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Old 01-19-2014, 07:50 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
^ The HOV will require 3 people in your car to enter for free. If it's you +1 you can still use it if you pay the toll.

Having seen/used HOV lanes in the DC (where people used to ride with dummies and mannequins in the passenger seat) and NYC area HOV-2 is close to pointless - especially if it's also supposed to be a high frequency bus route. Free HOV-2 would completely clog up the system and remove the "R" from BRT.

My guess is that probably 1/3 of that $460 million for the Boulder BRT went to buy buses, build the stations (they look pretty elaborate, straddling the expressway, probably a few elevators per station), and build things like ramps, bridges and flyovers.

The other 2/3 went into buying land for the park & rides, building parking garages, running utilities to them, and buying the other associated rights of way both for the route itself and for the roads that will connect the park & ride lots to the existing street network.
I'm not complaining about how the money is divvied up, per se. And it's not supposed to be just for Boulder, either. It's for the whole US36 corridor, which includes the Broomfield employment hub. The whole thing has turned into a boondoggle. You apparently haven't been following this saga as I've posted. Originally, the NW corridor was supposed to get a train, heavy rail in this case. Then the RTD ran out of money to carry out that project, so the train was put off until 2042 or something. There never was an earlier set completion date, but other parts of the metro already have their light rail and more is being built to the tune of billions and billions of $$$. The RTD also wisely decided not to ask for another tax increase to complete the rail project sooner. They decided to tout this BRT, which, depending on who you believe was or wasn't part of the original FasTracks project RTD. Up here in the NW corridor, we call the train part the "ghost train". The general consensus is we'll never see it.

HOV-3 is just another way to get people to pay the toll. I've been in carpools, and the more people you get, the worse it gets. Put another way, I've said they're the devil's work, and the more people in them, the more diabolical!
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:44 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,952,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I'm not complaining about how the money is divvied up, per se. And it's not supposed to be just for Boulder, either. It's for the whole US36 corridor, which includes the Broomfield employment hub. The whole thing has turned into a boondoggle. You apparently haven't been following this saga as I've posted. Originally, the NW corridor was supposed to get a train, heavy rail in this case. Then the RTD ran out of money to carry out that project, so the train was put off until 2042 or something.
I'm not from Denver but I've been following T-REX/FasTracks for ~12 years. On the whole its been pretty impressive and I mean the building of a rail/rapid transit system from scratch and all the roadworks that have gone along with it.

But yeah, I get that it's a Denver-Boulder route - which is supposed to be commuter rail not heavy rail (heavy rail would be like the NYC subway, Chicago el, BART etc) and they didn't really "run out of money" so much as their revenue disappeared.

The buildout of the network was supposed to be (mostly) funded through the voter approved sales tax but 4 years into it revenue dried up post-GFC. It's starting to come back but obviously this puts them years behind the game.

I know people feel slighted because they're not getting commuter rail when they wanted it but in the short term I think it's better because you're getting a better service for less money and on a shorter time table.

It's not like the rail line isn't being built. The first phase is what, 16 months away from opening? It will probably reach Boulder in the next decade - it's not a particularly expensive segment. The 2042 date, from what I understand, is the date for completion of the Boulder to Longmont segment which, let's face it, for 1500 daily boardings, is not terribly important. I'm sure it will be as Denver continues to grow but as long as the right of way is secure and the necessary land gets purchased now before it skyrockets in value I don't see the harm in waiting.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:58 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
I'm not from Denver but I've been following T-REX/FasTracks for ~12 years. On the whole its been pretty impressive and I mean the building of a rail/rapid transit system from scratch and all the roadworks that have gone along with it.

But yeah, I get that it's a Denver-Boulder route - which is supposed to be commuter rail not heavy rail (heavy rail would be like the NYC subway, Chicago el, BART etc) and they didn't really "run out of money" so much as their revenue disappeared.

The buildout of the network was supposed to be (mostly) funded through the voter approved sales tax but 4 years into it revenue dried up post-GFC. It's starting to come back but obviously this puts them years behind the game.

I know people feel slighted because they're not getting commuter rail when they wanted it but in the short term I think it's better because you're getting a better service for less money and on a shorter time table.

