Northstar Commuter Rail

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » May 4th, 2019, 6:56 am

For those who wondered what Northstar Link (the bus bridge to St. Cloud) ridership is here it is from September 2016. http://catchthelink.com/downloads/rider ... tation.pdf

Not as bad as I feared it would be, though I wonder if it's gone down since then.

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Anondson
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Anondson » May 23rd, 2019, 4:37 pm


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LRV Op Dude
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby LRV Op Dude » May 23rd, 2019, 11:09 pm

Blog: Old-Twin Cities Transit New-Twin Cities Transit

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AKA: Bus Driver Dude

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » July 17th, 2019, 1:39 pm

I’ll move the discussion over here in regards to the recent proposed development adjacent to Target Field Station and what the impacts are for future commuter/intercity rail operations.

Before the stadium was built there was easily enough land for a European style train hub, now not even close. I get wanting to develop in a market that’s hopping, but could they not have designed these buildings in a way that allows more commuter/intercity rail platforms?

I guess now we either tunnel which will be expensive as hell, or find a new location that hopefully doesn’t get seized by developers.

This is why we should do a better job at protecting right-of-way. Sure the commuter rail proposals aren’t making progress now, but in a decade or two choking the BNSF corridor through downtown may come back to haunt us just like with the Kenwood townhomes that forced us to either reroute freight trains, reroute light rail, or send light rail underground.

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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby David Greene » July 17th, 2019, 2:32 pm

That ship sailed when we allowed the Great Northern Depot to be redeveloped. The current tracks are oriented the wrong way. We want east-west alignment to best facilitate commuter rail. I am not sure how we would get that now. Backing up along the current alignment and using the existing wye to head east seems less than ideal.

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DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » July 17th, 2019, 2:49 pm

David Greene wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 2:32 pm
That ship sailed when we allowed the Great Northern Depot to be redeveloped. The current tracks are oriented the wrong way. We want east-west alignment to best facilitate commuter rail. I am not sure how we would get that now. Backing up along the current alignment and using the existing wye to head east seems less than ideal.

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If you’re talking about through-running from Target Field to SPUD the best and cheapest we could do is either have DMUs that are easy for the driver to go to the other end and head east, or split the service into Big Lake-Minneapolis and Big Lake-St. Paul.

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mattaudio » July 17th, 2019, 2:57 pm

Here's an idea I came up with maybe a decade ago.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IHFzz ... sp=sharing

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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Korh » July 17th, 2019, 3:28 pm

I know I have joked in the past that if the Twins go the way of a certain hockey team that shared a similar name with the train, there would be room for a proper station.
But in all seriousness I kinda think it would be better to find a new central hub for rail if we ever get to that far though I do think some improvements can be made to target field station with the current spacial constraints. Giving a few spit ball ideas here but maybe try and get a better connection/entrance with the interchange or if you've ever seen the Virgin trains usa stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, something like an enclosed waiting area above the platform and tracks.

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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby nBode » July 18th, 2019, 7:22 am

Somebody somewhere alluded to repurposing the I-394 trench and I think it's brilliant. Cut-and-cover N 3rd Ave from the Fed to Washington; demolish the C Ramp (and the B Ramp?); build shiny new *European-style* terminal building from Washington to 5th.

(stage II includes converting 5th St. into a bed/bike mall, high-speed rail to SPUD and Chicago, demolishing the viaducts, and all that good stuff)

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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby alexschief » July 18th, 2019, 8:28 am

nBode wrote:
July 18th, 2019, 7:22 am
Somebody somewhere alluded to repurposing the I-394 trench and I think it's brilliant. Cut-and-cover N 3rd Ave from the Fed to Washington; demolish the C Ramp (and the B Ramp?); build shiny new *European-style* terminal building from Washington to 5th.

(stage II includes converting 5th St. into a bed/bike mall, high-speed rail to SPUD and Chicago, demolishing the viaducts, and all that good stuff)
All for a low, low price of maybe $3.5 billion? (got to include frequent and reasonably fast service to St. Cloud and Duluth)

BigIdeasGuy
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby BigIdeasGuy » July 18th, 2019, 9:02 am

I realize for many the fact that Union Depot is in St. Paul is disqualifying by its self but is there any good reason why UD couldn't be the intercity rail of the Twin Cities?

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Nick
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Nick » July 18th, 2019, 9:25 am

Being in St. Paul is disqualifying, yes.

talindsay
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby talindsay » July 18th, 2019, 10:11 am

So SPUD is too far from the major activity center to be any good for commuter-type operations. It's fine for things like Amtrak.

But there really are a lot of places where a west-side commuter rail terminal could be developed in the unlikely event that commuter rail ever actually demanded it. I think what a lot of pipe-dreamers on here fail to recognize is that the light rail stations already handle a scale of traffic *MUCH* larger than anything we could reasonably hope to see down in the rail trench in the next twenty years, and likely the next fifty years. Which is to say, it'll be a long time before we have to consider the possibility of running out of space at "The Interchange". Seattle's equivalent station handles a dramatically higher passenger load than we're likely to ever see, with not much more space.

