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HIGH SPEED RAIL PLANNING,

POLICY, AND ENGINEERING,


VOLUME III

HIGH SPEED RAIL


PLANNING, POLICY,
AND ENGINEERING,
VOLUME III
SYSTEM OPERATIONS

TERRY L. KOGLIN, PE

High Speed Rail Planning, Policy, and Engineering, Volume III:


System Operations
Copyright Momentum Press, LLC, 2017.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
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except for brief quotations, not to exceed 250 words, without the prior
permission of the publisher.
First published in 2017 by
Momentum Press, LLC
222 East 46th Street, New York, NY 10017
www.momentumpress.net
ISBN-13: 978-1-60650-983-8 (print)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60650-984-5 (e-book)
Momentum Press Transportation Engineering Collection
Cover and interior design by S4Carlisle Publishing Service Ltd.
Chennai, India
First edition: 2017
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America

ABSTRACT
Volume III of High-Speed Rail Planning, Policy, and Engineering
Operations explores the high-speed operations of a hypothetical reconstruction of a former railroad main line between Chicago and New York. The
former Pennsylvania Railroad main line between New York and Chicago,
via Trenton, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Canton, and Fort Wayne, is studied in
its existing condition and under various phases of rehabilitation and reconstruction. Operation of high-speed passenger and freight trains under various
scenarios of reconstruction of the aforementioned rail line is studied.
The possibility of long-distance commuter operations is investigated. Cost
analysis, marketing, track maintenance, and equipment maintenance for a
proposed high-speed rail system are discussed.

KEYWORDS
Railroad, High speed, Passenger, Freight, Trailer-on-Flatcar (TOFC),
Signals, Controls, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Canton, Fort Wayne,
Chicago, Terminals, Locomotive, Diesel, Electric, Crews, Double Track,
Multiple Track, Passing Track, Service, Schedule, Amtrak, Privatization,
Trackage Rights, Superelevation, Positive Train Control, Highway Trailers,
No Train Horn, Maintenance, Cab Car, Federal Railroad Administration,
Surface Transportation Board, Grade Crossing, Drone Technology, Cab
Signals, Automatic Train Stop, Automatic Train Control, Cost Analysis,
Marketing, Demand Pricing, Competition, Fixed Cost, Variable Cost,
Incremental Cost, Drayage, Reliability

CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES

IX

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

XI

1
2

INTRODUCTION

Operations Goals

BEGINNING OPERATIONS

Initial Route

Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern, LiverpoolCrestline

Norfolk Southern, CrestlineAlliance

Norfolk Southern, AllianceRochester

Norfolk Southern, RochesterWilmerding

Norfolk Southern, WilmerdingHarrisburg

Amtrak, HarrisburgGlen Loch

Norfolk Southern, Glen Loch to Morrisville

Amtrak, MorrisvilleJersey Meadows

INITIAL OPERATIONS

11

Terminals

12

Initial Trains

13

Intercity Operations

16

ESTABLISHED SYSTEM OPERATION

19

Permanent Route

19

Norfolk Southern, WilmerdingHarrisburg

20

Permanent Terminal Operations

22

Empty Trailers

22

Established Permanent Operations

22

viii CONTENTS

HIGH-SPEED RAIL SCHEDULING

27

Operation Schedules

28

Scheduling

31

COST ANALYSIS AND MARKETING

33

Marketing

33

Fixed Costs

36

Variable Costs

36

Incremental Cost

36

Sales

36

MAINTENANCE

39

Track Maintenance

39

Equipment Maintenance

40

APPENDIX A: BIBLIOGRAPHY

43

APPENDIX B

55

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

153

INDEX

155

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 3-3-1.

Schedule of initial operations.

18

Figure 3-4-1.

Schedule of operations on existing right-ofway with high-speed equipment.

21

Figure 3-4-2.

Schedule of high-speed passenger-only


operations

26

Figure 3-5-1.

Schedule of fully developed operations

28

Figure 3-5-2.

Commuter train schedule, Central PennsylvaniaNew York City.

30

Figure 3-6-1.

Typical TOFC charge.

34

Figure 3-7-1.

