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Rail Passenger Service to Airports the right way.

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Rail Passenger Service to Airports the right way.
Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, May 30, 2022 2:41 AM

While I have to admit, getting to the point of U.S. Transportation planners and Amtrak finally recognizing the convienence and utility of intermodal stations that combine rail with bus, light rail, etc.    It took how many decades before this happened in the United States after the Europeans started to build intermodally?

Anyways, I really think the next step is to finally bite the bullet on capital costs and integrate our airport rail stations more with the airport terminals.    There are several options here that would boost ridership or make the decision to use rail as an alternative from the airport terminal more palitable for most passengers.

1.  Bring the railroad onto airport property and just make the rail station an adjunct of an existing airport terminal or add a new rail terminal.

2.  Integrate the rail terminal into an all weather transit system where the passengers are exchanged from climate controlled terminal to climate controlled terminal without having to step outside and wait to catch a bus.

For both of the above Design the rail terminal to match the airport terminals in appearance and presentation of arrivals and departures so that tranferring passengers do not get a stepping into a new world type experience.

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Posted by Gramp on Monday, May 30, 2022 4:50 AM

Is that what Brightline is doing at the Orlando airport?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, May 30, 2022 8:52 AM

Gramp

Is that what Brightline is doing at the Orlando airport?

 
I believe, so, yes their terminal is on airport property and I think the plan is to connect it to the other terminals via the airport transit system.     Other terminals that I think have it nailed or hit it close are.
 
Michinana Airport - South Shore Line.
 
DFW Airport - DART light rail Orange Line to Downtown Dallas
DFW Airport - DART Silver line (Stadler rail diesel cars) to North Dallas and Dallas NE
DFW Airport - TexRail (Stadler rail diesel cars) to Fort Worth and Fort Worth SW.
 
DFW Airport - TRE Station is a complete miss though, way off airport property and a shuttle bus connects, station is outdoor as well.....just a platform with a roof over it.
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Posted by northeaster on Monday, May 30, 2022 1:54 PM

Back in the early 90's, my wife and I were on a trip to Florence, Italy on Alitlia Airlines, but the flight did not go to Florence, it landed in Rome and when we got off the plane we were directed to another part of the large concourse where an Italia train was parked at a high level platform for the remaining trip segment. On board the train were Alitalia stewardesses: very seamless travel.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 30, 2022 6:26 PM

Train has to do two very disparate things to be built out at all: get passengers QUICKLY from well-chosen satellites to terminal last-mile, AND transport airport workers from satellite locations or remote car-pool sites to their entrances.

Assume passengers may have luggage.  Perhaps lots and lots of luggage.

The train should make the trip faster than an express bus.  If it can't, run the service with express buses -- custom-built for the service.

The train will NOT come into the aircraft security zone.  The passengers will transfer to shuttles (again, custom-built) that will go to the terminals by road, in preferred or counterflow lanes if need be.  The employees will have their own shuttles, traversing a very different but just as quick and appropriate route.  No billion-dollar boondoggle monorail or track inserted into terminal architecture that didn't call for it... and sensible rescheduling of any existing terminal rail system for Toonerville meeting of all the trains.

Frankly I think that one of the potential 'draws' for an airport system is to use the same carrot many commuter systems do: free or reduced-rate secure parking, far away from the terminal sprawl.  

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Posted by York1 on Monday, May 30, 2022 6:31 PM

How about save all the time, tax money, and effort?

Passengers can get off the plane and walk to the airport entrance, call Uber, and take a ride directly from the airport to their home, hotel, or train station.

York1 John       

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, May 30, 2022 8:01 PM

northeaster

Back in the early 90's, my wife and I were on a trip to Florence, Italy on Alitlia Airlines, but the flight did not go to Florence, it landed in Rome and when we got off the plane we were directed to another part of the large concourse where an Italia train was parked at a high level platform for the remaining trip segment. On board the train were Alitalia stewardesses: very seamless travel.

