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-   -   List of US+Canada rail transit currently under construction (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=198794)

Cirrus Apr 12, 2012 7:06 PM

List of US+Canada rail transit currently under construction
 
What this thread lists:
This thread attempts to track urban transit rail lines that are under construction only in the US and Canada. If your line is planned but not under construction yet, sorry but you don't belong. US lines are in black, Canadian are in blue. Intercity rail lines that are under construction are also included at the bottom, but with much less detail.

How is the info compiled?
For the most part, this is a crowdsourced list. The thread relies on users (that's you) posting replies to tell us when a new line begins construction, or finishes and opens to riders. I update the list at the top of the thread whenever something changes. That said, there are a couple of resources that people can use to help track things, most notably The Transport Politic's Transit Explorer and UrbanRail.Net's Now Open list.




The list -- Under construction now:
  • Heavy Metrorail: 86 miles total
    • Honolulu - 20 miles
    • Los Angeles Purple line extension phases 1, 2, and 3 - 9 miles
    • Montreal REM - 42 miles (67 km)
    • Toronto Ontario line - 10 miles (16 km)
    • Toronto Scarborough subway extension - 5 miles (8 km)
    • Vancouver Broadway subway - 4 miles (6 km)
  • Light Rail: 184 miles total
    • Boston Green line extension - 4 miles
    • Edmonton Valley line SE & Valley line West - 25 miles (40 km)
    • Los Angeles Regional connector - 1 mile
    • Los Angeles Crenshaw extension section two - 2 miles
    • Los Angeles Foothill Gold line ext - 12 miles
    • Minneapolis SW line - 15 miles
    • Ottawa Stage 2 - 27 miles (44 km)
    • Phoenix NW extension - 2 miles
    • Phoenix South Central line - 6 miles
    • Seattle East, Federal Way, Redmond, and Lynnwood extensions - 35 miles
    • Toronto Eglinton Crosstown & Eglinton West - 18 miles (25 km)
    • Toronto Finch West - 7 miles (11 km)
    • Toronto Hurontario - 11 miles (18 km)
    • Washington Purple Line - 16 miles
  • Commuter Rail: 37 miles total
    • Chicago South Shore Line West lake extension - 8 miles
    • Miami downtown Tri-Rail extension - 9 miles
    • New York LIRR east access - 4 miles
    • New York / New Jersey Lackawanna cutoff - 7 miles
    • San Francisco SMART Windsor extension - 3 miles
    • Toronto GO Hamilton east upgrades - 5 miles (9 km)
  • Streetcar: ~9 miles total
    • LA / Orange County CA - 4.1 miles
    • Milwaukee Couture branch - 0.2 miles
    • Philadelphia Rt 15 extension - 2.5 miles
    • Seattle Tacoma Link extension - 2.4 miles
    Intercity:
    • California high speed rail
    • Brightline Orlando extension
    • Amtrak track improvements/additions on existing lines (many nationwide)




