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Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 4:00 PM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
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Hampton Roads Tide Light Rail thread

Tide Light Rail in Norfolk opened this morning, marking the first light rail service in the state of Virginia. It's taken 3.5 years to construct.



Some images from The Virginia-Pilot on HamptonRoads.com (more can be found at the link, including a video):











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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 5:38 PM
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Photo sets are starting to show up on flickr too.

I hope to head down there to check it out soon. It will have to be either in the next couple of weeks or not until November.
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Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 6:08 PM
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Kudos for Norfolk for forging ahead. It is unfortunate that it is starting up with the clouds of cost overuns but $350 million for 11.4km of line is still well below average LRT costs. The stations and line seem attractive and friendly.
I hope it does well which , of course, depends on how convient and reliable it is. Much of that will depend on frequency levels and on most new US LRT systems they tend to be quite poor.
What will the frequency levels be and what is the projected ridership?
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Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 7:29 PM
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Here's the real face of transit, just for some humor.


http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6077/...ae67f128_z.jpg
Edited by: Me


Nice work, Norfolk!
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  #5  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 7:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
Kudos for Norfolk for forging ahead. It is unfortunate that it is starting up with the clouds of cost overuns but $350 million for 11.4km of line is still well below average LRT costs. The stations and line seem attractive and friendly.
I hope it does well which , of course, depends on how convient and reliable it is. Much of that will depend on frequency levels and on most new US LRT systems they tend to be quite poor.
What will the frequency levels be and what is the projected ridership?
Ridership is supposed to be anywhere between 12-15,000 which would make it one of the lowest used lines in North America.
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Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 9:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
Ridership is supposed to be anywhere between 12-15,000 which would make it one of the lowest used lines in North America.
Expected, since it is also one of the shortest.

On a per mile basis it is perfectly respectable.
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Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 10:40 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHekGBAJO8k" target="_blank">Video Link





Transit Geeks @ 4:30 AM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic-0eyVy8-o" target="_blank">Video Link
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  #8  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 12:09 AM
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Expected, since it is also one of the shortest.

On a per mile basis it is perfectly respectable.
Whats your opinion on this project ?
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 12:14 AM
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Google Maps already has Tide stations up! Very respectable!
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 12:30 AM
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Love the design, looks very nice. And it doesn't try to do too much, it serves as a local transit option for the urban center.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 1:54 AM
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Congrats Norfolk!

I hope to ride on each rail transit system in the country. So far I'm only at the Chicago L, Minneapolis Hiawatha, St Louis Metrolink, and Washington Metro, But I'm glad to see another city join my list.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 8:24 AM
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You know the rail is doing good when you one day start to notice them running double length trains. Great to see this finally up and running, hope the city and region continue to build off of this.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 8:51 AM
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You know the rail is doing good when you one day start to notice them running double length trains. Great to see this finally up and running, hope the city and region continue to build off of this.
HRT has only single-vehicle platforms. The vehicles themselves are double-articulated LRVs which could theoretically run in pairs but that would require extending every station, which the system was not designed for.

I believe HRT only has nine of the vehicles, and from the youtube spot I listened to the other day, a class of just 8 drivers!! I guess they only need two or three trains running at a time for a line that short.

I have high hopes that this shows America how medium sized cities should build rail transit. I'm looking at you, Wichita!
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 2:23 PM
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Natural extensions also exist north--to Old Dominion U. and Norfolk Naval Base--and east--to Virginia Beach.

The Hampton Roads MSA is massive. It's got three major urban centers (Norfolk, Newport News, Williamsburg) and like nine large cities. But a huge amount of that agglomeration is classic New South Sunbelt-style sprawl in the swamp.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 2:50 PM
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The Washington Post has a good photo essay covering the opening of the light rail line.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...J_gallery.html
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  #16  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 3:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
Whats your opinion on this project ?
Can't speak to the details of the project and whether this is a good route for light rail as I'm not that familiar with Norfolk.

