need to 4 track penn line for MARC

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need to 4 track penn line for MARC
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, December 02, 2018 5:17 PM

A survey of MARC delays for the month of November revealed at least 97 trains delayed for at least 10 minutes waiting for an Amtrak train.  This does not include secondary delays of the equipment due to unable to make equipment turns.  On the other side only found 4 Amtrak trains delayed for MARC.  If the NEC from WASH to end of MARC territory was 4 tracked Amtrak would very seldom delay the MARC trains on the oter tracks.  Righ now track work along the route from BAL-WASH is causing single tracking causing major delays for both MARC and Amtrak.  There will always be some kind of trac work so the  need is evident. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 02, 2018 5:39 PM

blue streak 1
A survey of MARC delays for the month of November revealed at least 97 trains delayed for at least 10 minutes waiting for an Amtrak train.  This does not include secondary delays of the equipment due to unable to make equipment turns.  On the other side only found 4 Amtrak trains delayed for MARC.  If the NEC from WASH to end of MARC territory was 4 tracked Amtrak would very seldom delay the MARC trains on the oter tracks.  Righ now track work along the route from BAL-WASH is causing single tracking causing major delays for both MARC and Amtrak.  There will always be some kind of trac work so the  need is evident. 

AMTK protecting their own with their Dispatching.  Four tracking is fine, how much is MARC willing to pay for it?

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, December 03, 2018 2:26 AM

But I understand the State of Maryland has put tax-payer money toward a Maglev project.  The cost of 4-tracking would be far less and would do far more good.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 03, 2018 6:08 PM

Another reason for the four tracking project not related to Amtrak.  However these train equipments delayed will have additional delays waiting for Amtrak trains.  Amtrak was also delayed.

 
 
MARC Service Alert <alert@mtamarylandalerts.com>
To
MTA Maryland Alerts Subscriber
Today at 4:43 AM

 

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 8:06 AM

At least 21 MARC trains delayed 1st 15 days of December with 2 Amtraks delayed due to MARC .

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, January 04, 2019 8:03 PM

At least 37 MARC trains delayed last 15 days of december by  Amtrak  MARC delayed 4 Amtrak trains.  Good dispatching by Amtrak to protect the Amtrak trains.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, January 11, 2019 12:20 PM

blue streak 1
At least 37 MARC trains delayed last 15 days of december by  Amtrak  MARC delayed 4 Amtrak trains.  Good dispatching by Amtrak to protect the Amtrak trains.

Dispatchers know who write their paychecks.

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Posted by John Hankey on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:02 AM

Blue Streak-

Four-tracking the NEC south of Baltimore (and all the way to New York, for that matter) is an excellent idea, and one that has been around for a very long time. I recall the struggles in the late 1960s--early 1970s, with the fallout from the PC bankruptcy, creation of Amtrak, creation of Conrail, and first NEC reconstruction project.

It might be useful to keep in mind that MARC is a relatively recent major commuter train entity (getting off the ground in the late 1970s), and that the DC-Baltimore region had a long and rich history of commuter train operations that had almost totally atrophied before the State of Maryland woke up and had to begin rebuilding a reasonably effective system in the 1980s.

Amtrak, also, had all sorts of challenges with the NEC in the last quarter of the 20th century. Keep in mind that the NEC between Philadelphia and Washington is basically a post-Civil War railroad which has been constantly upgraded as money and traffic warranted. Everything Amtrak has done since it got control of the corridor in the 1970s has been catch-up, stop gap, incremental, and reactive. Much of the infrastructure is obsolete and limits current opportunities. Think of the early 1870s B&P tunnels (a horrible bottleneck approaching Baltimore's Penn Station from the south), aging catenary, and well-intentioned--but ugly and functionally dysfunctional "upgrades" like the BWI Station. It seemed like a good idea in the 1970s, but was executed with little thought for the future.

I mention all that to suggest that a DC-to-Baltimore maglev is probably 15-20 years off, and a clumsy demonstration project at best. It, again, seems like a good idea at the time and parts of it may actually be built--over budget, over schedule, and obsolete when it is finally opened with much less of a market than expected and prices so high that few can afford it.

I am fimiliar with the terrain and region. I see no plausible path to success for a DC-Balto maglev.

But back to your point: Improving the NEC (especially south of Baltimore) could be a wise and effective infrastructure investment, and much could be done in the next 5-10 years.

I don't think it would look like 4 tracks. But it could be broken into doable chunks, each supported by different constituencies and funding packages, because it always come down to the money.

