Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

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Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby davinp » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:41 am

Nine miles of new track and improvements to Quantico’s rail station is underway and are hoped to help alleviate some of the congestion on the busy Interstate 95 corridor between Stafford and Washington, D.C.

The Arkendale to Powell’s Creek ‘third track project’ on the Potomac River is a $115 million-dollar investment of federal and state funds to benefit intercity passenger rail service in the I-95 Corridor.

Part of a larger initiative, The Atlantic Gateway, the Arkendale project includes construction of a third track between Richmond and Washington. The third track segment will be used to enhance the performance schedule for intercity passenger service, high-speed passenger rail service, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter service while preserving freight operations by allowing trains to meet, pass or overtake other trains.

The Potomac Shores Station is a seperate project

http://potomaclocal.com/2017/08/18/20-y ... n-service/
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby mmi16 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:36 am

The operational problems that VRE presents to CSX will not be materially enhanced by the addition of a third track.

The problem is the VRE stations are not equipped to handle station work equally from either #2 or #3 track. Some VRE stations can, however, there is at least one station within every track segment between control points that can't; thus VRE must operate on #2 track for both the morning and afternoon operations. The requirement to operate VRE's on #2 track creates the congestion on the RF&P.

Virginia's money would have been better spent on upgrading all VRE stations to handle traffic from both #2 and #3 tracks.

For those that don't know, on the RF&P the Main tracks are numbered #2 and #3. Where they exist, #1 and #4 tracks are nominally sidings. In fact, CSX in most places has redefined and identified the former #1 & #4 track to be sidings. A true #1 Main track exists North of Franconia control Point to the RO control point.
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:06 pm

It seems that running southbound traffic on #2 track and northbound on # 3 during the VRE PMrush is simply running left-handed between Alexandria and Fredericksburg. Also, don't a couple of stations north of Quantico have platforms on both sides? If CSX doesn't run any of their stuff during the rush hour, things should run pretty well. If they simply HAVE to gum up the works by running freights, well yes: delays will ensue. I know, it's their railroad, but another main track would certainly help. As an aside, I've been on 98 on a weekday, and we were overtaking VRE trains heading for DC.
Last edited by Rockingham Racer on Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby mmi16 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:36 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:It seems that running southbound traffic on #2 track and northbound on # 1 during the VRE PMrush is simply running left-handed between Alexandria and Fredericksburg. Also, don't a couple of stations north of Quantico have platforms on both sides? If CSX doesn't run any of their stuff during the rush hour, things should run pretty well. If they simply HAVE to gum up the works by running freights, well yes: delays will ensue. I know, it's their railroad, but another main track would certainly help. As an aside, I've been on 98 on a weekday, and we were overtaking VRE trains heading for DC.

As I said, a number of VRE stations can handle traffic on either track, however, there is a least one station on every track segment between control points that can only be served from #2 track. To work those stations from #3 track takes extra time and effort for both the VRE crews and passengers, as well as additional work from the CSX Dispatcher to implement block protection for the other than standard move.

The track is CSX's and they are in the business to move freight. Conceding six or more hours, 5 days a week to exclusive VRE and/or Amtrak use of the tracks is not in CSX's financial best interests. Just having additional tracks doesn't buy the 'bang for the buck' unless VRE can use and make unrestricted station stops on any of the tracks that pass the stations.
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:55 am

Which stations do, in fact, have two platforms these days? Not being familiar with the area, how possible [or impossible] is it to put a second platform at all stations?
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby mmi16 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:01 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:Which stations do, in fact, have two platforms these days? Not being familiar with the area, how possible [or impossible] is it to put a second platform at all stations?

It is not just a matter of platforms. It is a matter of getting passengers to and from those platforms without crossing live tracks at grade.
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

An overpass, such as those recently built at the Shoreline East stations would solve the concern about crossing active tracks. Again: which VRE stations already have a platform on each side of the ROW?
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby mmi16 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:38 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:An overpass, such as those recently built at the Shoreline East stations would solve the concern about crossing active tracks. Again: which VRE stations already have a platform on each side of the ROW?

Can't state specifically - I didn't run the territory, just was involved in dispatching it.
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby Literalman » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:43 pm

VRE Fredericksburg line stations with platforms on more than one track:
Washington Union Station
Alexandria
Franconia-Springfield
Woodbridge
Quantico
Fredericksburg

I think that the only Manassas line station with more than one platform is Manassas, though Washington and Alexandria are served by the Manssas line too.

There are long-term plans, or at least intentions, to add platforms at more stations.
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Re: Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:47 pm

Thanks for that info!
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