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Baltimore B&P tunnel replacement study


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#41 afigg

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 05:24 PM

 

Isn't there a plan to have one of the four tubes cross under another tube? If so, why would this be the case?

In the B&P tunnel replacement? Not that I am aware of. What four tubes?

Alternatives 3 and 11 have 4 bored single track tunnels. They dropped the concept of a larger diameter bored tunnel for 2 tracks because of constraints of the proposed route and depth profile. And, yes, the diagrams in the Alternative report show one tunnel ducking under the others in the various options.  

 

Quoting from the executive summary in the report:

 

Alternative 3 and Alternative 11 would replace the B&P Tunnel in a new location. Consideration of a double track tunnel was eliminated from both alternatives because of its much larger tunnel diameter (about 50 percent larger compared to a single‐track tunnel), the tight profile constraints posed by the design criteria, portal elevations, and intermediate underground obstructions. The resulting configuration is using four single‐track tunnels for all alignment options for Alternatives 3 and 11. Horizontal excavation (boring) is proposed for these alternatives to minimize surface impacts. Four tracks in four separate bores of equal size would support train capacity requirements, service flexibility for conflict‐free operations, design within physical constraints, and constructability. The tunnel vertical clearances for both Alternative 3 and Alternative 11 would also accommodate double stack container freight.

 

Alternative 3 and Alternative 11 each incorporate a subterranean grade‐separated track crossing or “duck under” approach to aligning the four individual tunnel bores to minimize conflicts between turning trains and increase operational efficiency, while correctly aligning tracks with those being planned at Penn Station. Each option includes ventilation plants at permanent portals and at an intermediate location along the tunnel, and emergency egresses. Outside approaches to portals for each would consist of open trench transitioning to cut‐and‐cover to the portal entrance. Each provides universal interlocking to the NEC mainline and avoids the Metro Subway tunnel while servicing the West Baltimore MARC Station. All of these options would relocate a pier of the CSX Baltimore & Ohio Bridge in Jones Falls Valley. All Alternative 3 and Alternative 11 options also consider disposition of the existing tunnel.

 

The price tag of the B&P tunnel replacement is going up with the decision to expand the scope of the project to 4 new tracks in 4 bored tunnels.  The price range for Alternative 3 Options A, B, C is from $3.7 billion to $4.2 billion.  Alt 3 Option A has the smallest impact on the taking of property and land and the least expensive at $3.7 billion at the tradeoff of less in travel time savings for the Acela, Regionals, and MARC. 



#42 afigg

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 05:34 PM

Are there any updated cost estimates for each option buried somewhere in the Alternative Analysis Report (or found elsewhere)?  I've skimmed the document, but didn't see any.  

Yes, on page 72 in the Evaluation table comparing the Alternatives and Options on pages 71 to 75. The table shows the projected impact on the community in displaced businesses, residences, and amount of land taken on page 74. There are political considerations here, even for West Baltimore, so Alternative 3 Options B taking 48 residential buildings (that is buildings, not # of residences), 10 businesses, 6 community facilities is going to run into a lot of resistance if that is selected. Which is why the Option chosen is likely to be Alternative 3 Option A or C.



#43 jis

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 05:35 PM

Ah, I need to catch up with the latest I guess. If we could somehow get their website to run at anything like reasonable speed for downloading those enormous files that would be nice :)


Edited by jis, 22 October 2015 - 05:45 PM.


#44 jis

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 07:50 AM

So I see that in all new build alternatives they are crossing the west/southbound slow track (track 4) over from the the south middle position (between tracks 1 and 2) to the northmost position (normal track 4 position) via a duck under. That is a very good idea since it eliminates a significant conflict between west/south bound MARC trains and all Amtrak trains.

 

Basically 1,2,3,4 coming in from Washington gets flipped to 1,4,2,3 at the station, 1 being closest to the station head house.


Edited by jis, 23 October 2015 - 08:02 AM.


#45 neroden

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 12:37 PM

I wonder why you say deep bore tunnels were avoided until the 1990s.

 

I'm strictly referring to deep bores in "bad soil".  In London, they were happy to bore through the solid clays and rocks north of the river, but they assiduously avoided the mud south of the river until pressure-balance TBMs were developed.


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#46 neroden

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 12:39 PM

Hmm.  The diveunder sounds like a good arrangement... seems like all trains going north of Baltimore Penn will have to be on the express tracks south of Baltimore Penn, however.