It's not like the rail line isn't being built. The first phase is what, 16 months away from opening? It will probably reach Boulder in the next decade - it's not a particularly expensive segment. The 2042 date, from what I understand, is the date for completion of the Boulder to Longmont segment which, let's face it, for 1500 daily boardings, is not terribly important. I'm sure it will be as Denver continues to grow but as long as the right of way is secure and the necessary land gets purchased now before it skyrockets in value I don't see the harm in waiting.
I don't think you DO get it. This line is supposed use the Burlington, Northern and Santa Fe tracks past southeast Westminster, e.g. HEAVY RAIL. RTD stunned by BNSF's charge for use of northwest rail lines - The Denver Post With costs soaring for FasTracks' NW rail line, RTD eyes no-build option - Denver Business Journal

Where do you get the idea it will "probably reach Boulder in the next decade"? Nothing is being built past Westminster. I'm glad you're sure of things. No one here is. The idea of a statewide tax was just rejected last week. http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-c...-mpact-64-wont

A map of the proposed "ghost train" (Click on "Track Alignment Map").
http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/nw_4

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 01-19-2014 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:20 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,952,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't think you DO get it. This line is supposed use the Burlington, Northern and Santa Fe tracks past Westminster, e.g. HEAVY RAIL. RTD stunned by BNSF's charge for use of northwest rail lines - The Denver Post With costs soaring for FasTracks' NW rail line, RTD eyes no-build option - Denver Business Journal
The use of the term "heavy" and "light" has nothing to do with the weight of the trains - it has to do with the volume of passengers the different modes can handle. Referring to freight rail and the commuter trains that share tracks with them as "heavy rail" only happens in the UK and a few commonwealth countries. The rest of the world calls it regional rail, commuter rail, s-bahn or some variation.

Heavy rail = metro/subway/el

Quote:
Where do you get the idea it will "probably reach Boulder in the next decade"? Nothing is being built past Westminster. I'm glad you're sure of things. No one here is. The idea of a statewide tax was just rejected last week.
Where do I get the idea? Because I've been in the business for longer than a day and have seen this happen a few dozen times and I know when people are playing politics in the press to try to get one side or another to pony up more cash (or to make a RR look like it's trying to rip off the public). Where there's a will there's a way. If people in the corridor want it it will happen. Maybe not tomorrow but in a decade or so, yeah. A lot of the planning/design/engineering work has already been done and all of that stuff is leverage when it comes to federal funding.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:24 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
The use of the term "heavy" and "light" has nothing to do with the weight of the trains - it has to do with the volume of passengers the different modes can handle. Referring to freight rail and the commuter trains that share tracks with them as "heavy rail" only happens in the UK and a few commonwealth countries. The rest of the world calls it regional rail, commuter rail, s-bahn or some variation.

Heavy rail = metro/subway/el



Where do I get the idea? Because I've been in the business for longer than a day and have seen this happen a few dozen times and I know when people are playing politics in the press to try to get one side or another to pony up more cash (or to make a RR look like it's trying to rip off the public). Where there's a will there's a way. If people in the corridor want it it will happen. Maybe not tomorrow but in a decade or so, yeah. A lot of the planning/design/engineering work has already been done and all of that stuff is leverage when it comes to federal funding.
Well when I referred to it as "Light Rail", nei corrected me. So I call it heavy rail and you correct me.

You do not know Colorado politics like I know Colorado politics. Trust me. The Colorado state legislature cannot raise taxes by a dime. All tax increases have to be voted on by the electorate. The RTD does not have the money to finish the project as originally planned; they wisely decided not to go to the people for a tax increase last year, and the latest plan to try to raise money for this boondoggle is dead in the water. A decade will be here and gone and nothing will have happened.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:49 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well when I referred to it as "Light Rail", nei corrected me. So I call it heavy rail and you correct me.
I thought it counted as heavy rail, too. But checking wikipedia, heavy rail is a synonym for rapid rail transit.

Light rail is short trains, usually electric that are capable of running on the street. Usually runs at somewhat high frequencies (at least every 15 minutes).

Heavy rail is a completely grade separated rail transit system with longer trains running at high frequencies, carrying large volumes of people. Always electric.

Commuter/regional rail runs on mainline tracks, can be either diesel or electric. Generally longer distance lines and a bigger spacing between stops, but lower frequencies.