Now opened, and therefore removed from the list:
Listed alphabetically within each year.
  • 2012:
    • Calgary LRT Northeast line extension 2.9km (1.8mi)
    • Dallas Blue line Rowlett extension - 5 miles
    • LA Expo line - 7 miles
    • Miami Airport Link metrorail - 2 miles
    • Portland streetcar Eastside - 3.3 miles
    • Providence MBTA Wickford extension - 20 miles
    • Sacramento Green Line phase 1 - 1 mile
    • Salt Lake City Front Runner south commuter rail - 44 miles
    • Seattle Lakewood line - 8 miles
  • 2013:
    • Denver West line LRT - 12 miles
    • Houston North light rail - 5 miles
    • Orlando Sunrail phase 2 - 18 miles
    • Salt Lake City Airport & Draper light rail lines - 8 miles
    • Salt Lake City Sugarhouse streetcar - 2.7 miles
  • 2014:
    • Atlanta streetcar - 1.4 miles
    • Calgary LRT Northwest line extension 2.4km (1.24mi)
    • Dallas LRT Orange line DFW extension - 10 miles
    • LA San Bernardino commuter rail extension
    • Minneapolis Central corridor LRT - 11 miles
    • Montréal RTM Commuter Train Mascouche line 52km (32mi)
    • Oakland Airport/BART connector - 3.2 miles
    • Orlando Sunrail phase 1 - 31 miles
    • Tucson streetcar - 3.9 miles
    • Washington Silver line Metro phase 1 - 12 miles
  • 2015:
    • Charlotte streetcar phase 1 - 1.5 miles
    • Dallas Oak Cliff streetcar - 1.6 miles
    • Edmonton LRT Metro line extension 3.3km (2.1mi)
    • Houston Green & Purple light rail lines (minus Magnolia extension) - 8 miles
    • Houston Green line extension - 1 mile
    • Phoenix Mesa extensions - 3 miles
    • Portland Orange line - 7 miles
    • Sacramento Cosumnes light rail - 4 miles
    • Washington VRE Spotsylvania extension - 6 miles
  • 2016:
    • Boston Wachusett commuter rail extension - 5 miles
    • Cincinnati streetcar - 2 miles
    • Dallas Blue line UNT extension - 3 miles
    • Dallas Bishop Arts streetcar extension - 1 mile
    • Denver East (airport) line commuter rail - 24 miles
    • Denver NW phase 1 commuter rail - 6 miles
    • Kansas City streetcar - 2 miles
    • LA Gold line - 12 miles
    • LA Perris commuter rail extension - 24 miles
    • New Orleans Rampart streetcar - 1.6 miles
    • Phoenix Northwest extensions - 3 miles
    • Seattle 1st Hill streetcar - 2.5 miles
    • Seattle U Link - 3 miles
    • Seattle Angle Lake / South 200th LRT - 2 miles
    • Vancouver SkyTrain Evergreen Extension 10.9km (6.9mi)
    • Washington H Street streetcar - 2.2 miles
  • 2017:
    • Detroit QLINE streetcar - 3.3 miles
    • Denver I-225 line LRT - 11 miles
    • New Orleans Loyola / Union Terminal streetcar - 1.3 miles
    • New York 7 train extension to Hudson Yards - 1 miles
    • New York 2nd Ave subway ph 1 - 2 miles
    • San Francisco BART Warm Springs extension - 5 miles
    • San Francisco SMART commuter rail - 43 miles
    • Toronto Yonge-Spadina subway extension - 5 miles (9 km)
  • 2018:
    • Charlotte Blue LRT extension - 9 miles
    • Connecticut New Haven to Springfield line - 62 miles
    • El Paso streetcar - ~2 miles
    • Florida Brightline - West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale segment
    • Florida Brightline - Fort Lauderdale to Miami extension
    • Milwaukee streetcar starter line - 2.25 miles
    • Oklahoma City streetcar - 2.3 miles
    • Saint Louis Delmar trolley - 2.2 miles
    • San Francisco eBART commuter rail - 10 miles
  • 2019:
    • Dallas Fort Worth TEXrail DMU - 27 miles
    • Denver Gold line EMU - 11 miles
    • Denver SE line LRT - 2 miles
    • Kitchener-Waterloo ION line - 12 miles (19 km)
    • Ottawa Confederation line - 8 miles (13 km)
    • Phoenix Gilbert Rd LRT extension - 2 miles
    • San Francisco SMART Larkspur extension - 2 miles
  • 2020:
    • San Francisco Berryessa BART extension - 11 miles
    • Denver North commuter line - 13 miles
  • 2021:
    • Charlotte Gold Line streetcar - 2.5 miles
    • San Diego Mid-Coast LRT extension - 11 miles
    • Seattle Northgate LRT - 3 miles
    • Toronto GO RER Bloomington extension - 2.5 miles (4 km)
    • Toronto GO Hamilton extension - 5 miles (9 km)
  • 2022:
    • LA Crenshaw extension section one - 6 miles
    • LA / San Bernardino Arrow / Redlands Line - 9 miles
    • San Francisco Central subway LRT - 2 miles
    • Philadelphia Wawa extension 3.5 miles
    • Phoenix / Tempe streetcar - ~3 miles
    • Washington Metro Silver line phase 2 - 12 miles

Busy Bee Apr 12, 2012 7:14 PM

Isn't Honolulu considered somewhere in between Heavy and Light Rail. I was under the impression is very comparable to the Vancouver SkyTrain.

the urban politician Apr 12, 2012 7:14 PM

Nothing: 0 miles total
  • Chicago

mfastx Apr 12, 2012 7:17 PM

To make a correction, Houston's Uptown and University lines aren't being constructed yet, and might not be for some time (sadly), so that brings the milage total in Houston down from 28 miles to about 15.3 miles.

