• Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

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  by east point
 
Any one know if Amtrak has closed one of the North river bores for extended work during this cut back of trains serving NYP. That would depend on NJT having cut back enough ?
  by Tadman
 
That's a good question.

Given that Acela is off and the schedule is so limited, what's to keep from diverting all NYP trains from Washington into Hoboken for a few weeks and doing tunnel work? Maybe truncate the Silvers at Washington as well or just run the coaches up north, while the sleepers/diners are serviced at Washington. The real question is, could a heavily cut back NJT and Amtrak be housed at Hoboken for four weeks?
  by STrRedWolf
 
Tadman wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:21 am That's a good question.

Given that Acela is off and the schedule is so limited, what's to keep from diverting all NYP trains from Washington into Hoboken for a few weeks and doing tunnel work? Maybe truncate the Silvers at Washington as well or just run the coaches up north, while the sleepers/diners are serviced at Washington. The real question is, could a heavily cut back NJT and Amtrak be housed at Hoboken for four weeks?
Depends. What's Amtrak's current schedule NEC+LD schedule? Is it hourly service on the Regionals with a sprinkling of LD's? If they can single track (6 trains an hour!) and have NJT go heavy Hoboken, that may work. But I think you may have some passengers going to Boston from DC (and reverse). I doubt you can shut the tunnels completely down.
  by AC4619
 
Amtrak's current schedule is far less than that. They're running one regional every two hours. Several trips I had booked had SO many concurrent cancellations that I have 4 changed itineraries in the app followed by just "this service has been cancelled" in bold red letters instead of the normal qr code, and no replacement. To get a refund I have to call them...the app still charges a cancel fee. As an aside: dumb.

Thus, Amtrak can, and probably IS, absolutely clos(ing) a tunnel right now. They already did that on the weekends during off peak times. 6 trains an hour is more than demand warrants. Amtrak likely needs 2 per hour, that's it. They are not running hourly regionals, there are no Acela's, no Keystone's, no Pennsylvanian...Florida basically banned nyers from even coming in...other services are truncated. They can fit the LDs into the other slots for the hours they aren't running the Regionals. That leaves NJT with 4 slots, so two per hour each way. 1 necl, 1 njcl. Both should be sufficient for demand which is nearly 0. Essential workers can transfer at Newark or Secaucus or travel via Hoboken. If social distancing requires more capacity, increase train length rather than frequency. NO business traveler is going dc to nyc right now., nyc to bos, etc. For those who don't live on the nec: it is bad. If you don't have to go out, you're not going out. Face to face meetings may work better than teleconference but not so much better that it is worth the risk. So Amtrak can absolutely close a tube now and work on it. The question is will they get funding. Short term, no, they won't. They like everyone else in transportation are fighting for survival, and thankfully were just bailed out. They aren't going to start a major works project right now, but could do some serious emergency repairs if they can afford it. Medium term maybe. If this lasts another several months, congress *will* pass an infrastructure bill to try and restart the economy. You can bet your bottom dollar they'll include gateway in that. Not a sure bet, but it makes sense politically and it will be included after intensive lobbying. The impact to gdp by the northeast megalopolis is extreme, with the Hudson tunnels directly responsible for a large chunk. The horrendous impact this society altering event will have, means NYC will get stuff it needs, including these tunnels.

Also: I do not buy 6 per hour. That is an estimate if you use bidirectional flow. If you stack things so 30 minutes are northbound, 30 minutes southbound, capacity is more like 10-12 per hour if done right. And that's DEFINITELY more than enough.

I think at present, the tunnels are the least of Amtrak's, or NYC's worries. But, from a schedule standpoint, they could. I think some folks here overestimate how many people are currently using the tunnels and how many trains Amtrak or anyone is running through them. No one is traveling. The type of person who rides Amtrak dc to nyc is not traveling. The type of person who rides a long distance train is DEFINITELY not traveling. Think about the main demographic that rides Amtrak's sleeper cars. For coach, those folks have been furloughed. Exceptions exist but many airlines and Amtrak are reporting demand down by 90-99%. The only people using those tunnels are healthcare workers that work in NYC, and similar essential workers.
  by STrRedWolf
 
AC4619 wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:06 pm Also: I do not buy 6 per hour. That is an estimate if you use bidirectional flow. If you stack things so 30 minutes are northbound, 30 minutes southbound, capacity is more like 10-12 per hour if done right. And that's DEFINITELY more than enough.
From earlier in this thread...
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:04 am The figure I've heard is that if you go down to 1 tube, the amount of trains going through the tunnels goes from 26 per hour down to 6 per hour. (Wikipedia says the limit is 24 going down to 9).