 

Alitalia isn't around anymore. The Italian government finally put it out of its bankrupt misery.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, May 30, 2022 8:46 PM

On my trip to Switzerland about 5 years ago, we flew into Zurich, walked out the front door of the terminal across the access drive to the train terminal, and elevator/esclator down to either the concourse/ticket level, or all the way down to the platform level.  (I think we saw a passageway we could have taken under the access drive to avoid even the short walk outside.) It's a thru station, with trains from many points, and the next station is Zurich Central if you still need a connection.  We rode all the way from the airport almost all the way to our final destination (Zermatt) with only a transfer to meter gauge for the last few miles.

Returning, with transfer back to std gauge, we took the train all the way to the Geneva airport station, which is inside the airport terminal.  No need for shuttles, and there were trains to our destinations every half hour.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, May 30, 2022 9:33 PM

Atlanta airport. repeating myself.

If Amrak service to Montgomery and/or commuter rail to Fairburn - Newnan begins then the ATL airport can be easily be served.  There is an unmanned people mover next to the west end MARTA station operating to the consolidated car rental facility.

Underneath the mover's elevated guideway the CSX (A&WP) line passes.  There is enough room between the mover's columns to install a 2 -4 track station off the CSX main. All that would be needed is an elevator and stairs to the mover's track and new station that would give good access from trains to the airport. 

That train station would also give access to MARTA's College Park station with a somewhat long walk. The CLT - ATL HrSR could terminate there as well.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, May 30, 2022 9:41 PM

Atlanta airport. repeating myself.

If Amtrak service to Montgomery and/or commuter rail to Fairburn - Newnan begins then the ATL airport can be easily be served.  There is an unmanned people mover next to the west end MARTA station that operates to the consolidated car rental facility west of I-85.

Underneath the mover's elevated guideway the CSX (A&WP) line passes.  There is enough room between the mover's columns to install a 2 -4 track station off the CSX main. All that would be needed is an elevator and stairs to the mover's track and new station that would give good access from trains to the airport. 

That train station would also give access to MARTA's College Park station with a somewhat long walk. The proposed CLT - ATL HrSR could terminate there as well.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, May 30, 2022 11:22 PM

Frankfurt, Düsseldorf or the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport are good models of how it should work.

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Posted by Backshop on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 8:49 AM

The thing to remember is that you can't just have a "train to the airport".  You need a comprehensive transit network so the person can journey from a block or two from their house, all the way to the airport.  If not, they're going to have to pay to park their car somewhere, so they might as well drive to the airport and park it there.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 10:23 AM

York1
Passengers can get off the plane and walk to the airport entrance, call Uber, and take a ride directly from the airport to their home, hotel, or train station.

Dream on.    Uber, Lyft and the rest of the owner - operator car for hire franchise are very unreliable unless you only travel to large airports during normal business hours.   During the pandemic they were almost non-existant in places.    Reads like you either only tourist travel or do not travel that much.    BTW, as grocery shoppers or food delivery, they suck too.    Frequently the order is wrong, or they substitute stupidly (ie: chicken tenders for chicken breasts).    Their concern is the money as for quality, they are worse than the railroads for service and most of them are underinsured to carry passengers to boot.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 10:30 AM

Backshop

The thing to remember is that you can't just have a "train to the airport".  You need a comprehensive transit network so the person can journey from a block or two from their house, all the way to the airport.  If not, they're going to have to pay to park their car somewhere, so they might as well drive to the airport and park it there.

Not really, Brightline is door to door now with it's own car service which I would presume includes the driver loading the luggage into the car and unloading it or spotting the car next to a red cap station at the train station.

The new DART Silver Line comes within 2 miles of my home.    I can get a ride to and from it's station via a neighbor for travel too and from DFW Airport now and it is a direct and will be fast trip from the train station to airport not a dog leg route.   It will arrive right at Terminal A OR B (forget which).

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 11:39 AM

CMStPnP
Dream on.    Uber, Lyft and the rest of the owner - operator car for hire franchise are very unreliable unless you only travel to large airports during normal business hours.   During the pandemic they were almost non-existant in places.    Reads like you either only tourist travel or do not travel that much. 

