Northstar Commuter Rail

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NickP
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby NickP » November 11th, 2018, 9:23 pm

https://www.minnesotabusiness.com/train-gain
Here is a Minnesota Business Magazine article on growing Northstar ridership. It claims that weekday ridership on the line topped 3000/day in June.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 11th, 2018, 11:10 pm

That article is from 2013. Its says Ramsey Station opened last year which was in 2012. Also didn't fares go back up with the fare hike?

NickP
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby NickP » November 12th, 2018, 3:50 pm

My bad! Haha I didn’t see the date. I found it on my phone so maybe it was a noble site snafu on my part. My apologies

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 28th, 2018, 8:33 am

I just realized the Northstar Holiday Train operates five days after the last day of the Union Depot Holiday Market. Anyone want to find the logic?

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » December 16th, 2018, 8:58 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 8:33 am
I just realized the Northstar Holiday Train operates five days after the last day of the Union Depot Holiday Market. Anyone want to find the logic?
To answer my own question, they at least had vendors inside the depot and some entertainment for the kids.

According to Metro Transit this year's Holiday Train had 3,100 rides, so does that mean 1,550 riders? Pretty amazing that we (barely) fit all those people with just six coaches.

Just like last year actually getting into the depot was a struggle with the limited entrances from the platform, but thankfully people were allowed to get back on the train at any time instead of like last year where everyone had to wait inside the depot until the doors to the platform were unlocked.

Korh
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Korh » December 17th, 2018, 9:33 pm

I'm just surprised the escalator was working this year.
Though I wonder if it might be better if they started putting a small ticket price for the holiday train.
Now I know this is a controversial statement put let me put froward three points to defend my stance:
  • the money doesn't have to be completely pocketed by northstar/Metro, it can be mostly donated to a charity resulting in good PR
  • depending how much money they have left after donating it might be enough to warrant additional holiday trains running throughout the season
  • could be a way to sneak in some testing for future extensions under the guise of special event trains to St. Paul, St. Cloud, Wayzata, etc.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » January 7th, 2019, 5:05 am

What's the EPA Tier standard for Northstar's locomotives? They're definitely not Tier 4, but according to the Wikipedia article on this type of locomotive they can be rebuilt to meet Tier 4 standards. I'm sure it's not a high priority, but I wonder if this is something Metro Transit would look into.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPI_MPXpress

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mattaudio » January 7th, 2019, 9:24 am

I wonder what the economics are between our commuter trainset with a loco and a few carriages vs DMUs.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » January 7th, 2019, 9:40 am

From what I've read it can be standing room only. I've only used it once during rush hour and that was a few years ago, but yes it was pretty packed. Are there any double-decker DMUs out there? Perhaps a model that's offered in single-level and double-decker so there's one type in our fleet and they can match the demand of routes. I know for sure a single-level DMU would be just fine for the weekend trips on the Northstar.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby FISHMANPET » January 7th, 2019, 10:57 am

DanPatchToget wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 5:05 am
What's the EPA Tier standard for Northstar's locomotives? They're definitely not Tier 4, but according to the Wikipedia article on this type of locomotive they can be rebuilt to meet Tier 4 standards. I'm sure it's not a high priority, but I wonder if this is something Metro Transit would look into.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPI_MPXpress
I don't think they can be rebuilt to Tier 4. The original model that Metra ordered can be converted to the model Northstar runs by adding in an additional HEP generator. But the Tier 4 model, the MP54AC, has a completely different engine. But then again the MP40PH-3C was rebuilt to Tier 3 standards which I think meant replacing the engine, so maybe it's possible?

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mattaudio » January 7th, 2019, 11:47 am

I'm guessing "rebuild" likely means "new prime mover." That seems quite common with locomotives, both freight and passenger. Lots of commuter rail systems including Metra and MBTA have used rebuilt engines over the years, oftentimes old EMD chassis/cabs with new or refurbished prime movers, then complimented by lots of new systems and upgraded cab interiors. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_GP40- ... ocomotives

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » February 9th, 2019, 2:24 pm

Northstar extension to... Camp Ripley.

http://knsiradio.com/news/local-news/la ... -exR3-M7_0

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Anondson
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Anondson » February 9th, 2019, 3:08 pm

Just go all the way to Bemidji via Brainerd and Nisswa and make it regional.

grrdanko
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby grrdanko » February 9th, 2019, 3:36 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
February 9th, 2019, 2:24 pm
Northstar extension to... Camp Ripley.

http://knsiradio.com/news/local-news/la ... -exR3-M7_0
This is kind of a crazy logical leap: Representative Tim O’Driscoll says in case of a natural disaster, having a Northstar stop at Camp Ripley could be beneficial as it could evacuate a large number of people from the Metro Area quickly and take them to the medical facility that exists at the site.


