Tunnels!

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MNdible
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Re: Tunnels!

Postby MNdible » May 28th, 2019, 8:55 am

The big idea about the Hyperloop is that it travels in an almost-vacuum at very high speeds across very long distances. It may well be just a pipe-dream, but aside from the fact that they both travel in tubes, it's a fundamentally different idea than the inta-city tunnels that this represents.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby mplsjaromir » May 28th, 2019, 8:55 am

DC-Baltimore “Hyperloop” now billed as “Hyperloop compatible”

https://twitter.com/railmag/status/1133 ... 62273?s=21

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Tiller
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Re: Tunnels!

Postby Tiller » May 28th, 2019, 10:32 am

The only "hyperloop" thing that could ever be feasible would be sticking some kind of HSR or Maglev in a vacuum tube to eliminate air resistance (perhaps for only part of a journey).

And if he wants the boring company to be viable, it should be focusing on making tunnel boring for subways more affordable, instead of the silly 70s-style PRT proposal they started with.

They're both sorta silly, but in different ways.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby Anondson » February 21st, 2020, 9:13 pm

Nice read on some new rail tunnels that have opened or will open soon in the Alps.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/tran ... index.html

Chopped a ton of time from Zurich to Milan, and increased the freight capacity.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby niaxilin » March 6th, 2020, 4:30 pm

Love it! Also looking forward to the Brenner Pass tunnel (even longer!) between Innsbruck and Milan to opened in 2027.

Now if they'd tunnel north from Innsbruck, Munich to Italy would be a breeze 8-)

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby Anondson » March 11th, 2020, 10:01 pm

Edmonton will have some new LRT tunnels.

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local- ... take-shape

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Tunnels!

Postby Anondson » October 19th, 2020, 6:30 am

Combined train-vehicle tunnel between Germany and Denmark starting construction soon.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/fehm ... index.html

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby Anondson » December 21st, 2020, 11:26 pm

An amazing undersea tunnel network is set to open this month in the Faroe Islands by Denmark, built by a Norwegian engineering firm.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55195390

It includes an subterranean roundabout!

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niaxilin
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Re: Tunnels!

Postby niaxilin » December 22nd, 2020, 2:09 am

An amazing undersea tunnel network is set to open this month in the Faroe Islands by Denmark, built by a Norwegian engineering firm.
Not only a subterranean roundabout, but under-sea! When the entire territory has a population of < 50,000, who pays for this?

Image

nordeast homer
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Re: Tunnels!

Postby nordeast homer » December 22nd, 2020, 10:44 am

The drivers will pay for it. There are some hefty fees to take the tunnel.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby Anondson » December 22nd, 2020, 10:55 am

Likely tourist who want to drive from island to island will fork over those tolls.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby tmart » December 31st, 2020, 7:12 pm

OK I know this isn't really tunnels at all, but bear with me because it's a general question about grade-separated rail: I'm curious if anyone knows if we've ever seriously studied the possibility of running elevated LRT at a large scale, as something that would be a middle ground between extensive tunnels and the mostly-at-grade LRT we have.

There's an enormous new LRT system ("light metro," they're calling it, but it uses automated LRT-type vehicles) being built here in Montreal that has a big elevated section, and it's blowing my mind how quickly and cheaply they're building it out. They've just been marching down the highway putting in concrete pillars at a blistering pace, and then dropping precast concrete sections of viaduct into place:

Image

(IIUC it's also fairly similar to Skytrain in Vancouver if anyone's familiar with that system, as the same organization, CDPQ Infra, helped fund and plan both systems.)

I got to thinking about this because the pictures from SWLRT construction, while cool, reinforced to me how much of that project is essentially building lots of bespoke bridges and tunnels for various crossings, in contrast to the almost mechanical efficiency of the project here. And with planners rethinking Bottineau LRT in the near future, I'm curious if that corridor (or other similar longer/more suburban corridors) could benefit from a design that would be 100% elevated (but using more standardized segments and techniques). It gets like 95% of the benefits of subways--namely, faster travel speeds and higher reliability--but at much lower cost and faster to build. And the newer concrete pillars and viaducts are sleek; they're way, way less ugly and unpleasant than the old-style elevated trains people imagine from New York or Chicago.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby Tiller » December 31st, 2020, 11:27 pm

At one point I did some back-of-the-napkin math using examples of projects here and around the country, and at-grade LRT averaged $100M/mile, elevated LRT averaged $200M/mile, and Cut & Cover tunneled LRT averaged $300M/mile. (total costs also including all the contingencies and soft costs).

Its not super scientific and it's been a hot minute, but we need more grade-separation for our LRT system to avoid/fix future capacity constraints, and that doesn't have to mean expensive tunnel boring.

In the last 6 years I've never heard MN policymakers or consultants discussing elevated transit at a larger scale except for the Zip Rail between the Twin Cities and Rochester, which never happened.

