Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

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  by Frank
 
To tell you honestly, it may seem to work but it comes at a price. Goods are more expensive to ship by truck than by rail and our roads are being subject to increased wear and tear due to increased number of trucks on the road. Air pollution is also a problem in the metropolitan area. While industry may be weaker than it used to be intermodal freight on LI is the wave of the future of freight rail on LI.

Calling the the Cross-Harbor rail tunnel the New York equivalent of Alaska's "Bridge to nowhere" is a massive overstatement. Some of the infrastructure for the tunnel project is already there such as the Bay Ridge line and the line to the Greenville Yard is there. This is not a short term project. While it will be quite expensive in the short term, the benefits for the long term will be great.
  by chnhrr
 
It would be good for the Department of Transportation to do a study, however my gut feeling is that a cross harbor tunnel would not prove beneficial. With the global shift represented by the importation of Asian goods, it is quite easy to see why the Alameda corridor has become a necessity. New York no longer has this level commercial activity, so the construction of a tunnel is questionable. The stimulus benefits would be better spent on restoring the existing Hudson and East River tunnels, many of which are a hundred years old. I am not so confident about the recently approved stimulus package, but this discussion is for another forum.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Even a study costs money, sometimes lots of it, even a study for something like this is a waste of money.
Most freight service in the north east comes from the west and not the south and even if the tunnel was built, most of the
through freight would still come through Selkirk and down the Hudson to Oak Point.
There is not much left that still uses rail in New York City and Long Island. Most big industry is GONE, never to return.
Noel Weaver
  by Otto Vondrak
 
The reality is that two cross-Hudson tunnels were built - on by Pennsylvania Railroad, one by Hudson & Manhattan Railroad.

The PRR tunnels are used by NJT and Amtrak. The H&M became PATH.

-otto-
  by Frank
 
Most of the freight that will pass through the planned Cross-Harbor Tunnel will be inter-modal freight.
  by Jayjay1213
 
Frank,

While I enjoy your enthusiasm, I am pretty confident that you do not work in the rail industry. This rail tunnel nonsense seems to pop up here every few months, and its complete nonsense. The rail tunnel would be an extremely big waste of money. The stuff that would use it, would be current traffic coming via NYCH. NYA currently is interchanging with them around 1-2 times a week. That doesn't sound like much traffic to me.

I am guessing you are thinking, "oh no, if we build the tunnel, all the intermodal will come!!!" No, it will not. Please remember that most intermodal cars, like doublestack cars, will not clear the 3rd rail on the LIRR. That sort of makes any intermodal not worth it. Maybe it will go to Maspeth then!! No, please review the amount of land available there compared to what any other intermodal yard uses.

Another factor, is where would the tunnel start. Freight trains cannot tackle large grades like your automobile can. So for a freight tunnel to reach the appropriate level across NY Harbor, the tunnel would have to start? Where, about the west end of Oak Island yard? Where will it come out on the NY side??

I was reading the NYC Subway forum here tonight and came across this website that someone posted. [url]http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/878[/url] It sort of points out the many many faults with the project for a rail tunnel currently being put forward by the NY EDC.

Sorry if I sounded it a bit condescending, but I get tired of reading about this tunnel idea. If it was so great, how come, NS, CSX, NYA, are not jumping at it. The reason is because its useless. There alot more reasons why it is not worth it. Alot of that has to due with current traffic patterns by NYA, and stuff in NJ. It is too much to type, and gets a bit complicated.
  by Frank
 
The article you mentioned is almost 5 years old. I won't deny that the tunnel construction will be difficult however I believe that there will be benefits from it.
  by ncvab
 
I've been involved in the CH tunnel discussion for over ten years. Meetings, tours, conferences, papers, etc. Just about every government official who was involved has moved on. The only one left who is pushing the project is Jerry Nadler. Even though he has lost a load of weight, he is still quite a pusher. Benefits go to consulting firms as discussions and surveys seem to go on forever. Actual railroaders are not involved in the discussion -- what do they know?
  by hrfcarl
 
Jayjay1213 wrote:Frank,

While I enjoy your enthusiasm, I am pretty confident that you do not work in the rail industry. This rail tunnel nonsense seems to pop up here every few months, and its complete nonsense. The rail tunnel would be an extremely big waste of money. The stuff that would use it, would be current traffic coming via NYCH. NYA currently is interchanging with them around 1-2 times a week. That doesn't sound like much traffic to me.
I believe I was one of those past rail tunnel nonsense posters. :wink:

Frank:

See this thread: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 75&start=0
I even started a "What if built" thread here: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 28&t=57766

I believe most of your questions will be answered.
  by neroden
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:The problem is that there wasn't enough freight business on the east side of the Hudson to justify the minimal expenditure of restoring the Poughkeepsie bridge back into service, and there's even less industry there today.
Sheer irrelevance.

The target is containerized traffic, which was in its infancy when the Poughkeepsie bridge was shut down. There is *plenty* of containerized traffic heading to Long Island, the Bronx, and southern Connecticut, and it is senseless to put it on trucks through Manhattan. The analysis showed that the tunnel would be heavily used.

A secondary use for the tunnel would be containers coming into the ports in Brooklyn and heading west. Currently the deepwater ports in Brooklyn can't be used properly because of the lack of useful rail access, and as a result massive amounts of money is being wasted dredging the shallow-water ports in New Jersey.

In short, there was an enormous economic justification for this freight tunnel. Pity few of the people commenting here actually read the study (I did). If the tunnel had been built earlier, it would have saved the Port Authority billions in dredging. The justification is less clear now that the Port Authority has already wasted a fair amount of the dredging money.

