MSP to Rochester High Speed Rail

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David Greene
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby David Greene » January 20th, 2015, 10:26 pm

Silophant wrote:Man, the FHWA is really not a fan of this project. Understandably, I suppose.
"If previous studies indicate that highways will not fulfill that need and rail is the only viable solution...fine"

Geez. A little Minnesota passive-aggressive there, FHWA?

How unprofessional.

David Greene
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby David Greene » January 20th, 2015, 10:36 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:These comments in Appendix B are entertaining. At least there's a page of mostly support due to people from the Twin Cities and Rochester commenting. :lol:
I didn't read many of them, but this one stood out:

"Do not waste my State and Federal money on yet another train. Obviously if this was a service that was in high demand, a business would be providing this service. I'm now going to go check on houses in Sioux Falls, South Dakota."

Don't let the door...

Didier
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Didier » January 21st, 2015, 12:35 am

Why is it reasonable that the timeline on this is listed as 10-15 years?

acs
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby acs » January 21st, 2015, 9:26 am

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/289245901.html

Strib news article on the topic. As always, don't read the comments.

Southside
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 10:05 am

Why on earth would a 168 MPH train stop in Pine Island?

It's idiotic political posturing like this that makes riding on Amtrak awful. There's nothing like stopping for 10 minutes in Portage, Columbus and Tomah and watching no one enter or exit the train when riding the Empire Builder. Let's continue the tradition of useless stops in future intercity passenger rail projects.

Also, I'm throwing my support behind routing this to the airport. The need is a connection between a major medical center and a major airport. Romantic as stopping at historic railway stations may be, I'm sure cancer patients would be much better served not having to ride the #54 bus between the airport and SPUD to catch the bullet train to care.
Last edited by Southside on January 21st, 2015, 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby FISHMANPET » January 21st, 2015, 10:19 am

It would be nice if it was built in such a way that you could also run slower but more local service on the line, I don't really know what European best practices are for that, but I'm sure they do it all over.

Southside
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 10:30 am

In my experiences, European High Speed trains are built on new tracks and the existing tracks remain to serve local stations. I'm sure there are some exceptions, but generally high speed railways do not share tracks with slower trains.

Assuming the high speed and the local routes need to be separate, the US52 corridor does not seem like a great candidate for local rail investment.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » January 21st, 2015, 10:52 am

One thing that I think could be a hypothetical additional use for this... we know cargo capacity is highly constrained at MSP, and Rochester (RST) has a sizable cargo operation for a city of its size (including Fedex 757s, and feeder flights to airports across MN). Maybe run a freight spur south to RST airport, and allow the HSR to carry Unit Load Device cargo directly from RST to a cargo terminal adjacent to a Dakota County rail station, or possibly MSP airport if they choose to use MSP as the terminus. That would reduce demand, especially for those awful old and loud cargo widebodies that use MSP during the overnight ideas. Just throwing a wild idea out there.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Silophant » January 21st, 2015, 10:55 am

Running it to the airport directly isn't a good idea. It's not about the romance of stopping at an historic railway station, its about the cost-efficiency of stopping at an existing railway station, with existing railway access, instead of having to build an entirely new rail corridor up to the airport and an entirely new station at the airport. I agree that the 54 is not a good way for cancer patients to get from the airport to the train station, but I don't really see a scenario where this gets funded and built, but the 54 doesn't at least get upgraded to the B-Line, if not full Riverview LRT.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » January 21st, 2015, 11:05 am

Agreed. I'm definitely hoping this goes to SPUD (and eventually continues to MMM) rather than a (third, new) regional rail station at MSP Airport. But I think it can provide a secondary cargo benefit even if it doesn't go to the airport.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 11:20 am

Silophant wrote:Running it to the airport directly isn't a good idea. It's not about the romance of stopping at an historic railway station, its about the cost-efficiency of stopping at an existing railway station, with existing railway access, instead of having to build an entirely new rail corridor up to the airport and an entirely new station at the airport. I agree that the 54 is not a good way for cancer patients to get from the airport to the train station, but I don't really see a scenario where this gets funded and built, but the 54 doesn't at least get upgraded to the B-Line, if not full Riverview LRT.
Cost-efficiency? I would hypothesize that upgrading freight corridors for Zip Line service to go all the way to SPUD would certainly offset some of the cost savings provided by having an existing station.

Also, isn't choosing for Zip Line should go to SPUD to save costs the same kind of argument that got us into the Kenilworth boondogle on Southwest LRT.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » January 21st, 2015, 11:24 am

^Very much so... going to MSP would be like Kenilworth, since it would spend more money for worse outcomes.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby FISHMANPET » January 21st, 2015, 11:31 am

I was thinking Britain was dumb enough to run HS1 on existing tracks with local service, but even they were smart enough to build a separate route. Though I think it's pretty common for 100-110 MPH trains to just whiz through stations without stopping.

