Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Jeff Smith
https://gothamist.com/news/amtrak-agree ... on-project
However, a new plan struck on Friday with Amtrak, and first reported by The City, could get the project back on track — but at a cost to Amtrak riders.

Amtrak will have multiple outages along the Hell Gate line, which it shares with the MTA. The first begins on Monday, March 6, and will run through September. Amtrak warns that customers on the Northeast Corridor could see delays of up to 30 minutes.

“Amtrak has worked through challenges and has agreed to a long-term single-track outage that affords us an opportunity to recover lost time,” Jamie Torres-Springer, the president of MTA Construction and Development, wrote in a statement.

The MTA still expects the project to be completed by 2027.
  by west point
But can the project start service if LIRR finds that the current LIRR traffic to NYP is as high or even higher than now with ESA in service? Remember Amtrak has to close each East River tunnel one at a time to rehab & fix Sandy damage/ As it is Amtrak is waiting for the go ahead to start on tunnel 1 closure when LIRR settles down.
  by Traingeek3629
Any thoughts as to what timetables will look like? An LIRR-style arrangement where it's roughly 60/40? Could MNR add a third train per hour out of New Haven and Stamford?
  by ElectricTraction
west point wrote: Sat Mar 11, 2023 7:39 pmBut can the project start service if LIRR finds that the current LIRR traffic to NYP is as high or even higher than now with ESA in service? Remember Amtrak has to close each East River tunnel one at a time to rehab & fix Sandy damage/ As it is Amtrak is waiting for the go ahead to start on tunnel 1 closure when LIRR settles down.
LIRR traffic to NYP has dropped... just not as much as they were expecting when opening ESA. Once they fix the Brooklyn mess, it will probably drop further. They really should make LIC a full legitimate terminal with a new train terminal and ferry terminal and enhanced ferry service to Manhattan, but that's a whole different project. If they improved LIC/HPA and made it equal to GCT/NYP/Brooklyn, there is actually an easy track path in HAROLD Interlocking to have direct service from New Haven.

NYP needs to be expanded once MSG is gone, but the traffic needs to be rebalanced with equal frequency and quality of service through Brooklyn, LIC, and Hoboken, all of which would open up significant capacity, some of which could be backfilled by Penn Access from the New Haven Line.
  by Jeff Smith
May's Newsletter: https://new.mta.info/document/110636

Pertinent Details:
Milestones Achieved

The project team achieved two major milestones with the CSX-E Switch installation and Plate C OSC wire raise. The Plate C OSC wire raise involved increasing the vertical clearance, or distance between rail and OCS wires, in order to create room for freight operations to pass through the right-of-way on Track 2. The CSX-E Switch installation has enabled freight operations to be diverted from Track 5 to Track 2. Both the Plate C OCS wire raise and the diversion of freight operations through the CSX-E Switch installation are essential to project phasing, as these activities increase the design builder’s access to Amtrak’s right-of-way.

What is a caisson?

In addition to bringing four new passenger stations to the East Bronx and Metro-North service to Penn Station, one of the project’s main goals is to bring Amtrak’s existing Hell Gate Line into a state of good repair. This includes upgrading the OCS structures along the project corridor to supply electricity for existing and future rail service. The first step of building the OCS is caisson installation. A caisson is a box-like structure that serves as the foundation for OCS. From April 2023 through Q1 2024, the project team is installing over 400 caissons, each spanning 4 feet in diameter and 20 feet in depth. To install the caissons, PSA construction workers will perform drilling, casing, cleaning, rebar placement, and pouring of concrete (see Figure 1 below). This critical step marks a significant next milestone in the advancement of the project.
  by Jeff Smith
Details of Amtrak's PSA page: https://www.amtrak.com/pennstationaccess
What are the Scope and Benefits of This Project?

This project will offer many benefits to underserved Bronx residents, including equitable transit access & faster trips to Manhattan via Metro-North trains. The project will also result in a modernized and rehabilitated railroad, benefitting Amtrak customers with a more comfortable and reliable journey. The work will include:

Adding eight miles of new tracks (expanding from a two-track to a four-track railroad in most locations)
Rehabilitating 11 miles of existing tracks
Rehabilitating four bridges
Adding four new interlockings
Modernizing signal, power, and communication infrastructure.
Construction of four new, fully accessible Metro-North stations
  by Traingeek3629
I REALLY hope they don't turn the off-peak semi express trains into locals to Penn. Those are the only tolerable runs on the outer New Haven. Virtually nobody rides off-peak from the stops they skip, anyways.
  by Jeff Smith
More delays: Bronx Times
Op-Ed | Another 8-month delay for completion of the $2.8B East Bronx Metro-North access project

The announcement by MTA Chairman Janno Lieber at the Monday MTA Capital Construction Monthly Board meeting that the East Bronx Metro-North project is now eight months behind schedule comes as no surprise to me. The same issues of insufficient track outages and use of Amtrak employees for support is resulting in the $12.6 billion MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) East Side access to Grand Central Madison completion being delayed years and the cost increasing by a billion dollars — may apply to the East Bronx project schedule and budget.

