• 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 henry6
 
Irish Chieftain wrote: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.
Alright, let's not say "drawing boards" , but rather "radar". Planners I have spoken with or listened to all indicated that the need to move people within regions is a growing problem and that because of congestion and enviormental concerns, rail appears most appealing especially in and between major metropolitan areas and clusters.

Plus, ngotwalt, NS has identified "corridors" where it "needs help". So have other railroads around the country. There is a changing mindset that big business may indeed need the helping hand of big government to be able to function both economically and politically. Resistance has been two fold. One, if you get someting from government, then you must give someting back, strings are attached to such help. Second, it just flies in the face of free enterprise that big businesses take too much from government. But the combination of pressing needs to accomodate today's and tomorrow's traffic and the realization that highways are not the freight answer for this growth are leading both sides to the discussion rooms. The stinging problem, from this topic and thread point of discussion, is how much are the freight railroads willing to give to a passenger system in order to attain thier own 21st Century goals?

  by CNJ
 
I believe that a regional service from Harrisburg to New York via NS and the NJT Raritan Valley Line would work well. A fair amount of communities would be served from this service. Compliment this service with the proposed NJT service from New York to Scranton via the former DL&W/EL route, and a large part of NE Pennsylvania will benefit.
  by 2nd trick op
 
Today's Allentown Morning Call carried a front-page article on the status of plans to revive local rail passenger service, with particular emphasis on the sobering reality of the price:

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_ ... 5406.story

As has been pointed out in several recent posts on other forums, a comprehensive network of local passenger services endured in Southeastern Pennsylvania until the early 1980's, and most of the infrastructure remains intact. However, the envisioned cost of reviving it has risen drastically, in large part due to bureaucratization and litigation-conscousness. It remains to be seen whether a swing in attitudes can cut some of the red tape.

  by Noel Weaver
 
A lot of the blame for the problems in the Bethlehem area are at the steps
of the states and especially Pennsylvania. There was reasonably decent
service on the former Reading between Philadelphia and Bethlehem
which was in later years subsidized by SEPTA but the powers to be made
the decision to drop this service. There was also service over the former
CNJ between Newark and Philipsburg which could have operated through
to Bethlehem and Allentown as there was a separate right of way through
here (former CNJ) which was basically not really needed. They allowed
this to be taken over by Conrail which did not need two separate bridges
and lines between Philipsburg and Allentown. The result, one bridge was
bad so they switch their use to the former CNJ bridge and the result
today is that there is not sufficient capacity for both commuter trains and
road freight trains.
Unfortunately, the same thing occurred when Conrail tore up the tracks
on the cutoff across New Jersey which shut out the possibility of direct
passenger service between the New York City area and Scranton. Again,
lack of state action to save this line has resulted in a very costly move to
replace the torn up track and reopen this route too.
Unfortunately, the states are just now starting to wake up that rail
passenger service is sometimes more than just commuter trains but also
medium distance corridor type trains as well. You can bet that if this
were Europe or China, they would not have allowed this lines to be sold
and torn up, they would be in use today and not going to waste. As I have
said before, who generations of people are going without vital services
because of decisions in the past. Where the freight railroads have
retained some trackage for freight opertions, we can't take for granted
that this trackage is still available for passenger trains because most of
the time the trackage is just not capable of the increased use that
passenger trains would require.
Noel Weaver
  by northjerseybuff
 
Has it been brought up in this forum? Why doesn't Amtrak study to go to the Allentown/LV area of PA? Seems like population is increasing and they may need/want another mode of transportation to Philly or NYC?
  by jp1822
 
It was discussed as both a passenger route from NYC or even Newark to the Lehigh Valley and also continuing on to Harrisburg. The topic kinda got extended to that matter. NJT is trying to get service restored to Phillipsburg, NJ, but that's still a stone's throw away from Easton, PA and the general Lehigh Valley. I think it would certainly be a successful service if run as far as Allentown, as there are now so many people making the drive or commute from the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania to the New York metro area. And considering the train really needs to extend into Pennsylvania, it certainly brings about whether Amtrak should run this service. Interstate 78 is a parking lot most of the time from the Clinton area eastward during the morning rush hour - and same for the evening rush hour. And NJT's Raritan Valley line only extends a little past Clinton. And that's still a pretty good hike to the Lehigh Valley. Plus, I'd wonder if Amtrak could be faster than NJT, or at least have more of an express service etc. It would definitely require track upgrades and a connector from the NJT old CNJ line to the Lehigh Valley Line west of Clinton.
  by CNJ
 
NS would not allow passenger trains on its line (former LV) west of Phillipsburg.

