Metro-North New Haven Line Penn Station Access

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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roee
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Post by roee » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:41 am

RedSoxSuck wrote:Roee,

I hear you and I have thought about that. I think the logic is, since they are building something like this out of necessity anyway, they may as well give the commuters the luxury of the option. Also, the tunnel under the river already exists (63d street). Does anyone know where the choke point in NYP is for LIRR? For example, my understnading is that the choke point for NJT is the tunnel under the Hudson, not the actual track space in the station. Are the east river tunnels at capacity? If so, any addition to NYP would require additional tunnels. Also, does anyone know if west side yard is at capacity? If so, that would be another turn off to NYP.
RSS,

I agree with you that if they have to spend the money, you might as well give people the options, and this way you can run more trains closer together. You’re not going to have 2 trains from the same are come in 10 minutes apart most likely, where as you'll have 2 different trains go to 2 different locations no problem.

Also, I see what you are saying about the east river tunnels, but the ESA is going to involve alot of tunneling inside of NYC, where as if it's just the East River tunnel into NYP, but the land based stuff doesn't need much expansion, then I'd have to assume a new tunnel would be easier.

All that said, I think the ESA is a good idea if the expansion is needed. Might as well give the LI commuters a choice of where to go, and as there already is an interchange point in Jamaica, the LIRR is well suited for 2 NYC locations, where MCRR isn't set up to handle that.
Eric
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apodino
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Post by apodino » Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:33 pm

MTA has done studies on this which are posted. The obvious benefits would be better Amtrak connections, possible cross platform connections to NJ, as well as easier access to the financial district, not to mention added stations along the west side, and in Pelham Bay, and near LaGuardia. That having been said, there are several pitfalls that I could see that would be tough to overcome.

1. Third Rail Incompatability (Metro North Under running, vice versa on LIRR)
2. Catenary Incompatablity, since the catenary on the Hellgate line changes from 60 hz to 25 hz not far from the Hell Gate Bridge.
3. Capacity Limitations. Not only in Penn Station, but with only two energized tracks on the HellGate Bridge, the other two would have to be reelectrified and laid without bottlenecking everything including Amtrak. And IIRC, the West Side Connector from Spuyten Duyvill is single tracked all the way to Penn.
4. Obviously the Hell Gate Line would connect the New Haven Branch, and the West Side the Hudson line, but what about the Harlem Line? Its not as obvious. The only possible option would be run it up the hudson a bit and then down the west side, which would require the switch near Spuyten Duyvill to be reactivated.
5. Layovers. Sunnyside yard is crowded enough with Amtrak, and i don't think there is capacity left in the west side yard. Where do these trains layover at?

This all having been said, there may be a way to get Metro-North into Penn Station, but I could be wrong. Is the new Secacus Junction station able to facilitate west of hudson trains into penn, or are they on a different level, which would make more since going to Hoboken.
Rich "Dino" Martin
A one time happy rider of Arborway and the old Washington St. El.

Noel Weaver
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Post by Noel Weaver » Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:47 am

3. Capacity Limitations. Not only in Penn Station, but with only two energized tracks on the HellGate Bridge, the other two would have to be reelectrified and laid without bottlenecking everything including Amtrak. And IIRC, the West Side Connector from Spuyten Duyvill is single tracked all the way to Penn.
4. Obviously the Hell Gate Line would connect the New Haven Branch, and the West Side the Hudson line, but what about the Harlem Line? Its not as obvious. The only possible option would be run it up the hudson a bit and then down the west side, which would require the switch near Spuyten Duyvill to be reactivated.
5. Layovers. Sunnyside yard is crowded enough with Amtrak, and i don't think there is capacity left in the west side yard. Where do these trains layover at?

