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Metro Rail East End/Southeast Line Downtown Construction pics and updates


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The block of Rusk west of Central Station has the parking garage entrance/exit and loading dock for 801 Travis on the side that's got the tracks.  The design of the building is such that they aren't really amenable to being relocated (at least, not without moving the elevators).  It also has the JW Marriott's service entrance, but that's probably more easily worked around.

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A couple of shots of the train turning from Main Street to Rusk. Sorry for the poor quality, I was in my car.          

Ayyy don't act like you didn't wanna just show off the Porsche

PDF link: https://ridemetro.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=2096 Plans to make Capitol and Rusk lines dedicated? This is from the January 21, 2021 metro meeting Starting

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I saw METRO had a 2-car train on the SE line at Palm Center for testing on the 24th. It was pretty cool to see. One thing I noticed is that the rail line has eliminated all cross-street movements on Griggs between MLK and the Mykawa/Griggs/Longer intersection. During construction when the crossovers were initially eliminated, I would leave Palm Center by going east down Griggs and making a u-turn at that wretched intersection of Mykawa/Griggs/Long that's crisscrossed by three busy freight lines to head back west toward MLK. I thought that the absence of crossovers would be temporary and at least one signalized crossover would be built in the final incarnation, but it looks like I was wrong. From what I've read in this document from METRO HERE from 2006 on page 14, a signalized crossover was proposed at Griggs and Beekman to allow cross-street movements on that stretch, but for some reason, it wasn't built. Not far away, cross street movements were retained on the line on MLK between OST and Griggs so there is still crossover access to and from Stuyvesant, Courtelyou, and Ablemarle streets, so I'm not sure why they omitted this one crossover at Beekman.

Edited by JLWM8609
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IDK about some of METRO's design decisions.  Looking back at the green/purple stations a full block away from the Main Street transfer station, I get it that clearances for the turnouts wouldn't allow them to be built in the block immediately east of Main, and that the block immediately west had other things that got in the way of putting the stations there... but I can't think of a good reason for why they couldn't have had the turnouts point west instead of east.  

 

Same thing with having the Great Wall of Rail LIne blocking a bunch of crossing streets.  Yes, signals cost more than just running it through, but sooner or later people will get used to having rail on the streets again and the level of mayhem should abate.  :mellow:

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I saw METRO had a 2-car train on the SE line at Palm Center for testing on the 24th. It was pretty cool to see.

 

Funny, I saw the same train the same afternoon.  Were you also bypassing whatever it was that had the South Loop shut down?  

 

Anyhow, it's the first train I've seen them testing on the SE line, and I drive along the line somewhat regularly (at least once a week).  I don't know if they've been testing the line before that day, but I certainly haven't seen it.  Interesting coincidence that we both saw it.

 

I didn't have my son with me but I know he'll flip his lid when he finally sees a train on those tracks.  He's been watching them build the lines for the last few years.  I was hoping we'd be able to take the train to a UH game this season, but that's not to be.

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Funny, I saw the same train the same afternoon.  Were you also bypassing whatever it was that had the South Loop shut down?  

 

 

Nope. I was on the way to NAPA on Long Rd. to pick up some motor oil they had on sale, but I did see the traffic on the South Loop at a standstill.

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but I can't think of a good reason for why they couldn't have had the turnouts point west instead of east.  

 

The same thing occurred to me. The answer, I think, is that at the time the lines were planned trains from the East End line were supposed to turn up Main Street to the intermodal terminal. So we're stuck with this as a legacy of poor planning past.

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Any chance the turnouts could be used for route flexibility?

 

I mean if they find after several years that a large percentage of say North Line passengers transfer to the East End line and vice versa, why not just change the green line to the East End connecting with the North Line? End the Red Line at the Central Station if such were the case.

 

They should have had them directed south instead of north so either the purple line or the green line could have continued south all the way to the Fannin Park and Ride to provide multiple service options to the areas that surely will be highest in demand (Downtown, Midtown, TMC, and NRG Park).

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And that, friends, is about the most basic stop possible - no ticket machine, no canopy, no benches, nada.

 

Which makes sense when one realizes that it is at the end of that particular line, and is on the wrong side of the street to double up with busses. 

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My guess is that it's a temporary stop until the line extends westward.

 

Or perhaps just temporarily barren 'til then.  On the next block of Rusk, across from the Federal Building, is a full fledged, canopied, benched, ticket machined stop.  

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A couple of shots of the train turning from Main Street to Rusk. Sorry for the poor quality, I was in my car.

This turn won't be made often once daily service starts, no? I would assume only to move trains from one line to another.

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This turn won't be made often once daily service starts, no? I would assume only to move trains from one line to another.

 

That's my understanding of the current reason for the switches.  However, if there is some future need or desire for direct, no transfer service from the Northside down towards, say Hobby (when/if that extension gets built), there's no reason why we couldn't have a Magenta Line making the turn from Red to Purple there.

 

 

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Thanks for the photo updates guys.  Quick question from an out-of-towner, is the lane the train is on separated from traffic at all like the Main street line, or can you drive on the tracks when the train isn't there? 

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Thanks for the photo updates guys. Quick question from an out-of-towner, is the lane the train is on separated from traffic at all like the Main street line, or can you drive on the tracks when the train isn't there?

Nah, you can drive all up in dem tracks.... Edited by Howard Huge
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Thanks for the photo updates guys. Quick question from an out-of-towner, is the lane the train is on separated from traffic at all like the Main street line, or can you drive on the tracks when the train isn't there?

Wide open to drive on.