Unfortunately the former CNJ mainline west of Phillipsburg has been torn up.

Definately won't see passenger service in Allentown.
Last edited by CNJ on Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by northjerseybuff
 
the link is for the cutoff..entirely different from Allentown..Amtrak is studying going over the cutoff to Scranton-Binghamton.
  by 2nd trick op
 
As has been pointed out in an earlier post on this thread, there is more than one way for NJT to reach Philpsburg, and there is enough redundant physical plant from there to cover the last few miles into Allentown, if the two states involved can ever come to an agreement.

Beyond that point, there are some major obstacles which will likely take the better part of a gneration to overcome. Traffic on NS former Reading (East Penn) Line has more than doubled since traffic which moved on the formerly electrified (PRR) Trenton Cutoff was diverted around 1981. The line now sees about three dozen moves a day, and has short stretches of single track around Emmaus and Blandon (about three miles east of Reading).

Another neglected potential asset is the former Reading Bethlehem Branch, which diverged from the East Penn main a little east of Bethlehem and reached Philadelphia via Souderton, Perkasie and Lansdale.

Both of the aforementined routes are dormant, but the Trenton Cutoff is intact east of its junction with the Keystone Corridor at Parkesburg, and plans to convert the Bethlehem Branch to a trail have picked up speed, a near-criminal act of short-sight given the current energy picuere. Reintroduction of the Trenton Cutoff would also require a connection with CSX' former B&O Royal Blue line rather than the Northeast Corridor, but this would free up the Reading Line for a New York-Lehigh Valley-Reading-Harrisburg service, which has also been discussed at length in this forum.

Freight traffic from the Lehigh Valley to the north follows the former CNJ main on the east bank of the Lehigh as far as Lehighton,; the LV was ripped out aroud twenty years ago. North of Lehighton, portions of both the former CNJ and LV were used in a joint-track arrangement that began in 1965. From Mountaintop, the line uses LV's former Mountain Cutoff freight bypass arond Wilkes-Barre to Coxton(Pittston) and Reading and Blue Mountain has trackage rights. The former LV main remains intact to a connection with NS Southern Tier line at Waverly, NY. A Procter and Gamble sanitary-paper plant at Mehoopany was a huge source of traffic in the 1970's, but most of this was eventually lost to truckload cariers.

All in all, a lot of obstacles would have to be overcome, but the magnitude of the shift in the underlying enrgy factors shouldn't rule out anything if the goals are pursued one step at a time.
  by Suburban Station
 
2nd trick op wrote: Another neglected potential asset is the former Reading Bethlehem Branch, which diverged from the East Penn main a little east of Bethlehem and reached Philadelphia via Souderton, Perkasie and Lansdale.

Both of the aforementined routes are dormant, but the Trenton Cutoff is intact east of its junction with the Keystone Corridor at Parkesburg, and plans to convert the Bethlehem Branch to a trail have picked up speed, a near-criminal act of short-sight given the current energy picuere.
not including the congestion picture. I'd love to see Keystone trains not bound for NYC head through the commuter tunnel and run north to Allentown, perhaps terminating at the Allentown airport and making only a handful of stops. In the LR there would likely need to ba plenty of upgrading to get this line running the way it should (SEPTA's goals are a bit different than a Keystone style train).
  by zebrasepta
 
http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/in ... _pass.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Amtrak is working on bringing an "inspection train" to the Lehigh Valley that would use existing freight lines to run passengers from the Valley to the New York City metro area, according to an Amtrak executive.

Amtrak has done this in the past in other parts of the country that, like the Lehigh Valley, have shown an interest in restoring passenger rail.
  by BlendedBreak
 
Really? Amtrak is spiraling down down down.

Because NJT can't handle this on their own.
  by ThirdRail7
 
NJT doesn't have the type of inspection car they want for this trip. Amtrak lends (read: leases) these cars to other operators. As a matter of fact, one of them just got back from the MBTA last month. NJT has borrowed the inspection cars in the past so why not?

I don't believe the article is right to intimate that Amtrak may actually provide the service though.
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