Northstar Commuter Rail

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Tcmetro
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Re: Northstar

Postby Tcmetro » February 6th, 2014, 11:17 pm

I've been seeing a lot of MT tweets about delays recently. Hopefully these issues can be resolved.

talindsay
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Re: Northstar

Postby talindsay » February 7th, 2014, 8:09 am

Considering how much we paid for the time slots they had better honor them!

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woofner
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Re: Northstar

Postby woofner » February 7th, 2014, 12:11 pm

The best they could come up with to describe how the volume of oil moved by train has increased rapidly as "Crude oil rail shipments have exploded in recent years"?
"Who rescued whom!"

twincitizen
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Re: Northstar

Postby twincitizen » February 7th, 2014, 12:32 pm

^I noticed that as well. Extremely poor word choice.

talindsay
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Re: Northstar

Postby talindsay » February 7th, 2014, 1:01 pm

twincitizen wrote:^I noticed that as well. Extremely poor word choice.
Haha, or maybe an intentionally-subversive word choice. Remember there has been a good deal of reporting recently on oil-train accidents and safety ramifications of the oil boom. I suspect this wasn't accidental.

Tcmetro
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Re: Northstar

Postby Tcmetro » February 11th, 2014, 5:45 am

Unreliability continues. Here's a tweet from this morning:

@MetroTransitMN: UPDATE: Northstar 1st trip now expected to leave Big Lake 30 minutes late due to freight issue.

https://twitter.com/metrotransitmn/stat ... 9374690304

David Greene
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Re: Northstar

Postby David Greene » February 11th, 2014, 8:00 am

mplsjaromir wrote:Also one has to realize the differences in density. The area that the LIRR Port Washington branch serves is nothing like Northstar service area, the first station east of Penn Station is the Woodside station, the census tract where the station lies has 86k+ residents per square mile. While the most dense census tract along the SW LRT 3C route has merely 21k residents per square mile. Main Street Flusing Station census tract has 131k+ residents per square mile! And that is almost ten miles from the terminus.
I think you mean 3A?

But it sparks an interesting question. If SWLRT had gone the 3C route, would it be commuter rail? By Matt's and others' standards as stated in this thread, the answer seems to be "yes." I'm not being snarky but pointing out that the suburban alignment for 3A and 3C are exactly the same.

mplsjaromir
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Re: Northstar

Postby mplsjaromir » February 11th, 2014, 8:35 am

David Greene wrote:
mplsjaromir wrote:Also one has to realize the differences in density. The area that the LIRR Port Washington branch serves is nothing like Northstar service area, the first station east of Penn Station is the Woodside station, the census tract where the station lies has 86k+ residents per square mile. While the most dense census tract along the SW LRT 3C route has merely 21k residents per square mile. Main Street Flusing Station census tract has 131k+ residents per square mile! And that is almost ten miles from the terminus.
I think you mean 3A?

But it sparks an interesting question. If SWLRT had gone the 3C route, would it be commuter rail? By Matt's and others' standards as stated in this thread, the answer seems to be "yes." I'm not being snarky but pointing out that the suburban alignment for 3A and 3C are exactly the same.
I meant 3C. The point being that even the 3C route which some tout as super dense and in desperate need of rail transit is actually not that dense in the grand scheme of things.

twincitizen
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Re: Northstar

Postby twincitizen » February 11th, 2014, 8:36 am

Guys, wrong thread to continue that discussion.

Regarding Northstar: According to MPR, two Northstar trips were cancelled/bustituted this morning and a third was delayed over 30 minutes.

David Greene
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Re: Northstar

Postby David Greene » February 11th, 2014, 8:37 am

mplsjaromir wrote:
David Greene wrote:
mplsjaromir wrote:Also one has to realize the differences in density. The area that the LIRR Port Washington branch serves is nothing like Northstar service area, the first station east of Penn Station is the Woodside station, the census tract where the station lies has 86k+ residents per square mile. While the most dense census tract along the SW LRT 3C route has merely 21k residents per square mile. Main Street Flusing Station census tract has 131k+ residents per square mile! And that is almost ten miles from the terminus.
I think you mean 3A?

