• 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

  by gokeefe
 
It's interesting to see how yet again we "discover" as it were one of the inefficiencies of the legacy carrier model ...

Long trains needing four engines (for example the famous A+B+B+A sets) in order to make track speed and hold a tight timetable with 13+ car consists ...

Empire Service most definitely appears headed for a future of continued service increases. The sooner they can increase frequency to and from New York the sooner they can build more to the West.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by Railjunkie
 
gokeefe wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 9:43 am It's interesting to see how yet again we "discover" as it were one of the inefficiencies of the legacy carrier model ...

Long trains needing four engines (for example the famous A+B+B+A sets) in order to make track speed and hold a tight timetable with 13+ car consists ...

Empire Service most definitely appears headed for a future of continued service increases. The sooner they can increase frequency to and from New York the sooner they can build more to the West.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

Those famous ABBA sets didn't have the tractive effort or horsepower the current Amtrak locomotives have. Some only had a simple roots blower no turbo and if course didn't supply HEP to the train. As an added bonus the legacy RR were not under constant scrutiny for fuel usage.
There are rules for us to follow in the use of two locomotives, when we can and cant. If we have a P42/40 how long before we have to switch over to a different generator for HEP to conserve fuel ect. I do remember a time when the LSL was going west with one locomotive along with many of the FLA trains. That may have been during the D. Gunn era. Frequencies are nice but you have about 63ish miles of railroad you don't control that you would need slots from and they (MNRR) may or may not be accommodating.

Hourly service was close here is a link to a 2018 Empire Timetable northbound
https://juckins.net/amtrak_timetables/a ... 180526.pdf
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
90 mph speeds west of Hoffmans would still be fast. Finding ways to remove as many speed restrictions as possible would be a big help, as long as if it's safe and effective. Hopefully additional track can be added west of Schenectady. This would not only benefit Amtrak but it would also help CSX out. Even if the NY State were to ever purchase the right of way, CSX would still run on the Water Level Route.

As for adding more service south of Albany, remember that it must also be approved by Metro North as they own much of the route from Poughkeepsie downward, except the Westside Line in Manhattan of course. MNR would have to add more tracks along sections of the Hudson Line between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie. I know that there is talk about them adding a third main between just north of the Village of Cold Spring and Poughkeepsie. I don't think people who live in the Village of Cold Spring would want the third track passing through there. There is little room to add one anyway. This might be worth looking into-restore the third track at Peekskill Station and have it merge into one of the existing tracks just north of the station. This would enable an Amtrak train to overtake a stopped Metro North. On the Westside Line, adding a second track where it's only single track is probably worth looking into.
  by Railjunkie
 
As for adding more service south of Albany, remember that it must also be approved by Metro North as they own much of the route from Poughkeepsie downward, except the Westside Line in Manhattan of course. MNR would have to add more tracks along sections of the Hudson Line between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie. I know that there is talk about them adding a third main between just north of the Village of Cold Spring and Poughkeepsie. I don't think people who live in the Village of Cold Spring would want the third track passing through there. There is little room to add one anyway. This might be worth looking into-restore the third track at Peekskill Station and have it merge into one of the existing tracks just north of the station. This would enable an Amtrak train to overtake a stopped Metro North. On the Westside Line, adding a second track where it's only single track is probably worth looking into.
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Metro North could add a third track between Cold Spring CP53 and Poughkeepsie could make sense, if traffic levels warranted the expense. Plenty of room. Most of that was four track back in the NYCRR days. Peekskill, they realigned the curve there many years ago and I don't think there is enough reason to go through the expense of adding another interlocking so that the occasional Amtrak wont catch a few minutes following the local. Most RTCs are pretty good about getting us around them at CP39 if your going southbound. Northbound if all things are equal and they can do it out of Harmon they will. Unfortunately the days of the hey give me a "good move" between X and Y so I can get you around the local are gone due to ACSES.

South of CP12 on the Empire Connection the only single track is the Spuyten Duyvil bridge and the Empire tunnel, dont see either of those getting double tracked anytime soon. Unless something has really gone sideways in Penn or Ive had to wait for the bridge to close I cant remember taking a large hit on time due those spots.

