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  #7881  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2014, 11:31 PM
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Mulligan Mulligan is offline
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Originally Posted by mr1138 View Post
I actually completely agree on that point; it is much better to build lines that are actually doable today and have ridership estimates that are justifiable. As much as Boulder may gripe about the situation they're in, I don't have any problem with the airport and other lines being expedited on the grounds that they make sense right now - considering the Boulder line simply doesn't make a whole lot of sense all the way to Boulder.

But this loops back to my original point... I think a case could be made that the ridership numbers could be justified as far as 88th and Sheridan (Westminster Center). I think the case could also be made that EMU would make sense as the chosen technology at least to this point. I don't think it makes any sense not to at least explore this possibility, or to write off another station as being as much of a lost cause as the entire line to Boulder. Or to assume for that matter that commuter rail has to share track with freight trains beyond 72nd and Lowell. If EMU can operate on dedicated tracks as far as Lowell, then why couldn't they operate in the same capacity beyond that point? I honestly wonder if this option has even been pitched to the BNSF. Granted, there are sections of the corridor beyond this point where this really does become true... the enormous earth embankment where the RR crosses Big Dry Creek comes to mind as a stretch where it would be quite difficult to build a parallel track. But so far as I can tell, this is not the case between 72nd and 88th. If the single-station "good faith" extension is feasible as far as South Westminster, I find it hard to see why it wouldn't be feasible to 88th as well.
Talked to a friend who works at RTD and he helped clear up some things. The reason that NW stops at South Westminster is because that's the end of the segment that BNSF would allow RTD to operate on their own track - anything north of there needs to be shared with BNSF which potentially creates hazards and pitfalls operationally.

As for 88th, there's operational difficulties there related to the tail tracks, a chambering track, and grade crossings that could jazz up vehicle traffic in the area. Also, that station wasn't in the original FasTracks plan (but I'm told has good ridership estimates) so Westminster and RTD would have to come to some agreement related to cost-sharing for that station - and that's assuming that the operational difficulties for 88th being an end-of-line station can be overcome. Additionally, the line north of the South Westminster Station would need to be DMU, not EMU, because BNSF trains cannot travel under the catenary wiring - and that would require an additional maintenance facility and tens of millions of dollars.

So basically, north of the South Westminster Station is a clusterf#ck.
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  #7882  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2014, 12:06 AM
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That makes sense, if you look back at my previous post you can see that the price for extension beyond 72nd to Broomfield is very high because it is front loaded with the burden of acquiring the operating rights to the rest of the BSNF corridor all at once and the additional DMU Maintenance Facility.

Basically, they conclusion is that the NW Rail is a longer term goal, essentially just pushing it to the back burner to revisit again at some point, but knowing for the time being that it is not realistic. In the mean time, the focus will be finishing the FasTracks BRT line and potentially some other arterial BRT lines.

This is also an interesting tidbit from that report that I was not aware of.
"The resolution also noted that two high-priority Arterial BRT corridors, SH 119 and SH 287 were submitted for TIGER grants"
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  #7883  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2014, 12:22 AM
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^^ So basically, while adding another stop near 88th may be desirable it would require RTD to acquire their own ROW in order to continue with EMU's. I think I got it.
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  #7884  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2014, 4:12 AM
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That does make more sense, I don't mean to beat a dead horse. The tail tracks that would need to cross 88th really would be a problem and I hadn't considered that before... I live just west of there and know the area well, so I can see how that might be a problem. It is a bit unfortunate though. That location is as fit for a station as most anywhere in the metro area.

I still don't fully understand though why the BNSF would insist that trains run share track with their freight trains and crowd the line with all those trains when it seemingly makes more sense to simply build separate parallel tracks. There is clearly enough room in the ROW for at least 3 sets of tracks, and it seems arbitrary that they would allow this arrangement to 72nd but then no further. I do seem to remember that the RR wanted more clearance on the East corridor than their ROW allowed which is why land was condemned south of the line and the freight tracks "pushed" north, but that was only in the narrow 75' wide section. The alignment between 72nd and 88th is over 90' wide, so this shouldn't be a problem if the freight tracks are "pushed" to the side again. I don't see what I'm still missing here. I do understand though that it's ultimately BNSF's decision and government agencies are powerless to decide for them, but it all seems so reactionary and illogical. I just can't help but feel its more of an issue of wrong place, wrong time than that it actually can't be done. There just needs to be a little more creative problem solving.
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  #7885  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2014, 5:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr1138 View Post
That does make more sense, I don't mean to beat a dead horse. The tail tracks that would need to cross 88th really would be a problem and I hadn't considered that before... I live just west of there and know the area well, so I can see how that might be a problem. It is a bit unfortunate though. That location is as fit for a station as most anywhere in the metro area.