One issue is that the areas that need grade-separation the most (our downtowns) have skyways blocking any potential elevated rail. I think it would be cool to try and build elevated rail stations downtown and just re-engineer the skyways to interface with the stations. It could be a good model elevating pedestrian and transit infrastructure for cities like Miami could adapt to deal with climate change. Maybe we could try to use eminent domain to claim space on the 2nd/3rd floors of buildings downtown for station infrastructure. Minneapolis' skyways should be owned by the public anyways.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby DanPatchToget » December 31st, 2020, 11:44 pm

Since Downtown Minneapolis is one of the main focus areas of grade-separating LRT, the issue with building it above grade are the skyways. However, perhaps there could be opportunities for integrating stations with adjacent buildings.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby grrdanko » January 1st, 2021, 10:06 am

I think Skyway connected stations would be amazing. Love them or hate them Skyways are an integral part of our transportation system in the city.

I like to look at Montréal for what Minneapolis could be. There are a ton of similarities. Metro area population is approximately the same, weather is approximately the same, both cities are fairly isolated population centers.

Montréal has integrated it's Metro stations with the Underground City. It's wonderful in the cold to be able to get around without going outside.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby DanPatchToget » January 1st, 2021, 12:02 pm

Now I wonder how an automated rapid transit network in Montreal consisting of 42 miles will cost CA$6.5 billion (according to Wikipedia) while Honolulu's automated rapid transit line, which I believe will be built completely above grade, will cost at least $10 billion for a 20 mile route. I'm sure geography is a factor, and Montreal has experience with building metro lines, but it's still astonishing how the US doesn't seem to have the best luck building new metro lines while other countries have it more figured out.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby tmart » January 1st, 2021, 12:51 pm

Now I wonder how an automated rapid transit network in Montreal consisting of 42 miles will cost CA$6.5 billion (according to Wikipedia) while Honolulu's automated rapid transit line, which I believe will be built completely above grade, will cost at least $10 billion for a 20 mile route. I'm sure geography is a factor, and Montreal has experience with building metro lines, but it's still astonishing how the US doesn't seem to have the best luck building new metro lines while other countries have it more figured out.
The REM does piggyback off a lot of existing infrastructure, which helps contain the scope a bit. It's taking over the existing rail tunnel through Mount Royal, it's replacing a full existing commuter rail line, and the recently-built New Champlain Bridge included space for LRT. But even so, I think it greatly outperforms most US projects for construction efficiency. As I mentioned above I'm really impressed with the construction techniques and I think that's an obvious lesson for other agencies to take away.

Another aspect which, frankly, I don't know what to think about it yet, is the project structure. It's essentially a PPP, except the "private" investor is not private, but the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, basically like if the Social Security Trust Fund invested in for-profit transit projects. I'll be very curious to see if any retrospectives find that the involvement of outside investors meant cost controls were a higher priority. I also would like to see a comprehensive look at how the approvals and funding processes differed from traditional public projects; my impression is that things went much faster, but part of that might just be that the Caisse had already done a lot of the legwork behind the scenes prior to the project announcement. There are also some concerns that there was less scrutiny than usual for environmental and financial arrangements.
I think Skyway connected stations would be amazing. Love them or hate them Skyways are an integral part of our transportation system in the city.

I like to look at Montréal for what Minneapolis could be. There are a ton of similarities. Metro area population is approximately the same, weather is approximately the same, both cities are fairly isolated population centers.

Montréal has integrated it's Metro stations with the Underground City. It's wonderful in the cold to be able to get around without going outside.
FWIW the new system I described above is below-ground through the city center so that it can be integrated with the underground and the existing Metro system, and above-ground outside the CBD. The idea of integrating with the Skyway in Minneapolis is interesting on one hand because it makes sense to reuse the existing patterns, but OTOH I imagine the costs wouldn't be much better than a subway, since every block and every station would be a unique design with lots of reconstruction of, and accommodations for, the surrounding buildings. The real advantage to elevated seems to come when you can use a lot of standardized/prefab stuff; i.e., in the outer segments.

But I agree that Montreal is a great comparison city for the Twin Cities in a lot of respects and someday I'll get around to writing a blog post about it :lol:

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby grrdanko » January 1st, 2021, 2:16 pm

Now I wonder how an automated rapid transit network in Montreal consisting of 42 miles will cost CA$6.5 billion (according to Wikipedia) while Honolulu's automated rapid transit line, which I believe will be built completely above grade, will cost at least $10 billion for a 20 mile route. I'm sure geography is a factor, and Montreal has experience with building metro lines, but it's still astonishing how the US doesn't seem to have the best luck building new metro lines while other countries have it more figured out.
I think the real take away is construction in Québec is almost entirely run by organized crime and they can still do it for less than we can.

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby uptownbro » January 1st, 2021, 6:42 pm

I think it would indeed be a very interesting urban experience if future light rail was integrated with the skyway. Even one skyway level station.
Construction in the US is very expensive for any transit project and it’s pretty embarrassing

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Re: Tunnels!

Postby grant1simons2 » January 2nd, 2021, 2:35 pm

No


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