Lipani Apr 12, 2012 7:33 PM

San Diego is working on an 11-mile mid-coast extension for the trolley to UCSD and UTC, although I'm not sure if any actual construction has started yet since part of that project will be using an existing rail corridor.

electricron Apr 12, 2012 7:33 PM

Dallas will start building a 2 mile streetcar line later this year, and is already extending about a 1/2 mile an existing streetcar line.

mhays Apr 12, 2012 7:48 PM

Seattle will start the 2 mile First Hill Streetcar this month. This will connect the King Street / International District dual stations with First Hill (hospitals, housing, and Seattle U) and the new Light Rail tunnel station currently going in on Capitol Hill.

Won't run anywhere near often enough. Grrr.

Cirrus Apr 12, 2012 8:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5664090)
Isn't Honolulu considered somewhere in between Heavy and Light Rail. I was under the impression is very comparable to the Vancouver SkyTrain.

Yes, it's in between. I suppose I could move it if people really want me to.

But getting into the weeds of details like that would be a major headache, and would really go beyond the scope of this list. The projects have to be categorized somehow, and there are plenty of discrepancies. Seattle's light rail is also sort of in between because it operates more like heavy rail. There are also major differences in the quality of the commuter rail projects. Some of them (such as Denver) are going to run basically like light rail, whereas others will only be a few trains per day.

Cirrus Apr 12, 2012 8:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mfastx (Post 5664098)
To make a correction, Houston's Uptown and University lines aren't being constructed yet, and might not be for some time (sadly), so that brings the milage total in Houston down from 28 miles to about 15.3 miles.

Corrected. Thanks.

SnyderBock Apr 12, 2012 9:13 PM

From Wikipedia:
Quote:

The Gold Line is a planned commuter rail line between Denver Union Station and Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

The Gold Line is part of the FasTracks project, and will be operated by Denver Transit Partners as part of the Eagle P3 public-private partnership. The line received final approval from the Federal Transit Administration in November 2009, and groundbreaking occurred on 31 August 2011, at a ceremony in Olde Town Arvada where US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the approval of a $1 billion grant to fund the project. Completion of the line is expected in 2016.

The line will be 11.2 miles (18.0 km) in length, and is expected to cost $590.5 million. There will be a total of eight stations: Union Station, 41st Avenue, Pecos, Federal, Sheridan, Olde Town, Arvada Ridge and Ward Road...

...Eagle P3 is scheduled to be completed in two phases. Phase one includes the construction of the East Corridor and a part of the section of the Northwest Corridor included in Eagle P3, as well as the maintenance facility. Also undertaken during this phase is the design work for the Gold Corridor and the remaining part of the Northwest Corridor included in Eagle P3, the purchase of rolling stock and the electrification of trackage in Denver Union Station. The second phase of the project is the construction of the Gold and Northwest Corridors that were designed during phase one.

Construction of the East Corridor began in August 2010 and the groundbreaking for the Gold Corridor took place in August 2011. Completion of the East and Gold Corridors is expected in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

On 21 October 2011, Wabtec signed a $63 million contract with Denver Transit Partners to construct the positive train control system for the Eagle P3 commuter rail lines. The contract included installation of the signaling and communications systems, a dispatch center and other management services...

...Under the terms of Eagle P3, a private company is responsible for designing, building, partially financing, operating and maintaining (DBFOM) two commuter rail corridors, the East Corridor and the Gold Line, as well as a maintenance facility for commuter rail equipment and an 8.4 kilometres (5.2 mi) segment of the Northwest Corridor. Additionally, the private company is responsible for the operation of the North Metro line and the maintenance of facilities on the Northwest Corridor line. The contract stipulates that the Regional Transportation District owns all assets involved and collects all revenues generated, while Denver Transit Partners assumes all risks involved in the project's operation. In return, the RTD will make monthly payments to Denver Transit Partners, a total of $7.1 billion over the length of the operation. Eagle P3 is the first full DBFOM transit public-private partnership in the United States.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_P3
So would it be more like this?