I still don't fully understand though why the BNSF would insist that trains run share track with their freight trains and crowd the line with all those trains when it seemingly makes more sense to simply build separate parallel tracks. There is clearly enough room in the ROW for at least 3 sets of tracks, and it seems arbitrary that they would allow this arrangement to 72nd but then no further. I do seem to remember that the RR wanted more clearance on the East corridor than their ROW allowed which is why land was condemned south of the line and the freight tracks "pushed" north, but that was only in the narrow 75' wide section. The alignment between 72nd and 88th is over 90' wide, so this shouldn't be a problem if the freight tracks are "pushed" to the side again. I don't see what I'm still missing here. I do understand though that it's ultimately BNSF's decision and government agencies are powerless to decide for them, but it all seems so reactionary and illogical. I just can't help but feel its more of an issue of wrong place, wrong time than that it actually can't be done. There just needs to be a little more creative problem solving.
It's always simple from us looking on from the outside. There's many more issues underneath (logistical, operational, political, financial), I'm sure. Someday it'll come.
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  #7886  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2014, 2:12 AM
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Colorado Constitution, Article 15, Section 4:

Section 4. Railroads - common carriers - construction - intersection. All railroads shall be public highways, and all railroad companies shall be common carriers. Any association or corporation organized for the purpose, shall have the right to construct and operate a railroad between any designated points within this state, and to connect at the state line with railroads of other states and territories. Every railroad company shall have the right with its road to intersect, connect with or cross any other railroad.

There has to be a way to use this provision in RTD's favor somehow. As a nuclear option, without doing any further research it would appear to be legal to purchase land on the most convenient side of the railroad, crossing the railroad as necessary in order to connect the purchases. Quickly skimming Google Earth, it would appear most feasible to cross the BNSF railroad onto what would become RTD-owned property on the railroad-east side at 72nd, then cross back over around 80th to the railroad-west side where RTD could purchase the back parking lots of the apartments, continuing all the way to Westminster Mall. My understanding is that as RTD would be the most recent railroad and would presumably be willing and able to supply a dispatcher, they would be granted priority in dispatching.

BNSF doesn't want to have RTD cross their tracks twice? Tough. It's our turn to play ball.
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  #7887  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2014, 3:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zmapper View Post
Colorado Constitution, Article 15, Section 4:

Section 4. Railroads - common carriers - construction - intersection. All railroads shall be public highways, and all railroad companies shall be common carriers. Any association or corporation organized for the purpose, shall have the right to construct and operate a railroad between any designated points within this state, and to connect at the state line with railroads of other states and territories. Every railroad company shall have the right with its road to intersect, connect with or cross any other railroad.

There has to be a way to use this provision in RTD's favor somehow. As a nuclear option, without doing any further research it would appear to be legal to purchase land on the most convenient side of the railroad, crossing the railroad as necessary in order to connect the purchases. Quickly skimming Google Earth, it would appear most feasible to cross the BNSF railroad onto what would become RTD-owned property on the railroad-east side at 72nd, then cross back over around 80th to the railroad-west side where RTD could purchase the back parking lots of the apartments, continuing all the way to Westminster Mall. My understanding is that as RTD would be the most recent railroad and would presumably be willing and able to supply a dispatcher, they would be granted priority in dispatching.

BNSF doesn't want to have RTD cross their tracks twice? Tough. It's our turn to play ball.
Federal law preempts state law. Period.
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  #7888  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2014, 8:27 PM
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APTA 3rd Quarter Transit Ridership Report is out.

RTD is reporting 345,400 weekday ridership.

15,400 - Demand Response
84,200 - Light Rail
245,900 - Bus


The bus number seems high compared to past quarters/years.
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  #7889  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2014, 2:08 AM
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Stonemans_rowJ Stonemans_rowJ is offline
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Vail-Denver bus service

http://www.vaildaily.com/news/142812...enver-vail-bus

Can you imagine if this ran from Denver Union Station to Vail on weekends? wifi, bathrooms... It'd sell out in seconds.
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