• Amtrak Empire Service (New York State)

  • 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

  • 2906 posts
  • 1
  • 188
  • 189
  • 190
  • 191
  • 192
  • 194
  by mtuandrew
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:08 am I believe there were / are space constrictions, with tunnels, around the Bear Mountain area, though.
This is by no means the only restriction. So, what I’m guessing is that future NYSHSR will probably need to bypass the Hudson Valley in large part, and take to the hills on one side or the other. Higher-speed rail on the other hand will probably be internally-powered for the life of the rail system. (Note I don’t say internal combustion; sometime or another fuel cells may provide motive power.)
  by EuroStar
 
If NYSHSR ever gets built it will be in the Hudson Valley. Any attempt to build on the hills on one side or the other are bound to be many times more expensive. Yes, the tunnels are space constrained as are many other spots, but addressing those will be much cheaper than building from scratch.

Someone more knowledgable should correct me, but I thought that the autoracks used to come to Tarrytown via the OldPut meaning that the only severely restricted clearances are in the one section that contains the tunnels on the current route between Albany and NYC. HSR does not need double stack or autorack clearance, only enough for the wire. I am not sure, but the trash trains might be the tallest freight currently going through and that is likely to disappear sooner or later as NYC has found that loading the trash on boats is cheaper. Redoing the tunnels and any other restricted points is bound to be heaps cheaper than trying to put the tracks high on the hills or drill new tunnels under the mountains.
  by scoostraw
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:25 am
Arlington wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:52 am
SRich wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:21 am Now CSX are selling multiple lines, is there any chance that the to Amtrak leased line wil be sold to Amtrak ore NYDOT?
I'd like to see NYS do a Virginia-style purchase from CSX, and buy 2 track's width of ROW (and any station space) for the whole Empire route they don't own.
Brilliant. It was a 4-track ROW at one point. At least get the portion below Albany.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 4-tracks only as far as Rhinecliff.

Then 2-tracks only from there all the way to Albany. All tunnels and bridges etc. in that section are 2-tracks wide.
  by mvb119
 
scoostraw wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:56 pm
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 4-tracks only as far as Rhinecliff.

Then 2-tracks only from there all the way to Albany. All tunnels and bridges etc. in that section are 2-tracks wide.
Peekskill to Garrison was always two tracks. North of Rhinecliff the right of way was wide enough for there to have been 4 tracks in many places. The NYC seemed to favor building their bridges with a double track span sandwiched between two single track spans as evidenced around Croton and Cold Spring, etc. You can see this on some of the bridge abutments to the north as well where they removed the two side spans and left the middle double track span. I don't recall there being any tunnels on the portion of the Hudson line north of Rhinecliff.
  by scoostraw
 
mvb119 wrote: Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:03 am
scoostraw wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:56 pm
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 4-tracks only as far as Rhinecliff.

Then 2-tracks only from there all the way to Albany. All tunnels and bridges etc. in that section are 2-tracks wide.
Peekskill to Garrison was always two tracks. North of Rhinecliff the right of way was wide enough for there to have been 4 tracks in many places. The NYC seemed to favor building their bridges with a double track span sandwiched between two single track spans as evidenced around Croton and Cold Spring, etc. You can see this on some of the bridge abutments to the north as well where they removed the two side spans and left the middle double track span. I don't recall there being any tunnels on the portion of the Hudson line north of Rhinecliff.
Immediately north of Rhinecliff is Astor Tunnel, which is 2 tracks.
  by mvb119
 
Definitely forgot about that, been a while since I was up that way. I did some searching around though. Looks like the tunnel did in fact have 4 tracks at one point. The bottom link shows 3 tracks as late as 1973.

http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0284.jpg
http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0280.jpg
http://www.twinplanets.com/rr/slides/R ... 07_L.html
  by MACTRAXX
 
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:22 pm
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:25 amBrilliant. It was a 4-track ROW at one point. At least get the portion below Albany.
Amtrak is already in a long-term lease from Schenectady to Poughkeepsie, and it doesn’t sound like they’re in any danger of the lease getting canceled. Why not lease or buy Niagara Falls to Schenectady instead of purchasing Schenectady-Poughkeepsie outright?
Andrew and Everyone:

The 86 mile segment of track between Poughkeepsie and Schenectady should be a
priority for Amtrak and NYS DOT to take full control of insuring its use for improved
passenger train use. (Poughkeepsie is at mile 74; Albany-Rensselaer at mile 142;
Schenectady at mile 160) Ownership of this line along with MNCR south of POU
could lead to future changes such as electrification with any move towards high
speed trains which is currently being proposed by NYS.

