8.12.02

PARK AND RIDE. Transport Blog uses my paid parking post as a springboard to a new topic: suburban stations for through trains. It's a new topic, as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (motto: we're not as long as the Union Pacific, but we're wider) and Chicago's Metra are suburban operations with commuters who drive to the station and ride the train to the city. (Given daily parking charges in Chicago, and the permanent congestion on the expressways, Metra is cheaper and often no slower than driving.)

Turning to the "parkway" stations ... Transport Blog asks, "If you have both a parkway station and a town/city centre station that means making two stops rather than the normal one. Hey, if you have a second parkway station on the other side of town that means 3 stops." In the Northeast Corridor, that doesn't pose any problems. Through trains from Richmond, Virginia, to Boston, Massachusetts often make Alexandria, Virginia (connection to the Washington D.C. Metro L line), Washington, D.C. (also a connection, walking distance to Capitol Hill), and New Carrollton, Maryland (connection to the same Metro line that serves Union Station); further north they make Metro Park, New Jersey (imagine a parkway station with a multi-level parking deck and a ramp to the nearby turnpike), Newark, New York Penn Station, and Rye, New York. Some trains also make Route 128 (this would be like naming Didcot Parkway for the nearest motorway) outside Boston. The Wisconsin service would make more sense if the trains originated in Oconomowoc or Brookfield and made a stop near General Mitchell Airport as well as in downtown Milwaukee. The point of providing stops is to serve passengers, schedule keeping is simply a matter of providing the power for the job. The folks who brought us the Acela Express are now demonstrating a 150 mph capable turbine-electric locomotive that resembles an Acela power car. I have my own ideas what a 150 mph power car ought to look like, but that's for another day.

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