Commuter Rail: 233.4 miles total
Denver East line - 23 miles
Denver Gold line - 11.2 miles
Denver NWES - 5.2 miles
New Jersey Lackawanna cutoff - 7 miles
New York LIRR east access - 4 miles
Orlando - 31 miles
Providence Wickford extension - 20 miles
Salt Lake City Front Runner south - 44 miles
San Francisco eBART lines - 80 miles
Seattle Lakewood line - 8 miles

VivaLFuego Apr 12, 2012 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5664091)
Nothing: 0 miles total
  • Chicago

Well, if you count reconstruction (of core infrastructure), rehabilitation & modernization (of vehicles and facilities)...

uaarkson Apr 13, 2012 12:00 AM

:previous: This. Chicago's infrastructure plans are very exciting, even if no new rail is being built.

fflint Apr 13, 2012 1:04 AM

BART is now constructing 16 miles of heavy rail:


Transit and political leaders in San Jose to help break ground on BART extension
April 12, 2012
San Jose Mercury News

Dignitaries from across the country are gathering in San Jose today to break ground for the BART-to-San Jose extension.

The $3.2 billion BART line from Fremont to East San Jose is the biggest public works project ever in Silicon Valley. The 16-mile extension will be fully completed in late 2016, with stations at Warm Springs, Milpitas and south of Berryessa Road.
....

Here's a couple relevent graphics from yesterday's Mercury News:

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/liv...lebart_200.jpg

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/liv...33_bartmap.jpg
http://www.mercurynews.com/traffic/c...gets-under-way

...

tdawg Apr 13, 2012 1:08 AM

What a cool list. Great news about the new BART line. I'm more intrigued by the 80 mile eBART stat.

fflint Apr 13, 2012 1:25 AM

Also in the Bay Area, as of the 27th of this month, construction begins on the 37-mile initial segment of SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit) commuter rail, between Santa Rosa and San Rafael.

SMART explains its rail construction plan
Bob Norberg
The Press Democrat
April 10, 2012

The rail line from Santa Rosa to Petaluma will be a construction zone the next several months as the track is rehabilitated for commute trains.
....
Construction will start April 27 near Third Street in Santa Rosa and work south through Rohnert Park, Cotati to Petaluma.
....

fflint Apr 13, 2012 1:35 AM

And then there's SF's Central Subway, a 1.7 mile underground light rail extension to Chinatown. I'm not sure when to consider a project under construction--they're underground along the new route moving utilities and whatnot, but tunnel boring has not yet begun as far as I know. Wikipedia lists the Central Subway as under construction:

Wikipedia:
The Central Subway is an extension of the Muni Metro light rail system in San Francisco, California, from the Caltrain commuter rail depot at 4th and King streets to Chinatown. The subway is the second phase of the Third Street Light Rail Project. Ground was broken for the new route on February 9, 2010, and is currently scheduled for completion by 2019.

bnk Apr 13, 2012 1:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uaarkson (Post 5664516)
:previous: This. Chicago's infrastructure plans are very exciting, even if no new rail is being built.


There are 4 expansion proposals in this link 3 of them look good. But some fourmers are very passionate for hating the Starline proposal. Fine what ever, the other 3 should progress. When or if they get done?

http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/


The 33-mile SouthEast Service (SES) is proposed to run along existing freight and passenger railroad tracks, enhancing Metra's commuter rail service between the south suburbs and downtown Chicago. The SES line would link close to 20 communities in south Suburban Cook and Will counties, providing new opportunities for travel to downtown Chicago and economic growth and development for the south suburbs.
This new line would provide commuting opportunities for a fast growing, underserved corridor of the south suburbs.
http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/i...ap09012010.jpg
http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/ses.php


http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/images/upw_map.jpg
Improvements along the
UPW Line would:
■Provide expanded service and more transit options for commuters traveling into Chicago's Central Business District
■Provide reverse-commuting options to address growing trends in public transportation
■Spur economic growth by attracting new jobs and businesses that wish to take advantage of transit-oriented development
■Eliminate bottlenecks, allowing for more efficient operation of trains and reduced delays resulting in commuter time savings
■Increase the line's core capacity to help serve the strong anticipated growth in employment
http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/upw.php


http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/images/upnw_map.jpg
Improvements along the
UP-NW Line would:
■Provide expanded service and more transit options for commuters traveling into Chicago's Central Business District
■Provide reverse-commuting options to address growing trends in public transportation
■Spur economic growth by attracting new jobs and businesses that wish to take advantage of transit-oriented development
■Allow for the construction of two new rail yards to permit more train capacity and consolidate operations thereby promoting cost efficiency and providing more travel options for commuters
■Increase the line's core capacity to help serve the strong anticipated growth in employment


http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/upnw.php





I am not going to look it up but the CTA also will be undergoing major improvements and I have heard possible plans on extending some of the lines some day.

ltsmotorsport Apr 13, 2012 5:17 AM

For Sacramento, hopefully we'll see the next phase of the Blue Line in the south part of town begin construction within the year, but haven't heard much on that in a while.

