SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

VivaLFuego Sep 12, 2008 5:03 PM

^ most grade-separations would cost a great deal more than $10 million each (D/E + C) unless the local municipalities and IDOT would allow the roads being separated to be completely shut down during the project, which seems unlikely due to the lack of alternatives. If through vehicular traffic is to be maintained there is no way around each one being a very large project.

That said, I don't disagree with you. I think there is definitely some onus on CN to invest serious money as a contribution to a larger fund for impact mitigation, but I'm not sure exactly how much that should be, either in percentage terms or dollar terms. The local municipalities and counties should probably shoulder a majority share of such costs, since it's not like CN is building a new railroad, just running more trains on an existing one. If it were a new railroad I'd say near 100% of the cost would be on the railroad operator, but not in this case.

orulz Sep 12, 2008 6:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3795584)
^ most grade-separations would cost a great deal more than $10 million each (D/E + C) unless the local municipalities and IDOT would allow the roads being separated to be completely shut down during the project, which seems unlikely due to the lack of alternatives. If through vehicular traffic is to be maintained there is no way around each one being a very large project.

You probably know more about this than I do, but if you try to tunnel every road under the railroad, without adjusting the grade of the RR, all while maintaining both RR and vehicular traffic, of course it would get very expensive very quickly. That may nonetheless be the most cost effective option when you're building a grade separation for just a single road, but that approach doesn't scale at all, so it's not really what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is simply shutting down the railroad, and constructing an embankment on its existing alignment to raise it above the roads. No change to the roads themselves. This would apply only to areas with dense population and dense road networks.

Grades on a railroad should be maintained at 1% or so. Assume 23 feet vertical clearance (to allow for potential double-stacked container freight trains on the UP-NW), plus perhaps 6 feet for substructure, deck, and ballast. So that's 29 feet vertical rise, which would dictate an approach of 2900 feet on either side . Sure that's a lot of dirt to pile, but the kicker is that once you've built the approach and you're already got that 23 feet of clearance, you can cross as many streets as you want for much lower marginal cost. There are 5 grade crossings on the EJ&E in Barrington (4 roadway plus the UP-NW line) within a space of about 4000 feet, and way more than 2900 feet with no crossings on either side to allow for construction of the approaches. Same for West Chicago. 5 grade crossings within 2000 feet, and plenty of space on either side for the approaches. CN could knock all of those out, and shut up the nimbys, in one fell swoop.

Perhaps $10 million is an underestimate of the construction costs for a 2 mile long embankment (including approaches) but just pushing around and piling up some fill dirt really doesn't cost that much. With the railroad closed, construction of the embankment (fill, plus retaining walls where necessary) should be possible entirely within the RR right of way. Therefore the only time when the roads would have to be closed would be during the removal of the grade crossing, and during the installation of the bridge decks. The Main Street bridge replacement by CTA in Evanston showed that this can be done in a single weekend.

If the residents of Barrington choose to demand a trench instead of an embankment, which they may try to do, then all bets are off. Roadway closures, excavation issues, immense retaining walls, dealing with seepage and drainage, as well as crossings of water and sewer utilities would increase the costs of the project by a factor of 10 (and therefore into the realm of impossibility.)

VivaLFuego Sep 12, 2008 9:48 PM

^Gotcha. I'm not sure the EJE could be shut down long enough to allow such work. It might be feasible in a few locations with available ROW or vacant property using temporary sidings with temporary grade crossings (and all that entails in terms of signalling and crossing gates).

Abner Sep 12, 2008 10:27 PM

Oh geez, the answer was right in orulz's post.

VivaLFuego Sep 12, 2008 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3796369)
How long an approach on either end is required to create a sufficiently high embankment for freight trains?

Also depends what you're going over... a truck route will need much more clearance. Like orulz said, I doubt you could get a rail grade much more than 1%. I don't know the hard limit for that.

ardecila Sep 12, 2008 11:28 PM

Actually, moving dirt around DOES cost a great deal of money, especially when you're doing it within spitting distance of wealthy homeowners in a narrow, constrained area where all the dirt must be trucked in. There's also the engineering cost of building the road spans.

When they're building, say, the I-355 tollway extension through cornfields, work can proceed on a typical 9-5 schedule (no overtime costs) and extra land alongside can be purchased relatively cheaply for staging, or as a source for the dirt for the embankment so it doesn't have to be trucked in. This greatly lowers construction costs, which is a big reason why sprawl-creating highways often get priority over density-creating urban transit lines.

