• 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 Railjunkie
 
RSD15 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:40 pm 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.

So what happens when trains meet on the single track? If I read your post correctly Amtrak has track two only NO track one because its gone. Or are you saying Amtrak would need to access CSX tracks to pass each other? I dont see how this would work cause I maybe one of the guys running one of these new HSR trains and I would like to make it home in one piece.

As for Dewitt and the SYR station. The second track was for the OnTrack service not for Amtrak.

CSX just dumped a ton of money into signal and track up grades around the station and CP 290. New automatic is in service just east of the station on track 7. Track 7 is now signaled for both directions and will be brought up to 50mph from 30mph. CP290 has had the 30mph crossovers replaced with 45 mph crossovers. Few others but that was a quick scan of the bulletin.
  by RRspatch
 
Back in the dark days before E Hunter Harrison kicked the bucket (sadly his terrible ideas live on) there was a rumor of plans to single track the line from Albany to Buffalo. This was reported in a thread in the New York Railfan sub-forum. I assume this was proposed to cut the CSXT New York state tax bill. Well here's an idea that might please everyone ....

Build CSXT a new line on the two vacant trackways on the north side. Construct it to the old Southern Railway setup of 10/10 ... that is 10 miles single/10 mile double or what ever configuration CSXT desires. Once construction is complete CSXT gets the NEW trackage at a LOWER tax rate with NO Amtrak trains to contend with. Amtrak gets the current two main track line on the south side to run as many trains as New York state wants. Done. It will cost a lot of $$ but will be cheaper and quicker than building at new high speed line Albany to Buffalo as the ROW is already there.
  by electricron
 
RRspatch wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:51 pm Well here's an idea that might please everyone ....

Build CSXT a new line on the two vacant trackways on the north side. Construct it to the old Southern Railway setup of 10/10 ... that is 10 miles single/10 mile double or what ever configuration CSXT desires. Once construction is complete CSXT gets the NEW trackage at a LOWER tax rate with NO Amtrak trains to contend with. Amtrak gets the current two main track line on the south side to run as many trains as New York state wants. Done. It will cost a lot of $$ but will be cheaper and quicker than building at new high speed line Albany to Buffalo as the ROW is already there.
Looks like CSX is getting a raw deal, giving up an existing double track line for a single track with passing siding line. Why should CSX feel good about that?
Who is going to pay and then maintain the signals for the additional new track, and who is going to pay and then maintain the signals for the existing track allowing higher speeds? When you get to the bottom line, CSX will. New York State, Amtrak, or the FRA will pony up half the money - maybe - but guess who is left paying the remaining half? CSX.

It is a no deal arrangement.

A better solution would be for New York State to dig deep and spend more money on a true, 200 mph HSR line. Buffalo to Albany is 293 miles. New York City to Albany is 152 miles. The total would be 445 miles.
Here's how long it would take to travel that far at various average speeds.
445 / 50 mph = 8.9 hours
445 / 70 mph = 6.4 hours
445 / 90 mph = 4.9 hours
445 / 110 mph = 4 hours
445 / 130 mph = 3.4 hours
445 / 150 mph = 3 hours
293 / 50 mph = 5.9 hours
293 / 70 mph = 4.2 hours
293 / 90 mph = 3.3 hours
293 / 110 mph = 2.7 hours
293 / 130 mph = 2.3 hours
293 / 150 mph= 1.9 hours
I'll let you do the math for the New York City to Albany elapse times.
And, just for the record, the internet reports realistic driving times of 4.6 hours between Albany and Buffalo.

Keeping the discussion to Albany to Buffalo times, a train would have to average 100 mph to make the trip in 3 hours. Which means maximum train speeds of at least 150 mph. You are not going to get there within the existing CSX owned railroad corridor. While maximum speeds of 90 mph may seem like a huge improvement, is it really worth all the costs you propose for around an hour in time savings. Golly, we are not talking about a 30 mile single track line, we are talking about 300 miles of double track.

Take a closer look at the calculations above. A distance of 300 miles or so is just a little bit too far to meet the 3 hours sweet spot for 125 mph maximum speed trains. A distancer of 450 miles or so meets the sweet spot for true 200+ mph HSR trains. Albany to Buffalo travelers would be happy with 125 mph maximum speed trains, New York City to Buffalo would not. Yet you are proposing 90 mph maximum speed trains? Which passenger does New York State wish to run the trains for? Passengers crossing the entire state? Passengers wishing to travel distances shorter than 100 miles? Only then can you choose which type of train service to invest $Billions on.

Too often in the USA politicians fund infrastructure projects that only meet minimal aspirations, which almost immediately requires them to find more funding improving upon it. We can always add more whatever to make some projects better later; more lanes, more floors, more wings, more structures, more of everything! You can make trains better later by adding more trains, but you can not make the trains go any faster than designed. To make the trains go faster you will need to build a new railroad corridor designed for those faster train speeds.

