• The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

  • 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

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  by photobug56
 
The original tunnel under the East River was built decades ago, I guess under Transit Authority control (two levels, one for TA, one for LIRR, and no one really thought ahead). The real question - why LIRR, having double decker cars designed just for them, built the cars too tall to fit the known dimensions of the tunnel. I was standing in that tunnel in 1996 when I asked that question - before the cars were built, and they had no answer. IMHO, the level of mediocrity at MTA in designing, specifying the locos and cars was beyond my comprehension. They couldn't / wouldn't share tech with Amtrak or Metro North or anyone else, and they chose to build equipment not to fit, to not buy enough of it, cars or locos, not buy enough or good enough dual-mode locos, let alone, IMHO, take very good care of it. In the years since, constant breakdowns before trips, during trips, plus the smoke they belch can be beyond disgusting. And I've got this funny feeling that when they finally order more DD's, they too will be too tall.

I used to wonder why they perpetually screwed diesel country passengers. I discovered a couple reasons. One, that one of their presidents, kind of retired on the job, believed that east of Huntington and Babylon it was all still farmland - yes, he told me directly at an LIRR hearing one night. The other, that they still operate using schedules hardly changed from those from the late 1800's (on much of the railroad).
  by Head-end View
 
We've discussed this in previous pages. But the answer is that when the tunnels were being planned in the 1960's no one at that time envisioned that anything other than the LIRR's then new M1 fleet would ever use these tunnels.
  by MattW
 
photobug56 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:31 am What IMHO would best serve LIRR until if and when they electrify and double track the PJ line and others (Oyster Bay floods easily as I understand it so electrification may not make sense past a certain point) are double deckers's that could fit into the tunnels for ESA - if that's possible. In 1996 LIRR officials told me that they were buying double deckers that were about 3 inches too tall to fit. The C3's. Not enough of them, as they admitted early on. If DD's could fit everywhere, haul them with electric locos and dual mode locos as appropriate. More capacity, hopefully less squeezing.
Are double deckers even possible to fit into ESA? The C3s are listed on Wikipedia as being 14' 5.59" while the NJT Multilevels are listed as being 14' 6." Both are already pretty dang cramped as-is.

If you want to do electric locomotives, I think you'd have to extend catenary. loco-hauled-metros-t153800.html I asked about locomotive-hauled metros a number of years ago. Reading back through that topic, it seems there are quite a few disadvantages to doing locomotives that use third rail. In fact, I can only find one that seems to have regular, revenue use, the British Rail Class 73, and it's a dual mode with the diesel primarily for shunting work.
You'll never want a commuter railroad to reconfigure a train mid run - dropping or adding cars. Too much time to do and test brakes, etc.
For cars, yes, but is that true for EMUs as well? There is some degree of testing definitely, but is it nearly as much? I didn't understand it to be.
As to single level trains serving diesel country, not enough car or track capacity that way. Especially on a line like the PJ line which (ignoring COVID) badly needs more capacity, not less. It poorly, IMHO, serves outside rush hour, het alone Stony Brook U.
But wouldn't PJ or OB electrification involve single level equipment? Maybe more frequently, but still the single level M7/M9?
  by photobug56
 
Head-end View wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:40 pm We've discussed this in previous pages. But the answer is that when the tunnels were being planned in the 1960's no one at that time envisioned that anything other than the LIRR's then new M1 fleet would ever use these tunnels.
That's not MY question though. MY question is why the C3 fleet was built too tall for the tunnel.
  by photobug56
 
MattW wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:33 pm
photobug56 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:31 am What IMHO would best serve LIRR until if and when they electrify and double track the PJ line and others (Oyster Bay floods easily as I understand it so electrification may not make sense past a certain point) are double deckers's that could fit into the tunnels for ESA - if that's possible. In 1996 LIRR officials told me that they were buying double deckers that were about 3 inches too tall to fit. The C3's. Not enough of them, as they admitted early on. If DD's could fit everywhere, haul them with electric locos and dual mode locos as appropriate. More capacity, hopefully less squeezing.
Are double deckers even possible to fit into ESA? The C3s are listed on Wikipedia as being 14' 5.59" while the NJT Multilevels are listed as being 14' 6." Both are already pretty dang cramped as-is.

If you want to do electric locomotives, I think you'd have to extend catenary. loco-hauled-metros-t153800.html I asked about locomotive-hauled metros a number of years ago. Reading back through that topic, it seems there are quite a few disadvantages to doing locomotives that use third rail. In fact, I can only find one that seems to have regular, revenue use, the British Rail Class 73, and it's a dual mode with the diesel primarily for shunting work.
You'll never want a commuter railroad to reconfigure a train mid run - dropping or adding cars. Too much time to do and test brakes, etc.
For cars, yes, but is that true for EMUs as well? There is some degree of testing definitely, but is it nearly as much? I didn't understand it to be.
As to single level trains serving diesel country, not enough car or track capacity that way. Especially on a line like the PJ line which (ignoring COVID) badly needs more capacity, not less. It poorly, IMHO, serves outside rush hour, het alone Stony Brook U.
But wouldn't PJ or OB electrification involve single level equipment? Maybe more frequently, but still the single level M7/M9?
The C3's are only a few inches too tall. As to cat, I suppose LIRR could use cat on dual modes once it gets to the Sunnyside area, but I'm wondering how safe it would be just ahead or behind the DD's in a low ceiling tunnel. I doubt they'd go for it. LIRR is sort of used to dm's using 3rd rail. Not to say they are good at it, though.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
photobug56 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:34 pm The original tunnel under the East River was built decades ago, I guess under Transit Authority
control (two levels, one for TA, one for LIRR, and no one really thought ahead).
Actually an early MTA project (1967-68) under the administration of Nelson Rockefeller and MTA Chairman
Ronan. Construction began circa 1969 and was to be complete by the mid 70s. The upper level for the IND
63 Street Subway opened in 1989.
  by photobug56
 
