• Amtrak: Connects US // American Jobs Plan Infrastructure Legislation

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by lordsigma12345
 
I'm bias but I'm hoping for the Albany - Boston service so I don't have to drive to go to Boston anymore for a day trip. I hate the Mass Turnpike :-) Inland regionals (NHV - BOS) would be ok too.
  by mcgrath618
 
The map has a description saying that it shows just a general idea of where the line will go. I agree with the sentiment that this was likely drawn by an intern with a crayon, with no regard for existing infrastructure.

There are two likely scenarios here. I’ll address the one already covered by Mr. Mike first.
The Cynwyd Trail is not as popular as you’d think. I know a lot of people involved with the trail who have told me that people living next to it hate it. They (rather unjustifiably) believe that it will allow crime from Manayunk to seep into Lower Merion. While removing the trail would certainly ruffle many feathers, it is not without support or merit; SJU students would love a direct connection to Manayunk, as since the truncation of the Cynwyd line there has been a large contingency of students living there and commuting to school.

Rebuilding that line would allow Amtrak trains to stay on Amtrak ROW and on Amtrak Dispatch for as long as possible, as the Cynwyd Line is Amtrak controlled. It would also allow trains to run into 30th Lower a little easier than option number 2, which is:

Restore the connection between the CSX High Line and Amtrak at ZOO, and then take the NS HBG Main all the way to Reading without ever even touching SEPTA. This is, I believe, what they are proposing, as the little info box says that this line will use trackage from Amtrak, NS, and CSX. No mention of SEPTA, and the aforementioned High Line which lies at the northernmost reaches of the Philadelphia Subdivision is the only CSX trackage in the area that Amtrak would realistically use.

This would make sense from an operating perspective as well. I believe that the Harrisburg Line is down to one or two trains a day east of where the Trenton Cutoff meets the line, and this would also allow Amtrak to avoid SEPTA’s rather slow local service along the Manayunk/Norristown line.

Do note that in the station list at the bottom, Ardmore is never directly mentioned. I’m sure that if Amtrak intended Reading Service to use Ardmore station they would advertise it as such, considering the large investment currently being put into that station.
  by rcthompson04
 
The Reading to Philadelphia to NYP line is quite interesting. I suspect they are either using the NS Harrisburg Line via the Zoo and High Line or route proposed by the Schuylkill Valley Metro by the map. I like the proposal in general as it only involves building one new station (King of Prussia) while using the existing stations or former stations that have some infrastructure still in place.

My biggest complaint about this plan is the lack of stops between Reading and Pottstown and between Pottstown and Phoenixville. Maybe those would be good infill locations for an expanded service in the future.
  by kitchin
 
photobug56 wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 9:09 pm
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:15 pm From Amtrak Connects Us site:

"Boston and Albany are two of the largest cities in New England"

Yikes, do you think Albany seceded while Cuomo was distracted? Anyway welcome to Red Sox Nation upper New York State :laughing: )
Lots of New Yorkers would live to get rid of Albany! The stench of a century or two of corruption and incompetence will never go away!

Anyone who knows the musical and film 1776 well will know it's famous quote about our illustrious state (previously colony) government. Supposedly describing it for the era of our independence but a perfect description of what it has been for so long. And the scary part, when something does happen there, it's usually bad or at least ill conceived!
There's a competing idea that western Mass is closer to NY than Boston, economically and culturally. It's outdated now, but some remnants remain of the old river, canal and rail influence. Massachusetts did not have an east-west rail line as I understand it. The maps line were drawn from coast inward, east-west, like a French arpent. The communication in NY and New England was north-south.

Now arguing central Mass is closer to Connecticut than Massachusetts would be another matter. Same goes for the Western Reserve of Conn. in northern Ohio. That was pure map-drawing, with no other connection other than people from Conn. coming to northern Ohio with their clapboard house designs.
  by cle
 
I live close to the Berkshires, and Albany is still very influential in terms of retail, the airport and other 'bigger city' services (e.g. Whole Foods, certain restaurants).

Chatham NY would make a good station. Indeed, it's nearly ready to go (kick out the bank) and it's a popular, attractive town servicing a wide area.

A service to NYC without the Albany reversal would very appealing though - everyone drives to Hudson. Or Poughkeepsie, if a last minute journey.

Could the Berkshire Flyer reverse north of Hudson somehow instead - likely not without a spur near the Castleton bridge. The lines meet otherwise in Rensselaer which is frustrating. But maybe the route isn't viable with just Chatham and Pittsfield, and no Albany.

