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Old 01-01-2015, 05:38 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
But it is untrue that Denver has no public rail transportation, which is what was implied in the OP.
Ok, but I never commented on that implication, I was paying more attention to whether it was literally correct.

================================================

This might illustrate the difference. The close-in Boston suburb of Newton has both light rail and commuter rail. Here's what its light rail looks like:



Here's a commuter train:



both images from wikipedia. The commuter rail has stops further apart, bigger trains, and the trains come less often, especially outside rush hour. Freight shares tracks with that commuter line, though most of it doesn't get much freight and the freight companies don't own the line. The light rail has more stops in the center city, while the commuter rail only has two, making it more likely that your workplace would be a short walk away. The overall time of the commuter rail is faster, but the light rail has a higher ridership in Newton. Besides cheaper fares (perhaps not a huge factor is Newton is rather wealthy), more stations mean more people live near the station and the trains come more often. The light rail doesn't suffer the problem I_love_spam mentions, it goes through the areas where there's the most people and shops, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon. A Boston light rail has been proposed parallel to a commuter rail line. The commuter rail goes out much further (out to 45 miles), while a light rail line that stopped that often would be too slow.

Salt Lake City has commuter and light rail, too. Again, the light rail doesn't go as far out but runs more often. Denver's new commuter rail doesn't differ as much from light rail as it does in most American metros. The Denver commuter rail isn't that much longer than the longest light rail line: East Rail (commuter) is 22 miles, while the longest light rail line (Southeast Corridor) is 19 miles long. The commuter rail line is electric, like light rail. Most of Denver's light rail runs in its own right of way not in the street, like commuter rail. Its frequency is better than most commuter rail lines off peak, a train every 30 minutes off peak; a train every hour is common off peak. But it's still much less frequent than Denver's light rail, and has less stops.

Last edited by nei; 01-01-2015 at 05:59 PM..
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:12 PM
 
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I suppose light rail has its place, but often doesn't go that far out. I didn't realize there is one 20 miles long. But commuter rail can go further. Because it doesn't run constantly it can run on freight lines without restricting freights to the early morning. And it doesn't need overhead catenary (though some commuter lines use it). I suppose in Denver light rail is fulfilling some of the role of commuter rail, which I didn't realize.

I also read that the cars will have room for bicycle storage. Most established commuter rail systems do not allow bicycles during peak periods.

Last edited by pvande55; 01-01-2015 at 07:38 PM.. Reason: Add bicycle note
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:41 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
I suppose light rail has its place, but often doesn't go that far out. I didn't realize there is one 20 miles long. But commuter rail can go further. Because it doesn't run constantly it can run on freight lines without restricting freights to the early morning. And it doesn't need overhead catenary (though some commuter lines use it). I suppose in Denver light rail is fulfilling some of the role of commuter rail, which I didn't realize.

I also read that the cars will have room for bicycle storage. Most established commuter rail systems do not allow bicycles during peak periods.
Well, we're just too cool, aren't we? (J/K) Our buses carry bikes too.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:50 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, we're just too cool, aren't we? (J/K) Our buses carry bikes too.
Most bus systems have bike racks these days, New York City might be one of the few that don't. Though, on the other hand, bicycles are allowed on the subway all times, though forcing a bicycle on a packed subway train is a bit obnoxious (I'm told before 8 AM during weekday morning rush there's often enough room for a bike on the train).

My mom mentioned a conductor refusing to let a bicyclist get on a peak hour LIRR train even though the train wasn't crowded, it was emptier than usual near the holidays and he got on at an intermediate stop after the train had partly emptied. But rules are rules, at least to that conductor.

Caltrain in San Francisco allows bicycles on peak hours, I think Metrolink in Los Angeles does as well, maybe that's a bit of a western thing. I know Caltrain runs out of room for bicycles on peak hours.

Last edited by nei; 01-01-2015 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Most bus systems have bike racks these days, New York City might be one of the few that don't. Though, on the other hand, bicycles are allowed on the subway all times, though forcing a bicycle on a packed subway train is a bit obnoxious (I'm told before 8 AM during weekday morning rush there's often enough room for a bike on the train).
On the west side IND lines there's usually room for bikes. And I've seen people with their bicycles on packed rush-hour PATH trains, though that is against the rules. The thing about bikes on buses or LIRR or NJT where facilities are very limited is you can't depend on them. Who wants to wait another half hour or hour for another train just for a chance at an open bike slot? Public transit is inflexible enough without adding that complication.
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
I suppose light rail has its place, but often doesn't go that far out. I didn't realize there is one 20 miles long. But commuter rail can go further.
Yes, once the southwest extension to the Minneapolis Green Line LRT is completed, that line well be close to 30 miles from Eden Prairie to St. Paul. A similar extension is planned for the Blue Line. The Northstar commuter line is 40 miles. There's a very significant difference between commuter rail and light rail. Physical differences aside, light rail is much slower and stops much more frequently. It's a step faster than streetcars and buses and a step shower than commuter rail (which is a step slower than intercity rail). It's all about equipment and stop spacing.
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