Ken Larsen's web site - DOLRT Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility (ROMF)
A light rail line needs an operations and maintenance facility (ROMF).
(November 27, 2018) INDY story on the ROMF.
DOLRT's ROMF will be a 3 story facility and rail yard.
It is an industrial facility where the trains for the whole city will be stored, maintained, and repaired.
It is slated to have between 110 and 175 employees.
It will have a security fence and parking capabilities for the employees.
This area is currently zoned R-20 (Residential with the ability to go commercial around 2030 - according to Durham City plan).
The second and third floors will house all the computer systems and people who will be driving the system during the day. [Note: Each train will have its own conductor. They are not autonomous/driverless.]
The ROMF will serve a total of 36 rail cars.
This is not a train station; you cannot ride a train from here.
The 23.5-acre site will run all day and all night, seven days a week, all year long.
Trains will go out to their routes from the site beginning at 5:00 AM and return around 11:00 PM.
Every day at Midnight: All trains will return to the ROMF to be cleaned and have maintenance done.
The ROMF will be the first part of the Durham light rail project to be completed and will be under construction for about two years.
Construction is expected to begin in 2020.
Negatives about the facility
The site includes considerable wetlands, which help control flooding. These wetlands will be eliminated entirely by a 3-story industrial building and a parking lot.
There will be large quantities of controlled fluids on site due to the maintenance conducted there. Some of those fluids, especially in large quantities, are explosive.
Noise is a big issue. [details] The present tree buffer between I-40 and Farrington Road will be substantially removed.
Part of the maintenance will be horn testing. That's 36 horn tests between midnight and 5 AM every day.
Because of the shape of the land, there are many curves on the tracks within the ROMF boundaries. Turns cause wheels to squeal, producing noise up to 136 decibels (roughly equivalent to a military jet taking off from a carrier).
According to Durham ordinances, Chapter 26 Section 26-23(d)(3) says "No nighttime (11 AM - 8 AM) sound level shall exceed 50 dB(A)."
To maximize land on the site available for parking lots, rail tracks, and an industrial building, Durham has agreed not to ever widen Farrington Road beyond its present two lanes, regardless of future growth. Turn lanes at Farrington & Ephesus will remain.
It's a 24/7 operation ... all year long!
Throughout the U.S. there are 25 other Light Rail systems currently up and running. NONE sit in a residential area close to an elementary school. [details]
This map shows the 23 acre site where the ROMF will be built. It's between Farrington Road and I-40. Because of that "seclusion", it was deemed to be the best location of five that were considered. All five sites had negatives.
Negatives about the Farrington Road location
Farrington Road is only two lanes wide and has a lots of traffic already on it. Cars use it as a shortcut to get to and from the Chapel Hill Eastgate area to I-40. None of this traffic will be alleviated by light rail.
Durham officials are in growth mode and have permitted one residential development after another in this area. That will add to the traffic.
Creekside Elementary School is only 400 yards away. [Website of some Creekside parents who are protesting the ROMF location.]
(Biggest blunder) GoTriangle is planning an at-grade crossing instead of a bridge for trains to cross Farrington Road. An at-grade crossing will significantly add to the traffic problem, because trains will block vehicular traffic for over two hours/day. [The only sections of DOLRT that will not be at-grade are those that are thicker blue (e.g. across Route 54).]
Because of deadlines that are coming up, GoTriangle will not reopen discussion about where to locate the ROMF. The only way that the ROMF will not get built would be if the whole project got canceled. That remains a possibility, because this project is contingent on a huge contribution by the Federal government.
DOLRT = Durham-Orange County Light Rail project