Where should New York State build the new railroad corridor on? Within I-90 right-of-way, within CSX right-of-way, or in a brand new right-of-way? A brand new right-of-way would distribute cash to far more people than either of the other options, it would also allow true HSR trains saving consumers the most time and maximizing the economic benefits for intercity travel within the State. A new railroad corridor would also affect more landowners nearby negatively, but I believe the positives should outweigh the negatives. Avoiding negatives impacts at all costs is why people keep proposing using the inadequate existing corridors. Duh?
  by RSD15
 
Railjunkie wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:17 am
RSD15 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:40 pm 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.
So what happens when trains meet on the single track? If I read your post correctly Amtrak has track two only NO track one because its gone. Or are you saying Amtrak would need to access CSX tracks to pass each other? I dont see how this would work cause I maybe one of the guys running one of these new HSR trains and I would like to make it home in one piece.

Well of coarse they will need sidings, CTC, PTC, and at least some cp's to the freight mains. If ever they put on more trains then double tracking would make sense. I'm not talking about super HS rail just 100-110 like Albany to Hoffmans .

As for Dewitt and the SYR station. The second track was for the OnTrack service not for Amtrak.

Yes I'm well aware that the empty track was built for OnTrack but since there is Zero chance that OnTrack is going to use it, Amtrak could easily use it as a second station track. The hitch is they will need a new Park st bridge.

CSX just dumped a ton of money into signal and track up grades around the station and CP 290. New automatic is in service just east of the station on track 7. Track 7 is now signaled for both directions and will be brought up to 50mph from 30mph. CP290 has had the 30mph crossovers replaced with 45 mph crossovers. Few others but that was a quick scan of the bulletin.


Yes well this won't be CSX money, the Feds have plenty to spend on infrastructure.
  by Railjunkie
 
RSD15 wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:26 am
Railjunkie wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:17 am
RSD15 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:40 pm 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.
So what happens when trains meet on the single track? If I read your post correctly Amtrak has track two only NO track one because its gone. Or are you saying Amtrak would need to access CSX tracks to pass each other? I dont see how this would work cause I maybe one of the guys running one of these new HSR trains and I would like to make it home in one piece.

Well of coarse they will need sidings, CTC, PTC, and at least some cp's to the freight mains. If ever they put on more trains then double tracking would make sense. I'm not talking about super HS rail just 100-110 like Albany to Hoffmans .

As for Dewitt and the SYR station. The second track was for the OnTrack service not for Amtrak.

Yes I'm well aware that the empty track was built for OnTrack but since there is Zero chance that OnTrack is going to use it, Amtrak could easily use it as a second station track. The hitch is they will need a new Park st bridge.

CSX just dumped a ton of money into signal and track up grades around the station and CP 290. New automatic is in service just east of the station on track 7. Track 7 is now signaled for both directions and will be brought up to 50mph from 30mph. CP290 has had the 30mph crossovers replaced with 45 mph crossovers. Few others but that was a quick scan of the bulletin.


Yes well this won't be CSX money, the Feds have plenty to spend on infrastructure.
So once again we are back to using the entire 4 track right pf way WHICH CSX OWNS. So as Im zipping along at 100mph and I get an approach auto XXX to cross over onto the CSX freight main at CPYYY because I have to get out of the way of AMT2XX or be on CNN. The CSX dispatcher cant display a signal for me because he has Q00X and tells me gonna catch a few minutes. Ok no biggie, comes back a few minutes later and word has come down from on high aka Jacksonville that a hot UPS train about to leave Dewitt owns the RR. Your gonna sit a bit longer, that in CSX speak means at least 30 minutes. Ohh well so much for the single track theory. Now not only are you taking a hit but so is AMT 2XX cause CSX is not going to do us any favors.

Onto Syracuse station, the Ontrack siding that never was and the Park St bridge. The station itself is built on a swamp the platform and station are slowly sinking. Plenty of work has been done to the platform through the years and it still always looks like it could use more. The Park St bridge sits in the same swamp ans CSX doesn't want to mess with it out of fear it could cause major issues. I believe I heard or read they did a test a drove pilings in an attempt to find bed rock and never did.

CSX is not going to rebuild the entire railroad for 8 to 10 Amtrak trains a day. Again the pile of money needed one would need the space shuttle to fly over the top. Everybody wants the Fed the to pony up the money and I say we cant keep spending like a couple of drunk sailors on shore leave either.

Fed money can be spent in better places than sorta HSR across a state that people and business are leaving in record numbers on account its too expensive. If you want HSR in NYS first lets fix what we have then move forward.
  by Greg Moore
 
Things are getting better in NYS State
https://www.facebook.com/esparail/photo ... 296641743/
Some pull quotes:
Hudson Valley ridership came in at 79,100 - 81% of the comparable pre-Covid March 2019 count of 97,800.
and
The Ethan Allen Express recorded 4,000 passengers in March – 105% of the comparable pre-Covid March 2019 count of 3,800.
It should be noted, the Empire Service has not returned to its full schedule.
  by NaugyRR
 
I believe it, the past few rides I've been on out of Rhinecliff have been some pretty busy trains all things considering
  by cle
 
I used this a lot and it's been packed. It needs to grow - should be wired, speeded and signalled up like Keystone. Hudston station works too.

