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Maryland’s Rail Network – How Fixing the Baltimore Bottleneck can Benefit Regional Transit

Maryland’s Rail Network – How Fixing the Baltimore Bottleneck can Benefit Regional Transit

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Maryland’s Rail Network – How Fixing the Baltimore Bottleneck can Benefit Regional Transit

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  1. Maryland’s Rail Network – How Fixing the Baltimore Bottleneck canBenefit Regional Transit Foster Nichols Principal Professional Associate, PB By Choice, Not By Chance April 24, 2007

  2. The Maryland Rail Network and its potential role in regional transit • Four distinct railroad-based markets in Maryland • Rail Freight • Intercity Passenger Rail • Commuter Rail • Baltimore Region Transit • Regional Transit Service on the Northeast Corridor • Funding • Insitutional and governance considerations • Conclusions

  3. Common Themes Solutions very costly Costs>>Direct, quantifiable benefits Traditional funding sources cannot meet the funding need New sources required Existing institutional structure not well equipped to solve the problems Recent impetus for investment planning Safety/security concerns BRAC Potential Amtrak restructuring Challenges and opportunities Four Rail Markets – Common Themes

  4. Baltimore Regional Transit • Uneven coverage • Poor connectivity • Non-competitive with auto for most trips • Not a realistic travel option for most people

  5. Baltimore Region Rail System Plan Guiding Principles • Serve corridors with population concentrations • Serve major employment centers • Serve congested corridors • Serve major activity centers • Support existing land use and major targeted growth areas • Serve the transit dependent • Optimize use of existing transit system • Offer seamless transportation • Be competitive with the automobile • Attract new riders

  6. Baltimore Region Rail System Plan Observations • A network problem, not a corridor problem • Full benefits require critical mass of investment • Commitment to network investment required to affect development patterns • Not fundable from traditional sources • $12B+ price tag • Long implementation timeframe • 50 years?

  7. Goucher OwingsMills Towson Towson WhiteMarsh Notre Dame CCBC Morgan State Loyola MartinAirport JohnsHopkins Rosedale Coppin WestBaltimore Security / I-70 JHH Bayview UniversityCenter InnerHarborEast Canton CharlesCenter CCBC CCBC Dundalk UMBC Howard CCC Columbia BWI Airport Dorsey ArundelMills BALTIMORE TRANSIT NETWORK ORIGINAL BALTIMORE RAIL TRANSIT PLAN

  8. BWI Airport Reagan National Airport AberdeenProving Ground Baltimore Ft. Meade Washington MARC+REGIONAL TRANSIT LINE

  9. Rail Freight

  10. MAP • Two primary mainline routes • Port of Baltimore to the West • North-South route (I-95 corridor) • Two major bottlenecks • Baltimore • Washington, DC • Tracks shared with Maryland and Virginia commuter trains


  12. Safety & Security Concerns

  13. Goal: dedicated double-track, double-stack north-south main line

  14. Current situation CSX Howard Street Tunnel choke point: single track & low clearance NS time of day, weight & clearance restrictions on NE Corridor All rail freight routed through downtown Baltimore tunnels Needed: 2-track, high-clearance rail freight route, 1% max. grade Desirable: route avoiding residential and commercial districts in Baltimore Benefits to Maryland of Baltimore freight tunnel Economic development Increased local employment in sectors relying on rail freight access Increased Baltimore shipping activity and port-related industry Brownfields redevelopment Public safety & security Rail freight (including hazmats) removed from downtown Baltimore tunnels Reduced risk of catastrophic event Baltimore Rail Freight Bottleneck

  15. Freight Alignment Options Through Baltimore • Four feasible alternatives, including three new alignment options that have been the subject of conceptual engineering studies: • Outer Harbor New Tunnel, Curtis Bay to Sparrows Point • Mid-Harbor (RIM) New Tunnel, Locust Point to Canton • Great Circle Freight New and Existing Tunnels, via Penn Station • Upgrade existing Howard Street Tunnel (MAROPS)

  16. CSX(Philadelphia Subdivision) NS(Trackage rights onAmtrak NE Corridor) Rosedale Great Circle PennStation WestBaltimore Howard St.Tunnel Bayview CamdenYards Canton LocustPoint Mid-Harbor(RIM) Westport Dundalk Halethorpe CurtisBay Relay SparrowsPoint Herbert Run – NS Track Connection NS(Trackage rights onAmtrak NE Corridor) Outer Harbor Tunnel CSX(Capital Subdivision) BWI Airport MarleyNeck FREIGHT ALIGNMENT OPTIONS THROUGH BALTIMORE MDOT STRATEGIC RAIL ACTION AGENDA