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#47 west point

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 02:53 PM

Express tracks will often be used but close examination of the west end of the station shows puzzle switches installed.  Express will speed up trains that do not have to change tracks to / from BAL station.  Other trains will have to slow to transverse the interlocking.  This appears to mirror the practice of new tracks in Europe that allows MAS as soon as dispatched from station and higher speeds to the station.  Don't stand too close to the west end of the BAL platforms while trains moving faster.



#48 jis

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 11:34 AM

The Draft EIS was issued last week (week of 14 Dec 2015).

 

Relevant diagrams are easily found here (PDF).



#49 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 03:11 PM

The Draft EIS was issued last week (week of 14 Dec 2015).

 

Relevant diagrams are easily found here (PDF).

Interesting. Alternatives 3B, at a capital cost of $4 Billion, would gain 2 1/2 minutes of trip time savings, similar to Alternative 3C at $4.2 Billion, while Alternative 3A at $3.7 Billion, would save a shade less than 2 minutes.

 

But Alt 3B would take 150 on-street parking spaces, while Alt 3A would take none at all, and Alt 3C only 40. That's probably the deciding factor right there. I mean, what's more important, saving 30 seconds for ~6 million riders today and many more in the future, or MY (taxpayer-subsidized free) PARKING PLACE!



#50 afigg

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 03:43 PM

The tunnel replacement study has advanced to settling on a revised Alternative 3B route. 
 
First, there is new material and updates to the design alternatives that will be presented at April public meetings. Alternative 3C has been eliminated. Both 3A and 3B have undergone revisions with 3B undergoing a lot of changes to reduce the impact on property taking with a shifted route for the tunnels.
 
Slide comparing 3A and 3B original vs revised with the property impact and projected trip time reductions.
 
Even before the second April public meeting, the FRA has issued a news release that the project team has decided on revised Alternative B. Which I find somewhat odd as typically the final alternative is not publicly selected until the study process has tediously ground through all the public meetings and getting comments from umpteen rounds of meetings.  US DOT/FRA press release: FRA Releases Revised Proposal to Rebuild B&P Tunnel After Receiving Input From Baltimore Community. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today presented a revised proposal to replace the Civil War-era Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel based on feedback provided to the FRA by Baltimore residents during three public hearings in February.  In December 2015, the FRA presented three options for replacing the tunnel in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Based on feedback during three recent meetings in February and 19 public hearings, open houses, project and community association meetings during the last two years, two options have fallen (Alternative 3A and Alternative 3C) from consideration, and FRA will make several significant changes to Alternative 3B in the Final EIS.
....
The FRA will continue to work with the public over the next several months to mitigate the effects of the project. The Final EIS, scheduled to be published later this year, will include this coordination and the resulting mitigation plans and environmental commitments.

Since the FRA is the lead on the EIS, one would venture that the FRA can fast track the official Record Of Decision. So if there is a ROD in early to mid-2017, where does the $4 billion come from the build the new Baltimore tunnels?



#51 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for this news!

 

The tunnel replacement study has advanced to settling on a revised Alternative 3B route. 
 

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today presented a revised proposal to replace the Civil War-era Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel . . . two options have fallen (Alternative 3A and Alternative 3C) from consideration, and FRA will make several significant changes to Alternative 3B in the Final EIS.
....
The Final EIS, scheduled to be published later this year . . .

Since the FRA is the lead on the EIS, one would venture that the FRA can fast track the official Record Of Decision. So if there is a ROD in early to mid-2017, where does the $4 billion come from the build the new Baltimore tunnels?

Well, it gives me a titillation of an almost pornographic degree :giggle: to conjecture that the FRA has an answer for you! And they're hurrying the Record of Decision and everything else because they want somehow to make irrevocable spending commitments before January 20, 2017.

 

Maybe I'd better lie down for a few minutes and collect myself.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 07 April 2016 - 08:32 PM.


#52 Thirdrail7

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 10:29 PM

4 billion to save roughly 2 minutes. Nice.

 

Well, at least it is something that really needs to occur. Those tunnels are really on their last legs, for sure.


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#53 west point

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:08 AM

Save 2 minutes ?  And if the old one closed would save 2 hours ?



#54 edjbox

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 08:14 AM

Heard from the Baltimore Sun that the Howard Street Tunnel will be modified in the coming years in order to fit double-stack trains. Cost is expected to be only $425 million, a lot cheaper compared to the previous estimate of $1-3 billion.

 

So now the B&P Tunnel shouldn't need to be built to handle double stack trains, and hopefully this will lower the cost of that project.


