• Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by lirr42
 
ThirdRail7 wrote:I guess they are taking this proposal to the next level since the window of opportunity is narrowing. Apparently, LIRR has been approached about temporarily abandoning West Side Yard.

A brief "fair use" quote:

Amtrak tunnel project to uproot LIRR facility
http://newyork.newsday.com/news/new-yor ... -1.5129041
The LIRR mainline is about to get a whole lot busier. (Aside: Hmmm, if only the LIRR still had the Lower Montauk to put all the desiels on. That'd sure be helpful)

But anyways, not only is the loss of the maintenance facilities going to be problematic, that article kinda looked over the fact that it a huge strategic staging yard for the LIRR. The LIRR is going to need to make a lot more equipment runs to get all that equipment out of there during rush hour. The East River Tunnels, HAROLD, and such will be busier as well (I hope Amtrak's going to afford the LIRR the sufficient amount of extra slots in the ERT's for any new equipment runs, if they had to start canceling trains because of this it would not go over well at all). And if there are any delays, bad things are going to pile up quick.

Do they know when they would start this? (like are we talking this summer, next year, after ESA opens, or what?)

(PS: by the way, the article says that the LIRR is slated to get $1 billion from the lease—they're not. That money's going right to MTA Capital Construction to offset the cost of ESA, SAS, and the like.)
  by Arlington
 
Does anyone know what clearance (plate?) the new Gateway Tunnels assume?

Some logical choices are:
1) LIRR/NJT double deckers (which is "bigger"?)
2) MBTA/MARC-height double deckers
3) Other

If the Gateway Tunnels are made to accommodated modern, taller rolling stock, where then are the other chokepoints? NYP Platforms? (vs Moynahan) or East River Tunnels? And here's a really ignorant question: I know NJT's tunnels were just on the Hudson (North) river.

What provision for additinal full-through new route are there when Amtrak plans? Do they assume that the NEC will always be DC-heavy (needing only better Jersey access)? Or assume that if the need arises for more north & east they'll continue East (in a new tunnel) or turn to Grand Central (to the east side access platforms)?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Arlington wrote:Does anyone know what clearance (plate?) the new Gateway Tunnels assume?

Some logical choices are:
1) LIRR/NJT double deckers (which is "bigger"?)
2) MBTA/MARC-height double deckers
3) Other

If the Gateway Tunnels are made to accommodated modern, taller rolling stock, where then are the other chokepoints? NYP Platforms? (vs Moynahan) or East River Tunnels? And here's a really ignorant question: I know NJT's tunnels were just on the Hudson (North) river.

What provision for additinal full-through new route are there when Amtrak plans? Do they assume that the NEC will always be DC-heavy (needing only better Jersey access)? Or assume that if the need arises for more north & east they'll continue East (in a new tunnel) or turn to Grand Central (to the east side access platforms)?
It's a safe assumption they'll build it to the maximum passenger car height and width, regardless of the Penn or East River clearances. Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100? It's very prudent to provision for it when you're talking a tunnel that'll have minimum 100-year useful life and probably much much longer. The current infrastructure will be 2 centuries old before the not-yet-built infrastructure needs its first major midlife structural rehab. It's entirely possible--even likely--at those ultra-long timeframes that all the other historic relics in the area will have been fully replaced/bypassed by then.
  by lirr42
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:It's a safe assumption they'll build it to the maximum passenger car height and width, regardless of the Penn or East River clearances.
I can pretty confidently say that that will not be the case. With bigger tunnels comes bigger expenses, and while one day we might see bigger cars entering through Penn Station at some point, it's not going to be in our lifetimes, so most politicians will just take the view that that will be their problem when it arises (and they can pay for it themselves, then).

And when you think about it, it's always been done this way. Why didn't the builders of the North River Tunnels build four tunnels way at the beginning of the project, then we wouldn't need to have ARC or son of ARC or NECFUTURE or anything like that. And the answer is simple...two tunnels was all they needed back then, and if they need two more in the future, let them pay for it.

Ideally we would be forward thinking and plan for all these contingencies. But unfortunately, the folks paying the bill don't care what happens when they're gone. It'll be someone else's problem then.
  by Greg Moore
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Arlington wrote:Does anyone know what clearance (plate?) the new Gateway Tunnels assume?

Some logical choices are:
1) LIRR/NJT double deckers (which is "bigger"?)
2) MBTA/MARC-height double deckers
3) Other

If the Gateway Tunnels are made to accommodated modern, taller rolling stock, where then are the other chokepoints? NYP Platforms? (vs Moynahan) or East River Tunnels? And here's a really ignorant question: I know NJT's tunnels were just on the Hudson (North) river.

