Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

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DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 21st, 2018, 2:11 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 12:01 pm
Who's this being conducted by?
Me. I’ve been doing an independent study on the Dan Patch Corridor for years and wanted to get views on this topic. I also run the Facebook page “Support the Dan Patch Rail Line”.

Bakken2016
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Bakken2016 » January 4th, 2019, 5:33 pm

https://www.swnewsmedia.com/savage_pace ... SyC8YBV9kw

Newly elected rep Hunter Cantrell and some other local officials are trying to remove the moratorium on the Dan Patch Rail study, hopefully they can get this done with a DFL governor and House!

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » January 4th, 2019, 6:49 pm

Good. People keep talking about Dan Patch, so this stupid gag order has failed.

tmart
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby tmart » January 5th, 2019, 11:58 am

House should be relatively easy unless things get hung up in committee as they sometimes do. I assume Walz will be onboard as well.

Senate is much trickier, given the GOP has a 2 seat majority (will be 1 or 3 after the special election in February). Assuming it's a 1 seat margin again, the question is basically, can you get 2 GOPers to defect without losing any DFLers? In this case in addition to finding GOPers (maybe someone from the exurbs along the far end of the route?) you also have to worry about if NIMBY types in DFL districts in Bloomington or Edina have issues with it.

Incidentally, this is basically the story for all transit legislation until the Senate is up for election in 2020.

Tom H.
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Tom H. » January 5th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Assuming it stays a 34-33 GOP majority, I think you'd actually just need 1 Republican defection because of the odd number of seats. Basically the situation in the US Senate while McCain was absent.

The dynamics you pointed out are still definitely going to be interesting to see. Are there any moderate GOP suburban senators that could be targeted for transit legislation?

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Silophant
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Silophant » January 5th, 2019, 2:49 pm

The MN Chamber of Commerce has apparently realized that transit is good for business, and will be pushing for it in this session. Will that actually convince a couple Republicans to go along with it? We'll see.

Oreos&Milk
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Oreos&Milk » January 5th, 2019, 2:57 pm

I was finally starting to do a little digging and I mapped out the station placements that were suggested on older pages. The stations really do line up well with the once proposed hwy 100 abrt line. I wonder how feasible this line/corridor would be for light rail or streetcar style of trains.

say a.. LRT/streetcar line.

Penn Station (Greenline)
West End station
Louisiana Ave station
Hopkins Crossroads
Downtown Wayzala station

granted it's not completely on the Dan Patch line, but it would use a segment of it.

Then another line would run from...

Target field
Penn station
west end
Hwy 7.
Vernon Ave.
70th
84th
Old Shakopee Rd.
hwy 13 (pending funding to cross river)
Co. Rd. 42


Then in addition to that rush hour commuter trains down from lakeville to downtown Minneapolis with posibbly a penn ave stop to allow for transfers.

I really hope they can start studying what is the best options for this corridor. Be nice to see some west end trains that travel beyond the only hourly option. It's such a booming area, very exciting area hope we see improved transit to this area in the future!

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » January 5th, 2019, 3:50 pm

Oreos&Milk wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 2:57 pm
I was finally starting to do a little digging and I mapped out the station placements that were suggested on older pages. The stations really do line up well with the once proposed hwy 100 abrt line. I wonder how feasible this line/corridor would be for light rail or streetcar style of trains.

say a.. LRT/streetcar line.

Penn Station (Greenline)
West End station
Louisiana Ave station
Hopkins Crossroads
Downtown Wayzala station

granted it's not completely on the Dan Patch line, but it would use a segment of it.

Then another line would run from...

Target field
Penn station
west end
Hwy 7.
Vernon Ave.
70th
84th
Old Shakopee Rd.
hwy 13 (pending funding to cross river)
Co. Rd. 42


Then in addition to that rush hour commuter trains down from lakeville to downtown Minneapolis with posibbly a penn ave stop to allow for transfers.

I really hope they can start studying what is the best options for this corridor. Be nice to see some west end trains that travel beyond the only hourly option. It's such a booming area, very exciting area hope we see improved transit to this area in the future!

If there's light rail on the Dan Patch Line it won't be the high frequency of our current lines. Narrow right-of-way would make double-tracking expensive and complicated, and assuming the freight railroads are still operating on that line then that would inhibit high frequency service. I know they wouldn't accept operating all freight traffic late at night, and communities would be furious.

As for politics, I'm pretty sure a couple Republicans have spoken out saying this gag order is bad governance even if they don't support rail transit.

