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1.6 Billion $$$$$$$ for 9.5 miles of light rail track?Its time to audit the Federal Transit Adminstration!!!

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1.6 Billion $$$$$$$ for 9.5 miles of light rail track?Its time to audit the Federal Transit Adminstration!!!
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Thursday, March 02, 2017 10:21 AM

From RT&S-

CATS attributed the delay to "construction coordination challenges." CATS says the system also needs to go through remaining system integration testing, vehicle burn-in, signalization testing and safety reviews. The delay will not affect the original $1.16 billion budget with the agency saying the project remains under budget.

Gee for 1.16 billion dollers you could but a entire class 2 railroad. Considering that this project used mostly public land along the state owned NC railroad you could have expanded commuter service for less money using DMUs.

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Thursday, March 02, 2017 5:34 PM

With numbers like this it is hard to justify rail as as a cost saving measure. Though we hope that real estate investment in the area will exceed 1.6 Billion dollers because of the rail connection.

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Posted by PHILIP V NICHOLS on Friday, May 19, 2017 2:55 PM

You forgot to "factor in" the politicians who need to receive campaign contributions from the contractors - in exchange for their favorable votes for the extension. That money always comes from the taxpayers.

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Friday, May 19, 2017 8:33 PM

If investment along other light rail corridors in the U.S. is any indication you can expect a tripling of the dollar amount invested by public companies with regards to commercial and residential development along this corridor...something even freeways can't match.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:26 AM

They were talking almost one billion dollars for approximately the same amount of milage for a light rail system in New Jersey that would run along the old Northern Branch of the Erie Railroad, now owned by CSX.  CSX would dearly love to abandon the same from what I've read.

Of course, that one billion cost I attributed to good ol' New Jersey waste, inefficiency and corruption.  Which is why we left 30 years ago.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, May 20, 2017 10:00 AM

CandOforprogress2
With numbers like this it is hard to justify rail as as a cost saving measure.

It would make me wonder if cost saving was a reason for the Blue Line Extension.

Usually here in Europe the reasons are development of quarters along the route, taking cars from congested streets, relaxing parking situation, getting cleaner air.

BLE uses the NCRR row on about half the length. I read that more than 300 properties had to be bought.

If using NCRR track would be a good decision? You would have to follow the FRA rules for everything, including crashworthiness rules. They are much stricter than for light rail.
Regards, Volker

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, May 20, 2017 10:14 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
You would have to follow the FRA rules for everything, including crashworthiness rules. They are much stricter than for light rail.

Just as a note: you don't.

The 'simple'' way is to provide limited hours for the transit operation, and require any 'general system' freight access to be fully completed outside that window. 

It is also possible to apply for a FRA waiver, which as I understand it (never having personally applied for one) involves reasonable proof that the lightweight transit vehicles can be kept out of contact with heavy rail equipment, or have safety measures that make them at least as "safe" for passengers as compliant equipment would be.

There was or is a DOT/FRA program to decide on waivers for high-speed equipment -- it's probably valuable to remember that Acela is the porky abortion of a "high-speed train" it is largely because it had to conform to the FRA standards -- and I believe at least one of the 'true HSR' projects under way now is involved with this.  Whether it would survive the first Eschede-style high-speed 'news opportunity' involving an American consist built under official 'waiver' is another matter...

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, May 20, 2017 3:08 PM

The question is is it possible to achive this kind of pattern between a light-rail system and NCRR.

Even with a waiver the crashworthiness requirements are much higher than for light-rail vehicles. The Siemens ACS-64 got a waiver and still is about 11 tons heavier than the Siemens Vectron the European parent model. Cause are very different crashworthiness philosophies. But that topic is to complex to discuss in this thread.

With high-speed trains on the horizon in the USA the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (part of DOT) started to compare FRA and European standards (using crush zones like cars).

Here are the result of different crash scenarios using FRA compliant cars and locomotives as well as using Crash Energy Management compliant equipment:
https://ntl.bts.gov/lib/42000/42800/42836/rr0606.pdf

RME
Whether it would survive the first Eschede-style high-speed 'news opportunity' involving an American consist built under official 'waiver' is another matter...

There will remain crash scenarios that are not endurable independent of standard. the European standards were developed investigating more than 300 accidents. About 80% of the found scenarios are covered by todays European standards.

Eschede would not be in the 80%. But the main reason for Eschede was eliminated. Main reason was a broken wheel rim seperated from the wheel by an elastic inlay. This type of wheel was banned from use on railroads and replaced on ICE trains.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:43 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
The question is is it possible to achive this kind of pattern between a light-rail system and NCRR.

If this possible RME is right the light rail transit systems doesn't have to follow FRA crashworthiness rules. I jumped to conclusions in my first post.

To get back to BLE and NCRR there was an analysis called "Analysis of the Use of the NCRR Corridor for Light Rail Transit".
http://www.ourtransitfuture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2.11a-01036-REV-Analysis-Use-NCRR-Corr-LRT-22Nov13.pdf

On page 33 the BLE using the NCRR row is discussed: Quote: "There are currently two freight tracks in the 200' right-of-way. Future plans negotiated by all parties call for a total of 3 to 4 freight tracks, 2 high-speed rail tracks, and two light-rail tracks." End of quote.

Perhaps these future extensions made shared-track with the NCRR tracks unfeasible.
Regards, Volker

RME
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Posted by RME on Sunday, May 21, 2017 10:58 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
"Future plans negotiated by all parties call for a total of 3 to 4 freight tracks, 2 high-speed rail tracks, and two light-rail tracks."

That is a picture in which temporal separation will likely not work -- if there is enough freight traffic for multiple tracks it's unlikely to be restricted to off-hours, and much of the special track construction and some of the problems (e.g. enhanced corrugation) for light rail doesn't happily coexist with 'best practice' freight track design and maintenance.  There are some cases in which the freight operator doesn't want to be limited by temporal restrictions.

On the other hand, perhaps that 'prediction' just gives the ideal case where 'money is no object', and light rail, HSR, and freight happily coexist on their own protected tracks without any possibility of interference.  Perhaps tacitly, this assumes that the 'take rate' of the light rail is sufficient to run multiple trains over a significant number of dayparts if not full 24 hours, and that there is adequate demand for full HSR independent of freight on, say, class 9 top-down slab track built to accommodate HAL.

I suspect if you are running mainline freights at any particular speed it would be unwise to use 'waiver' equipment on the same tracks until FRA/DOT has a defined set of standards for permissible kinds and uses of 'lighter' equipment.

It's common sense to note this, but you don't want to share any kind of HSR track with slower transit or 'interurban' regional, even if both types of trains use comparable lightweight construction compared to interchange freight.

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