I should mention, orulz, as a Barrington resident myself, that UP does not run double-stacked containers on the Northwest Line, although CN definitely plans to run them on the EJ&E. The tallest cars on the NW line are auto carriers, which appear frequently.

Mr Downtown Sep 13, 2008 12:20 AM

It seems to me that the J--as it is now--is one of the few railroads that actually could shut down completely for track elevation.

But we should also remember the incredible red tape required for filling and elevation nowadays. The J runs adjacent to lots of wetlands. If CN had to pay for track elevation itself, it would probably be a lot cheaper to just go out by Rochelle and build an entirely new beltline through farmland. CN is buying the J in a cynical attempt to avoid contributing any money to CREATE.

Taft Sep 13, 2008 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3796606)
But we should also remember the incredible red tape required for filling and elevation nowadays. The J runs adjacent to lots of wetlands. If CN had to pay for track elevation itself, it would probably be a lot cheaper to just go out by Rochelle and build an entirely new beltline through farmland. CN is buying the J in a cynical attempt to avoid contributing any money to CREATE.

So you claim that by building track which completely bypasses the built-up portion of the Chicago area, they could save money? That there wouldn't be grade-crossing issues if they did this? Seems a bit implausible to me.

Methinks your answer is overly simplistic and incredibly biased. Of course CN is trying to do this as cheaply as possible, but they aren't the evil pirates Barrington residents (and apparently you) make them out to be. They are just a business, operating like any other business would given the conditions.

Mr Downtown Sep 13, 2008 2:58 PM

Incredibly biased? Just because I'm thinking about the relative probable costs of two approaches? Hey, I have no problem with CN buying the J and running 20 trains an hour through Barrington.

But we need to think ahead about unintended consequences. If CN drops out of CREATE because they no longer need any in-city capacity, that's bad for the region. If the suburbs along the J end up forcing virtually all traffic onto a handful of arterials with grade separations, that has bad implications for the urbanity of those towns.

VivaLFuego Sep 13, 2008 6:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3796606)
CN is buying the J in a cynical attempt to avoid contributing any money to CREATE.

Obviously they seek to reduce/minimize/eliminate their expected contribution to CREATE, but I fail to see what's "cynical" about this. If they can reduce freight congestion more cost-efficiently than through the CREATE program, then why not? Why is it cynical for a business to use capital investment to reduce operating costs?

ardecila Sep 14, 2008 12:15 AM

The CREATE program is a public-private partnership, designed to use private and state/federal/local funds to accomplish goals that benefit both the railroads and the public. For CN, buying the EJ&E is much cheaper than their contribution to CREATE, and it benefits nobody but themselves. The track capacity though Chicago that they previously used will now simply be filled with additional trains from the other railroads.

CN's purchase plan falls far short of the public generosity implied by a CREATE contribution, hence the word "cynical". Obviously, it is quite self-serving, but a railroad is a business like any other, and businesses have been making self-serving decisions for thousands of years. It is, in part, what makes capitalism so successful. So I wouldn't call CN's action cynical, I'd call CREATE hopelessly optimistic. If the railroads really stood to benefit from the CREATE projects, they would have paid for them already. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the railroads pick up some of the tab for Chicago rail improvements, but the people that run the railroads are not stupid and they make the decisions that net them the most profit.

Has anybody considered building grade separations through toll financing? Toll the major over/underpasses at a low rate (say, 10 cents) and collect the tolls electronically. On a 4-lane road, the grade separation would be 6 lanes, allowing one lane in each direction for cash and two in each direction for IPass. Over 10 years, this would net about $15 million per overpass.

orulz Sep 14, 2008 8:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3796439)
Also depends what you're going over... a truck route will need much more clearance. Like orulz said, I doubt you could get a rail grade much more than 1%. I don't know the hard limit for that.

23 feet is standard clearance over a freight railroad. Regardless of whether the UP currently runs double-stacked container freight on the NW line, they will certainly demand that any new structures over their railroad not preclude the future possibility of such traffic.

I think either 17 feet or 17'6" is the standard clearance over an interstate highway. I presume that that should be fine for the clearance over any roadway.

Regarding CN buying the EJ&E to avoid paying money into CREATE, what percentage of the private sector funding for CREATE was supposed to come from CN anyway?

