Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

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Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby NJTRailfan » Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:09 pm

I heard Phoenix, Arizona has a pretty good lightrail line and commuter rail like the what MBTA and a light rail closer to what HBLR is.

Do they plan to expand them and do any of those lines run out of the Phoenix train station that was recently abandoned by Amtrak? Does Amtrak ever plan on getting back into Phoenix? What is the status of the station right now?
Last edited by Jeff Smith on Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: changed thread title
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:52 pm

Where did you hear all this...? Phoenix has no commuter rail at all.

The story in regards to Amtrak is that the Sunset Limited got re-routed via Maricopa, and UP abandoned the line through Phoenix when they took over SP, so currently there's no passenger rail service to that city at all from anywhere.

The light rail line isn't even open yet. Construction started last year, and it's supposed to open in 2008. Here's the official site if you're interested...

Also recommend you do some searching via Google as well.
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Postby NJTRailfan » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:13 am

Sorry about that Irish, I actually thought they did. I once saw a few bi level coached with a red and yellow striping that look alot like feathers and and engine with a red bird painted on it with a name called "Rail Runner" The cars and engine looked great in the paint job and it called my attention. Athearn did a HO-Sclae version of this.
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:38 am

RailRunner is real, though, although it is for Albuquerque NM, not Phoenix AZ. It's not yet open either. Their equipment is indeed to be BBD bilevels and MP36PH-3C diesel locos.
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Re: Phoenix Arizaona lightrail and comuter trains

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:36 am

Sunday's New York Times had a comprehensive and favorable report regarding the Phoenix Light Rail system:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/us/20rail.html

Brief passage:

    The light rail here, which opened in December, has been a greater success than its proponents thought it would be, but not quite the way they envisioned. Unlike the rest of the country’s public transportation systems, which are used principally by commuters, the 20 miles of light rail here stretching from central Phoenix to Mesa and Tempe is used largely by people going to restaurants, bars, ball games and cultural events downtown.

    The rail was projected to attract 26,000 riders per day, but the number is closer to 33,000, boosted in large part by weekend riders. Only 27 percent use the train for work, according to its operator, compared with 60 percent of other public transit users on average nationwide.

It is quite interesting to note how Phoenicians have adopted the system as their "Party Animal Limo".
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Re: Phoenix Arizaona lightrail and comuter trains

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:47 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Sunday's New York Times had a comprehensive and favorable report regarding the Phoenix Light Rail system:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/us/20rail.html

Brief passage:

    The light rail here, which opened in December, has been a greater success than its proponents thought it would be, but not quite the way they envisioned. Unlike the rest of the country’s public transportation systems, which are used principally by commuters, the 20 miles of light rail here stretching from central Phoenix to Mesa and Tempe is used largely by people going to restaurants, bars, ball games and cultural events downtown.

    The rail was projected to attract 26,000 riders per day, but the number is closer to 33,000, boosted in large part by weekend riders. Only 27 percent use the train for work, according to its operator, compared with 60 percent of other public transit users on average nationwide.

It is quite interesting to note how Phoenicians have adopted the system as their "Party Animal Limo".


It's a nice system. It reminds me of the MBTA's Green Line, only smooth. I've taken it once, to a D'Backs game and back from Tempe. It took us just over 30 minutes to get from the McClintock/Apache station to 3rd and Washington, which is just 2 blocks from Chase Field. In the evening, with heavy traffic, it takes about that long for me to drive to the ballpark, assuming no accidents or other slowdowns.
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby Finch » Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:41 pm

What, successful light rail? Say it isn't so!

Given that most if not all transit systems rely on non-trivial government subsidies, how does one define "success?" It seems there will always be people, as in the article, saying that such services are over-subsidized. And I bet if they raised ticket prices significantly to put more of the cost burden on the riders, a subsidy would still be required. Then the opponents would say "look how expensive it is to ride, and it STILL doesn't pay for itself." Are there some studies or data that show quantitatively how light rail is "worth it" economically or environmentally? A lot of the positive things in the article are qualitative judgments by riders and/or locals. These are great stories to hear, how it's convenient or nice or improves the feel of the city, but I'd like to hear some concrete things too. It's too bad how sometimes people don't seem to realize how nice train travel is until they suddenly have good service in their backyard. Then it's a no-brainer.

