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Thread: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

  1. #16
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Look at Amtrak's financial history and you'll see how this will end. Rail/Sub is great for major cities like New York, DC, LA, etc but anything on a larger scale is a downright disaster waiting to happen. I can understand the need of wanting to get off of gas but youre not giving people a legitimate option unless it can actually allow people to get where they are going for cheaper.
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered View Post
    It remains to be seen what getting $400M does to this project instead of the full requested amount. The speculation is that the initial southern terminus will be Sharonville and not downtown Cincy.

    I have high hopes of being able to use this to return to Cincy and commute to Dayton. But I'll only be able to do that if this is properly executed. And I don't know if it will be.
    That's the initial discussion because of the cost to prepare Union Terminal's rail yard for an increased number of passenger trains. Lunken seems like a non-starter because it would be just as costly to run over there and too far from downtown. With Union Terminal, and the hoped for streetcar system, passengers can exit the train station and head downtown or up to Clifton.

    http://www.urbancincy.com/2010/01/oh...peed-rail.html

    I'm hopeful we'll get this done. I for one would really welcome being able to ride a train instead of having to drive.
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyder View Post
    Look at Amtrak's financial history and you'll see how this will end. Rail/Sub is great for major cities like New York, DC, LA, etc but anything on a larger scale is a downright disaster waiting to happen. I can understand the need of wanting to get off of gas but youre not giving people a legitimate option unless it can actually allow people to get where they are going for cheaper.
    I'm curious, is Amtrak responsible for maintaining the tracks? If so, wouldn't comparing Amtrak's financials be equivalent to charging car makers for the interstate upkeep?
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    I'm curious, is Amtrak responsible for maintaining the tracks? If so, wouldn't comparing Amtrak's financials be equivalent to charging car makers for the interstate upkeep?
    Railroad routes, including the tracks and the right-of-ways on which they sit, are privately-owned by the railroad companies. Critics of public subsidies to Amtrak often state that highways receive substantial funding from gas taxes. However, from what I've heard, maintaining the interstates as well as state and local highways and roads still requires substantial funding from federal, state and local governments well above and beyond what is received by way of gas taxes. And let's not forget airlines, which benefit from the use of airports and other infrastructure provided by state and local governments and the FAA.

    I think a big difference between rail and auto or air transportation, which to me amounts to another "subsidy," is the privately-owned rail routes subject to property taxes, whereas public roads and airports are owned and maintained by state and local authorities and are not subject to property taxes. Amtrak is also saddled with burdensome union contracts entered into at a time when rail travel was vastly different (more labor intensive and heavily used) than it is today. Amtrak also provides the pensions for most railroad workers, even those who don't work for Amtrak.
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyder View Post
    Look at Amtrak's financial history and you'll see how this will end. Rail/Sub is great for major cities like New York, DC, LA, etc but anything on a larger scale is a downright disaster waiting to happen. I can understand the need of wanting to get off of gas but youre not giving people a legitimate option unless it can actually allow people to get where they are going for cheaper.
    I think the best advertisement for passenger rail service in Ohio is to build a high-speed rail corridor right alongside I-71. Just imagine, once the summer orange barrel season starts, how envious people would get when they're sitting in traffic at a construction zone outside Mansfield as they watch a train whiz by at 110 mph.
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered View Post
    Two big points here: first, this is just the first step in a much larger plan that will eventually include routes to Pittsburgh, Toronto, Detroit, Toledo, Indy, and Chicago. Second, the plan calls for eventual speeds of 110 MPH. All this has to start somewhere and the most crucial step is to connect the biggest dots on the map first.

    See the full plan here: http://www2.dot.state.oh.us/ohiorail...rdc/index.html
    The problem with the "small steps" plan is that your making your worst impression (slow trains, old cars) on the first day. You want to convince travelers and voters that trains are the way to go -- you do that by making the trip faster than a car, more convenient, and roughly the same price. People will pay a premium to avoid driving so long as the train gets them where they need to go and does it without delay.

    This whole endeavor is doomed to failure if people see the first set of trains taking hours longer than driving and decide that rail isn't worth investing any more money into.

