• Amtrak to Long Island: MTA agrees to explore

  • 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 Arlington
eolesen wrote: Montauk doesn't warrant up to seven trips a day using high density equipment. I'd be curious to see ridership stats by station... do those exist somewhere?
BY STATION, I think is rarer, but See page 152 of the 207-page PDF I linked above. They publish a factor value for each station.
http://web.mta.info/mta/planning/data/2 ... 232016.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

BY BRANCH is published annually (but I could not find station)
web.mta.info › mta › news › books › docsPDF 2017 LIRR Ridership Book - MTA
http://web.mta.info/mta/news/books/docs ... 20Book.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

But at a high level, all you really need to know is that demand skews "strongly westward" (toward NYC) and slightly "south of central" (toward the Atlantic Ocean)
By Branch AM Inbound % of all boardings
24% Babylon (Nassau's population density skews toward Atlantic coast; some might drive to a Nassau Hub, some ride to Jamaica)
20% Huntington (mostly center-of-island)
15% Port Washington (rail goes right to NYP, but maybe these people would drive in to Jamaica or out to a Nassau Hub)
14% Ronkonkoma
7% Far Rockaway
6% Long Beach
5% Hempstead
4% Port Jefferson
2% Montauk
2% Oyster Bay
1% West Hempstead
*% Greenport

See? It'd take a whole lot of operating miles/hours to chase outer Suffolk county, and anything not on the centerline of the island.

Amtrak does *NOT* need to be as close as your LIRR stop. It just needs to be closer than JFK or LGA, and have better frequencies than ISP. And have a better way off the island than car/bus do. It will. It TOTALLY will.

Beyond Jamaica, one well-located station for Nassau Hub or on the Nassau-Suffok boundary (eg Farmingdale on the inner Ronkonkoma) is basically ideal (and totally sufficient) for Empire/NEC service.
  by hrfcarl
With NYS paying for Empire Service it would seem the most likely to be extended which would require facilities to turn the DM engines. This seems to lead to Montauk and Greenport being talked about as they have such facilities available and re-habitable, respectively, plus tourist attractions. Ronkonkoma having double tracking, an airport and relative closeness to attractions would probably be the furthest east to justify such service and probably be able to find space to turn a diesel. Extending to Jamaica for JFK access seems to make the most sense, so could an Amtrak train be turned around in the Hillside facility as it seems to have what looks like a connection from the east side of the facility on the Main Line to the Babylon branch?
  by Arlington
As Amtrak, I think I'd rather turn my DMs at a facility with my own people, work rules, and Empire crew base, and at a facility that didn't require 4 hours / 170 miles of deadheading (that might not even be possible if there's an LIRR train on the single-track)

Everyone needs to wrap their heads around how "empty" the First Congressional District is(which is basically Islip-and-Outward):

In the denominator, put LIRR miles
32 miles from Penn to Babylon
85 miles from Babylon to Montauk (117 miles from Penn)

In the numerator put LIRR ridership
24% of system ridership Babylon Branch
2% of system ridership Montauk

And make a "rail patronage per mile" ratio:
0.84 Babylon Branch
0.02 Montauk Branch

Whatever nice things we can say about sending Empire Service to Babylon, you have to DIVIDE THEM BY 40 to say them about Montauk (which essentially zeros them out. Sorry. Exactly like Empire service west of Buffalo has been zeroed out by time & market)

Running out to Montauk adds 170 miles of basically deadheading (much of it single track) to every run. That's going to cripple both operating reliability and drive up costs freakishly for basically no additional revenue ("Montauk people" and "Greenport people" and "Port Jefferson" people should be assumed to have a car or train that they can take in to whatever the outermost Amtrak station will be).

So a siding capable of turning Empire dual modes would have a rapid payback in reliability and operating costs. Any place in outer Nassau or inner Suffolk with space for hoteling, say, 2 trainsets overnight will do. And, if you can, declare it Amtrak territory, not LIRR. Must have dual track. Nice if it has extra slots & operational resilience (looks a lot like someplace along the triple-tracking to Hicksville to me).