This all having been said, there may be a way to get Metro-North into Penn Station, but I could be wrong. Is the new Secacus Junction station able to facilitate west of hudson trains into penn, or are they on a different level, which would make more since going to Hoboken.[/quote]

There is presently no available track space for Metro-North trains in Penn
Station and it is very doubtful if there will be any in the forseeable future.
The line from CP-12 (Metro-North Hudson Line) to Penn Station is double
track except for CP-12 to Inwood 9/10's of a mile and from A to Empire
which is 8/10's of a mile.
Problem with this line is in Penn Station, NJT uses tracks one to four and
the Amtrak Hudson Division trains can only access tracks five to nine off
this line.
Grand Central Terminal is the logical place in New York for Metro-North, it
has far better facilities and space for them.
I won't say never because I learned many years ago that on the railroad
there is no such word as "never" but I would say it is extremely unlikely
that we will see any Metro-North trains in Penn Station anytime soon.
Noel Weaver

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Otto Vondrak
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Post by Otto Vondrak » Sat Jan 22, 2005 12:05 pm

It always amazes me how railfans *just know* something will work, no matter what the civil engineers and budget planners say!

-otto-
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Jondude11

Post by Jondude11 » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:36 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:It always amazes me how railfans *just know* something will work, no matter what the civil engineers and budget planners say!

-otto-
haha, very true. But why aren't we talking about LIRR going to Grand Central, what's much more likely? I guess that's an LIRR boards topic.

drewh
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Post by drewh » Mon May 23, 2005 1:06 pm

Other than North River tunnel capacity issues, wouldn't running thru trains, rather than terminal trains, help increase station capacity??

Are the East River tunnels used to capacity??

Several cities around the world have built connections to merge their stub end terminal commuter RR's - Philly, Paris, Tokyo. A few benefits I can think of:
1) providing multiple stations in Manhattan, allowing a true single seat ride to your destination.
2) less crowding on platforms, as more station locations available, thus spreading the burden to several rather than 1.
3) better access to JFK airtrain from NJ and MN Hudson line.
4) better access to EWR airtrain, from LI and New Haven line.

FYI - CO airlines already code shares with Amtrak for service from Stamford and New Haven.

Of course all proposals require substantial infrastructure improvements, but it would increase mobility options throughout the region.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Mon May 23, 2005 3:45 pm

Some of this stuff takes my breath away. Right now, there is no room in NYP for more trains. In GCT, the East Side Access project is coming into a new, "third level" below the lower level. The Park Ave line doesn't have much extra capacity in peak hours, but the main reason for the new level is probably that the Lexington Ave subway would make it very difficult to connect the 63rd st line to the Park Ave line. The East River tunnels to NYP are also pretty well maxed.
The passenger rail infrastructure serving Manhattan hasn't been added to since 1920. No major subway construction has taken place in 65 years. Yet, there is no money even for politically favored projects, such as East Side Access, which Pataki and his godfather, Al D'Amato, would love to finish but can't, even with the trick financing schemes they are so fond of. The desperately needed tunnel to NJ has, as of yet, no major money committed to it.
So, I'd like to have some of the funny cigarettes the dreamers on this thread are smoking. Their dreams are much more pleasant than the reality of infrastructure starvation in this country, where only the military gets what it needs. Even highways are starved now.

Lackawanna484

Post by Lackawanna484 » Mon May 23, 2005 3:59 pm

JoeG wrote:So, I'd like to have some of the funny cigarettes the dreamers on this thread are smoking. Their dreams are much more pleasant than the reality of infrastructure starvation in this country, where only the military gets what it needs. Even highways are starved now.
the military would argue that it doesn't get what it wants, either. Minor stuff like blast proof panels on Humvees and trucks, for starters.

NJ will spend its entire 10 cents per gallon from the gasoline tax on interest next year, I understand. Not a nickel for any new construction, or adds to the transportation trust fund.

