Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

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Anondson
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Anondson » March 30th, 2016, 3:24 pm

I don't see SLP ever being for this. There are a bunch of at grade crossings in residential neighborhoods plus a pretty narrow winding route through the city.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby mattaudio » March 30th, 2016, 4:02 pm

As I mentioned on another thread, it's truly a shame there wasn't rail ROW added in to the Hwy 100 corridor when it was rebuilt in the 1970s... It would have been an effective bypass of the old MN&S line which is windy and tight with neighborhoods as Anondson suggests.

Though if TC&W does indeed ship more to Port of Savage via Dan Patch (using the flyover proposed with SWLRT) then we may see an incremental improvement of crossings and buffering along the Dan Patch south of Hwy 7. At some point, it may be transit compatible, though I expect the area of SLP north of Hwy 7 to be the most problematic. Which is a shame in a sense, because the "Iron Triangle" connection was already engineered for the previous SWLRT freight reroute plans and because it would help funnel higher headways on multiple potential services between SLP and Downtown Minneapolis (West End Station, anyone?).

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » June 28th, 2016, 1:53 pm

Northfield's efforts to bring passenger rail to community:
http://potomacexpress.blogspot.com/2016 ... esota.html

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby David Greene » June 29th, 2016, 11:02 am

Yeah, the SWLRT studies pretty much guarantee Dan Patch won't go on the current TC&W line without spending a whole lot of money to upgrade it, probably taking quite a few houses in the process. No way commuter rail costing that much would fly. Time to start thinking about alternative routes.

If there was any way to consider running LRT and commuter rail on the same line, it would be interesting to use the Kenilworth route. Commuter rail went through there *way* back in the day. Not sure the tunnel would be deep enough though.

What are some realistic routes?

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » June 29th, 2016, 2:16 pm

David Greene wrote:Yeah, the SWLRT studies pretty much guarantee Dan Patch won't go on the current TC&W line without spending a whole lot of money to upgrade it, probably taking quite a few houses in the process. No way commuter rail costing that much would fly. Time to start thinking about alternative routes.

If there was any way to consider running LRT and commuter rail on the same line, it would be interesting to use the Kenilworth route. Commuter rail went through there *way* back in the day. Not sure the tunnel would be deep enough though.

What are some realistic routes?
I don't think there was ever consideration of using the Kenilworth Corridor for Dan Patch trains. Now with light rail and a new wye-track to be built allowing TC&W easier access on CP's MN&S route it will be virtually impossible to route Dan Patch trains on the Kenilworth Corridor.

The main route being considered is building a rail connection between the MN&S and BNSF's Wayzata Subdivision in St. Louis Park. This connection used to exist until the 80s when the MN&S interchanged with GN/BN in Minneapolis.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby mattaudio » June 29th, 2016, 2:33 pm

Do you know why the "iron triangle" ever ceased to exist?

Also, if there are ever multiple regional/commuter rail lines serving the segment of the BNSF Wayzata Sub between the "iron triangle" and Downtown Minneapolis, it would make an excellent funnel section for a West End railroad station which could have higher service frequencies due to multiple services operating on that segment.

Too bad the new flyover alignment from TC&W to CP-ex-MN&S involves routing trains southward towards Port of Savage with no wye to northward towards the iron triangle and the BNSF. While this arrangement works well for TC&W grain trains, it makes the tracks less usable for any future regional/intercity service operating on the TC&W to western MN.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby David Greene » June 29th, 2016, 2:57 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:The main route being considered is building a rail connection between the MN&S and BNSF's Wayzata Subdivision in St. Louis Park. This connection used to exist until the 80s when the MN&S interchanged with GN/BN in Minneapolis.
Sorry, I had my acronyms backward. I don't see how Dan Patch will ever run on MN&S al the way through SLP due not only to loud resident opposition but also high cost of upgrading the tracks to support the service. There's a financial reason SWLRT ended up colocated on Kenilworth, tunnel or no tunnel.