10 miles NYP to JAM; serves ~4M people = .4 million people per mile
20 miles JAM to LIX*; serves ~2M people = .1 million people per mile
75 miles LIX* to end of DM lines(average); serves ~0.75M people = .01 million people per mile

Note that these feel similar to the 40-to-1 superiority that Babylon Branch had to Montauk Branch in LIRR system patronage.

8 million people live on Long Island
6 million people live someplace where Jamaica is before/preferred/closer than Penn
6 million people live someplace where JAM + LIX before/preferred/closer than Penn
4 million would make JAM "their Amtrak"
2 million would make LIX "their Amtrak"
2 million (mostly in Brooklyn) would keep NYP as "their Amtrak"

1.5 million is the population of ALL of Suffolk county
0.8 million live west of Islip (western half of Port Jeff, west of Central Islip (RKK branch), west of Babylon)
0.7 million live east of Islip (east of the above boundaries)

LIX = Long Island Hub; And I like the foody mnemonics of LI having JAM & LIX as its stations.

Actual single-track reliability footage from dunes of Montauk:
  by gokeefe
Those are incredible figures. I had no idea there was basically "another New York" worth of population out on Long Island.

What's the history of run through service on the LIRR? ... I recall they were owned by PRR. Was there ever a LI to PHL train? How about ALB?
  by eolesen
Not surprising. 60% of NYC's population lives in Queens and Brooklyn... thus on Long Island.
  by Nasadowsk
NY state's population in general is pretty lopsided. Buffalo is the 2nd largest city in the state, at barely 1/4 of a million.

Pretty much everyone lives below the Westchester-Putnam line, and the bulk of those live below the Westchester-Bronx line.

  by Arlington
ConstanceR46 wrote:I vote hicksville, maybe the LILCO sidings could be refit for turning?
That sounds ideal. Tell us more! Is there someplace where Amtrak could also build a car parking structure (and not freak out the local traffic?). I am picturing something the size of the BWI garage.
Nasadowsk wrote:NY state's population in general is pretty lopsided. Buffalo is the 2nd largest city in the state, at barely 1/4 of a million.
I'd rather count "metro" than "city limits" . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_ ... itan_areas" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
BUF, ROC, ALB are all about 1.2M (metros)
SYR is 800k
Put them all together and you get 4.4M people

But yes, when thinking about Empire Service, you have nearly twice that many living on just Long Island with:
2.7 Brooklyn
2.4 Queens
1.4 Nassau
1.5 Suffolk
8.0 Long Island

3.5 Staten Is + Manhattan + Bronx
5.1 Brooklyn + Queens
8.6 NYC Five Boro Pop

You can easily slice these to find a number that'd balance what you'd find in the "Erie Canal" cities BUF-ALB, and probably serve them with just 2 stations and 30 miles of service.
Last edited by Arlington on Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
  by TomNelligan
gokeefe wrote:What's the history of run through service on the LIRR? ... I recall they were owned by PRR. Was there ever a LI to PHL train? How about ALB?
The Pennsy never ran regular through service onto Long Island except (if I remember correctly) during the 1939 World's Fair. As for Amtrak, when the Empire Connection first opened there was some talk of through service extending east from Penn Station, but the only trains that actually ran were some baseball specials to Shea Stadium.
  by Backshophoss
PRR would hand off cars(Pulllman) to LIRR at Penn station for onward travel on LIRR.
Amtrak could swap power at Penn ACS-64/P32 dm then onward to the Hamptons and Montauk .
LIRR is very short on loco hauled coaches,and how the DM's/DE's were configured with non standard MU/Door comm trainline
doesn't help,along with a HEP inverter only good for 6 cars.

Again Amtrak to Montauk would be a summer service from DC(like the Cape Cod service was)not year round
The yard at KO was expanded to allow more equipment to lay up there,the wye is long gone and there's no room there now.
Babylon never had a wye,was built as a EMU layup yard,Speonk yard has a wye to turn power only,as does Montauk.
  by Arlington
Backshophoss wrote:Again Amtrak to Montauk would be a summer service from DC(like the Cape Cod service was)not year round
Are you envisioning a service that Amtrak initiates to make money for itself, or a NY State supported service?

