• Cross Harbor Tunnel (PATH / NYCT/Freight) Staten Island - Brooklyn

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by DutchRailnut
99.9% of all freight cars won't fit in NYP tunnels, even single stacked well cars would be severly restricted due to third rail.
Most of infra structure on LI would not clear todays intermodal or regular box cars, ask any guy from New York & Atlantic how many freight restrictions exist on LIRR
The fleet of 15'9" high box cars is shrinking fast and most box cars are at or near 17 feet high as minimum.
So lets add new freight cars to the tunnel and electric engines and fire control and hazmat catch systems etc and that simple $$5 Billion tunnel will be closer to 12 to 15 billion.

we can built a armada of self propelled rail car ferries of 700 feet lenght and still have 10 billion left over for labor.

  by roee
Well as I've read all the proposals, it looks like they really want to transfer containers from ships and other trains from NJ and bring them to LI. To me, it wouldn't be all that outrageous to build a dedicated train with say 50 cars that could carry single stacks through the tunnels to deal with the 3rd rail, and meet tunnel clearances and centenary clearances. They could make them with autorack wheels so they'd be lower and take all of the dimensional requirements into the design. A high cube is what, 9'6" and the longest box would be a domestic 53'. I think it would be easy to build a car that wouldn't be taller than 15'9" and clear the third rail with a 9'6" box on it.

Also, they could set up an intermodal yard in Queens and then another one well down into LI. Have the train make the first night move from LI to NJ, then come back to LI that same night. Then during the off peak midday run out on LIRR to Eastern LI to the other facility. Of course all of this would talk much longer than just putting it on a truck, but I read somewhere that they want to limit trucks on the GWB, and they are already banned from both tunnels. At some point something needs to be done. Either the Ferry needs to handle much more traffic, or traffic needs to be routed a different way.

  by DutchRailnut
They can't ban trucks from GWB, the charter of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is to promote commerce and growd in metropolitan area.
The Feds would not take it sitting down if I-95 were to be compromized by any organization or city.

Just looking at Amtrak clearance diagram the max height for cars is 14'8" and 10'8" wide, height clearance above rail can not be less than 2 3/4 and max axle load can not be more than 65.750 lbs. this clearace is based on Plate A a restricted verson of Plate C the most common freight car size.

  by GP40-2
Duthchrailnut , electric engines were NEVER NEVER part of the Cross Harbor Tunnel Plan. It was always envisioned using modern diesel electrics. I don't why that is mentioned among railfans.Maybe you guys are scared of the NYC Smoke Abatement Laws of 1903. Well alot has changed in over 100 years Besides the last built underwater railtunnel in North America the CN's St Clair Tunnel uses regular road diesels. They have out the best way to control the smoke problem is have the trains run 50 MPH through the tunnel between Ontario and MICH. Less time spent in tunnel to less smoke is produced. That info came out Railway Age.

You are right about the restrictions on the Island regarding car height clearance. But like I wrote in my earlier posts the tunnel is only one part of the project. The ancillary proctects regarding railfreight infastructure on geographical Long Island I think is most important.

BTW I do think modern car ferries are a viable alternative just that the tunnel provides the most operational flexibility.
  by hrfcarl
If the cross harbor freight tunnel is ever built, who will operate through it? NY&A, NYNJ Rail or one of the major railroads?

An early option for the tunnel route was to make use of Staten Island RR's north shore ROW with the tunnel connecting from St.George to 65th St yard in Brooklyn. At first this sounded a bit silly until I realized that this would have allowed rail freight service to 4 boroughs plus LI, with the possibility of connecting SI subway to NYC subways if tunnel made big enough. While this plan seems to be long gone, again I ask who would have operated the freight service on this set up?

  by DutchRailnut
That tunnel will never be built, we have goner over this over and over.
Current freight traffic to LIRR is not enough and even that tunnel would not increase the amount.
  by hrfcarl
First off, how can you say there is not enough freight traffic into NYC & LI? What are all those trucks doing coming into NYC & LI carrying? Trucks are used for the most part as there is no reliable(carfloats) and/or easy(MNRR/Amtrak trackage from Albany) route to bring freight by rail.

Secondly, that is not what I meant to ask - IF BUILT, WHO would run the route through the tunnel? And WHO if tunnel and SI proposal was adopted?


  by jayrmli
Whoever builds it gets to run it, or control who runs it.

Since no one has, or is willing to pony up the billions to do it, the point is moot.

I agree with Dutch. It will never be built. If it really was necessary, it would have been built long ago when it was first proposed.


  by DutchRailnut
There is no incentive for shippers or recievers to send stuff to/from LIRR and use trains, so the trucks are here to stay.
A train from NJT to LIRR shipper would take two days or more, a truck less than 4 hours.
A train from Baltimore's dundalk area would take three days or more, a truck does it in 8 hours or less.
and that is with the tunnel in place, without the tunnel same time but by carfloat, a service not even close to capacity.
  by hrfcarl
What causes such a time difference between rail & truck shipping, even with a dedicated rail tunnel from NJ to NYC/LI?

  by DutchRailnut
The loading, switching, transport, switching, unloading.
RailRoads can simply not compete unless they are unit trains like stone, containers, juice train etc. for carload stuff the railroad is pretty much history unless its long distance.
  by hrfcarl
I thought that while trucks are quicker, the advantage of rail is greater loads (2x for double stacked container cars and 3x for standard box cars) per transit, which is suppose to reduce costs? Aren't the intermodal containers suppose to reduce the loading & switching time to help level the playing field between truck and rail?

  by jayrmli
If you check the various threads on this forum, the topic of intermodal freight has been discussed at length, and why it will never work on Long Island.

There are a lot of similar problems with "loose car" freight as well. One is you need a shipper and a receiver which both are able to handle rail freight. Many businesses are not close to the tracks, so freight is not a viable option. If you are close to the tracks, and you need a main line switch installed, get ready to pony upwards of $1 million just for your switch. After that, let's see how long until shipping by rail becomes viable.

In most instances, rail is viable if you are shipping large quantities of bulk products (i.e. stone, coal, sand, etc.) that would cost a fortune if shipped by truck.

  by hrfcarl
I have read some of those posts (NYS Railfan forum had one in particular I believe started in 04/2007), but where I get lost is: Why does intermodal/transloading work in NJ but cannot work in Brooklyn/Queens/LI?

NY&A is suppose to have increased interest in rail freight, but is restricted as to cars it can use by clearance issues and can only deliver to those who have sidings (as mentioned). The current NYNJ Rail float operations are also restricted as to what cars can be used plus has reliability issues stemming from reliance on the water.

The cross harbor tunnel was not just a tunnel but an entire project that was suppose to address these issues, some of which have been implemented. If I am not mistaken, the Bayridge Line is slowly being upgraded to accept the newest cars. NYNJ Rail has received $ to upgrade its equipment, but is still at the mercy of the water. So what is still needed is a site or sites and a tunnel.

The SI proposal seemed most the interesting since it gives the possibility of connecting SI's subway to the rest of the city and another funding source (MTA), especially with the bridge to NJ restored.

  by jayrmli
Again, if you read my past posts one of the major (and necessary) benefits of intermodal service is speed. Quick, point A to point B service with minimal interruptions in service. Handing off an intermodal train to a shortline, for it to sit in interchange for God knows how long, makes it unfeasible.

Even if you build the tunnel, you still have to hand the freight off to another railroad, meaning you lose control of the train, increasing dwell times on the cars.

The Class 1's don't have any incentive to do this anyway because they can control the entire operation themselves by terminating it in New Jersey. No increased costs building a duplicate system, and no one to split the profits with.

  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 16