Washington--Baltimore

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

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Washington--Baltimore

Postby Thomas » Thu May 09, 2013 11:04 am

What is the status of the Baltimore Tunnel Replacement and NEC 4th Track?
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby gprimr1 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:39 am

It's badly needed, but from what I've seen, they are more interested in replacing bridges.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby jcepler1 » Fri May 10, 2013 12:01 pm

Baltimore Tunnel replacement is funded for preliminary engineering and environmental work only, not construction.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby Thomas » Fri May 10, 2013 3:53 pm

But then how many estimated years away are we from beginning construction on a new Baltimore Tunnel?
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby Thomas » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:54 pm

Folks--Good News:

It appears that Amtrak is moving ahead with the BandP Tunnel Replacement!!

http://procurement.amtrak.com/wps/porta ... JSUpJUFEh/

My question is, though, how long will the EIS take to complete for this project?
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby ThirdRail7 » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:19 pm

Public input sought on key Amtrak, MARC tunnel replacement in Baltimore

Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel below city considered a choke point for Northeast commuter, freight traffic

Please allow a brief "fair use" quote:

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs ... z34TBsHV8W


By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
5:38 p.m. EDT, June 11, 2014


State and federal transportation officials studying the replacement of an aged rail tunnel beneath Baltimore are opening the discussion to local residents and Amtrak and MARC commuters.

The 1.4-mile Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel, considered a key bottleneck for commuter and freight traffic up and down the nation's busy Northeast Corridor, is 141 years old and a curvy, tight fit for today's modern trains — limiting their capacity and reducing their speed.

The aging tunnel cuts beneath the Sandtown-Winchester, Upton and Bolton Hill neighborhoods of west and central Baltimore, between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Baltimore's Penn Station. It carries about 85 Amtrak trains, 57 MARC trains and one or two Norfolk Southern freight trains per day, officials said.

A $60 million engineering study to replace the tunnel, funded by the Federal Railroad Administration under its High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, began last fall and is expected to be completed by mid-2017. An environmental impact study also will be conducted.

Residents will be able to learn and ask questions about the project on June 19, when an "open house" will be held at Coppin State University, officials said. The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the second-floor atrium of the university's Talon Center, at 2500 W. North Ave. in Baltimore.

Officials also launched a website for project information: http://www.bptunnel.com.


Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs ... z34TCJFTvu
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby dt_rt40 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:37 am

At least the proverbial ball is rolling on this. I suppose I can see an engineering study taking $60 million - but so-called "environmental impact" studies crack me up in these cases. The "environment" of inner Baltimore is already pretty non-natural, and I expect adding one more train tunnel isn't really going to change that. Seem basic common sense should be followed...if a loader or dump truck spills its fuel, contain it before it flows into the bay. If something toxic is uncovered during the digging, dispose of it properly. Does all this really require another "study"?
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby Arlington » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:14 pm

Can someone enlighten us on what alternative options they are still actively considering for B&P tunnel replacement? (and why it would cost $60m to study them?)

In the 2011 alternatives study, it seemed like they came down in favor of the "Great Circle" option which is a single, rock-bored gentle arc between the existing B&P Portals costing $500m. If that study was "done", what's going to take $60m and until 2017 to study?

It is a little hard to tell, though, what the real decision was back in 2011:

1) Was the Great Circle just the "best at that time" option?
2) Does the Great Circle just *seem* like the winner because it (basically) shares portals (and so they talk about a "tunnel to replace the one between West Baltimore and Penn Station" but they don't mean to be taken literally on the portals, just on the need to replace?
3) Is the real purpose of this continued study to finally kill the badly-located Penn Station and push for a "real" Charles Center station? (as David Gunn, Amtrak's HSR plan, and Gov O'Malley (and lil ol me) might prefer?)

It is clear that the 2011 study rejected the Presstman St alignment (inherited, unbuilt, from the PRR). Presstman St has some seriously sharp turns. The 2011 study says the Great Circle given higher speeds on its gentle arc would save 2 minutes vs Presstman or the existing alignment.

If the Great Circle is a lock, what the heck are they spending $60m on to study "alternatives"? All that money just to know if it is two single-bores or one big bore under a rocky ridge?

