These example pages ignore FRA carbody strength regulations against passenger rail, because there is no feasible option for Rogue Valley rail transit within these requirements.

Rogue River Rail Transit

Example 1: Ashland - Central Point

The first timetable was written as an example for local traffic, while long distance trains are still absent. Assumed is the following situation:

In order to reach this situation on Ashland - Central Point, the author would call an infrastructure investment of 30 million $ "normal" – stations with level boarding included.

Ashland - Central Point
Line length 16.6 miles
Intermediate stations (assumption) 6
Average stop distance 3.3 miles
Line speed assumption 60 mph
Travel time 24 minutes
Average speed 41.5 mph

If the train reaches the line speed of 60 mph within one minute after door closure, it will use about 0.7 miles for acceleration. Deceleration needs another 0.3 mile. Theoretically, the line speed of 60 mph could be used for 2.3 miles. Practically, the average stop distance between Talent and Central Point is only 2 miles, meaning 1 mile for acceleration and deceleration plus 1 mile at line speed. Between Talent and Ashland, tight curves require a slowdown on a distance of 1.3 miles.

Plausibility Check:

  1. BART express trains Fremont - San Francisco operate with a stop distance of 3.2 miles, and achieve an average speed of 47 mph on that route.
  2. The "NBE nordbahn" DMU operation described on page 44 has a stop distance of 3.3 miles, and achieves an average speed of 49 mph.
  3. Both operations have a tiny advantage by top speed, and aren't handicapped by the curvature south of Talent.

Conclusion: An average speed of 41.5 mph is perfectly reasonable in comparison to established services.

A standard solution for a small-scale service with high requirements for acceleration is Stadler's "Regioshuttle", a DMU with about 70 seats. It sells for 1.5 - 2 million € in Europe, depending on order size and equipment details. In September 2004, 341 units had been delivered to 18 railroad operators. A railroad in the USA might pay double the price in a small-scale project: 50-60% to the manufacturer, plus a major amount to a consultant, who works out the project specifications. Since Washington does not provide any US standard for using lighter weight vehicles, a one-of-a-kind specification is established every time.

Colourful DMU has stopped at a station.  Lots of new DMUs stored in an old loco shed.
The "Südthüringenbahn" operates twohourly traffic on a network of branch lines to remote locations in the forests of Thuringia. Stadler's "Regioshuttle" is the standard choice of private or county-owned shortlines for such task.

Basically, the "Regioshuttle" is a modern version of Budd's RDC, but adapted to a shorter stop distance: 46 tons instead of 59 tons, 690 hp instead of 550 hp, all-axle drive for acceleration right from the start. With all seats occupied, it reaches 25 mph after 14 seconds, 50 mph after 37 s, and 75 mph after 92 s. Dynamics and disc brakes are automatically blended, with preference for the dynamics, similar to transit EMUs like BART. A pair of track brakes provides additional safety on slippery rails. Floor height is about 2 feet, though a few units have been delivered with a different value. Two wide doors with big vestibules provide the dwell time of rapid transit.

The motors are bus motors, the gears are bus gears, the dynamic brakes are bus retarders, and a major amount of interior parts are standard transit bus equipment. Cost efficient maintenance of DMUs and buses in a single workshop is one of the reasons, why these units have been successful in lower density environments.

For operating off peak services on a lightly traveled line, the incremental costs for an additional train run may not be much higher than for a bus. When interviewed by the author, Regioshuttle operators answered with real-world fuel consumption figures ranging from 6 mpg to 3 mpg – 6 mpg for a rural operation on flat terrain at rather low speed, 3 mpg for a fast operation in mountaineous terrain with steep grades. The Rogue Valley is an easy terrain with ruling grades from 0 to 1%, but the suggested timetable is a fast one. The author expects 4 mpg for normal operation, 5 mpg for flagstop operation.

One day of operation within the following example timetable generates 598 train miles. This needs 19 crew hours (18 hours of train operation plus preparation work), one DMU unit (perhaps a second one coupled for rush hour), and 140 - 150 gallons of diesel.



