• Amtrak NYC Lehigh Valley service...

  • 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 Irish Chieftain
 
Did the study indicate which rail route through New Jersey would be used? There is but the RDG route west of Allentown, but both the Lehigh Line and former CNJ line (current Raritan Valley Line) east of the Delaware. Certainly would have been (and would be) interesting to see Amtrak join NYC to Reading PA before SEPTA got to restart their Philly-Reading service…
  by delvyrails
 
No details given, Irish Chieftain.

  by drewh
 
Perhaps the Corridor has to be defined Boston to Washington for Amtrak trains but NJT and MNRR or SEPTA might be able to bring a Philadelphia to Stamford or New Haven or Albany train if there is a regional need.
Amtrak already fulfills the regional need and they operate frequent service. What is the point of an additional operator?
  by henry6
 
drewh wrote:
Perhaps the Corridor has to be defined Boston to Washington for Amtrak trains but NJT and MNRR or SEPTA might be able to bring a Philadelphia to Stamford or New Haven or Albany train if there is a regional need.
Amtrak already fulfills the regional need and they operate frequent service. What is the point of an additional operator?
A lot of points. One, to define regional needs; second to keep regional and commuter and long distance services seperated as well as defined. New routes in and out of NYC, Philadelphia, (and probably Chicago, LA, Houston, etc.) that don't fit present long distance or inter city catagories are being looked at. Given the burden the commuter agencies are faced with at present, and givent he problems Amtrak is faced with concerning funding and operating, something has to be done to address the emerging regional needs. It is sort of what George Bush is saying, but it may not neccessarily fall on just the states to have to pay for.

  by LI Loco
 
An editorial in today's Harrisburg Patriot calls for commuter service between Harrisburg, Lebanon and Reading.

http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/patr ... xml&coll=1

  by CHIP72
 
LI Loco wrote:An editorial in today's Harrisburg Patriot calls for commuter service between Harrisburg, Lebanon and Reading.

http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/patr ... xml&coll=1
Actually, the editorial said between Harrisburg and Lebanon (Capital Area Transit's intended eastern segment for CorridorTWO all along). It did say however that any commuter rail built in that segment should keep in mind future rail possibilities east of Lebanon.

  by CHIP72
 
One thing I forgot to mention in my "connect a Harrisburg-Lehigh Valley-New York service to a Harrisburg-York-Baltimore-(Washington) service" comments earlier in the thread is the local transit provider in York County, Rabbit Transit, began operating York-Harrisburg express service buses a few months ago. From what I've heard, the service has been so successful that additional runs and larger buses have been added or will be added. In addition, the success of the York-Harrisburg service has created a call for and encouraged Rabbit Transit to look into starting a York-Baltimore (or more accurately, a York-Hunt Valley) express bus service that would connect to the business park located near the northern end of the Baltimore light rail line.

Rabbit Transit website (York, PA)

The interest in the York-Harrisburg and York-Baltimore express bus service indicates to me there would be at least moderate demand for passenger rail service between Harrisburg, York, and Baltimore at some point in the future. There are some significant hurdles that need to be surmounted, such as the lack of a direct connect rail route between York and the Mason-Dixon Line north of Baltimore (which may not be ideal anyway, if you want to connect or come close to the decent-sized population centers in Hanover, PA and Westminster, MD), but if the transit demand is there such a passenger rail service will probably be examined more seriously.
Last edited by CHIP72 on Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by jfrey40535
 
How about Amtrak operating a Reading-Philadelphia or Bethlehem/Allentown-Philadelphia type service that would be more of a express and not a commuter type service?
  by 2nd trick op
 
The problem here is that the journalists and politicians involved have little concept of the high cost and long time frames involved in the planning and developmemt of mass-transit systems. The continued upward pressures upon the price of petroleum have increased the suitability of alternative transport over the short- and intermediate-term and likely will continue to do so, but every cent of increase in the price of regular also encourages the development of alternatives which will keep the autonomy of the automobile within reach of most of us.

That said, however, this is a very opportune time to re-establish mass transit in those areas where it proved itself before the postwar automotive boom, and where it is currently functioning well due to congestion, as well as fuel-cost issues. The goal should be to quickly establish a workable conventional system, solidly linked to existant success stories such as NJT and MARC, before the energy price penedulum swings in the other direction, as it invariably will.
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by Irish Chieftain
 
henry6 wrote:
drewh wrote:
Perhaps the Corridor has to be defined Boston to Washington for Amtrak trains but NJT and MNRR or SEPTA might be able to bring a Philadelphia to Stamford or New Haven or Albany train if there is a regional need.
Amtrak already fulfills the regional need and they operate frequent service. What is the point of an additional operator?
A lot of points. One, to define regional needs; second to keep regional and commuter and long distance services seperated as well as defined. New routes in and out of NYC, Philadelphia, (and probably Chicago, LA, Houston, etc.) that don't fit present long distance or inter city catagories are being looked at. Given the burden the commuter agencies are faced with at present, and given the problems Amtrak is faced with concerning funding and operating, something has to be done to address the emerging regional needs. It is sort of what George Bush is saying, but it may not necessarily fall on just the states to have to pay for.
Evidence? Nobody else is going to get whatever DC is unwilling to give to Amtrak. I think we've been over that a number of times in this forum. If such things were in the offing, they'd be happening right now and we wouldn't be speculating about them.

