Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

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Omaha_Gabe
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Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby Omaha_Gabe » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:28 pm

What I do not get is why Omaha is discussing light rail in and around Omaha. Omaha is the home of NUMEROUS tracks that run through the middle of downtown as well as various areas in the suburbs and on through Lincoln. What I do not understand is why Omaha does not invest in purchasing a passenger train to go around the inner city.
The reason I say this is because it seems to have worked really well in New Mexico.  New Mexico has the NM Rail Runner express that uses existing tracks and allow citizens to commute from the airport to DT, and all the way to Santa Fe.  The trains are very nice and also include wireless internet. It seems this would work here as well; Albuquerque and Omaha are very similar.




What are your thoughts?
Their website: http://nmrailrunner.com/

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Postby ShawJ » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:44 pm

What about areas like Dundee, Elmwood, UNMC, Benson, etc? This might be plausible for longer distances, but not inner-city transportation.

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Postby Omaha_Gabe » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:59 pm

It is used inter-city in Albuquerque. In the areas in which the tracks do not go it allows commuters to switch from the train to the busing system called the rapid ride. The Rapid ride is not the crappy buses like the ones here. They are pretty nice articulated buses. At times during special events both systems run well into the night to assist the citizens in arriving closer to their houses, which is also bringing down the number of DWI's.  I think that something is better than nothing. No one really likes to ride the MAT buses they are not appealing and deter many people away. The buses and bus stops I believe also have wireless internet.

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Postby Linkin5 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:40 pm

This has been brought up before (I think by Streets from photos he shared due to family being located there) and I could not agree more that this should be implemented in Omaha.  If we have the tracks there already why not use them to transport people.  I am sure there will be restrictions due to commercial train use but you would have to think there is some down time that would allow for this to occur.  Props to NM for already making this happen, similar sized cities will be following their lead in decades to come.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:55 am

You're right, Linkin5. I have been using this example for YEARS, largely because the dynamic of the Albuquerque area and Santa Fe are SO similar to Omaha and Lincoln.

Gabe, I don't know that Omaha is considering light rail as strongly as you might think (or as strongly as I would hope), but I completely agree with you that we could and should develop a system RIGHT NOW. I really feel that Omahans are rational and smart enough to see the value of such an investment, which again, would take advantage of existing tracks and rights-of-way (with necessary updates, of course).

The "Husker Train" concept, as much as I loath the impetus, might be exactly what is needed to show Eastern Nebraskans how well this can work; And it has even been studied and shown to be a profitable proposition from a private business standpoint!
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Postby Brad » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:29 am

The amount of Railroad lines in Nebraska/Iowa that have been abandoned is sickning!  I made a google earth map that shows a lot of the lines, I still have many more to add.  Here are a couple of screen captures to see them.  Email me if you want the whole map.

First Map:

Green - CNW line that Rain from North Omaha To Blair - Gone
Blue - MoPac "Belt line" that  started in south Omaha followed saddle creek road up in to North Omaha and back to downtown - Gone
Green - CNW line that went right up the middle of Omaha where it split and went to north Omaha/downtown and to Bennington and on to Fremont - Gone
Dark Green - BN lines in western Sarpy County, all gone but one.
Yellow - UP went South Omaha to Bellevue, Papillion, Millard, West Omaha - Gone
Blue - MoPac line that went from midtown Omaha right through Sarpy county hitting Springfield, Louisville - Gone
Red - Rock Island line that went from South Omaha to Lincoln - Gone
Purple - Wabash Line that went from Council Bluffs to Kansas City - Gone

WE HAD A COMPLETE NETWORK 50 YEAR AGO!  Now its mostly gone!