Now, it was stressed in the study that the tunnel would only be worthwhile if the connecting track was cleared for doublestack to a new LI intermodal terminal. Duh. They did the engineering to work the grades out; they're not a problem. The number of bridges which have to have the tracks lowered, however, is an expensive problem. And local hostility to construction of an intermodal terminal in LI killed it.

In the end, the cost for trucks to cross Manhattan will simply be raised, and raised, and raised, and eventually LI will be wishing it had built it. But by then Long Island will be sinking under the waves anyway, so it won't really matter any more.
  by hrfcarl
 
neroden wrote:Now, it was stressed in the study that the tunnel would only be worthwhile if the connecting track was cleared for doublestack to a new LI intermodal terminal. Duh. They did the engineering to work the grades out; they're not a problem. The number of bridges which have to have the tracks lowered, however, is an expensive problem. And local hostility to construction of an intermodal terminal in LI killed it.
Thought the clearance issues were done or in process of being done, at least on the Bay Ridge Branch?

The 1st problem for the proposed intermodal terminal on LI was the site itself - right smack in middle of residential property (old Pilgram facility?). In past posts I asked why the lot boarded by Rt 110, Republic Airport, New Highway and LIRR tracks was not thought of - only slightly smaller than proposed site and already commercial/industrial area so no NIMBY. Still have 2nd problem - 3rd rail on tracks leading to this site forcing use of COFC/TOFC, which not standard and as efficient as double stacks.
neroden wrote:In the end, the cost for trucks to cross Manhattan will simply be raised, and raised, and raised, and eventually LI will be wishing it had built it. But by then Long Island will be sinking under the waves anyway, so it won't really matter any more.
Too true.
  by workextra
 
I'm aware that Penn Station is full to capacity, however I have seen many instances where between 10-5AM the station is relatively "dead"
Any freight car that can be fit the tunnels and station clearances should be permitted to pass. If such freight movement was done, and "sorted" in NJ then shipped to LI via Penn Station in a standard boxcar or other class of car that will fit the clearances it might benefit Long Island and New England freight as well as save millions in building a new tunnel.

The key to revitalizing freight on Long Island is LCL shipments. (Less then Car Load) for example, you can ship 1 boxcar with 3 or 4 companies products that was loaded into this car in NJ, then, you might be able to provide a benefit of removing more trucks and increasing rail freight with minimal cost.
Instead of a truck delivering to a LI establishment direct. a new company (creating jobs) could be formed "Long Island distribution Inc." The goal would be to bust apart rail freight shipments in NJ, then load them on to your standard freight car (that will fit the North and East river tunnels) and ship them to different locations on Long Island that can distribute the products as needed and locally, with smaller trucks that actually fit on the islands roads.
It would have to be ran by the state and LIRR to actually function. being a private for profit business would cost too much by creating too many "middle men"
If anyone can come up with a better plan that does not include a cross harbor tunnel and that does not include heavy trucking please post it!
  by hrfcarl
 
workextra wrote:Any freight car that can be fit the tunnels and station clearances should be permitted to pass. If such freight movement was done, and "sorted" in NJ then shipped to LI via Penn Station in a standard boxcar or other class of car that will fit the clearances it might benefit Long Island and New England freight as well as save millions in building a new tunnel.
I mentioned using the NYP tunnels as way to test cross harbor rail freight. The idea was to use new dual mode HOODED engines based upon Amtrak/MNRR GE build DM equipment which could allow 1 rail operator to take cars from NJ to LI without need for exchanges. PA NY/NJ would be owners of these 4-8 DM engines and obtain the proper trackage rights then contract an operator (NY&A seem to make most sense if just LI, otherwise CSX if CT service too). Did not seem to take - link to that thread below.

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... =dual+mode
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
First of all, there isn't enough freight business on Long Island to justify such an investment. There's a reason why the LIRR spun off its few remaining freight customers to the NY&A, which essentially pays shortline wage scales. The NY&A seems like an admirable little operation, and they even have a few practices that the Class 1s should emulate, but the freight business on Long Island isn't likely to ever amount to much.

Second of all, the limited clearances would preclude most modern freight equipment. For instance, CSX runs single stacked container traffic into Boston, but you couldn't run well cars through 3rd rail territory.
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
workextra wrote:
The key to revitalizing freight on Long Island is LCL shipments. (Less then Car Load) for example, you can ship 1 boxcar with 3 or 4 companies products that was loaded into this car in NJ, then, you might be able to provide a benefit of removing more trucks and increasing rail freight with minimal cost.
Instead of a truck delivering to a LI establishment direct. a new company (creating jobs) could be formed "Long Island distribution Inc." The goal would be to bust apart rail freight shipments in NJ, then load them on to your standard freight car (that will fit the North and East river tunnels) and ship them to different locations on Long Island that can distribute the products as needed and locally, with smaller trucks that actually fit on the islands roads.
It would have to be ran by the state and LIRR to actually function. being a private for profit business would cost too much by creating too many "middle men"
If anyone can come up with a better plan that does not include a cross harbor tunnel and that does not include heavy trucking please post it!
First of all, it costs to much to handle LCL freight. There's too much labor involved. Basically, you're talking about a return to the days of massive freight houses that employed hundred, sometimes even thousands of high wage workers. Freight rates were very high by modern standards and the rates of damage and pilferage were astronomical! This is the same system that failed many, man decades ago. Back then, the competition was a highly regulated trucking industry dominated by the Teamsters union. Today, the deregulated, largely non-union trucking industry is even more efficient! LCL is dead. REA is dead. Even the bulk mail business, which Amtrak entered some years ago, is history.

Second of all, most freight equipment doesn't comply with NY Penn clearances. Only the MHC cars that Amtrak disposed of a few years ago would fit in the tunnels, but no other modern box cars would.
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