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View Poll Results: Which city has the best rail system?
Baltimore 10 9.09%
Cleveland 10 9.09%
Pittsburgh 9 8.18%
St Louis 9 8.18%
Minneapolis/St Paul 12 10.91%
Seattle 15 13.64%
Portland 33 30.00%
Other 12 10.91%
Voters: 110. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-03-2018, 04:36 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,661 posts, read 1,770,490 times
Reputation: 2200

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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
The Red Line in Boston crosses the Longfellow Bridge.

I would also argue that since Denver and Salt Lake both have light rail that goes out like 20-25 miles into the Suburbs along freight ROW with stops up to 3 miles apart that they are practically commuter lines.
Forgot about that one. Thanks.

A lot of the "Second Subway Era" systems are hybrids of this sort, with stops spaced much farther apart on lines that extend well out into the suburbs.
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:57 AM
 
1,953 posts, read 2,569,218 times
Reputation: 1562
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
New York, Chicago and Boston are Philadelphia's peers in that they are the only US cities to have placed rapid transit subways into service prior to World War II.
Actually, since you noted that light rail systems count as subways (ie. Boston's Tremont subway), 2 other cities built extant Pre- World War II subway lines: Cleveland and Newark. Newark's system is more of a subway than Cleveland's because Newark's has at least 2 downtown subway stops before surfacing and traveling grade-separated toward the end, where there are private ROW grade crossings near the Grove Street terminal.

Cleveland's Shaker Heights LRT, was started in 1913 in Shaker Heights, but wasn't fully operational until it went all the way into Terminal Tower on Public Square in 1930. The only subway portion (or subway-like portion) is in/under Terminal Tower (now known is Tower City, with a shopping mall of that name inhabiting the former RR waiting areas). Some don't consider this a traditional subway because the Terminal Tower complex, including several streets in the area, are built on heavy concrete and steel-enforced pylons driven deep into the ground. However the effect is a subway as the Rapid lines and the downtown terminal are actually directly under Prospect Ave, and the eastern section built in the late 1920s actually travels in a short tunnel section under Ontario Street when accessing Tower City... Of course the old Shaker Hts Section (the Blue and Green Lines, now), whose 2-tracks are now shared with the 1955-built, east-west Red Line to E. 55th Street (the only place in the US where LRTs and HRTs share the same exact tracks in revenue operation. The Shaker Line, similar to Newark's City Subway line, is fully grade separated for 6 miles (traveling along RR ROW in open cuts and over bridges and, then, in a 1.3 mile open cut in the middle of Shaker Blvd, until it rises to a center-strip street level at Shaker Square at the edge of Cleveland.

(btw even though the Red Line didn't open until 1955, it had been projected and partially built (almost completely built out on the East side of town) at the time Terminal Tower/Union Station opened to the Shaker Rapid and passenger railroads.

Sadly little Rochester had a full LRT rapid transit line traveling from the city's northwest to southwest, with a 2-station downtown subway section, that was completely abandoned in the freeway-crazed 1950s. And of course Cincinnati came very close to opening a pre-WWII subway system until politics and the Depression thwarted plans. The finished tunnels are still extant (and somewhat of a tourist attraction, but rapid transit, to date, has never been implemented. The small downtown-to-Over-the-Rhine streetcar opened a few years ago. Not quite the same, though.

And then Milwaukee had converted the 7-mile core of its western interurban system into an elevated rapid transit system (called "Speedrail") which had a short 1-mile streetcar entry into downtown. I believe they partially built a subway to bring the cars into downtown that way, but the Depression halted work... it was never completed and Milwaukee's Speedrail died as a bus-converted system like the others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
The PATCO subway runs under Locust Street, not Walnut. It uses the east and south legs of what was supposed to have been a loop subway beneath Center City that would serve as a collector-distributor for the Broad Street trunk line.
Yes, and the Broad-Ridge Spur was designed as an option to siphon off southbound trains from the BSL and loop around Center City on what (as you note) on part of the projected loop that is today PATCO's Center City distributor. As I'm sure you know, the 1st rapid transit sections of what became the PATCO line opened in the 1930s from 8th & Market over then-new Ben Franklin bridge to the 2 downtown Camden Stations, and was known as the Bridge Line (I believe they only used single-cars then; at most 2-car trains). The Bridge Line shared train storage facilities where cars were kept just north of the 8th & Market Station and I believe Bridge Line cars were maintained via BSL facilities at Fern Rock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
No city counts its commuter (regional) rail lines as part of its rapid transit system.
It's too bad because this shouldn't be the case for Philly. It is the only American City with a fully-electrified, fully-integrated commuter rail system that allows downtown through service making SEPTA regional rail comparable, structurally, to S-Bahn systems of Germany, Paris' RER, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane's train systems and Copenhagen's S-Tog network, all of which run rapid transit-type operations. But after Philly's revolutionary Center City tunnel was built in 1984, SEPTA/the City failed to seriously upgrade regional rail operations, so it is essentially an old-style commuter train system with infrequent schedules, slow-boarding trains (either with the 2-door, either-end car vestibules of the older trains, or the mostly low platform boarding at outer city and suburban stations. Also the old slow signaling in, through Center Cities where the 13 routes interline greatly hampers train speeds, to as low as 5 and 10 mph between the 3 Center City stations. SEPTA Regional Rail should be upgraded to S-Bahn status.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Several of Chicago's terminal stations have more than four tracks, including Union Station and the northern terminal for the Metra Electric lines.
METRA Electric's trunk line is 4 tracks with express/local service from the Loop to the far southern edge of Chicago at 115th Street-Kensington. The South Shore interurban line to South Bend, IN, which shares METRA Electric tracks to access the Loop, runs express over this section as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
I know of no city other than New York where rapid transit trains use a road bridge to cross a river. Washington's Yellow Line does cross the Potomac on a dedicated bridge that's connected to a subway tunnel at both ends.
Actually, Portland's MAX LRT trains share the Steel Bridge with auto traffic over the Willamette River into downtown Portland.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
I don't think there are any subway stations in either Boston or Chicago that have been completely closed and abandoned, save for a section of Boston's Tremont Street subway tunnel that ran under two no-longer-extant streets.
Yes, but of course both all of the original Big 4 (pre-WWII) rapid transit systems abandoned several elevated lines that were either replaced by parallel subway (or in Chicago's case, freeway median lines) or simply abandoned all together. These include Boston's Atlantic Avenue el, Chicago's Humbolt Park, Stockyards and Garfield Park Lines, NYC's 3rd Ave el (among several others), and Philly's short Front Street el branch off the Market-Frankford Line from Market street south to the South Street ferry terminal.