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Second map is the same map zoomed in on Omaha
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby mrdwhsr » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:34 am

Omaha_Gabe wrote:What I do not get is why Omaha is discussing light rail in and around Omaha. Omaha is the home of NUMEROUS tracks that run through the middle of downtown as well as various areas in the suburbs and on through Lincoln. What I do not understand is why Omaha does not invest in purchasing a passenger train to go around the inner city.
The reason I say this is because it seems to have worked really well in New Mexico.  New Mexico has the NM Rail Runner express that uses existing tracks and allow citizens to commute from the airport to DT, and all the way to Santa Fe.  The trains are very nice and also include wireless internet. It seems this would work here as well; Albuquerque and Omaha are very similar.

What are your thoughts?



I'm of the opinion that most travel is local. We'd get more impact to oil consumption and the environment starting with street-car, light-rail, bus and shuttles -- then getting around to commuter rail, and finally High-Speed (or Higher Speed) intercity rail.

My theory is -

More people commute to work in downtown Omaha from within Omaha-Council Bluffs-eastern Sarpy county than commute from Lincoln, Fremont, Blair, to Omaha.

Omaha and Lincoln people probably expend more mileage traveling between Omaha and Lincoln than say Lincoln to Denver or Omaha to Des Moines and Chicago.

Just a theory. No doubt individuals travel from Omaha to Lincoln, but what would it be for the average of all eOmaha forum users? Is most of your mileage local?
Informal survey opportunity? Maybe Gallup would do a poll?

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby OmahaBen » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:29 pm

Omaha_Gabe wrote:Image
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I'm trying to phrase this with as little snark as possible...but hopefully the trains are usually more full than shown in that picture, right?

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Postby Busguy2010 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:42 pm

I would love to see a commuter rail system in and around Omaha, and I believe, some day it will be needed.  In all reality, however, I don't think it will be terribly extensive.  Something that is realistically between 10 to 25 years off would be a line from Council bluffs to Lincoln, and Omaha to Fremont that would utilize existing tracks at freight train speeds.  I made a map for what I've had in mind, check it out. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie ... 897644&z=9

Thoughts?

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:37 pm

Looks great. It would work particularly well if there is light rail/BRT running from far west O to downtown along Dodge. That way downtown-bound commuters from Fremont could transfer at 168th Street to head into the city.
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby Brad » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:38 pm

I read that the New Mexico Legislature is looking at the Cost of the Rail Runner and is even looking in to selling it or replacing the trains with buses... Its in Trains Magazine, but you need a subscription to view it.

SANTA FE, N.M. – Legislative budget hawks have set their sights on New Mexico's Rail Runner Express ordering a study of its costs, potential sale and replacing it with buses.
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby MTO » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:17 pm

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby Dundeemaha » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:46 am



You're right. It looks like we went a smarter route starting with an urban BRT route before trying commuter rail. Makes sense that you'd need a good urban transit network before trying to connect to the burbs.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby cp jay 07 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:34 pm

I know when I lived in ABQ for a year in 2011 they were already cutting trains on the weekend. It was still running a full schedule on weekdays and apparently was pretty full with all the government workers going from ABQ to the Capital and back to ABQ but it was a waste on Weekends.

I took it once cause I wanted to go to Santa Fe and check it out and I loved it but I could also see why locals thought it was a pain considering we had to kill time in Santa Fe cause we missed one of the trains. Killing 2 hours when it is a 45 minutes drive is not fun.

Also you didn't really use it to get around ABQ. The stops were in weird parts of town and not the entertainment districts and it was not close to the Airport either.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby bigredmed » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:57 am

The tracks that people think about are often gone in Omaha. The map above still shows the Old Main Line of the UP that has been cut down to a siding for most of a decade now. Too bad too as it would have made a great rail access point into Millard from Bellevue, Papillion, Ralston, and downtown Omaha. Using the loop and the Lane Cutoff would have been an interesting commuter rail line for going all the way downtown, but would have failed into the middle of the city.

The tracks that are sidings are also often gone. UNMC used to have a railroad on it's south side, but it has been long gone. You can still see the grade for it along Emile before you get to Saddlecreek.

