Southern Maryland Light Rail

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jis

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joelkfla

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State funds to match federal funds for starting design work on the Southern Maryland Light Rail project have been released

"...once light-rail trains start running alongside Rte. 301 they would share tracks with CSX."

Is that possible? Did he mean to say share ROW? (Unless they're planning one of these weird diesel-powered LRV's.)
 

jis

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Here's another article:


I wonder if there would be any freight traffic left on the Pope's Creek Branch once the power station is decommissioned. Its primary traffic has been coal for the power plant. I also wonder whether "run along" means on a track parallel to the CSX track on the same ROW or something else.

The choice of mode - BRT vs. LRT has apparently been quite a nosebleemdwith LRT holding sway at present. Here is a quick review of what went on...

 
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LRT can share track and I seem to have a vague, very vague, recollection of this being involved here, but I can't remember where I heard that.
 

Deni

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I think the River Line and whatever Conrail is called these days share track in NJ.
Yeah, but if I remember correctly it is scheduled so that the light rail ends its day (I think earlier than it probably should) and the freight only runs at night. But I could be remembering that wrong. I think there were also some cumbersome standards for the light rail cars because of running on a freight line.
 

cirdan

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LRT can share track and I seem to have a vague, very vague, recollection of this being involved here, but I can't remember where I heard that.

Doesn't this happen in San Diego for example, where there are freight customers who are served by switching cars via the (electrified) LRT tracks?

Of course back in the day if you look at the history of the Pacific Electric for example, it was quite a common thing.

Maybe it's a stretch to refer to the South Shore Line as LRT, but that line still sees quite a lot of freight.
 
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LRT can share track and I seem to have a vague, very vague, recollection of this being involved here, but I can't remember where I heard that.
The Baltimore Northern Central light rail line used to share track with a Conrail branch. I believe the freight trains only ran late at night when there was no light rail service.
 
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Yeah, but if I remember correctly it is scheduled so that the light rail ends its day (I think earlier than it probably should) and the freight only runs at night.

Some of us who live on the RiverLine route think it runs too late at night!

But the first train in each direction in the morning is later than ideal for early commuters.

A tiny branch line comes off the main line and goes through my town. I can hear a small freight train going back and forth to a cement factory a few miles away.

This is always around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, so I have never seen it, but I can hear the horn.😊
 
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I just wonder whether building catenary high enough to allow for double-stack intermodals would require a pantograph that might be difficult for an LRV to handle.

When I’ve taken the RiverLine, I’ve seen a few freight trains on sidings—but always very short and no double-stacks.

So perhaps there were some rules from the beginning about size and height limits?
 

jis

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I just wonder whether building catenary high enough to allow for double-stack intermodals would require a pantograph that might be difficult for an LRV to handle.
The standard height of catenary on the NEC is already high enough for operating double stacks and autoracks (Plates H and K) under them. But there is an enduring railfan myth that this somehow is a problem.

So one more time, it is not a problem it is already done every day on the NEC between Wilmington and Baltimore.

LRV pantographs are actually simpler than high speed pantographs and there is absolutely no problem with catenary high enough for Plate H and Plate K..

Incidentally, the catenary on the NEC is not even the highest catenary used in the world. There are lines with 24-25' high catenary and more are being built in some places to allow for higher vertical loading gauges for freight.
 

Ziv

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State funds to match federal funds for starting design work on the Southern Maryland Light Rail project have been released


I live in southern Anne Arundel County and when I saw this I was surprised. I haven't heard one word about it. Then I saw that it was going to run down 5 to 301... I bet LaPlata is hoping to get an extension down the road.
My little burg of Deale is too sparsely populated (and way out there just East of Rte 2) to deserve light rail but I was hoping for a minute there!
I am kind of surprised that there isn't a push to reconnect DC, Annapolis and Baltimore with light rail. But I think the southern end (are the tracks going north from Linthicum what is left of the old B&A line?) of the Baltimore and Annapolis rails were pulled up in the mid 80's but I am not sure of that. I believe that is when the RR bridge over the Severn was condemned.
 
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jis

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I live in southern Anne Arundel County and when I saw this I was surprised. I haven't heard one word about it. Then I saw that it was going to run down 5 to 301... I bet LaPlata is hoping to get an extension down the road.
My little burg of Deale is too sparsely populated (and way out there just East of Rte 2) to deserve light rail but I was hoping for a minute there!
I am kind of surprised that there isn't a push to reconnect DC, Annapolis and Baltimore with light rail. But I think the southern end (are the tracks going north from Linthicum what is left of the old B&A line?) of the Baltimore and Annapolis rails were pulled up in the mid 80's but I am not sure of that. I believe that is when the RR bridge over the Severn was condemned.
Frankly, I was a little surprised when I came across it too. I had no idea that all this was going on in Southern Maryland.
 

Ryan

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I wonder if there would be any freight traffic left on the Pope's Creek Branch once the power station is decommissioned. Its primary traffic has been coal for the power plant.
Basically no, and Morgantown's shutting down this year. Pope's Creek will be long dead before light rail ever comes to fruition.
 

west point

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I would think the only problem of higher CAT is the cross level. Might take shorter intervals for surfacing the track than otherwise needed. Maybe only have some test equipment that would spot locations that a surface machine could go from locations to locations.
 

George Harris

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For a map:
https://ggwash.org/images/made/images/posts/_resized/image1_1_1020_1320_90.jpeg
Would seem logical to extend the WMATA line to Andrews AFB and make the transition from Metro to light rail there. Would seem like a good idea to extend the WMATA line to Andrews with or without the Southern Maryland Light Rail.

As to wire height: Other than when involving the railroad, the wire should be 16 feet above the track, or thereabouts. Where on the railroad, the wire should be 23 feet above the track or thereabouts.

The whole issue of wire height and offsets can be solved in the pantograph and arms supporting it. The arms supporting the pantograph contact bar would need to be longer in order to reach 7 feet higher. Can be done. The contact bar itself should probably be longer as well with the additional length based on the assumed angle of sway of the car plus deviation in cross level in the track. Again, no biggie. Calculate out what is needed and do it. The whole arrangement will be somewhat heavier, hence need stouter springs. again, can be done.

Consideration needs to be made for required offset from the railroad to platforms. Again, this has been done elsewhere.

Without reading the whole report (I don't hate myself that much), one question is how much street running, if any. This can have an effect on wheel wear and even the preferred wheel profile. As close to none, the better.

The "temporal" or in less fancy words limitations on operating times of the railroad and transit so as to maintain time separation can easily be handled. Assuming this is a one train or so a day branch the easiest is to have the freight outside the normal transit times with the transit system defining the times. If there is a need to run a train during the transit operating time, then this could probably be done by providing a gap in transit car times for the trains with the train setting there waiting its turn, not with a "hey we are going to have a train through here sometime or other" from the railroad. It is usually better that the transit system own the railroad. This piece of track should be upgraded for comfort of the transit passengers, but with tie spacing and rail, and structures if any, based on freight railroad axle loadings, which would probably mean closer tie spacing and possibly heavier rail that the rest of the transit system.

Track centers: If there will be two tracks on the railroad portion, track centers should be 20 feet, possibly 22 feet to provide required railroad clearance with poles between the tracks. If it is decided to use outside poles, meaning one on each side of the section, then centers can be 14 to 16 feet.

There are no insurmountable problems or even significant difficulties with this project when it comes to light rail and freight on the same track.
 
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