• New interim LIRR president sees MNCR and LIRR as one railroad

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

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by photobug56
The new interim head of LIRR has said that she sees Metro North and LIRR as one railroad. In real life, not even close. Yes, there will someday be a LIRR terminal way down below GCT. That will give Long Island commuters an easier trip to east Manhattan in many cases. There will some day be what I gather is a new 'Metro North' line - all new trackage? that will take northern Bronx commuters over the Hellgate to Penn Station. That's good too. BUT - Long Island residents who need to work in Da Bronx or WestChester, perhaps into CT would still have to go into GCT on LIRR and then a MN train to their destination to the North / Northeast. I estimated what what now would be a 6 hour round trip end to end (on a good day) from East Northport to White Plains (LIRR into Penn, 2 subways to GCT, then a MN train) might drop to 5 hours with ESA fully functioning. Not viable.

Imagine a train from Jamaica to Da Bronx via the Hellgate connecting to all MN lines - eliminating the trips into and out of Manhattan. Assuming a regular, easy connection, this would take a big chunk off of that time. Perhaps even a few trains here and there from other points on Long Island to points in West Chester and CT. That would bring some truth to her comments, and eliminate the need to drive for many. For people who can't make that drive, it would make the commute possible. And yes, this would be a two way thing. And would finally make MTA look more like a regional railroad than a collection of misfits.

From past comments, of course there would be expense, But it sounded just as doable as the new MNCR connection to Penn.
  by eolesen
How many people really do a LI - Bronx/Westchester/CT commute?...

I personally drew the line at a 90 minute one way commute. 11 hours leaves only 2-4 hours for time with my family, and that's not OK. I'd rather take a pay cut and find something closer, or move.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by R36 Combine Coach
eolesen wrote: Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:18 am How many people really do a LI - Bronx/Westchester/CT commute?...
Those traveling from the island to CT would have benefited the most from Moses' sound crossing, extending
I-287 onto the island from Rye and then having it run as the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway.

Would make, say Hicksville-Stamford much more convenient.

The Port Jefferson ferry does not seem well suited for commuters, despite frequent schedules. Fares are high.
  by commuterjoe
Assuming photobug56's idea for a Jamaica to Metro North connection via the Hell Gate Bridge was considered, is it feasible to connect the lines where they cross just east of the old Win Tower. It looks like the LIRR has the right of way just north of the 4 track main line. Could a ramp be constructed and then curve slightly to meet the grade of the Hell Gate Bridge trackage? This would make the connection possible from Long Island.
  by krispy
Couple of things here: First and foremost - Why? Why connect at all to the NY Connecting RR for passenger service? It's going to take an absurd amount of money for MN to run passenger trains just to Hellgate. There's a big reason why the service died out prior to WW II, and the New Haven and it's successors never restored it. There's not a lot on that side of the Bronx. Seriously, besides maybe making runs to Hunt's Point Market (now irrelevant to anyone with a Costco or BJ's account), what legal reason is there to draw folks to that area? The only one's clamoring for passenger service is the folks in Co-op City, who don't care for the long ride on the subway. That's like rebuilding the old Rockaway Beach branch to give folks in the Rockaways a quicker ride into the City. Is that worth the expense, especially in the post-COVID workplace? Amtrak has bottlenecked the branch, leaving just two tracks at Pelham Bay drawbridge. Are they going to share with MN? Even if MN rebuilds tracks North or South of that point, that bridge will be a huge bottleneck to any future service for MN, Amtrak and the freights.

Also, the biggest obstacle is how are MN trains going to run on LIRR rail with their third rail shoes? Trains that do come down for whatever reason, usually Contract work at Shea or ESA shops still have to stop vicinity of Harold and the car inspectors have to either remove or modify the shoes to go from under to over running third rail. What do they intend to do, have a dedicated MU fleet that can run into Penn only? Design a shoe that can go either way and then take a chance it gets raked off once they hit Penn or the other systems rail at Mt. Vernon? I can see that as a possibility, maybe enlarging New Rochelle's old yard and then running scoot from Shell to Penn. Too bad they modified the interlocking at Shell so you can't go across to the other side now.
commuterjoe wrote: Could a ramp be constructed and then curve slightly to meet the grade of the Hell Gate Bridge trackage? This would make the connection possible from Long Island.
Could it? Maybe, but the NY Connecting is very high up at that point. NH 6 track was removed decades ago from Oak to the Swamp Switch, and neither 5 or 6 have catenary anymore, so rebuild that? Or rebuild Bowery Bay interlocking, a massive expense just a stone's throw from Gate interlocking. Point is, all of that is WAY too expensive. If it were necessary, just go down to Harold and make a reverse move, but again as I said in the beginning - Why?
  by photobug56
If you want to run trains between Long Island and MN, you use diesel (preferably new, Tier 4). If you want to run trains from MN via Hellgate (note I didn't say Bronx on non-MN tracks, but this could still work), use DM's with diesel and pantograph.

If needed, tracks can be put back, ramps added.