Last edited by TheProf; 08-03-2018 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,661 posts, read 1,770,490 times
Reputation: 2200
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post

(Thanks for filling me in on Cleveland's history, and yes, I had forgotten Newark - but I think I may be excused for this because I had written "rapid transit subways" in my original sentence. Both of these are light metros, like the Green Line branches in Boston and the Philadelphia trolley lines once they enter the subway. Pittsburgh's newer (1984) downtown subway turned several of that city's trolley lines into light metros as well, and I should have included it on the "Second Subway Era" list too. Talk about perserverance: Talk of building a subway in Pittsburgh started in 1911.)

Yes, and the Broad-Ridge Spur was designed as an option to siphon off southbound trains from the BSL and loop around Center City on what (as you note) on part of the projected loop that is today PATCO's Center City distributor. As I'm sure you know, the 1st rapid transit sections of what became the PATCO line opened in the 1930s from 8th & Market over then-new Ben Franklin bridge to the 2 downtown Camden Stations, and was known as the Bridge Line (I believe they only used single-cars then; at most 2-car trains). The Bridge Line shared train storage facilities where cars were kept just north of the 8th & Market Station and I believe Bridge Line cars were maintained via BSL facilities at Fern Rock.
Bridge Line cars were indeed maintained at Fern Rock, but the on-line storage yard lies underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge, right at the point where trains emerge from the Camden subway. Since the Bridge Line subway was taken over for use by PATCO, I know of no time when this yard has been used to store trains - they do everything at the Lindenwold yard and shops. Had the originally envisioned short-turn local service to Ferry Avenue been implemented, it might have made sense to store some of the short-run trains there.



Quote:
It's too bad because this shouldn't be the case for Philly. It is the only American City with a fully-electrified, fully-integrated commuter rail system that allows downtown through service making SEPTA regional rail comparable, structurally, to S-Bahn systems of Germany, Paris' RER, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane's train systems and Copenhagen's S-Tog network, all of which run rapid transit-type operations. But after Philly's revolutionary Center City tunnel was built in 1984, SEPTA/the City failed to seriously upgrade regional rail operations, so it is essentially an old-style commuter train system with infrequent schedules, slow-boarding trains (either with the 2-door, either-end car vestibules of the older trains, or the mostly low platform boarding at outer city and suburban stations. Also the old slow signaling in, through Center Cities where the 13 routes interline greatly hampers train speeds, to as low as 5 and 10 mph between the 3 Center City stations. SEPTA Regional Rail should be upgraded to S-Bahn status.
Talk surfaces from time to time about running SEPTA Regional Rail more like rapid transit. Such talk usually dies down as quickly as it surfaces.

Quote:
Actually, Portland's MAX LRT trains share the Steel Bridge with auto traffic over the Willamette River into downtown Portland.
Thanks for the additional correction.

How does Portland's MAX score on grade separation/absence of grade crossings?

It just hit me that it too might qualify as a light metro. And since one line runs in a subway tunnel beneath Mt. Hood, and that tunnel even has a station in it, it too might be classes as a Second Subway Era system.




Quote:
Yes, but of course both all of the original Big 4 (pre-WWII) rapid transit systems abandoned several elevated lines that were either replaced by parallel subway (or in Chicago's case, freeway median lines) or simply abandoned all together. These include Boston's Atlantic Avenue el, Chicago's Humbolt Park, Stockyards and Garfield Park Lines, NYC's 3rd Ave el (among several others), and Philly's short Front Street el branch off the Market-Frankford Line from Market street south to the South Street ferry terminal.
Of course, the "Ferries El" was the original eastern end of Philly's first rapid transit line. Ridership dropped after the opening of the Ben Franklin Bridge and fell further when the subway across it entered service. It was dismantled in 1939, three years after the Bridge Line opened.
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