Amtrak NEC Virginia Regional Service

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daybeers
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by daybeers » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:18 pm

Is upping the speed necessary or feasbile though?
electricron wrote: Yes, a diesel will work. How much time would going 125 mph save over going 79 mph over those 50 miles of track?
Here's the math:
50 miles / 125 mph = 0.40 hours
50 miles / 79 mph = 0.63 hours
0.63 - 0.40 = 0.23
0.23 hours x 60 minutes / hour = 13.8 minutes

njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:38 am

It looks like Bowers Hill would be at a crossroads location plus a good park n ride station. My suggestion would also be to build that station too in addition to Suffolk, especially if travel time is reduced east of Suffolk. If you live in the Hampton Roads region and work in DC, the train to NFK is great for business travelers.

mtuandrew
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:14 am

daybeers wrote:Is upping the speed necessary or feasbile though?
No and not to HSR levels respectively. 79 is ok, 90 is better but probably the most we will see.

Has anyone ever considered rebuilding through downtown Petersburg, rather than going around the outskirts?
Last edited by mtuandrew on Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Station Aficionado
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by Station Aficionado » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:17 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Has anyone ever considered rebuilding through downtown Petersburg, rather than going around the outskirts?
Likely not possible. At the west end of downtown, the climb up from the river to the top of the bluff on the north bank would be too steep. So you would have rebuild the ACL (or was it SAL?) bridge northeast of Petersburg Union Station. But part of the ROW north of the river has been obliterated by a highway interchange in Colonial Heights, and it appears there is too much development to permit a new ROW.

Besides, not sure there would be any savings in time and distance over the current route, and certainly not enough to make it worthwhile.

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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:53 pm

SA: ouch, I hadn’t seen that big traffic circle on the (EDIT: former ACL) right of way, which is what I was considering. Then again, I also didn’t realize just how close Petersburg-Ettrick Station was to Virginia State University; better to keep that traffic source anyway.
Last edited by mtuandrew on Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Arlington
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by Arlington » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:15 pm

As of Mid-2018, the Petersburg-area station was planned to move to Colonial Heights, which is 2.5 miles from (not walkable from) the current Ettrick Station:
http://www.progress-index.com/news/2018 ... ation-site" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Good maps from study ("Boulevard Site" was chosen on US-301 near I-95)
https://www.craterpdc.org/transportatio ... ntfile.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Full plans at:
https://www.craterpdc.org/transportatio ... imodal.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Google Map
https://goo.gl/maps/7EtHBNyWYjw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

While perhaps justified, there seems to be a subtext that now that trains are an amenity again, Ettrick and historically-black colleges in an unincorporated city can't win against Colonial Heights and better I-95 access.

I'd also note that the Richmond-Raleigh HSR study considered, but dropped, the idea of a cutoff through West Petersburg, but dropped it from the EIS II.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

mtuandrew
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:34 pm

Kinda dumb that they want to move to Colonial Heights given as they’re obviously still improving the Ettrick station: https://goo.gl/maps/KVKVaNP5Vtn" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (look at Street View if it doesn’t come up automatically, there appears to be concrete work underway. Also check out the heavyweight car-turned-home at the corner of South & Bessie!) The Colonial Heights location isn’t all that much more dense and appears to be somewhat further from downtown Colonial Heights.

I guess I see the appeal of a station on Rte 1/430 rather than off, but good signage is cheaper than a brand new facility.

The EGE
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by The EGE » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:26 pm

Petersburg is pretty much out of luck for a good station location. The ex-ACL is also completely impossible to recreate downtown - it actually ran down Washington Street.

In my fantasy world, you rebuild the ex-ACL north of downtown with grade separation over/under the rotary, then reuse Union Station. Norfolk trains run east onto the ex-N&W; southern trains run west on the ex-N&W, then a new connection to the rebuilt S-Line near Mill Road.

Station Aficionado
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by Station Aficionado » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:57 pm

I get the logic of a Colonial Heights station for the south suburban Richmond stop, and the Ettrick location is a little out of the way. That said, I would be surprised if Petersburg and VSU have thrown in the towel on the Ettrick location, the FRA notwithstanding.

mtuandrew
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:42 pm

The EGE wrote:Petersburg is pretty much out of luck for a good station location. The ex-ACL is also completely impossible to recreate downtown - it actually ran down Washington Street.

In my fantasy world, you rebuild the ex-ACL north of downtown with grade separation over/under the rotary, then reuse Union Station. Norfolk trains run east onto the ex-N&W; southern trains run west on the ex-N&W, then a new connection to the rebuilt S-Line near Mill Road.
That was my first thought too, either reusing Union Station or building a station near Southpark Mall. Unfortunately you’d also have to build a southeast leg at Collier Jct to accommodate any Amtrak trains that continue down the A-Line. (I don’t imagine all of them will move to the S-Line!) At that point, may as well keep trains where they are and save the former ACL as a rapid transit route or *gasp* a rail trail.

SA: seems like Petersburg would even prefer a station where Business US 460 crosses under CSX. Stops in Ettrick or Colonial Heights aren't a big help to their town at all.

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by Matt Johnson » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:46 pm

Well, since I'm the one advocating higher speeds, I suppose I should take this as a sobering reminder that safety must come first. I don't know how many grade crossings there are on the route, how many are unguarded, etc. aside from driving down to Wakefield one time during my grad school days at William & Mary and taking a few photos by the grade crossing there, which had gates. But word is that 125 hit a dump truck this evening, with one fatality reported.
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Rockingham Racer
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by Rockingham Racer » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:21 am

It's probably safe to say the train was operating safely and the dump truck was not. There seems to be a lot of this lately.

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STrRedWolf
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by STrRedWolf » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:17 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:It's probably safe to say the train was operating safely and the dump truck was not. There seems to be a lot of this lately.
It's also safe to say that anything over 99 mph requires removal of grade crossings, including private ones.
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electricron
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by electricron » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:38 am

STrRedWolf wrote:
Rockingham Racer wrote:It's probably safe to say the train was operating safely and the dump truck was not. There seems to be a lot of this lately.
It's also safe to say that anything over 99 mph requires removal of grade crossings, including private ones.
Maybe what you're suggesting should be the rule, but FRA regulations do not read that way.
As it is today, removal of all grade crossings is required for speeds over 125 mph. At speeds over 110 mph the railroad corridor requires improved reinforced gates at grade crossings. At speeds 80 mph and above, the railroad corridor requires improved signaling throughout.

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Amtrak706
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Re: Expanded Virginia Regional Service

Post by Amtrak706 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:23 pm

STrRedWolf wrote:
Rockingham Racer wrote:It's probably safe to say the train was operating safely and the dump truck was not. There seems to be a lot of this lately.
It's also safe to say that anything over 99 mph requires removal of grade crossings, including private ones.
It may also be safe to say that you have never been on an Empire Service train between Hudson, NY and Albany. There is a long stretch of 110 with several grade crossings, almost none of which are even upgraded to quad-gates or anything fancy. I believe there are even one or two unprotected crossings with no gates.

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