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 hrfcarl
 
workextra wrote:I know LI experimented with TOFC in the past and it apparently failed for reasons I have yet to look into.
According to this site: http://trainweb.org/AbandonedLIRR/NYCH.htm#Special (see Intermodal), the reason for failure was equipment problems - the special "Bogies" used were too light, even with loaded trailers and derailed.
workextra wrote:Then we must re invent the wheel and figure out how to make TOFC and single stack container cars fit on Long Island track and through this new tunnel which could be a Joint Rail and Road tunnel to make the project more feasible.
According to that Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel study mentioned on page 3, most if not all LI trackage (thru NYP too as evidenced by Circus Train) is capable of accepting TOFC and COFC traffic, but these are not the standard (well) cars used any more - any beside those used by Circus still around? Even with these flat cars, still issue of getting across harbor/Hudson River.

With PA NY/NJ take over of NY/NJ Rail, maybe fast ferries instead of barges since only 1 crossing? Ferry better than barges, but still at mercy of water so not as reliable as tunnel or trucking.
  by workextra
 
I don't know much on this, but Other then HAZMAT cars' Why can't a contract be struck with Amtrak to operate non HASMAT cars that "fit" through Penn Station. The Amtrak Timetable has previsions for freight. Freight MAS through NYPenn is 8MPH due to the clearances and switches. 20MPH in the tunnels.
This combination is still faster the the barging across the Hudson. The Overall goal would be to move the nonhazardous freight via a continuous rail route if possible with out adding time (via upstate).
The LIRR bogies has problems. One of which is the fact they were only 4 wheeled. They did not have your standard truck assembly. A new better design would probably work out.
I did see on TV, A process where they were hooking railroad wheels directly to a "trailer" and hauling that. No special bogies that need a crane. These train wheels were simply removed and the trailer back on the pavement.
It's not impossible, There has to be something that can physically and cost effectively get the big burdensome trucks off the highways and onto the rails.
The biggest issue here that I see is cost effectiveness next to clearances.
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
workextra wrote:I don't know much on this, but Other then HAZMAT cars' Why can't a contract be struck with Amtrak to operate non HASMAT cars that "fit" through Penn Station. The Amtrak Timetable has previsions for freight. Freight MAS through NYPenn is 8MPH due to the clearances and switches. 20MPH in the tunnels.
This combination is still faster the the barging across the Hudson. The Overall goal would be to move the nonhazardous freight via a continuous rail route if possible with out adding time (via upstate).
The problem is that there are no interested shippers - not even one. Why? Because it simply would cost too much. You don't see TOFC or containers over such short distances because it makes ZERO economic sense.

Of course, the real problem is that if you did run such a freight service through Penn Station, by some miracle or act of government, you would generate tremendous labor issues since New York and Atlantic crews are paid at miserable shortline wage scales - a state of affairs that only exists because the freight business on the LIRR was very nearly extinct. Start running through freights and I can guarantee that NY&A employees would have a legitimate claim on full Class 1 railroad pay scales, or worse yet, the sort of featherbedded, taxpayer supported wages that LIRR workers are entitled to. That would be enough to kill the NY&A. The whole point of the NY&A is that the remaining shipper base couldn't afford the freight rates if the train crews were making 6-figure LIRR incomes, and the LIRR couldn't afford to lose money delivering tiny volumes of freight. To this day, I'm still amazed that the NY&A can exist due to the obvious labor issues.
workextra wrote:I did see on TV, A process where they were hooking railroad wheels directly to a "trailer" and hauling that. No special bogies that need a crane. These train wheels were simply removed and the trailer back on the pavement.
It's not impossible, There has to be something that can physically and cost effectively get the big burdensome trucks off the highways and onto the rails.
The biggest issue here that I see is cost effectiveness next to clearances.

