Originally Posted by wwmiv
How is 130 incompatible with trains?
Lone Star Rail's fatal flaw analysis report:
"Of the three options considered, two were quickly eliminated from further consideration. Option 2, which would place the commuter rail line outside the frontage road, faces severe right-of-way constraints and creates conflicts with crossing streets and driveway connections found throughout the corridor. Option 3, which would place the rail between the mainlanes and frontage road, would require extremely long structures to grade separate at ramp crossings. Option 3 also poses conflicts to bridge and retaining wall structures as well as to toll facilities.
The only viable option remaining to be considered was Option 1, which would place the commuter rail alignment within the SH 130 median. The benefits to utilizing the center median include:
• All ROW that would be required for track construction already has, or will be, obtained as part of one of the two SH 130 projects.
• With the SH 130 project already having been through the environmental review process, no complications related to permitting are anticipated for this alignment.
• The commuter rail equipment in use today is able to negotiate the same horizontal curves and profile grades that high speed highway facilities are designed to. As such, it is possible to construct a commuter rail line in the center median which can mimic the geometry of the adjoining mainlanes.
HOWEVER, while Segments 1-4 were required by TxDOT to be rail compatible, and they could accept a commuter rail in the median, TxDOT eliminated those design requirements for Segments 5 & 6. As a result, those two segments contain features that make use of the overall SH 130 corridor for rail virtually impossible:
• The SH 45 SE interchange contains bridge piers that directly obstruct any median- running rail alignment.
• Serious vertical and horizontal clearance restrictions exist at all overpass and interchange locations.
Design of Segments 5 and 6 are currently at the 30%-60% level and unless those critical issues are addressed immediately, use of the SH 130 corridor for rail is FATALLY FLAWED."
Even within Segments 1-4, vertical clearance issues arose.
"For Segments 1-4, virtually all of the complications between the two sets of design criteria are related to vertical profiles. Mainlane profile grades were allowed to approach 3%, whereas the maximum accompanying freight railroad grades could not exceed 1.5%. This meant that the two profiles would not run parallel to each other, often resulting in significant elevation differences between the rail line and the mainlanes. Because a significant portion of the terrain within the SH 130 corridor consists of rolling hills common to the central Texas area, there are several instances where the elevation difference between the freight rail alignment (as identified in the rail compatibility reports) and the adjacent mainlanes approaches 40 to 50 feet.
Fortunately, the design criteria for commuter rail, allows a much steeper vertical grade than for freight rail. As detailed in Section 3.2 of this report, the commuter rail equipment in use today can negotiate 3% profile grades with ease. This will allow the commuter rail profile to closely parallel the adjacent mainlane profiles, which will significantly reduce the drastic grade and elevation differentials shown in the Segments 1-4 Rail Compatibility Reports."
There would also be problems getting the train and tracks into and out of the median as well. Additionally, SH130 heads towards Sequin, not San Antonio. You'll be avoiding all the hubs of all the towns and cities between Austin and San Antonio. Last, the 3% grades were incompatible with freight trains, and I would like to add is also incompatible with HSR trains as well.