Busy Bee Sep 15, 2008 2:42 AM

Wilson Avenue Red Line
 
Does anyone know if this is actually progressing or is this an inactive CTA project?

http://www.architraveltd.com/wil.htm

VivaLFuego Sep 15, 2008 12:49 PM

^ It's progressing, in design phase. There was some hemming and hawing about whether to rebuilt it in a dual-island configuration a la Belmont/Fullerton (expensive!) or a single island platform - I think ultimately it will be dual island, as in those renderings. Then there's also the question of whether Wilson and Lawrence should be combined into an Uptown station which would be located slightly north of the existing Wilson station. Then there's the possibility of a joint development ("TOD") opportunity, with a private developer kicking in funds but also have some say over the overall site design. So, it's an active project, as it has been for ~25 years, but there are some questions to be worked out before it can reach 100% design. For those who care, my understanding is that historic preservation and importantly, restoration of the street-level stationhouse building by Arthur Gerber is an explicit component of the project.

honte Sep 15, 2008 1:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3800571)
^ It's progressing, in design phase. There was some hemming and hawing about whether to rebuilt it in a dual-island configuration a la Belmont/Fullerton (expensive!) or a single island platform - I think ultimately it will be dual island, as in those renderings. Then there's also the question of whether Wilson and Lawrence should be combined into an Uptown station which would be located slightly north of the existing Wilson station. Then there's the possibility of a joint development ("TOD") opportunity, with a private developer kicking in funds but also have some say over the overall site design. So, it's an active project, as it has been for ~25 years, but there are some questions to be worked out before it can reach 100% design. For those who care, my understanding is that historic preservation and importantly, restoration of the street-level stationhouse building is an explicit component of the project.

Good to hear about the preservation component.

I just can't see the utility - aside from cost-cutting - in combining stations. It seems to me like a step in entirely the wrong direction.

OhioGuy Sep 15, 2008 3:14 PM

Is work still being done on the Grand subway station? As I'm traveling north & south on the red line, just looking at the platform level makes it look as though no progress is being made. It just continues to be a poorly lit station with stripped walls and a stripped floor. They do have some sort of wood enclosure up in part of the station, but nothing seems to have changed in many months. If they're doing the tile work behind that partition, it seems as though it's taking quite a long time for something that isn't overly intricate, at least not to the point of having months on end of no apparent progress. But maybe progress is being made up above at the ticketing level?

Abner Sep 15, 2008 5:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3800629)
Good to hear about the preservation component.

I just can't see the utility - aside from cost-cutting - in combining stations. It seems to me like a step in entirely the wrong direction.

Maybe if they move the station, Wilson Yards will no longer be transit-oriented and we can forgive it if it becomes a total turkey.

emathias Sep 15, 2008 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3800766)
Is work still being done on the Grand subway station? As I'm traveling north & south on the red line, just looking at the platform level makes it look as though no progress is being made. It just continues to be a poorly lit station with stripped walls and a stripped floor. They do have some sort of wood enclosure up in part of the station, but nothing seems to have changed in many months. If they're doing the tile work behind that partition, it seems as though it's taking quite a long time for something that isn't overly intricate, at least not to the point of having months on end of no apparent progress. But maybe progress is being made up above at the ticketing level?

From street-level, there's a lot of work being done. The stuff at track-level will likely be the last stuff they do, as most of the rework is in the stationhouse and stairs and whatnot. It's exceedingly intricate - this isn't a paintjob or tilework they're doing, they're completely rebuilding the station, and expanding it at the same time.

Chicago3rd Sep 17, 2008 1:36 PM

I was bad yesterday and wrote Bagofwind (Gov) and told him unless he had numbers to help us out and show us that CTA is lieing to the public then he needed to shut the hell up. Bet I don't get a response back.

Chicago3rd Sep 17, 2008 1:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3800766)
Is work still being done on the Grand subway station? As I'm traveling north & south on the red line, just looking at the platform level makes it look as though no progress is being made. It just continues to be a poorly lit station with stripped walls and a stripped floor. They do have some sort of wood enclosure up in part of the station, but nothing seems to have changed in many months. If they're doing the tile work behind that partition, it seems as though it's taking quite a long time for something that isn't overly intricate, at least not to the point of having months on end of no apparent progress. But maybe progress is being made up above at the ticketing level?

I think I read they are doing what they did to the Chicago Station and I believe that entails them building a whole building underground...and it wasn't until the last we saw major stuff happening to the platform area.


All times are GMT. The time now is 9:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.