Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 29, 2011 weekly rail news

Fun stuff:
  • A photo from the Minneapolis Bike Love forum of installation of a new bike/ped bridge in Uptown over the Midtown Greenway, the former Milwaukee Road corridor through Minneapolis. (The building on the left is Mozaic.)

  •  The Rick Mercer Report gives us the state of Canadian high-speed rail, which sounds pretty familiar (via @ttpolitic):

Construction, planning, and funding news:
  • The Met Council has put out word that they're looking for businesses to provide engineering services for the Southwest LRT line.

  • Walsh Construction reportedly has until November 30th to reopen four lanes of traffic on the 3-mile stretch of University Avenue between Emerald Street and Hamline Avenue in Saint Paul. Crews are working at a pretty furious pace at the moment, but if they need to have it all back to 4 lanes, they definitely aren't going to make it (traffic finally shifted to the south side under the Minnesota Commercial Railway bridge between Cleveland/Transfer and Prior a few days ago, and there's no way they can redo the north side in only about a week—however, there aren't any driveways along that stretch either.). They have also had to rip up some intersections in downtown Saint Paul where tracks had been improperly embedded in black concrete (I had been wondering why the intersections had been inconsistent).

  • The Red Rock Corridor got a bit of coverage from the Star Tribune, mostly related to TOD planning in cities such as Newport.

  • In the Northeast, Amtrak is going to suspend operation overnight from Saturday, November 5th to Sunday the 6th in order to replace two bridges along the NEC.

  • The Surface Transportation Board has given their approval for the 190-mile DesertXpress line from Victorville, California to Las Vegas.

  • The U.S. Army has acquired some Virginia Railway Express cars which they intend to use for a service to carry military students from Fort Lee to Fort A.P. hill on. The military believes the train is safer than transferring students on buses (they need to have more than a dozen to carry all of the participants). Trains will run about three times per month.

  • Caterpillar/Progress Rail/EMD have rolled out the first new locomotive built at their Muncie, Indiana facility which they just started working on about 10 months ago (partly explained by the fact the building formerly built locomotives for ABB).  The first SD70ACe off the line was built for the Mexican railroad Ferromex.

    ...and, of course, any mention of Muncie is not complete without a clip from The Hudsucker Proxy:


  1. The Desert Xpress line is one of those exceptions that come along every once in a while that make you question all your assumptions. A $5b rail line being built between a city of 2 million and a city of 100,000 by private investors? This is in the USA?

    Of course they're banking on riders from the giant LA blob city, but there won't be direct service to LA? Do they really think people are going to drive 1.5 hours to Victorville to take a train the rest of the way? Or do they think the decidedly low-speed Southwest Chief will provide transfers?

  2. Huh. I've never looked up Victorville, so I didn't know it was an hour and a half away from L.A. proper. It does have the benefit of being a constrained corridor where there are only a few good ways to get out of the metro area and on the highway to Vegas, and there aren't many other possible destinations in between.

    As for getting there without a car, I suspect the best interim solution would be to have a bus run from a Metrolink station such as Rancho Cucamonga. (Well, the bus should probably run all the way to downtown LA, but make a stop at one of the outer Metrolink stops just to serve folks who prefer the rails.)