But it sparks an interesting question. If SWLRT had gone the 3C route, would it be commuter rail? By Matt's and others' standards as stated in this thread, the answer seems to be "yes." I'm not being snarky but pointing out that the suburban alignment for 3A and 3C are exactly the same.
I meant 3C. The point being that even the 3C route which some tout as super dense and in desperate need of rail transit is actually not that dense in the grand scheme of things.
Ah, ok, so we're in agreement. :)

Tcmetro
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Re: Northstar

Postby Tcmetro » February 11th, 2014, 10:08 am

From what I understand, the first two trips were essentially cancelled. It's hard to bustitute the early morning trips because it takes 30-45 minutes for any bus to get out of the base and up to Big Lake. By the time any buses can get up there, it's probably the time for the third trip to go out.

In any case, cancellations and delays are unacceptable, and if it continues, riders are going to leave the line in droves. BNSF, Metro Transit, and Amtrak really need to get something figured out because it's extremely tarnishing to the image of transit.

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Re: Northstar

Postby mulad » February 19th, 2014, 8:36 am

One car was hit by a Northstar train on Monday, and another car was hit by two trains yesterday at Jackson Street in Elk River (right next to where the Northstar station should have been located...).

http://www.kare11.com/story/news/2014/0 ... r/5589193/

There should be some more grade-separations along the line. I'm not sure about the feasibility of changing the Jackson Street crossing, but the Main Street crossing just southeast of there seems like a good candidate since car traffic has to climb up to the rails from both directions as things stand today.

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar

Postby mattaudio » February 19th, 2014, 8:49 am

Isn't there a plan to convert 10 into a freeway through this section? Or maybe I'm thinking of Anoka.

Also, I heard that the Ferry Street crossing was closed because the signal was malfunctioning yesterday, and IIRC that was the same signal whose status was disputed in the MN courts a few years ago after some teenagers died (and, regardless of if the signal was malfunctioning or the driver crossed against it, the courts scolded BNSF for destruction of evidence and obstruction).

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Re: Northstar

Postby mulad » February 19th, 2014, 9:47 am

Hmm. Yes. Oh look, they had a negative declaration on the need for an EIS, despite going right through the city center. Fun. If only transit projects could be that lucky.

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d3/hwy10er/

Also, here's a site for the freewayification of US-169, including a rebuild of the MN-101/US-10/US-169 interchange.

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d3/projects/ ... round.html

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar

Postby mattaudio » February 19th, 2014, 11:25 am

I can't imagine either project will ever get funded. It's just a shame these towns were allowed to build a "45 MPH World"

holmstar
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Re: Northstar

Postby holmstar » February 19th, 2014, 11:42 am

Apparently the driver of the second car, the one that was hit by trains going both ways, admitted to driving around the crossing arm.

mulad
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Re: Northstar

Postby mulad » February 19th, 2014, 12:22 pm

Ugh. I've never understood why people do that, with the exception of an occasional malfunctioning signal. Some crossings get upgraded to have a median barrier and/or 4-quadrant gates to limit the ability of people to do that. But this is just a two- or three-lane road, so one option is just to attach a longer gate arm...

Incidentally, if you do think signals at a crossing are malfunctioning, look for a phone number on the nearby equipment shack and give the railroad a call. BNSF's emergency number is 1-800-832-5452. (I have their number in my phone since I live a block away from one of their lines.)

holmstar
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Re: Northstar

Postby holmstar » February 19th, 2014, 2:08 pm

I suppose they could put one of those "WARNING!!! Do not reverse! Severe tire damage will result!" type set-ups in the oncoming lane, but I also suppose the people that ignore the gate would ignore the big yellow sign warning them of the potential tire damage.

mamundsen
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Re: Northstar

Postby mamundsen » February 24th, 2014, 7:55 am

It seems like nothing but bad news lately... They are saying today to expect significant delays of 60-90 minutes. How can anyone be expected to use this as an option?

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Re: Northstar

Postby Silophant » February 24th, 2014, 8:07 am

So, it's my understanding that the Met Council paid through the nose for perpetual rights to the time slots they're using on the BNSF track. Do they have some kind of legal recourse available now that they consistently aren't getting to use them? This is ridiculous.


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