High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
grant1simons2
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby grant1simons2 » February 19th, 2018, 3:24 pm

Sounds extremely dangerous and inefficient to have something sustaining 90+ mph even in a dedicated guideway.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby VacantLuxuries » February 19th, 2018, 3:36 pm

What's the furthest anyone's ever built a gondola? Those are in vogue right now.

/s
Last edited by VacantLuxuries on February 19th, 2018, 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SurlyLHT
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby SurlyLHT » February 19th, 2018, 3:51 pm

I'm trying to think out of the box a bit considering paralyzed local rail projects are. Does anyone have any other ideas on how to connect two major cities? Can we use pre-existing rail and do a Northstar like thing? If we can't have buses and rail...maybe high speed stagecoach?

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Mikey » February 19th, 2018, 4:22 pm

Maybe it would be easier to rebuild the old rail line to Red Wing and use the existing tracks the rest of the way?
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Zkools20
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Zkools20 » February 19th, 2018, 4:25 pm

That’s one way to do it, but I honestly think we should go modern and do a high speed rail between two major cities. Allow people to commute between the two cities faster.

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby tmart » February 19th, 2018, 4:55 pm

SurlyLHT wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 3:51 pm
I'm trying to think out of the box a bit considering paralyzed local rail projects are. Does anyone have any other ideas on how to connect two major cities? Can we use pre-existing rail and do a Northstar like thing? If we can't have buses and rail...maybe high speed stagecoach?
The problem is that our rail woes are 100% a political problem, not a technical problem, so we're not going to invent our way out of them. There's nothing particularly wrong with the US-52 routing, except that there's nominal local opposition to being proximate to passing trains which is apparently stronger than any prominent official's desire to advocate for it. There's no particular reason we should be seeking outside investors, except that the legislature intentionally starves transportation projects that aren't rural and suburban asphalt. There's no reason that a bus lane should be easier to get built than rail, except for decades of cultural bias and lousy urban planning to reinforce it. Frankly there's no real obstacle preventing us from having subways serving the two downtowns and a handful of dense adjacent neighborhoods, except for a few legislative gag bills and federal funding guidelines that make it practically impossible to get matching dollars to dig.

It's very hard to change a pervasive lack of political will, or a set of cultural biases towards objectively bad policy, or federal guidelines. But with things the way they are I feel like it's impossible to adequately address all our needs by trying to devise clever projects that sidestep them.

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Zkools20 » February 19th, 2018, 5:44 pm

Wouldn’t it make sense to have the route start in town cities and end in Chicago. It would be popular like with stops in a few cities along the way

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby DanPatchToget » February 19th, 2018, 10:46 pm

If we wanted to use only existing rail then the best route would probably be from SPUD onto the Union Pacific Spine Line to Owatonna and then CP/former DM&E trackage to Rochester. Would still require upgrades, but would probably be the cheapest rail option.

Agree 100% with tmart. There is absolutely no excuse for the limited transit there is between the Twin Cities and Rochester, and the Twin Cities region in general. With competent politicians and planners, and open-minded individuals who don't say no immediately, by now we would at least have a well-run coach service operating every hour all-day in both directions between Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester.

tmart
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby tmart » February 19th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Zkools20 wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 5:44 pm
Wouldn’t it make sense to have the route start in town cities and end in Chicago. It would be popular like with stops in a few cities along the way
This was indeed one of the first routes considered for MSP-Chicago HSR back when Obama was trying to get it started. I don’t remember which alignment they ended up preferring but it’s all academic since Scott Walker decided to throw a tantrum and can the whole MN/WI/IL project.

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby DanPatchToget » February 20th, 2018, 7:52 am

They chose the existing Empire Builder route, but while marketed as HSR it wouldn't be. It would actually be 110 mph service and additional frequency, which is an improvement, but lets not fool the public into thinking we'll have bullet trains that can get you to Chicago in 4 hours.

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby SurlyLHT » February 20th, 2018, 8:22 am

tmart wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 4:55 pm
SurlyLHT wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 3:51 pm
I'm trying to think out of the box a bit considering paralyzed local rail projects are. Does anyone have any other ideas on how to connect two major cities? Can we use pre-existing rail and do a Northstar like thing? If we can't have buses and rail...maybe high speed stagecoach?
The problem is that our rail woes are 100% a political problem, not a technical problem, so we're not going to invent our way out of them. There's nothing particularly wrong with the US-52 routing, except that there's nominal local opposition to being proximate to passing trains which is apparently stronger than any prominent official's desire to advocate for it. There's no particular reason we should be seeking outside investors, except that the legislature intentionally starves transportation projects that aren't rural and suburban asphalt. There's no reason that a bus lane should be easier to get built than rail, except for decades of cultural bias and lousy urban planning to reinforce it. Frankly there's no real obstacle preventing us from having subways serving the two downtowns and a handful of dense adjacent neighborhoods, except for a few legislative gag bills and federal funding guidelines that make it practically impossible to get matching dollars to dig.

