• Metro-North New Haven Line Penn Station Access

  • 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 njtmnrrbuff
Interesting-yes it would make sense that Amtrak trains would use the outer tracks. This arrangement is done at Secaucus Jct where Amtrak trains typically use the outer tracks there. I believe that in Ontario, there are GO transit rail stations that are along four tracks lines where the platforms are between the middle two tracks, used for GO Transit while VIA Rail trains zip past. There’s lots of room along the Hellgate Line between the existing tracks to build platforms.
  by Jeff Smith
Placing the center island between the two inside tracks (tracks 3 and 4) is brilliant IMNSHO :laughing: . As NOMIS points out, tracks 1 and 2, the outside tracks, are non-diverging, and they bypass station access, so Amtrak is not impeded by commuter trains. The only location where station stops may be an issue is Hunts Point. Basically, they're building a two-track railroad from HP to the Pelham Bay draw.

Once the rebuild/replace that draw, they can add tracks eastward, providing the new draw is 4-tracks. That would allow a City Island station.
  by njtmnrrbuff
At Hunts Point, it looks like this is where the Hellgate Line will go from two to three tracks. I would personally love to see at least three tracks on the parts of the Hellgate that aren't four tracks. I know that there are two tracks with catenary on the Hellgate but I would love to see that third freight track reactivated for passenger use over Hellgate. It looks like the Co-op City Station is proposed to be built where one of the crossovers for Pelham Bay Interlocking presently is.
As for accessibility to the majority of Co-op City and much of the surrounding sections, it might not be considered fine to everybody but in general, it actually is decent. Given that the right of way has always passed along the fringe of Co-op City plus the southeastern end of right of way being surrounded by wetland, there aren't many places to build a train station. While people might want to see more parking at these stations, they are basically going to be like your "walk to and get dropped off by car and bus" stations, just like the majority of other MNR stations in the NYC limits. Plenty of people will walk to Co-op City City as well as use the local buses to get there. Section 5, the part of Co-op City closest to the Hellgate Line, has so many residents living there. There are like 10 or 11 highrise apartment buildings as well as smaller apartments in Section 5 that have residents who will be using the MNR Co-op City Station. Those people will be able to walk to the station. Unfortunately, many of those people who live north of Bay Plaza will have a long walk. What I would love to see is a pedestrian bridge or tunnel be erected from Section 5 to Bay Plaza Shopping Center. This would provide fast pedestrian access from the station area and some of the Section 5 apartments across the Hutchinson River Parkway to the back of Bay Plaza Mall.
  by west point
Looked at the EIS. For MNRR using the 2 inner tracks appears that will be easily implement. The only problem is CSX access in and out of the route.
  by ElectricTraction
CraigDK wrote: Thu May 20, 2021 1:51 pmThe EA is available. Chapter 2 describes in a decent amount of detail the stations and track changes for the project.
Ugh, it looks like they're on track to totally blow this one and make things a lot harder in the future. This is at a scale a lot worse than the botched Mineola station/interlocking design disaster or the Elmont station QUEENS Interlocking mess. This might be up there with the AirTrain to nowhere, although even that doesn't physically impede anything, it just doesn't really go anywhere useful, and politically would preclude it from ever going where it logically should go. Tracks don't really matter, they're easy to move, but station platforms do, as with the NYC area's insane construction costs, they cost an insane amount of money to move.

The problem is that this uses up too much of the ROW and doesn't leave room for TriBoroRX. Some of the TriBoroRX proposals have it going over towards Yankee Stadium somehow, but the original proposal as I understood it have it going to Co-Op city, running parallel to the Amtrak/MN line from just north of GATE interlocking until just east of the Hutchinson River Parkway before splitting off onto elevated tracks built above I-95 to end at Co-Op City. The idea of TriBoro is to be a subway to the end user, but would have to be FRA heavy rail with some sort of overhead wire EMU to be able to share trackage with CSX for current Oak Point operations, and eventually with CSAO for Cross-Harbor tunnel operations out of Oak Island to Bay Ridge, Fresh Pond, Oak Point, and Cedar Hill. I can't figure out how it would snake over to Yankees Stadium, and that route would lose a lot of the benefits of truly carving a significant path through the three boroughs compared to the Co-Op City route.

With the Co-Op City route, the most logical way to allow Amtrak/MN and TriboroRX to co-exist side by side is to have TriBoroRX stay on the southern/eastern two tracks, with Amtrak/MN on the northern/western two tracks. The ROW is 6 tracks from Oak Point up basically up to SHELL interlocking, allowing for island platforms on each of MN and TriboroRX. The section between the Pelham Bay Bridge and SHELL has plenty of room for large sidings on either side if desired, and there is room for around 6500' center sidings between Parkchester and the Bronx River, which would give freight traffic between Cedar Hill and Fresh Pond or Oak Island a place to duck out of the way and wait to make the "left turn" to switch between TriboroRX trackage and Amtrak trackage. This would effectively limit train length to 6500 feet on the route, which probably isn't a bad thing, as even with electric traction, interoperating what amounts to a subway system with 16,000 foot trains is less than desirable.

There is plenty of room for the MN station by Co-Op City, but the bridge rebuild sounds like it presents some challenges. That really should be done with this project, so that the station can be put by the residential towers where it belongs. In addition to pedestrian access improvements, there needs to be a bus connection to serve Co-Op city itself for MN service. There are nice loops of roads at either end that would allow it to loop around and provide connections to MN.

It's a little bit of a tight squeeze at Hunt's Point, it's unclear exactly how much ROW got taken by the highway, but there appears to be enough ROW for 4 tracks, 2 island platforms, and a yard lead for CSX that also provides access to the Hunt's Point Market Branch.