What provision for additinal full-through new route are there when Amtrak plans? Do they assume that the NEC will always be DC-heavy (needing only better Jersey access)? Or assume that if the need arises for more north & east they'll continue East (in a new tunnel) or turn to Grand Central (to the east side access platforms)?
It's a safe assumption they'll build it to the maximum passenger car height and width, regardless of the Penn or East River clearances. Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100? It's very prudent to provision for it when you're talking a tunnel that'll have minimum 100-year useful life and probably much much longer. The current infrastructure will be 2 centuries old before the not-yet-built infrastructure needs its first major midlife structural rehab. It's entirely possible--even likely--at those ultra-long timeframes that all the other historic relics in the area will have been fully replaced/bypassed by then.
Arrgh, didn't we just go through this whole discussion in the Bi-Levels on the NEC discussion?

First: which maximum? Colorado Railcar made some pretty tall ones.
Second: Can't go much deeper because then your grades start to get steeper.
Can't go much taller since you have a river above you that has minimum drafts.

As for future traffic, I can't see much more need for awhile under the East River. You already have the 4 East River tunnels out of Penn Station for Amtrak (granted have to share them with LIRR) and for commuter traffic you have Grand Central (which is also getting its own set of LIRR tunnels.)

For points north, you have the one Empire Connection tunnel (which I think there has been SOME discussion of adding a 2nd tunnel for). That covers you to the North and points west. And I suppose if you really wanted to, put the Y back in at Sputyen Dyvell (though I think that's highly unlikely for a variety of reasons)

Finally, they'll almost certainly be about the same size as the current tunnels to accommodate Amtrak's current single-level fleet and foreseeable upgrades. I can see it being a bit wider to better handle firefighting needs and room for standpipes, etc. But don't expect anything too dramatic.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Greg Moore wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Arlington wrote:Does anyone know what clearance (plate?) the new Gateway Tunnels assume?

Some logical choices are:
1) LIRR/NJT double deckers (which is "bigger"?)
2) MBTA/MARC-height double deckers
3) Other

If the Gateway Tunnels are made to accommodated modern, taller rolling stock, where then are the other chokepoints? NYP Platforms? (vs Moynahan) or East River Tunnels? And here's a really ignorant question: I know NJT's tunnels were just on the Hudson (North) river.

What provision for additinal full-through new route are there when Amtrak plans? Do they assume that the NEC will always be DC-heavy (needing only better Jersey access)? Or assume that if the need arises for more north & east they'll continue East (in a new tunnel) or turn to Grand Central (to the east side access platforms)?
It's a safe assumption they'll build it to the maximum passenger car height and width, regardless of the Penn or East River clearances. Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100? It's very prudent to provision for it when you're talking a tunnel that'll have minimum 100-year useful life and probably much much longer. The current infrastructure will be 2 centuries old before the not-yet-built infrastructure needs its first major midlife structural rehab. It's entirely possible--even likely--at those ultra-long timeframes that all the other historic relics in the area will have been fully replaced/bypassed by then.
Arrgh, didn't we just go through this whole discussion in the Bi-Levels on the NEC discussion?

First: which maximum? Colorado Railcar made some pretty tall ones.
Second: Can't go much deeper because then your grades start to get steeper.
Can't go much taller since you have a river above you that has minimum drafts.

As for future traffic, I can't see much more need for awhile under the East River. You already have the 4 East River tunnels out of Penn Station for Amtrak (granted have to share them with LIRR) and for commuter traffic you have Grand Central (which is also getting its own set of LIRR tunnels.)

For points north, you have the one Empire Connection tunnel (which I think there has been SOME discussion of adding a 2nd tunnel for). That covers you to the North and points west. And I suppose if you really wanted to, put the Y back in at Sputyen Dyvell (though I think that's highly unlikely for a variety of reasons)

Finally, they'll almost certainly be about the same size as the current tunnels to accommodate Amtrak's current single-level fleet and foreseeable upgrades. I can see it being a bit wider to better handle firefighting needs and room for standpipes, etc. But don't expect anything too dramatic.
Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100?
Is there something about unknowables on timeframes of > than the 100+ year lifespan of a tunnel bore that is so hard to understand here? Calm the hell down, please.
  by Arlington
 
Greg Moore wrote:Arrgh, didn't we just go through this whole discussion in the Bi-Levels on the NEC discussion?... can see it being a bit wider to better handle firefighting needs and room for standpipes, etc. But don't expect anything too dramatic.
I saw it kinda asked and kinda answered (18' vertical clearance seemed to be the answer, but the thread went (rightly) in the direction of bilevel fleet, rather than future-proof tunnels). Separate discussions of the B&P replacement project in Baltimore have mentioned that the FRA wants as much as Plate H (double-stack and tri-level-car carriers) even though the Union Tunnels (on the other side of Baltimore Penn Station) could not, today, handle them. Similarly the Virginia Ave Tunnel in DC is being redone in Plate H, so, at least for terrestrial tunnels, things are moving in the direction of bigger, future-proof tunnels as they get replaced.
  by ThirdRail7
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100?
Is there something about unknowables on timeframes of > than the 100+ year lifespan of a tunnel bore that is so hard to understand here? Calm the hell down, please.
He's probably referring to LIRR's position that changes of this magnitude occurs every 100 years. When they started ESA and the redesign of Harold, they stated whatever they did will have carry them for the next 100 years.

