Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Arlington » Thu May 26, 2016 8:01 am

^ Thanks! How washed out are the labelled washouts on that map? To my untrained ear that sounds like "impassable" but is it just speed limited (particularly on the CWR sections)?
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Allouette » Thu May 26, 2016 8:19 am

They aren't really washouts today. They're all areas that are subject to flooding - both Irene and Sandy caused Otter Creek and its tributaries to rise. I think the plan is to riprap the banks and maybe raise some track level. Hopefully any drainage problems get fixed at the same time.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby gokeefe » Thu May 26, 2016 10:29 am

F-line,

You're right VTrans really is "putting on a clinic". I'm particularly impressed by the project plan which anticipates the reuse of jointed rail in certain sections. I know it's "not a big deal" operationally but most projects almost always involve CWR. The fact that VTrans was able to recognize good rail where they had it and reuse it does go to show how smart they are about getting federal funding. I'm sure USDOT/FRA was impressed with the value of this project as well.

Plenty of room for future improvement and track work as time goes on.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Arlington » Thu May 26, 2016 10:32 am

Allouette wrote:They aren't really washouts today. They're all areas that are subject to flooding - both Irene and Sandy caused Otter Creek and its tributaries to rise. I think the plan is to riprap the banks and maybe raise some track level. Hopefully any drainage problems get fixed at the same time.

Ok, so the VT map, in listing several kinds of projects, is really saying
Rail = steel & ties
Crossing = Signals
Culvert = Pipe & drainage
Bridge = steel & concrete
Washout = riprap & ballast

...that washout is a kind of project, not a state of repair (right?)
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu May 26, 2016 2:47 pm

Arlington wrote:^ Thanks! How washed out are the labelled washouts on that map? To my untrained ear that sounds like "impassable" but is it just speed limited (particularly on the CWR sections)?


Speed- and weight-limited. The south half of the corridor is seeing an ongoing spike in freight traffic from PAS interchange as the NECR/PAS spat gets PAS to start favoring Hoosick Jct. on the mainline as its preferred VRS interchange over Bellows Falls on the Conn River. The washouts are more just notoriously weak spots that wash our frequently. They need budgeted permanent-fix work with culverts, roadbed strengthening, etc. so they no longer require constant band-aid work and continuous monitoring for vulnerability. Not purely a state-of-repair item, but more about ensuring easier state-of-repair by implementing above-and-beyond preventative measures at well-known trouble spots.

For freight the #1 priority all points south of Rutland is fixing these weak spots and weight-restricted bridges to bring the full corridor up to 286K weight. That's where the immediate revenue spike comes from, as PAS concentrates more interchanging to Hoosick/N. Bennington to avoid the NECR riff-raff in going to Bellows Falls. Much like with the northern half of the corridor they're going foot-first with the most essential freight upgrades and using that as the "show-me" of demonstrable progress to make their passenger case. i.e. The passenger pitch is 'parasitic' to the freight upgrades just like when they quietly started upgrading Rutland-Burlington to Class 3 speeds almost a decade ago.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu May 26, 2016 3:07 pm

gokeefe wrote:F-line,

You're right VTrans really is "putting on a clinic". I'm particularly impressed by the project plan which anticipates the reuse of jointed rail in certain sections. I know it's "not a big deal" operationally but most projects almost always involve CWR. The fact that VTrans was able to recognize good rail where they had it and reuse it does go to show how smart they are about getting federal funding. I'm sure USDOT/FRA was impressed with the value of this project as well.

Plenty of room for future improvement and track work as time goes on.


Actually, VRS is a huge help there. The VRS system is the oldest New England example of a shortline or Class III living its whole existence symbiotically on state-owned track. The state bought the Western Corridor in 1963 the second the Rutland RR went bankrupt, and Vermont Railway was founded and contracted immediately to fill the freight service vacuum the defunct Rutland left behind. State dId the same just a couple years later with the Green Mountain RR mainline, buying then hiring a new carrier (who has since been absorbed into the greater VRS system). The Western Corridor partners just celebrated their 50th anniversary together...an almost unheard-of length of time for such an arrangement. It took until Penn Central's collapse, the 1970's-1980's final transitions of commuter rail into wholly- public agencies, and the shortlines born in the mid/late-70's through territory shed in the Conrail Final System Plan for any of the other New England DOT's to start on that learning curve. VTrans and VRS had a nearly 20-year head-start on them. As well as a nearly 30-year head start on developing codified state-level funding mechanisms for SGR grants on these freight trackage rights lines.