The Green Line starter segment should be running in another month or two. Extension to Natomas and the airport? More funding please.

Planning for the streetcar from West Sac to midtown Sac has landed on a new route recently, taking it right past the site of the new intermodal terminal and arena.
http://www.cityofsacramento.org/tran..._2011%29v2.pdf

Metro-One Apr 13, 2012 5:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5664174)
Yes, it's in between. I suppose I could move it if people really want me to.

But getting into the weeds of details like that would be a major headache, and would really go beyond the scope of this list. The projects have to be categorized somehow, and there are plenty of discrepancies. Seattle's light rail is also sort of in between because it operates more like heavy rail. There are also major differences in the quality of the commuter rail projects. Some of them (such as Denver) are going to run basically like light rail, whereas others will only be a few trains per day.

Thats why the term "heavy rail" and "light rail" is actually becoming antiquated, because there are soooo many different forms in between.

So a better way to list these projects (not including the commuter rail or streetcar) would be "fully grade separated" or "non fully grade separated"

Simply because that is the strict definition of a true metro, if it is fully grade separated or not. From there a grade separated rail can be split into light metro, heavy metro, automated, etc...

So, Honolulu would be fully grade separated while Seattle's would not, due to its at grade crossings and running along the road in areas.

Also, just as an fyi, places like Vancouver even further blur the "LRT" "HRT" border with the Canada line, which actually uses full HRT subway cars, but only runs 2 car train sets as of now (but automated).

PS - Metro-Vancouver is building 11 km of new grade separated skytrain (RRT = rapid rail transit) this year, pre construction, such as clearing and prepping utilities has already started.

Nexis4Jersey Apr 13, 2012 6:03 AM

whoops wrong thread...

Prahaboheme Apr 13, 2012 2:13 PM

Re: Orlando SunRail

It is a phased opening, but the total mileage is actually 61 miles.

Phase I (operational 2014): 31 miles
Phase II (operational 2016): 30 miles

http://www.orangecountyfl.net/Portal...stemMap607.jpg

Cirrus Apr 13, 2012 2:45 PM

I updated the list to add Denver Gold & NW commuter rail, San Francisco BART to Berryessa, and San Francisco Central subway LRT. I also added a note specifying that the Orlando commuter rail is phase 1 only (similar to my note for the DC Silver line).

San Francisco SMART will go on in 2 weeks.

Centropolis Apr 13, 2012 4:36 PM

The partially privately funded Delmar Loop streetcar is scheduled to break ground this fall. It's going to use renovated St. Louis Car Company vehicles instead of the Skodas.

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townn...8d36.image.jpg
http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townn...8d36.image.jpg

UNIVERSITY CITY • The Loop Trolley project, having amassed almost all the $43 million it needs, is ready to move into high gear.

Construction is expected to begin late this year, with the trolleys in operation about a year later.

When completed, the 2.2-mile system connecting the Delmar Loop to Forest Park will look a lot like the system that ran on St. Louis streets a half-century ago.

In a big change of plans, old, renovated streetcars will be used instead of pricier electric/battery cars. And the system will be powered by overhead electric lines running above Delmar Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue, like St. Louis' old streetcar system.



Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/m...#ixzz1rwJjxvGE

Centropolis Apr 13, 2012 4:39 PM

Just an update, and yeah no shovels in the ground yet. The planning has hit a milestone, though.

northbay Apr 13, 2012 4:47 PM

Great thread! It's impressive to see all the passenger rail construction going on across the country. (400+ miles!)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5665033)
...San Francisco SMART will go on in 2 weeks.