Of course, in real life some systems blur the line between each category. In particular, regional rail systems outside North America can have sections when lines run together where the frequencies are similar to heavy rail. If on the same ticketing system, it can resemble rapid transit. Vancouver has a rail system that's completely grade separated but with light car length trains and gets volumes closer to heavy rail systems. Honolulu is building a similar system. Interurbans had the route length and lower frequencies similar to commuter rail but trains that could street run like light rail.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:58 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,952,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well when I referred to it as "Light Rail", nei corrected me. So I call it heavy rail and you correct me.

You do not know Colorado politics like I know Colorado politics. Trust me. The Colorado state legislature cannot raise taxes by a dime. All tax increases have to be voted on by the electorate. The RTD does not have the money to finish the project as originally planned; they wisely decided not to go to the people for a tax increase last year, and the latest plan to try to raise money for this boondoggle is dead in the water. A decade will be here and gone and nothing will have happened.
The project didn't run out of money because of cost overruns or something else nefarious. The money just stopped coming in. Tax revenue is cyclical and that may or may not have been part of their planning. If it was I doubt they made it public. There's nothing to stop the Colorado economy from roaring back in a year or two and with it increased sales tax revenues. Like I said, it's not a very expensive line in the grand scheme of things (the section to Boulder) and the work that's been done so far (along with purchasing land for park & rides now) is a lot of leverage to pull in federal funding to cover the rest.

You also never know what's going to happen to the already allocated CA HSR funding if that project falls apart. There are several billion floating around there that will, no doubt, get spread around to other projects waiting in the federal pipeline. All it takes is an interested congressman and senator to get projects done on the federal level.

A "boondoggle" is some expensive piece of infrastructure that shouldn't get built because it's subpar, inadequate, unnecessary, whatever, but then gets built anyway because of bureaucratic inertia. NW Rail is the opposite of that.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:22 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,952,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I thought it counted as heavy rail, too. But checking wikipedia, heavy rail is a synonym for rapid rail transit.
In North America "heavy rail" is a synonym for what's called "metro" in the rest of the world but sometimes "subway" or "el" in North America. Saying "heavy rail" is just easier than saying "metro, subway or el" with the former implying a system of inter-connected lines.

Since all metro/subway systems in North America (excepting cleveland's red line) use a 3rd rail electric traction system it's a catch all term for the type of vehicle in use or proposed.

Quote:
Light rail is short trains, usually electric that are capable of running on the street. Usually runs at somewhat high frequencies (at least every 15 minutes).

Heavy rail is a completely grade separated rail transit system with longer trains running at high frequencies, carrying large volumes of people. Always electric.

Commuter/regional rail runs on mainline tracks, can be either diesel or electric. Generally longer distance lines and a bigger spacing between stops, but lower frequencies.
I think the frequency is largely irrelevant. There are plenty of light rail lines that run at 20 or 30 minute headways for most of the day and plenty of commuter lines that run at 5-10 minute headways during rush hour and every 15-20 minutes for the rest of the day.

Light Rail trains can have high level platforms or they can be low floor. There are a few diesel lines but these are mostly interurban or feeder type services. You don't see many of these running into or through major cities.

Heavy Rail can never be low-floor because of the 3rd rail.

Commuter rail in the US is mostly diesel but can be electric. LIRR is the only one that uses a 3rd rail because when it was built it needed to be compatible with the fledgling subway system. Some routes use double-decker passenger cars. There is no universal platform height but almost all of them use some form of high-level boarding or a set of stairs for stations that don't have platforms.

Quote:
Of course, in real life some systems blur the line between each category. In particular, regional rail systems outside North America can have sections when lines run together where the frequencies are similar to heavy rail.
This happens in the US as well. SEPTA, Metro North, NJ Transit and LIRR have several trunk lines that see +5 trains per hour even in the off peak. But having a high frequency isn't blurring the line. The trains used are completely different vehicles that can't share tracks - and that's the difference.

Quote:
If on the same ticketing system, it can resemble rapid transit. Vancouver has a rail system that's completely grade separated but with light car length trains and gets volumes closer to heavy rail systems. Honolulu is building a similar system. Interurbans had the route length and lower frequencies similar to commuter rail but trains that could street run like light rail.
Vancouver Sky Train is a driverless heavy rail line. I'm not sure why it gets referred to as a light rail line but I hear it a lot - maybe because the original cars are small?