But the Route 40, straight East-West alignment is so much better in the long term, in my opinion, because it would put all trains just 6 blocks or less from all the big downtown uses (it is a tad far north), and 8 from the inner harbor. Or if a future station was built, let the station jog south and leave the straight shot across Mulberry-Orleans for the WAS-PHL super express. Or put it a little west, where it can tie by pedestrian tunnel to Lexington Market (where the Light Rail and the Metro actually cross)
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby gprimr1 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:14 pm

I'll say it again and again, bring CSX in on the project. They want a new tunnel, Amtrak wants a new tunnel, MARC wants a new tunnel, how about everyone chip in?

CSX would get to run double stacks, and all they would need to do is rehab parts of the Hanover sub and build a new connection with the Baltimore Terminal. The state could use its power of eminent domain to seize the run down wearhouses where the wye tracks would need to go.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby NJTSmurf » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:00 pm

gprimr1 wrote:I'll say it again and again, bring CSX in on the project. They want a new tunnel, Amtrak wants a new tunnel, MARC wants a new tunnel, how about everyone chip in?



That all sounds great, but CSX will want to know what the others are bringing to the table. They would also be hesitant to spend their money to improve someone else's right of way.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:07 pm

gprimr1 wrote:I'll say it again and again, bring CSX in on the project. They want a new tunnel, Amtrak wants a new tunnel, MARC wants a new tunnel, how about everyone chip in?

CSX would get to run double stacks, and all they would need to do is rehab parts of the Hanover sub and build a new connection with the Baltimore Terminal. The state could use its power of eminent domain to seize the run down wearhouses where the wye tracks would need to go.


Isn't that the plan for this one? Build it to DS-under-wires clearances, Amtrak and tallest freights use the new tunnel, MARC and shorter freights get the old tunnel to themselves after it's taken offline/rehabbed/brought back online.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby mmi16 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:19 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
gprimr1 wrote:I'll say it again and again, bring CSX in on the project. They want a new tunnel, Amtrak wants a new tunnel, MARC wants a new tunnel, how about everyone chip in?

CSX would get to run double stacks, and all they would need to do is rehab parts of the Hanover sub and build a new connection with the Baltimore Terminal. The state could use its power of eminent domain to seize the run down wearhouses where the wye tracks would need to go.


Isn't that the plan for this one? Build it to DS-under-wires clearances, Amtrak and tallest freights use the new tunnel, MARC and shorter freights get the old tunnel to themselves after it's taken offline/rehabbed/brought back online.


CSX will not relinquish the ability to dispatch their own trains without Amtrak/MARC conflict.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby gprimr1 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:07 am

That's an amazing level of stupidity to turn down access to a tunnel that can accommodate high stacks.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:31 am

gprimr1 wrote:That's an amazing level of stupidity to turn down access to a tunnel that can accommodate high stacks.


NS is the one with NEC rights through Baltimore, not CSX. I think people might be confused which tunnel we're talking about here. This is the B&P Tunnel replacement + augmentation on the NEC/Penn Line, not the completely unrelated tunnels on the Camden Line/CSX Baltimore Terminal Subdiv.
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Re: Washington--Baltimore

Postby mmi16 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:52 pm

gprimr1 wrote:That's an amazing level of stupidity to turn down access to a tunnel that can accommodate high stacks.

Freight carriers and passenger carriers are both customer driven organizations. If you don't deliver what you promised the customer you would, you won't retain the customer for long.

Freight carriers operate on a 24 hour clock and cannot be subservient to Amtrak in the operation of freight lanes.

When Amtrak took control of the NEC they barred virtually all through CR traffic on the NEC. CR shifted most of their through traffic off the NEC and onto former B&O, RDG, CNJ, LV and West Short NYC routes between Selkirk and Potomac Yard. What freight traffic does get handled on the NEC is operated in very narrow windows (nominally Midnight to 6 AM or less)- miss today's window and you have to wait until tomorrow's window. Missing customer expectations by 24 hours is not a way to retain customers.

Despite what railfan's might think - railroads are in the BUSINESS of moving customer products between the various customers at the customers desires. If the carriers don't fulfill the customers expectations, they will find a carrier that will; that being the case freight carriers must control the facilities they use. Amtrak must do likewise, as their NEC operations cannot be conducted under the control of freight carriers.
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