The hardest place to make it all fit in is the TriboroRX station at Ditmars Blvd, which doesn't appear to have a wide enough bridge approach to cram in 4 tracks and an island platform for TriboroRX, assuming MN doesn't want to stop there, which would require widening it somewhat, and some significant engineering work would have to go into that.

Separately from the lack of accounting for TriboroRX, Amtrak could use a Queens station, and the most logical place is Northern Blvd, which has a subway connection, as well as ample road/bus access, and is clear of the HAROLD interlocking cluster. There appears to be enough low-density development in the area to be able to buy something and squeeze a station building in somewhere, with the platforms on the two sides of the existing tracks. If they wanted one in The Bronx, they could easily pick a MN platform to build an Amtrak station nearby, as they would be there as part of the Penn Access project.

It's almost a minor technical detail at this point, but I don't see if MN is still planning their hare-brained scheme to extend the third rail so that they can jam that square peg in the round hole with the M-8's, as opposed to getting a fleet of locomotives and coaches or overhead wire EMUs that can handle the 25hz power?

TriboroRX, Penn Access, and Cross-Harbor Tunnel all need to be planned as one project as they all have somewhere between some and a lot of overlap in the ROW that they are going to need to share, with more minor or tertiary effects on several other rail/transit projects in the area.
  by njtmnrrbuff
What Co-op City needs is a feeder bus route connecting people from all of the sections to the Co-op City Metro North Station that are on the north side of the Hutchinson River Parkway which is much of the population of the development. Those apartments north of the Hutch are at least a mile from where the MNR Station is planned to be. Many people will not want to walk from their apartments north of the Hutch to the Co-op City train station so a feeder bus route would be great! Look at Riverdale-much of the population in Riverdale doesn't live within walking distance of the Riverdale train station. In fact, there are plenty of Riverdale residents who live closer to Spuyten Duyvil station and not so much within good walking distance from there either. I believe that there are feeder bus routes that connect people living in Riverdale to both Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil stations. In Co-op City, a similar arrangement should happen when the Metro North Station opens up.
  by GirlOnTheTrain
The problem with both Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil isn't so much walking distance - it's the bitch ass hill you have to walk up when leaving both stations...but yes, the Hudson Rail Link runs through the neighborhood bringing people to one of the two stations.
  by njtmnrrbuff
That is very true about the hills in Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale. Thankfully, Co-op City is flat and anybody who walks to the station there won't have to deal with hills.
  by Rockingham Racer
I would not want to do the walk to the Co-Op City station either when it's cold or there is inclement weather. The feeder bus route seems to be the way to go. The existing BX30 bus could simply run between the #6 Dyre Ave line, thru Co-Op, and over to Metro North.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Streets in Co-op City like Dreiser Loop are a ways of walking distance from where the station would be anyway-about two miles. People living on Dreiser Loop will likely take some sort of bus or get a ride to the station.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Penn Access is a real plan. It's basically going to be connecting sections of the Bronx that might be off the beaten path, but at the same time have the potential of being easily accessible by quick rail transportation to a variety of employment and tourism centers in the Tri-State NYC area and beyond. In addition, having Metro North East Bronx service will provide connections to Amtrak at NYC Penn Station, New Rochelle, Stamford, Bridgeport, and New Haven. Just imagine living in Hunts Point and you have a business meeting to attend in Baltimore-well, it will be a matter of taking a quick MNR ride across the Hellgate into NYC Penn Station and switching for your Amtrak train beneath one roof. The days of a long ride on the 6 train to 34th Street and then bus or walk to Penn Station will be over.
  by njtmnrrbuff
LIRR is supposed to run about 50 percent of their trains to GCT out of the current number that presently serves NYC Penn Station so that will help free up track capacity for Metro North East Bronx trains. It would be nice to see the entire Hellgate Line four tracks and there is room through Hunts Point to do that. As for the Bronx River bridge, we have to wonder if the entire bridge should be replaced with a brand new bridge that can accommodate three tracks and even a fourth one.
  by nomis
Mod Note: the dominating sid for TriboroRX has been moved to another thread.
  by ElectricTraction
nomis wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:52 pmMod Note: the dominating sid for TriboroRX has been moved to another thread.

Specific to the EA and Penn Access, I've dug up some interesting stuff, and I'm sure I've only scratched the surface.

1. If you look at the track diagram on Page 10 of Appendix A, you can see that they are setting up the trackwork to easily extend Track 4 to Young Interlocking when they are able to pry Track 6 out of CSX's hands. This wouldn't block any freight routes, but it would remove the second track where CSX appears to be using part of the former through ROW as an A/D track.
2. The scope of this whole project has grown significantly since it was proposed, now with 4 tracks and a significantly larger number of trains per day. They are planning 101 trains per day plus 7 deadheads for a total of 108. Apparently they believe that with the addition of another crossover at CP215 to clear GCT traffic out of the way, they can handle that traffic at SHELL without totally clogging it up.
3. Unfortunately, CDOT is still intent on jamming the square peg into the round hole by extending the PRR third rail for the M-8s instead of using loco hauled electrics that can operate on 25hz power. However, adding the substations, even if 25hz-capable trains were normally used for Penn Access, does provide some redundancy for New Haven Line trains in case something happens to the Harlem Line south of Woodlawn.
4. They're also talking about diverting a few trains from GCT to go to Penn, which would theoretically free up a little bit of capacity for adding a few more trains to GCT from somewhere. I don't know if they could backfill more trains to GCT on the NHL, due to the constraints at SHELL.
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