Streetcars and Railroads

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Bywaterrailroad, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. I am interesed in getting some opinions on a situation that we have going on here in New Orleans. In 1964 the Canal St. streetcar line was removed and left the city with only the St. Charles line. Last Thursday, the first streetcar in 40 years ran a test run on the newly reinstalled Canal Street line. Regular service is scheduled to start on December 6th. A spur route along Carrollton Ave to the museum of art in City Park is scheduled to open shortly after that. Plans have been on going to build another spur route along N. Rampart Street in the French Quarter that will travel to my neighborhood in the Bywater to Desire St and thus be call the Desire Street line. There is a sticking point. Along the route the streetcar line must cross Norfork Southerns rail line at Press Street. According to newspaper accounts, Norfork is blocking this and is not willing to cooperate at the crossing. This crossing is a two track grade crossing at the head of a yard. Norfork is always doing switching operations backing up and moving real slow across the crossing and even into the lesser streets in the neighborhood. There are no fast trains at all. The street that the streetcars would be traveling along is a major commuter street and the railroad must contend with lots of exisiting vehicular commuter and truck traffic. I was courious if anyone would know of what types of issure would be involved with streetcars crossing a railline or why a railroad would be opposed to such a crossing.
  2. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    I certainly don't profess to know anything "official" here; but I suspect NS just doesn't want the additional bother of streetcars. Having said that, I wouldn't think that there would be that much additional traffic with the streetcars than there is already. Ideally, it seems to me that the grade crossing should be eliminated, placing the street either above or below the present grade; but that solution will obviously be very expensive, and I am sure that neither the City nor the Railroad think it warrants the expense at this time.
  3. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    First of all ,,it`s great to here streetcars getting back on track:D

    Once they (Railroads) give concessions to one, it lets the door open for any thing.
    Railways do not want to run a schedule around any other operations,,,
    Is there no way they can bridge it?
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to the-gauge Mr. Bywater!

    Money's no option! Just get the Feds to pay! That's what we did, and boy, do they pay. They built beautiful cement bridges, decorated retaining walls, landscaped it all and relocated all of our trains, spending millions upon millions of your tax dollars, so I don't have to wait for any trains. They even landscaped the big dirt bumpstop by my home! Thanks guys! :D :D :D
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Railways and streetcars have often been at odds in the past. In Toronto the streetcar tracks were made a different gauge in order to prevent the railroads from using their track.

    I guess the Norfolk Southern are just being difficult, hoping that perhaps by refusing to allow the streetcar line someone will offer to pay for an underpass (or overpass) thus removing the already existing headache of the commuter traffic.

    And it looks like that's what will have to happen. Maybe the government, seeing that NS has a vested interest here, could get them to pay for half.
    Mind you, creative solutions are not the government's forté - at least not any government I've ever encountered!!! :D :D :D Why not put Jon in charge of the project? :D :D :D

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Now let me put it this way.If a street car line wanted to cross the C&HV rest assured that CDB Industries would fight it like the NS.Reason? Why should we have to curtain or suspend operations so they can put a crossing diamond across our tracks? This would also be a liability in the event a street car got hit by one of our trains not to mention who will do the maintenance on their crossing diamond and why should we need to take a track out of service during this repair period?

    Chuck Odey
    President of Operations
    CDB Industries

    Nicely put Mr.Odey.
  7. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    I could almost buy that arguement, but...

    It's great that traction is making a comeback in New Orleans!

    I suspect that there is some fingerpointing and diversion of blame going on...

    I would say (As NS) that if you want to install a diamond you should pay us to do the job.

    It only took CP an afternoon to install diamonds over a double CN track. CN had slow orders and was able to use one track while the other was being worked on and then vice versa... Nothing was suspended, only slowed down...

    The streetcars would follow the same signals and safety rules as the rest of the road vehicles.

    If anything, it would be the road traffic that would be curtailed for the duration of the construction.

    But this is all irrelevant anyway. The issue isn't likely the tracks at all.

    The issue is the overhead! The power wires for the streetcars are likely too low to allow NS to pass Hi-cubes, Autoracks and Double-Stacks.

    Third rail operations are not practical unless the streetcars have a private and protected right-of-way and long enough equipment to reach across the double tracks.