Track maintenance at rail highway crossing.

41

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Peter F. Chang, PE has provided valuable connections to photographers of
overseas high-speed rail trains and equipment. He also provided critical
review of the contents. Rick Harnish of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association provided valuable criticism and constructive suggestions toward the
content and format of the book. Gordon Davids, PE, who retired from the
Federal Railroad Administration, pointed out several aspects of FRA policy
and also provided a critical view of parts of the text including an opinion on
some innovative concepts presented in the text. Maria Grazia Bruschi, PE
assisted in formation of the basic plan of the book, guidance on SI nomenclature and criticism of the contents. Dave Peterson was kind enough to
review an early draft. Dale Muellerleile, PE provided a thorough review of
the manuscript and offered many helpful suggestions based on his experience in high-speed rail and railroad engineering in general. Maria and Dale
also allowed access to their extensive photograph files. I thank you all for
assisting in what was a very, very difficult project in a very controversial
and opinion-filled field. In spite of many suggestions, the radical ideas as
well as the rest of the content of this volume are mine and mine alone.
Most artwork and drawings were prepared by Lucas Chase of
R H Batterman.

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION
High-speed passenger and freight trains are in operation in many countries
around the world. Most of them are operated as a public service and are
not self-sustaining. Trains are ideal vehicles for moving large numbers of
people, or large volumes of goods, rapidly and inexpensively. In order for
trains to perform their services efficiently, they must be operated sensibly.
To maximize service while minimizing cost, the high-speed rail system
must be competently managed, with efficient use of labor and equipment,
without compromising quality of service.
A high-speed rail system is a very large investment. Railroads, unlike
other transportation systems, require an exclusive right-of-way and roadway, or at least one with severe restrictions on access, the full length of
the intended service corridor. In order to justify the investment in such a
system, it must be extremely productive. A high-speed passenger rail
system must carry large numbers of people day in and day out. The highspeed rail system must attract large numbers of passengers and keep
attracting them for repeat trips as often as they travel. The system must
operate efficiently so that it can generate net income, over and above its
operating costs, and preferably need not be required to rely on subsidies to
keep in operation.
Even a totally privately funded railroad line, high speed or not, must
accommodate itself to political realities. There is government involvement
in railroad operations in the United States at many different levels. This
involvement varies with the political winds, but railroad operators must be
aware of and adhere to government regulations. Even private, for profit,
freight-only railroads are subject to government restrictions. Space does
not allow complete discussion of these restrictions, but some mention will
be made in appropriate areas.*1
The high-speed rail system must deliver the best possible service at
the least possible cost, within practical limitations. In order to do this, all
the personnel within the organization must be dedicated to performing

2 HIGH SPEED RAIL PLANNING, POLICY, AND ENGINEERING

their jobs to the best of their abilities. In order that this may be the case,
management must provide the best possible working environment for all
employees, on trains and off, giving them the tools they need to do their
jobs.
A true high-speed rail system will have no interface with other railroads other than interchange tracks for delivery of equipment, materials,
and supplies. A possible exception would be the use of common terminals
for high-speed and other passenger trains. It may be necessary to transfer
passenger cars to and from other railroads to provide for extensions of
transportation beyond the high-speed system, unless or until the system
reaches its full practical extent. It may be advantageous to transfer highspeed freight traffic, as described in Volume 2, between railroads to provide
nationwide service. Any such arrangement should be considered temporary, to be replaced by complete service by the high-speed system, once it
has expanded and developed to cover the entire market.
This book considers only high-speed steel-wheel-on-steel-rail systems.
The definition of high-speed is somewhat flexible. Nothing in this book
constitutes a manual or textbook for design, construction, or operation of a
high-speed rail system. Any cost estimates given are very approximate. In
North America, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-ofWay Association (AREMA) performs the function of providing guidelines
for engineering aspects of railroad design and construction. The AREMA
Manual for Railway Engineering consists of 21 chapters, in four volumes,
on the various aspects of railway engineering and has a special Chapter 17
entitled High Speed Rail Systems. Volume 1 (Track), Volume 2 (Structures), Volume 3 (Infrastructure), and Volume 4 (System Management) all
contain materials essential to the design, construction, and maintenance of
most of the fixed property aspects of a railroad system. The Manual is
revised annually by special committees that consist of experts on the aspects of their particular chapters in the Manual so that the information
contained in the Manual is as up-to-date as is practical. Various portions
of the Manual will be referenced in these volumes where appropriate. The
Association of American Railroads (AAR) serves the function of a joint
committee on operations and other aspects of railroading that benefit from
coordination. Most railroads in the United States are members of this
group. The AAR has taken a neutral position regarding the use of freight
railroad property for high-speed passenger rail operations while insisting
that any such usage is not to impede the rail freight operations of its members.