Roadrailers just aren't cost effective, especially over such short distances. Amtrak tried it and failed, even with long distance trains. Conrail didn't do well with with this service, although NS has stuck it out with Triple Crown and Wabash still promoted the things, but the Roadrailer has never been a tremendous commercial success. It's a dead end.
  by BigDell
 
There have been several articles recently about the hopeful progress of moving freight cross-harbor 'tween NY and NJ. I only heard about this because I work in finance and this happened to pop up on my screen from Crains. I'm sure it's already out there in one of the forums, I just somehow missed it.
The "railfan" in me would love to see a tunnel, of course. The analyst part of me, however, is VERY curious as to what kind of cost analysis will be done to see what is the most effective way to balance cost vs flexibility and scalability. Barges are charming and you can always add more - but not necessarily the most efficient. A tunnel is forever, but wow the engineering and cost.... Anyway:

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20 ... ns-advance" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.panynj.gov/about/cross-harbor.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/i ... c-hearings" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by SecaucusJunction
 
Maybe focusing on building another tunnel from NJ to Penn Station is a better idea for funds. Can you imagine construction moving forward on this when the North River Tubes are collapsing onto themselves? A double stack. double track tunnel seems like a pretty big overkill for the possible business. there... especially when most lines leading to the state are all single track. Finding ways to increase capacity of car float seems like a decent alternative as well as barged garbage containers from NYC and Long Island. Any way to get the massive amounts of garbage trucks that I see every day off the roads of NJ would be welcome.
  by ccutler
 
Typical Port Authority planning...design the tunnel but don't design or zone for all the warehouses, terminals, and distribution systems that would be needed in Long Island and Brooklyn for the trains coming in. Beautiful. Wonder who gets the construction contract.
  by kilroy
 
Wonder who gets the construction contract.
Check the two governor's political contribution lists.
  by carajul
 
Like we were suppose to see trains on the Lack cut off by 2002. Remember that? As for the construction and cost... I just attended a town meeting last nite and they are planning to build an 800sf bathroom in one of our public parks. Construction cost... a mere $553,000 (for an 800sf structure that will be destroyed by vandals anyway). Town board approved it.
  by EDM5970
 
This just hit my local paper today, although I have been following this online. The newspaper article mentioned a ten BILLION dollar price tag for a proposed 4 mile tunnel. I agree with SecaucusJunction, that kind of money would be better spent on new Hudson River passenger tunnels. I'm a rail guy, first and foremost, but I'm also a taxpayer. Where is that ten billion coming from? Freight service, for the most part, is not as time-sensitive as getting commuters to work on time.

What the article didn't mention, although it has come up in this thread, is an improved carfloat system. With new, larger capacity carfloats, new twin screw tugs, new slips and floatbridges, you could have almost unlimited capacity. This could be done at a fraction of the cost of the new proposed freight new tunnel, be in place a lot quicker, and provide some much needed jobs much sooner.

Agreed, carfloats may not be quite as efficient, in operation, as a tunnel, but I feel that they would be more cost effective, especially when you factor in the engineering and construction costs of the tunnel. And garbage doesn't have to be at work by 9 AM, so if the trip takes a little longer, it isn't a big deal.

To develop this idea some more, Western Pacific used to barge freight across the bay to San Francisco. They later built a large self-propelled carfloat, the Las Plumas. Why not scale that vessel design up a bit, make it double ended, and build as many as needed for a Jersey City to Brooklyn service?

The last thought I have isn't really 100 percent pro-rail, but with some good engineering and design a barge or carfloat could handle both trucks and rail. It may be attractive to the truckers if the use fee is less than the combined Verrazano and Goethals (or Outerbridge) tolls.
  by BigDell
 
Agree with EDM5970. Played with some very general cost analysis and it's "almost" a no-brainer that car floats would be a better, more immediate short term return on investment. You could project long term that the tunnel would justify the $10B cost in n decades but … really …. a new set of passenger tunnels are far more critical. I'd be perfectly happy to see a next-generation car-float service being developed.
  by EDM5970
 
I had a few other thoughts on this. For maneuverability, design and build a big double ended 'Las Plumas', with electric azimuthing drives (also known as Azipods) on each end. They could be powered by diesel gensets, but lets think Green. Since some time has to be spent at the dock at each end, unloading and reloading freight cars, why make the carfloat battery powered, and use that time to recharge the batteries? Such a Green initiative might make it easier to get some Federal funding, and help the environment at the same time.
  by Mark_K
 
The costs are as high as they are (and probably higher) because of corruption. Plain and simple. Cost overruns, falling behind schedule, goldbricking, patronage, and funds siphoned off to political grab bags. All of that.
I know there are a ton of salt of the earth types on this board who would deny this to their dying breath and yet still be full of it all the same.