Oreos&Milk
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Oreos&Milk » January 6th, 2019, 12:25 pm

well, if it can't have the high frequency I just struggle to see how it would attract riders. Not to mention it's limiting downtown drop-off sites. Orange line will have lots of drop off and pick up spots and have the high frequency riders want. Long term, I agree trains are best (once the capacity is there)

Connecting Northfield is very exciting as I been tracking how much work they are doing to restore the depot, plus they have a wonderful (for a city of it's size) bus network that would easily help support commuting lines. However, I think there is greater value in just allowing Northfield lines to use the orange line ROW through downtown.

Maybe I'm just to scared of the Northstar effect. Either way I 1000% support removing the gag order, even if I'm fully on board, lets have a conversation and have some solid evidence on numbers and projections now that the orange line is now a reality it really changes things.

Now if the dan patch line were to continue eastward to a midway stop and a union depot stop, that would be wonderful and really create some value that orange line wouldn't be able to provide without a transfer. Not to mention an hourly express from downtown to downtown. That would be creating more value for the dan patch line. That alone would be exciting enough to make it worth it.

Only thing I will never get on board is that name! haha. We should brand it Northstar - Northfield line. and Northstar - Big lake (st. cloud) line.

tmart
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby tmart » January 6th, 2019, 4:34 pm

"The Northstar Effect" is pretty simple: if you build 80% of a line connecting two major nodes, you don't get 80% of the ridership between them. If we built out Dan Patch but just terminated in a field in the middle of Lakeville instead of in Northfield, it would likewise fail.

I also think Dan Patch provides value that Orange Line can't because it's an alternative to the highway. On days with bad congestion, winter weather, etc., it's a lot more desirable for those longer-trip commuters than hopping on a bus and hoping the MnPass lane is moving more smoothly than the adjacent lanes.

David Greene
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby David Greene » January 8th, 2019, 3:05 pm

If Dan Patch were to be built, would it take the soon-to-be new connection to the Kenilworth corridor or would it go through Safety in the Park land? There are some compelling reasons to send it through Kenilworth, especially when (when!) Midtown LRT gets built. Even with only a connection to the Green Line, it could be useful. Sending it through SLP would probably require some hefty track upgrades.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » January 8th, 2019, 3:56 pm

David Greene wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:05 pm
If Dan Patch were to be built, would it take the soon-to-be new connection to the Kenilworth corridor or would it go through Safety in the Park land? There are some compelling reasons to send it through Kenilworth, especially when (when!) Midtown LRT gets built. Even with only a connection to the Green Line, it could be useful. Sending it through SLP would probably require some hefty track upgrades.
It would be difficult to route Dan Patch trains onto the Kenilworth Corridor due to the grade change and no easy alignment connecting between the Dan Patch Line and TC&W. There will be a new connection built between these two lines, but it's for freight traffic going to/coming from the west.

The assumption is Dan Patch trains would use a former rail connection onto the Wayzata Subdivision in St. Louis Park. This connection was to be rebuilt with TC&W traffic being rerouted for Southwest LRT, but obviously that never happened. No matter the alignment the Dan Patch Line would need substantial track upgrades.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » January 10th, 2019, 12:42 pm

Here's a study I did on the feasibility of regional rail on the Dan Patch Corridor. Still a work in progress, but I've got most of it nailed down.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t658jksyef2oi ... Bh_xE83dUQ

NickP
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby NickP » January 10th, 2019, 7:11 pm

That’s awesome Dan! Thank you for sharing.

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Silophant
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Silophant » March 2nd, 2019, 4:16 pm

Here's the degagging bill, allowing a county or regional railroad authority to perform a feasibility study for the corridor. It specifies that the study must evaluate only DMUs, and that they must be able to operate on SWLRT infrastructure, which isn't the worst idea, I guess, but would require the service to either stop at every station between Wooddale and Bassett Creek, or wedge in bypass tracks somehow to let the DMUs get around the Green Line trains.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Mikey » March 2nd, 2019, 6:46 pm

Is there a such thing as dual-mode DMU's? (D/EMU's?!?)
Urbanist in the north woods

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » March 2nd, 2019, 7:37 pm

Mikey wrote:
March 2nd, 2019, 6:46 pm
Is there a such thing as dual-mode DMU's? (D/EMU's?!?)
Yes. I believe they're used on the German rail network, commonly light frequency branch lines where part of the route is electrified and the branch isn't electrified. I believe Norwegian State Railways has ordered hybrid multiple units as well. There are also diesel locomotives that can switch to electrified third rail in New York, I believe used by Metro North, Long Island Railroad, and (maybe?) New Jersey Transit.