 

1.  I travel a lot.

2.  I assumed that in your original post, you were referring to large airports.  Virtually every large city airport I've been in has taxi service if you don't like Uber.

3.  If you don't like taxi service or Uber, then maybe the answer is in your post about Brightline's car service.

4.  I have no desire to pay taxes to cover the huge costs of rerouting or building new train tracks and rebuilding airport terminals, just so we can be like Europe.

York1 John       

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 12:09 PM

York: I think it refers to directly boarding a train to a point farther away than just a local, transit-type service.  For example, a lot of people flying in or out of OHare would be better-served if they could board a train there onwards to Madison, WI instead of a bus, or directly to Champaign-Urbana, IL, or Iowa rather than schlunking down to Union Station and onward.

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Posted by Backshop on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 3:44 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
Backshop

The thing to remember is that you can't just have a "train to the airport".  You need a comprehensive transit network so the person can journey from a block or two from their house, all the way to the airport.  If not, they're going to have to pay to park their car somewhere, so they might as well drive to the airport and park it there.

 

Not really, Brightline is door to door now with it's own car service which I would presume includes the driver loading the luggage into the car and unloading it or spotting the car next to a red cap station at the train station.

The new DART Silver Line comes within 2 miles of my home.    I can get a ride to and from it's station via a neighbor for travel too and from DFW Airport now and it is a direct and will be fast trip from the train station to airport not a dog leg route.   It will arrive right at Terminal A OR B (forget which).

 

But how many US urban areas have a comprehensive transit system like that?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 9:41 PM

York1
I have no desire to pay taxes to cover the huge costs of rerouting or building new train tracks and rebuilding airport terminals, just so we can be like Europe.

Yes, I find that a problem in the Midwest where there is no coorelation in peoples heads that the faster construction or repair is completed on a highway the better it is for the economy.    So what inevitably happens is highway projects are stretched over several years as a money saving illusion without regard to Economic impact while the road and traffic flow is impaired.

The motivation is not "to be just like Europe", the motivation is to have the most efficient transportation system possible allowing the consumer to choose among the best choices.    Which has a direct relation to GDP growth and competitiveness against other countries that are paying to have those changes made......while we are not.   Eventually it is a wallet issue.   If you want to see your income decline over time.   Nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo and watching other countries pass us by.   Though I am not sure you'll get any tax savings because in the status quo model you end up paying more for an antiquated and less efficient system than you would with modernization.

Someone made the correct observation that the surface rail tracks in Chicago have really not changed all that much in over a century outside of abandonments and cutbacks.    For example you still cannot get an efficient rail routing from say Downtown Milwaukee to Chicago O'Hare field.     You can't even get a freight train to cross Chicago in a decent amount of time due to the horrible track configuration and wait times.   

A lot of people shrug their shoulders at that but there are costs we are all paying for it.    For one, the extra day or two it takes frieght to transit Chicago by rail costs rail specific time sensitive commodities on routings through the city or say if we are talking produce........the extra two days of that produce sitting in a refer waiting to cross Chicago is two days less on the shelf of a supermarket........there is an Economic cost to that for everyone.   Some traffic is diverted to trucks which seem to get across the city a lot faster,  Some traffic is routed around Chicago which adds to wear on equipment and extra burning of fuel, etc. etc.    You might think that is saving you tax money but it is hitting your pocketbook in other ways.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 11:03 AM

This, in a nutshell, brings up one of the greatest issues.

Look at Gateway, Texas Central, the southern extension of the Las Vegas project.  In all these cases, the local politicians and the local residents are implacably, unashamedly hostile to the development... to the extent that costs balloon, compromises are made, and the "proper" result is often cancelled or lost...

and who am I to say that this isn't Keynesian policy on large projects in action?