Much of the route would benefit greatly from a third track, and there are many places where the RoW is wide enough to accommodate a third track. There are many places where the RoW cannot, and taking so much adjacent property for more tracks would be a hugely expensive--and politically toxic--undertaking.

I would be absolutely thrilled see a serious, common-sense, analysis of alternatives that looked at a kind of "next generation" of upgrades and possible improvements:

-- segments of third and maybe fourth track, placed strategically and based on future operations

-- Take full advantage of evolving PTC technology

-- More, perhaps better, high-speed turnouts and other hardware

-- Improve the entrances to Washington Union Station and Baltimore. The last few miles into both cities are basically 1940s railroading and ripe for 21st century re-imagining. CSX just did that with its Virginia Avenue Tunnel replacement program--which I think was a superbly executed project unfolding in the heart of DC and literally within sight of FRA HQ, the Capitol, and underneath a really pissy and influential urban environment.

-- In general, someone (and there are no shortage of interagency planning entities and vested interests) should get out front and make a clear, common-sense case that the existing NEC could and should be upgraded with proven solutions.

Yes--it would cost billions of dollars. But a great deal could be done in a relatively short period (5-10 years), in ways that would relieve congestion, shorten travel times, better connect Baltimore with Washington (Baltimore could be a real DC bedroom community), and spur transit oriented development in the 30 miles between the two cities' suburbs.

Four tracks is a great shorthand for rethinking that part of the NEC. Thanks for bringing it up.

JPH

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:17 PM

John:  Correct with your analysis.  Here is a 2007 ( no updates that we know) which has many of the suggestions you posted.  Especially check pages 13 - 16 that has a time line.  All is needed is MD and Federal funds.

https://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/files/marcplanfull.pdf 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 8:07 AM

Clearly, a well thought-out campaign to stop the very wasteful expenditures of funds on the maglev project and redirection to improving the NEC is long overdue.

Mag-Lev  15 years in the future, only the Baltimore - Washington market, expensive to operate, requires additional land taking, greater overall cost.

Improving the NEC   Only 5 yearsa in the future, benefits Baltimore - Washington market, most commnities between on or near the NEC, travelers to and from points north of Baltimore sll the way to Boston and possibly Maine, and sourth of Washington to Ricihmond, Norfolk, Atlanta, Florida, and Louisiana.  At much lower overall cost.

For gosh sakes get with it!

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 8:45 AM

Invest in some of the Chinese self-launching viaduct construction equipment (which is now possibly costed-down and available on reasonable capital terms) and put elevated express trackage over the existing bottleneck areas, incrementally at first as a kind of linear flyover?

Well, it worked for the 105...

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, January 17, 2019 8:14 PM

well Amtrak delayed at least 17 MARC trains first half of Jan,  MARC delayed just one Amtrak.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Friday, January 18, 2019 10:41 PM

Back when I was commuting on Amtrak (Solana Beach to Irvine), it was at least a weekly occurrence for the train I was riding to be delayed because a Metrolink train got the tack space. As Balt said, the dispatchers know who signs their checks.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, January 31, 2019 12:38 PM

Another broken rail ( due to cold? ) south of BAL delaying all MARC and Amtrak trains.

 

SERVICE ADVISORY: Due to a broken rail south of Baltimore (BAL) delays are to be expected to all Train operating through the area.

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, January 31, 2019 3:11 PM

More information on 3 rail breaks.  One was in the B&P tunnel.  Others unknown.  More tracks would vertainly changed the amount of delays.  MARC has listed over 60 delays for today + at least 6 cancellations.

 
MARC Service Alert <alert@mtamarylandalerts.com>
To:MTA Maryland Alerts Subscriber
 
‎Jan‎ ‎31 at ‎8‎:‎17‎ ‎AM
 
All Penn Line Trains are seeing severe delays due to Amtrak have broken rail in three different locations from the extreme cold weather conditions. 

 

 
MARC Service Alert <alert@mtamarylandalerts.com>
To:MTA Maryland Alerts Subscriber
 
‎Jan‎ ‎31 at ‎8‎:‎17‎ ‎AM
 
All Penn Line Trains are seeing severe delays due to Amtrak have broken rail in three different locations from the extreme cold weather conditions. 

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, January 31, 2019 9:01 PM

Welded rail is a technology that railroads have yet to MASTER at the extremes of temperature that can be experienced - Below Zero and Above 90 degrees F create big issues when they happen.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, February 04, 2019 7:17 PM

Too many delays last half of January to count .  Much unscheduled track work delayed MARC and Amtrak over the route during that time.  

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