Georgia Commuter/HSR Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Express)

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby NH2060 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:34 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:It doesn't say any such thing. The line to Clayton/Lovejoy was always contemplated as commuter rail, not a MARTA extension. Sure, they could extend MARTA past the airport, but would that make any sense? Since they opted in to MARTA, couldn't MARTA just be the operator of the heavy rail system? and bring it up to the contemplated MMPT gulch station?

Technically no, but in layman's terms it has to be actual heavy rail. The media has in the past recognized Amtrak intercity/Regional trains as "commuter trains" and MARTA + PATH have been referred to as "commuter train" systems in the past. So don't take the media's description too much to heart. Heck, CT news outlets still keep insisting that M-8s will be running on Shore Line East in 2016-2017 when it clearly ain't happenin'. Even the Georgia DOT says on their website: "The Georgia Rail System is made up of passenger rail, commuter rail and freight rail service, which consists of over 5,000 route miles." Which is odd considering that Georgia has no commuter rail line. Somehow MARTA is passing as one which by those standards so should the Washington METRO, BART, and the MBTA Red and Orange Lines (which they aren't).

MattW wrote:
NH2060 wrote:
Jeff Smith wrote:Haven't had much on GA Commuter Rail recently. Here's something: WABE

The three options mentioned are heavy rail, light rail, and bus rapid transit. So if by "commuter rail" you mean a MARTA heavy rail extension then that's what it appears it'll be vs. an actual commuter rail line.

Wrong, Commuter Rail is still a serious proposal and likely the leading proposal due to the time and costs involved.

*sigh* Heavy Rail and Commuter Rail are two VERY different forms of rail transport.
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby MattW » Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:48 pm

NH2060 wrote:*SNIP*

MattW wrote:
NH2060 wrote:
Jeff Smith wrote:Haven't had much on GA Commuter Rail recently. Here's something: WABE

The three options mentioned are heavy rail, light rail, and bus rapid transit. So if by "commuter rail" you mean a MARTA heavy rail extension then that's what it appears it'll be vs. an actual commuter rail line.

Wrong, Commuter Rail is still a serious proposal and likely the leading proposal due to the time and costs involved.

*sigh* Heavy Rail and Commuter Rail are two VERY different forms of rail transport.

Yes, they are, I'm very well aware of that and it will likely be Commuter Rail that is picked for this line, as in possibly MP36PH-3C diesels hauling Bombardier BiLevels on Norfolk Southern tracks (actual equipment not determined of course at this time, these are just examples).
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby bdawe » Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:10 pm

Didn't the article specify that the tracks will *not* be NS tracks, but will make use of the right-of-way?
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby litz » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:28 pm

That's what I read ... a parallel track within the same right of way, with crossovers installed to allow for either traffic to pass as needed. But a new one primarily for passenger, and the original for freight.
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby MattW » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:09 pm

The exact plans aren't final yet, but most likely what they really mean is building a second track along the entire corridor making it a two-track line with neither reserved for solely passenger or freight.
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby gt7348b » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:20 pm

I suspect based on MARTA's current Chief Operating Officer (he helped implement Austin's Metrorail) and the all-day demand for transit in Clayton County, it will end up like the A-train in Denton County using DMU's rather than a locomotive hauled trains.
Atlanta - within two and a half hours of . . . the edge of its suburbs
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby BandA » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:49 pm

So, if it is on completely separate tracks so no need for FRA compliance? Marta "heavy rail" (I assume heavy rail is lighter weight than commuter rail) uses 3rd rail; Are there any grade crossings? Is the ROW well controlled? Perhaps AC catanery would make more sense, or european DMU? Maybe DC catanery so it can switch to 3rd rail easily.
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby electricron » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:44 am

BandA wrote:So, if it is on completely separate tracks so no need for FRA compliance? Marta "heavy rail" (I assume heavy rail is lighter weight than commuter rail) uses 3rd rail; Are there any grade crossings? Is the ROW well controlled? Perhaps AC catanery would make more sense, or european DMU? Maybe DC catanery so it can switch to 3rd rail easily.

I'll admit I don't know which type of train will be selected, but let's review what the positives and negatives that will arise from the different choices.
1) Heavy Rail - what MARTA uses already.
Postives - uses the same equipment already in use means it's fully compatible.
Negatives - requires grade separation and double tracking the entire extension which is very expensive. Can't use the existing tracks in the corridor. Requires dedicated tracks. Requires electrification. FTA regulated, general transit regulations apply.
2) Commuter Rail - available either FRA compliant or non-FRA complaint.
Positives - it's cheaper because it doesn't require grade separation over the entire corridor. It can legally share the existing tracks in the corridor. It can use dedicated tracks if the freight railroad doesn't want to share tracks but is willing to share the corridor. Electrification optional. Existing freight customers can still be served.
Negatives - freight train interference with passenger trains on share tracks causing delays. Trains are usually heavier, uses more fuel. FRA regulated, general train regulations apply.
3) Light rail - what Charlotte uses.
Positives - required dedicated tracks, can't share tracks with freight trains, although it can share the corridor. Can be grade separated or not, but will need grade separation over or under freight tracks. Can make tighter curves, climb steeper grades. FTA regulated, general transit regulations apply. Almost all light rail systems uses DC traction. Light rail can share lanes with other traffic but usually uses dedicated lanes.
Negatives - requires electrification, usually by overhead cables. Trains are usually smaller in size than heavy rail.

