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.