Details of this and other new developments are buried in the Connects maps, I suspect local press and so forth need to dig in more, and find out what the actual plans are. Some of the maps are shockingly bad.
  by rcthompson04
 
I recommend everyone pull up these maps on a computer screen and look at them as the Reading map offers a lot of detail surprisingly. Here are the approximate locations of interest for that route:

1. 30th Street to the Harrisburg Line. - Noted there would need to be a connection via the High Line - Not necessarily very sophisticated infrastructure.

2. Norristown - The station isn't in Norristown, but Bridgeport. Was there ever passenger service to Bridgeport?
The spot they list on the map is here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bridg ... -75.345272

3. King of Prussia - This would be a new build station behind the Valley Forge Towers. There is a lot of land available for a big parking lot there: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bridg ... 75.3451838

4. Phoenixville - Looks like the old station would be used, which is what has been suggested in the past: https://www.google.com/maps/place/1-17+ ... 75.5104165

5. Pottstown - Same as Phoenixville; the old station would be used. There is decent parking at this spot: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Potts ... 75.6518593

6. Reading - Franklin Station would be used. Lots of parking nearby. https://www.google.com/maps?ll=40.33288 ... n&t=h&z=15

I think the infrastructure for this line could be broken down into a few things:
1. Connection between the 30th Street, High Line and NS Harrisburg Line. - Shouldn't be too difficult as grading already exists.
2. NS Harrisburg Line - Did this line ever host passenger service east of the Barbadoes Island Bridge before? What kind of infrastructure upgrades to the line itself would be needed.
3. Bridgeport - No station exists, but there is a decent amount of parking in town. You could probably get away with a smaller station here.
4. King of Prussia - This is probably going to require the most infrastructure spending. You are starting from scratch and likely the spot that would need the most parking. At least they want it near 422 and not near Abrams Yard.
5. Phoenixville - Single tracked at this location so only one platform might be needed, but there is terrible parking.
6. Pottstown - Probably just need to add platforms.
7. Reading - Same as Pottstown.
  by ExCon90
 
On 1: the connection with 30th St. existed at one time; it might be simply a matter of reinstalling a switch. The choke point is the single track between Zoo and the point (Falls?) where CSX diverges to cross the river en route to North Jersey; their trains off the High Line use it all the way from Zoo, while those using the old B&O route join it at Belmont. There are enough tracks between Belmont and Falls to enable some flexibility, but from Zoo to Belmont it's single track and destined to remain so because it goes through Fairmount Park. N&W trains off the High Line use it from Zoo to Abrams and beyond. It would require some delicate choreography to add a dozen or more daily scheduled passenger trains to the mix, and one burst air hose on a long freight would bollix up the passenger service for the rest of the day, with trains being out of place all over. One such delay a week could kill the service.
  by Tom V
 
Okay Amtrak keeps changing the information on these websites, yesterday or the day before it showed the proposed service to Reading by way of Norristown via Cynwyd, Manayunk, and Ivy Ridge (the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro route). Now it's showing on the other side of the river via NS.

Same thing has happened with their page for the Allentown service, yesterday it was showing the route via the Port Reading Secondary with stops in Newark Airport, Metro Park etc.. Now it's showing via the Raritan Valley Line from Newark Penn.

I guess these projects planning is in flux, and once the Infrastructure bill passes the House and the President signs it we can get more specifics. For me I feel strongly that these various projects should try to compliment each other and not diverge funding or resources away from other projects. For instance with the Amtrak service to Allentown, NJ Transit has plans to use Infrastructure funds for the Hunter fly-over to eliminate the need for Raritan Valley line trains to cross over the NEC at grade. This would support Amtrak service to Allentown more than the Port Reading secondary.

Same with the Reading service, SEPTA had been trying for years to get funding for their Schuylkill Valley Metro project. This can revive that project, SEPTA can infill behind Amtrak at least as far as Phoenixville and or Pottstown.
  by Bracdude181
 
Hold on, Amtrak showing passenger train routings on the Port Reading Secondary???????????