The downtown tracks would be good for the area around TD Ameritrade, but again as a commuter line, not really sure it would be economical.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby MTO » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:42 am

There was a community org that proposed using these tracks for some sort of commuter purpose but it was more of a dream with no reverb within the city management. Also at one point I recall the city was going to put an effort into rezoning the industrial properties lining the tracks cleaning the soil and so forth for commercial use.
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby iamjacobm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:39 pm

Well Nebraska just left the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby GetUrban » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:59 pm

MTO wrote:There was a community org that proposed using these tracks for some sort of commuter purpose but it was more of a dream with no reverb within the city management. Also at one point I recall the city was going to put an effort into rezoning the industrial properties lining the tracks cleaning the soil and so forth for commercial use.


It's a shame many of the old RR right-of-ways were abandoned and divided up among adjacent property owners. It would have been much better to have them kept intact for biking trails and possible future conversion back to rail use. You can still see some of the routes and parcels still intact on the DOGIS site.
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby MTO » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:35 pm

"back to the rail use", wow how awesome would it be if that became the next national trend like "back to the river" was. Incredible potential with incredibly large tracts of land...
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby Seth » Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:16 pm

GetUrban wrote:It's a shame many of the old RR right-of-ways were abandoned and divided up among adjacent property owners. It would have been much better to have them kept intact for biking trails and possible future conversion back to rail use. You can still see some of the routes and parcels still intact on the DOGIS site.


I completely agree. The benefit of parceling out rail ROW is generally low, but the cost of aqcquiring it through an already-urbanized area is astronomical. As with many things, our society does not take a long enough look ahead and planning for these possibilities.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby PotatoeEatsFish » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:54 am

I think we could use a rail line between Downtown Blair and downtown Omaha. The amount of people in Blair that commute to Omaha is huge. If you ran a rail line from downtown blair to downtown Omaha with stops at OPPD and Cargill you would get a lot of riders.
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby daveoma » Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:18 pm

PotatoeEatsFish wrote:I think we could use a rail line between Downtown Blair and downtown Omaha. The amount of people in Blair that commute to Omaha is huge. If you ran a rail line from downtown blair to downtown Omaha with stops at OPPD and Cargill you would get a lot of riders.

I'm sure there are quite a few commuters between Omaha and Blair, but the number of people moving from point A to point B should be in the tens of thousands before light rail can be viable. I don't remember the name of it but there was a study a few years back that determined there wasn't enough commuters between Omaha and Lincoln for a light rail. I think long term Lincoln and Fremont would be ahead of Blair.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby bigredmed » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:09 pm

Interestingly, there used to be a rail line between Omaha and Ft Calhoun and used by a lot of the wealthy families in Omaha to go up to FC for the summers.

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby GetUrban » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:44 pm

This traffic flow map gives you an idea of how the traffic flow compares around different parts of Omaha.
http://www.mapacog.org/images/stories/2010_Traffic_Flow_Map.pdf
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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby daveoma » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:25 pm

bigredmed wrote:Interestingly, there used to be a rail line between Omaha and Ft Calhoun and used by a lot of the wealthy families in Omaha to go up to FC for the summers.

Fascinating! Thank you for the info! :D Do you know if the wealthy families lived in Fort Calhoun or in ranches outside town?

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Re: Train Transportation like Albuquerque?

Postby bigredmed » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:53 am

daveoma wrote:
bigredmed wrote:Interestingly, there used to be a rail line between Omaha and Ft Calhoun and used by a lot of the wealthy families in Omaha to go up to FC for the summers.

Fascinating! Thank you for the info! :D Do you know if the wealthy families lived in Fort Calhoun or in ranches outside town?


The Gifford's that used to own the OWH and were related to the family that owned FNB had farm land around FC, but had a summer house in the town. My grandmother's mother and her parents had a house located in the area of the funeral home north of the museum. My greatgrandmother and her sibs hung out with their kids a lot according to family legends.


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