However, Virginia is spending $87 million (of state money) to extend Amtrak Northeast Regionals to Norfolk, south of the river. The plan is to start with one daily train and then expand it to 3 daily trains, all of which will run to DC and NYC. Depending on which NE Regionals Amtrak extends south of the Richmond Staples Mill Road Station, could get 1 seat service to Boston from Norfolk. The 2 daily trains to Newport News north of the James River will remain on the schedule.

The Amtrak station will at the Tide Harbor Park station, although I have not found details on exactly where the Amtrak station and platforms will be with respect to the Tide station. When the Amtrak service starts in 2013, the Tide light rail line will provide direct intermodal connectivity to the Northeast Corridor which will be pretty neat.

The Amtrak Norfolk route, for the present, will follow the route most Amtrak trains take west of Richmond and bypass Richmond Main Street Station in downtown Richmond. The tracks from Staples Mill Road to Main Street Station and south across the river are painfully slow. The two daily trains going to Newport News on the CSX line go to the Main Street station and then stay north to Williamsburg and Newport News, but it is a slow route. The projected costs for the Acca Yard bypass and upgrading the route through Main Street Station is in the $400 million and up range, so Virginia decided to skip that route to get the Norfolk service started. The route through Main Street Station is part of the SouthEast HSR corridor, so when/if federal funding is provided for the SE HSR corridor and the track upgrades are in place, then the trains from Norfolk will stop in downtown Richmond. Norfolk will be one up on Richmond with a light rail line connecting to their station. The SE HSR corridor project has the opportunity to open up intercity rail options for not only the cities on the SE HSR route, but for connecting lines to the Newport News & Norfolk metropolitan region as well.

Virginia DRPT webpage with a brief summary of the status of the Amtrak Norfolk extension project: http://www.drpt.virginia.gov/activities/norfolk.aspx
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  #17  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 6:06 PM
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Originally Posted by afiggatt View Post
The Amtrak station will at the Tide Harbor Park station, although I have not found details on exactly where the Amtrak station and platforms will be with respect to the Tide station.
Here you go:



http://hrpta.com/2011/08/09/harbor-p...ion-kicks-off/

Quote:
The phase-one components are a 3,000-square-foot station and a bus transfer facility similar to that located on Granby Street at Wards Corner, Woolard said.

"It is also still contemplated that a covered walkway connection will be possible between the inter-city passenger rail station and the light rail station," he said.

Phase-one work includes a 2,400-square-foot passenger rail station with a ticketing desk, small waiting room, baggage room and bathrooms.

Philip Shucet, president and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit, the quasi-public agency that operates Norfolk's light rail system and the area's bus system, was the former president of Baker Environmental and Baker Mellon Stuart, two business units of Pittsburgh-based Michael Baker Corp.

The U.S. Department of Transportation turned down Norfolk's request for a $10 million grant to fund a much larger project with shops and a ferry dock for passengers shuttling back and forth to Portsmouth, as well as the Peninsula.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 7:09 PM
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It's weird. I had just decided to look up the Norfolk light rail project for the first time in forever because I was curious as to what its status was. Lo and behold it opened yesterday and there were some fresh videos and photos of the opening for me to look at.

Congratulations Norfolk and good luck with light rail.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 9:07 PM
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Quote:
Natural extensions also exist north--to Old Dominion U. and Norfolk Naval Base--and east--to Virginia Beach.
The most "natural" extension is to Virginia Beach. That extension, according to gMaps, follows an existing rail right of way. I think the issue is just getting some regional coordination going on. I don't know a whole lot about the different transit agencies there, but providing a full-fledged commuter-light-rail project between two cores (in different municipalities) could be politically difficult, if not a resounding intergovernmental success.

From what I've read, it seems most people there like the idea in general, but complain that it doesn't get them where they want to go, that because this is a very obvious first stage of system built to be extended upon.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2011, 9:55 PM
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I had no idea this would be up and running this early--congratulations are in order!

I hope someday Cirrus will update the US 'transit map' he made a few years ago, so I can keep track of which cities offer which kind of rail service....
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