The 304 miles of the Water Level Route between Schenectady and Niagara Falls
(SDY-160 to NFL-464 from NY) will be a much more elaborate purchase knowing
that this is CSX main east-west freight route the same as it was under Conrail
and predecessors. Unless NYS DOT purchases this line outright there will have
to be track additions and other upgrades that will satisfy CSX as owner and allow
Amtrak to provide more service along with increases in speed limits on the route.

One of the first improvements could be a second track on the 9 mile segment
between Schenectady and Hoffmanns - where the passenger route meets CSX.
The one good note about this single track is the 110 mile speed limit on the
line between Hoffmanns and just west of Albany that helps move trains through
this single-track "bottleneck".

I realize that I may be repeating what others have mentioned on this subject
but in this case I fully agree that improved Empire Service will benefit NYS
going forward into the future.

MACTRAXX
  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
I think some folks here are missing how much influence the Governor has over MTA and MetroNorth. Lately, the current governor has treated the MTA as his personal fiefdom overriding its decisions and imposing his personal stamp on it. Examples of his micromanagement include overriding the plans and schedule of the L train rehab and specifying a New York State-centric paint scheme for the LIRR M9s and newer subway cars. I've also noted the police cars of the TBTA (MTA Bridges and Tunnels) Police have a prominent "NEW YORK STATE" on the trunk. They almost look like State Police cruisers with the dark blue and gold lettering.

In short, this governor will get what he wants from the MTA. If he wants higher speed for his HSR trains, he'll get it.
  by scoostraw
 
mvb119 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:40 am Definitely forgot about that, been a while since I was up that way. I did some searching around though. Looks like the tunnel did in fact have 4 tracks at one point. The bottom link shows 3 tracks as late as 1973.

http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0284.jpg
http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0280.jpg
http://www.twinplanets.com/rr/slides/R ... 07_L.html
Interesting. I always thought it was 2-track.

Thanks.
  by Ridgefielder
 
EuroStar wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:43 pm If NYSHSR ever gets built it will be in the Hudson Valley. Any attempt to build on the hills on one side or the other are bound to be many times more expensive. Yes, the tunnels are space constrained as are many other spots, but addressing those will be much cheaper than building from scratch.

Someone more knowledgable should correct me, but I thought that the autoracks used to come to Tarrytown via the OldPut meaning that the only severely restricted clearances are in the one section that contains the tunnels on the current route between Albany and NYC. HSR does not need double stack or autorack clearance, only enough for the wire. I am not sure, but the trash trains might be the tallest freight currently going through and that is likely to disappear sooner or later as NYC has found that loading the trash on boats is cheaper. Redoing the tunnels and any other restricted points is bound to be heaps cheaper than trying to put the tracks high on the hills or drill new tunnels under the mountains.
The Putnam Division was the New York Central's high-wide dimension route into NYC back in the day. However, GM North Tarrytown Assembly outlasted the Put as a through route by almost 35 years-- the tracks on the middle 25 miles of the Put from Eastview to Lake Mahopac were lifted in 1962, GM pulled out of Tarrytown in 1996. So autoracks must be able to clear the Bear Mountain tunnels.

I've said this over and over again in other places, but: we have to remember that the goal is a higher *average* speed, not a higher *top* speed. Given that the New York Central's secondary NY-Chicago train, the Commodore Vanderbilt, took 2hrs40mins to cover GCT-Albany in 1948 (roughly the same as today's Empire Service) it's not unreasonable to think there are improvements that could be made short of building the Mid-Hudson TGV that could get you over the ~140 miles along the Hudson in closer to 2 hrs.
  by scoostraw
 
I remember when bridges were raised on the Hudson Division for the auto racks.

Also if memory serves, I also recall one or more of the bridges having been struck by high loads before they were raised,
  by rcthompson04
 
WhartonAndNorthern wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:09 am I think some folks here are missing how much influence the Governor has over MTA and MetroNorth. Lately, the current governor has treated the MTA as his personal fiefdom overriding its decisions and imposing his personal stamp on it. Examples of his micromanagement include overriding the plans and schedule of the L train rehab and specifying a New York State-centric paint scheme for the LIRR M9s and newer subway cars. I've also noted the police cars of the TBTA (MTA Bridges and Tunnels) Police have a prominent "NEW YORK STATE" on the trunk. They almost look like State Police cruisers with the dark blue and gold lettering.

