to the level of an aerial, such a structure would require the acquisition of an entirely new transportation corridor through West Baltimore. That would be several thousand properties. And of course there's the visual blight and you'd trigger protests and somebody somewhere would say it's racially motivated and a whole lot of other stuff you seriously do not want to deal with.

A deep tunnel would be somewhat easier, in that, instead of having to acquire properties outright, all you need to do is procure an easement (in American law, easements revert back to landowners upon abandonment; they're more like a lease than outright ownership). Drill it through bedrock and literally the only way most people would know about it is that it's in the fine print of their deeds.
How much would that cost?
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Old December 14th, 2015, 04:51 PM   #6165
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How much would that cost?
Pithy answer: About the same as Gateway without the excessive scope creep. The shortest possible arc that does the job is about 1.8 miles (just shy of 3 km).

Since this tunnel would be no-frills, we can use this post where Alon Levy comments that a 3-km rail tunnel linking Brooklyn and Long Island would cost about $1.75 bn in 2012 dollars, and with a bit of inflation-adjustment and padding, yield a figure of ~$2 bn today. Not cheap, but given the issues that need fixing, not terribly expensive, either.

Of course, what we know about Amtrak's initial plans here is that they are much more grandiose...and expensive.
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Old December 15th, 2015, 03:47 AM   #6166
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Last I checked, Amtrak's plan was simply to bore two "great circle" tunnels up from Penn Station to near where the B&P tunnels end. How is that grandiose? Are you talking about the freight tunnels? Because that seems to be petering out (too complex).
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Old December 15th, 2015, 04:44 AM   #6167
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Last I checked, Amtrak's plan was simply to bore two "great circle" tunnels up from Penn Station to near where the B&P tunnels end. How is that grandiose? Are you talking about the freight tunnels? Because that seems to be petering out (too complex).
I like the Great Circle proposal. I really like it. It solved every imaginable mainline freight and passenger need in Baltimore for the next 50+ years, and freed up the Howard Street tunnel for other uses, too. But AFAIK the proposal is just sitting on some shelf somewhere in the FRA offices at USDOT, gathering dust.

The rumors I've heard (and they may be just that) are that Amtrak wants to put a tunnel with a new Waterfront station in instead ... an idea which approaches "tunnel through South Philly and Center City" in the utter stupidity which so often masquerades as rail engineering here.
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Old December 15th, 2015, 04:33 PM   #6168
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I like the Great Circle proposal. I really like it. It solved every imaginable mainline freight and passenger need in Baltimore for the next 50+ years, and freed up the Howard Street tunnel for other uses, too. But AFAIK the proposal is just sitting on some shelf somewhere in the FRA offices at USDOT, gathering dust.

The rumors I've heard (and they may be just that) are that Amtrak wants to put a tunnel with a new Waterfront station in instead ... an idea which approaches "tunnel through South Philly and Center City" in the utter stupidity which so often masquerades as rail engineering here.
A while back when they were working on a general "Railroads in Baltimore" plan, they explicitly rejected that idea.

And they've been doing the same to an extent if you go talk to the people talking about 30th Street Station's future (meeting tomorow!).

I suspect that the "new downtown" lines are not seriously being considered. They are pie-in-the-sky to try and argue Congress down to actually funding the real plans. They are also supposed to drum up support from shovel-happy politicians.
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Old December 23rd, 2015, 03:33 AM   #6169
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Obama's proposed high-speed rail network stuck in station




http://thehill.com/policy/transporta...uck-in-station
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Old December 23rd, 2015, 11:41 AM   #6170
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I would like to see all major passenger corridors to be electrified.
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Old December 23rd, 2015, 02:34 PM   #6171
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From Rail Journal:

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http://www.railjournal.com/index.php...ml?channel=532

Amtrak completes NEC PTC rollout
Wednesday, December 23, 2015



AMTRAK activated the final section of the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES), its version of Positive Train Control (PTC), along the Northeast Corridor on December 18

ACSES is now fully functional on all Amtrak-owned infrastructure between Washington, DC, and Boston, almost two weeks before the original Congressionally imposed deadline of December 31, which has since been extended by three years

...
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Old December 23rd, 2015, 06:55 PM   #6172
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I would like to see all major passenger corridors to be electrified.
and the NEC as real High Speed Rail
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Old December 24th, 2015, 04:27 PM   #6173
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I would like to see all major passenger corridors to be electrified.
Why stop there? It would also make sense on the major freight corridors as well. Yes, it requires some considerable investment, but that will be worth it.
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Old December 25th, 2015, 04:11 AM   #6174
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Fresno River Viaduct construction progress (CHR)
(11/30/2015)



https://web.facebook.com/CaliforniaH...type=3&theater
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Old December 26th, 2015, 08:08 AM   #6175
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Hey weren't the Acela-2 contracts supposed to be handed out around this time.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 06:11 AM   #6176
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Fresno River Viaduct construction progress (CHR)
More updates ( 12/10/2015 )




https://twitter.com/AllAboardOhio
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Old January 6th, 2016, 07:22 PM   #6177
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From Railway Gazette:

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http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/h...peed-line.html

California Rail Builders consortium to build next section of high speed line
06 Jan 2016



USA: California High Speed Rail Authority has selected the California Rail Builders special purpose vehicle of Ferrovial Agroman US Corp, Euroestudios and Othon for the Construction Package 4 design-build contract, which covers a 35 km section of the planned route through the Central Valley from 1·6 km north of the Tulare/Kern County line to Poplar Avenue north of Bakersfield.

This includes at-grade, retained fill and elevated sections of the alignment, relocating 6·4 km of BNSF tracks, construction of waterway and wildlife crossings, and road reconstruction, relocation and closures

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Old January 9th, 2016, 09:35 AM   #6178
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What's the status of the train selection? Is there a timeline for selecting the rolling stock?
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Old January 11th, 2016, 01:46 AM   #6179
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High Speed Trains & The ACS-64 On The Amtrak Northeast Corridor at Hamilton, NJ

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Old January 11th, 2016, 05:38 AM   #6180
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Also important: Providence has Brown and RISD as well as its own eponymous college. The NEC mainline also does an adequate job of servicing URI's main campus as it stands. Universities generate a lot of economic activity and outsize ridership.

Worcester has...

...um...
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Worcester has Clark, WPI, and at least one or two other universities.
..and Worcester State, Assumption, Holy Cross, Quinsigamond, Becker, MCPHS.
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