As for Gateway, has anyone seen an actual plan for the dimensions?
  by Greg Moore
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100?
Is there something about unknowables on timeframes of > than the 100+ year lifespan of a tunnel bore that is so hard to understand here? Calm the hell down, please.
Excuse me? Calm down? I'm not the one doing the Internet equivalent of shouting.

That said, 2100 is just under 90 years away, hardly 100+ years.

That said, time doesn't change the other constraints I mentioned. And yes, this was fully covered in another thread.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Greg Moore wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Those clearances won't be changed in our lifetimes...but by the year 2100?
Is there something about unknowables on timeframes of > than the 100+ year lifespan of a tunnel bore that is so hard to understand here? Calm the hell down, please.
Excuse me? Calm down? I'm not the one doing the Internet equivalent of shouting.

That said, 2100 is just under 90 years away, hardly 100+ years.

That said, time doesn't change the other constraints I mentioned. And yes, this was fully covered in another thread.

What does "90 years away" have to do with anything? Re-read the original post before twisting my words:
...that'll have minimum 100-year useful life and probably much much longer. The current infrastructure will be 2 centuries old before the not-yet-built infrastructure needs its first major midlife structural rehab.
How can I be any more explicit than that? Tunnel infrastructure is designed for a MINIMUM 100-year lifespan without major rehab. And a PROBABLE multi-century lifespan when well-maintained. We are not talking about a path to bi-levels on the corridor. We're not talking the lifetimes of anyone that anyone currently living on earth will ever personally know. We are talking the uncertainty in predicting what will be on either side of the tunnel in its multi-century lifespan. And a measly 1'8" in slack space between the tallest thing currently running into Penn and the tallest thing Amtrak runs that makes hardly any difference to how it gets engineered. Stuff gets overbuilt for a reason.


Do not cite that contentious and often pointless bi-levels thread to "foamer"-discredit a point no one was making in the first place. You know better than that.
  by bostontrainguy
 
As for Gateway, has anyone seen an actual plan for the dimensions?
Yes, I have seen cross-section drawings that show 18ft between top-of-rail and the tunnel ceiling. There appears a good amount of space between top-of-rail and the tunnel bottom for ballast, ties, and rail, so if the rails were attached to the tunnel floor Plate H might be possible.

It seems illogical to build new tunnels to an outdated standard. I thought any new construction has to meet Federal construction standards, such as 14 ft for highway clearances.

This is also a standard I have seen for new railroad construction:

5.1 Vertical Clearances - Minimum permanent vertical clearance shall be 23’-6” above the top of rail for ALL
tracks and at any location under the structure. Additional vertical clearances may be
required for features beyond those shown.

I am sure there might be exemptions, but if Federal funds are used there is usually minimum standards that have to be met.
  by george matthews
 
David Benton wrote:http://tinyurl.com/bws4y2h
100 years later .
The energy and climate situation in 100 years will be very different from today. What will be the level of the sea then? Possibly the whole eastern seaboard will be uninhabitable and much of the eastern coastal route will be under water..
  by amtrakowitz
 
bostontrainguy wrote:
As for Gateway, has anyone seen an actual plan for the dimensions?
Yes, I have seen cross-section drawings that show 18ft between top-of-rail and the tunnel ceiling. There appears a good amount of space between top-of-rail and the tunnel bottom for ballast, ties, and rail, so if the rails were attached to the tunnel floor Plate H might be possible.

It seems illogical to build new tunnels to an outdated standard. I thought any new construction has to meet Federal construction standards, such as 14 ft for highway clearances.

This is also a standard I have seen for new railroad construction:

5.1 Vertical Clearances - Minimum permanent vertical clearance shall be 23’-6” above the top of rail for ALL
tracks and at any location under the structure. Additional vertical clearances may be
required for features beyond those shown.

I am sure there might be exemptions, but if Federal funds are used there is usually minimum standards that have to be met.
23' 6" IIRC is minimum clearance for double-stack freights. There won't be any of those going through those tunnels.
  by mtuandrew
 
Now, if we were talking about the New York Cross Harbor Tunnel that has been proposed repeatedly, you would be more likely to see double-stack capability. Not that we are likely to see that tunnel built within our lifetimes either, and not that we would see passenger use of said tunnel, so it isn't much use mentioning it here :-)

It would be handy to build a new set of North River tunnels to the same clearance as the East River Tunnels though. Nothing extravagant, just a bit more wiggle room.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 150