Richmond Fails to Make the Cut

We are the Louisville to Gaary route

ashlandrail

Regular readers of this blog are aware that the use of hyperloop trains along the eastern corridor would (a) give us true high speed trains, and (b) resolve many of the land use conflicts that the existing DRPT plans create. (For a summary of how hyperloop works see our recent post Back to the Future.)

Well, it turns out that the hyperloop project is progressing well but our region did not make the cut for the first applications. The areas in the United States that have been listed for this technology, as reported in Hyperloop One has a short list of cities for its 760-mile-per-hour trains are:

  • Boston-Somerset
  • Cheyenne-Houston
  • Gary-Louisville
  • LA-Ensenada, MX
  • Kansas City- St. Louis
  • Miami-Orlando
  • Midwest
  • Nevada
  • Colorado (two proposals)
  • Seattle-Portland
  • Texas Triangle

The Boston and Miami sections do at least provide the beginnings of hyperloop for the east coast line.

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What California Can Learn From London About Rail Passenger Service

ntbraymer

By Noel T. Braymer

The red lines shows the roughly 12 miles of tunneling for Crossrail in the heart of London connecting west and east areas around London with direct no transfer needed service. The boxes by the stations shows rail connections to other services at those stations.

The largest infrastructure project in Europe, at a cost of almost 19 billion dollars is now almost finished in London. Called Crossrail, with construction starting in 2009, it has over 12 miles of new double tracked tunnel in the heart of central London. With this tunnel will be 73 miles of rail service mostly using existing rail lines outside of London, connected by tunnel giving run through service from the west to the east of London. This includes 7 new underground train stations in the heart of London. Initial service is expected by December of 2018. By December 2019 a new branch…

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My Experience on Disney Property: Part 2

The Pixie Dusted Disney Freak

Hello, Disney Lovers! Happy, Saturday, and I hope everyone had a wonderful week! Tonight, I will be doing part two to my experience on Disney property. If you have not read part one, clickhere, and it will send you straight to that post. I have some fun news, so please, stick around for the end of this post!

I am going to start this post off with what our room was like at the Caribbean Beach Resort. The room was small, but in every room, they have this pull down bed from the wall that has a twin size mattress. You also get a king’s size bed or two queen’s size bed, depending on what you reserved for your rooms. You can either get a regular room or a pirate themed room. We got a regular room. Also, in the room is a table with a couple…

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Like The Second Avenue Subway? Remember The 3rd Avenue “El”

Forget the Second Avenue subway—we’re obsessed with this elevated train on Third Avenue. In a new exhibit at the New York Transit Museum, there are vintage photos of the train from 1955, the year it closed. The photographer was Sid Kaplan, who was only 17 years old when he got these shots.

The aboveground railroad in Manhattan was like a High Line of the East Side and one of the four lines in Manhattan in the late 1800s. It eventually ran from the South Ferry terminal up to 113rd Street. The northern Bronx stations remained in service until 1973, but the rest of the railroad was demolished soon after its 1955 closure. Forget the Second Avenue subway—we’re obsessed with this elevated train on Third Avenue.  The photographer was Sid Kaplan, who was only 17 years old when he got these shots.

Feature image is East Village near Cooper Union

Below is 84th Street near station.

The perfect place for that special day

City Skipper Gal

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Looking for the perfect place for a wedding, reunion, retirement, showers or some other type of celebration? Consider The Windamere in Middletown. I love this place! It’s beautiful. It’s rich in history and classy.

This venue used to be an old bank. After the closure of the bank, a local couple bought and completely rehabbed the location. From scrapping crap off the old marble floor, polishing and shining the still intact volts, to replacing or cleaning every aspect of this location- they did it together, little by little. But, their work paid off because it is absolutely breathtaking.

The owners, Mica and Scott are absolutely amazing to work with. They literally bend over backward to help ensure your event is the best it can possibly be.

My daughter got married here and I attended a private event, Middletown’s Ladies Night Out, and both events were absolutely beautiful. It offers approximately…

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The Sorry State Of The AMTRAK Hoosier State

Working on the HYPERLOOP from Louisville, Kentucky to Gary, Indiana, we cannot help but notice Indianapolis. We go right thru it on Interstata 65. But we have “ignored” it because: (1) Indianapolis HAS AMTRAK and (2) Indianapolis to Gary is “too short” to be an efficient HYPERLOOP.