I wonder how expensive/difficult it would be to build spurs off the main line for regional trains without delaying the mainline too much.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » January 21st, 2015, 11:37 am

The NEC has plenty of fast (150 MPH) and slow trains (commuter) on the same track, though most of it is quad-tracked. But NYC-BOS is largely double-tracked, with Acelas flying by commuter rail platforms at 150 MPH. Still, not ideal.

Another American example is how the SF peninsula Caltrain corridor will have future HSR. Though not as tightly integrated as it should be. The ideal scenario for most stations would be F-S-S-F, with a center platform between the two slow tracks.

But this is all pretty much a non starter since places like Hampton and Oronoco simply don't merit the investment of local rail service on a greenfield HSR corridor no matter the proximity.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 12:10 pm

mattaudio wrote:^Very much so... going to MSP would be like Kenilworth, since it would spend more money for worse outcomes.
Worse outcomes???

MSP is by far the largest multimodal center in Minnesota. 66 times as many passengers fly into MSP as ride on the entire Empire Builder's 2200 mile route. More people work in or around the airport than in Downtown St. Paul, likely more employees that are transit dependent. MSP has a faster connection to our region's primary job center (Downtown Minneapolis) via the Blue Line. MSP is also very close to the Region's most visited tourist destination (MOA).

That said, in a perfect word, Zip Rail would go to both. However, other than Downtown St. Paul being more urban (which is a highly subjective metric), I am struggling to find one factor that makes SPUD a better destination for an intercity high speed line. I suspect combined ridership of the airport's Blue Line stations might be higher than total train ridership at SPUD.
Last edited by Southside on January 21st, 2015, 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » January 21st, 2015, 12:13 pm

With the exception of employees (which, admittedly there are many, though that's not certain to always be the case) MSP Airport is not a "destination." It's merely a point of transit. Which is why it's ridiculous that HSR should terminate at an airport, even for the small number of people who may transfer from an airport to a HSR line as part of their journey. The reason why SPUD is a better terminus is because the trackage already exists for through-routing to Minneapolis, regardless of if it's being studied or not.

Southside
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 12:31 pm

The destination driving demand is the Mayo Clinic.

mattaudio
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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » January 21st, 2015, 12:42 pm

1. If that were true, it would be bad for Rochester (one horse town) and for ZipRail (one horse demand)
2. If that were true, Mpls/SPUD still makes more sense than MSP since a majority of Mayo's Rochester patients and guests are from the midwest.
3. Luckily, the job numbers and the transportation numbers I've seen from my contacts in Rochester show that Mayo/Mayo-related is a large share of demand, but not an oversized share.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 21st, 2015, 1:28 pm

If they manage to integrate fares (at least for Metro Transit if not with airlines), a transfer to a Riverview BRT or LRT (which will likely be built by the time this is completed anyway, and if I had to guess at mode LRT will probably be it) could be fairly seamless for Mayo trips. Riverview would drop off right at SPUD's doorstep, so there's no confusion there.

Besides, while there are a lot of jobs in the airport *area* outside the MOA very few of them are connected to MSP (or what would be a rail terminal) directly with pedestrian or transit infrastructure. SPUD, even down in Lowertown, DOES have that, with the Green Line, future Riverview, bus network, and local amenities, plus jobs - roughly 26,000 within a ~0.5 mile walk acc to OnTheMap. The MSP airport area needs to include the MOA and as far west as Portland Ave to hit 30k jobs, and many of those are going to be MOA retail-oriented, not regional/national business-travel draws like downtown.

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Re: Zip Rail to Rochester

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 2:05 pm

mattaudio wrote:1. If that were true, it would be bad for Rochester (one horse town) and for ZipRail (one horse demand)
2. If that were true, Mpls/SPUD still makes more sense than MSP since a majority of Mayo's Rochester patients and guests are from the midwest.
3. Luckily, the job numbers and the transportation numbers I've seen from my contacts in Rochester show that Mayo/Mayo-related is a large share of demand, but not an oversized share.
1. Rochester is a one horse town. If all Mayo employees lived in Rochester they would comprise over 1/3 of the population. Certainly if we added in supporting industries it would be over 1/2. Nothing except Mayo makes the scale of this infrastructure reasonable.
2. Basically zero extra-regional visitors arrive via SPUD. Empire Builder over its entirety (2200+ miles) only has 500k passengers per year. Intercity Bus at a minimum splits demand with Hawthorne. Rochester City Lines' commuter service goes near the airport in Bloomington.

If the choice were between Downtown Minneapolis, I would support that. However, the airport is a far larger multi-modal transportation center and closer to the economic heart of the region.


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