Improvement of the North Lead Rail Corridor

To accommodate growth in intermodal and bulk cargo demand, the Port of Tacoma initiated the North Lead project to construct new rail infrastructure within an approximately 1.5 mile long corridor within the Port, with an objective of optimizing intermodal fluidity and capacity in the Port and enhancing the efficiency of rail service to Port terminals. The project corridor is a nexus of rail infrastructure serving the Port, nearby industrial facilities, Class 1 interchange, and freight classification. Tacoma Rail, a city owned utility, provides rail service to the Port of Tacoma terminals and private industrial facilities nearby. Project planning was performed collaboratively by the Port of Tacoma, Tacoma Rail and the consultant team. Using detailed timing records for each train movement within the tideflats over a one month period, a simulation model was developed for the existing rail network and validated to match the actual performance. Alternatives for infrastructure development and operational strategies were modeled using current rail traffic and projected future rail traffic to identify the best short term and long term options to match capacity to demand, and maximize the efficiency of service to the Port’s terminals. Options for infrastructure improvements were evaluated based on their ability to support multiple concurrent movements and flexible routings within the constrained rail corridor. Key elements of project design included phasing of construction while maintaining rail operations in the corridor and accommodating future expansion and extension of the corridor to match future growth in demand and increased train lengths. The complexity of rail movements within the constrained corridor were a particularly challenging aspect of project planning and design. A collaborative approach incorporating the unique perspectives of marine terminal operations, rail operations, track design, and construction was used to optimize the design. This paper will describe the approach that was used to identify and analyze alternatives for railway infrastructure, and select and design infrastructure improvements and operating strategies within the corridor to provide maximum improvement of capacity and efficiency in the rail network.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Pagination: pp 942-951
  • Monograph Title: Ports 2016: Port Planning and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01604097
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784479919
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jun 7 2016 3:05PM