Regional rail to Pottstown

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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby glennk419 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:47 am

mcgrath618 wrote:I know it’s a dumb fantasy, but it would be cool if SEPTA approached EMD and asked for an updated FL9, like an FL10. Those had pantographs IIRC, and that means they could operate through the CCCT without issue, and then be a diesel express to Norristown or something like that.


The first batch of FL9's had small pantographs that were used for shuttling around Grand Central terminal trackage where there were wide gaps in the third rail. The catenary there was only 600 VDC, not the 11 KV AC that is used on SEPTA. Those pantographs were also removed relatively quickly and later orders of FL9's did not have them.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby mcgrath618 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:59 am

glennk419 wrote:
mcgrath618 wrote:I know it’s a dumb fantasy, but it would be cool if SEPTA approached EMD and asked for an updated FL9, like an FL10. Those had pantographs IIRC, and that means they could operate through the CCCT without issue, and then be a diesel express to Norristown or something like that.


The first batch of FL9's had small pantographs that were used for shuttling around Grand Central terminal trackage where there were wide gaps in the third rail. The catenary there was only 600 VDC, not the 11 KV AC that is used on SEPTA. Those pantographs were also removed relatively quickly and later orders of FL9's did not have them.

My point was that it COULD be done. EMD could easily modify those things to make them work with SEPTA’s constraints.
Maybe I just think Bombardier and Siemens make ugly trains, and I’m just hoping we’ll see F units again.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby Nasadowsk » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:14 pm

mcgrath618 wrote:Maybe I just think Bombardier and Siemens make ugly trains, and I’m just hoping we’ll see F units again.


Get used to it. Nobody's ever going to build anything like an F unit again. It's an ancient design. There's better now.

EMD is basically gone, anyway. The F-125s aren't doing too well, and they haven't sold any passenger power to anyone in years.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby ChesterValley » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:02 pm

GE's been eliminating their locomotive division in Erie, and GE in general is trying to shed anything that they aren't number one in, and the EMD division is on the chopping block. Siemens would be better to try and get a custom Charger locomotive, but SEPTA would probably go with an ALP-45DP. Making a custom locomotive to conform to FRA crash standards is hard enough as it stands, and Stadler would be unlikely.

Being realistic, given SEPTA's history, copper out to Phoenixville would be the only real option they would consider unless they wanted to pull a NHSL extension from Valley Forge on top of the KOP spur out of their butts.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby zebrasepta » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:30 pm

ChesterValley wrote:GE's been eliminating their locomotive division in Erie, and GE in general is trying to shed anything that they aren't number one in, and the EMD division is on the chopping block. Siemens would be better to try and get a custom Charger locomotive, but SEPTA would probably go with an ALP-45DP. Making a custom locomotive to conform to FRA crash standards is hard enough as it stands, and Stadler would be unlikely.

Being realistic, given SEPTA's history, copper out to Phoenixville would be the only real option they would consider unless they wanted to pull a NHSL extension from Valley Forge on top of the KOP spur out of their butts.

If SEPTA gets the money to electrify to Pottstown it would cost billions seeing how expensive the Wawa extension project has been and it would take over 100 years to finish the project looking at how slow the Wawa extension has been.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby dowlingm » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:36 pm

There will almost certainly be surplus ALP45s in Montreal in a few years which depending on other potential buyers may be available for whatever change SEPTA happened to have under the cushions...
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby ChesterValley » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:56 am

I took a closer look at the proposal from the consulting meeting found here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4741524-Task-Force-Meeting-2.html#document/p11/a446273, and another article from WHYY https://whyy.org/articles/a-long-shot-plan-to-extend-regional-rail-to-phoenixville-could-revolutionize-how-infrastructure-is-built/

What they are proposing is leasing rolling stock to run "Weekday peak periods...three rounds trips per day" while storing that equipment at Cromby. In conjunction with building three new stations at Phoenixville, Perkiomen junction, and Port Kennedy at a capital cost of 15 million and operating cost of 2.7 million. This does not include locomotive or rolling stock rental costs.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby mcgrath618 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:24 pm

Basically, Phoenixville wants to just test the waters with this extension, and if the trains pull crowds, then after the testing period a full restoration of service would be considered.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby NorthPennLimited » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:06 pm

Not sure how “crowded” the trains will be to Phoenixville for 2 reasons:

(1) it already takes SEPTA an hour to get a train from center city to Norristown. Add another 20 minutes to the current trip time and you loose your competitive edge against a highway.

(2) the current proposal calls for 3 trains (round trips per day) to Phoenixville. Unless you have a government job downtown with strict office hours, how do you work your schedule around the train schedule to Phoenixville if you have an early AM meeting or late meeting? Inconvenience in the schedule with sparse service will deter people with offices that require irregular hours or flex time.

All the same, I wish them the best of luck and commend their efforts to think outside the box to get the trains rolling
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby ChesterValley » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:01 pm

If they somehow pull this off, I'd be interested to see them use this type of programs on other lines. I would think there would be interest, considering Port Kennedy station is right next door to two big apartment complexes and the end of the 125 . The 99 bus also has some ridership, and the 422 corridor as we all know is always just a mess every rush hour with an increase in traffic for the foreseeable future. Admittedly, this proposal runs less trains per day than Cynwyd, which is troubling for ridership. A base of reverse commuters could also use this with adequate connecting buses.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby bikentransit » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:41 pm

It's time to try something different. Not every line needs clock-face service. It works for Marc and others, so instead of shooting it down for that reason, give it a try. 422 and 76 are nightmare commutes. I can't believe people do it, but if they can lease some equipment and do some pilot stations, costs can be contained and we can get something rolling. We've had zero restoration here, it's time to look for other ways to do it.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby rr503 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:36 pm

This isn't gonna work unless they can pull off hourly or better service during the day. One reason transit ridership in this nation is so damn low is because transit providers (and the people who fund them) forget that people need to move around beyond commutation. The lack of service to those markets/time periods all but forces folks to keep/use a car, weakening the case for them to use transit at all. So really, then, your clientele becomes those too poor to afford cars under any circumstances, and those who live in areas with traffic so bad that poorly managed rail systems are better. I'm all for them trying to pull off this extension with their own cash, but I think it will need more than 3rt.

Now if only we had dual mode DMUs...

bikentransit wrote:It's time to try something different. Not every line needs clock-face service. It works for Marc and others, so instead of shooting it down for that reason, give it a try. 422 and 76 are nightmare commutes. I can't believe people do it, but if they can lease some equipment and do some pilot stations, costs can be contained and we can get something rolling. We've had zero restoration here, it's time to look for other ways to do it.


MARC works precisely because D.C. is such a 9-5 town. Lots of people in government and virtually no nightlife to be seen. Philly -- and Phoenixville -- aren't that.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby bikentransit » Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:29 am

Well start small and go from there. If all we can afford is a Yugo to get started, it's better than hoofing it.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:37 am

bikentransit wrote:Well start small and go from there. If all we can afford is a Yugo to get started, it's better than hoofing it.

But NS will charge Rolls Royce prices to use the Harrisburg Line, it would cost Bugatti prices to build along the NS ROW, and it would cost Koenigsegg prices to rebuild on the north bank. Why run a Yugo on an autobahn?
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:01 pm

Also, if initial ridership is low because of scant frequency, such as lack of a couple of "cleanup" trains after the pm rush hour, it may be difficult to get funding for expansion of service, making the initial low ridership a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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