I am certain that CSX will have conniptions, neigh throw a major hissy-fit if anyone even mentions combining/splitting a train on their main line trackage in ALX. So IMHO you can pretty much forget about it.Any additional trains to / from DC to VA needs long bridge expansion to 4 tracks over the Potomac. At the pace now showing for the expansion the end appears 10 years in the future. The only way to add more trains now is---------------------
Combine / split VRE trains at ALX and Amtrak trains at Richmond and ALX.. Have no idea how much that would cost but $25 M at each location for trackwork and signals is a low ball guess.. The problem of course is the necessity of having on duty car knockers and other servicing personnel. An extra cost that Amtrak and
VRE would not like to take on permanently ?
This was back when the Norfolk passenger train station was at (or near) Lamberts Point, right? IIRC, the Mountaineer route ceased operation in 1977, not long after I was born.Actually I’m 1952 there were two trains on the route from Roanoke to Hagerstown. One was an all stops local. The second made quite a few stops but it skipped quite a few. While one train went all the way into Harrisburg and I believe a thru car to Philadelphia. The thru train was a night train.
The Southern B like I believe didn’t have service in 1952.
Roanoke itself in 1952 had multiple frequencies to Norfolk in two routes, service to Winston Salem, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Deepwater, and the aforementioned Shenandoah Valley trains.
Actually, this has more-or-less been contemplated. In the case of RVR (in particular), there are a few solutions (adding a new freight track on the far side of things as a trade for the outermost track, putting another two-track platform on the far side but leaving the tracks "in the middle" for freight-only use, or if only two tracks are needed, moving to just use the two tracks nearest the station outside of unusual situations). ALX is far more constrained, thanks to the Metro; simply running everything to WAS probably makes more sense in that case (especially since you have yard facilities and so on there).Combining splitting on the main line(s) of course is why the capital costs at ALX and Richmond would be so high. Getting the passenger trains off the main line at those stations will have many benefits. You are building a straw dog that was never contemplated. Still the money needed for signal and trackwork will not come cheap if completing is only way to meet passenger demand.
It sounds more like the Crescent or Star.Oh, and a fun trivia point: The Google Maps satellite picture of ALX has a NB Amtrak train in the station. It is eight pax cars plus a Viewliner II bag; I think it might be the Carolinian, though it could be a late-running Meteor. 
 Ok, it has a bag, so that limits you to the Star, Meteor, Palmetto, Crescent, Cardinal, or Shoreliner (66/67). We can safely eliminate the Shoreliner due to time of day (NB it doesn't get to ALX until well after 2030). We can probably eliminate the Cardinal due to a mix of that and consist length (it is too long). On the one hand, it looks like it has a Heritage diner fourth from the rear (which would mean the Meteor); on the other hand, that would also imply only three coaches (which feels short). So my guess is the Carolinian.
It can be done but what happens when the connection is late (which is extremely likely?) Additionally, what is the real point when you're probably spending the majority of your trip on the most populated portion of the route on a combined train, subjecting them to additional delays?I’m not sure why trains couldn’t be combined/split at RVR now, if done during daytime when the train that terminates there is gone. This is especially so since the recent lengthening of the station track and the conversion a few years ago of the former stub track to run through.
There are a lot of things that are "possible" but is it worth it. NJT uses spear type couplers which can be separated and joined in a matter of seconds. However, that STILL doesn't relieve them of the Blue Flag rules and the need for additional brakes tests, which are required by the FRA(which doesn't govern "every other country in the world but governs the United States.) Additionally, if you try to attempt to use the train crews 9t avoid the blue flag regulations), you are now setting up SOFA rules. This is not a big deal in a yard, but on a main track, if you foul another rail or come within four feet of an active rail with the potential to foul railroad will now have to establish a hold on that adjacent track. So, you are not only occupying an active rail, you are now closing an adjacent track.Actually combining/splitting even on a main line, given appropriate equipment is quite conceivable, but only if the managers of various pieces of the system wish to actually work proactively to provide services.
If DEMUs with Scharfenberg couplers are used, something that apparently every other country in the world is capable of doing, except the US, then a train can be split or joined in a minute or two more than it takes to just service passengers. And as a seasoned railwayman in another board said, anything can be done that is adequately planned for. The question is, whether there is the willingness to do so.
So the main reason that such split/joins are infeasible in the US is because of pointless obduracy of the management of one or more outfits involved.
For two units connected together using a Scharfenberg coupler that are either separating or joining, why would there be any train crew on the ground? Why would one need to block adjacent tracks? No one that uses those puts any crew on the ground and blocks adjacent tracks to protect non-existent people on the ground.There are a lot of things that are "possible" but is it worth it. NJT uses spear type couplers which can be separated and joined in a matter of seconds. However, that STILL doesn't relieve them of the Blue Flag rules and the need for additional brakes tests, which are required by the FRA(which doesn't govern "every other country in the world but governs the United States.) Additionally, if you try to attempt to use the train crews 9t avoid the blue flag regulations), you are now setting up SOFA rules. This is not a big deal in a yard, but on a main track, if you foul another rail or come within four feet of an active rail with the potential to foul railroad will now have to establish a hold on that adjacent track. So, you are not only occupying an active rail, you are now closing an adjacent track.
So, how are these people doing their walking inspection of the brake line and continuity test, which is required when you add (or drop) equipment?For two units connected together using a Scharfenberg coupler that are either separating or joining, why would there be any train crew on the ground? Why would one need to block adjacent tracks? No one that uses those puts any crew on the ground and blocks adjacent tracks to protect non-existent people on the ground.
Orrrr..maybe they are reacting to things that happen and trying to limit them happening here....like a runaway freight train incinerating a town...or the high speed train that broke apart, hit a bridge, derailed while the crew was looking at puncture instead of asking the engine crew to stop ( I mean you may be reluctant to pull the emergency brakes but you could still ask the crew to stop...well, now you can.)Yes. There are many things that cannot be done in the US simply because no one wants to figure out how to do it, and say what is the point? That was my point.
I think that Long Bridge is likely to be in place before Virginia adds much more service into DC. See the website: http://longbridgeproject.com/The only reason that we proposed the combining splitting is because there are no more slots for passenger trains available on Long Bridge. So if VRE or Amtrak wanted to add more trains something drastic has to be done to add those trains. VRE about once a month will combine a Manassas train and Lorton train at WASH. It does not really matter which route leads. The leading train pulls away from following train at ALX and then following train proceeds after brake test.
Am not aware that VRE ever combines at ALX.
Hopefully this type of operation would only need to operate for the 10 - 14 years in the future to get Long bridge capacity expanded.
The funny thing is we're all guessing destinations. From his article:
That's all well and good but what is the priority? Which areas should be tackled first? Should a train to say Luray (an important tourist area) come before adding another train to NFK?
As for cross-state trains, is this necessarily an Amtrak function? Perhaps a VRE type of operator could tackle this and meet up with Amtrak at a point.
I would be helpful if the author if the article posted his vision for where he thinks tourism will be bolstered. After all, it has his state (with CSX's nudging) that willingly stabbed Williamsburg (in my opinion).
I think you misunderstand my position.So, how are these people doing their walking inspection of the brake line and continuity test, which is required when you add (or drop) equipment?
Oh...wait....don't tell me....they don't do that in other countries. I suppose they don't inspect the coupling area to make sure it is clear of debris or lined up. They just barge in a hope the self centering portion works as intended. Of course, you can keep ramming away until the self centering portion does its on work I suppose.