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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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, July 19, 2019 9:58 PM

Friday a bad day for MARC delays waiting for an Amtrak train to clear.  22  Penn line trains so far waiting for Amtrak trains to clear.  Also a few unknown number delayed into or out of WASH on the other MARC lines.  Granted the excessive heat is causing some slow down of Amtrak electric trains due to the heat sagging the PRR type CAT.  

So the MARC and Amtrak along with the various governments need to start planning for 4 main tracks and constant tension CAT.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:09 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. 

Interesting and I would venture to guess if Chicago METRA did similar study or Amtrak did on METRA lines it might find similar.    Triple Tracking a line would be mutually beneficial to both METRA and Amtrak on the Chicago to Milwaukee line.  METRA could institute real express service and Amtrak as well as CP would have more trackspace to move their trains around slower moving or stopped METRA  trains.  

It would cost money but I think it would be an excellent Federal program to increase mobility as well as usage of METRA and Amtrak as a transportation choice.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, July 22, 2019 5:28 PM

Another bad day as the PRR style CAT is causing heat delays again for AMTRAK and cpnsequently MARC.

 

Service Advisory: Due to severe temperatures, we now have heat restrictions on all tracks between Baltimore (BAL) Washington (WAS).

 

MARC Service Alert <alert@mtamarylandalerts.com>
To:Maryland MTA Alerts Subscriber
 
Jul 21 at 2:22 PM
 
 
MARC Penn Line Train 487 (2:00 dpt Penn) is experiencing a 15-20 minute delay due to holding for a southbound regional train operating under heat related speed restrictions.

 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 1:25 AM

Amtrak and the commuter authoritiers should get together and draw up a different schedule for heat-restriction days.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Sunday, July 28, 2019 10:57 PM

Maybe, as most of us had predicted, MARC made a huge mistake abandoning electric power on the Penn Line.  Diesel Chargers are no match for the old AEM-7s and the newer HHP-8s (despite their slippy wheels). The ACS-64 would have been ideal even with the heat problem this time.

Should have replaced them with ACS-64s instead of diesel Siemens Chargers.

Minutes add up when the acceleration with diesels is factored in, even with heat delays due to obsolete catenary.  Someone didn't do due dilegence with MARC's new diesel fleet on the Penn Line.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 29, 2019 6:39 PM

aegrotatio
Maybe, as most of us had predicted, MARC made a huge mistake abandoning electric power on the Penn Line. 

Believe me, they didn't want to.  The only reason was economics, and it was a fairly massive one.  Had there been cheaper electrical power supply or fewer potential issues with maintenance expense, and had there not been 'specialized' expense for the electrics not shared by other MARC trains, there's no question that service would be better and quicker with electrics... or, for that matter, 'parallel' dual-modes.

One advantage of the diesel-powered 'sets' is that if at any time the economics or incentives change, it would be comparatively simple to substitute electric-capable power without changing anything else (except making the schedules faster!)

I may be less than popular for considering the HHP-8 a valid successor to the GG1, regardless of its maintenance 'foibles' (and yes, I also liked both 'flavors' of early MP-85 Metroliners and the Republic 'starships', warts and all) but there is nothing like watching (and feeling) in the cab car as one of these things pushes a long train into Washington...

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, July 29, 2019 8:03 PM

Overmod

  aegrotatio Maybe, as most of us had predicted, MARC made a huge mistake     abandoning electric power on the Penn Line. 

Believe me, they didn't want to.  The only reason was economics, and it was a fairly massive one.  Had there been cheaper electrical power supply or fewer potential issues with maintenance expense, and had there not been 'specialized' expense for the electrics not shared by other MARC trains, there's no question that service would be better and quicker with electrics...

Were the electric supply and maintenance expenses Amtrak charges?  Will MBTA have similar issues if they decide to go electric?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, July 29, 2019 9:30 PM

Electric capacity is somewhat of a problem.  We have no idea if Amtrak is limited in KWHs draw during high temperature days.  The commeercial power that Amtrak buys ay have a demand increase especially during the rush hours.  Example Amtrak may pay 4 cents per Kw up to 1M Kw but maybe some figure such as 12 cents per Kw over 1m for any 15 minute period?.   As well the present and future increase of just Amtrak service is to be noted as well.

Also note the transmission capacity of that section is suspect even with the new commercial source near WASH union station.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 9:33 AM

MidlandMike
Were the electric supply and maintenance expenses Amtrak charges?

I don't have any notes on the specifics at hand, but part of the situation is that comparatively little improvement over the Gibbs and Hill installation on the ex-PW&B has been made over the years, and I suspect that until constant-tension cat is put in (with the associated supply infrastructure, including wayside power) it will be periodically inadequate both in terms of overhead-line integrity and power management.  

What Amtrak charges MARC, of course, is likely not directly related to the actual cost or anticipated cost of power and maintenance plus a small nominal profit margin.  In fact, I can't blame them for wanting to put as much of the stranded cost on other agencies as possible.  PM Don Oltmann if necessary for the details on why Conrail abandoned using the "Amtrak" electrification by the early '80s, even for nothing more than accelerating assistance from 'dual-mode-lites'.

 

Will MBTA have similar issues if they decide to go electric?

If you mean Boston: that's a much newer installation, and I suspect more modern in design and lower-maintenance.  If the T administrators are as politically savvy as I suspect they are, they'll recognize how to apply a little spin to get the lowest price or best terms out of Amtrak.

For any lines not already electrified: you'd have to look carefully at the installation to figure out where any 'economies of scale' or synergies, e.g. in operation or power management, might exist.  At least some of any 'new' catenary construction would share spares, engineering, perhaps even a great amount of EIS information and boilerplate, and such things do have real monetary value for which Amtrak might merit 'compensation' beyond that for commodity power supply.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, August 03, 2019 2:24 PM
 
Maybe with the completetion there will fewer delays?
 
 
MARC Service Alert <alert@mtamarylandalerts.com>
To:Maryland MTA Alerts Subscriber
 
Aug 2 at 4:09 PM
 
 
Amtrak trackwork is completed between Washington and Odenton.  We thank our passengers for your patience during this necessary work.
 
Starting immediately, all trains will return to the regular boarding platforms at New Carrollton, Seabrook, Bowie State University and Odenton.  Northbound trains will board on Track 1 and southbound trains will board on Track 3.
 
Thank you for riding MARC Train.

 

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