What kind of natural disaster would cause all the hospitals in the metro area to be unusable, but still leave the rails passable to Camp Ripley?

mulad
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mulad » February 9th, 2019, 5:32 pm

I agree that extending it to Camp Ripley alone doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't think it hurts to look at extending Northstar to points beyond St. Cloud, though it would make more sense for that to be operated as a "regional" service rather than commuter (thanks to Joey for mentioning that running a commuter service pattern wouldn't make sense at that distance from the Twin Cities after I posted the story to Twitter).

Practically speaking, it makes much more sense to end the normal service in Brainerd or Little Falls. Camp Ripley is on a short spur off of a line that used to run between those two cities, but is now cut short. A map I have says that there's a gap of 18.3 miles (due to abandonment of tracks). There are existing tracks to Brainerd via Staples, though restoring the line that goes past Camp Ripley would make trips from the south to Brainerd about 33 miles shorter than going through Staples.

Oreos&Milk
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Oreos&Milk » February 10th, 2019, 7:57 pm

grrdanko wrote:
February 9th, 2019, 3:36 pm
DanPatchToget wrote:
February 9th, 2019, 2:24 pm
Northstar extension to... Camp Ripley.

http://knsiradio.com/news/local-news/la ... -exR3-M7_0
This is kind of a crazy logical leap: Representative Tim O’Driscoll says in case of a natural disaster, having a Northstar stop at Camp Ripley could be beneficial as it could evacuate a large number of people from the Metro Area quickly and take them to the medical facility that exists at the site.


What kind of natural disaster would cause all the hospitals in the metro area to be unusable, but still leave the rails passable to Camp Ripley?

I think it's a great idea. Like freeways have straight miles so they can be used as emergency airstrips during time of war. Now having it as an active stop seems bizarre as bizarre as if on fridays airports started landing on I-94. Having active commuter rail to St. Cloud would be a major win. Plus having maintained tracks to camp ripley would be a big bonus, as the St. Cloud metro develops they would be able to expand and build a north St. Cloud area station and a Little Falls station IF those areas develop into a density that can support such a train line. I'm in favor of this idea because it has a good progressive outcome for transit opportunities, provided the study shows it's feasible and there is funds willing to be invested for such a line. Getting waaaay ahead of it but it's encouraging development! :)


Only thing that worries me, is that he is a republican and republicans tend to have bad values when it comes to minorities. Is this train to bring people of masses to rural military camps intended to move these large minority populations in our metro to these places if there were other future major attacks like happended on 9/11 ? Didn't we have that to Japaneese during the world war? I think Tim O'Driscoll needs to be questioned in great detail as to WHOM this moving of people is intended for...

BBMplsMN
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby BBMplsMN » February 10th, 2019, 11:02 pm

Oreos&Milk wrote:
February 10th, 2019, 7:57 pm
Like freeways have straight miles so they can be used as emergency airstrips during time of war.
This is an urban myth.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/landi ... and-glory/

mulad
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mulad » February 11th, 2019, 6:42 am

It did occur to me as I was falling asleep on Saturday night that there could be some malicious intent behind that proposal. It's possible that it was some anti-immigrant/anti-semitic/anti-who-knows-what dogwhistle that just blew right past me -- I'm often not very attuned to such things. Hopefully that wasn't the intent, but it's tough to say when we have a party that appears to always be on the hunt for ways to keep certain people down (not that the other party is faultless, even after the political realignment of the two parties from the 1960s and beyond).

I was also reminded that the existing Amtrak corridor is already part of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET), though I'm not sure if there's any money attached to that or if it gets any other significant attention. I'm pretty sure some of those routes have been threatened with abandonment recently.
https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... racnet.htm

Korh
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Korh » February 11th, 2019, 4:09 pm

I find this a bit odd since iirc O'Driscoll voted against a northstar extension study back in 2015.

Though I can sorta see his reasoning but in a few different situations. For example I don't remember to much of the Duluth flooding back in 2012 but does anyone recall if the rail line was still in operation? Because If it was still usable and imagining if the NLX was in operation at the time, I could see it being used to evacuate citizens out of the area and shuttle in members of the MN National Guard.

I'm not familiar with the area around Camp Ripley so I don't know if the same logic could be applied but as questionable as O'Driscoll might be to some people, I doubt his end goal is to set up a new internment camp in central MN

mulad
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mulad » February 14th, 2019, 6:16 pm

Here's something more practical in the near term: Rep. Dan Wolgamott has introduced HF 1179 to fund extending Northstar to St. Cloud. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, though he announced on Twitter that there will be a public Transportation Committee hearing in St. Cloud at noon next Friday, Feb. 22nd to gather input.

https://twitter.com/RepWolgy/status/1096191506090733568


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