VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Creek)

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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby the-rail-life » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:10 pm

Ok, I've definitely been looking. On Thursday and Friday we had some major delays for track work in different spots from just south of Quantico station through to Arkendale. Then there are a couple of other spots later on, one near where a bridge is being redone just north of Brooke, and another spot further south near Dahlgren Junction. For the main area in question, from what I've seen (and it could just be my imagination because its very subtle), it would appear that the right of way on the east of the existing tracks has been widened and graded. But this area is maybe about 2 miles long, starting almost right at the crossing at Arkendale and proceeding south through the turnouts, down to the bridge.
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby rustyr0824 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:16 pm

VRE recently posted the following on their web page.
Looks like good background information.
http://www.vre.org/about/procurement/rf ... yHill.html
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby rustyr0824 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:04 pm

While out hunting for the Quantico derailment, which I never did see. I saw that the replacement of the Courthouse Road road bridge is in full swing. Road realignment work has begun along with work to build a new two lane bridge north of the existing one lane bridge. I spoke to a worker who stated the whole operation should be wrapped up by June 2011. The new two lane bridge will be built and operational, then the original one lane bridge will be removed. One can expect this work will disrupt CSX/Amtrak/VRE trains to some extent as workers will need to dig pilings, install decking, remove old bridge etc. I do not know what the new bridge will look like, will it have a sidewalk, will it have non camera friendly fencing, etc. But if I can find that out, I will post it. As far as the railroad itself goes, I found no evidence of work, nor would I expect any as the RFP process is still in the works. I did see the Amtrak Auto Train sitting on Track 3 waiting for it's turn to go North at Brooke Station. And North of Quantico at Cherry Hill I saw some rail equipment on Track 3 waiting for their chance to come in and fix the track.
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby rustyr0824 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:19 pm

I did find the following. No mention of sidewalks or fencing, but sounds like ample room for two cars to pass, each with their own shoulder. Looks like completion will be Sept 2011.
http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010 ... 010/540202
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Arlington » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:27 pm

it is now abundantly clear that this project was *not* shovel ready, since they have only spent something like $500,000 (on engineering) out of the $75m of the project. I see no evidence on the VRE site that they've issued the construction contracts for which proposals were due back on August 20.

The Courthouse Bridge is work "done by others" as far as VRE is concerned, and is technically not part of the 3rd tracking project.

Is a 3rd track a Good project? Sure. But its seems dishonest to call it stimulus. Real stimulus was projects like Amtrak Downeaster's extension from Portland to Brunswick Maine, where PanAm Railways is out there now stringing CWR, replacing ties and moving ballast.

This? A whole lot of pencil pushing, and not a shovel turned. Sheesh.
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby rustyr0824 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:18 am

I think part of the issue is that the money has not been released by the feds yet. The freight railroads were none too happy with the FRA's mandate that if the money is handed over then on time status for Amtrak and VRE is guarenteed, and other simiar situations around the country. Of course the freight railroads didn't like that little tidbit being attached to the money so it was being reworked at FRA. But I have read in major train magazines that some money is starting to now to released.
When will we see that money around here, unsure.
And I agree if it was shovel ready, how come they didn't have construction contract in hand.
But I guess with everything related to the govt you can't put the cart before the horse, or the work to be done before the
receiving of money.
Will it help. Any extra track can only be a positive thing for VRE and Amtrak. Will it solve all problems, of course not.
But at least it's a baby step in the right direction.

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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Bob Bruhns » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:36 am

This is eleven-plus miles of track, and it will cost $75 million to do this? We are paying over $6 billion for 23 miles of two tracks in northern VA. Are there hidden costs in the $75 million figure?
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Arlington » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:41 pm

Bob Bruhns wrote:This is eleven-plus miles of track, and it will cost $75 million to do this? We are paying over $6 billion for 23 miles of two tracks in northern VA. Are there hidden costs in the $75 million figure?