Central Point 05:54 05:57 06:54 06:57 07:54 07:57 hourly 07:54 07:57 08:54 08:57 09:54 09:57 10:54 10:57
Medford 05:49 06:02 06:49 07:02 07:49 08:02 hourly 07:49 08:02 08:49 09:02 09:49 10:02 10:49 11:02
Medford 05:48 06:03 06:48 07:03 07:48 08:03 hourly 07:48 08:03 08:48 09:03 09:48 10:03 10:48 11:03
Kane¹ F 06:46 07:05 07:46 08:05 hourly 07:46 08:05 F F F F F F
Voorhies¹ F F 06:44 07:07 07:44 08:07 hourly 07:44 08:07 F F F F F F
Phoenix F F 06:41 07:09 07:41 08:09 hourly 07:41 08:09 F F F F F F
Talent F F 06:38 07:12 07:38 08:12 hourly 07:38 08:12 F F F F F F
Ashland outskirts F F 06:32 07:19 07:32 08:19 hourly 07:32 08:19 F F F F F F
Ashland 05:30 06:21 06:30 07:21 07:30 08:21 hourly 07:30 08:21 08:30 09:21 09:30 10:21 10:30 11:21
¹ Historical locations have been used for calculation. Today's planning will have to look at the current settlement structure.
² F = Flagstop

If railroad service is always there when needed, ridership at "normal" times of the day improves. Well organized small-scale operations are able, to provide evening service with one employee, just like a bus company. Either the signal system can be set to automatic, or the dispatching center of a major railroad will be contracted for it.

Small blue
DMU arrives at a station.  Small blue DMU in a green suburban environment.
Nærumbanen connects green suburbs and city parks north of Copenhagen. Instead of using bigger trains, small DMUs operate every 10 minutes on singletrack. 20 minute interval is offered from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.. For the evening hours, their CTC is put into automatic mode, making the railroad operate with 2 persons, one for each DMU.

Option: Halfhourly traffic

If a crew of two is desired, transit service in the Rogue Valley won't gain much from another employee in the same train. Such labour cost should be used for halfhourly traffic instead. Smaller, lighter, cheaper DMUs are available for this.

Bombardier's LVT/S is the attempt, to squeeze modern transit performance (good acceleration, reliable braking, level boarding at a height of about 2 feet, wide door) out of the cheapest possible box. Certification to European mainline standards has been gained at a weight of 26.5 tons. Again, costs are cutted by usage of bus motor, bus gearbox, bus retarder, but this time, it's just one set, delivering 355 hp.

Very small DMU enters a station.
In 1998, Bombardier delivered 23 LVT/S for 850 000 $ each.

The LVT/S was used for a project suggested by traffic planning research institutes in Germany. The objective: Better options for transit in areas with low population density. While the DMUs have performed well, the necessary track upgrades within that project have been victims of budget cuts, restricting line speed to 31 mph on many miles. Needless to say, the goals haven't been met.

The LVT/S isn't a great vehicle. Its advantage is cost, allowing to operate 2 trains instead of one, and thus a better service overall under special circumstances. Thanks to radially adjustable wheelsets, it runs better than 2-axle motorcars of the past, and it outperforms bus transit with ease, but of course, comfort level is not as high as in a Regioshuttle on its air-suspended bogies.

Unit conversion for text on this page.
60 mph 97 km/h
16.6 miles 26.7 km
3.3 miles 5.3 km
41.5 mph 66.8 km/h
0.7 miles 1.1 km
0.3 miles 0.5 km
2.3 miles 3.7 km
2 miles 3.2 km
1 mile 1.6 km
1.3 miles 2.1 km
3.2 miles 5.2 km
47 mph 75 km/h
3.3 miles 5.4 km
49 mph 78 km/h
46 tons 42000 kg
59 tons 53500 kg
690 hp 514 kW
550 hp 410 kW
25 mph 40 km/h
50 mph 80 km/h
75 mph 120 km/h
about 2 feet 600 mm
6 mpg 39 l/100 km/h
3 mpg 78 l/100 km/h
4 mpg 59 l/100 km/h
5 mpg 47 l/100 km/h
598 miles 962 km
140 gal 530 l
150 gal 568 l
26.5 tons 24000 kg
355 hp 265 kW
31 mph 50 km/h

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Last modified: 2005-02-17