We forget how the “Hoosier State” was nothing more than a “hospital train” to Amtrak’s Beach Grove shops near Indy. It received a name and Horizon cars only so CSX would move it in some semblance of a designated schedule between Chicago-Indy. Hard to believe this once was a vibrant corridor into the early 1960s for NYC, PRR, and Monon. The NYC’s “James Whitcomb Riley” was featured in a 3 hour timecard on its way serving Cincinatti, including change of power between IC/NYC in Kankakee, operating over jointed rail with multiple grade crossings, and making several stops en route.

Given the starvation diet assessed to Amtrak by Congress, the lack of any economic incentives for CSX, and Indiana’s deferred approach to rail infrastructure investment, frankly we can expect nothing will change without federal involvement, as well a spirited encouragement of major P3. To compete with the bus and auto relying on the toll-free I-65 to achieve 3 hour runs, significant funds will be required for rail to achieve:

1) Re-building the antiquated signal system and right-of-way of the CSX between Dyer-Indy. Approximately a minimum of $1 Million per mile just for track infrastructure over that 150 route.

2) $500,000 for 2 power switches at Dyer, IN to divert the train off of the current slow 29 mile route thru 5 dispatchers into Chicago Union Station (CUS) and instead, onto the CN to the St. Charles Air Line access into CUS.

3) How long before the South Shore Line extends to Munster to allow running the “Hoosier State” on its ROW from the St. Charles Air Line to connect there to Dyer?

4) How long for the CREATE program to be funded to eliminate Chicago region rail gridlock by re-building Grand Crossing/75th Street to facilitate passenger rail?

Current Indianapolis Union Station is a decrepit, dark, dank hole in the wall, in an unsafe neighborhood, frequented by the homeless and panhandlers; shared as a bus depot. Rehabilitation drastically required.

By now, we should have learned that an acceptable schedule and timecard are paramount to a train’s potential to attract traffic; with the reality that convenience is key as interpreted by every market metric as provided by more than one frequency each way.

a) The “Hoosier State” must immediately change it current departure and arrival at Indy to be more convenient. Schedule should be changed to leave Indy between 0730-800 and leave Chicago between 1545-1615. HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!

b) The train is currently non-competitive on a 5.05 schedule vs. bus or auto at 3-3.30, despite the I-65 truck conga lines, Chicago parking rates, and weather. HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!

c) Ideally, there should be 3 daily frequencies (morning, noon, afternoon) HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!.

d) If Amtrak ever takes “The Cardinal” daily, it could potentially operate the “Hoosier State” daily on an alternative schedule.HYPERLOOP WILL SOLVE!

1) Indiana got used to the service enhancements provided by Iowa Pacific, but was willing to accept only when the bid was under the full cost to provide.

2) Iowa Pacific under-bid its services apparently with the intent to get one state corridor on the board, so it would have that story to offer to other potential current, or, new state corridor interests, seeking to have an option to Amtrak.

3) Passenger railroading is not cheap, with no flexibility for neophytes and wannabes; little room to negotiate costs, e.g., Class 1 track access and dispatching; cost of slot to achieve optimal timing and scheduling.

4) Without a 180 change in Congress, the “Hoosier State” will best exemplify our failed national transportation policy, bouncing along on freight trackage at almost twice the travel time required by interstate.

Thanks to Mark E. Singer for his AMTRAK comments.

Ferromex’s owner nears deal to acquire Florida East Coast Railway

The owner of Ferrocarril Mexicano (Ferromex), Mexico’s largest railroad operator, is nearing a deal to acquire Florida East Coast Railway for more than $2 billion, including debt.

The potential deal shows that Ferromex’s parent, Mexican mining conglomerate Grupo Mexico , is now seeking to apply its railroad operating expertise to foreign assets after dominating the railway freight sector. The acquisition would come at a sensitive time for relations between the United States and Mexico, following a pledge by U.S. President Donald Trump to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and tighten immigration controls. Grupo Mexico has prevailed in an auction for Florida East Coast Railway and is now negotiating final terms with the U.S. regional railroad’s owner, Fortress Investment Group LLC

If the negotiations are completed successfully, a deal could be announced as early as this week, the people added, asking not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. Fortress declined to comment. Ferromex, Grupo Mexico and Florida East Coast Railway did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Based in Jacksonville, Florida East Coast Railway operates a 351-mile (565-km) freight rail system located along the east coast of Florida. Fortress took Florida East Coast Railway private in 2007 for $3.5 billion. Fortress, an investment firm with $69.6 billion in assets under management as of the end of December, agreed last month to sell itself to Japan’sSoftBank Group Corp for $3.3 billion.