I assume you are comparing the millions of dollars for VRE's 11-mile project to Metro/MWAA's billions of dollars. That's really not a useful comparison.

The Arkendale-Powell's Creek work involves adding *1 track* alongside 2 existing tracks, over an existing bridge (that has an empty "slot") and all within an existing right of way. This project is similar to the kind of "no surprises" projects that for-profit freight railroads pay for out of their own pocket: No land acquisition, little site preparation (a few culverts), no utility relocation, no tunnels, no new bridges, no stations, no parking, no power distribution system, no picky abutters to pay off. And the neighbors are mostly undeveloped land.

The Dulles extension OTOH, carves *two tracks* through a populated suburb and around a busy highway, taking land, bulldozing, re-routing road/water/telecom/sewers/electric, tunneling, bridging, building passenger stations, structured parking, underpasses, and power stations. And has to build a lot of temporary stuff and pay off a lot of grouchy neighbors all through construction. The tracks themselves are more expensive: twice the tracks and each needing a 3rd rail for power, fancy sensor/signaling for automatic train operation, and multiple crossover points for switching trains around blockages. 11 stations at (wild guess) $100m each gets you a billion right there. Aerial structures might cost $50m+ per mile. Tunnels $100m+ per mile (which is why they're bridging through Tysons, not tunneling) Much of the Dulles run is aerial (and that which isn't, is triggering aerial stations and road overpasses).

I can't promise you there aren't hidden costs in the VRE project, but it should put your mind at ease to know that the 3rd-tracking is more like a project a for-profit, privately-owned railroad would do for itself.
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Matt Johnson » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:07 pm

So, is the speed actually going up to 90 mph with this project, or is that some future enhancement?
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby strench707 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:35 am

I would guess that the speed would be the same speed as the new third track from AF Interlocking (Alexandria Va) to SPRINGFIELD Interlocking (Springfield Va), which is all concrete ties and new trackage.

I cannot find a CSX 2011 Engineer's Timetable anywhere which stinks because the 2008 doesn't encompass any of CSX's new trackwork.

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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Sand Box John » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:31 pm

@Arlington

Your estimated prices for the stations are significantly under what they are really going to cost. Each of the four stations in Tysons Corner will cost something over $250 million. The seven surface station in the median of the Access Road and Greenway will be close the that $250 million figure plus or minus. WMAA has chosen to go with a station in subway at the airport, the station alone will cost in the neighborhood of $350 million.

As Cody Phanstiehl once said, "A typical metro station is equivalent to a 75 story building laying on it side."
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Arlington » Sun May 01, 2011 12:38 pm

Sand Box John wrote:@Arlington
Your estimated prices for the stations are significantly under what they are really going to cost.


Thanks, I'll update the back of my envelope ;-). They really underscore how different Virginia's 3rd track is--because involves only a track--from building a whole heavy transit line.
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby Sand Box John » Sun May 01, 2011 3:25 pm

@Arlington

Bob Bruhns comparison of the CSX/VRE third track project to the metrorail branch extension is less like comparing apples to oranges but is more like comparing bicycles to jumbo jets. The upward estimates I stated makes it even more so.
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby cobra30689 » Sun May 15, 2011 7:54 pm

strench707 wrote:I would guess that the speed would be the same speed as the new third track from AF Interlocking (Alexandria Va) to SPRINGFIELD Interlocking (Springfield Va), which is all concrete ties and new trackage.

I cannot find a CSX 2011 Engineer's Timetable anywhere which stinks because the 2008 doesn't encompass any of CSX's new trackwork.

Davis


MAS for now is 70.....I don't know what CSX's hangup is with raising it.....
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Re: VRE's 11mi of High Speed Rail (Arkendale - Powell's Cree

Postby strench707 » Tue May 17, 2011 6:01 am

What would you estimate the new track is good for, 90ish maybe? That would be awesome if they could make that kind of speed!

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