I never remember the years. I do remember, standing in the tunnel in 1996, hearing subway trains toing through the other level. It felt strange.
  by freightguy
 
There is now talks of a third party entity handling East Side Access. I'm not sure if that pertains to train service, but people with monthlies looking for that one seat ride into Manhattan surely aren't going to be happy if they have to transfer!
  by photobug56
 
Judging from union reaction, it sounded like MTA wanted to outsource running the terminal.

As to transferring, as previously discussed, the DM's and C3's won't fit - LIRR chose to specify C3 cars that were a few inches too high to fit the East River tunnel built decades ago by the TA. Yes, they knew exactly what they were doing back in 1996 or earlier when they made that decision. So unless electrification in some viable form goes farther out than it does now (I'm on the PJ line at East Northport), it won't be a one seat ride with current equipment. And I've got this nasty feeling that when they finally spec new double decker cars, they will again spec them just a bit too tall to fit, presumably to spite diesel country riders. FYI, a certain unnamed LIRR president a number of years ago defended poor service farther east (among other issues) by telling me that it's all farmland out past Huntington, Babylon, etc., so there's no need for more commuter service out there. Of course, if you ask me, I'm pretty sure the guy was approaching senility when he became LIRR pres.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I think the newer passenger cars that can only run behind a locomotive will be single level. That is what I heard last. Therefore, they will be able to fit into the tunnels leading into Grand Central Terminal.

I don't think everybody who has to go to East Midtown will be happy about transferring from a train heading to Penn Station to one heading to Grand Central Terminal. At least for those people doing so at Jamaica, it will just be a matter of probably walking across the platform. The people heading to East New York, Nostrand Ave, and Flatbush Ave will unfortunately really be getting screwed by having to walk up steps and escalators to a pedestrian bridge over several tracks before having to go downstairs to the correct platform for Brooklyn.

By the way, if the battery powered trains become successful, it would be great to have most of the Port Jefferson Line trains run directly to Manhattan. It would be nice to see trains running the entire route on the Pt. Jeff Line to end at GCT but not sure, given that probably many of the trains heading to GCT will be coming from the Hempstead, Far Rockaway, and probably the Pt. Washington Lines.
  by photobug56
 
Problem with single level for diesel country is that there just aren't enough trains or track capacity (between single tracking and running trains so slowly (as much as 90 minutes on a good day for a 40 mile run) that they just are not practical to Port Jeff. All this talk of battery powered M9's is fun but keep in mind this is LIRR; they'd be lucky to make it work on the Oyster Bay branch.

In regards to 'transfer at Jamaica', evening transfers are traditionally horrible. You switch from a 12 passenger car electric train to maybe a 3 passenger car diesel. It's never worked well - especially since you never know for sure where the diesel will be spotted at Jamaica. You can get squeezed horribly (remember COVID is still around and when you are so close to someone else, masks just aren't enough) while waiting to get off the electric, squeezing through all the people blocking the doors, through the platform crowd, then running like a bat out of hell trying to reach a car that might have seats. This is not going to improve with ESA unless LIRR does something like 'first 3 cars PJ transfer only at Jamaica' - which they won't.

Courtesy of that decision made in the mid 1990's, diesel country passengers will get screwed re ESA. One reason to be sure of that - I've asked Eng and others at LIRR, even PCAC, etc. how the transfers for diesel country passengers to / from ESA, and they get this very blank look in their eyes like no one's home. They don't have an answer, and are hoping that the lousy 'solution' they come up with won't get too many protests. After all, it's just farm country out here... FYI, the then retired on the job LIRR pres who said that to me started out as a ticket clerk.
  by Head-end View
 
If you're talking about the LIRR president who started as a ticket clerk, I believe he himself lived pretty far east in Suffolk County on the South Shore. Maybe he was talking about the area where he lived.
  by photobug56
 
He was talking East of Huntington and Babylon. The context was the abandoned plan to put a train-yard near Commack or so for M's - without doubletracking between the yard and Huntington, which was a horribly stupid idea. A yard made sense - but single tracked, the way the diesels break down so often, you'd lose a yard full of electric trains if a breakdown occurred in that track stretch. Plus, they would not allow East Northport or Greenlawn riders board those electric trains even though they'd pass through both stations. I asked him (I was sitting behind him in the audience while others were on stage) and he told me in very clear terms that he thought it made sense because it was still all farmland east of the 2 stations. He truly believed it. He was very nice, just in different reality than everyone else present. Oh, and the meeting was about Commack, and held on the North shore.
  by twropr
 
Why are there two 4-track platforms at GCT rather than one 8-Track platform? The lower platform is about 50 ft beneath the upper. With the lowest platform so far beneath the Metro-North tracks a 182-ft escalator is required to lift passengers up to the concourse.
Andy
  by photobug56
 
There are some who believe that MTA looked for and found the most expensive possible solution to connecting the East River tunnel (LIRR level) to GCT. There were alternative proposals that supposedly would have been less extreme. But I'm not qualified to judge them. I can say that tunneling in Manhattan is difficult at best because there is so much already underground.
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