Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby SRich » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:31 am

frequentflyer wrote:Why use wooden ties instead of concrete?

I think that the use the wooden for the switch and concrete for the straight tracks...
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JamesRR » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:24 am

SRich wrote:
frequentflyer wrote:Why use wooden ties instead of concrete?

I think that the use the wooden for the switch and concrete for the straight tracks...


All track ties are wood. Concrete is not inherently better. Saltwater that breached the station before could potentially cause premature cracking and even rotting of the rebar inside concrete ties. The station track (Track 10) was replaced with wooden ties set in concrete, same method used for many underground stations and subways.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby BandA » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:28 pm

since there is a lot of custom work/fitting, not just straight track, wood would be easier to work with, wouldn't it? Also underground the wood should last a long time, and track speed is low so you aren't worried about precision gauge high classification track that cement ties can give you.

But in the future when they need to replace wooden ties embedded in concrete, how do they do that, with a chisel?
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby east point » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:56 pm

Have no idea how long the past concrete was there that was removed. You can count on that the new concrete just installed will be hydraulic concrete and will be almost impervious to salt water intrusion.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JamesRR » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:16 pm

BandA wrote:since there is a lot of custom work/fitting, not just straight track, wood would be easier to work with, wouldn't it? Also underground the wood should last a long time, and track speed is low so you aren't worried about precision gauge high classification track that cement ties can give you.

But in the future when they need to replace wooden ties embedded in concrete, how do they do that, with a chisel?


Well, they did it this summer on track 10. Basically they chopped up all the concrete and ties, then cleared it out - leaving a blank concrete floor (the subfloor). Then they set up the new forms, rebar and new ties. A cement truck was brought in on track 11, and they poured and set the new concrete. Once dry, rails were fastened to the ties, third rail was put in, and signal cables were installed.

This process is done all the time in the NYC subway system, in both stations and tunnels.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:23 pm

Was surprised about the wooden ties too, rather than tie clips & pads bolted directly into concrete. Amtrak knows what it's doing though, so there must be a good reason beyond cost.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby BandA » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:04 am

Wood is a more forgiving, flexible material than cement. So, will Amtrak have to replace entire tracks rather than say every third tie with an inserter like normal tie-on-ballast construction?

How old was the track structure of Track 10? I'm assuming the old structure was similar to the way it was rebuilt?
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JamesRR » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:56 am

BandA wrote:Wood is a more forgiving, flexible material than cement. So, will Amtrak have to replace entire tracks rather than say every third tie with an inserter like normal tie-on-ballast construction?

How old was the track structure of Track 10? I'm assuming the old structure was similar to the way it was rebuilt?


Yes - track 10 was rebuilt the same way it was before.

There are some direct fixation tracks in Penn - I believe some of the LIRR's tracks (upper teens, maybe 20/21) are direct fixation. I think this method was abandoned when it was discovered that the bolts in direct concrete can break from vibration. The subway abandoned this practice after having numerous problems in the 63 St tunnel connector. As mentioned, wood is more forgiving - it flexes and gives.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby BandA » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:54 am

MBTA has had a lot of problems with "floating slabs" which are cement panels on rubber disks. I think the track is directly affixed? Water infiltration has caused corrosion & cracking, very bad.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby bdawe » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:05 pm

huh. Locally all the revenue rapid transit tracks are slab tracks due to the maintenance advantages and the precise tolerances needed for linear induction motors.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby EuroStar » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:23 am

More track closures are coming: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/transportation/2017/09/20/amtrak-plan-more-track-closures-coming-penn-station-2018/686166001/

Tracks 13,14 and 15 are getting the same treatment as track 10 -- full replacement. What puzzles me though is why they need 30 days of closure for each track. The MTA subway replaces direct fixation tracks all the time, but I have never heard of them needing 30 days for what amounts to no more than a 1,000 feet per track. The subway track replacement is also done in tight quarters with trains running on neighboring tracks. I could see one week per track, but 30 days? Are they planning to do more interlocking work or something?
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby JamesRR » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:50 pm

30 days does seem long, but they took even longer to do track 10. I imagine this includes building the barricade wall to isolate the work area on the platform, ripping out track, etc. Also note, the MTA often does sections at a time over periodic evenings, and the tracks in Penn are quite long (track 10 was the longest).

Technically, it's not direct fixation track - they embed wooden half ties into concrete, then bolt the track to that as any other wood tie.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby Amtrak7 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:11 pm

EuroStar wrote:More track closures are coming: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/transportation/2017/09/20/amtrak-plan-more-track-closures-coming-penn-station-2018/686166001/

Tracks 13,14 and 15 are getting the same treatment as track 10 -- full replacement. What puzzles me though is why they need 30 days of closure for each track. The MTA subway replaces direct fixation tracks all the time, but I have never heard of them needing 30 days for what amounts to no more than a 1,000 feet per track. The subway track replacement is also done in tight quarters with trains running on neighboring tracks. I could see one week per track, but 30 days? Are they planning to do more interlocking work or something?


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.

One track OOS at a time shouldn't hurt too much, though LIRR will feel it the most since they have exclusive use of 13-16 at peak hours.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:42 pm

Most of the Station tracks are shared between 2 interlockings,between "A" and "JO" in this case,with a few crossovers involved,
between trks 12 and 13, there's 1 crossover,between trks 14 and 15,there's a crossover on the west end,and a universal crossover on the east end
shared with "JO" and "C" interlocking plants.
Believe the switch replacements need the time to "planted" in place before the rest of the platform trackage is replaced.
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Re: Penn Station Emergency Repairs: Trackwork, etc.

Postby electricron » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:14 pm

Track 10 was replaced recently, and tracks 13, 14, and 15 will be soon. Which brings up the question about the two skipped over, tracks 11 and 12, what is their status health wise?
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