Metro-North recently announced earlier this year that insufficient future track outages and lack of employee support from Amtrak may delay completion by 6-8 months. The project costs have already grown from $600 million — 20 years ago — to $3.1 billion prior to last year’s construction contract award.
Bronx Times
Off track: Efforts to keep Metro-North expansion on schedule failed under ‘a problematic circumstance’

Despite efforts to speed up construction, the Penn Access project is still behind schedule, and the MTA blames Amtrak for not providing the resources required to stay on “track.”

The Penn Access project will bring four new Metro-North stations to Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point, connecting the East and South Bronx neighborhoods — as well as Westchester and Connecticut — to Penn Station on the west side of Manhattan. Most of the project takes place along a 6-mile section of the Hell Gate line, which is owned by Amtrak. The MTA says the $2.8 billion project will have the potential to reduce commutes to midtown Manhattan by up to 50 minutes.

In January, MTA representatives said the project was falling behind schedule and could potentially be delayed by 6-9 months. They blamed Amtrak for the holdup, saying the company wasn’t providing the access or resources that it committed to, particularly service outages needed for construction and “force account” staff, which references Amtrak workers that are supposed to help MTA’s labor force.
But his projection proved to be too hopeful. McGuinness announced on Monday that the recovery plan was unsuccessful and the projected substantial completion has indeed been pushed back to late 2027 from March 2027.
  by west point
Who benefits from the planned work for the East Bronx access?
1. Amtrak? Not so much. It may bt the draw bridge replaced and raised. It already converted the OCS from 25 Hz to 60 Hz with constant tension. More substations for the 60 Hz will be installed but would not be needed for Amtrak. CAT raised to plate "C" where CSX will need to use routes during construction.
2. NY City residents great benefits.
3. MNRR ? Yes!

So, why should Amtrak have to pay its folks to be around. As well a longer work window at night would mean Amtrak has to cancel more service from NYP - New Rochelle. Then onto New Haven - BOS. If MNRR wants to even speed up construction then it has to step up to the financial plate.
11. How much would MNRR save by speeding up the work?
12. What would MNRR have to do that will be a financial gain ?

One solution would be for MNRR restore the SE leg of the Spuyten wye. Provide back to back diesels to pull Amtrak trains New Rochell <>- NYP, provide pilots to operate these diversions. That would give at least 2 more hours each evening for a maintenance window. If the early Acela could be changed to a regional then another 2 hours could be allowed for the construction work. Now would these costs save in the long run???
  by Jeff Smith
New York – Penn Station Access (Up to $1,643,579,904)

The proposed project includes final design and construction to comprehensively rehabilitate 19 miles of the Amtrak-owned Hell Gate Line connecting New York Penn Station and New Rochelle, NY. Benefits to Amtrak’s intercity services from the project include upgraded signal systems, rehabilitation of four bridges, construction of four new interlockings and five new power substations, upgrades to two existing substations, and track rehabilitation. Additional project components include an expansion to the New Rochelle Yard and construction of new Metro-North commuter rail stations. The project will restore the Hell Gate Line to a state of good repair and allow the introduction of new Metro-North Railroad commuter rail service over the Hell Gate Line connecting to Penn Station New York. MTA would provide $527,421,902 in matching funds.

Consistent with the Inventory and NOFO, this Major Capital Project was Highly Rated and is therefore eligible for a Phased Funding Agreement. FRA is selecting the project for a Phased Funding Agreement with a total award amount of up to $1,643,579,904. Following selection, FRA will work with the recipient to establish and obligate the Phased Funding Agreement. FRA anticipates an initial obligation of FY22-23 funds under the agreement of up to $958,237,938, with contingent commitments from Advance Appropriations from FY24-26 providing the balance of funds.
  by Train60
Interesting to see this being funded by the FRA Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program, considering that most of this project is to allow Metro-North to access Penn Station. MN usually dips their bucket in the FTA's well.
  by Jeff Smith
Station input sought: Gothamist
Public input session for new East Bronx Metro-North stations slated for next week

The plan to open four new East Bronx Metro-North stations in 2027 is chugging along, but there’s still time for the public to weigh in on the specifics.

The new stations will be located in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point with the goal of better supporting the needs of the area, which is more residential and has less transit options than other parts of the Bronx. At an online information session on Wednesday, Jan. 10, the Department of City Planning will update New Yorkers on the latest iteration of the project, developed with input from a series of previous public meetings and surveys from 2018 through 2023.

According to the DCP, the proposal would bring new housing, jobs and open space amenities to the area, and has bipartisan support from councilmembers.
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