Can't wait to see Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit on the list!

northbay Apr 13, 2012 9:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5664075)
  • Commuter Rail: 233 miles total
    • Denver East, Gold, and NW lines -39 miles
    • New Jersey Lackawanna cutoff - 7 miles
    • New York LIRR east access - 4 miles
    • Orlando Sunrail phase 1 - 31 miles
    • Providence Wickford extension - 20 miles
    • Salt Lake City Front Runner south - 44 miles
    • San Francisco eBART lines - 80 miles
    • Seattle Lakewood line - 8 miles

Wait a sec. I'm curious how you arrive at 80 miles for eBART:

Quote:

2.3 ROUTE/ALIGNMENT

Horizontal and Vertical Alignment


The Proposed Project (including maintenance facilities) would extend approximately 10 miles
from the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station eastward via the median of SR 4 (see Figure 2-1).
The distance from the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station to the terminus station platform in the
median east of Hillcrest Avenue is 9.1 miles
; the remaining approximately 0.9 miles is for train
storage and maintenance.
http://www.bart.gov/docs/ecc/2.0_Pro...escription.pdf

natiboy Apr 13, 2012 9:27 PM

It's so great to finally see Cincinnati on a list of cities currently building rail! It's been a long time coming...

For those who haven't seen it in my Cincinnati Development thread, here is a rendering of the rolling stock selected for the Cincinnati Streetcar (made by CAF in Elmira NY).
http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/...llingStock.jpg
Source: http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/inde...cseen.html#new


Also, Cincinnati is already applying for funds for further streetcar extensions.

Cirrus Apr 13, 2012 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by northbay (Post 5665624)
Wait a sec. I'm curious how you arrive at 80 miles for eBART:
http://www.bart.gov/docs/ecc/2.0_Pro...escription.pdf

Looks like that's a mistake. I was reading this, and misread SMART as a 2nd eBART line. 80 miles comes from adding 10 miles of eBART with 70 miles of SMART.

I'll change the list.

northbay Apr 13, 2012 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5665701)
Looks like that's a mistake. I was reading this, and misread SMART as a 2nd eBART line. 80 miles comes from adding 10 miles of eBART with 70 miles of SMART.

I'll change the list.

Man, now the mileage is hella goin down - should've kept my big mouth shut :D

I'm a big fan of the Transport Politic site by the way

J. Will Apr 13, 2012 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 5664159)
Seattle will start the 2 mile First Hill Streetcar this month. This will connect the King Street / International District dual stations with First Hill (hospitals, housing, and Seattle U) and the new Light Rail tunnel station currently going in on Capitol Hill.

Won't run anywhere near often enough. Grrr.

How often will it run? I can't find anything online.

If it's only 2.2 miles, it would take very little to maintain frequent service. Assume 4.5 miles round trip including turnarounds at either end. That shouldn't take more than 25-30 minutes for a round trip. That would mean only 5-6 streetcars would be required for 5 minute headways. Even if there is a short layover at either end, 7 streetcars should be enough to maintain 5 minute service.

BnaBreaker Apr 14, 2012 1:50 AM

I'm sure this question from laymen like myself has been answered many times in this forum before, and for the repetition I apologize. But I'm curious. What is the technical difference between light rail and streetcar? I see that Cincinnati's U/C system is qualified as streetcar, but in the rendering the cars look almost identical to Houston's, which is qualified as light rail.

Centropolis Apr 14, 2012 1:56 AM

Yeah that some light rail-y rolling stock in Cincinnati. I think that's cool, though. I always forget how big modern streetcars are.

electricron Apr 14, 2012 4:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BnaBreaker (Post 5665943)
I'm sure this question from laymen like myself has been answered many times in this forum before, and for the repetition I apologize. But I'm curious. What is the technical difference between light rail and streetcar? I see that Cincinnati's U/C system is qualified as streetcar, but in the rendering the cars look almost identical to Houston's, which is qualified as light rail.

Excellent question, because it is sometimes very hard to distinguish any difference. I believe you'll find Salt Lake City's Sugar House streetcar line will be using the exact same light rail cars as their newly opened light rail lines.

The only true common differences between the two are
(1) Light rail trains don't share lanes with other traffic while streetcars will.
(2) Light rail trains can use multiple units while streetcars don't.
(3) Streetcars can turn tighter curves than light rail trains.
And I don't think those common differences are 100% true for every case.

