MSP to Rochester High Speed Rail

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mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » May 14th, 2014, 2:57 pm

tcmetro can you retry posting that link? the link above nets a 404.

Anyways, I also agree, there should not be a station at MSP. The whole point of intercity rail is that it connects cities, not airports. Connecting airports can be a secondary function, such as the EWR or FRA rail stations. If we want to connect SPUD and MSP, then we should fast track Riverview. Also, it's critical this goes to Downtown Rochester (the CP trackage) not RST airport.

Tcmetro
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Tcmetro » May 14th, 2014, 3:36 pm

Sorry about that, give this one a try:

http://board.co.hennepin.mn.us/sirepub/ ... eid=273966

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mulad » May 14th, 2014, 8:40 pm

Hmm, the slide suggests 15 routes are still included, though I only count 6. Maybe they're counting individual route segments?

They're probably favoring staying close to US-52 for much of the route -- that looks shorter to me. The cost of staying near US-52 is probably higher, due to greater variation in terrain, so they might still go for the flatter western route.

I might benefit a bit from the western route, since I grew up in Byron -- that route could hit either Byron or Kasson on the way to Rochester, but I'm pretty doubtful they'll stop. Still, improving the CP/DM&E line could benefit any eventual service running east-west from La Crosse or Winona to Owatonna or Mankato.

I can't quite tell where they want to switch from the east bank to the west bank of the Mississippi if they initially head east from SPUD -- the map follows I-494 (the Wakota Bridge) to cross. The only existing rail bridges over the river are lift or swing bridges (one swing bridge south of the Wakota Bridge has been halfway demolished), so they might want to build a new one. If they can use space on the Wakota Bridge, that might not be a bad idea, but the flyovers needed to access the bridge would be pretty expensive themselves.

Anyway, regarding MSP airport, I have to agree that it's not a very good option for an endpoint. The main issue I have with MSP is that it isn't very well-connected by transit. Sure, the Blue Line is there, but the only other regular-route service is the 54 (soon to be the B Line) from downtown St. Paul to MOA. Honestly, if you want to do a south-metro station, something at or near the Mall of America is probably better. I'm certainly hesitant to continue reinforcing the mall, but it's a major local transit hub. Using the airport would probably only push the Metropolitan Airports Commission to keep adding more parking at MSP.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby FISHMANPET » May 14th, 2014, 9:45 pm

Our MSA is Minneapolis-St Paul-Bloomington, so yeah, like it or not, Bloomington is a pretty big part of our metro area. I think a train to the airport would be good because it would give Rochester and Mayo Clinic much better connections to the rest of the world. If the trip is fast enough, and if airlines are willing to codeshare with a rail line (like is done in Europe sometimes) you could save a bunch of people a bunch of money not having to fly tiny jets out of Rochester.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Drizzay » May 15th, 2014, 10:13 am

Perhaps, putting the terminal for this at/right near MOA is what it would finally take for the Blue Line to move the MOA station out of it's current dungeon.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » May 15th, 2014, 10:32 am

We just invested $250 million for a train station in St. Paul, and $80 million for a train station in Mpls. Both being adjacent to walkable urban cores with large residential populations, jobs, and amenities. I'm hoping we can make use of those investments. Ideally, we'd use both... through-route via SPUD and terminate in Minneapolis. The SPUD trackage works marvelously for this as trains can approach SPUD from either direction and depart head-on for Minneapolis via either the CP Merriam Park or BNSF Midway subdivisions.

A large majority of the ridership would be heading to/from these cores, or connecting to local transit services (or other trains someday). A smaller number of riders would be the potential connecting pool for flights out of MSP. It makes sense to run the trains to existing downtown facilities.

Service to airports should be considered supplementary, not a primary purpose of intercity rail travel. They can work well: EWR airport station on the NEC, or the CDG station on the TGV, or the ICE station at FRA. But they supplement primary service to city centers. Can we imagine the Northeast Corridor ignoring NYP because there's an airport station? Or the TGV ending at CDG rather than the Paris terminals?

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby writruth » May 16th, 2014, 8:23 am

The investment infusion of $6-7 billion dollars over the next decade to develop Rochester into a Destination Medical Center will spawn thousands of high tech jobs and could challenge St. Paul's position as the number two economic engine in Minnesota. During the same period of time, the University of Minnesota's new Bio-Medical facilities, Hennepin County Medical Center and the new Mayo Clinic's Minneapolis outpost at Block E, will be fully up to speed -- all offering expansive, cutting edge medical technology and treatment.

The need will be there to rapidly and efficiently move workers back and forth between Rochester and The Cities. Zip rail offers an outstanding, 21st Century solution to shuttle large numbers of workers between Rochester and The Cities. But we should learn from our recent rail history and design and construct Zip Rail wisely. If done correctly, Zip Rail truly must be a high-speed rail system with speeds up to at least 150 mph; Should ferry riders from Rochester with stops in Bloomington, St. Paul and Minneapolis, and must run at convenient intervals (trains should leave downtown Minneapolis at least every two hours throughout the work week). Additional trains could be added to support Twins and Vikings game-day schedules. Obviously, the trains should have ROW to guarantee arrival/departure times, should support mobile phones and be equipped for high speed WiFi.