CSX, I dont know how to explain this any better if they are involved you will not get more trains higher speeds track or any other pie in the sky dream one can come up with. Unless you come to the table with a plilr of money one would need the space shuttle to fly over the top of it. NYS asked for 90mph out to Buffalo and was denied. No tickie no washie simple as that. Build that extra track for passenger service you truly think Amtrak is going to use it? If CSX has access to it they will find away to use it for something.
As an example, lets look at the Sunset through FLA. Amtrak spent a lot o cash on a new siding built to passenger specs to help the Sunset get through a yard in Tallahassee?? Train never saw the siding but most CSX freight trains did. They run us because they have to not because they want to.

I work here and would love to see more trains and higher speeds but there is more to it than we deserve need or otherwise especially when dealing with foreign railroads.
  by ctclark1
 
CSX has done almost everything under the sun to prevent Amtrak picking up higher speeds along the WLR corridor west of Albany.
"Upgrade the track? Nah, it's good for our 60mph max intermodals. Live with it."

Build out a third track for Amtrak's exclusive use? I think CSX half-heartedly "agreed" to that knowing full well it wouldn't happen. They required a minimum clearance to CSX's tracks. I don't remember the details of this one, but I think it fell slightly outside of where the 4th track used to sit, and would've caused problems anywhere there was a third track/passing siding. Not to mention the places where it would have interfered with the yards.
Here's the thing to remember with that, every time someone brings up the "but it used to be 4 tracks!" argument -- On this portion of the WLR, New York Central ran all passenger trains on the southern tracks (2 and 1) and all freights on the northern tracks (3 and 4, running "left handed"). While there were safety reasons in this little experiment (preventing high-speed sideswipes if a freight load leaned into the passenger tracks), it also meant that they could build all of their freight yards to the north and all their passenger stations to the south, so there was never interference between the passenger and freight trains when making stops. When they installed the CTC to begin running two-direction tracks, they ripped out 3 and 4 as they were obviously the slower speed tracks and in worse condition. But all the yards and stations remained where they were, and for the most part are still where they are today. The only location within the ROW that Amtrak/NYS could even hope to build out an HSR track would be on the north side, which would mean having to figure out how to bypass all the yards on the north and rebuild all their stations to the north as well, or interfere with CSX at every station and yard along the route, which no doubt would slash the time benefits of hitting 100mph along the way.

There's portions of old ROWs that they could piecemeal together to create something resembling a separate route that still hits most of the cities --
  • Lehigh from Buffalo to Batavia
  • Lehigh or Peanut or Erie from Batavia to Leroy/P&L
  • Strike a deal with G&W to use the old B&O line into Rochester
  • A lot of the old West Shore from east of Rochester to Albany
  • Some other random pieces here and there, such as the SusieQ into Utica...
-- But you'd still end up running on CSX trackage into and out of the cities to hit existing stations, or rebuilding new stations outside of the area. And while some sections like the Lehigh between Buffalo and Batavia are straight as an arrow, the West Shore is anything but, so I doubt you'd ever hit 100mph most of that way. Best you could hope for is less chance of losing slots with CSX so you don't end up sitting on a siding waiting for 4 freights to lumber by before you can make it into the next station.

Edit: And let's not forget about NIMBYs along those abandoned ROWs I mentioned...

Much as I'd like to see it, realistically HSR ALB-BUF is an idea as dead as ever seeing passenger traffic in BCT again.
  by Greg Moore
 
I'm a bit more optimistic, but agree, there's LOTS of hurdles here.

I believe the track on track center was 20'? (normally 12'?) The CSX argument (which I suspect has SOME merit but not much) is that especially on curves, they don't want an outsize load swinging out and hitting a passenger train.

But yes, the distance is greater than the distance to where the 3rd track was, but not quite where the 4th was.

But the 150mph option, not gonna happen barring some miracle.
  by RSD15
 
I think a simpler option would be to just give Amtrak track two and rebuild the freight mains where 3 and 4 used to be. This still probably wouldn't meet the CSX distance rule but would give Amtrak their own dedicated track good for maybe 100-110 mph without moving stations and yards across the state.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
NY State should follow what Virginia is doing in terms of letting passenger trains run on their own tracks in the future after more track capacity is added from DC-Richmond. While NY State and Amtrak may say fine for building separate tracks for both passenger and freight, CSX might not like that. I don't think too many stations would have to be moved, although it would be great to have Amsterdam Station located to the Downtown area.
  by Railjunkie
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 7:17 pm NY State should follow what Virginia is doing in terms of letting passenger trains run on their own tracks in the future after more track capacity is added from DC-Richmond. While NY State and Amtrak may say fine for building separate tracks for both passenger and freight, CSX might not like that. I don't think too many stations would have to be moved, although it would be great to have Amsterdam Station located to the Downtown area.