    It's been said, wisely, that if something must be done inevitably, it should be done immediately. There's no point to this project if isn't high speed rail. There will never be a "step 2" otherwise.
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The problem with the "small steps" plan is that your making your worst impression (slow trains, old cars) on the first day. You want to convince travelers and voters that trains are the way to go -- you do that by making the trip faster than a car, more convenient, and roughly the same price. People will pay a premium to avoid driving so long as the train gets them where they need to go and does it without delay.

    This whole endeavor is doomed to failure if people see the first set of trains taking hours longer than driving and decide that rail isn't worth investing any more money into.

    It's been said, wisely, that if something must be done inevitably, it should be done immediately. There's no point to this project if isn't high speed rail. There will never be a "step 2" otherwise.
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The problem with the "small steps" plan is that your making your worst impression (slow trains, old cars) on the first day. You want to convince travelers and voters that trains are the way to go -- you do that by making the trip faster than a car, more convenient, and roughly the same price. People will pay a premium to avoid driving so long as the train gets them where they need to go and does it without delay.

    This whole endeavor is doomed to failure if people see the first set of trains taking hours longer than driving and decide that rail isn't worth investing any more money into.

    It's been said, wisely, that if something must be done inevitably, it should be done immediately. There's no point to this project if isn't high speed rail. There will never be a "step 2" otherwise.
    My thoughts exactly.

    I understand them trying to build it in steps, but in today's "what have you done for me today?" society, you'll get about a month to form public opinion once this starts up. And if word gets around "too slow and doesn't get you where you want", you'll just shoot the thing in the head.

    This smacks of "hey, we have $400M laying around, what do we do with it?", but that's a Peanut Gallery discussion.

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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Half-baked is right. California and Florida are getting full-blown, dedicated high-speed rail.
    While on a plane the other day, I read a pretty detailed article in Wired about this very plan:

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/0...asttrack/all/1
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    I've always liked the idea of trains running from Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati, but I think for it to truly work, they have to get it right. From the route map and the proposed stations I've seen, I don't think they do. First, they have to put the stations in spots that provide easy access for a large amount of riders. I don't know where they plan on putting the Columbus and Dayton terminals, but the Cincinnati and Cleveland terminals just sound awful. Lunken Airport? W. 150/Puritas? Bad ideas. The route and terminal locations pretty much guarantee that no one on the east or south side of the greater Cleveland area are going to use it, and it cuts out a huge part of the Cleveland metro area by cutting off Akron and Canton. I could see it working for Northeast Ohio if the route went south from Downtown Cleveland with stops in Independence and Downtown Akron (Canton is close enough to Akron to encourage folks to catch the train in Akron). The route could then follow closer to I-76 and I-71 to Columbus. But no one from the east side of Cleveland, Akron or Canton is going to drive 45 min - 1 1/2 hours to get to a west side train station to go to Columbus or Cincinnati. The time it would take me to get to the train station from north of Akron would be about the same time it takes me to get half-way to Columbus. With all the added time it would take to get to the station, get on the train, take it to Cincinnati and get to where I'm going down there from Lunken Airport, it essentially turns a half-day trip into an all day trip.
    Per the Dayton News, there will be two stops in Dayton. One at 6th street downtown and the other across from the Air Force Museum. Dayton already had a terminal on 6th street but tore it down. Now they want to build another one at the same location. Go figure.

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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The problem with the "small steps" plan is that your making your worst impression (slow trains, old cars) on the first day. You want to convince travelers and voters that trains are the way to go -- you do that by making the trip faster than a car, more convenient, and roughly the same price. People will pay a premium to avoid driving so long as the train gets them where they need to go and does it without delay.

    This whole endeavor is doomed to failure if people see the first set of trains taking hours longer than driving and decide that rail isn't worth investing any more money into.

    It's been said, wisely, that if something must be done inevitably, it should be done immediately. There's no point to this project if isn't high speed rail. There will never be a "step 2" otherwise.
    Paint is telling you what the announcement means. The grant is for high-speed inter-city passenger rail. That means it is high speed rail. The fact that it takes time is related to money, acquiring ROW and logistics. Highspeed rail in France started with DeGaulle - that's just how long it takes. The reason the President provided this money for HSPR is that the interstate system is crumbling and needs a huge amount of money - double or triple the current funding. Obviously the country doesn't have it - so within 5 years or so you will start to see unfixable problems with your pavement. Unless there is an alternative such as high speed rail, it will be a huge change of lifestyle for many people.

