• Reading, PA Service proposed to Philadelphia

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by STrRedWolf
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:50 pm More: https://www.co.berks.pa.us/Documents/Be ... -Final.pdf
I skimmed through the quote and hit the summary. It's basically "Double-track, straighten various track areas, get it to full Class 4 speeds, run dual-mode diesel/electric. Ether route to use the SEPTA platforms at 30th street or build a Dutch cut-off."
  by electricron
 
I keep reading how badly the Gateway Tunnels are needed because the existing North River Tunnels are below the state of good repair mark and "overloaded" with too much traffic, yet enthuses keep advocating for more trains to more places that must go through these supposedly overloaded or overcrowded tunnels. Why? Are those tunnels overcrowded or not?
If there really is not room for the new trains to go between Reading and New York, would new trains going between Reading and Philadelphia satisfy most enthuses? If that new train to Reading must go to New York, which other train must be dropped to make room for it in the overcrowded tunnels?
Easy for enthuses to say add a train - difficult to say which other train has to be dropped to make room for it. :(
  by ExCon90
 
The professionals at Amtrak and LIRR have been dealing with that situation for years, and it's always the same: for every train that's added a train has to come off -- and whose train shall it be? Amtrak's, MN's, or NJT's? I think there's an unspoken assumption when an additional train is proposed that capacity will somehow be made available, most likely by adding two tunnels.
  by electricron
 
ExCon90 wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:46 am The professionals at Amtrak and LIRR have been dealing with that situation for years, and it's always the same: for every train that's added a train has to come off -- and whose train shall it be? Amtrak's, MN's, or NJT's? I think there's an unspoken assumption when an additional train is proposed that capacity will somehow be made available, most likely by adding two tunnels.
Adding two tunnels does not add more platforms or tracks at Pennsylvania Station.

I suppose they could just keep Pennsylvania Station open longer? Suppose we allow the new service to Reading be the first train into Pennsylvania Station in the morning, and the last train out of Pennsylvania Station in the evening, when Pennsylvania Station is not too busy?
NY to Philadelphia per Amtrak schedules with non Acela trains takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. It's 63 miles between Philadelphia and Reading, assuming an average train speed of 50 mph (being very generous) it would take a train 1 hour and 16 minutes. So it would take a train between NYC and Reading 2 hours and 55 minutes - let's agree to simplify and state approximately 3 hours.
The Pennsylvania Station opens every morning at 5 am and closes every evening at midnight. So the train would leave Reading around 2 am in the morning to reach New York at 5 am, and would arrive at Reading around 3 am in the morning after leaving New York at midnight. Shifting the times of the train a half hour within New York's opening and closing times, a train could arrives at Reading about 2:30 am and as quickly as possible turns around for its departure.
Would they be happy with an once a day around 2:30 am service in Reading? Would they be happy with a around 1:15 am and 3:45 am service in Philadelphia? Really?

And if you ask me if I think it is possible, just look at when the Sunset Limited visits San Antonio, when the Texas Eagle visits Little Rock, when the Empire Builder visits Fargo, or when the California Zephyr visits Salt Lake City, much bigger cities than Reading with terrible hours of service. Yes, it can happen!
The nicest part of that solution is Amtrak would only need one train set to provide the service, and would give their workers something to do that early and late in New York, Philadelphia, and Reading. And even nicer, it would not require $15 billion for new tunnels and who knows how much more for Pennsylvania Station South.
  by WashingtonPark
 
If I lived in Reading I would never, ever use that train service, and I'm a big train buff. What one a day running exclusively between two points has hours like that?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Whether if Amtrak serves Reading as part of of a proposed "Lebanon Valley" Corridor or if only Septa is the name of the game for train service in Reading running to Philadelphia, track capacity must be expanded particularly on the Septa Norristown Line. It probably would also have to be expanded west of Norristown as NS runs several freights west of there and probably east, although freight probably doesn't run frequently on many portions of the Norristown Commuter Rail Line. The increase in track capacity would enable express service to Reading on the Septa Norristown Line. These trains can't be making every Septa station as the travel time will really slow down. I'm also worried about possibility of these passenger trains slowing down a lot on NS's Harrisburg Line.
  by Ridgefielder
 
electricron wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:37 am
ExCon90 wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:46 am The professionals at Amtrak and LIRR have been dealing with that situation for years, and it's always the same: for every train that's added a train has to come off -- and whose train shall it be? Amtrak's, MN's, or NJT's? I think there's an unspoken assumption when an additional train is proposed that capacity will somehow be made available, most likely by adding two tunnels.
Adding two tunnels does not add more platforms or tracks at Pennsylvania Station.

I suppose they could just keep Pennsylvania Station open longer? Suppose we allow the new service to Reading be the first train into Pennsylvania Station in the morning, and the last train out of Pennsylvania Station in the evening, when Pennsylvania Station is not too busy?
NY to Philadelphia per Amtrak schedules with non Acela trains takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. It's 63 miles between Philadelphia and Reading, assuming an average train speed of 50 mph (being very generous) it would take a train 1 hour and 16 minutes. So it would take a train between NYC and Reading 2 hours and 55 minutes - let's agree to simplify and state approximately 3 hours.
The Pennsylvania Station opens every morning at 5 am and closes every evening at midnight. So the train would leave Reading around 2 am in the morning to reach New York at 5 am, and would arrive at Reading around 3 am in the morning after leaving New York at midnight. Shifting the times of the train a half hour within New York's opening and closing times, a train could arrives at Reading about 2:30 am and as quickly as possible turns around for its departure.
Would they be happy with an once a day around 2:30 am service in Reading? Would they be happy with a around 1:15 am and 3:45 am service in Philadelphia? Really?