INTRODUCTION 3

With few exceptions, all dimensions in this volume are in English


units. Some SI conversions are given in parentheses. A comprehensive
system of conversion between English and SI units, as published by
AREMA, is provided as an appendix to Volume 1.

OPERATIONS GOALS
The proposed high-speed rail system, as described in Volume 2, is intended to provide the best possible quality of rail passenger and trailer-onflatcar (TOFC) service between Metropolitan Chicago and Metropolitan
New York City. The high-speed passenger operations would be retail, sold
directly to the consumer or via travel agents and other outlets. The freight
service, consisting of highway trailers carried on specially equipped platforms, similar to conventional TOFC equipment but aerodynamically
enclosed and capable of high speed operation, would be sold primarily on
a wholesale basis, relying on the multitude of entities of various kinds that
specialize in direct customer contact for the services to be provided.
Long-distance business travelers typically prefer to leave their place
of origin early in the morning and arrive at their destination in time for
meetings in midmorning. If it is necessary to arrive earlier, these travelers
fly the evening before and book a hotel room. A high-speed passenger rail
system as presently constituted, with scheduled trains operating at 200
mph (322 km/hr) maximum speed so that overall 100 mph (161 km/hr) or
higher average speeds can be maintained, can duplicate these travel
arrangements up to a distance of 500 to 600 miles (800 to 965 km). Alternately, the high-speed passenger trains can provide complete hotel
services aboard the train, so that the travel and accommodation services
are combined. Such accommodations had been provided on trains in the
past, and could easily be furnished on a high-speed train. This would in
many cases allow business travelers to depart their homes late in the evening and yet arrive refreshed at early morning meetings in distant cities.
Trains have tremendous capacity to modify operations to suit the
needs of the traveling public. Through trains can be nonstop, serving end
point terminals only, or can connect major terminals with busier intermediate stations. Equipment utilization should be maximized so that trains
operate filled or nearly so over as much of the route as possible. A long
train on which most of the cars are empty for a great part of the trip wastes
resources. Trains, ships, and buses, as well as airplanes, operate unprofitably
unless a sufficient number of their seats are filled. Amtrak and public

4 HIGH SPEED RAIL PLANNING, POLICY, AND ENGINEERING

agency commuter train operations typically are not ultimately responsible


for financing the purchase of their rolling stock and do not consider capital
costs, including purchase of equipment, as part of their budgets. Not being
responsible for paying for their cars, they do not concern themselves with
efficiency in their use. On the other hand, rather than paying the expense,
which would come from their operating budgets, of having the workers
available to add or remove cars from trains, they often run 10- or 12-car
trains with only as few as two cars used by passengers during a significant
portion of, or perhaps the entire, trip. The rail cars that are used are very
expensive, and an operator responsible for paying for them should get the
most productive use out of them.
As mentioned above, rail travel requires an exclusive right-of-way, or
one that is limited to certain types of traffic. Experiments, such as in Great
Britain after privatizing British Rail, with multiple independent users of
a single rail line have found that conflicts can occur. A high-speed rail line
would of necessity have to be restricted to only high-speed trains or be
operated under very strict rules. In the interest of safety, all traffic on the
line would have to be under a single control. A railroad then becomes a
monopoly of sorts, as opposed to airports and air traffic controllers, and
highways, which are open to all. Antimonopoly sentiment is another
reason why some people are opposed to government funding of a rail
system. Amtrak is required to provide practically unrestricted access to its
tracks; the Northeast Corridor hosts trains operated by MARC, Septa,
New Jersey Transit, the Long Island Rail Road, Norfolk Southern, and
others in addition to Amtraks own trains.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Terry L. Koglin graduated from the University of WisconsinMadison
with a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for the
Milwaukee Road (the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific Railroad
Company) when they still operated passenger trains. He worked as a consultant on many engineering projects on Amtraks Northeast Corridor. He
worked briefly on projects for other passenger railroads including Finnish
National Railways, The Lindenwold High-Speed Line, New Jersey Transit,
the Long Island Rail Road, and Canadian National Railways. He had
professional engineering registrations in several states, but currently only
his Pennsylvania license is active. He is a member of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association, and have retired
from their Steel Structures committee. He has ridden on, inspected, and
investigated high-speed and other passenger railroads in North America
and Europe, including trains in Canada, Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands,
Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia. He has authored and presented
papers on high speed rail for ASCE and IABSE.