A very similar set of concerns can be seen in adoption of even 'dual-mode-lite' progressive electrification.  I think we are all agreed that some level of government funding would be necessary, even if it to arrange 'set-asides' of taxes to allocate priorities.  And that support will not be forthcoming from very many 'local' representatives, who see nothing but flyover benefits from the funds and only transient employment from the crews involved.  Just as I find it impossible that a 'mandated' conversion to ECP will be seen as national policy (even with the Fabian step of mandating automatic 'emergency brakes'), I don't see national policy covering what is usually spun as benefits to private -- PSR-addled run-for-the-benefit-of-a-few -- entities.  

Much of the argument since the early 2000s about autonomous vehicles has been avoidance of 'automatic highways' of the kind GM started developing in the '40s.  That includes things like the... was it German?... use of pantograph assist for electric trucks on grades, the counterpart of the first buildout stage of dual-mode-lite electrification.  It reminds me unpleasantly of the reason New Jersey wouldn't let you pump your own gas: the "service-station industry" would rapidly incorporate the savings and charge the markscustomers the same price they paid before.  

It might be interesting to see a non-crayonista discussion of a double-track through route to minimize Chicago congestion, confusion, and delay.  The problem I see is that many of the gains from that very expensive project could likely be achieved by subsidizing connection via, say, St. Louis (using those already-in-progress bridge betterments) with the subsidy coming from interest on the amount the project in Chicago will cost.  Of course all sorts of bridges have been burned with high-speed or high-capacity lines both from east and west through St. Louis... but would money be better spent there for much of the traffic, and would that relieve at least some of the net congestion going through Chicago?  

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 7:45 PM

Overmod
Texas Central

I think your going to be shocked to learn that not only is Amtrak interest in Dallas to Houston but I heard Brightline has it on it's short list as well for longer term plan of expansion.   It is definitely what they refer to as a "sweet spot" corridor due to the largely flat topography and almost arrow straight route as well as the distance and what it costs to fly a commercial jet between the two cities.

I long suspected Texas Central did not have any financial backing because they were so secretative about it.    Second issue I had was Japanese Bullet Train technology I don't think will ever fly in the United States as it is unproven in the United States and getting the technology up and running and approved is a hurdle plus having the Spanish run it vs the Japanese?     Seemed stupid.     Alstom or Siemens will end up with the contract for trainsets and probably the operation on a future system.   Alstom did a lot of work in the state previously with the long ago Texas Triangle proposal and was surprised that Texas Central did not leverage that past experience.

The other problem with Texas Central was their almost religious belief there could not be any intermediate stops, which increased the opposition to the project by the various landowners they were attempting to obtain right of way from.    The thought being, why are they giving up land for a project they will never benefit from or use.    Texas Central could have eroded that opposition in part by simply accepting a slower more than one stop alternative on their system and possibly adding trains that served two stations along the route but varying the two stations to be different per train.    Instead they insisted on only one intermediate stop.   

They also could easily have used Dallas Union Station via an elevated platform instead of opting for an entirely new station just a few hundred yards away.    In fact Dallas Union Station has it's basic design with all the amenities on the second floor and has the hallways built up there.   It was designed for passengers to climb to second floor on a grand staircase buy tickets or wait up there then proceed out the second floor in back of the station and descend down to the proper track by staircase(the staircases are removed in back now but you can see the exit points in back bricked up on the second level)    The first floor that serves Amtrak, TRE and Dart is essentially the basement.    Thought that was another stupid decision that cost unnecessary expenditure of money.   The engineering is in place at Dallas Union Station all that was needed was construction of the elevated platform which there is plenty of room for easily 6 tracks on an elevated structure that would finally provide decent shelter for the first level of tracks below.    There is also plenty of room around Dallas Union Station as well as sky rights for additional commercial development to make the station self supporting via leasing.

The last was the outside of Houston downtown station location, what was the point of that?    Building a station way the hell on the outter beltline freeway of Houston wasn't very intelligent in my view.    Even Brightline knows better than that.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 3:59 AM

Thoghtful analysis.

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Posted by n012944 on Saturday, June 11, 2022 4:01 PM

CMStPnP

    For example you still cannot get an efficient rail routing from say Downtown Milwaukee to Chicago O'Hare field.   

