Amtrak needs to build or encourage the freights to build 2nd track or longer/more sidings in typical freight congestion areas.

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,750
Th second Roanoke train and west of there will have NS making a new section of 2 main tracks by connecting 2 sidings into one long 2 MT section south of Manassas.
 

Seaboard92

Engineer
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,293
Location
South Carolina
The problem is in transportation everything is always in flux and in change. Which means todays congestion spot might move tomorrow, and move again the day after. And double track isn't quite as fluid as people would think. Amtrak trains are a disrupting train because they move faster than everything else around them and can easily catch up to slower traffic.

And even on double track it can be tough to run them around for an overtake because you have opposing traffic coming your way. Now when I dispatch those territories on train dispatcher 3.5 I will stop my opposing freight trains to let Amtrak or VIA shuffle around the slower freight trains. But what do you do when that opposing train is also a passenger train?

The CN Kingston Sub is really rather difficult as you'll get two or three VIA trains meeting on double track and almost always one or two of them have a slow drag freight ahead of them. Try keeping all the trains moving and tell me double track is the solution.

The New York Central used to have four tracks on their entire mainline. The outer two were freight only while the inner two were passenger only. That way passenger trains had no trouble overtaking freight trains, and when the 20th Century Limited needed to overtake somebody they could just move the train ahead to the standard freight track.

Triple Track is more practical because you can run your slow trains over on the outer most tracks and run your faster ones around on the center track. Not just letting someone run on the third main the whole way persay just long enough to get ahead of the traffic ahead and then let someone opposing do the same thing.
 

Larry H.

Conductor
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
1,021
Probably impossible but on You tube a fellow has a suggestion to use abandoned rail beds to move some passenger trains at higher speeds. Most of them are probably shot by now but it would be ground that exist and is pretty well open. Near me the CSX a couple years ago just up and stopped using a line that was part of the New York to St. Louis runs way back. The tracks are still there but no being used. Might be some places where they could gain some advantage instead of starting from scratch to buy land or claim it and then make the road beds? The CSX decided to use another line probably 40 miles north of here and just left this route sit.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,869
Way cheaper than double trackng the nation, and would help immensely.
It’s a great idea and it has happened in several areas where there is funding.

Of course even after North Carolina spent a crazy amount of money on 3rd main / extra sidings Amtrak trains still had poor timekeeping in that area.

And look at what the UP did to Illinois on the “high speed segment.”

I think the best investment is to actually buy the rails when possible (Michigan and Virginia being the most recent examples).
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
91
Location
Greensboro (McLeansville0, NC
Triple Track is more practical because you can run your slow trains over on the outer most tracks and run your faster ones around on the center track. Not just letting someone run on the third main the whole way persay just long enough to get ahead of the traffic ahead and then let someone opposing do the same thing.
US-70 just to the east of Greensboro, NC does this with automobile traffic with a few alternating middle lanes for passing. Most of US-70 is 4 lane in NC but this is an old rement that sits between Greensboro and Burlington and two or three sections have this 3-lane configuration. Saves some money and allows for passing safely.
 

dlagrua

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,267
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
IMO, if Amtrak is to expand by adding more routes and trains, they will not be able to do so on existing freight tracks. Most of those those tracks are already at capacity, There are hundreds of abandoned ROW's in the USA that can be put back in service. That might be the solution.
 

Burns651

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
24
...
The New York Central used to have four tracks on their entire mainline. The outer two were freight only while the inner two were passenger only. That way passenger trains had no trouble overtaking freight trains, and when the 20th Century Limited needed to overtake somebody they could just move the train ahead to the standard freight track.
...
From Berea, OH (12 miles west of Cleveland) to Chicago pre-1950s, about 62% of the mainline was less than four tracks. It looks like the vast majority east of there to New York was four tracks.

West of Berea there were roughly 146 miles of double track in eight segments. The longest of these was 50 miles from MN (5 mi. e. of Butler IN) to Millersburg IN, followed by 42 miles from Elkhart to JD (just west of La Porte, IN).

Also west of Berea there were about 58 miles of triple track in five segments. The longest was Wauseon OH to Bryan, 21 miles. Next was 20 miles from Holland OH to Wauseon.

(I was curious as to the exact breakdown of it all, not just trying to nitpick! Thanks due to the employee timetables at canadasouthern.com.)
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,192
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I knew that the 4 tracks all the way was an enduring railfan myth, but did not know the details outside NY state. Thanks for filling in that gap in my knowledge.

West of Berea is NS now right?
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,160
Location
Washington State
There are many places where states have kicked in for new track and sidings in exchange for more service or improved service. Oregon paid to extend a siding in Oregon City. Washington paid for double tracking along the Golden Gardens shoreline in Seattle, triple tracking in Kalama, the now infamous Point Defense Bypass and a siding at Colebrook in British Columbia. All in support of Cascades service.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
91
Location
Greensboro (McLeansville0, NC
Others could fill in more of the details but the last agreement between the state owned NCRR and NS is more money to the state for rent which in turn largely goes into building capacity on the line that NS uses. I think some money the NCRR makes is also used to build rail capacity away from the NCRR line. Personally I wish NC would offer some pricing concessions on the NCRR line for a deal to acquire the S-Line from Salisbury to Asheville. I doubt I need to explain my reasoning for this on this message board.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
914
Precision Railroading encourages the opposite. Efficient use of right of way with less but longer trains and more sidings less double main. You want the freight railroads to go against whats keeping their stock price high.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
914
It’s a great idea and it has happened in several areas where there is funding.