As such, I think that metros biggest challenge to running the trains on time will initially be the number of car-train collisions. I expect the learning curve for houston drivers will be higher than on main (which, as I understand, had a "lot" of accidents initially).

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I haven't paid attention to the signage, but I would assume it's going to be the same as for the buses where the lanes are shared.

 

Diamond lane markers. no vehicles in lane unless turning. I would be strange if they don't do the same for the rail as they do for buses.

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While diamond lanes for the tracks would make tons of sense, there's no sign of that yet - and no reason not to already have it in place.  

 

Intuitively it seems like having the trains follow the same signals as the rest of traffic ought to integrate them a bit better.  The conflict I foresee is at the parking garage exits - some of them have pretty crummy sight lines.  

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I disagree.  I think having the red line street level, semi separated, and juggling up the traffic light timing likely adds to the mayhem.  Without doing a study on my own, the perception I have is that the bulk of the incidents have been at intersections - either people making an already illegal left across the front of the train coming up behind them, or blowing a light.  One of the more recent was a METRO bus blowing a light approaching the bloomin' transit center, with a clear view of the train from blocks away.  I'd welcome correction or confirmation by someone who can drill down to the statistics, but my perception is that there haven't been nearly as many incidents in the Med Center, which has denser traffic (both foot and motorized) and private vehicles driving on the tracks.

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I have a feeling that even though there aren't diamonds painted on the lanes, the tracks will probably scare most drivers away from being in those lanes unless they are turning. However, I've seen no end of people who turn (for whatever reason) from the second most left lane, rather than getting in the left lane. It's obvious they don't pay attention, first, because they are turning from the wrong lane, and second, because they've cut right across me and I've had to stand on my brakes (which has the unintended consequence of standing on the horn).

 

I imagine the first accident on these lines will be a car turning left from the second most left lane, and not seeing the huge train in the left lane.

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I have a feeling that even though there aren't diamonds painted on the lanes, the tracks will probably scare most drivers away from being in those lanes unless they are turning. However, I've seen no end of people who turn (for whatever reason) from the second most left lane, rather than getting in the left lane. It's obvious they don't pay attention, first, because they are turning from the wrong lane, and second, because they've cut right across me and I've had to stand on my brakes (which has the unintended consequence of standing on the horn).

 

I imagine the first accident on these lines will be a car turning left from the second most left lane, and not seeing the huge train in the left lane.

 

Sounds about right... though that can't really be blamed on the train being there.  Such yahoos people who have neither mirrors nor heads that turn would also cut across in front of a truck or bus.

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Sounds about right... though that can't really be blamed on the train being there. Such yahoos people who have neither mirrors nor heads that turn would also cut across in front of a truck or bus.

There's a great video on YouTube called "Metro's Greatest Hits" from testing the line back in 2003. The number of people who made illegal left turns into the train is mindboggling.

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There's a great video on YouTube called "Metro's Greatest Hits" from testing the line back in 2003. The number of people who made illegal left turns into the train is mindboggling.

 

The same thing is happening at the Texas and Dowling Street corner (at BBVA Compass Stadium)....people are turning right on red, going across the tracks, while there is at least 1 "No Right Turn on Red" sign, a large lit-up No Right Turn sign up next to the stop light, plus the red stop light is a red arrow...a truck turned right in front of a train running a test a couple days ago...

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this is how they get you. they lull you into a false sense of security that breaking the law around the tracks is ok, then they send out the trains on the prowl. stalking the people who think they are safe to break the law, then the train pounces and ravages their car!

 

This could be a nat geo special.

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this is how they get you. they lull you into a false sense of security that breaking the law around the tracks is ok, then they send out the trains on the prowl. stalking the people who think they are safe to break the law, then the train pounces and ravages their car!

 

This could be a nat geo special.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCfWHqrYUqo&ab_channel=cpdude927

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this is how they get you. they lull you into a false sense of security that breaking the law around the tracks is ok, then they send out the trains on the prowl. stalking the people who think they are safe to break the law, then the train pounces and ravages their car!

This could be a nat geo special.

The automobile, in its native habitat, a road, is considered to be a predator to lesser road users, including pedestrians and bicyclists. To combat the overpopulation of cars, some cities have introduced trains into the wild to crash into, slow down, and confound cars. Others believe the train is an invasive species from overseas and try to prevent them from growing.

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Saw them on campus yesterday at UH (sorry, no pics). All those students hoping the rail tracks trying to make a shortcut are going to have to find another way pretty soon. With the way people drive around UH, there will be many accidents unfortunately.

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1zmi8zr.jpg

 

 

Let's cross our fingers that all the red lights will be phased out after testing is completed. Thought I read somewhere that there will be no train preemption for the Green and Purple lines. How well are the lights timed on Capital and Rusk once you get a green light currently? Forget cars crashing into trains, what a joke we would be to have a multi-million dollar train Downtown that pedestrians can keep pace with.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Saw a driver narrowly miss being the first cause of collision 2 weeks ago. They were testing on a Saturday afternoon, I had just turned onto Rusk from Bagby. A random car turned from the second most right lane onto Milam from Rusk, cutting a few feet in front of the train that was out testing.

 

Is there a over/under in Vegas for how many days before the first incident when this thing goes live? 

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Let's cross our fingers that all the red lights will be phased out after testing is completed. Thought I read somewhere that there will be no train preemption for the Green and Purple lines. How well are the lights timed on Capital and Rusk once you get a green light currently? Forget cars crashing into trains, what a joke we would be to have a multi-million dollar train Downtown that pedestrians can keep pace with.

 

 

When they run the double trains, they take up nearly a whole block too.  A line of cars waiting to turn while pedestrians cross will have the train blocking the previous intersection.

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