 

Sure you can.  There is a connection from the MILW's main line to the C&NW's "New Line" right by the former location of the Glenview Naval Air Station.  The New Line runs along the entire western edge of ORD.

 

 

CMStPnP

You can't even get a freight train to cross Chicago in a decent amount of time due to the horrible track configuration and wait times.   

 

Again, of course you can.  It is done every day.  Trains are run through the city quite regularly with only a crew change.

 

 

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, June 12, 2022 10:10 PM
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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, June 13, 2022 12:52 AM

n012944
Sure you can.  There is a connection from the MILW's main line to the C&NW's "New Line" right by the former location of the Glenview Naval Air Station.  The New Line runs along the entire western edge of ORD.  

Thats great but the phrase....."Efficient Rail Routing" - was intended to mean auto competive or better as well as to the terminal as discussed with more convience than a circuitous shuttle bus routing.

n012944
Again, of course you can.  It is done every day.  Trains are run through the city quite regularly with only a crew change.

So if you were in a car or truck and it took you that long you would think that was a decent amount of time?   I think an OTR trucker would have a different point of view.

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Posted by n012944 on Monday, June 13, 2022 8:43 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
n012944
Sure you can.  There is a connection from the MILW's main line to the C&NW's "New Line" right by the former location of the Glenview Naval Air Station.  The New Line runs along the entire western edge of ORD.  

 

Thats great but the phrase....."Efficient Rail Routing" - was intended to mean auto competive or better as well as to the terminal as discussed with more convience than a circuitous shuttle bus routing.

 

It would be a fast routing, and if the much talked about western terminal is added to ORD, would be just fine. 

 https://www.choosedupage.com/chicago-to-deliver-on-western-access-facility-for-passengers-at-ohare-officials-say/

 

CMStPnP
n012944
Again, of course you can.  It is done every day.  Trains are run through the city quite regularly with only a crew change.

 

So if you were in a car or truck and it took you that long you would think that was a decent amount of time?   I think an OTR trucker would have a different point of view.

 

Apples to oranges.  The train keeps moving, only stopping for crew changes.  All the while the OTR trucker must stop for his/hers mandatory 10 hours rest, or the car drivers night in the hotel.  Did you leave that part out because it didn't fit your argument, or because you are that unfamiliar to what you are talking about?

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 1:15 PM

n012944
The train keeps moving, only stopping for crew changes.  All the while the OTR trucker must stop for his/hers mandatory 10 hours rest, or the car drivers night in the hotel.  Did you leave that part out because it didn't fit your argument, or because you are that unfamiliar to what you are talking about?

Its not that simple for either the train or OTR Trucker.    As for the attempted insult, rather humorous you thought it was that simple and published that nonsense.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 1:18 PM

n012944
It would be a fast routing

Thats great but the point was auto competive not a vague definition of "fast routing".

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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 3:30 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
n012944
The train keeps moving, only stopping for crew changes.  All the while the OTR trucker must stop for his/hers mandatory 10 hours rest, or the car drivers night in the hotel.  Did you leave that part out because it didn't fit your argument, or because you are that unfamiliar to what you are talking about?

 

Its not that simple for either the train or OTR Trucker.    As for the attempted insult, rather humorous you thought it was that simple and published that nonsense.

 

 

It is very simple for the train.  Just stop, you are over your head, again.....

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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 3:38 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
n012944
It would be a fast routing

 

Thats great but the point was auto competive not a vague definition of "fast routing".

 

 

Sigh, I know you just want to argue when you are wrong, I am not falling into that trap. The New Line is a 50 mph freight railroad (according to the timetable), the MILW is an Amtrak line.  If you are as smart as you think you are, you should be able to figure out how long it will take to run that route.

 

 

(Hint, it would close to what Google Maps quotes the auto trip to be.  And that is factoring the stops made by Amtrak on the current route north of the connection.)

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Posted by Gramp on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 4:43 PM

Is the Baltimore airport/NEC connection a convenient place to transfer?

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