Expanded Virginia Regional Service

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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby east point » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:50 pm

More trains BOS <> NYP have a few problems.
1. Train length limit of BOS south station of about 8 cars + motor.
2. The present 39 train limit New Haven Bos. That limit appears to be subject to change in the near future but who knows for sure?

3. Train number limits New Haven <> New Rochelle due to the limitations of reduced tracks at each of the several draw bridge's replacement work. At present already one track ( south most track ) at Walk has been taken out of service so it can be moved several feet to the south for the alignment of the new lift span. Then the second most south track will be out of service for a couple months so it follows the south most track alignment over the present Walk swing bridge. Then the track will be put back into service so 3 tracks over Walk swing will be in service. MNRR is building a new CP east of Walk so trains can be aligned better over the swing bridge but at most only 3 tracks will be the best available for 3 - 4 years and sometimes only 2 MT.

4. Then the other bridges will need the same work.

5. A fly over at New Rochelle will be needed for the split to NYP and NYG to enable complete capacity of the 4 tracks east of New Rochelle
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:14 pm

Then Amtrak should look into Virginia - Long Island run-throughs, which I’m still surprised don’t exist. (I know it isn’t so easy to go up the Hudson, the other obvious choice.)

EDIT: I didn’t notice the sticky topic Jeff had put up about just that possibility! https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/M ... 97292.html
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby Arlington » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:53 pm

My long-term rule for expaned regional Virginia Service:

1) No trains shall start from Richmond. Any train serving Richmond shall start from NFK or NPN, no matter how early in the morning. Richmond needs a 5am? Fine. Start it in The Tidewater at whatever time. NFK+NPN is a big enough metro--1.7m vs Richmond's 1.3m--that it should be where all Richmond trains turn. The recent re-scheduling is a great first step. (NFK+NPN at 1.7m is 1/3rd bigger than Richmond)

2) Every city along the Roanoker shall have a 5am Northbound Departure, and an 11pm southbound arrival:
Culpeper
Charlottesville
Lynchburg
Roanoke
New River Valley (future)
Danville (the Crescent actually does this currently)

Culpeper as every bit as much "commuting affinity" with Washington as Port Jervis or Wassaic do with NC (which are also ~2hrs from "downtown"), and this would basically mean that it has hourly-ish trains into DC 5a, 6a, 7a, 8a, 10a. Note that the population of NRV+ROA+LYH+CVS = 1m. It loves its trains but is still puny compared to Richmond (1.3m) and NFK+NPN=1.7m


3) Every Amtrak route that does not have a midday arrival in DC or a midday departure shall have a midday bus
that gets into DC and gets out sometime between 11am and 3pm. Bus routes can also be balanced by a 8pm or later bus departing from DC.

4) North Carolina can help by turning trains in the Piedmonter's yards.
- 6am northbound start from Raleigh serves Richmond at 10am (and runs 4 hours ahead of the Carolinian in the AM, and 4 hours behind it in the PM) (and flexible to fit in between whatever NFK trains end up slotted through Richmond in the morning.)
- 6am start from Charlotte (runs 4 hours behind the Crescent northbound, runs 4 hours ahead of the Crescent Southbound (arrives in CLT at 10:45pm)

5) Sorry Bristol, you get only BUS: the Virginia Breeze Extended. a 6:30am direct Virginia Breeze to Blacksburg that "becomes" the Virginia Breeze for a same-seat ride arriving in DC at 2:30pm, and a return that extends the Virginia breeze southbound for 2:30 beyond its current terminus, to arrive at Blacksburg at 6:00pm. On Friday-Sundays, you'll be an extension that adds 2:30 before the start and arrives at 1:30am Monday. Then, as the Virginia Breeze grows, expect to be added on about 1/2 of the frequencies. And maybe the occasional "meet the Amtrak" at ROA (so your end of the state gets access to UVa)

And we're done. Maxed.

(from Wikipedia)
Rank Metropolitan Area Population 2013-2015 Estimates
1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria 6,069,875[
2 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News 1,716,624
3 Richmond 1,263,617
4 Roanoke 313,691
5 Lynchburg 252,560
6 Charlottesville 226,860
7 Blacksburg 181,605
8 Winchester 133,836
9 Harrisonburg 130,395
10 Danville 106,300[8]
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby dgvrengineer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:31 pm

I couldn't agree with you more. The one other addition that should be considered, would be 2 or 3 trains extended from Richmond to Raleigh. But that would only make sense after the old Seaboard track is put back between Petersburg and Raleigh for a much shorter trip. I realize this is far in the future, but something to keep in mind.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby Arlington » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:48 pm

dgvrengineer wrote:I couldn't agree with you more. The one other addition that should be considered, would be 2 or 3 trains extended from Richmond to Raleigh. But that would only make sense after the old Seaboard track is put back between Petersburg and Raleigh for a much shorter trip. I realize this is far in the future, but something to keep in mind.

