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Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:50 pm

koshka wrote:Will Wisconsin & Southern ever stop sticking it to Madison residents? Given a choice, I would pay more for whatever the freight trains are hauling to eliminate the noise, safety problems and overall decline that came with the increased freight traffic.

I'm guessing you're not a fan of the proposed high-speed and commuter rail projects.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby koshka » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:40 am

Wisconsin & Southern's freight traffic is not the same as high speed rail or commuter rail. Their freight traffic through the isthmus does more harm than good. W&S is not the kind of business Madison needs. The lack of public input in their planning and the lack of concern for residents and businesses along the rail corridor is a model of how not to operate a business.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby narcoleptish » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:30 am

koshka wrote: Given a choice, I would pay more for whatever the freight trains are hauling to eliminate the noise, safety problems and overall decline that came with the increased freight traffic.


From the guy who wants to move the airport because it bothers him. How much more will you gladly pay for heat when MGE is bringing in all their coal by truck?

chance wrote:The idea that engineers are intentionally blowing horns longer and louder than necessary in order to retaliate against people who have complained about train noise doesn't seem likely to me.


Of course not. Human beings are incapable of such behavior.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby ArturoBandini » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:41 pm

I've often wondered why train horns aren't automated via sensors, computers, and/or GPS systems. Such a system could reduce the risk for human error or negligence, and also reduce the possibility of spiteful excessive horn-blowing in the neighborhoods of pesky complainers. The horns could also be silenced as necessary, based on time-of-day on a per-intersection basis.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby Eastsider » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:04 am

narcoleptish wrote:
How much more will you gladly pay for heat when MGE is bringing in all their coal by truck?



Most people in this town get their heat from natural gas. No one burns in a Dickensian coal stove anymore. And MG&E hasn't had a substantial coal delivery downtown in years now.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:30 am

Yes, I should have said power instead of heat, I'm fully aware that we're not shoveling coal in our basements.

If I'm wrong I'm wrong but you've got to educate me. What are they burning when the smokestacks are smoking?
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:34 am

Eastsider wrote:
narcoleptish wrote:
How much more will you gladly pay for heat when MGE is bringing in all their coal by truck?



Most people in this town get their heat from natural gas. No one burns in a Dickensian coal stove anymore. And MG&E hasn't had a substantial coal delivery downtown in years now.


green union terrace chair wrote:Is that the line that supplies the UW power plant? If so, it's only going to get worse as the number of trains will quadruple when the biofuel conversion is ready.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:58 am

Charter Street plant on UW-Madison campus does burn coal, but it's a pretty small plant, and this energy mainly goes to steam and hot water on the UW-Madison campus. It's a very small plant - about 10 MW (MegaWatt = 1 million Watts). MGE's Blount Street station burns coal and natural gas with a peak output of 190 MW, which is also pretty small. Blount St. is scheduled to go natural gas-only in 2011. The newish West Campus Cogen facility burns gas only and produces 150 MW at peak. It doesn't operate much in the spring and fall - it usually only fires up for the summer-afternoon air-conditioning spikes and other peak-load events. I toured the West Campus Cogen back in March - it was down then and hadn't run since the beginning of January, because there wasn't enough demand to run it. Almost all natural gas plants are peakers - they don't run 24/7.

The bulk of MGE's power (other than what they buy from other utilities) comes from the Columbia coal plant in Portage. This plant is 1,000 MW, which is baseload generation that runs most of the time.

http://www.mge.com/about/powerplants/

The proposed biomass conversion at Charter Street will increase campus train volume by 5-10x versus coal. The current plan includes several new sidings for the trains and an automated mechanical dumper system to make things as efficient as possible, but it's still going to mean more trains.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby cattyrood » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:03 am

We used to call this train the LR & B - Lone Rock And Back. The engineers were really nice - they would let people ride the train back from the bars in Arena.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby dudemeister » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:13 am

As for the street crossings, I'm not so sure they're all that useful that we can't close them. I've lived in the area for quite a while and seldom cross the tracks on those streets anyway. I understand the concept that it will "divide" the neighborhood but I'm not convinced it actually will.

Something I can't comprehend is the apparent "extreme danger" of a slow moving freight train. I mean they have to blow the horn to notify you? Really? The crossing lights blink and the bells ding for one thing. For another, you're crossing a train track. You don't look up and down the track like you would when crossing a street? If you get hit by a 10mph train at those intersections, evolution is trying to tell you something.

It seems to me that a bus is about as dangerous as a train and we don't have them blaring 130db horns at every crosswalk.
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Re: Should East Side rail crossings be closed?

Postby gargantua » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:16 am

dudemeister wrote: You don't look up and down the track like you would when crossing a street? If you get hit by a 10mph train at those intersections, evolution is trying to tell you something.


Yet, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists really do get hit by freight trains occasionally. Other than for suicide or serious drunkenness, I'm at a loss as to how stupid someone would have to be to get hit by a train. Must need to be reminded to continue breathing.
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