If I were extending the MARTA line further than the airport station, I would use commuter rail in suburban neighborhoods. I would prefer using smaller DMU trains, either FRA or non-FRA compliant - if the airport was to be its terminus. I would prefer larger FRA compliant locomotive driven trains - if a downtown stations was to be its terminus. Trains heading all the way into downtown Atlanta would need to be larger to carry more commuters. In either case, commuter rail would be cheaper to implement than light rail or heavy rail, mainly because tracks can be shared and there's no need to electrify the corridor. Although adding electrification is still optional for powering commuter rail trains. I believe heavy rail using third rail for power is best used in urban neighborhoods with more available passengers, not in suburban neighborhoods with less people density.
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby bdawe » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:26 am

It's always said that heavy rail simply must be grade separated, and while that is a characteristic of heavy rail, systems like the Chicago L have grade crossings. Third rail systems in New York also have grade crossings. Is there a proscription on new third rail grade crossings? Or is it that heavy rail rolling stock is proscribed for such crossings?
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby electricron » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:39 am

bdawe wrote:It's always said that heavy rail simply must be grade separated, and while that is a characteristic of heavy rail, systems like the Chicago L have grade crossings. Third rail systems in New York also have grade crossings. Is there a proscription on new third rail grade crossings? Or is it that heavy rail rolling stock is proscribed for such crossings?

LIRR and MetroNorth have third rail, but are classified as commuter rail. They can share their tracks with freight trains and therefore must be FRA compliant and regulated by the FRA. Chicago L has third rail but can't share their tracks with freight trains, therefore they don't have to be FRA compliant and are regulated by the FTA. It's not so much as being grade separated from auto and truck traffic as much as being grade separated from other type of trains. ;)
That's a general rule of thumbs, there are always a few exceptions. If the tracks are connected to the national railroad system in any way - the FRA steps in with their regulations, and we're discussing commuter rail instead of heavy or light rail. ;)
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby MattW » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:15 am

bdawe wrote:It's always said that heavy rail simply must be grade separated, and while that is a characteristic of heavy rail, systems like the Chicago L have grade crossings. Third rail systems in New York also have grade crossings. Is there a proscription on new third rail grade crossings? Or is it that heavy rail rolling stock is proscribed for such crossings?

I haven't been able to find out for myself, but as far as grade crossings go, I don't believe the FTA will approve any new HRT systems with revenue grade-crossings (in other words, crossings in yards or for maintenance access is fine). I have yet to confirm this myself, but I trust the person who told me this pretty well.
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Re: Atlanta, GA Commuter Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby BandA » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:39 am

bdawe wrote:It's always said that heavy rail simply must be grade separated, and while that is a characteristic of heavy rail, systems like the Chicago L have grade crossings. Third rail systems in New York also have grade crossings. Is there a proscription on new third rail grade crossings? Or is it that heavy rail rolling stock is proscribed for such crossings?
3rd rail grade crossings are a bad idea. NY had a recent fatal crash where the the third rail detached & became spears http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=158795 Just use a DC overhead feed in grade crossing territory and the cars can switch on the fly.

Creating a new line, you could start with commuter rail used single-level coaches in push-pull mode (diesel on one end, control cab car on the other). If demand is high then switch to heavy rail. (Hope the platforms are compatible, otherwise you have to re-grade the tracks at the station or rebuild the platforms).

The ADA compliant low-floor light rail cars we have in Boston (Type 8 - Breda) are awkward clunky vehicles. If branching off & doing some street running or small stations are important then light rail/trolley cars might be the answer.
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Re: Georgia Commuter/HSR Rail Proposals (Georgia Rail Expres

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:17 pm

Interesting, if not likely: WTOC.com

I think I'd prefer a line to Savannah myself.

Fair-use:

Proposal for high-speed rail could run through Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – A proposal for a high-speed rail that could run through Columbus and Atlanta was presented to the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding on Monday.
...
A feasibility study presented to the commission shows this project could cost between $10.7million - $42.5 million per mile with an annual revenue of $23.6 million to $28.4 million.
...


Study document (also attached as PDF): http://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/Commi ... d_Rail.pdf
Attachments
High_Speed_Rail.pdf
HSR Columbus
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