True. The goal in Richmond is hourly service to WAS. Probably fair to say that that'd be split 1/3 NPN, 1/3 NFK and 1/3 Carolinian/Raleigh
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:11 pm

I believe the far-in-the-future SEHSR plan is to start with 8 CLT/RGH-WAS trains per day via the S-Line (plus overlapping Piedmont service within NC). Don't quote me on the number, its been a while since I read the EIS.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:12 pm

Bob Roberts wrote:I would hope that the promise of Amazon HQ2 1/2 in Crystal City has put Long Bridge expansion at the front of the VDOT spending line.


Although I'm only using a partial quote I would note that run through trains are not necessarily the best use of capacity if they constrain inbound peak hour service coming from the opposite direction. The easiest option to me appears to be Metro to Crystal City. I'm guessing running 8 car trains on the Yellow Line is going to very suddenly become a major priority for Metro.

With regards to Virginia Amtrak I would anticipate a major station rehabilitation project at both Alexandria and Crystal City. Crystal City will probably get a second platform and pedestrian bridge. It may even get a "promotion" to Amtrak station status. Notable also that this station would also directly serve Reagan National Airport. That may be far too tempting a target for Amtrak to resist.

I could easily see a situation where the "traditional" long distance services stop at Alexandria and the Northeast Regional trains serve Crystal City. Maybe "just for fun" the Carolinian would serve both.

Thanks for the reminder on HQ2 in Northern Virginia. We really haven't talked about it much here and I think it's well worth discussing.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:41 pm

Ultimately too, this might drive the Blue Line reroute that the Metro has discussed for decades.
But I can't see a huge change in Amtrak service here.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:51 pm

I'll take it a step further ... Given the airport implications I could see Alexandria and Crystal City being reversed. Alexandria becomes VRE only and Crystal City converts to a full service Amtrak station.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby east point » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:26 pm

Have not checked fares in years but Washington National air fares have been much higher in the past than Dulles or BWI
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby Arlington » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:30 am

WAS airfares have equalized (DL/AA fares have dropped at DCA) in any market that JetBlue or Southwest flies out of DCA.* The result has been a boom in passenger volumes as everyone has been flying bigger aircraft in competitive markets.

The project to build a walkway between Crystal City and national airport is called CC2DCA and it will essentially function as the vertical and horizontal circulation for a much expanded Crystal City train station.
From GGWash:
https://ggwash.org/view/67733/the-cc2dc ... he-airport

*IAD fares have crept up because UA has been running it more like a weak fortress hub and seen less head-to-head JetBlue/Southwest competition as they've refocused their routes at National.
Last edited by Arlington on Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:33 pm

gokeefe wrote:I'll take it a step further ... Given the airport implications I could see Alexandria and Crystal City being reversed. Alexandria becomes VRE only and Crystal City converts to a full service Amtrak station.

Not gonna happen, not with cross-platform connectivity like this.

BF0F7958-F735-417D-9C37-5321ED47950C.jpeg

(Taken literally 2 min ago)

That said, it’s high time to consider how to add high platforms, if the next-gen LDSLs don’t have an integral lift. Dropped my wife at ALX to catch 97 the other night, and in watching others, was kind of dismayed how difficult it is for mobility-challenged folks to board.

And I’m not opposed to Amtrak adding ARL as a stop.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby BlueFlag » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:17 pm

Forgive me if this was posted elsewhere; if such is the case, I did an excellent job of overlooking it. Virginia is adding a second round trip to/from Norfolk March 4th. This coincides with completion of the Acca Yard bypass project in Richmond. Not sure where the proposed Newport News intermodal transportation center project is, but as explained to me about a year ago, that was supposed to be the next big project completed before DRPT programmed anything more, like a possible second Lynchburg regional. Here is the news release; apologies if I broke protocol with such a long post, but this being my first, if there is an easy way to link to a Word document, I am not yet there.

Virginia DRPT news release:

RICHMOND - Hampton Roads citizens will soon have more options to avoid traffic and congestion in tunnels and on Interstates 64 and 95 with the Monday, March 4th, debut of a second Amtrak train service serving Norfolk, Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine announced last week.

"Rail plays a critical role in our multimodal transportation system, with an economic impact of $73 billion of output across the Commonwealth," Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said. "The additional passenger rail service announced today will expand access, improve mobility, and create greater economic opportunity."

There are 699 miles of rail in the Hampton Roads area, which provides $45.1 billion of output, or 27.7% of the district's total output, and $1.2 billion in tax revenue, which comprises 22.2% of the district's total tax revenue. The rail industry employs 212,484 people in the Hampton Roads district, generating $12.2 billion in income for this work force.

"The new service to Hampton Roads offers new travel options as well as schedule changes that will improve the performance for these trains, said Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. "None of this would be possible without our close and valued partnerships with Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the Cities of Norfolk and Newport News."