  13. #27
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    For what it's worth, if they take the right route from Cincy to Columbus, I don't think freight traffic will be that big of a deal.

    I happen to live in Carlisle, where both CSX's and Norfolk Southern's Cincy-Dayton routes come right through. Using Norfolk Southern's tracks would be a much better idea. For starters, CSX's route technically takes longer to get to Dayton because that route is also their entrance to the city of Hamilton, whereas NS gets into Hamilton using a different route.

    On top of that, most of NS' Cincy-Dayton route is double-tracked, whereas CSX's route is double-tracked at times with multiple 2-mile sidings where freight trains frequently have to wait for other freights to pass by. If anyone else here lives in Carlisle, they know exactly what I'm talking about. If CSX is having a busy day, there's slooowww trains coming back and forth all day because one of their busiest sidings sits right at the tip of our town.

    And oddly enough, for whatever reason, even though NS' route has long stretches of double track, it has much less freight traffic. Go figure. I'd say CSX averages about 20-24 freights from Cincy to Dayton where NS maybe averages 15. And since NS' route also goes straight on to Columbus after hitting Dayton, I'd say those tracks are a no-brainer. I'm not sure how busy NS' route gets between Dayton and Columbus, they could have more traffic between those two cities.

    A quick check of http://cincyrails.com tells me that NS' route (former NYC/Big Four to Columbus if you're looking) are mostly single-tracked from Dayton to Columbus, so waiting for freight traffic could be somewhat of an issue between those two points.

    I actually kinda like the idea of using existing tracks for this project though. Maybe I'm nostalgic, but I've always wanted to see passenger trains coming through this town like my parents saw growing up.

    Another reason for using existing tracks is, the existing tracks already have ROW established. In this day and age, it is VERY hard to get land for railroad ROW. There aren't very many towns that are going to be friendly to the idea of a big, fast, loud train flying through their neighborhood. Heck, it's hard for some companies to even purchase existing rights-of-way and expand the number of trains currently in operation (Google "CN acquires EJ&E" for a prime example of this). The NIMBY crowd makes it almost impossible to build brand new railways.

    So, maybe if the government kicked in (via the approved funds) to double track NS' line between Dayton and Columbus, and to improve things like bridges, signals, etc. this thing can work its way up to 110 mph.

  14. #28
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by The Operator View Post
    For what it's worth, if they take the right route from Cincy to Columbus, I don't think freight traffic will be that big of a deal.

    I happen to live in Carlisle, where both CSX's and Norfolk Southern's Cincy-Dayton routes come right through. Using Norfolk Southern's tracks would be a much better idea. For starters, CSX's route technically takes longer to get to Dayton because that route is also their entrance to the city of Hamilton, whereas NS gets into Hamilton using a different route.

    On top of that, most of NS' Cincy-Dayton route is double-tracked, whereas CSX's route is double-tracked at times with multiple 2-mile sidings where freight trains frequently have to wait for other freights to pass by. If anyone else here lives in Carlisle, they know exactly what I'm talking about. If CSX is having a busy day, there's slooowww trains coming back and forth all day because one of their busiest sidings sits right at the tip of our town.

    And oddly enough, for whatever reason, even though NS' route has long stretches of double track, it has much less freight traffic. Go figure. I'd say CSX averages about 20-24 freights from Cincy to Dayton where NS maybe averages 15. And since NS' route also goes straight on to Columbus after hitting Dayton, I'd say those tracks are a no-brainer. I'm not sure how busy NS' route gets between Dayton and Columbus, they could have more traffic between those two cities.

    A quick check of http://cincyrails.com tells me that NS' route (former NYC/Big Four to Columbus if you're looking) are mostly single-tracked from Dayton to Columbus, so waiting for freight traffic could be somewhat of an issue between those two points.

    I actually kinda like the idea of using existing tracks for this project though. Maybe I'm nostalgic, but I've always wanted to see passenger trains coming through this town like my parents saw growing up.

    Another reason for using existing tracks is, the existing tracks already have ROW established. In this day and age, it is VERY hard to get land for railroad ROW. There aren't very many towns that are going to be friendly to the idea of a big, fast, loud train flying through their neighborhood. Heck, it's hard for some companies to even purchase existing rights-of-way and expand the number of trains currently in operation (Google "CN acquires EJ&E" for a prime example of this). The NIMBY crowd makes it almost impossible to build brand new railways.