Because light rail are ran in multiple units, they're called trains instead of cars. They can also be used in longer corridors which require larger capacity trains. And because the trains are longer, they require dedicated lanes.

Therefore, it's function of the rail line more than the rolling stock equipment that makes the difference. Because, for all practical purposes, a streetcar is a single light rail unit, or vice versa, a light rail train is two or more streetcars coupled together.

seaskyfan Apr 14, 2012 4:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J. Will (Post 5665788)
How often will it run? I can't find anything online.

If it's only 2.2 miles, it would take very little to maintain frequent service. Assume 4.5 miles round trip including turnarounds at either end. That shouldn't take more than 25-30 minutes for a round trip. That would mean only 5-6 streetcars would be required for 5 minute headways. Even if there is a short layover at either end, 7 streetcars should be enough to maintain 5 minute service.

10 minute frequency at least initially. 18 minute one way trip (including potential traffic delays).

Article from the Seattle Times:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...eetcar11m.html

bunt_q Apr 14, 2012 5:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5664174)
Yes, it's in between. I suppose I could move it if people really want me to.

I think I'll have to insist. :) If you must choose, it's closer to heavy rail than light rail. If only by virtue of complete grade separation and third rail power.

Cirrus Apr 14, 2012 5:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BnaBreaker (Post 5665943)
What is the technical difference between light rail and streetcar?

Electricron's answer was good. It's really an operational difference more than anything else.

"Light rail" as we know it in this country originally grew out of an attempt to use streetcar vehicles as if they were heavier rapid transit lines.

bunt_q Apr 14, 2012 5:13 PM

Cirrus - back on Denver. If you're going to include the NW commuter rail, then you probably need to include the North commuter rail and the I-225 light rail. Both of those are closer to shovels in the ground than the NW line. (RTD's received unsolicited PPP proposals for both, so those two could very well start soon, even if the second ballot initiative fails.)

Or you can drop the NW rail, I'm fine with that too.

Cirrus Apr 14, 2012 5:21 PM

I had originally left NW off, but SnyderBock indicated it should be on.

I want to be fairly strict with things being under construction, though. There are so many in planning that the list would look a lot different if it includes things that haven't broken ground yet.

So I'll remove it. Is it just the 5 miles of the NW line that needs to come off?

bunt_q Apr 14, 2012 5:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5666366)
I had originally left NW off, but SnyderBock indicated it should be on.

I want to be fairly strict with things being under construction, though. There are so many in planning that the list would look a lot different if it includes things that haven't broken ground yet.

So I'll remove it. Is it just the 5 miles of the NW line that needs to come off?

The 6.2 mile electrified segment to Westminster is tied to the contract for the Airport and Gold lines, so that's okay. The rest needs to come off.

East is 22.8 miles, Gold is 11.2 miles. So however you label it, 40.2 miles is fair to say are "under construction."

EDIT: Which I think is what you had to begin with, I just wasn't adding up the mileages. My bad.

BnaBreaker Apr 14, 2012 5:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5666319)
Excellent question, because it is sometimes very hard to distinguish any difference. I believe you'll find Salt Lake City's Sugar House streetcar line will be using the exact same light rail cars as their newly opened light rail lines.

The only true common differences between the two are
(1) Light rail trains don't share lanes with other traffic while streetcars will.
(2) Light rail trains can use multiple units while streetcars don't.
(3) Streetcars can turn tighter curves than light rail trains.
And I don't think those common differences are 100% true for every case.

Because light rail are ran in multiple units, they're called trains instead of cars. They can also be used in longer corridors which require larger capacity trains. And because the trains are longer, they require dedicated lanes.

Therefore, it's function of the rail line more than the rolling stock equipment that makes the difference. Because, for all practical purposes, a streetcar is a single light rail unit, or vice versa, a light rail train is two or more streetcars coupled together.

That makes a lot of sense! Thank you Electricron for that very precise and detailed answer.

bunt_q Apr 14, 2012 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BnaBreaker (Post 5666381)
That makes a lot of sense! Thank you Electricron for that very precise and detailed answer.

Electricon's answer is right on...except, as he pointed out, when it's not, which is why it's such a tough question to answer.

(1) Light rail trains don't share lanes with other traffic while streetcars will... except that some light rail does operate in shared ROW.

