Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by BuddR32
photobug56 wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 12:32 am One seat ride for riders on C3 cars with DE's / DM's is impossible because when those were ordered, they were specced a few inches too tall to fit the East River tunnel to be used by ESA. LIRR officials told me that face to face in 1996 - before any of the cars had been built. They 'promised' a quick, easy across the platform transfer at 'Sunnyside Station'.
With all due respect, you have to let this go, what you were told by a former LIRR President 25 years ago. The C3 cars are not a mere few inches too tall, they're a whole 19" taller than the M1/M3/M7/M9.

The 63rd street tunnel was already built to fit an M1 with little overhead clearance. There's no way any multi-level passenger car would fit. Unless the max passenger (height was 5' per level)

If he had said that, its unlikely he meant it to be conveyed that they were intentionally spec'd too tall.
  by photobug56
I didn't say the cars were 3 inches taller than the M1's. I said that senior LIRR officials told me 25 years ago that the new equipment - C3's and or the DM's and DE's, were specced 3 inches too tall for the 63rd Street tunnel. So I asked them how diesel country passengers would gain access to ESA / GCT, and their answer was direct transfer over the platform at Sunnyside Station. Which, of course, is still not being built.

As to that LIRR president, it has long been apparent that if you live past Huntington you get mediocre service at best. He was the only LIRR official to tell me why, though.
  by jlr3266
Sunnyside Station is located past the ESA tunnels and could never serve as a connection between NYP and GCT trains. It was originally included in ESA to garner local Queens support. Once Amtrak refused to stop at it, it was doomed, although recent changes to the LIC area may reawaken a Sunnyside Station one day. Assuming people start commuting again.
  by photobug56
Those LIRR officials had no interest in Amtrak - just a place for a transfer between NYP and GCT bound trains. Keep in mind that any designs for ESA back then had to be rather preliminary. I don't care so much about that as I do about an easy transfer between diesel trains (whether to NYP or HPA) and GCT trains. Diesel country passengers likely wouldn't be too upset about a quick easy transfer that didn't blow off most of the 20 minute each way savings 'promised' by ESA.
  by jlr3266
Sunnyside Station never moved. It was never capable of allowing a transfer for ESA. That was always intended to be at Jamaica.
  by jlr3266
The C3 is indeed about 17" taller than an M1-M9, and it is about 3" taller than the 63rd St Tunnel. However, that ignores Dynamic effects. A Dynamic Clearance for a C3 would likely be more than 9" too high for the existing tunnel.
  by photobug56
jlr3266 wrote: Fri Oct 29, 2021 12:04 pm Sunnyside Station never moved. It was never capable of allowing a transfer for ESA. That was always intended to be at Jamaica.
In 1996 it appears to have been thought of for that, even if not feasible. It's arguable that LIRR and MTA never really thought through some aspects of ESA, and perhaps those officials were just making it up on the fly. But 25 years later they should have not only come up with a viable solution, but disseminated it to the affected community. They haven't, and when asked as recently as the last month or two, they still kind of turn blank and say nothing.
  by photobug56
jlr3266 wrote: Fri Oct 29, 2021 12:18 pm The C3 is indeed about 17" taller than an M1-M9, and it is about 3" taller than the 63rd St Tunnel. However, that ignores Dynamic effects. A Dynamic Clearance for a C3 would likely be more than 9" too high for the existing tunnel.
That just goes to prove that 25 years ago these guys were clueless. Today, they still need to reach out to their diesel country passengers and provide as good a solution as possible. For instance, key AM & PM rush hour diesel country trains with across the platform transfer to / from GCT, perhaps from NYP trains. Not a pile of up and over hope you can make the connection transfers. Nor coming off of a 12 car M train to transfer to a 2 car C3 train at the extreme east end of its platform UNLESS the front 2 M cars are reserved for those passengers.
  by Head-end View
Photobug56, you have alluded many times on this thread to the LIRR's thinking it's only farm country out east. If that was truly their philosophy why do you suppose they electrified the main-line to Ronkonkoma thirty-five years ago and recently double-tracked it to increase service? I think maybe that LIRR official who said that to you was joking and you didn't get it.
  by photobug56
The retired on the job president of LIRR at the time looked me in the face from about 3 feet away and clearly meant everything he said. You should note I said Huntington - maybe he got that Ronkonkoma wasn't farm country, but he clearly believed that east of Huntington was. He's the one who pointed out that farmers didn't need frequent service to bring their goods to market.

There's a context I didn't note. He had this idea of greatly increasing service TO Huntington from the west - and to do it, he needed to build a super expensive yard east of Huntington. It would have been in single track country, East Northport / Commack area, or Smithtown, a 2nd track would not have been added (imagine what would happen if that one track were blocked at morning rush hour). One of his proposals was to fill in a huge 'gulch'. Oh, and while electrification would be extended to that yard, NO ONE would be able to board these electric trains east of Huntington - because there was no need, because it was farm country. So if say, the yard was near Smithtown, Kings Park, East Northport and Greenlawn stations would be bypassed by all those electric trains. Oh, and service to the PJ line itself would likely have to be severely chopped due to lack of capacity on that single track.