The second daily roundtrip train to Norfolk is scheduled to begin Monday, March 4, 2019. In addition to the current 6:10 AM daily departure, the second Norfolk train will depart weekdays around 9:00 A.M. Passenger rail service to and from Norfolk is part of Amtrak's Northeast Regional train service connecting the Commonwealth to the northeast, offering customers a same-seat trip to and from 17 Virginia stations to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and other destinations. Additional details regarding schedules and ticket sales are forthcoming.

"Amtrak service is a vital alternative in the Commonwealth's overall transportation solution," said Joe McHugh, Vice President, State-Supported Business Development for Amtrak. "DRPT and other partners work together to meet the increasing demand for passenger rail service and provide additional capacity.

The addition of service to Norfolk also comes with the announcement of the completion of major construction work at CSX's Acca Yard in Richmond. The on-time, on-budget completion of the $132 million project decreases congestion for passenger and freight trains between Richmond's Main Street and Staples Mill Stations, increasing reliability for both Amtrak and CSX customers across the entire Commonwealth.

As part of the Commonwealth's investment in Acca Yard, CSX also granted additional capacity on its network between Richmond and Petersburg to allow for the additional Amtrak service to Norfolk. Details on the CSX Acca Yard project can be found here: https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-us/ ... -projects/

"CSX is pleased to work with the Commonwealth to complete this series of rail capacity projects on time and under budget," said Anne Reinke, Vice President of Government Affairs for CSX. "Improving rail traffic flow in and around Richmond will benefit rail passengers and freight customers alike, and will better position the region to capture economic growth opportunities."

Norfolk Southern was also a key partner in bringing the existing and new Norfolk passenger rail routes online. Inaugural Amtrak train service to Norfolk began in 2012 and marked the first passenger train out of the city since 1977. As part of the Commonwealth's initial investment in Norfolk Southern' s network between Petersburg and Norfolk, NS in turn granted additional capacity to allow for current and future Amtrak service to Norfolk.

The new Hampton Roads passenger rail service also includes optimized schedule changes to and from both Norfolk and Newport News stations. In addition to the second mid-morning departure and early-evening arrival to Norfolk, Newport News customers will also have the benefit of an early-morning departure and early-evening arrival, providing all Hampton Roads customers additional daily options to get Washington, D.C. and back. The optimized schedule also brings these new convenient options to Ettrick, Williamsburg, and Richmond's Main Street and Staples Mill Stations. For more information on the new schedules, please go to: http://drpt.virginia.gov/media/2687/hr- ... ekends.pdf.

Officials with the cities of Norfolk and Newport News expressed strong support over the improved service to the Hampton Roads region.

"The expansion of the passenger rail will continue to optimize travel, for business and leisure, to and from Norfolk, and will assist with propelling the city and the region to prosperity," said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.

"We are very excited about this additional Amtrak service to the region, and the revised schedules for the peninsula that will allow expanded day trips to Richmond and Washington. Along with our new multimodal transportation center, currently in the design phase, the improved passenger rail service will offer our residents more options and better facilities for travel in Virginia and the northeast," said McKinley Price, Mayor, City of Newport News.

Last week's announcement is the next chapter of Virginia's enormously successful commitment to growing passenger rail services across the state. The Commonwealth's initial investment in support of Amtrak began over a decade ago when it stepped up to save the Newport News service. Since then, four Governors from both parties have launched the nation's most successful state-supported service to Lynchburg in 2009, brought one train to Norfolk in 2012, worked with the General Assembly to create the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund, and returned passenger rail to Roanoke in 2018.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:41 pm

Don’t hold your breath about Crystal City getting a full time Amtrak station anytime soon. Alexandria is just down the road.
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Postby Arlington » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:47 pm

I think there's a good chance that Crystal City gets its act together and builds its skywalk and platform *before* VRE & Alexandria get their act together and build the long planned
Alexandria Metro-to-Train Underpass:

The project is on-hold as a study is undertaken to investigate construction methodologies to optimize the construction schedule and cost is underway and expected to be completed in Spring 2018. Final design will then be completed with advertisement for construction expected in early 2019.

Did anything actually happen in "Spring 2018"?

The CC2DCA, though, will also have an equally easy walk to the Crystal City Metro (if VRE is slightly relocated) as pictured in Fig. 5 of the CC2DCA feasibility study. And note that the Crystal City BID (tax district) proposes to pay for it.
VRE_to_CC_Metro.GIF

And also note that the DCA terminal is going to be expanded one full pier closer to CC (shown in Purple, below. ground broken June 2018, completion in 2021 With a new security screening (in red))
DCA_Design.jpg

National+Crystal City = has the potential to have a *lot* more activity (both sq ft of office space (Amazon) and trip making (National)) than Alexandria does.
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