  17. Freight Alignment Through Baltimore Key Findings • Cost-effectiveness and constructability are the most important considerations in selecting a preferred route • [C] Great Circle is least costly alternative ($1B order of magnitude) • Only [A] Outer Harbor and [B] Mid-Harbor satisfy the objective of routing freight traffic away from developed areas of Baltimore City, but justifying these alignments will be difficult, given the high cost premium ($2B & $3B respectively) • Least work has been done on the [B] Mid-Harbor route – may offer an acceptable solution if it can be implemented cost-effectively. Future Steps • More detailed engineering feasibility analyses of the four alignment options, to verify most cost-effective and constructible route • Work within context of MAROPS to include a new freight tunnel around Baltimore in the plan, with a high implementation priority • Find project sponsor and funding source

  18. Washington Rail Freight Bottleneck • Rail freight operations, including hazmats, through the Washington, DC monumental core • Shared tracks in Virginia and Washington, DC with Virginia Railway Express and Amtrak • 2 shared tracks across the Potomac River • Virginia Avenue Tunnel • Single track and limited vertical clearance • Redevelopment opportunity on current rail right-of-way at Anacostia River waterfront

  19. Washington Freight Bypass Alternatives • Central Yards Tunnel (Wash, DC) • New Potomac River Crossing at Dahlgren • New Potomac River Crossing at Indian Head

  20. Freight Alignment Around Washington Key Findings • Three potentially viable routes • All have substantial costs ($5-$6B range) • All face significant implementation difficulties • All provide significant benefits • Reduced security threat • Dedicated double-track, double-stack freight route • Separation of passenger and freight traffic • Development opportunities Future Steps • More detailed engineering feasibility and environmental analyses • Work within context of MAROPS and DC security initiatives

  21. Significance for Baltimore Region Transit • Both Baltimore and Washington bypass projects required to achieve MAROPS goals for north-south freight corridor • Opportunity to re-use CSX right-of-way in Baltimore (incl. Howard St. Tunnel) • Opportunity to shift Norfolk Southern freight traffic from Amtrak line to CSX line north of Baltimore • Opportunity to extend MARC and Regional Transit service through Union Station to L’Enfant Plaza and across the Potomac River to Northern Virginia

  22. CSX Amtrak, NS CSX Howard Street Tunnel CSX CSX Amtrak Virginia Avenue Tunnel Potomac River crossing MARYLAND RAIL SYSTEM

  23. Intercity Passenger(Amtrak)

  24. Current Conditions • Right-of-way varies between 2 and 4 tracks • Tracks shared with MARC Penn Line (Washington-Perryville) and Norfolk Southern (Bayview-Newark, DE) • Route through Baltimore is slow (30-50 mph) – major obstacle to achieving 2-hour NY-Washington run times • Amtrak B&P Tunnel: beyond useful life expectancy and in deteriorating condition – must be replaced • Chronic underinvestment in infrastructure • E.g., Gunpower, Bush & Susquehanna River crossings • Strong passenger traffic demand at Washington, BWI Airport and Baltimore

  25. Needed: B&P Tunnel replacement Desirable: faster route through Baltimore Updated Master Plan pending Potential for stronger Amtrak-State partnerships Potential for increased funding for Amtrak Impacts to Maryland of Tunnel Replacement or New Alignment Intercity passengers with Maryland origins and destinations Improved speed through Baltimore will have limited impact Station location(s) important for originating trips (predominantly park and ride) and terminating trips (proximity to CBD and other regional employment centers) Penn Station neighborhood Public safety & security New tunnel and alignment more easily secured and able to meet life safety standards Intercity Passenger Rail in Maryland