So no, he was dead serious. He pissed off a lot of people with this proposal. But I'm probably one of very few commuters who actually got to discuss it with him personally, which happened while we were waiting for a public meeting on it to begin.
  by Kelly&Kelly
I well recall the proposal for a yard east of Huntington, along with the cost/benefit analysis.

Ridership at the time was felt to be adequately served with diesel service east of Huntington and the costs of further electrification would well exceed $100K per rider, back then. It was an absurdly disproportionate expenditure for the number of patrons that would benefit.

Political management of a utility is an ever-changing and fluid exercise. Since government-run entities change leadership every few years, and often change political parties too, long term goals and philosophies are quite variable. One group may be content pursuing quality service at any cost while another may place emphasis on conserving taxpayer money and shunning the funding of a particular service by non-users of that service. Additionally, management quality is a crap-shoot when leadership is a political appointment.

Long term vision is a rare political commodity, especially in a bankrupt agency, state and nation.

Lastly, demographics and traffic patters change over time. Unforeseen events, both natural and political - unfettered immigration, economic changes, financial debasing - change community demographics and traffic patterns. An example as local as Flushing station comes to mind. In 1980, it had 12 riders and a demographic on public assistance. Today, it's one of the heaviest suburban stations.

Complaining about forty-year old words of a short-term hack and long retired planners will get you little satisfaction and even less credibility in this political atmosphere.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Even if track capacity improvements ever come to the Pt. Jefferson Line east of Huntington and LIRR orders those single level diesel hauled coaches plus runs battery powered MUs, you probably won't see many trains added to Grand Central Terminal from the Pt. Jefferson Line. Sadly much of the ridership needs are west of Huntington-that's how it goes and that's how it's been. People living east of Huntington along the Pt. Jefferson Line will probably drive to Huntington to get a train not only to Grand Central but to Penn Station.

Yes, the plan for Sunnyside Station would be to put the facility west of the part of Harold where the right of way to Grand Central will branch off. I think in general, after Eastside Access opens up, passengers living east of Huntington who end up boarding trains along the diesel stretch of the Pt. Jefferson Line will be best off either transferring in Huntington or Jamaica(if express service from Pt. Jeff is offered).

I don't think the stretch of the Pt. Jefferson Line between Huntington and Pt. Jefferson goes through farm country. It's been years since I rode that stretch. I might do a trip out that way months from now. The farmland begins well east of Pt. Jefferson. It's more abundant along the Greenport Branch east of Riverhead and along the Montauk Line east of Westampton.
  by photobug56
1. Huntington Station is a miserable place to commute from - there will (outside of pandemics) never be enough parking capacity, even the brand new elevators will likely be poorly maintained and once again become vertically mobile cesspools. And if you've ever had the fun of arriving there homebound in rush hour, it's beyond insane getting out of the garages and parking lots unless you park far out.
2. It takes time to get there - at rush hour coming home at least 30 minutes for me. Kind of defeats the idea of commuting on a train if you then have a long drive to get home. Morning is no better.
3. Stony Brook University - they get minimal east bound service AM, same west bound PM. Unless you have a car, makes for a miserable commute.
4. It is a miserably slow line - same sort of performance as depicted in the several decades show Petticoat Junction (actually, I think that was faster). So in the city, you may have a series of subway car rides to get to Penn, or one of these decades GCT. If GCT, somewhere unknown at this time you will transfer to a diesel - or maybe an electric and then again to a diesel. On one electric diesel combo today from NYP, takes 90 minutes on a good day to do the 40 miles just to East Northport, add 10 or 15 for Smithtown, etc. Gets to be a very long commute. And again, driving to Huntington gets less and less viable the farther out you are - Greenlawn is maybe OK depending on timing.
5. You are right about it not really being farm country (a reminder of the insanity of Mr. D's comments to me all those years ago). Unless, of course, you get far enough past Pt. Jeff Station and onto the North Fork.

The PJ line is full of at grade crossings, slow curves - it reminds me of the lines used by excursion trains at rail museums. The equipment was junk when it went into service, appears to have been poorly maintained from day 1, with frequent breakdowns in cars and locos. And there isn't anywhere near enough of it. The line needs to be double tracked wherever practical (should be end to end) and electrified, and grade crossing elimination prioritized (cut down the death rate). And if I could, I'd have it re-extended to Wading River and beyond to meetup with whichever other LIRR line is close enough.
  by photobug56
jlr3266 wrote: Fri Oct 29, 2021 12:04 pm Sunnyside Station never moved. It was never capable of allowing a transfer for ESA. That was always intended to be at Jamaica.
I didn't say that these officials were correct, or honest. But you'd think that officials hosting an event for ESA would have had decent knowledge of it - at least in a normal world.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Yes, that's the issue-the speed limit on the Pt. Jeff east of Huntington isn't that fast. It certainly isn't 80 and as mentioned, there are so many curves. It would be nice if more trains daily from points east of Huntington continued onto Jamaica just like many of the Montauk Line trains-now we could be talking about changing at Jamaica to a Grand Central bound train.

It doesn't surprise me about the amount of traffic heading from the towns east of Huntington to Huntington Station. Yes, getting out of the parking garages and lots at Huntington can certainly add lots of time. The platform layout at Huntington is certainly not really made for transfers. That station should have been a center island platform from Day 1 and even better-three tracks and two center island platforms. I believe that it's not the best neighborhood around Huntington Station.