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OCR for page 64
64 Shared Use of Railroad Infrastructure with Noncompliant Public Transit Rail Vehicles: A Practitioner's Guide options. Cost savings in shared track accrue mainly from subgrade, track, structures, and design work. Modest savings are available from stations. Signal system costs can increase or decrease, depending on implementation. Strict temporal separation remains the least costly option. No savings accrue in vehicle and facility procurements. Double-track shared use (for flexibility or safety reasons) negates most of the savings due to the sophisticated sig- nal system needed on both tracks. System Operating Cost Assessment Railroad service operating costs are generally estimated in three main categories--transporta- tion, MOE, and trackage fees/MOW. A typical charge is 45 cents per car mile for track access, con- sistent with industry standard practice. The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Associ- ation (ASLRRA) and AAR can be a source of economic information about freight operations. Unit costs for transit can be derived from a review of the FTA's 2003 (or latest edition) National Transit Database, including hourly wages and labor costs for equipment maintenance. The base case scenario includes a one-person operation for light rail passenger vehicles, and an operator and a conductor for the freight train (both common industry practices). A. Estimating transportation cost B. Estimating mechanical cost (MOE) C. Estimating MOW Cost. For the labor costs included in this category, assume supervisors, track, bridge and station maintainers, and signal maintainers appropriate for the system plan. The headcount will vary by such items as number of tracks, physical plant, length, and facilities. Planners are encouraged to check with existing shared-track systems or LRT systems to ascer- tain a reasonable "headcount" for staff. Estimating transit agency administrative cost. These costs may be estimated at 15% of the Transportation, MOE and MOW costs for an agency. Similar costs for the freight operator are a higher percentage of 17%, based on ASLRRA guidelines. Total estimated annual transit agency operating cost. Summarize the forecast annual agency operating expense for each of the options. The operating expenses estimated here notably omit negotiated costs for contracted services, including: emergency repair and recovery, insurance for the transit operation, cost to defray additional insurance premium for the freight operation, and capital rebuild or rehabilitation for major transit system components. Costs range from a low of $3.6 million to a high of $4.8 million annually. Revenues depend on fare policy, which should be defined. The transit operator usually receives an annual trackage fee from the freight railroad, depending upon the terms of an agreement. The agency also may receive revenue through noncore activities such as station concession leases, adver- tising rights, parking, and transit oriented development. Table 14 illustrates the cost categories. A table or spreadsheet structured like the worksheet should be prepared to reflect the planned project. It can identify the cost elements relative to each option and hours of service. Regardless of operating regime, 24-hour dispatching must be provided, and the short-term MOW and MOE expense is likely to remain approximately the same. Planners should estimate the volume and nature of freight traffic. Heavy freight is known to increase the long-term costs of track maintenance. At traffic densities of less than 1.0 million gross tons (MGT) per year, the differences in long-term maintenance costs are negligible. Soft- ware based techniques are available to estimate more accurately the effects of freight traffic on MOW expenses. Note also that the FRA track Class (typically Class 4 for LRT systems) affects the MOW cost. A higher track Class equates to more expensive maintenance. Since shared-track by definition serves freight traffic, FRA track maintenance classifications and practices are required.

OCR for page 64
Shared-Track: A Handbook of Examples and Applications 65 Table 14. Worksheet 7--Sample annual operating cost estimate. Option 1 2 3 4 Strict Temporal Spatial Concurrent Concurrent Operating Regime Separation Separation Single Track Double Track Operating Cost ($ thousands) Rail Transportation Train Operators Dispatching Supervision Fuel Mechanical (MOE) Direct Labor Materials Maintenance of Way (MOW) Direct Labor Materials Administration Annual Operating Cost Total Estimated freight shortline revenues and operating expense. Table 15 allows for the compar- ison of a forecast of annual freight operating revenues and expense for four typical options and the status quo (i.e., null alternative--no changes, no system). Operating expenses also should include a contingency for any contracted services (e.g., emergency repair and recovery, capital rebuild, and rehabilitation). The Operating Ratio on the last line of the worksheet was derived from the Task 10 Report. It may vary for a specific project, but the relationship between Options 1, 2, and 3 and 3 and 4 is realistic. Under the Status Quo, the freight entity may bear relatively high MOW and transportation expenses. MOW is entirely funded by freight and must support a track main- tenance crew and any materials from freight revenues alone. Additionally, the freight operator also must support a part-time dispatcher, and the traincrew. Revenues are based on fees for each car delivered. Table 15. Worksheet 8--Sample annual freight operating account projection. Option 0 1 2 3 4 Temporal Spatial Concurrent Concurrent Status Quo Operating Regime Separation Separation Single Track Double Track Operating Cost ($ thousands) Rail Transportation Train Operators Dispatching Supervision Fuel Car Hire Mechanical (MOE) Locomotives Freight Cars Maintenance of Way (MOW) Trackage Fees Overhead Annual Operating Cost Total Annual Revenue Estimation Operating Ratio 93% 94% 91% 70% 70%