NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

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NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Postby davek » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:19 pm

Has Amtrak considered a replacement for Portal Bridge. I seem to remember a fire on the bridge a year or two back that stopped trains until the fire could be extinguished and then inspected.

With NJ Transit and Amtrak both using the bridge, there would be some real traffic headaches if a barge hit it, or maybe damaged from a brush fire. Maybe the powers to be (yeah right) might consider re-opening DB crossing as an insurance policy.

How long would it take to put in a temporary span over the river?

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Postby pgengler » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:00 pm

Part of the plan for "THE Tunnel" or the larger ARC plan (I forget which one addresses Portal; I think the ARC plan) concerns Portal Bridge, and there were recently (in the last few months) scoping meetings for the Portal Bridge capacity enhancement project. It doesn't (yet) offer any detailed plans, but would be looking at supplementing Portal with a second bridge, replacing Portal completely, and the required "no-build" alternative of leaving Portal as-is.
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Postby sullivan1985 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:15 pm

DB is dead. It requires rebuilding from the ground up.
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Postby Steve F45 » Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:30 am

i was down in secaucus standing at the db draw watching that fire. got 2 pics of it.
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Postby Jtgshu » Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:46 am

reopening DB wouldn't work real well as an "insurance policy" there would really be no way to get to it, not to mention, lack of wires.

the closest thing they could do to an "insurance policy" if Portal was destroyed in one form or another would be to run down the NJT Morris and Essex Lines via the Waterfront Connection at Hudson interlocking, and then down the Main Line at West End interlocking - -re-install the switch for the former NJT Boonton Line, and then build a ramp to connect with the NEC east of Portal -

This is already in the plans for ARC as NJT wants to build a loop track at Secaucus and follow this same alignment. However, the amount of time to build this new grade up to SEC and the stringing of wires where there would be no wire would take a significant amount of time, probably longer than at least temporary repairs to Portal to get it operational again after whatever happened.
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Postby PRRTechFan » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:24 pm

I am trying to understand how it would help: Where is DB draw? Once off the NEC, I'm not as familiar with all the interlockings and bridges out there...
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Postby pgengler » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:33 pm

DB is very near to Portal; it was the drawbridge used for NJT's Boonton Line before the Montclair Connection opened.

In this Google Maps satellite view, Portal is just at the bottom center,while DB is at the top (right of center). In the middle is the NJ Turnpike eastern spur.
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Postby Jay Bong » Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:19 pm

If DB cannot be used as backup for the Portal in the event of disaster or long-term closure, the proposed Cross Harbor Link would be the next best bet. Amtrak trains would be split off the NEC near Newark International Airport past Oak Island, over Conrail's Newark Bay Bridge and through the Cross Harbor Tunnel or Bridge to Brooklyn, where they can follow up the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch to the New York Connecting Railway and the Hell Gate Bridge.
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Postby MudLake » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:10 am

For all practical purposes, if "something" happened to Portal Bridge I imagine that Amtrak would terminate trains in Newark or maybe Hoboken from one end and NYP from the other until the bridge was fixed. Getting the bridge back on line would likely be 10 to 20 years before a tunnel to Brooklyn is built.
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Postby Jishnu » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:05 am

My guess is that a new high level Portal replacement bridge will get built way before any tunnel is built across the harbor to Brooklyn, if that tunnel is ever built that is. After all the Portal replacement project is already in the DEIS stage, whereas the cross harbor tunnel is still just in the dreaming stage.
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Postby jersey_emt » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:05 pm

How is a high-level bridge even possible with Secacus Junction being so close to the river? Wouldn't the required grade would be way too high?

It's only about 1 mile from the west end of the station to the east end of the river.
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Postby timz » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:21 am

jersey_emt wrote:How is a high-level bridge even possible with Secacus Junction being so close to the river?


Depends how high-level the bridge is. If it's only 40-50 ft above the present track the grade's no problem.
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Postby psct29 » Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:57 am

MudLake wrote:For all practical purposes, if "something" happened to Portal Bridge I imagine that Amtrak would terminate trains in Newark or maybe Hoboken from one end and NYP from the other until the bridge was fixed. Getting the bridge back on line would likely be 10 to 20 years before a tunnel to Brooklyn is built.


More than likely it would be Newark, since NJT's Waterfront Connection wouldn't be able to handle both Amtrak and NJT if Portal went down.
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Portal Drawbridge stuck open 12/7/07

Postby transit383 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:54 pm

I saw on the news this morning that Portal Drawbridge was stuck in the open position. It happened around 5AM and things were resuming back to normal by 7AM.

Link to story

They kept saying it got stuck in the "up" position. I've never seen a swing bridge go up though :P
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?
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New Portal Bridge -- question 1

Postby timz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:04 pm

Maybe you all saw that report dated 7/07

http://www.portalbridgenec.com/pdfs/Por ... Report.pdf

but it's new to me, and I'm scratching my head. It says

"In the 2030 Operating Plan, which was described above, all Midtown Direct service would use the planned NYPSE as its terminus. These trains currently merge onto the Northeast Corridor from the northwest via Swift Interlockings. To access the new station in New York, these trains will need to get across the Northeast Corridor to the proposed southern tracks [i.e. parallel to the present ex-PRR main, compass-SE of it] connecting with NYPSE. This could be accomplished via running tracks underneath, or over, the Northeast Corridor tracks. Merging and diverging NJ TRANSIT’s Midtown Direct trains directly across the Northeast Corridor “at grade” would adversely affect the capacity and efficiency of the Northeast Corridor because those train movements would be in conflict with dense existing and future Northeast Corridor traffic operating between Newark Penn Station and PSNY. It would be preferable to construct this “flyover/duck-under” west of the Hackensack River, adjacent to, or at, the site of existing Swift Interlocking. This would allow the project to capitalize on the existing and anticipated future horizontal and vertical profiles of the railroad in crossing the tracks from NYPSE going to the Morris & Essex Line tracks over or under the Northeast Corridor."

Obvious first question: why can't Midtown Direct trains cross beneath the PRR main at the same place they do now?
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