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JDC

8 habits of highly successful commuter rail lines

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That was a good read. Point #3 really jumped out at me, because the argument for commuter rail is often framed with only commuters in mind.

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Actually, I disagree with a lot of that. Some of those things are good to have, some are great in the appropriate situations. But I think some are a bit to tied to specific desires of specific corridors to really be good guidelines. In fact Commuter Rail can be many things. They seem to want to plug their system as a long range plan, for whatever reason, and are really interested in low cost. That's not always the best compromise. Here in New England we have a fairly popular commuter rail line which spends half of it's route on co-owned tracks. The passenger trains often get held up, you can't increase frequency do to demands of the freight rail, and so little has been invested in stations and crossings that they too create problems.

I think a good commuter transit line is one that address the specific needs of the region. It needs to be convenient to use, affordable and efficient, and it needs to go where people want it. In some cases that will be big trains with long routes and well spaced stations, connecting two big destination points. In some cases it might be a small train covering a not so long route with close stations in a dense area, on new track primarily running inbound on the morning and outbound in the evening. In fact wvery well planned and designed transit can actually build traffic, if the stations are well integrated into the communities they serve.

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Some good points in there. I take the commuter line everyday into the city, I dislike it very much...I would much rather take the Chicago transit. The commuter line schedules are set up terribly and are often late due to the heavy freight traffic.

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