Western Europe's reliance on rail is orders of magnitude higher than ours, and yet still the only reason their stations are so massive is that they're inherited from a time that those massive stations were truly necessary; since they have the space already dedicated, they may as well take advantage of it. But even Köln's massive central switching duty for all of north central Europe only occupies maybe a quarter of that massive station's capacity at any one time. Modern rail operations means that a single platform can be used by dozens of trains each day. Because they have the space already dedicated, they take advantage of it by dedicating platforms for waiting for a train that won't show up for hours. If they were building for current needs, almost all historic European rail stations could be much smaller, with much fewer tracks, and much higher utilization per platform.

Which is a long way of saying that, while I would have loved to see tracks fanning out in the trench against the Twins stadium in the way some of the long-term documents from a decade ago showed, the current track capacity is likely to be sufficient for the foreseeable future. I'd love to be wrong, of course.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » July 18th, 2019, 10:13 am

No reason we can’t have two rail hubs; one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul. Plenty of European cities do this.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » July 18th, 2019, 10:17 am

talindsay wrote:
July 18th, 2019, 10:11 am
So SPUD is too far from the major activity center to be any good for commuter-type operations. It's fine for things like Amtrak.

But there really are a lot of places where a west-side commuter rail terminal could be developed in the unlikely event that commuter rail ever actually demanded it. I think what a lot of pipe-dreamers on here fail to recognize is that the light rail stations already handle a scale of traffic *MUCH* larger than anything we could reasonably hope to see down in the rail trench in the next twenty years, and likely the next fifty years. Which is to say, it'll be a long time before we have to consider the possibility of running out of space at "The Interchange". Seattle's equivalent station handles a dramatically higher passenger load than we're likely to ever see, with not much more space.

Western Europe's reliance on rail is orders of magnitude higher than ours, and yet still the only reason their stations are so massive is that they're inherited from a time that those massive stations were truly necessary; since they have the space already dedicated, they may as well take advantage of it. But even Köln's massive central switching duty for all of north central Europe only occupies maybe a quarter of that massive station's capacity at any one time. Modern rail operations means that a single platform can be used by dozens of trains each day. Because they have the space already dedicated, they take advantage of it by dedicating platforms for waiting for a train that won't show up for hours. If they were building for current needs, almost all historic European rail stations could be much smaller, with much fewer tracks, and much higher utilization per platform.

Which is a long way of saying that, while I would have loved to see tracks fanning out in the trench against the Twins stadium in the way some of the long-term documents from a decade ago showed, the current track capacity is likely to be sufficient for the foreseeable future. I'd love to be wrong, of course.
As I said before, we think (key word think) we don’t need the extra space and then, surprise, we need it but now we have to spend a few billion and years of complicated engineering and construction.

There may be two platform tracks, but the corridor outside of there is single track and we have to take that and freight train traffic into consideration.

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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby alexschief » July 18th, 2019, 11:22 am

talindsay wrote:
July 18th, 2019, 10:11 am
I think what a lot of pipe-dreamers on here fail to recognize...
The almost exactly one-to-one model for this Minneapolis pipe dream is Denver's Union Station and the SOM-designed train shed.

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mister.shoes
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mister.shoes » July 18th, 2019, 11:29 am

Start with this:
mattaudio wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 2:57 pm
Here's an idea I came up with maybe a decade ago.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IHFzz ... sp=sharing
Tear down the viaducts and run the tracks down that corridor instead of between 5th and 7th. There should be enough room for one or two long platforms. Then, tear down the parking ramp next to Darby's so a connection can be made to the BNSF mainline. Now we've got a way to through-run trains from SPUD to the west or vice versa. Keep the existing platform for anything that ends at TF from either direction.
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mister.shoes
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mister.shoes » August 1st, 2019, 4:09 pm

Here's my previous North Loop redo updated to take into account a rail station in the ROW of the removed viaducts. Unfortunately, it starts from the same base map as the previous version, which I did in 2013. I added Dock Street Flats, T3, and the new Hines North Loop Green proposal, but development northwest of the trench isn't yet labeled properly.

Thumbnail:
nl-redone-rev2-thumb.jpg
Full-size:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2b2mbhcb1otwn ... 2.jpg?dl=0
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alexschief
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby alexschief » August 2nd, 2019, 8:41 am

In this future, I'm not sure why this alternative would be preferred to using the I-394 trench for a new station, with the existing tracks running in a shallow tunnel under 3rd Ave. Operationally that option is simpler, and it would bring this hypothetical rail hub closer to the CBD instead of further away. The I-94 viaduct land makes more sense for development.

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mister.shoes
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mister.shoes » August 2nd, 2019, 9:35 am

The primary advantage of this is eliminating the need to back out of a station and allowing for through-running west/north <--> east/south. While I didn't show it explicitly, I'd like to think plenty of development could be done above any sort of station which replaces the viaducts. But you're absolutely right w/r/t proximity to the CBD—it's just far enough away to be annoying.
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