And if you ask me if I think it is possible, just look at when the Sunset Limited visits San Antonio, when the Texas Eagle visits Little Rock, when the Empire Builder visits Fargo, or when the California Zephyr visits Salt Lake City, much bigger cities than Reading with terrible hours of service. Yes, it can happen!
The nicest part of that solution is Amtrak would only need one train set to provide the service, and would give their workers something to do that early and late in New York, Philadelphia, and Reading. And even nicer, it would not require $15 billion for new tunnels and who knows how much more for Pennsylvania Station South.
Late to this thread, but: why on earth would NY-Reading service run via Philly? That's 2 legs of a triangle vs one leg if you go via Allentown: which also happens to be 1.5x the size of Reading anyway.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:29 pm Late to this thread, but: why on earth would NY-Reading service run via Philly? That's 2 legs of a triangle vs one leg if you go via Allentown: which also happens to be 1.5x the size of Reading anyway.
Because PA centric study didn't think of hooking up with NS and NJ Transit for service from NJ Transit's Raritan Valley line, forking off at Bound Brook, to do service to Redding. No, it has to go through the state capitol, Philadelphia, first.

Which... you have to admit, would be NJ Transit does this day in/out for Metro-North, but that would add complexity to the state when it has SEPTA service it could just extend. Besides, if it was Amtrak service through there going through the SEPTA upper tracks, it would loop nicely back around and up through Trenton. Single seat there... or if using the Cynwyn bypass, it would reverse like on the Keystones.
  by ExCon90
 
The route via Cynwyd iis gone. The right-of-way beyond Cynwyd is now a walking trail including the bridge over the Schuylkill -- no hope of getting that back. A pity in a way, because that would have provided a direct route to 30th St. with the possibility of terminating trains on the stub tracks at Suburban Station; otherwise they'd have to run to Roberts Yard, between Temple and Wayne Jct .
  by urr304
 
Just an inquiry, checking on curent demand, just how many busses now run Reading to Philadelphia or NYC? I looked at recent Amtrak Thruway schedules and did not see any listing for Reading; there is/was a Philadelphia-Wilkes Barre/Scranton schedule. I know there is another PennDOT study for rail commuter service, but how many commuters are now using a park n'ride or bus transfer to train?
  by rcthompson04
 
I think the reason you are seeing Reading - Philadelphia - New York proposals is because the obvious gap in the commuter system and a desire to replicate the commuter type service we see on the Keystone Service. The simple answer is if Pennsylvania wants to engage in this exercise they agree to cut the Keystone slots into NYP by half.

I am skeptical of such a service working because how do you access 30th Street. Do you bring these trains all the way down the Harrisburg Line from Reading and restore the connections to the lower level at 30th Street? Do you run them down the Harrisburg Line to the Norristown Line and through the tunnels stopping in Center City? Do you build a full Swampoodle and move the Chestnut Hill West line onto the Reading side and have the Reading Amtrak trains access the NEC there? The idea sounds good until you have to deal with infrastructure, equipment and Norfolk Southern issues.
  by Jeff Smith
 
electricron wrote: Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:20 am I keep reading how badly the Gateway Tunnels are needed because the existing North River Tunnels are below the state of good repair mark and "overloaded" with too much traffic, yet enthuses keep advocating for more trains to more places that must go through these supposedly overloaded or overcrowded tunnels. Why? Are those tunnels overcrowded or not?
SNIP
It's the chicken or the egg argument, or if you prefer, "if you build it, they will come". I have no idea if this service is worth anything other than the nostalgia for Reading service. But a lot of times, the extra capacity and the reliability that brings does drive demand. As an example, the Harlem Line of MNRR above North White, when electrified.

I think, though, the line to Philly would drive service.
  by Launcher
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:49 pm
Because PA centric study didn't think of hooking up with NS and NJ Transit for service from NJ Transit's Raritan Valley line, forking off at Bound Brook, to do service to Redding. No, it has to go through the state capitol, Philadelphia, first.

Sorry for my confusion if you weren't, but you were doing a sarcasm, here, right?
  by scratchyX1
 
Is the service for passengers from Reading proper, or from communities along the Ex Reading mainline?
  by STrRedWolf
 
Launcher wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:55 pm
STrRedWolf wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:49 pm
Because PA centric study didn't think of hooking up with NS and NJ Transit for service from NJ Transit's Raritan Valley line, forking off at Bound Brook, to do service to Redding. No, it has to go through the state capitol, Philadelphia, first.
Sorry for my confusion if you weren't, but you were doing a sarcasm, here, right?
Not really. To do service direct to NYC, you're basically avoiding Philly and going directly east. There's a NS line there that ties into NJ Transit's Raritan Valley line. Since NJ Transit has experience running outside New Jersey (see Metro-North West-of-Hudson service), PA would be a contract for NJ Transit to run into PA... which is likely more expensive than SEPTA, which the state can control.