Battery electric multiple units are being developed as well.

mulad
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby mulad » March 2nd, 2019, 9:49 pm

That bill is pretty restrictive, likely making requirements that are impossible to meet with the ways FRA/FTA rules have worked in the past. That certainly shouldn't be impossible from a technical perspective, since European rail systems allow "tram-train" operations, but it's not something that's really been allowed in the U.S. The feds really hate any mixing of freight rail and light rail infrastructure, and I think it would be unwise to convert the corridor to something that's freight-incompatible, since this line has the only real railroad crossing of the Minnesota River between Bloomington/Savage and Redwood Falls.

It sort of makes sense to restrict the study area to the corridor south of the SWLRT corridor, since I think the big concern is that the line snakes past St. Louis Park High School, and previous studies for rerouting the Twin Cities & Western Railroad through St. Louis Park (rather than keeping the current Kenilworth alignment) had suggested some big berms through the city that would have taken property as well (though I feel like they'd mostly just need to take some backyard sheds and garages and only a couple of actual homes, but talk of property takings often isn't very precise).

But that was trying to solve a different problem -- how to get trains to turn from the mostly east/west TC&W corridor north onto the MN&S/Dan Patch line. This forces solving essentially the opposite: how to get trains running north-south onto an east-west corridor, when it would be simplest to just let the trains run straight north and meet up with the BNSF Wayzata Subdivision about 1.8 miles farther north, where there used to be a connection.

At a minimum, this should be expanded to allow consideration of connecting to the TC&W line so that trains could run to a modified Northstar station at Target Field, so then you wouldn't need to have a mixing of different technologies. A whole new rail interchange has been designed at the Louisiana Ave station to allow freight trains to move between the TC&W and MN&S/Dan Patch lines, although it points to the west rather than to the east.

Of course, if you're running DMUs anyway, it should be easy for the operator to switch to running the opposite direction by just walking to the cab on the other end of the train and moving along (or figure out some way to pre-position a second operator so that they could immediately switch directions.

I also think it's a fairly bad idea to specifically say this has to be DMU. I mean, we probably want these lines to eventually be electric, so it would be best not to preclude the idea of electrifying the line and running EMUs the whole way (hell, the line was originally the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company, with the intention to become an electric interurban line), or battery-powered vehicles, or whatever.

And, of course, I don't like the idea of "continuous safety fencing throughout the corridor". Sure, it sounds nice, though a lot of the corridor is already at a different grade than the rest of the area. Just sounds like another way to make a study ultimately find that it's infeasible to run trains in a corridor that has been running trains for more than a century, and ran passenger trains in the past.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » March 2nd, 2019, 11:40 pm

Is it too much to ask for a simple repeal of the gag order, and not a repeal with all these strings attached?

A wye track from the MN&S turning east to Southwest LRT could be easy since there is a switchback connecting the two corridors, but would require demolishing a few buildings to make it a seamless turn. And that assumes the area isn't redeveloped with TOD in the path, because if that happens it's very unlikely you'll get those torn down.

Having DMUs or something similar go 30 mph at most by St. Louis Park High School wouldn't be a huge deal although residents will certainly try to make it a big deal, but considering this line had 60-100 car freight trains going 25 mph on that same stretch of track in the 60s-80s DMUs/EMUs are nothing. Actually a little fun fact: There were freight reroutes on this line before the consideration of a freight reroute in the 2010s. The CNW would detour freight trains coming from Minneapolis onto the MN&S and then return to their own rails in Savage. I don't know how often this happened, but there is photographic evidence of this occurrence.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby mulad » March 6th, 2019, 10:42 am

Looking at this more closely now that I'm writing a message to my representatives, I see that my main objection is to the points in Section 1.2., which limits studies to evaluating DMUs and requiring that they be able to run on the SWLRT line. Section 1.3 only requires studies to evaluate quiet zones, PTC, and continuous fencing, but doesn't require them to actually be implemented (at least in the way I read it).

While I think it would be best to just remove them from the bill, I wouldn't mind if the 1.2.i and 1.2.ii points got moved under Section 1.3 -- it's fine to evaluate using DMUs and the possibility of running on the SWLRT tracks, but not good to limit studies to only evaluate those options.


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