QUENTINSBURGH- For many years, QLine passengers have always been used to tracks at express stations being local in the middle, express on the sides. However, in solving a major spot of underserved track, that simple system is about to change at several of the most used stations in downtown.
Line 1 (Capitol West/Downtown/Mathersboro) has always been one of the most crowded lines. For decades, planners have struggled, trying to find a way to add another line to the underserved northern tracks (Capitol Blvd West between Matherspark Village and Downtown). The problem, however, is that the tracks in downtown were already overcrowded, and there were no obvious north-south paths through downtown that needed a new tunnel. Planners were stuck. How could they better serve the northern tracks without going through downtown, or going through downtown without overcrowding the downtown tracks?
The solution only came with the construction of the Airport Express (AX to most locals). The AX brought two new tracks through downtown, with the capacity for three lines and four station platforms (although the fourth station platform, at Freeman Rd/Mark St, was not built). However; the tracks were only going to be served by the AX, a line that only ran about once a half-hour. Finally planners realized- this was the capacity they needed.
QUARTA plans to have a line 14 added to the system by May. The line, with a tan circle, will basically run the route of the original Line 1, running Capitol Blvd through downtown and out to the airport. In doing so, the 14 will help add service to line 1 tracks in the north and line 7 tracks in the southeast, basically completing the basic QUARTA system. Upon its completion, every major line will operate with two lines, except line 2, which can take care of itself, line 3, which parallels the 4, and line 5, which is slightly isolated anyway.
Line 14 will be one of the most familiar new routes, as it basically follows the path of the original line 1 except for in Urban Meadows. The line will also be one of the cheapest ever added to the system. The largest expense is simply building two new track junctions and improving recently built Airport Express platforms that will now also be the platforms for the 3x and 7x, as well as building that fourth platform at Freeman Rd/Mark St. The Quentinsburgh Union Station terminus of the AX will also have to be improved.
The largest change, however, will be to platforms at the four downtown stations: Quentinsburgh Union Station, State Capitol/Mark St, Fredrick St/Convention Ctr and Freeman Rd/Mark St. Unlike the normal local-inside-express-outside pattern QUARTA’s QLine Metro is so famous for, since local and express all stop at those four stations, lines 1, 1x, and 3 will use center tracks on the normal platforms, lines 7, 14 and 14x will use outer tracks on the normal platforms, and lines 3x, 7x, and the Airport Express will use the Airport Express tracks. The AX will also begin stopping very briefly at Freeman Rd/Mark St. Notices will be posted throughout the stations about the platform changes, and signage is already being changed ahead of time.
Considering that when this move is completed there will be absolutely no more room in Downtown on those tracks, QUARTA officials believe that line 14 will be the last metro line added to the system, or at least the last one that comes anywhere near downtown. Some believe that perhaps in 2045 or so a line connecting Franklin Hill, Caroll Hill, Berkeley Ridge and Horizon Springs may be built as line 15, but that would be in the very far future. For now, it appears the QLine’s “Age of Expansion” may finally come to an end.