And as far as new "regional" service, there are two major hurdles—funding (already mentioned) and trackage rights. The latter is not a problem with Amtrak, so fixing what isn't broken will merely drive up costs and send collective-bargaining agreements into turmoil, among other legal problems between company and company.

SEPTA is not going to New York (City or Westchester). Metro-North is not going to operate into Pennsylvania, Delaware or Maryland. NJ Transit may operate new service into northeast PA under contract, but that's it. (And with these agencies, it's even far more than funding and trackage rights—its also equipment and infrastructure requirements.)
  by henry6
 
The one factor that has to be understood about "regional" rail passenger issues is that, at this point and because there is no one else, the commuter agencies have to look beyond their own bumping blocks to determine what has to be or what can be done. The fact is that such thinking is already taking place at these agencies. I am just saying that it may take a new "tier" agency, between Amtrak and commuter entities (and perhaps created by Amtrak and commuter entities) to address the emerging market. These are the entities with the insurance coverage to whom freight railroads will talk. But that does not mean they are the sole or final operator. NJT for example could be the agency in charge of a route but franchise or contract out the actual operation of a service on a now non passenger route as long as it is NJT's insurance that indemnifies the freight railroad.

  by Irish Chieftain
 
the commuter agencies have to look beyond their own bumping blocks to determine what has to be or what can be done
Why must they "have to"? Because they might be forced to do so by Washington DC when no such thing ought to be necessary due to the pre-existence of an operator with all of the rights already in place?

Bottom line is, giving Amtrak the funds to become the operator of such rail services would be cheaper, and faster to implement, in both short and long runs.
I am just saying that it may take a new "tier" agency, between Amtrak and commuter entities (and perhaps created by Amtrak and commuter entities) to address the emerging market. These are the entities with the insurance coverage to whom freight railroads will talk
It's not solely a matter of "insurance coverage". Remember, the vast majority of large commuter rail agencies own their own tracks. It's also a matter of things like territory, running rights, route qualifications, crew hours of service and expenses, servicing facilities, terms of union contracts, et al. Commuter agencies are far less flexible than Amtrak towards startup of such operations, especially being state-based versus federal-based, among other things—and their equipment is not designed for comfort over several hundred miles of travel.

This would have been somewhat easier to do when Conrail was still in the passenger business, who themselves were "competing" with Amtrak in a sense (remember their "Crusader" between Reading Terminal in Philly and Penn Station in Newark NJ, for example, ostensibly under the SEPTA umbrella). But that era is long past, now.
  by henry6
 
I think the "have to" point is not going to be political by presseure from D.C. but rather by pragmatism of the situation at hand. There is a growing need to move more people by taking up less land, putting fewer pollutants into the air, and keeping the long range costs within reason. Yes, it may mean "force feeding" the population the concept that "this is the way the 21st or 22nd Century travels". Even if not that drastic, it is already on a lot of drawing boards.

  by Irish Chieftain
 
But it's not happening. Nor is such a thing "21st Century" by any means. Most definitely political pressure from DC would be the inducement and nothing else.

Which drawing boards, BTW? They seem to me to be only on passenger advocacy groups' wish lists, if anywhere.

  by ngotwalt
 
Some important notes.
First NS had told CorridorOne who wants to start stuff for Corridor two between HBG and Lebanon that they are free to do it, however they would have to build two tracks adjacent to the NS main to use because NS said no way in hell are you getting on our tracks...we're maxed out. The good news is that the ROW is quad track and I think this line was quad track so it could be done. Next if Amtrak were to do this from scratch as NS says would be necessary (if possible) to just electrify the new line eliminating loco change outs. Another important thing to note that Governor Rendell said he would like to make this route happen NYP-HBG...atleast in the snippet I read...I leave room for the possibility of error here. Another important note is that the Harrisburg Metro area has 500,000 people. This is just Cumberland, Perry, and Dauphin Counties. Northern York county (where yours truely resides), Lancaster, and Lebanon Counties contribute a great many people to the Metro are that aren't counted in the census. My guess is that the Midstate has about 1.25 million people throughout Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York Counties and about 800,000 could easily get to Harrisburg, Lancaster or intermediate station stops to catch a train. It has longs since been my opinion due to the growth in the whole midstate that the narrow definition of the Harrisburg Metro area as Cumberland, Perry, and Dauphin counties actually makes the area appear smaller than it is.

Cheers,
Nick
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