So part of the reason why they're able to move so quietly and efficiently with stepped-out upgrades on the Western Corridor is because VTrans and VRS have been a married couple so much longer than anyone else who has to manage two sides of a trackage rights agreement. And they've already road-tested cooperation on passenger service on that corridor with the Champaign Flyer in the early-90's. There's well-established trust factor that VRS is going to provide a fully accurate itemization of what has to be fixed today vs. what can wait another 10 years. Whereas they had to buy NECR--with its frequent ownership changes requiring the state to re-learn who they're dealing with-- basically a brand new railroad with cherries on top in order to give the Vermonter its first-ever performance makeover. Throw in everyone else who demands a whole new railroad before new passenger trackage rights get granted, and you can see where VTrans has a far easier starting point negotiating from a 50-year working relationship with the same tenant on the same in-house line ownership.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby rovetherr » Sat May 28, 2016 2:11 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:http://rail.vermont.gov/sites/railroads/files/RailTrail_Web_CWR.pdf


This is an old map from 2012, there has been some more work done on the Northern Sub since then. As of now, there are approx. 12 miles of jointed rail left to be replaced before the entire Northern Sub is welded rail outside of the Burlington and Rutland yard limits. The sections remaining are from the north end of Leicester siding to four miles south of Middlebury, and from Middlebury to two miles south of New Haven. This should be complete by the end of 2017, the sections that were replaced in 2015 focused on replacing as many switches as possible in an effort to get the time consuming parts done early and avoid unnecessary delays.

The Middlebury "Tunnel" (really just a cut with two overpasses) project should be starting in earnest soon, but with the possibility of litigation and further delay, who knows. Every day of delay is a day closer to those bridges collapsing, I live in the area and I don't drive over them if that tells you anything.

When the state talks of washout on this project, they are talking about bank encroachment, not dangling ties. It could be called bank stabilization instead of washout repair.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Balerion » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:27 am

BENNINGTON AREA TO GET LONG-SOUGHT LINK VIA NEW BUS SERVICE

A new, state-supported bus service linking the Bennington-Manchester area with the Amtrak rail station in Rensselaer, New York, is slated to come online in 2017.


The article doesn't mention anything about the Ethan Allen Express, but it certainly sounds like a way to gauge demand for the more southerly proposed EAE routing.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:56 am

Hey V-Trans, want some welded rail that nobody will miss? Well, just get a midnight raiding party and be off to Woodrow (South Kent) CT where you will find some half a mile of it just laying on the ground and with no plans to replace the jointed rail atop rotted crossties sitting in mud ballast.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Dick H » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:53 am

This is an article from the "VT Digger" dated 12/1/16 on the Bennington Bus
proposal planning to be up and running by Summer 2017.

https://vtdigger.org/2016/12/01/benning ... s-service/
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:24 am

'17 is probably still a bit optimistic given the propensity for tiny red-tape events to induce last-second delays, like we found out with new Niagra Falls station this fall. AMTK leases for station spaces, final-final ADA certificates, operations plans for use of Burlington freight yard as a layover and/or Rutland wye...etc., etc...are all chintzy little things that capable of spelling out the difference between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. As are things completely beyond their control like an ill-timed early Spring snowstorm delaying post- ground-thaw construction closeout work. I'd still hedge on '18 for first revenue trip to Burlington, but it's still a very exciting milestone to be officially and unequivocally < 2 years out on the final countdown.
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:09 pm

Very nice article in Passenger Train Journal (available at Barnes & Noble) about the Ethan Allen Express.

I see that it takes 5.5 hours to go 241 miles--including the pretty quick NYC-Albany portion. Seems like northern NY State and VT have lots of SLOW tracks!
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Re: Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

Postby Greg Moore » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:57 pm

Yes, slow tracks and really out of the way to get from Albany to Rutland.

Basically "head west for 10 miles before you go back east..."

Unfortunately most of the more direct routes are long gone.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:04 pm

Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby leviramsey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:31 pm

I believe that's for the Ethan Allen extension to Burlington, not the Vermonter.
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