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Shared-Track: A Handbook of Examples and Applications 57 Physical Characteristics Data collection begins with a description of the physical characteristics of the existing and pro- posed new corridor. This includes length, grades, curves, grade crossings, bridges and tunnels, sidings, crossovers, terminals, stations, facilities and other salient features. Table 7 shows a sam- ple checklist: Freight Operations: Describe the time of day, number of pickups and deliveries, any special handling requirements, length of any sidings, crews, and number of cars. Rail Transit Service: Describe the planned service characteristics, routing and stations in broad terms, and the responsible entity for directing the project. Vehicle Design: Identify vehicle options on the basis of performance, capacity, and other desired features. The available choices at the outset are: 1. Push-Pull Commuter Rail Equipment (compliant locomotive and coaches); 2. MU Commuter Rail Equipment (compliant MU coaches either diesel or electric); and 3. Diesel or electric noncompliant light passenger rail cars. Reasons to Consider Noncompliant Equipment The underlying assumption for this research is that FRA compliant equipment is either imprac- tical or unnecessary and only noncompliant equipment will suffice. The primary reason to con- sider noncompliant equipment is the improved flexibility it offers. Because of the vehicle's phys- ical characteristics, more routing options are possible. The constraints in curvature radius, grades, clearance envelopes, limits of acceleration, and deceleration make a lighter rail vehicle a superior choice for various environments. The following analysis explores the relative pros and cons of a temporally separated, a concurrent shared-track, and a shared-corridor light rail operation. Such an analysis should resolve whether or not a compliant vehicle is suitable for the applica- tion. Once it is determined that only noncompliant equipment will suffice, then the next step is an analysis of shared-track options. A typical example of choice 3 is a self-propelled rail car (SPRC), a passenger rail car with a self- contained, on-board source of motive power, making reliance on a locomotive or electric power distribution system unnecessary. The light SPRC is more flexible than a locomotive hauled train or an electric light rail passenger vehicle because it provides an economic means to operate pas- senger rail service over a mix of railroad environments. As one illustration (Figure 5), an SPRC Table 7. Worksheet 1--System parameters existing condition. Route Miles FRA Track Class Class I Signal System Dark (Unsignaled) Connection to Identify by milepost and type of connection, e.g., crossing, siding Freight Tracks Major Structures Identify type, length and milepost Grade Crossings Identify milepost and type of warning system Speed Limits 10 mph for freight trains Passenger trains are not permitted Freight Operations Describe as "Freight train originates..." " Exchanges outbound for inbound cars at yard and returns to the point of origin...." Freight Train Describe equipment, number of cars, speeds, locomotive fleet, cargo types Workforce List engineers, conductors and crews called per weekday Rule Book Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee (NORAC) Rules or whatever rule book applies