It's very hard to change a pervasive lack of political will, or a set of cultural biases towards objectively bad policy, or federal guidelines. But with things the way they are I feel like it's impossible to adequately address all our needs by trying to devise clever projects that sidestep them.
It's interesting that we were able to find the political will for the DMC initiative but not this. Does anyone know how Mayo feels about HSR?
If Mayo, local government leaders and other business leaders came out for it perhaps we have a chance at pushing it through the state?

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Mikey » February 20th, 2018, 8:41 am

I think you do see a bit of Mayo influence already. That's the only explanation I can think of for the seeming obsession with linking Rochester to the MSP airport instead of either downtown.

The CP tracks south from Union Depot through Newport, Cottage Grove, etc are already mostly grade separated, and any improvements along that route do double duty for speeding up the Empire Builder and other future routes to Chicago. We spent a quarter-billion fixing up Union Depot to be our main rail hub. Since we have to start from scratch on rails heading north from Rochester, why not aim for Red Wing or Hastings? You can still run through Zumbrota and even Cannon Falls is due south of Hastings.
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Mikey
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Mikey » February 20th, 2018, 8:47 am

Of course, in my head there is a "Super Northstar" that runs from St Cloud to Rochester through both downtowns all day long, linking both satellite metro areas to the main one. But in my head the state has the political will to finally get transit done right
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mattaudio
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » February 20th, 2018, 9:05 am

Seems like you could use ex-CGW railbed from SPUD to somewhere near Hampton, then use the 52 median through the sparsest section from Hampton to Zumbrota, then pick up the old grade of the other CGW line that once ran from Red Wing to Rochester via Zumbrota (now the Douglas Trail). That would be a relatively direct route from SPUD to Rochester. But so would be using the 52 corridor the entire way.

I think the interest in MSP-Rochester is seen as a way to make sure that any future Chicago-based true high speed rail goes through Rochester instead of Eau Claire or the river route. Yes, the plan is for 110 MPH on the river route, but at some point maybe there would be more. But not in our current political climate.

Edit: While I see virtually no possibility for HSR on the 52 corridor, and no^2 possibility for HSR on previously-abandoned CGW railroad grades.... I see no^3 possibility for HSR or modern railroading of any kind on the ex-CGW Hay Creek grade between Goodhue and Red Wing. I've fly fished Hay Creek along that section, where there are still wood pilings from old trestles crisscrossing the river a few times. The road had very tight curves and a relatively steep grade to make it out of Red Wing.

SurlyLHT
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby SurlyLHT » February 20th, 2018, 9:47 am

Looking at Google Maps, the best route with existing track appears to be running a train south from Union Depot through Faribault and Owatonna and then over to Rochester. A quick estimate shows that it's 107 miles versus 76 miles by car. That difference I presume would make rail uncompetitive with cars even if the train was running at 70 mph like the Northstar. Yes, if it was high speed it'll be quicker, but wouldn't it just be easier to run it down 52 and not bother with the railroads?

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Mikey » February 20th, 2018, 11:17 am

mattaudio wrote:
February 20th, 2018, 9:05 am
I see no^3 possibility for HSR or modern railroading of any kind on the ex-CGW Hay Creek grade between Goodhue and Red Wing. I've fly fished Hay Creek along that section, where there are still wood pilings from old trestles crisscrossing the river a few times. The road had very tight curves and a relatively steep grade to make it out of Red Wing.
I kinda remembered that as well. Hastings it is (in my head at least) Hwy 52 to Cannon Falls, Hwy 20 and 61 the rest of the way - it's fairly flat through there.

Mostly, I think it will be easier to get out of the built-up metro area on a current rail corridor, then go on an all-new route to Rochester
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DanPatchToget
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby DanPatchToget » February 20th, 2018, 11:23 am

Or you just put it in the median of Highway 52. Right-of-way is already owned, and if we're talking conventional trains then no need to build a giant berm for the entire route. There are examples in Los Angeles (Metrolink) and New Mexico (RailRunner).

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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby bubzki2 » February 20th, 2018, 11:54 am

As more and more at-grade crossings get removed from the US52 ROW, it will be easier and easier to imagine a rail line of some form running adjacent the cars. There are plenty of hills along that route, however, some quite large.

mattaudio
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby mattaudio » February 20th, 2018, 12:24 pm

Funny thing is, just about a century ago we had an electrified passenger railway between St. Paul and Hastings that was on the verge of extending to Zumbrota and negotiating for rights to electrify and use tracks between Zumbrota and Rochester:
https://www.rchs.com/wp-content/uploads ... _Diers.pdf

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Tiller
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Re: High Speed Rail MSP to Rochester

Postby Tiller » February 21st, 2018, 2:45 am

High speed bus service has been a topic of conversation before...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNixDlRoMvA


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