But even if it was light rail it wouldn't stop it from getting close to the volumes normally associated with heavy rail systems. The name for that is "pre-metro" and a north american example would be the SF Muni where all the lines share a tunnel and when in the tunnel run just like a metro line. The Pittsburgh T does the same thing but it doesn't have anywhere near the volume to carry as the SF Muni does. As long as the cars have the capacity and you can run trains that are long enough there's nothing stopping light rail from doing a job very similar to metro. The difference is that most light rail lines are not grade separated their entire length, often run in the street for at least part of the route and so they can't run trains that are so long that they would routinely block intersections.

Interurbans were really just streetcars that (sometimes) were slightly longer and had more powerful motors. Once they got out of the central city they often rain in exclusive rights of way but they still used the same tracks and wires as the streetcars when in the city. Philadelphia still has 2 of its interurban routes - the 101 that runs to Media, PA and the 102 to Sharon Hill, PA. These routes were only recently (last 25 years) converted from trolley wire to catenary but otherwise look identical (aside from being a little longer) to the trolleys that run on the streets in West Philly.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:56 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
The project didn't run out of money because of cost overruns or something else nefarious. The money just stopped coming in. Tax revenue is cyclical and that may or may not have been part of their planning. If it was I doubt they made it public. There's nothing to stop the Colorado economy from roaring back in a year or two and with it increased sales tax revenues. Like I said, it's not a very expensive line in the grand scheme of things (the section to Boulder) and the work that's been done so far (along with purchasing land for park & rides now) is a lot of leverage to pull in federal funding to cover the rest.

You also never know what's going to happen to the already allocated CA HSR funding if that project falls apart. There are several billion floating around there that will, no doubt, get spread around to other projects waiting in the federal pipeline. All it takes is an interested congressman and senator to get projects done on the federal level.

A "boondoggle" is some expensive piece of infrastructure that shouldn't get built because it's subpar, inadequate, unnecessary, whatever, but then gets built anyway because of bureaucratic inertia. NW Rail is the opposite of that.
There were plenty of cost-estimate overruns, in some cases way overrun. You can find some in the links I posted in the last few posts, not to mention in all the previous links I've posted. They didn't know BNSF was going to charge so much for right of way, etc. They sold a pig in a poke.

I seriously doubt that the Colorado economy is going to come "roaring back" in a year or two. That's not what's predicted. That's not what's been happening.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_5929477?source=bb (Mind you from 2007, the overruns had already started.)

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 01-20-2014 at 08:52 AM..
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:08 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
In North America "heavy rail" is a synonym for what's called "metro" in the rest of the world but sometimes "subway" or "el" in North America. Saying "heavy rail" is just easier than saying "metro, subway or el" with the former implying a system of inter-connected lines.

Since all metro/subway systems in North America (excepting cleveland's red line) use a 3rd rail electric traction system it's a catch all term for the type of vehicle in use or proposed.
Also part of Boston's Blue line.

Quote:
I think the frequency is largely irrelevant. There are plenty of light rail lines that run at 20 or 30 minute headways for most of the day and plenty of commuter lines that run at 5-10 minute headways during rush hour and every 15-20 minutes for the rest of the day.
Generally, light rail is a local service with shorter stop spacing and higher frequencies. Compare, say Los Angeles light rail with its commuter rail. Or Philly's light rail with its commuter rail. I can't think of any commuter rail line with service every 15 minutes, except for shared lines close to the center city.


Quote:
Commuter rail in the US is mostly diesel but can be electric. LIRR is the only one that uses a 3rd rail because when it was built it needed to be compatible with the fledgling subway system. Some routes use double-decker passenger cars. There is no universal platform height but almost all of them use some form of high-level boarding or a set of stairs for stations that don't have platforms.
Metro North also use third rail within NY State.

Quote:
This happens in the US as well. SEPTA, Metro North, NJ Transit and LIRR have several trunk lines that see +5 trains per hour even in the off peak. But having a high frequency isn't blurring the line. The trains used are completely different vehicles that can't share tracks - and that's the difference.
First, to the user if the frequencies are similar the difference is small. And the trains can share tracks; as you said the NYC subway could run on LIRR tracks. In other parts of the world, it occasionally happens that the two systems use the same tracks for a bit. A few routes in London have that, it is the usual in Japan.

What’s a Subway/El? | Pedestrian Observations
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