Grupo Mexico, one of the world’s largest copper producers, together with Kansas City Southern de Mexico and Ferrovalle, control more than 72 percent of the Mexican rail freight market. Grupo Mexico and Kansas City Southern de Mexico together have a 75 percent stake in Ferrovale. Earlier this month, Mexico’s antitrust watchdog criticized Grupo Mexico and Kansas City Southern de Mexico for using their rail freight market share to fix prices, restrict supply and impede access to their networks.

CDOT Commuter Locomotives To Be Overhauled

MT. VERNON, Ill. — National Railway Equipment will overhaul six Connecticut Department of Transportation GP40-2H locomotives, according to an NRE press release.

The release states that NRE will produce over 90 percent of the locomotive content in house. The company guarantees delivery of the locomotives within 450 days of receipt from CDOT.

The six commuter units were manufactured for CDOT in 1996 in Montreal, Quebec, by AMF Technotransport. AMF used six former CSX GP38s and GP40s built between 1967 and 1971 — of Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio, and Clinchfield heritage — for the project. All received 3000-h.p. EMD model 645 prime movers, and a separate Head End Power engine/generator set as part of the rebuild. The GP40-2Hs have flared radiators, reminiscent of EMD’s larger SD45 freight units.

For a decade, the GP40-2s served as the primary power for the Department of Transportation’s Shore Line East commuter service, over 50 miles of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New London and New Haven, Conn., and on 40 miles of Metro-North’s New Haven Line between New Haven and Stamford. In 2006, CDOT augmented the Shore Line fleet with eight former Amtrak P40 Genesis units.

The GP40-2H units currently work in the red, white, and black New Haven Railroad “McGinnis” paint scheme — originally introduced on that “Fallen Flag” railroad in 1955. There has been no announcement of how they will be painted during their rebuild at NRE.

Many Opponents to AMTRAK Scheme To Bypass Southeastern Connecticut Towns

Opposition to the proposed Amtrak bypass through southeastern Connecticut is more than bipartisan: It has become multi-partisan.

A recent statement warning that bullet-train tracks would erode New London’s tax base and damage historic sites was co-signed by the leaders of New London’s Republican, Democratic and Green parties.

“It is rare that political parties reach consensus on an issue, but on this we are united,” says their letter to federal railroad regulators.

For the past year and a half, the Amtrak bypass idea has been creating uncommon alliances throughout the region. Business leaders stand alongside environmentalists in fighting it, and politically conservative and liberal homeowners alike are pressing regulators to scuttle the plan.

It is a really “knock down and drag them out” battle. AMTRAK and the Federal Rail Admintration have spent all kinds of money. They keep talking about not “destroying historic towns”. Everybody wants to go to court.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder sent the FRA more than 65 pages of reasons to kill the idea, all heavily laden with foot notes on relevant federal regulations. The CT Trust for Historic Preservation’s own letter cited an extensive number of legal cases.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday that he urged new Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to start a fresh review of the proposal. He has called it a “half-baked” waste of planning money that should have been used elsewhere.

I can stand back and be neutral. My feeling is the whole stupid battle is about BRIDGES.

There are eight very huge, moveable (can go up and down) bridges on the shoreline in Connecticut. AMTRAK uses all while the four bridges at the Western end are also used by commuters to New York City. The West End carries more passengers to NY City than AMTRAK ever dreamed of.

Connecticut Department of Transportation has “stepped up to the bar” on these. The other four at the East End are clearly in the hands of AMTRAK. These bridges were all built by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company in the late 19th Century to early 20th Century

PENNY VANDERBILT PRESENTS:

By the Mighty Mumford

We are sharing several New York Central Railroad pictures sent by Wayne Koch. The feature image at the top is famous locomotive 999. Picture taken at the 1948 Chicago Rail Fair by Ed Nowak. From the J. David Ingles Collection. The 999 Steam Locomotive was a new concept in speed locomotives. Engine 999 was assigned […]

via The Late, Great New York Central Railroad In Pictures — PenneyVanderbilt

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