In short, this governor will get what he wants from the MTA. If he wants higher speed for his HSR trains, he'll get it.
Yes that is the point I don't understand when I noted that Metro North is a creature that exists at the state's will. If Cuomo wants MetroNorth to allow faster Amtrak service, he will get it.

What is exactly Metro North's issue with higher speeds? This seems like the kind of issue that could go away at least in part with some money and prodding.
  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:11 pm

Yes that is the point I don't understand when I noted that Metro North is a creature that exists at the state's will. If Cuomo wants MetroNorth to allow faster Amtrak service, he will get it.

What is exactly Metro North's issue with higher speeds? This seems like the kind of issue that could go away at least in part with some money and prodding.
Likely:
  • they have to pay to maintain the track at a higher class
  • they have to reengineer the signal system (recheck block lengths vs stopping distance, longer blocks or cascaded signals [3-block or 4-block])
  • Possibly re-certification of the PTC for higher speeds and maybe adding additional cab-signal aspects similar to what Amtrak did with ACSES II
  • they want to avoid dispatching complexities of mixing high speed intercity trains with express and local (all-stop) commuter trains
Now if someone offers to pay for this or if NY transfers title to a state HSR authority, things may change.
  by Ridgefielder
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:11 pm
WhartonAndNorthern wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:09 am I think some folks here are missing how much influence the Governor has over MTA and MetroNorth. Lately, the current governor has treated the MTA as his personal fiefdom overriding its decisions and imposing his personal stamp on it. Examples of his micromanagement include overriding the plans and schedule of the L train rehab and specifying a New York State-centric paint scheme for the LIRR M9s and newer subway cars. I've also noted the police cars of the TBTA (MTA Bridges and Tunnels) Police have a prominent "NEW YORK STATE" on the trunk. They almost look like State Police cruisers with the dark blue and gold lettering.

In short, this governor will get what he wants from the MTA. If he wants higher speed for his HSR trains, he'll get it.
Yes that is the point I don't understand when I noted that Metro North is a creature that exists at the state's will. If Cuomo wants MetroNorth to allow faster Amtrak service, he will get it.

What is exactly Metro North's issue with higher speeds? This seems like the kind of issue that could go away at least in part with some money and prodding.
Couple things.

First, there's physics. Which even His Excellency can't overrule. Because of friction you can't go much over 80mph on under-running third rail. 100mph is the absolute outside limit for any sort of regular service on third rail-- believe the Brits have some trains that reach that on the London-Brighton line, which is over-running 3rd rail using the somewhat-terrifying British system in which the uncovered energized rail is at the same level as the running rails.

Then, there's station spacing. There are 15 stations in the 22 miles between Spuyten Duyvil and Croton-Harmon. No point spending big $ to bring the line up a couple FRA classes if very few of your trains will ever reach that speed because they're always accelerating out of or braking for a station.\

If you want to speed things up, figure out a way to run faster up the river and west of Albany where there's open space to run.
  by Greg Moore
 
Someone with more history can correct me, but I believe about 15 years ago Metro North lowered the speeds on their tracks because it didn't do them much good with the higher speed. This is when Amtrak trains lost about 10 minutes to Albany.

The solution I've been told (which should be easier with PTC as I understand it) is to implement full moving blocks so you can have more traffic density and higher average speeds.
The other spot to work on for Amtrak's sake is to improve the Spuyten Duyvil Interchange. Amtrak spends too much time there waiting in my experience.

As I've said... if Amtrak has clear tracks.. it can do NYP-ALB in 2:00 hours. Years back, last train on Friday, clear signals all the way to Poughkeepsie. Arrive 10 minutes early. Since that station is NOT "Discharge only" at that hour of night, we had to wait 10 minutes before leaving. At the time, the train was carded at 2:20 to Albany. So there's 20 minutes right there.

But that was before the MNRR change in track speeds I seem to recall.
So.. again.. it's all about the small stuff for now.
  • 1
  • 188
  • 189
  • 190
  • 191
  • 192
  • 194