INDEX
A
AAR. See Association of
American Railroads
AllianceRochester track, Norfolk
Southern, 78
American Railway Engineering
and Maintenance-of-Way
Association (AREMA), 2
Amtrak, 4
HarrisburgGlen Loch track, 89
MorrisvilleJersey Meadows
track, 9
Association of American
Railroads (AAR), 2
Automatic signal systems, on
railroads, 25
C
Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern,
LiverpoolCrestline, regional
railroad, 67
Circus-style operation, 13
Cost analysis
fixed costs, 36
incremental cost, 36
and marketing, 3335
sales, 3637
variable costs, 36
CrestlineAlliance track, Norfolk
Southern, 7
D
Demand pricing, 34

Diesel-electric locomotives,
14
Drone technology, 24
E
Established system operations
empty trailers, 22
established permanent
operations, 2226
Norfolk Southern, Wilmerding
Harrisburg, 2021
permanent route, 19
permanent terminal operations,
22
F
Federal Railroad Administration
(FRA), 7, 25
Fixed costs, 36
FRA. See Federal Railroad
Administration
G
Glen Loch To Morrisville track,
Norfolk Southern, 9
H
High-speed rail system, 13
operations of, 59
operation schedules of,
2830
overview of, 27
scheduling, 31

156 INDEX

I
Incremental cost, 36
Intercity operations, of train, 1618
J
Jersey Meadows TOFC terminal,
22
L
Liverpool TOFC terminal, 2223
M
Motive power, 14
N
Nonstop express passenger trains,
24
Norfolk Southern (NS)
AllianceRochester, 78
Amtrak
HarrisburgGlen Loch, 89
MorrisvilleJersey Meadows, 9
CrestlineAlliance track, 7
Glen Loch To Morrisville, 9
RochesterWilmerding, 8
WilmerdingHarrisburg, 8,
2021
O
Operating crews, 25
P
Passenger trains, 23

advantage in, 14
boarding of, 29
high-speed, 3
and TOFC, 23
Permanent terminal operations, 22
Positive train control (PTC), 20
Pricing of services, 33
R
Railroad
automatic signal systems on, 25
basic sections of, 6
RochesterWilmerding track,
Norfolk Southern, 8
T
Trailer pricing, 34
Trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) train,
1213
between CUS and PSNY, 1316
customer satisfaction, 28
empty trailers, 22, 35
marketing, 3335
and passenger train, 23
sales, 3637
Trains operations, initial, 1316
V
Variable costs, 36
W
WilmerdingHarrisburg track,
Norfolk Southern, 8

OTHER TITLES IN OUR TRANSPORTATION


ENGINEERING COLLECTION
Bryan Katz, Editor
High Speed Rail Planning, Policy, and Engineering, Volume I: Overview of Development
and Engineering Requirements by Terry L. Koglin
High Speed Rail Planning, Policy, and Engineering, Volume II: Realizing Plans
Obstacles and Solutions by Terry L. Koglin
Roadway Safety: Identifying Needs and Implementing Countermeasures
by Brian Chandler
Emerging Trends in Transportation Planning by Andy Boenau
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