Given that Codey and the Dems react to a gas tax increase like a vampire to a crucifix, I wouldn't expect any funding soon...

drewh
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Post by drewh » Mon May 23, 2005 4:09 pm

No major subway construction has taken place in 65 years.
I would consider the 63rd St tunnel to be major - it opened in 1989. Grant you there were only 3 stations added, but with the final connection near Queens plaza, this line provided a much needed congestion relief for Queens Boul lines.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Mon May 23, 2005 6:49 pm

I thought about the 63 St tunnel but decided that, since it is only a short connector, it didn't qualify as "major." Remember, originally it was to contain a high-speed line that would be parallel to the LIRR and would use R44 subway cars, specially built to run at 80MPH, to provide Queens with a new subway line. Now, all we get is a tunnel and short connecting pieces. It's certainly useful, and it's certainly expensive, but it's not a new subway line like the Sixth or Eight Avenue lines, etc.

drewh
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Post by drewh » Mon May 23, 2005 7:06 pm

Yes I remember that "Super Express Bypass" route as it was called in the captial program for 1972.

mkm4
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Post by mkm4 » Mon May 23, 2005 7:32 pm

drewh wrote: Are the East River tunnels used to capacity??
Yes. That's why the LIRR can't add any more service.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Mon May 23, 2005 7:35 pm

They can't even find money for the Second Ave Subway. This was a line first designed in the late 1920s, as a 6 track subway going from Brooklyn through Manhattan to the Bronx. It would have a pair of local tracks, express tracks, and super-express tracks. My father saw the plans in 1928 or so. The Depression intervened and it was tabled. After WWII, a $500 million bond issue was floated "for the second avenue subway." By then, of course, $500 million wasn't what it used to be, and the money was spend on stuff like lengthening station platforms on the IRT. Construction on a 2 track subway started in the 70s, then got abandoned during the 70s fiscal crisis. It got revived recently, but now, the forlorn 2-track shadow of the 6-track original is again tabled because there is no money to build it, even only in part of Manhattan.

trainhq
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Post by trainhq » Tue May 24, 2005 11:23 am

It seems to me that as far as the third rail issue is concerned, if Metro-North wanted to run trains into
Penn Station they could buy or lease Acela regional
locomotives, so it is possible. I highly doubt, however,
that LIRR would give them the station slots even after
East Side Access is complete. If they did they, they
probably wouldn't give them more than a few at
rush hour, which means that all Penn Station - Metro
North trains would be stuffed. And of course, Amtrak
wouldn't like such low-fare competition from New
Haven. Overall, I'd have to say it's unlikely.

drewh
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Post by drewh » Tue May 24, 2005 2:31 pm

Here's an interesting thought, and yes probably too far fetched for the politics between NYC/NJ/LI. But look what other cities have been able to do in combining their varied commuter services.

What if LIRR East Side Access was not built into GCT, but instead several stations were built as part of a Second Ave subway?? The initial segment would obviously start at the 63rd St tunnel. There could be a station at 55th St, 42nd St, 34th St, and 14th St.

Phase II - bring the line downtown. Instead of building a new East River tunnel for JFK and LIRR access, just continue the line into downtown along the proposed route of the 2nd Ave subway.

Phase III - NJT's access to the regions core. Build the new Hudson tunnels to downtown to connect with this new subway. Follow the old PRR ROW into Jersey City, start the tunnel just after Journal Square. There could be a downtown Jersey City station, a WTC station, and Canal St, before heading uptown to 14, 34, 42, and 55.

Phase IV - extend the local service of the subway further uptown.

We could have both NJT and LIRR thru trains with multiple station stops along the east side, direct EWR and JFK train service from all the stations and downtown as well. This gives the possibility of many more people getting a once seat ride - grant you for midtown people it is on the east side though. 2 tracks for NJT, 2 for LIRR. NJT could serve any additional uptown stations.

LIRR could have a yard near EWR airport. No need to extend PATH to EWR. If NJT continued to Jamaica, where would there be space for a yard for them??

We basically replace 5 projects with 1. Thoughts??

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