Once again CSX owns the right of way. Their field, their ball, their bat, their game. Period. It will not happen as long as they (CSX) is involved. Amsterdam is a dead city ridership wouldn't improve with a new station even if it was located downtown at the original NYCRR location. All the stations except one are on the south side the only straggler Amsterdam, couldn't be built on the north side at its current location it be in the Mohawk.

All of the yards are on the north side, one of which is Dewitt a large IM site. HSR where the freight track was isnt happening. They will not tolerate any games with their FedEx and UPS trains, followed and held plenty of times.
  by rohr turbo
 
I think CSX should/would be willing to play ball. Every dozen or 100 miles of 3rd/4th track ROW land they cede to Amtrak/NYS is reduced property taxes they owe (I assume), less interference from Amtrak trains, and this land is sitting unused anyway. Seems win-win to me, even at trivial $1 transfer cost. Amtrak/NYS must fund the re-railing, but they know how to do that.

Extra redundant trackage helps both CSX and Amtrak. It would be wonderful for OTP of Empire trains and the resulting increased patronage.
  by eolesen
 
Using the track 3/4 ROW isn't a bad idea. Just bridge the yard approaches with flyovers since the passenger trains aren't ever going to be stopping within yard limits... Bridging isn't cheap but with prefabrication, it's not entirely challenging or difficult.
  by Railjunkie
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:40 am Using the track 3/4 ROW isn't a bad idea. Just bridge the yard approaches with flyovers since the passenger trains aren't ever going to be stopping within yard limits... Bridging isn't cheap but with prefabrication, it's not entirely challenging or difficult.
Nice idea except...

In the case of a place like Dewitt the yard is right up against the mains. There is no room you would have to bridge over the yard throats and a couple of yard tracks. Apprx. four miles. Once you came down on the other side One would still have to cross over 4 tracks to get to the station. Assuming there is enough room with the over head bridges and business that are currently in the way.
Utica the Yard is directly across from the station granted it is not as busy as Dewitt but there is a short line that does use it. CSX still sets off and picks up. Plus another short line on the south side.The idea could work there, maybe ish. Been a long while since Ive been out to Buffalo and Rochester. What I can remember from both is that your in the same boat as Dewitt the yard tracks are tight to the mains.
  by SRich
 
gokeefe wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 5:41 pm
west point wrote:Again Amtrak is causing over sold conditions by limiting number of passenger cars. When will the pols catch on that Amtrak seems to be limiting passengers and revenue ? No one is answering these questions.
Amtrak's approach is not to lengthen trains but to increase frequencies and incrementally grow service. They learned the lesson that the legacy railroads either of ignored, denied or couldn't afford. Passenger service can't grow on peaks alone it needs the shoulder traffic as well.
Have Amtrak enough P32-DM for the extra trains?

About the added services. Amtrak with NY state could buy the route from CSX including the part they already leasing allowing it further in future to have more high speed trains with an MAS to 125 mph. CSX can negotiate exclusive track rights and Amtrak can rebuild the entire line allowing the extra trains.
  by RSD15
 
I'm not advocating to use the old track 4 row for Amtrak. What I'm saying is to give Amtrak present day track 2 and rebuild the freight mains to the old 3&4 row. You would end up with CSX tracks 4 and 3 an empty space where track 1 was and Amtrak track 2. No need for flyovers or moving stations.
There was a similar but smaller proposal floating around about 10 years ago. They would add a second track at the station using the still born OnTrack platform and extend track 7 out to cp293, CSX would get a new Park st. bridge. Going East they would turn track 2 into 7 from 286 all the way to cp278 and reinstall the track where track 3 was. Of coarse nothing ever happened with it but with CSX busier than ever at their newly expanded "inland port" you would think they would be happy to get Amtrak out of their way and off their freight mains around Dewitt.
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