  27. 60 57 77 95 75 92 70 87 65 82 135 115 110 130 105 125 100 120 95 115 EXISTING ConrailPort Roadto Harrisburg EXISTING Baltimore PennStationMP 95.7 WestBalti-moreMP 98.5 Patuxent River Anacostia River EXISTING Patapsco River SusquehannaRiver GunpowderRiver Gwynns Falls GunpowderRiver to CSXTHanoverSub-division Wilmington BWIRail StationMP 106.3 NewCarrolltonMP 127.0 BowieStateMP 119.4 BushRiver Washington EdgewoodMP 75.1 AberdeenMP 65.5 MartinAirportMP 84.0 PerryvilleMP 59.4 OdentonMP 113.6 HalethorpeMP 103.0 SeabrookMP 124.7 Baltimore Conrail Perryville CSXT/MARC CSXT B&PTunnels "Point"MP 90.1 CSXT 4 4 4 F 3 3 3 3 7 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Magruder Branch 2 2 6 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 North Pt. Yd. Trk. "Fulton"MP 97.7 4 A A A UnionTunnels 3 "Avenue"MP 134.6 "River"MP 89.3 UnionTunnels 1 OdentonMOW BaseMP 114.9-114.1 AberdeenProving Ground "Grove"MP 112.4 "Magnolia"MP 76.9 "Wood"MP 75.3 "Bush"MP 71.6 "Landover"MP 128.8 "Carroll"MP 126.7 "Bowie"MP 120.5 "Perry"MP 59.5 "Oak"MP 62.9 "Grace"MP 60.7 AmtrakMOW BasePerryville CSXTPope's CreekBranch "Winans"MP 103.4 "Bridge"98.2 "Charles"MP 95.9 "Paul"MP 95.2 "Prince"MP 57.3 "Biddle"MP 94.3 "Bay"MP 91.9 "Gunpow"MP 79.3 Conrail toBenning Yard "Gunpow"MP 79.3 ConrailBayview Yard ConrailClaremontTrackMP 100.0 90 mphon bridge CSXT Conrail toSparrows Pt. MP104.4 MP99.2 MP118.1 NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRACK DIAGRAM DC BWIAirport Odenton Baltimore MartinAirport Perryville

  28. Rosedale Great Circle PennStation UnionTunnels B&PTunnel WestBaltimore US 40 Bayview Downtown CamdenYards Canton LocustPoint Mid-Harbor(RIM) Westport Dundalk MARCPenn Line(Amtrak NE Corridor) Halethorpe CurtisBay Relay SparrowsPoint Herbert Run Tunnel MARCCamden Line(CSX) BWI Airport MarleyNeck PASSENGER ALIGNMENT OPTIONS THROUGH BALTIMORE

  29. Amtrak B&P Tunnel Replacement • Run-time savings possible with new alignment • Great Circle: ~2 mins. • Downtown: ~7 mins. • Least-cost alternative is to replace B&P Tunnel with new 2-track tunnel on Great Circle alignment • Engineering study will confirm alignment & cost • NE Corridor master plan will confirm route through Balto.

  30. Significance for Baltimore Region Transit • Opportunity for MD participation • Opportunity to configure the railroad through Baltimore for commuter rail and transit markets • How many tracks? • Alignment? • Stations?

  31. MarylandCommuterRail

  32. Maryland Rail Passenger Network

  33. MARC System Description • 3 lines serving Union Station, Washington, DC. • Penn Line – to BWI airport, Baltimore Penn station & Perryville - 14 stations, 75 route-miles; Amtrak-owned; 42 weekday revenue trips, using 6 train sets; hourly service on weekdays. • Camden Line – to Baltimore Camden station, 11 stations, 40 route-miles; CSX-owned; 20 weekday revenue trips, using 5 train sets. Slower speed and lower frequency compared to Penn line; no mid-day service. • Brunswick Line—to Brunswick and Martinsburg, WV, with branch line to Frederick, 18 stations, 75 route miles; CSX-owned; 22 daily trips using 9 train sets. High frequencies in the peak, limited service in the off-peak.

  34. Institutional Arrangements • MARC is one of four modes managed by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) • It is the only MTA mode that operates outside the Baltimore metro area • MARC is a contract operation: • Amtrak: Penn Line operations, coach and electric locomotive maintenance at Washington, DC • CSX: Camden & Brunswick Line operations, diesel locomotive maintenance at Riverside, Baltimore City • MTA executes operating, track access and capital investment agreements with both Amtrak and CSX

  35. Core Market: Secondary Market: Limited Opportunities to Serve Other Markets: Weekday Peak Period Commuters to Washington, DC Weekday Peak Period Commuters to Baltimore Hourly off-peak Penn Line service Limited evening Penn Line service 1 mid-day Brunswick Line train No off-peak Camden Line service No weekend service MARC’s Service Niche

