The Kenilworth Corridor "bottleneck" --a MN RR photo essay

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The Kenilworth Corridor "bottleneck" --a MN RR photo essay

Postby MILW261 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:44 pm

A controversy currently rages over whether or not to co-locate freight and light rail together in Minneapolis, MN, along the Kenilworth Corridor which stretches from Cedar Lake to the border with the suburb of St. Louis Park. I just did a photo essay on the most contested part of this corridor, a so-called "bottleneck" in it:

http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/the-kenilworth-corridor-bottleneck/

Anybody else here know about this controversy? The freight railroad involved is the Twin Cities & Western; the light rail line Metro Transit's Southwest LRT line.
Richard "Tony" Held

Read "Trackside With Tony"

http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/c ... trackside/
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Re: The Kenilworth Corridor "bottleneck" --a MN RR photo ess

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:01 pm

Hi Tony, funny you mention it - I just posted about it in the Metro Transit LRT thread in the General Passenger forum. Here is the link: viewtopic.php?f=137&t=96885#p1201316

I will copy a link to this thread over there as well. I could say something snarky about how, if they didn't want a train in their backyards, they shouldn't have bought a backyard with a train in it... but what good is that? :wink:
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Re: The Kenilworth Corridor "bottleneck" --a MN RR photo ess

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:17 pm

This may belong in another thread, but I wonder what it would take to reopen the 29th Street Trench (Midtown Greenway) to freight traffic. With Kenilworth a difficult-at-best option and the MN&S also being sub-optimal, the former Milwaukee main seems to be a viable (expensive) alternative. After all, the TC&W's main goal is to access CP Rail and the Minnesota Commercial.

The main problem is Hiawatha Avenue, in my view. There is no getting around the fact that Minneapolis would insist on grade separation, which means a tunnel near or under 28th Street. Otherwise, the grade is fairly unobstructed, and still active from Hiawatha eastward. Factoring in noise mediation, a tunnel in the area of 28th Street and Hiawatha, track rehabilitation and restoration along the entire corridor (including new rail to the CP Merriam Park Sub), regrading and adding necessary safety appliances, and rebuilding the Short Line Bridge across the Mississippi, what might an estimate be? My WAG is $200 million, plus or minus $20 million contingent on difficulties with the river bridge and the tunnel, but I'd like to hear what qualified professionals have to say.
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Re: The Kenilworth Corridor "bottleneck" --a MN RR photo ess

Postby Semaphore Sam » Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:16 pm

Would the Greenway go where freight has to go? Of course (assuming a viable Hiawatha Ave. crossing) it could easily meet with the old line coming across the river, which used to use the Greenway ROW, straight on. I've walked it from the river crossing to Hiawatha, and onwards to 35W...it seems ready and waiting for trackage replacement (bikers might b**ch, though). Is there talk of a branch off the Light Rail down the Trench for passengers from West Minnie? The controversy might have unusual answers, but, as in all such solutions, there will be winners, and angry losers. Sam
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Re: The Kenilworth Corridor "bottleneck" --a MN RR photo ess

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:23 pm

Semaphore Sam wrote:Would the Greenway go where freight has to go? Of course (assuming a viable Hiawatha Ave. crossing) it could easily meet with the old line coming across the river, which used to use the Greenway ROW, straight on. I've walked it from the river crossing to Hiawatha, and onwards to 35W...it seems ready and waiting for trackage replacement (bikers might b**ch, though). Is there talk of a branch off the Light Rail down the Trench for passengers from West Minnie? The controversy might have unusual answers, but, as in all such solutions, there will be winners, and angry losers. Sam

Freight from the TC&W currently goes to the CP Pig's Eye yard, just southeast of downtown St. Paul. These trains use the ex-MILW up until they enter the Kenilworth Corridor, and again from Merriam Park Junction onward. So, yes, the Greenway Corridor would be the most direct route to access its current major interchange points at the Minnesota Commercial and at Pig's Eye Yard. In fact, the current route represents a significant detour over the original all-Milwaukee alignment. To be fair, the only on-line traffic is from the mills along Hiawatha, and that is Minnesota Commercial territory now. The TC&W doesn't serve customers over the BNSF or the Kenilworth though, so that's a wash.

The single track worth of space appears to have enough clearance for Plate F freight cars, at a cursory glance. The unused right-of-way parallel to the trail is reserved for transit, and the most common mode proposed is streetcars (modern or heritage) rather than full LRT. That makes dual-usage just a bit more difficult, to say the least. That said, I think there is enough FRA-compatible lightweight equipment that Metro Transit could have transit without resorting to a complex RIVERline-style time separation system.

The trail itself wouldn't be affected, aside from a few areas where it would need to be realigned or rebuilt. Residents might be justifiably unhappy, so TC&W and the city would need to provide for soundproofing for houses and nice-looking and effective fences to keep out trespassers. Mostly though, transit along the corridor seems to be what would satisfy residents - and it might soothe harsh feelings about freight traffic returning after 20+ years.
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