How on earth would that work out? Would they detour through Oak Island to go that way then run passenger trains on the whole Lehigh Line? 😂😂😂😂

Not sure why they wouldn’t use the Raritan Valley Line all the way to High Bridge, then fix up the existing line up to Bloomsbury. That way they don’t have to deal with NS for most of the trip.
  by ExCon90
 
The Schuylkill Valley Metro was a bad idea from the start. The SEPTA GM at the time came from St. Louis and had a fixed idea that the St. Louis model was the way to go, but the distance from Reading to Philadelphia is way too long for light rail, let alone with the street running that would have been necessary in downtown Philadelphia. Commuter rail or better is needed in that corridor.
  by rcthompson04
 
ExCon90 wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 8:59 pm On 1: the connection with 30th St. existed at one time; it might be simply a matter of reinstalling a switch. The choke point is the single track between Zoo and the point (Falls?) where CSX diverges to cross the river en route to North Jersey; their trains off the High Line use it all the way from Zoo, while those using the old B&O route join it at Belmont. There are enough tracks between Belmont and Falls to enable some flexibility, but from Zoo to Belmont it's single track and destined to remain so because it goes through Fairmount Park. N&W trains off the High Line use it from Zoo to Abrams and beyond. It would require some delicate choreography to add a dozen or more daily scheduled passenger trains to the mix, and one burst air hose on a long freight would bollix up the passenger service for the rest of the day, with trains being out of place all over. One such delay a week could kill the service.
Has passenger service ever ran on any of the lines east of Barbadoes Island? I would guess from Zoo to Belmont some passenger trains might have used it at one time.
  by ExCon90
 
According to the Centennial History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company 1846-1946 by Coverdale & Colpitts, around 1871 the Junction Railroad, owned 1/3 each by the Reading, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore (then an independent company) ran from a connection with the PW&B on the west bank of the Schuylkill to the Reading, and a through freight and passenger service was operated between Washington and Jersey City via the B&O to Baltimore, PW&B to Philadelphia, and United Railroads of New Jersey (a property of the PRR) to Jersey City.

In 1880 the B&O shifted its trains to the Delaware & Bound Brook as far as that point, thence the Central Railroad of New Jersey to its Communipaw Terminal in Jersey City, but still using the Junction Railroad. In 1881 the PRR gained control of the PW&B, and the B&O built its own railroad from Baltimore to the east bank of the Schuylkill, connecting there with the Reading and eliminating the Junction Railroad from the route. As far as I know there was no more passenger service over the former Junction Railroad. In the mid-20th century there was one daily freight interchange move from Greenwich Yard on the PRR to the Reading and back -- I don't know of anything else on that line.
  by scratchyX1
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 10:55 am I recommend everyone pull up these maps on a computer screen and look at them as the Reading map offers a lot of detail surprisingly. Here are the approximate locations of interest for that route:

1. 30th Street to the Harrisburg Line. - Noted there would need to be a connection via the High Line - Not necessarily very sophisticated infrastructure.

2. Norristown - The station isn't in Norristown, but Bridgeport. Was there ever passenger service to Bridgeport?
The spot they list on the map is here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bridg ... -75.345272

3. King of Prussia - This would be a new build station behind the Valley Forge Towers. There is a lot of land available for a big parking lot there: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bridg ... 75.3451838

4. Phoenixville - Looks like the old station would be used, which is what has been suggested in the past: https://www.google.com/maps/place/1-17+ ... 75.5104165

5. Pottstown - Same as Phoenixville; the old station would be used. There is decent parking at this spot: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Potts ... 75.6518593

6. Reading - Franklin Station would be used. Lots of parking nearby. https://www.google.com/maps?ll=40.33288 ... n&t=h&z=15

I think the infrastructure for this line could be broken down into a few things:
1. Connection between the 30th Street, High Line and NS Harrisburg Line. - Shouldn't be too difficult as grading already exists.
2. NS Harrisburg Line - Did this line ever host passenger service east of the Barbadoes Island Bridge before? What kind of infrastructure upgrades to the line itself would be needed.
3. Bridgeport - No station exists, but there is a decent amount of parking in town. You could probably get away with a smaller station here.
4. King of Prussia - This is probably going to require the most infrastructure spending. You are starting from scratch and likely the spot that would need the most parking. At least they want it near 422 and not near Abrams Yard.
5. Phoenixville - Single tracked at this location so only one platform might be needed, but there is terrible parking.
6. Pottstown - Probably just need to add platforms.
7. Reading - Same as Pottstown.
I'm surprised they aren't taking in account the study Phoenixville is doing, using the existing septa route to Norristown and then crossing the river.
It'll stay clear of NS,for some distance.
Or does that go to center city, first?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
If there was a way for this proposed train to Reading to serve Norristown, it really should take the existing Septa Norristown Line so that way it can serve Norristown Transportation Center. There are tons of other transportation connections there. Plus, I believe that there are many government offices there.
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