I can't speak for anyone else's suggestions, but what I'm looking for is to connect Long Island commuters to West Chester and CT. A lot of Manhattan bank jobs have moved north. Piles of people either drive, or lose their jobs. Lots can't do the drive. The alternative - once ESA, one of these decades, actually works with decent connections to Long Island diesel country, is to take a train to Jamaica, transfer there to a GCT train, then take MN to wherever. For me that would be over 5 hours round trip. Before ESA, over 6 hours round trip via Penn and GCT, and that's on a good day. In reality, ESA will only help those going into the city and either have a direct electric train OR quick, easy transfer at some point like Jamaica. It won't help people from diesel country on Long Island even if they have an easy transfer to a GCT train. But a shuttle with easy transfer at Jamaica to the MN lines into the Bronx bypasses Manhattan, something I think should have been done decades ago.
  by krispy
photobug56 wrote: For me that would be over 5 hours round trip. Before ESA, over 6 hours round trip via Penn and GCT, and that's on a good day.
I'm originally from CT and also go to Westchester and Putnam frequently. I used to work overnight, get out and grab a train to NYC from Queens, hoof it to GCT, snooze on a train to some station along the Croton watershed, fly fish on foot, snooze on the way back, hoof it to Penn with a stop at Nat Sherman (if I was lucky LOL) and make it back to pick up the kids from school in Nassau County, all in a little over 6 hours. Done it for years, and will do it again soon when the river is done icing out. All on foot. Same thing with going back to CT, although if it works out I'd just go upstairs and take Amtrak to Stamford at Penn. But if I did leave out of GCT to hit the Danbury or New Canaan branches, hoofing it or taking the 2 subway trains was about the same, and added 20 minutes. It still worked out for me, as most of the New Havens usually left at 7 minutes past the hour and I rarely had to wait long.

Would I have preferred to simply take a LIRR into Penn? Sure, but once Shelly Silver shot down Bloomberg's Olympic bid and blocking the stadium being build in Hudson Yards, I knew it was unlikely I'd see it before retiring. But honestly, it wouldn't have saved me more time than I mentioned earlier. After we were done busting each other's chops and heaping insults on our favorite teams, I'd ask the MN guys how many people did they get from LI reverse commuting or even going at all, which was very few, and they were usually employees from one of the MTA agencies. Most non-employees were college kids going to Fordham or Botanical Gardens, and so wouldn't benefit from ESA or taking the proposed Hellgate line. The few that I know that do will ride a car every time. If they're far out east enough, they take the ferry. The one exception was the new stadium stop for the Yanks, that was big for folks coming off of the NH and also folks wishing to avoid the 4/B/D train. Point I'm trying to make is it can be done NOW, with the existing system. If folks don't want to deal with the commute, then either they move or look for another job. But to add enormous infrastructure at great expense to benefit a few just isn't happening. I'm worried about my kids when the bill comes due for all of the work that's being done now, and the LIRR triple tracking was absolutely essential and will benefit a great many people, no matter what happens with the new commuting dynamic. So will ESA, but they weren't cheap and it's going to cost us some point down the road...
  by eolesen
I don't doubt there are a few people who might benefit from bypassing Manhattan, but I can't imagine it would fill more than one or two train cars a day. That won't come anywhere near what would be needed to justify the billions in expenses to reconnect the two.
  by photobug56
40 to 5o work hours plus 30 commuting hours if everything is perfect is not viable. And roads between are saturated. I think a lot more people are doing this than you believe.
  by eolesen
I have no doubt there are people doing that type of commute, but how many would actually switch to the train?

I suspect most of those Westchester and Connecticut bank jobs are in office parks, not necessarily near a train station or on a bus route. Would you trade driving door to door for a longer multi-seat train/bus commute? I probably wouldn't.
  by photobug56
Not everyone can drive for 2 hours each way in bumper to bumper traffic, or drive to work at 3AM. Oh, and the job I lost was a block from the WP train station.

I have a family member driving to the Bronx frequently for medical treatment. It's a huge strain on both this person and the car.
  by workextra
FWIW, in some respect LIRR and MNCR can be view as one railroad.
If they really wanted they could even sell interline tickets LI station to MN station Via GCT, culture is seriously the only thing stopping that.
The MTA as already merged and integrated a significant amount non operational related aspects into “MTA BSC” I’d assume when the remaining folks retire the rest will One day all be in BSC and there will be no independent LIRR and MNCR HR, Diversity, Legal, depts, it will “one” under MTA-Rail.
Operationally they will Still be separate but again, their employees will
One day not work for LI or MN but rather MTA-Rail and essentially be assigned to one road but able to bid into the other road. 3 rosters (combined), (LI) and (MN) local. Give it time the MTA will force this in due time. And the unions will have no power to stop it.
The membership will be offered a beautiful take it or leave it contract “too good to refuse” and it will be passed.
They’ll get their raises, buyouts and the new hires will be sold out to MTA-RAIL.

LIRR will still be LIRR, Metro-North still MN, but they each will be forced to hire from MTA-RAIL
The public won’t know the difference.

As for things such as clean trains. LIRR turnarounds don’t provide for the layover times that MNCR has, it’s not that LIRR can’t clean trains, trust me. LIRR CAN DO much more than many folks believe.
Time Will tell folks.
  by workextra
There needs to be a consensus and willingness to understand that business as currently is, simply don’t work.
They need to not fear someone bitching and moaning that their train was canceled or re schedule as they go about revamping the operation.
If someone has to transfer now who never did before, oh well.
If they want to truly see the value in the infrastructure and system there needs to be a willingness to try different things to see what works and what don’t.
The plague gave them the opportunity with lower ridership to modify stuff. But as ridership increases along with inflation, they will need to be willing to adapt services offered to benefit the majority of customers and not just the ones who can afford the higher gas prices and who have the open phone lines to Albany.
  by edflyerssn007
What really needs to be looked into is service from LI express to Poughkeepsie hitting the same stops Amtrak empire service does where you can stay on one train, if they are going to be talking combined operations. A diesel electric dual mode and some decent coaches to be pulled by it. Even if it's just a train that departs Jamaica every two hours, with some well timed connections, it can be very useful, especially as Amtrak is already starting to have sold out trains again.

This combined with some Amtrak trains from Ronk to the Poconos or enhanced Hampton's service can be a real boon and help get a ton of cars off of the roads and into more efficient vehicles.

On the other side, I absolutely could see them combining HR and some other departments where responsibilities overlap, but that can have its own downsides.