Anyways, sounds like a nice system. Maybe I will get to ride it someday.
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby gt7348b » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:51 pm

I know it isn't LRT, the Georgia Economic Modeling System at the University of Georgia estimated that the MARTA heavy rail system in Atlanta had an impact of between $1.3 - $1.6 billion annually for Georgia. This represents 2-3 times what is publicly invested in the Atlanta transit system. Most of the impact is due to increase laborshed for employment centers and increase labor market integration.

Page 10:
http://www.tpb.ga.gov/Documents/TPB/July08/072208%20Report%20Potential%20Impact%20of%20Regional%20Transit%20on%20Metropolitan%20Atlanta.pdf

Moderator note: fixed link
Atlanta - within two and a half hours of . . . the edge of its suburbs
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby superbad » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:16 pm

i believe there is a proposal for commuter rail between pheonix and tuscon. I do not know where is stands as of now though.
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:01 am

superbad wrote:i believe there is a proposal for commuter rail between pheonix and tuscon. I do not know where is stands as of now though.

It's been talked about, but that's all it's been, "talk." The Arizona Rail Passenger Association's website may have more info:
http://www.azrail.org/

I live in Tempe, and there had been discussion about constructing a southern extension toward the Chandler/Tempe city line. However, this proposal has run into snags. The ideal routing would be down Rural Rd. Unfortunately, Rural Rd. crosses UP's former Southern Pacific "Phoenix Main" at grade. The UP has made it clear that it won't allow light rail to cross its tracks at grade. That leaves either McClintock Drive (1 mile east of Rural) or Mill Ave. (~3/4 mile west of Rural) as the routing as both roads cross under the railroad tracks. Neither is ideal. Lately, the city of Tempe has been favoring a routing on Mill Ave. BUT...
They've been proposing either a "Bus Rapid Transit" or a "Streetcar" line. The streetcar line would function like traditional trolley/streetcars where the vehicles would travel in lane with automobile traffic. Both the BRT and streetcar proposal would require riders to transfer to the light rail line in downtown Tempe.

I will say, with no reservations, that I'm thoroughly against the streetcar proposal. For starters, the streetcar vehicles would not be the same as the light rail. They offer zero advantages over traditional bus routes. Instead, they will cost more to build and maintain: Tracks, overhead wires, and vehicles. If the streetcar's were permitted to run on the light rail line and on into Phoenix, I'd be more amenable to the proposal. As it stands, it's a poor use of taxpayer money that's being proposed.
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby CHIP72 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:39 pm

I used the Phoenix light rail line on Saturday 1/30 to attend an Arizona State men's basketball game. The rail cars had some similarities to the NJ Transit light rail cars (River Line, Newark light rail/subway, HBLR), though they weren't exactly the same.

Similar to the excerpt included in Mr. Norman's post above, the return portion of the trip was packed (and only a small number of the riders appeared to have attended the basketball game) and it appeared most people were making leisure trips.
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby lpetrich » Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:43 am

Light rail construction begins this spring in Mesa - East Valley Tribune: Mesa
It will extend eastward from the southeast end of the existing system.
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Re: Phoenix, Arizona light rail and commuter

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:56 am

lpetrich wrote:Light rail construction begins this spring in Mesa - East Valley Tribune: Mesa
It will extend eastward from the southeast end of the existing system.


I never understood why they didn't extend it to downtown Mesa in the first place.
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Re: Valley Metro: Phoenix Mesa AZ Arizona Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:03 am

Progressive has news on this: http://www.progressiverailroading.com/p ... p?id=30391

Last week, Valley Metro’s board selected Valley Transit Constructors (VTC), a Kiewit Corp./Mass. Electric Construction Co. joint venture, to continue designing and building the 3.1-mile Central Mesa light-rail extension.

...

The 3.1-mile, $200 million Central Mesa light-rail extension will travel through downtown Mesa, Ariz., to Mesa Drive. It includes four stations and an end-of-line park-and-ride. More than three-fourths of the project’s funding has been programmed with Proposition 400 and federal air quality and grant dollars. Valley Metro officials expect to receive a full funding commitment from the Federal Transit Administration in summer.
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Re: Valley Metro: Phoenix Mesa AZ Arizona Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:06 am

Here's the official site (the URL has changed): http://www.valleymetro.org/about_lightrail/
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