2tph to Albany (one maybe slower, with the Yonkers, Croton stops, maybe also Beacon) and then a fast tph to Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson only - which is the one that goes onwards to wherever.

Far better doubling growth and intensifying existing corridors with potential than more tendrils of daily mail train service. Similar to the NHHS line - overhauling a corridor works well.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
cle wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 7:21 am 2tph to Albany (one maybe slower, with the Yonkers, Croton stops, maybe also Beacon) and then
a fast tph to Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson only - which is the one that goes onwards to
wherever.
Even Metro-North north of Croton is usually one per hour except AM/PM peak, so 2ph to Albany might be
overdoing it.
  by Railjunkie
 
We once had a Superintendent in Albany who was on his way to having a train on the rails every hour of the day. Unfortunately he was let go do to something he said during a bad situation. I will bet some of you on here may know him. Smart man ran into him multiple times after he was let go and always had a chat about what he saw for the Empire Service, not quite two an hour but close during the afternoon rush with about a two hour break between 2AM and 4AM where nothing was turning a wheel.

We can only wish for this now NYS either has no interest or $$$ to add service neither does Amtrak.
  by Greg Moore
 
I'd be a bit surprised if Albany could support 2ph, but if it could fill in the morning gap (I think it's around 11 AM?) that would be huge.

What I definitely think Albany should be doing more of is like Virginia: extend trains past Albany. Right now on a normal scheduled I think there's 13 trains daily through Albany (from NYP). Ignoring the LSL for a moment that gives:
Ethan Allen - already goes beyond Albany (and shortly all the way to Burlington)
Maple Leaf - Toronto
Adirondack - Montreal
3 others to Buffalo (I think I've got that right)

That leaves 6 trains a day terminating in Albany. Except for the summer, one on Friday's that will back towards Pittsfield.

How about we get a few more trains a day and then extend 1-2 day to Saratoga (I believe there used to be one during track season?)
And 1-2 that continue doing the trip to Pittsfield on a more regular basis (with stops in Chatham and perhaps the state line where it can meet some busses/etc into the Stockbridge area)
And 1-2 down towards Binghamton
And of course 1-2 more towards Buffalo.

Just ways of feeding more into NYS.
  by west point
 
2 items
A. Get Amtrak to quit its stupid cost allocation schemes/
B. Get NY state to allocate more funds.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
RRspatch wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:51 pm Build CSXT a new line on the two vacant trackways on the north side......Amtrak gets the current two main track line on the south side
Mr. Spatch, this essentially is how the Central operated the Water Level Route - two of the four tracks for passenger, two for freight. It took St. Elwood's forefather, Al Pearlman, to realize how unsustainable such was - especially in an environment of "the only good passenger train was a discontinued passenger train"
  by Railjunkie
 
Greg Moore wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 11:50 pm I'd be a bit surprised if Albany could support 2ph, but if it could fill in the morning gap (I think it's around 11 AM?) that would be huge.

What I definitely think Albany should be doing more of is like Virginia: extend trains past Albany. Right now on a normal scheduled I think there's 13 trains daily through Albany (from NYP). Ignoring the LSL for a moment that gives:
Ethan Allen - already goes beyond Albany (and shortly all the way to Burlington)
Maple Leaf - Toronto
Adirondack - Montreal
3 others to Buffalo (I think I've got that right)

That leaves 6 trains a day terminating in Albany. Except for the summer, one on Friday's that will back towards Pittsfield.

How about we get a few more trains a day and then extend 1-2 day to Saratoga (I believe there used to be one during track season?)
And 1-2 that continue doing the trip to Pittsfield on a more regular basis (with stops in Chatham and perhaps the state line where it can meet some busses/etc into the Stockbridge area)
And 1-2 down towards Binghamton
And of course 1-2 more towards Buffalo.

Just ways of feeding more into NYS.
Excluding the LSL there are 3 trains a day towards Buffalo AMT 63, Monday will once again cross the boarder and continue onto Toronto. AMTs 281 283 final destination is Niagara Falls NY.Not much there any longer except the casino and a lot of run down buildings.

As for AMT 69 the Adirondack currently not running when it may start service is anyones guess. NYS would like it to be ASAP. CN would like it to be never unless a boatloads of cash show up, perhaps?? Wonder if this has anything to do with you cant run out trains we will dispatch your territory. Hhhmmm. Then again it is a lightly used branch line that CN knows Amtrak needs for the train and will constantly try and make it difficult for them to use it.

Pittsfeild, have a feeling those numbers maybe grossly inflated once people figure out it may be a cheaper fare to travel to Mass. than within NYS.

Just my .02 worth. Its above my pay grade I just make them stop and go.
  by Greg Moore
 
Yeah, I'm not 100% sure how well the NYP-Pittsfield will really work on its own, hence suggesting adding stuff like Chatham.

And honestly, I'd LOVE a morning train to Boston and an evening train back. THAT I would probably take from time to time over driving.
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