Intercity Trains ridden-
Amtrak: Acela Express (7/2012, 1/2015, 11/2015) standard NE Regional/Regional (6/2003, 10/2012, 5/2014, many other times 2014-2016 including 5/13/15), Crescent (10/2012)
China Railways: Jinghu Railway soft-sleeper overnight (6/2007, 5/2012), Type 25Z AC commuter (summer 1996)

 

Other Trains seen-

Amtrak: Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Keystone, Pennsylvanian, Carolinian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Palmetto, Empire State, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight. Defunct trains seen: Clocker, Metroliner, Three Rivers

China: China High Speed- Beijing to Shanghai HSL, other CRH trains

 

Intercity Train stations used: Newport News, Charlottesville, Richmond Staples Mill, Washington Union Station, BWI, Baltimore Penn, Wilmington, Philadelphia 30th St, Trenton NJ, Beijing Railway Station, Shanghai Railway Station, Nanjing Railway Station
Other Train stations visited- Williamsburg, Santa Barbara CA, Richmond main st, Princeton Jct, Grand Central Terminal

 

Commuter/Subway- SEPTA Frankford L, SEPTA Trenton Line (most recent 12/2012), Paris Metro, Beijing Subway

seen: NYC Subway, MARC, NJ Transit, SEPTA, PATCO, VRE, DC Metro


#55 west point

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 09:24 AM

Not build to double stack clearances ?  Save me a penny now pay you a dollar later.  Howard street tunnel expansion is very problematic.  One factor is when the new tunnel bores are built the old tunnel may be useable for MARC train storage.  There is already a lack of storage tracks near the BAL station with some station tracks now used for storage.  .  If MARC does increase service once the 4 MT are built to WASH storage will become unavailable operationally due to planned additional Amtrak service.



#56 afigg

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 10:01 AM

Heard from the Baltimore Sun that the Howard Street Tunnel will be modified in the coming years in order to fit double-stack trains. Cost is expected to be only $425 million, a lot cheaper compared to the previous estimate of $1-3 billion.

 

So now the B&P Tunnel shouldn't need to be built to handle double stack trains, and hopefully this will lower the cost of that project.

Here is the Baltimore Sun article on the proposal to rebuild the CSX Howard Street tunnel to increase the clearance: Maryland seeks $155 million from feds to clear freight bottleneck beneath Baltimore. Thanks for posting about the article, I was not aware of the CSX initiative. Excerpts:

The state and the railroad CSX Transportation have agreed to a plan to remove a bottleneck for freight shipping beneath the streets of Baltimore and have requested $155 million in federal funding to help pay for the project they say will boost the Maryland economy.

 

State and railroad officials have pledged to contribute $270 million toward expanding the 1.7-mile Howard Street Tunnel. The additional clearance would allow shipping containers from the port of Baltimore, for the first time, to be stacked two-high atop trains, a far more efficient way to move them.

.....

Recent advances in engineering now make it possible to increase the tunnel's clearances with much of the construction underground and for much less money, Renjel said.

 

"We're underground the whole time — that was a game changer," he said.

 

The project's cost plunged to an estimated $425 million. The state Department of Transportation and CSX would pay about 60 percent.

"While the figure is more manageable than earlier estimates, limited financial resources and competing funding needs prevent MDOT and CSX from funding the project entirely on our own," wrote Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn in the application letter for federal funds dated Wednesday.

 

The state is seeking part of $800 million in grant funding available from the U.S. Department of Transportation's FASTLANE program. The deadline for the grants was Thursday.

If CSX gets the FASTLANE grant, or gets the funding assembled via other sources in the next several years, that could affect the planning for the B&P tunnel replacement. Since the proposed alternative is to bore out 4 separate tunnels, one option for future capacity protection would be to bore out just 1 or 2 tunnels for Plate H doublestack clearances and the others for smaller clearances. Or drop any plans for Plate H entirely. How much that would reduce the cost? Not a clue.

 

However, CSX rebuilding the Howard Street Tunnel locks in the tunnel for continued freight train use for many decades to come. Which means downtown Baltimore remains at risk of a derailment and tunnel fire. And that the tunnel could not be repurposed for use by the light rail line which has been suggested and considered in the past. With Governor Hogan in charge, not going to give any thought to that angle.



#57 edjbox

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 12:22 PM

Right now especially after the new Howard Street Tunnel Double Stack Project coming up it doesn't really make sense for double stack clearance.

 

First, there's no connection to the existing CSX lines at either end (in particular the northern end due to the elevation).

 

Second, the lesser known but equally important Union Tunnel to the east of Penn Station may not be double stack compatible anyways. And it looks like that project is a lower priority than either the B&P Tunnel, or any of the bridge replacement or additional track projects in Maryland and frankly on the rest of the NEC as well. Also, while one of the Union Tunnels (single track one) is as old as the B&P Tunnel, the other double track one is a lot newer, having been built in 1934 as part of the PRR electrification project.