    So an under/overpass is the only real (But expensive) option. And an overpass would be the only option to leave the NS operations uninterupted.
  8. There is another fly in the ointment here with this grade crossing. This is in a Local and National Historic District where all building and structures that can be viewed from the public street must pass historic standards and puts bridging out of the question. These streetcar building projects were matched 60/40 buy federal funds. Thanks all for giving me more views on this.
  9. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    In that case...

    Here in Toronto, a streetcar line was put in recently (In the last ~15 years) on a very busy downtown street. There is a traffic bottleneck on Bay Street where the road passes under Union Station. The "Harbourfront LRT" runs under Bay Street until it reaches Queen's Quay West, where it comes above ground and has its own right of way down the middle of Queen's Quay West.

    This is a very touristy area and the equipment used was reconditioned PCC's.

    Because of the historic nature of the area in New Orleans that you describe, they should also run the streetcars through a tunnel under the NS.

    The Tunnel would likely have to start about a block or two on either side of the NS. Regular Vehicle traffic would stay above ground giving the streetcars their own private right-of-way.


    Get the Feds to pay for it out of a heritage fund.
  10. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Very simple... my opinion.

    Someone would recognize that stopping a railcar "as soon as" a RR crossing signal lights uP AIN'T gonna happen. What's true for a train is true for the railcar. It's not a car that can be brought to a halt instantly.

    I would think further that some genious will try to prescribe a "schedule". Gimme a break. I work 50 yards from a small yard that ties up traffic intermitently for up to 45 minutes at a time, any time. You never know when the train is going to arrive from where it came, what has to go where- Uhhh.

    I really want to hear from the one that's gonna prescribe that the Railcar has the right-of-way!

    Whoo-whoo. Ooops!!!

    Try telling that to the litigous carnage buryers- "We had the right of way"!????

    P.S. I responded before I read the thread so I wouldn't be influenced by the other responses. All I know is, I'll be watching my evening news knowing...

    Addendum- I corrected a typo.
  11. I will keep ya'll posted on the new streetcars. Here are some photos of them

    Attached Files:

  12. another

    Attached Files:

  13. Looking down Canal St at the end, outbound toward the river.

    Attached Files:

  14. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Do you mean they are NEW street cars and not old stock being refurbished????
    They look fab!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    Please post as many as you like for you know who:D :D :D :D
  15. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    WOW! :eek: Those look awesome!

    (handing Chris the drool bucket)
  16. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    In all my travels around the world I have endevoured to ride every underground , metro ,Transit ,Cable car ,Street car and tram that I found in any city visited.
    The best and cheapest ride I ever had was on the Charles Street line. Really enjoyed all the varied artitecture of the houses along the way,a true historical view of what New Orleans must have been over many years.
    It brings joy to my heart to hear that Canal Street is once again going to hear that trolley car bell.
    Glad somebody realised the tourist value of that project . Thanks for those great pictures
  17. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I second that! Keep those pix coming!

  18. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    I was through there last year. Wondered what they was digging
    up in Canal Street... Thought they was putting the Canal back in.

    Being as I was given a "private" tour of the area and that I know
    that the DOME moved everyone's house level a few inches...
    and that the entire place was built on swamp and silt... Hmmmm

    That is going to be a tough issue!! :eek:
    Envy you I don't... welllll.... maybe during Fat Tuesday....
    Wild ride!;) :D
  19. James R. Barney

    James R. Barney New Member

    What's the water table like in the area of the proposed crossing ? If I remember correctly from my days at Keesler AFB, much of Nawlins would be under water were it not for the levees and pumps. Might make a tunnel as expensive as the big dig in Boston !
  20. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    We have what I was told was the last at grade streetcar railroad crossing in the USA here in the Philadelphia area. It is just west off the city in Darby Borough on Main Street. The railroad is CSX’s (ex B&O) Philadelphia Subdivision and the Route 10 Trolley that goes from Center City Philadelphia to Darby primarily along Woodland Avenue.

    In previous post there was a concern about the trolley stopping when the warning lights come on. The Route 10 trolley is required to come to a complete stop before proceeding through the grade crossing just like a school bus or tanker truck.

    An interesting side note; this is the same grade crossing that the Mayor of Darby parked her car across the tracks to block the tracks to protest the fact that CSX trains sometimes stop at one of the signals east of Main Street and block the crossing. CSX had to go to Federal court to get an injunction against her to stop her foolishness.

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