I just don't see an MN&S alignment happening all the way through SLP.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby mulad » June 29th, 2016, 6:57 pm

Honestly, I see the MN&S corridor as a critical connection for Minneapolis. It's an essential line for intercity service to the south and southwest from the city (not just Northfield, but Des Moines, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, and Omaha), so it was frustrating to me that there was zero consideration of that service when the Twin Cities & Western reroute was being discussed.

This is a corridor that had passenger service in the past, though it's been a long time and obviously a lot of development has occurred since then. The right-of-way gets tight in spots, though the tracks already exist and there isn't much need for more (unless we're talking about having trains every 10-15 minutes, there probably just need to be a couple sidings). I've often thought this corridor would be ideal for a tilting-train DMU, which would help improve speed through curves without needing to make significant changes to track alignment.

The Twin Cities & Western reroute that had been discussed and discarded for SWLRT had a need to support fairly long and heavy freight trains, which have different requirements than passenger equipment. Personally, I think the railroad wanted something a bit smoother, flatter, and straighter than what was necessary, though what they were asking certainly wouldn't hurt in terms of safety.

I suppose someone could find another route for intercity rail south of Minneapolis, though I'm doubtful that anything could be found that would have as low of an impact as upgrading the MN&S line.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » June 29th, 2016, 7:27 pm

Do you know why the "iron triangle" ever ceased to exist?
I'm assuming traffic just dried up in the 80s as the MN&S was being taken over by the Soo. Might also be because there were more efficient routings for interchanging between MN&S/Soo and BN than the iron triangle.
Too bad the new flyover alignment from TC&W to CP-ex-MN&S involves routing trains southward towards Port of Savage with no wye to northward towards the iron triangle and the BNSF. While this arrangement works well for TC&W grain trains, it makes the tracks less usable for any future regional/intercity service operating on the TC&W to western MN.
Since hell would freeze over before Kenilworth accepted regional passenger trains, I think the best bet for routing from western Minnesota is reusing the old BN Hopkins Spur that was abandoned in the 70s. But even that has challenges.
I don't see how Dan Patch will ever run on MN&S al the way through SLP due not only to loud resident opposition but also high cost of upgrading the tracks to support the service.
I think people assume that it will be large diesel locomotives pulling coaches like on the Northstar Line, but that doesn't have to be the case for the Dan Patch. As others have suggested DMUs would be a much better fit for this corridor and people might be more open to the idea.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby froggie » June 30th, 2016, 1:49 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:Since hell would freeze over before Kenilworth accepted regional passenger trains, I think the best bet for routing from western Minnesota is reusing the old BN Hopkins Spur that was abandoned in the 70s. But even that has challenges.
Starting with the fact that there's a freeway interchange (169/Excelsior), 3 developments, and about a dozen houses in the former path...

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » June 30th, 2016, 7:33 pm

froggie wrote:
DanPatchToget wrote:Since hell would freeze over before Kenilworth accepted regional passenger trains, I think the best bet for routing from western Minnesota is reusing the old BN Hopkins Spur that was abandoned in the 70s. But even that has challenges.
Starting with the fact that there's a freeway interchange (169/Excelsior), 3 developments, and about a dozen houses in the former path...
Not sure what the findings were but the Met Council did look at this route as an alternative reroute option for TC&W when that was still on the table.

But this is why cities need to learn to not build so damn close to the right-of-way, even if its abandoned. It can come back to haunt them.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby David Greene » July 6th, 2016, 2:35 pm

Come back to haunt whom? I don't think Hopkins is shedding any tears over not having TC&W rerouted to that alignment.

BTW, the findings were pretty much what froggie indicated: too much stuff in the way and so too expensive.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » July 6th, 2016, 8:38 pm

David Greene wrote:Come back to haunt whom? I don't think Hopkins is shedding any tears over not having TC&W rerouted to that alignment.
Haunt the city or cities that would be served by a transit line. For example if the townhouses in Kenwood weren't built to allow enough right-of-way for light rail, freight rail, and trail then the SW LRT wouldn't be in a huge mess and probably would've been built a few years ago. But of course someone was greedy and wanted the tax bases so they were built right next to the tracks and people assumed the freight trains would be gone forever. How wrong they were.