If we can deliver all of these attributes, there should be a very bright future for Zip Rail. Ideally, lawmakers will make this a priority during the next four years and we can commit to moving from planning to development to construction, taking advantage of currently low-interest rates and favorable building scenarios.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Silophant » May 16th, 2014, 11:18 am

I agree with all of that in theory, but I don't know how you're going to have it stop in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington without negating the travel time advantage for whichever city winds up being the northern endpoint.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » May 16th, 2014, 11:47 am

No need for it to stop in Bloomington. Direct from SPUD for now. Once we can acquire the CP Merriam Park Sub and dedicated passenger tracks through the MN&S Yard through to Mpls Junction, then we can extend it to Target Field Station with probably a 15-20 min schedule block. In the meantime, it might be smart to maintain the fleet at Rochester.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby writruth » May 16th, 2014, 3:03 pm

Great points.

at40man
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby at40man » June 3rd, 2014, 1:55 pm

According to the Pioneer Press today, a Zip-Rail connection to Minneapolis is out-of-the-running.

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_ ... speed-rail

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woofner
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby woofner » June 3rd, 2014, 2:39 pm

Krom said a line from Rochester into Minneapolis would have a tough time "getting through the built-up urban environment. It's extremely challenging. When you have open, rural areas, it's a lot easier to figure out how you can get a passenger train through there."
Huh? That's only true if there aren't a zillion tracks already running through the built-up urban environment. Smells like freight rail bitchery, too bad he didn't just say that.
Routing passengers to the Union Depot would allow them to transfer to Amtrak's Chicago-bound Empire Builder service or future high-speed rail to Chicago, creating a stronger link between the Windy City and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Wha? Do they really expect people to take Zip Rail to Chicago via Minneapolis? If so, wouldn't a bus to La Crosse be way cheaper and faster?
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby HiawathaGuy » June 3rd, 2014, 2:41 pm

woofner wrote:Wha? Do they really expect people to take Zip Rail to Chicago via Minneapolis? If so, wouldn't a bus to La Crosse be way cheaper and faster?
I thought the exact same thing! It's about a 45 min drive from Rochester to Lacrosse, and the train is a 3 1/2 hour ride from Lacrosse to Chicago. WAY smarter than taking a 50 min train to St Paul, and then a 7 hour train to Chicago...

bubzki2
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby bubzki2 » June 3rd, 2014, 2:55 pm

Per the article:
"The Zip Line from Rochester would travel the 100-mile corridor in about 50 minutes or less, said planners. "

My quick googling brings in a number off by 25%. Is this line going to zig and zag, say to Northfield? Or did they just round to the nearest 25 miles?

http://goo.gl/maps/7Cc8t

at40man
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby at40man » June 4th, 2014, 7:51 am

A map of route alternatives can be found in this PDF file: http://stpaul.granicus.com/MetaViewer.p ... _id=233787

bubzki2
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby bubzki2 » June 4th, 2014, 1:11 pm

Very interesting, thanks. I guess if you add all the longest segments you might get to 100 miles. It seems to me some other data would be useful, if available. For one, a histogram-type map showing density of automobile commuters from various cities along the possible routes, and then similarly, airport demand for the areas. The distances along this corridor are long enough that even the most ardent car lover might think about this alternative.

Unfortunately, I fear the cost of doing this project right will take serious federal funding to have any chance. I assume a price tag of a few billion wouldn't be out of the question, possibly more.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby holmstar » June 4th, 2014, 1:19 pm

bubzki2 wrote:It seems to me some other data would be useful, if available. For one, a histogram-type map showing density of automobile commuters from various cities along the possible routes
It doesn't really sound like they are planning to have any stops between Rochester and St. Paul/MSP, so that sort of data may not be that useful. The problem is that the goal is for this to be a true high speed rail line. Any stops in between the endpoints are going to slow it down significantly.

Tcmetro
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Tcmetro » June 4th, 2014, 1:26 pm

I think there has been talk of a south suburban stop, probably in Inver Grove Heights or Rosemount.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby twincitizen » June 4th, 2014, 2:27 pm

A south suburban stop would make a lot of sense for metro residents who commute to or visit Rocheshester. South suburban residents aren't going to drive to Union Depot to catch the train...they'd just drive to Rochester, which is what this line is trying to fix.

Direct shot to Union Depot (no MSP airport stop) really seems like the best choice for this line. Like it or not, Union Depot is our region's primary rail transportation hub. The Green Line (and Route 94, Route 54/B-Line, taxis, Lyft, etc.) are more than adequate for moving folks to their final metro-area destination. Who knows, rail in the Riverview corridor could happen someday, providing an even stronger connection to the airport. Zip Rail should be used purely for straight shots back & forth between SPUD & Rochester. The shorter the length of the trip, the more frequently the trains can run.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby acs » June 4th, 2014, 9:20 pm

I think there's just a little bit of overreaction here. Just looking at a map, Minneapolis was never going to be the first destination of this line. Looking back at plans from the past decade has usually shown this as heading to the airport, but I agree that SPUD should be prioritized. In the state passenger rail plan, MNDOT makes it pretty clear that they want to through route all future commuter and inter-city trains between the two cities, so I really don't think Minneapolis is missing out.
Ramsey County Board chair Jim McDonough noted that plans for a Riverview transit corridor from the Union Depot to the airport still are moving forward. He encouraged MnDOT to coordinate with the county accordingly.

Both passenger lines would need a river crossing that would have to be negotiated with existing freight companies.
This is the most intriguing/confusing part to me. I'd love to see Riverview LRT happen as well as this line. The article is implying that they would share a rail bridge and reduce the costs of each project, or maybe construct a new one, but I just don't see how this would work. Riverview needs a crossing over the Mississippi while Zip Rail would need a new bridge over the Minnesota to get to the airport.


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