Of course even after North Carolina spent a crazy amount of money on 3rd main / extra sidings Amtrak trains still had poor timekeeping in that area.

And look at what the UP did to Illinois on the “high speed segment.”

I think the best investment is to actually buy the rails when possible (Michigan and Virginia being the most recent examples).
How much oversight or attention does Illinois pay to its state funded rail lines? Notice that UP does not delay California state funded trains, UP doesn't want a phone, email or text from the office of Gov. Newsome.
 

Qapla

Engineer
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
2,063
Location
Gator Country Florida
Not to mention the people who file law suits to stop the double tracking and additional/longer sidings because they say it will create more train traffic
 
  • Angry
Reactions: Cal

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
914
The problem is in transportation everything is always in flux and in change. Which means todays congestion spot might move tomorrow, and move again the day after. And double track isn't quite as fluid as people would think. Amtrak trains are a disrupting train because they move faster than everything else around them and can easily catch up to slower traffic.

And even on double track it can be tough to run them around for an overtake because you have opposing traffic coming your way. Now when I dispatch those territories on train dispatcher 3.5 I will stop my opposing freight trains to let Amtrak or VIA shuffle around the slower freight trains. But what do you do when that opposing train is also a passenger train?

The CN Kingston Sub is really rather difficult as you'll get two or three VIA trains meeting on double track and almost always one or two of them have a slow drag freight ahead of them. Try keeping all the trains moving and tell me double track is the solution.

The New York Central used to have four tracks on their entire mainline. The outer two were freight only while the inner two were passenger only. That way passenger trains had no trouble overtaking freight trains, and when the 20th Century Limited needed to overtake somebody they could just move the train ahead to the standard freight track.

Triple Track is more practical because you can run your slow trains over on the outer most tracks and run your faster ones around on the center track. Not just letting someone run on the third main the whole way persay just long enough to get ahead of the traffic ahead and then let someone opposing do the same thing.
This, the fact that Amtrak runs as close to their schedule is a testament to the faceless Dispatchers sitting behind computer screens. If you are dispatcher, whats going to get you a nasty email from management, a delayed Amtrak train or an Intermodal late getting to the port?

With three mile long time sensitive intermodals, manifests, and coal trains, with 50 and 70 mph speed limits, even on CTC double mains, its amazing Amtrak LD or Regional trains arrive on or near on time.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
91
Location
Greensboro (McLeansville0, NC
It’s a great idea and it has happened in several areas where there is funding.

Of course even after North Carolina spent a crazy amount of money on 3rd main / extra sidings Amtrak trains still had poor timekeeping in that area.

And look at what the UP did to Illinois on the “high speed segment.”

I think the best investment is to actually buy the rails when possible (Michigan and Virginia being the most recent examples).
Where did NC build a third main, which I am reading as three tracks? I know they did some double tracking between Greensboro and High Point and they extended the length of the siding near my house between CP McLeansville and Superior but a third track is news to me.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
I knew that the 4 tracks all the way was an enduring railfan myth, but did not know the details outside NY state. Thanks for filling in that gap in my knowledge.

West of Berea is NS now right?
Besides the NYC multi track line between Buffalo and Cleveland, there was also the parallel Nickel Plate...now all are NS.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,663
Location
Ithaca, NY
Way cheaper than double trackng the nation, and would help immensely.
Infamously, Amtrak did this to get around Acca Yard in Virginia. Three times. Each time, CSX proceeded to park freight trains in the new track.

After that, Virginia wised up and *bought* right-of-way.

Yes, new tracks. But only if the states or Amtrak *own* the track. Otherwise the Class I "freight" railroads will simply continue to delay Amtrak and use the track for their freights instead.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,663
Location
Ithaca, NY
Possibly the most useful location for Amtrak to build its own tracks on spare right-of-way is "South of the Lake", from Chicago through Porter, Indiana. There is right-of-way nearly the entire way, because there used to be four tracks and now there are two; in a few spots it's obstructed by yard tracks or utilities, or needs bridges rebuilt, but these are not serious obstacles. The only obstacle is getting someone to PAY for it.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,869
Where did NC build a third main, which I am reading as three tracks? I know they did some double tracking between Greensboro and High Point and they extended the length of the siding near my house between CP McLeansville and Superior but a third track is news to me.
I guess I’m thinking of the double track... I remembered riding that segment and seeing the construction and thinking it was already double track Charlotte to Greensboro.

Either way, the point was that main tracks have been added in places like North Carolina.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,869
Monorail in various incarnations has been around about as long as railroads of any kind and has proven impractical in anything beyond amusement parks every time.
Several successful monorail systems would disagree with you.

Is someone suggesting monorails for long distance services though?
 
Top