Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Idea for Heavy Rail Service in the East End Part 4

Well, I'm getting close to the end, I figure one more post after this one, and we can put this topic to bed (at least until it goes through its ridiculous transformation or bastardization during the political approval process).

I'll talk about the "shuttle", the idea that led to this whole mini-blog series. Keep in mind, I don't know how keen I am on the shuttle, and if there is one portion of the service that should get the axe if you can't make it work, it should be this "shuttle". Heavy rail's advantage over other forms of transportation come from its ability to efficiently and cost effectively move lots of people over (relatively) longer distances. Heavy rail is not ideal for "intra-city" movement. If a shuttle can be integrated into a larger heavy rail system relatively seamlessly, then fine, but if it cannot, service on the other routes should not be sacrificed to make the shuttle work.

Key Changes

The biggest change for my version of the shuttle vs. the version proposed in the Post Gazette is the deletion of the Lawrenceville stop. My reasoning for deleting this stop was, once again the K.I.S.S. principle. The way the current infrastructure is set up, a shuttle train coming from Downtown, and headed to Lawrenceville would have to either: #1 Back up to Lawrenceville ( reverse moves are not easy to make, someone has to physically ride the back of the train, and they must travel at slow speed) or, #2 if they would use a train with engineer controls at both ends, the train would have to sit, occupying the tracks while the engineer changes ends of the train.

Either backing up or sitting occupying space on the busiest portions of the proposed system could very easily throw a wrench into the works.

Hazelwood to Downtown Shuttle (Red)

The Shuttle would operate from Hazelwood sharing rails with the Blue Line (New Ken/Arnold to Hazelwood). It will stop in Oakland, and continue to CP Bloom, where it will merge with the Black and Gold (Get it???) Lines, and terminate downtown at the Grant Street Multimodal Terminal.

This train would operate more frequently than its longer distance brothers, and would continue to to operate when the other services are laying over between Rush hours. Because they operate more frequently, and for more hours, these trains would be low man on the totem poll. The longer distance trains would have priority.

Maybe you could even extend them across the river to serve Steeler/Pitt Football/and Pirates games? More food for thought...

4 Down, 1 To go: I'll wrap it up next time by discussing operations in detail (as best I can with all the technical and engineering knowledge of a history major), route schedules, meets between trains, etc.

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