(2) Light rail trains can use multiple units while streetcars don't....typically true, but many streetcar vehicles can be coupled into at least 2-units.

(3) Streetcars can turn tighter curves than light rail trains....can and should are not the same thing. Light rail typical is 82-feet, streetcars you can ratchet down to 50-feet... but then, light rail can theoretically go tighter. And most design specifications you'll see for streetcar systems call for the light rail standard anyways (less wear and tear on the vehicles; higher operating speeds). But this is an important factor in vehicle selection, so it's as good of a criterion to use as any.

So like anything else, the answer is, it depends. The light rail/streetcar distinction is very much an American thing, and as I think Cirrus pointed out, it stems from our habit of using light rail as a "metro light." But that is by no means necessary - plenty of places mix and mingle the two vehicle types operationally.

In the U.S., I think the easiest distinguishing characteristic is shared ROW versus not. That might require us to re-think some of the older light rail systems, but so what?

bmfarley Apr 15, 2012 4:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lipani (Post 5664130)
San Diego is working on an 11-mile mid-coast extension for the trolley to UCSD and UTC, although I'm not sure if any actual construction has started yet since part of that project will be using an existing rail corridor.

But, it is not yet under construction.

JDRCRASH Apr 15, 2012 2:33 PM

bunt_q, what about max speed? Could that be a distinction?

electricron Apr 15, 2012 3:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5667129)
bunt_q, what about max speed? Could that be a distinction?

Not when the same transit agency is using the exactly same equipment to do both functions. Although generally streetcars are designed to go a max of 45 mph while light rail trains are usually a max of 55 mph. But the real max speed for streetcars in operation is the speed limit of all the other traffic on the same streets. That also usually sets the max speed of street running light rail trains too. This sort of makes the actually max speed of the streetcars/light rail trains equipment irreverent for street running applications.

SnyderBock Apr 15, 2012 7:21 PM

LRT is also has 65mph variants which are very common.

electricron Apr 15, 2012 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SnyderBock (Post 5667355)
LRT is also has 65mph variants which are very common.

True, but I don't recall ever seeing any light rail trains going 65 mph in city streets. You will see those speeds in tunnels and aerial guideways where they are basically grade separated from other traffic. One could possibly build a streetcar going that fast, but why when their speeds are limited to speeds of the city streets? Could a streetcar ever accelerate to those speed before having to slow down for the next stop 1/8, 1/4, to 1/2 mile away?

We're not defining the differences between the vehicles anymore, but rather defining the difference between overall systems. Which is what I've been suggesting all along.

TarHeelJ Apr 16, 2012 1:30 AM

Atlanta's current streetcar project is actually 2.7 miles rather than 1.4 miles. I didn't see where anyone corrected that. :) http://www.atlantadowntown.com/_file...cember2011.pdf

ardecila Apr 16, 2012 2:05 AM

The whole concept of light rail when it was devised back in the 70s was to create hybrid regional systems at a lower cost than full-fledged metro/heavy-rail technology could deliver (BART and MARTA demanded huge sums of money and Baltimore/Miami were cut off before they could build a full system). The result was something that was a mix of streetcar and metro systems. This had precedents in systems like LA's, Philly's, and Newark's, where regular surface streetcars were routed into downtown subways to avoid street congestion.

In the 70s, the situation was reversed - planners realized that many downtowns had extensive downtown street grids that were under capacity, where lanes or entire streets could be given over to surface rail, avoiding the insane cost of downtown subways. In city neighborhoods and suburbs, freight-rail or freeway ROWs could be used to ensure high speeds, which were necessary in order to reach suburban destinations in reasonable amounts of time. These systems would have varying degrees of grade separation depending on the desired train speed and the levels of road traffic at each crossing.

Of course, because light-rail is just a way to describe some form of hybrid, it's impossible to define what IS and is NOT light rail. This is why Houston is building a "light-rail" system that's really just a big streetcar network, and why Honolulu is building a "light-rail" system that's really just a metro with short trains.

mwadswor Apr 16, 2012 6:35 PM

The 3 mile Mesa extension of the Phoenix light rail line is under construction.

Also, I'm not sure if you're counting people mover systems, but the Phoenix Sky Harbor people mover is under construction and on schedule to open late next year.

seaskyfan Apr 23, 2012 11:33 PM

Seattle's First Hill Streetcar line broke ground today.

http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/


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