The tunnel with a complement of car floating makes the most sense. Float some bonds (for the work) and float some boxcars. Get trucks off of our major crossings.

And I thought we were going to have more passenger tunnels across the Hudson, but didn't an obese governor somewhere between New York and Pennsylvania cancelled it? Tough luck, huh?
  by ccutler
 
Hey Mark_K...

would love to see more carfloats...but I don't know where the freight cars would go. Many of the warehouses and distribution centers are in NJ. NY/LI would need land and planning to build out distribution centers east of the Hudson. Without terminal areas, added capacity won't help.

As you say, there appears to be much corruption on government projects. Here in NY State we just need to look at Sheldon Silver. Thank you Preet Bharara for indicting him! While Christie may be criticized for cancelling THE tunnel, at least he can't be cited--in that case--for corruption for cancelling it!
  by Ken W2KB
 
Mark_K wrote:The costs are as high as they are (and probably higher) because of corruption. Plain and simple. Cost overruns, falling behind schedule, goldbricking, patronage, and funds siphoned off to political grab bags. All of that.
I know there are a ton of salt of the earth types on this board who would deny this to their dying breath and yet still be full of it all the same.

The tunnel with a complement of car floating makes the most sense. Float some bonds (for the work) and float some boxcars. Get trucks off of our major crossings.

And I thought we were going to have more passenger tunnels across the Hudson, but didn't an obese governor somewhere between New York and Pennsylvania cancelled it? Tough luck, huh?
Sure the governor cancelled an ill-conceived tunnel that would have perpetuated the massive delays occasioned by one of two tracks forced out of service forcing running single track. Amtrak's Gateway project is vastly better. Based in what I've read in the NJ press, there is massive opposition by the populace to the proposed carfloat terminal in Greenville, Jersey City. Comments such as the odors from the NY garbage will be unbearable, to we will be kept up all hours of the night by constant train whistles. I do suspect that a high percentage of carfloat cargo would be solid waste.
  by Adirondacker
 
SecaucusJunction wrote:...A double stack. double track tunnel seems like a pretty big overkill for the possible business. there... especially when most lines leading to the state are all single track.
The 20 million people on Long Island and in New England want some of that stuff that gets unloaded from container ships in the port. Very a damp cocktail napkin calculation is that the people of Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk generate enough garbage to fill up a 150 car train a day. Then there are the people in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester who might be interested since they ship their garbage hundreds of miles to a landfill. Big box stores are diverting the cheap bulky stuff over the Selkirk hurdle because traffic is so awful it makes sense to do that with the cheap bulky stuff.
SecaucusJunction wrote: Finding ways to increase capacity of car float seems like a decent alternative
Nope. They studied that in the Major Investment Study that was done before they started on the trek through Draft Environmental Impact Studies and the EIS and FEIS. It doesn't have the capacity. It costs too much to operate too. The aim is to stop the whole metro area from gridlocking. Don't need a whole lot of trucks diverted to prevent that. Well put it off for another few decades.

all you might want to know

http://www.panynj.gov/about/cross-harbor.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
ccutler wrote:Typical Port Authority planning...design the tunnel but don't design or zone for all the warehouses, terminals, and distribution systems that would be needed in Long Island and Brooklyn for the trains coming in. Beautiful. Wonder who gets the construction contract.
Check out the link above. There's a public hearing scheduled for Suffolk County where I assume they will be discussing the place where the containers will be put onto trucks etc.
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