Interstate 405 rail line

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
145
Interstate 405 in California is the busiest freeway in the US, and among the most congested. There have been talks of building a rail line, but it would only cover the northern half (north of I-10), and so far nothing has come to fruition. Meanwhile, more lanes continue to be built, which doesn't solve the problem at all.

Perhaps the best way to curb the congestion on I-405 is to build a rail line that spans the entire length (it will also be 4 tracks on the entire length). This rail line in question would be an electric heavy rail line like Caltrain electric and use the freeway median for the majority of its ROW. It would be operated by Metrolink as the 405 line. In terms of rolling stock, as is typical with Metrolink, it would use bi-level trains (EMUs in this case) though single-level trains can also be operated in off-peak hours.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,984
The trouble with rail lines in the median of the freeway is that the stations are also located in the median of the freeway, which is not exactly where people without cars want to be. If you ever go to Chicago, check out the Blue Line going to O'Hare, and get off at one of the stations located in the freeway medians and see how user-hostile they are. Yeah, you might be able to run part of the line in the freeway median, but if it's going to be useful, the stations have to be near places where people want to go.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
145
The trouble with rail lines in the median of the freeway is that the stations are also located in the median of the freeway, which is not exactly where people without cars want to be. If you ever go to Chicago, check out the Blue Line going to O'Hare, and get off at one of the stations located in the freeway medians and see how user-hostile they are. Yeah, you might be able to run part of the line in the freeway median, but if it's going to be useful, the stations have to be near places where people want to go.
Starting at at least around LAX and north, the 405 line will follow on a ROW not on the freeway median. At the same time, building a new ROW that doesnt put it at the freeway median will be difficult due to all the buildings that will have to be demolished (and the usual NIMBY atittude), as well as the industrial sites in the south LA area.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,523
Why would Metrolink want to add a new equipment type that’s held captive to one line? Chicago only has EMUs because Metra inherited the electric line from the Illinois Central. Who installed the catenary in a cost cutting move.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,984
Starting at at least around LAX and north, the 405 line will follow on a ROW not on the freeway median. At the same time, building a new ROW that doesnt put it at the freeway median will be difficult due to all the buildings that will have to be demolished (and the usual NIMBY atittude), as well as the industrial sites in the south LA area.
Of course building a new right of way that serves where people already are is difficult. But if they are going to spend a large amounts of money on a transit system to serve people, they have to put the stations where the people are, not where the cars are. There's a case for including some park and ride stations, but if the whole line is park and ride, it has much less utility for getting lots and lots of people out of their cars, which is the whole point of spending bug bux on rail transit.

It's true, they could build a new line through greenfield and brownfield sites where there are fewer NIMBYs and also build whole new walkable New Urbanist neighborhoods. But even then, the actual stations need to be at least some distance from the freeway.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
977
The northern branch of the blue line is extremely busy (not just the Bucker Park and O'Hare sections) as is the Dan Ryan end of the red line (in fact the busiest station outside the loop is there). The Forest Park branch is more desolate because the areas are desolate and more industrial in several sections (plus competition from the Green Line to a certain extent). The other sections go through densely populated areas.

All that said, I don't know LA well enough to know if some of their freeway corridors are suitable for median transit w/o huge park n ride lots of bus transfers.
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
489
So won't put the train down the middle of the highway where their is space, so where is there enough space for a new piece of Infrastructure as wide as a 4 lane highway in LA? Looking at 405 from Google maps shows a lot of development around the highway. Adding capacity on that scale would mean eminent domain and lots of lawsuits, and that gets expensive quickly. Expensive to the point where it wouldn't happen.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
145
So won't put the train down the middle of the highway where their is space, so where is there enough space for a new piece of Infrastructure as wide as a 4 lane highway in LA? Looking at 405 from Google maps shows a lot of development around the highway. Adding capacity on that scale would mean eminent domain and lots of lawsuits, and that gets expensive quickly. Expensive to the point where it wouldn't happen.
They could sacrifice the median and a lane or two in each direction for the I-405 rail line
 

trainman74

Conductor
Joined
Apr 7, 2011
Messages
1,620
They could sacrifice the median and a lane or two in each direction for the I-405 rail line
The median of the 405 has already been sacrificed (i.e., it's just a concrete barrier -- look at any part of the 405 on Google Street View). And I can't imagine any realistic scenario in which lanes are taken away.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,668
The only way to use the 405 RoW would be to build an elevated structure over it. Good luck with getting Environmental clearance for doing so in today's political atmosphere.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,567
Reading the studies, I love how they eliminated two options because they would create too much demand. That's just...special.

I mean, their limit is based on five-minute headways and so on...even presuming technical limits to station lengths:
(1) I'd think they could manage <5 minute headways (DC Metro gets up over 20 TPH IIRC); and
(2) If demand is that swamped, maybe that makes a case for building out lines in the Valley and having the second (or third) line be able to take longer trains?

Looking historically, having multiple lines feed into a high-capacity "trunk" is hardly without precedent. The core section of the line could/should be set up to handle perhaps two-minute headways when crossing the mountains, but that level of capacity could in turn feed into a set of lines with 3-6 minute headways. And of course, there's also the option to quad-track stations (to either allow skip-stop running or to help enable shorter headways).

Edit: And of course, there's also the option to set things up where "Not all cars make all stops". NJT and the LIRR have been doing this for decades. I don't see why having the last car or two on a train explicitly be "express" cars is impossible.
 
Last edited:
Top