Also I was referring to passenger rail on the Hopkins Spur, not freight rail. If enough right-of-way was left open after it was abandoned just in case it were to be used for rail transit someday it would benefit Hopkins. But that didn't happen so building rail transit through there would be expensive, complicated, and controversial despite being on a rail corridor.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » August 13th, 2016, 5:02 pm

Here is a study I did of the Dan Patch Corridor-https://www.dropbox.com/s/d7rgaioos6a0f ... y.pdf?dl=0

Feedback welcome. Just try not to be too hard on me since I did this with limited resources and everything in there is to the best of my knowledge.

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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Anondson » November 24th, 2016, 10:57 pm

Related: Edina Transportation Committee voted on Nov. 15th to have the city of Edina further study the future possibility of passenger rail in the Dan Patch corridor.

http://current.mnsun.com/2016/11/24/edi ... nsit-line/

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby DanPatchToget » January 4th, 2017, 9:52 pm

I'm guessing its too late/too complicated to put some DMUs on the Dan Patch Line during all this construction to give people an option across the river without having to deal with traffic?

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby SkyScraperKid » January 5th, 2017, 1:34 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:I'm guessing its too late/too complicated to put some DMUs on the Dan Patch Line during all this construction to give people an option across the river without having to deal with traffic?

Or maybe a hot air balloon shuttle? Both I think would be equally efficient.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby DanPatchToget » January 5th, 2017, 7:18 pm

SkyScraperKid wrote:
DanPatchToget wrote:I'm guessing its too late/too complicated to put some DMUs on the Dan Patch Line during all this construction to give people an option across the river without having to deal with traffic?

Or maybe a hot air balloon shuttle? Both I think would be equally efficient.
Please enlighten me how a balloon that can only carry a small number of people people going 5 miles per hour is just as efficient as using trains that can carry around 100 people on an existing railroad corridor going 20-30 miles per hour?

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby FISHMANPET » January 5th, 2017, 8:29 pm

Apparently that was a serious suggestion you made and not a joke so now I need to explain all the ways in which that won't happen in such a tight timeline.

First, there's no DMU to run here. We can't just reach into our pocket and pull out trainsets that don't exist. There's no domestic DMU market such that we could quickly build some, or borrow some from another agency already running them. There's no DMU design that we could even work with, because FRA standards preclude using off the shelf designs from the rest of the world.

There's no passenger infrastructure along this route. There's no ADA platforms, there's no safety barriers, there's no signage, there's no nothing. This isn't like something like the British rail network where there's passenger tracks and platforms all over and you could run a service on those if you needed. There's no infrastructure here to support passenger rail.

How is whatever agency going to get rights to run on these tracks? Getting rights from BNSF to run Northstar cost millions of dollars and I'm sure a huge amount of negotiation, we can't just flip a switch and the tracks are ready for passenger trains. Additionally are the tracks in any kind of shape that passenger trains could run on them?

Also it's actually illegal for MNDot to even think about passenger rail on the Dan Patch line. No, seriously, this corridor is explicitly called out as being ineligible for anything. It's illegal to plan, study, engineer, or construct any passenger rail here.

In an ideal world it would be a good idea, but there are too many constraints in the way. If we started right now we could have passeneger rail here in, what, 10, 15 years?
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mattaudio » January 6th, 2017, 10:13 am

I think it has close to zero chance, but a greater than zero chance. What if PGR wanted to do the service? Buy/borrow some Budd RDCs, built a few platforms with pressure treated decking. Doesn't have to be complicated.

Also, to correct fishmanpet, it's not actually illegal to discuss passenger rail on the Dan Patch corridor. State law only forbids discussion and planning for "commuter rail." There have been multiple news articles about advocacy groups out of Northfield bypassing this by calling their plans regional rail instead.


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