    So, maybe if the government kicked in (via the approved funds) to double track NS' line between Dayton and Columbus, and to improve things like bridges, signals, etc. this thing can work its way up to 110 mph.
    The alternative is to use eminent domain. That is how pretty much all roads and highways have been built in this country. There was discussion of using an idled rail line for a "dinner train" concept in our area, but our city nixed the idea precisely on the NIMBY concerns of the citizens. My understanding is that they were able to do so because the railroad right-of-ways, as privately-owned property, were subject to the city's zoning laws.

    I feel the only way passenger rail is ever going to be on equal footing with automobile and air travel is for the government to use eminent domain to acquire the right-of-ways to build high-speed rail lines. The tracks owned and maintained by state and local governments, with upkeep funded through a combination of taxes, surcharges, and grants in the same way highways and airports are maintained. Doing so would hopefully make rail travel affordable and convenient to a significant number of passengers, and in the long-run reduce highway traffic. The money spent on rail travel could potentially reduce the costs of highway and bridge maintenance for automobile traffic.

    I'd like to see if it would be possible to use the right-of-ways used by I-71 for portions of a high-speed line. This is common for commuter rail projects in many major cities and, by putting the line in full view of motorists, would be free advertising for high-speed rail.
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  15. #29
    Moderator The Operator's Avatar
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    You're right, eminent domain is one way of doing things. It can get ugly, but sometimes it's what is done. You do also make an interesting point about I-71, the only downside there being is there wouldn't be a terminus at Dayton.

    A side note, but as far as taking traffic off of highways goes, one increasingly popular solution there is to send more and more long-haul truck freight to rail via container "stack" trains. One double-stacked container train can take a TON (many many tons, actually :-p) of long haul truck traffic off the highways. I think we're going to see more and more of that in the future, too.

  16. #30
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    Re: Funding approved for "3C" (Cincy-Cbus-Cle) Rail Line

    Quote Originally Posted by The Operator View Post
    For what it's worth, if they take the right route from Cincy to Columbus, I don't think freight traffic will be that big of a deal.

    I happen to live in Carlisle, where both CSX's and Norfolk Southern's Cincy-Dayton routes come right through. Using Norfolk Southern's tracks would be a much better idea. For starters, CSX's route technically takes longer to get to Dayton because that route is also their entrance to the city of Hamilton, whereas NS gets into Hamilton using a different route.

    On top of that, most of NS' Cincy-Dayton route is double-tracked, whereas CSX's route is double-tracked at times with multiple 2-mile sidings where freight trains frequently have to wait for other freights to pass by. If anyone else here lives in Carlisle, they know exactly what I'm talking about. If CSX is having a busy day, there's slooowww trains coming back and forth all day because one of their busiest sidings sits right at the tip of our town.

    And oddly enough, for whatever reason, even though NS' route has long stretches of double track, it has much less freight traffic. Go figure. I'd say CSX averages about 20-24 freights from Cincy to Dayton where NS maybe averages 15. And since NS' route also goes straight on to Columbus after hitting Dayton, I'd say those tracks are a no-brainer. I'm not sure how busy NS' route gets between Dayton and Columbus, they could have more traffic between those two cities.

    A quick check of http://cincyrails.com tells me that NS' route (former NYC/Big Four to Columbus if you're looking) are mostly single-tracked from Dayton to Columbus, so waiting for freight traffic could be somewhat of an issue between those two points.

    I actually kinda like the idea of using existing tracks for this project though. Maybe I'm nostalgic, but I've always wanted to see passenger trains coming through this town like my parents saw growing up.

    Another reason for using existing tracks is, the existing tracks already have ROW established. In this day and age, it is VERY hard to get land for railroad ROW. There aren't very many towns that are going to be friendly to the idea of a big, fast, loud train flying through their neighborhood. Heck, it's hard for some companies to even purchase existing rights-of-way and expand the number of trains currently in operation (Google "CN acquires EJ&E" for a prime example of this). The NIMBY crowd makes it almost impossible to build brand new railways.

    So, maybe if the government kicked in (via the approved funds) to double track NS' line between Dayton and Columbus, and to improve things like bridges, signals, etc. this thing can work its way up to 110 mph.
    Allegedly, the stop in Middletown is going to be at the old depot "downtown." That would put it on NS rails, if I'm not mistaken.
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