EDIT: What I can see is extending some summer weekend runs of the Empire Service to the beach
Ensuring that the Hudson Valley (HRV) chooses Long Island as its local beach would be good State policy.
And given DMs and a place to turn them, Empire Service would be a natural.

I think the future of summer trains is local. Here's why:
Boston's CapeFlyer is cash positive, taking car-free city people to their nearest beach on otherwise-idle commuter equipment in about 2 hours.
Amtrak knows the CapeFlyer has been making an operating profit every summer since 2013, yet we see no appetite for the return of the Cape Codder. Not even a twitch.
NYS knows the CapeFlyer is a moneymaker. I'm roughly assuming that NYS is already running as much Montauk service as it has appetite for (as state-supported)
Inference: What's working is taking a train (or bus) to your closest beach as a way of beating local traffic or living car-lite or car-free

What's not coming back is taking a train 5 hours to somebody else's beach.

The case for WAS-Montauk is about as un-compelling as the case for NYC-Cape Cod.
Both may be technically possible, but how about we save everybody a whole lot of time and:
* Boston goes to Cape Cod or Maine (Downeaster)
* Providence goes to Westerly (or ferry from NLC, or bus to Newport/Narragansett)
* CT goes to those cute towns that slow the Acela or by ferry
* HRV goes via Empire DM to Montauk
* New York goes to Long Island
* New Jersey goes to the Jersey Shore
* Philly goes to Atlantic City
* DC/Maryland takes a bus to Rehoboth-Dewey-Ocean City
* DC/Virginia railfans takes a train to NFK/NPN and to Virginia Beach (4 ~ 5 hrs)
  by Arlington
Meanwhile, I'd like to make the case for Acela to "LIX"

Who is flying all this air service from Greater Washington to Greater LGA/JFK?

Part of the answer is high-income people who, while they work in Manhattan, live in the leafy parts of Queens and Nassau.
Part of the answer is high-income people who, while they work in DC, live in the leafy parts of Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax
Getting to Acela from "home" requires an unpredictable river crossing, versus an airport on the "home side" of the river.
Acela seems to have scooped up all the true downtown to downtown types, and done a good job at NCR and BWI in Maryland's leafy burbs.

In another thread, I'll make the case that Acela should be extended across a future 4-track Long Bridge to a "RTE 128" stop in Springfield VA as a way of killing the DCA-LGA shuttles on the DC end.
In this thread, I'd like to make the case that Acela should be extended 2 stops into Queens & Nassau (JAM & LIX (Hicksville))

What if I told you that there was a metro the size & wealth of metro PVD+BOS that lay just 30 miles east of NYP that could be connected to the NEC such that
NYP - JAM = 20 minutes
JAM - LIX = 20 minutes

We strung catenary on 150 miles of tracks (NHV-BOS) to connect BOS/PVD to NYP and it *worked*
I'm thinking 25 miles of catenary (Sunnyside to LIX) would also *work* to connect about the same number of people (6M) on Long Island as live in PVD+BOS

I'd want to run every Acela that currently terminates in New York out to JAM & LIX.
I'd also want to run every Keystone that currently terminates in New York out to JAM & LIX.

It isn't just that CT doesn't have slots for these trains but the LIRR likely does
It is also that there's a an enormous city just 30 miles off the NEC that doesn't have single-seat service to WAS.
And it is about killing the DC Air Shuttles as competition (beating them down to just "hub connections"). That would be very lucrative.
Last edited by Arlington on Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by DutchRailnut
The FRA does not even like the heritage arrangement of Catenary and third rail, at same time as it is.
They sure as s**t will not allow it to be expanded.
  by Arlington
DutchRailnut wrote:The FRA does not even like ....
Isn't that what they said about lightweight HSR?
Last edited by Arlington on Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by DutchRailnut
Have you seen any yet ?
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