Intercity Trains ridden-
Amtrak: Acela Express (7/2012, 1/2015, 11/2015) standard NE Regional/Regional (6/2003, 10/2012, 5/2014, many other times 2014-2016 including 5/13/15), Crescent (10/2012)
China Railways: Jinghu Railway soft-sleeper overnight (6/2007, 5/2012), Type 25Z AC commuter (summer 1996)

 

Other Trains seen-

Amtrak: Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Keystone, Pennsylvanian, Carolinian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Palmetto, Empire State, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight. Defunct trains seen: Clocker, Metroliner, Three Rivers

China: China High Speed- Beijing to Shanghai HSL, other CRH trains

 

Intercity Train stations used: Newport News, Charlottesville, Richmond Staples Mill, Washington Union Station, BWI, Baltimore Penn, Wilmington, Philadelphia 30th St, Trenton NJ, Beijing Railway Station, Shanghai Railway Station, Nanjing Railway Station
Other Train stations visited- Williamsburg, Santa Barbara CA, Richmond main st, Princeton Jct, Grand Central Terminal

 

Commuter/Subway- SEPTA Frankford L, SEPTA Trenton Line (most recent 12/2012), Paris Metro, Beijing Subway

seen: NYC Subway, MARC, NJ Transit, SEPTA, PATCO, VRE, DC Metro


#58 CSXfoamer1997

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 12:29 PM

Wouldn't you think this project is needed so Superliners can fit through the B&P Tunnel?



#59 edjbox

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 12:47 PM

Guys please it's not that simple......it's not just one factor here.....


Intercity Trains ridden-
Amtrak: Acela Express (7/2012, 1/2015, 11/2015) standard NE Regional/Regional (6/2003, 10/2012, 5/2014, many other times 2014-2016 including 5/13/15), Crescent (10/2012)
China Railways: Jinghu Railway soft-sleeper overnight (6/2007, 5/2012), Type 25Z AC commuter (summer 1996)

 

Other Trains seen-

Amtrak: Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Keystone, Pennsylvanian, Carolinian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Palmetto, Empire State, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight. Defunct trains seen: Clocker, Metroliner, Three Rivers

China: China High Speed- Beijing to Shanghai HSL, other CRH trains

 

Intercity Train stations used: Newport News, Charlottesville, Richmond Staples Mill, Washington Union Station, BWI, Baltimore Penn, Wilmington, Philadelphia 30th St, Trenton NJ, Beijing Railway Station, Shanghai Railway Station, Nanjing Railway Station
Other Train stations visited- Williamsburg, Santa Barbara CA, Richmond main st, Princeton Jct, Grand Central Terminal

 

Commuter/Subway- SEPTA Frankford L, SEPTA Trenton Line (most recent 12/2012), Paris Metro, Beijing Subway

seen: NYC Subway, MARC, NJ Transit, SEPTA, PATCO, VRE, DC Metro


#60 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 12:51 PM

Wouldn't you think this project is needed so Superliners can fit through the B&P Tunnel?

No. Nobody thinks that. Nobody.

 

To take the Superliners where? As explained about 1,000 times on this site, you can't get a Superliner into NY Penn Station.

 

To fix that, you could dig out under each track to make it lower. (You can't raise the ceiling over the tracks because you have Madison Square Garden and a large office building atop that.) While redigging Penn Station, and working carefully between support columns for the massive structures above, at least one track and one or two platforms would be out of order. And how many Billions for that project? Nah, single level cars work pretty well across the Eastern system. No need to rebuild tens of Billions of tunnels and bridges and stations to run bi-levels.

 

But if you remain unconvinced, use the search feature top right, enter "Superliners" "Penn Station" "NYP" and find informative comments by others far more informed than I am.

 

Meanwhile, plan on re-excavating tunnels in D.C., and in Philly, and of course under the Hudson. Oh, and that concrete box they built to protect the Gateway Tunnels-into-Penn Station, that wasn't built for Superliners either. So rebuild that before it's ever been used? How you gonna rebuild that? It was built specifically because it will soon be topped by high-rise office buildings.

 

We have many dreams of how to spend the Billions we can't get from Congress, but this notion to rebuild the NEC for Superliners is absolutely the last and the least worthy of them all.

 

Now, don't try this again or I'll tell you how I really feel about it.  :giggle:

 

btw I'm sure I asked basically the same question years ago, and got an even more abrupt reply. LOL.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 19 April 2016 - 12:59 PM.





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