Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby east point » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:57 pm

has anyone seen what if any work is being done on weekends ? Seem to recall that was mentioned somewhere ?
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby EuroStar » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:32 am

Amtrak7 wrote:On the subway, this sort of work is done over the course of several weekends, with a 10mph speed restriction in effect on the "skeletonized" track weekdays until the job is done. Subway cars are much lighter than Amtrak trains though, so I'm not sure if this approach is even possible in Penn Station.

I do not disagree that the subway approach of doing the work over the weekends with speed restrictions during the weekdays might be hard to pull off at Penn Station. I am just puzzled by the need for 30 consecutive days per track. When they replaced track 10 this summer there was a lot of idle time with no work done. I do not expect them to replace it in 2 days, but with full track outage 7 to 10 consecutive days seem more realistic even if a switch or two need to be replaced.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby Allouette » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:26 am

The long outage mostly has to do with concrete curing time. The first strength testing is usually done at around seven days. Most of the cure strength happens in that period, but full load is kept off until the concrete has cured to full strength, which can take 21 or more days depending on the mix, reinforcement and environment. Once the cure is done it takes a few days to insert the tie sections, drop the rail, secure the fasteners, connect the whole mess up to the correct parts of the DC and AC traction systems and signal system. 30 days for that type of installation is pretty impressive. Don't forget that the old concrete had to be busted up and hauled out as well before anything new could be poured.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JoeG » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:54 pm

On Monday afternoon I was on a train leaving NYP toward New Jersey. I saw at least 2 MOW crews working. My guess is that work is proceeding without specific announcement.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby ExCon90 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:24 pm

Seems like an opportune time to review the clip (Metro North forum, Railroads: End of the Line? NBC News, 1961) which at one point shows passengers on the Century being interviewed and lamenting that if it weren't for the weather they'd be on the plane, which is a lot more comfortable and convenient--and it was, in 1961 compared to today--and air was their preferred mode. (At about the same time The New Yorker magazine used to have an occasional feature headed THE CLOUDED CRYSTAL BALL.)
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:10 pm

I agree that if air travel had remained as comfortable and convenient as it once was that passenger trains probably would not exist today.

That is of course most certainly not the case. And now we will see a new Penn Station with accompanying infrastructure to support future growth.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JoeG » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:56 pm

I still don't see any actual Federal money for Gateway. Making the old Post Office into a station may improve esthetics but doesn't increase capacity. Mr Infrastructure President has been too busy tweeting to actually do anything useful. I don't know if Gateway will be done in my lifetime. Maybe NJT and LIRR could get triple decker cars, where the passengers would have to crawl to and from their seats.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby BandA » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:30 am

Is the next slug of work less disruptive than the Track 10 + "A" interlocking? Is the track less-bad than Track 10, allowing Amtrak to fix it at a more leisurely pace? And finally, just want to confirm, these "half ties" are placed into the cement when it is wet?
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:31 pm

While I haven't yet read this investigative article, Gray Lady reports that Amtrak was more concerned with "what the pols see" than what was "down below":

http://nytimes.com/2017/10/09/nyregion/ ... ments.html

Fair Use:

..Amtrak officials knew for years that they would have to replace large sections of deteriorating track in Pennsylvania Station in New York City. As engineering crews applied short-term fixes to rows of rotted ties, crumbling concrete and eroded steel, some of their managers repeatedly warned of the growing need to address underlying problems.

While meeting with Amtrak executives in March, Andrew Keefe, the railroad’s head of track maintenance, became alarmed, according to two people in the room. The railroad had finally begun ambitious replacement work on the most decrepit tracks, but the jobs would stretch out for a year or more to accommodate other demands.

Learning that officials were considering delaying the effort to give work time to a nearby passenger hall renovation, a project backed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mr. Keefe lost his temper. Hitting his hand on a table, he said, “You’re not going to be happy until you put a train on the ground.”

Weeks later, the derailments started.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JamesRR » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:51 pm

The NYT article zeroes in on track closure prioritization and how development projects (like Moynihan) were prioritized over repair projects in terms of closing tracks on weekends, etc. And how Amtrak track engineers warned of imminent track issues but were overruled by those in Washington who wanted the Moynihan project to take priority. Apparently Amtrak doesn't want to upset those who fund them, even though they have never been keen on the Moynihan train hall expansion. Politics at work, again.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby gokeefe » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:13 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:While I haven't yet read this investigative article, Gray Lady reports that Amtrak was more concerned with "what the pols see" than what was "down below"


It's worth the full read. My takeaway was a good deal more nuanced.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:06 pm

It became a "battle" between the developers and the Track Dept,to keep the political "hacks" happy,the developers won.
Barely mentioned was the need to work on the East River tubes and ESA related projects to remove Sandy's damage and get Harold
to it's final reconfiguration. The final payoff of all the delayed track work was the Acela "Picked switch" sideswipe,and the NJT
Muli-levels derailment. You have to figure that each of interlockings at Penn need a maintaince "blitz" to come close to "good repair" status.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JoeG » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:25 pm

Politics has always been involved in transportation projects. If you read Jill Jones' book, Conquering Gotham, about the construction of Penn Station and its accompanying tunnels, you can see how the PRR got in a fight with Tammany during the construction, which caused the railroad many problems, including taking 7 years for the station to get subway service. Let's just hope that the Feds come up with enough money to fund Gateway. President Infrastructure doesn't seem to be up to the job. Maybe if Cuomo runs, he will at least draw attention to the need for Gateway.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby east point » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:14 am

Backshophoss wrote:It became a "battle" between the developers and the Track Dept,to keep the political "hacks" happy,the developers won.
You have to figure that each of interlockings at Penn need a maintaince "blitz" to come close to "good repair" status.


That does appear to be a consensus view. Actually it probably is each set of puzzle switches need replacing each maybe taking 30 days for concrete curing ? Then Amtrak has all the east side locations to fix for LIRR that apparently were not as damaged by Sandy ?
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby EuroStar » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:33 am

Related, but not on topic:
For all that is worth, track 3 from Secaucus to the tunnel mouth has had speed restrictions for the last few months. NJT sent out alerts about speed restrictions multiple times over those few months. Some ballast and ties appear to have been changed, especially close to the tunnel. Judging by the speed of a few trains today, the restriction must have been lifted. It appears that Amtrak has been busy doing work on the west approaches to Penn Station too.
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