  36. Infrastructure, Operations, Institutions • MTA doesn’t own or control the railroad network. CSX or Amtrak owns or controls: • Right-of-way • Washington, Baltimore, and most major stations. • Train dispatching and operations. • Existing agreements do not permit MTA to operate MARC service in the most cost-effective and customer-responsive manner. • Amtrak – short-term growth possible with additional operating funds • CSX – growth requires capital investment and increased operating funds • Both railroads require ongoing commitment of capital funds in addition to access fees and operating cost reimbursement

  37. MARC is Running Near Capacity • Full parking lots • Standees on trains (not enough rolling stock) • Lack of train storage capacity in Washington and Baltimore • Lack of a dedicated MARC maintenance facility • MARC scheduling flexibility constrained by infrastructure and presence of other operators (Amtrak and CSX) • Service reliability is a concern • On-time performance in 85-90% range is below industry standard 95%

  38. MARC Ridership • Ridership is at an all-time record level: approximately 30,000 daily trips • Recent growth has been at over 5% per year • Ridership demand expected to continue to grow • Suburban population growth • BRAC-related development • Continuing regional highway congestion • Expanded fare subsidy programs • High cost of gasoline • Showing signs of tapering, due to capacity constraints

  39. Projected MARC Ridership Growth

  40. MARC’s Future • Enabling and Sustaining Growth will be Expensive • A significant increase in MARC capital investment is required to… • Improve operational reliability • Maintain adequate quality and quantity of MARC service as the size of the commuter market continues to grow • Contain future operating and maintenance costs at reasonable levels and preserve MARC’s fare recovery ratio

  41. Historical Capital Investment

  42. MARC Capital Investment Needs • Required for growth in commuter service: • Core investments in stations, rolling stock, storage & maint. facil. • Penn Line southbound local track, W.Balto.-to-New Carrollton • Penn Line capacity improvements north of Baltimore • Camden & Brunswick Lines – portions of 3rd track to permit CSX to operate more freight trains reliably during the commuter peaks • Funding Gap • Historical rate of expenditure: $30-$40 million per year • Possible within context of MDOT capital program:$60 - $80 million per year • Required for full development: $100+ million per year

  43. MARC and Regional Transit • Benefits of commuter rail investment can be leveraged even further with Regional Transit on the Northeast Corridor

  44. Potential Synergy of Co-Locating MARC and Transit in a single “Regional Transit” Corridor • Efficient utilization of rail capacity • Modes work together in lieu of competing for scarce dollars • Leverages existing and planned commuter rail capacity to extend service north and south at low incremental cost (Harford, Cecil, AA, Howard, PG Counties in add’n. to Balto. City & County) • Offers public transportation access to high number of regional employment & activity centers

  45. Perryville Aberdeen Edgewood White Marsh BALTIMORE PennStation Martin Airport WestBaltimore Rosedale Bayview Halethorpe BWI Airport Dorsey Laurel Odenton Muirkirk Bowie State Greenbelt New Carrollton WASHINGTON, DC Union Station L’Enfant Crystal City Alexandria REGIONAL TRANSIT CONCEPT

  46. Regional Transit on the Northeast CorridorCharacteristics • Service frequency • Speed / Baltimore-Washington run time • Service pattern • Rolling stock • Traction power • Signaling and train control systems • Fare collection • ADA-compliance

  47. Regional Transit on the Northeast CorridorService Goals • Frequency: • Half-hour off-peak headways on Penn Line, ultimately reduced to 15 mins • 10-min. peak headways, ultimately reduced to 5 mins • Express (limited stop) service • Washington, Baltimore, BWI, BRAC stations, major transfer stations • Expanded peak service to Cecil County • Reverse-peak and all-day service extended north of Baltimore • Initially Aberdeen, ultimately extended to Cecil County • Weekend service • New stations/markets: e.g., Bayview • Northern Virginia Run-Through Service (following capacity improvs.) • Regional Transit Service focused on Baltimore (with additional tunnel capacity through Baltimore)

  48. Regional Transit on the Northeast CorridorTransit-Oriented Development • Many opportunities • TOD will be more viable and attractive with Regional Transit service and good connections to a regional transit network • Requires productive partnerships among Counties, developers and transportation agencies

  49. Regional Transit on the Northeast CorridorConnectivity • Convenient transfer connections to other elements of the public transportation system • Metro, light rail, BRT corridors, local bus routes • Feeder/distributor routes • Good links to downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor • Destination end parking • Zipcar, Flexcar, bicycles