I can believe that figure of 24 down to 6. Assume 24 one-ways in two tubes. That's 12 in one tube one way no switching... or a train every 5 minutes. The distance between interlocks (BERGEN to A) is 3.4 miles (per Wikimapia measurement). The trains have to clear that entire stretch before switching directions... which takes time.

Anyone know what the speed limit is in this stretch?
Wash wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 12:34 pm I believe the speed limit in the tubes themselves is 60 mph.
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:01 am Mile a minute, so it's roughly 3.4 minutes travel time... but probably slightly more to clear the interlocks and to reconfigure the interlocks, so 5 minutes is probably a good round figure.

12 in one direction in an hour, 6 in a half hour... take out two slots for clearance, track switching... and the trains are going to be idle once the signal hits proceed...

Yeah, 6/hour both directions in one tube is likely the max. 9 is assuming a lot about switching and train speed, which physics doesn't really bear out.
Where should I send the bill? :)
  by David Benton
 
Seems like an ideal opportunity to close a tube. One possible problem, availability of personnel. Ideally you would have workers self isolate for 2 weeks before starting , that gives you time to work out social distancing rules / techniques, then have them isolate / restricts contacts whilst the work is in progress. Reimburse them accordingly. Would there be enough personnel available?
  by gokeefe
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:42 pmPlace your bets, everyone; "will it or won't it" (Gateway) be included within this proposed legislation:
I'll take "Included" ... I will also take the side action of naming as "Trump Tunnel".
  by mtuandrew
 
David Benton wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:27 pm Seems like an ideal opportunity to close a tube. One possible problem, availability of personnel. Ideally you would have workers self isolate for 2 weeks before starting , that gives you time to work out social distancing rules / techniques, then have them isolate / restricts contacts whilst the work is in progress. Reimburse them accordingly. Would there be enough personnel available?
From within the construction industry, it depends on the project. Construction hasn’t been formally designated “an essential industry” as a whole by the Federal government, but to my knowledge every state government has been treating the entire industry as such - that’s at least the case in DC, Maryland and Virginia and in New York. Everyone has been getting PPE (masks, rubber gloves) and at least limited training on do/don’t with COVID-19, and some job sites have been doing temporal separation (one subcontractor works mornings, another evenings, and one third shift/overnight.) I’m also personally aware of a job that had part of its site closed and decontaminated when a worker reported to the hospital and tested positive for COVID.

While I know of private or nonprofit projects that are on hold, Amtrak and other arms of the Federal government are still continuing construction projects. In fact, some are starting projects that had been on hold for a long time, such as one that my company has with the National Park Service. I doubt very much whether Amtrak could find funding to start boring Gateway right now (and good luck getting public comment let alone a final EIS) nor do I think they’d find a consortium willing to responsibly bid within 6 months even if Amtrak dropped a RFP today. However, if the funding comes through, companies would find the people (and especially industrial hygienists) to start Gateway even during the pandemic.
  by David Benton
 
Good info, Andrew, thanks. I was talking repair to the old tunnels , rather than starting Gateway , so I guess slightly offtopic.
Similar situation here , though all construction , federal or not has stopped. Shame when low traffic means some projects should be easier. Still , I guess a month doesn't mean much in the scheme of most big projects .
  by ThirdRail7
 
east point wrote: Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:17 pm Any one know if Amtrak has closed one of the North river bores for extended work during this cut back of trains serving NYP. That would depend on NJT having cut back enough ?
They have taken additional outages that were usually relegated to weekends but there isn't a complete closure. It is too bad MOW forces were already involved in long term projects that had already started. This would be the perfect time to undercut or change the rail and/or ties on the High Line.
AC4619 wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:06 pm
Also: I do not buy 6 per hour. That is an estimate if you use bidirectional flow. If you stack things so 30 minutes are northbound, 30 minutes southbound, capacity is more like 10-12 per hour if done right. And that's DEFINITELY more than enough.
The 6 per hour was an average. There are time periods that have 9 trains heading west or 8 coming east but there isn't as much opposing traffic.
  by east point
 
You cannot schedule too many trains one way due to capacity problems at NYP. Tracks 5 -14 means only 10 trains can stack up at NYP at one time. That means you send 5 trains west and fill them with the next 5. The other east bound tracks will empty thru the East river bores. Then as soon as the west bound trains clear the North river bores 5 will take east bound trains. Then once the east bounds clear the north river bore start over going west bound. With tracks 1 - 4 dead end for NJT.
  by bdawe
 
I'm increasingly convinced that Gateway, and similar infrastructure projects in the North East, should not be funded until costs are brought within the at least the same order of magnitude as international costs
  by gokeefe
 
I think the feds are basically sitting on their hands because they think the Port Authority or some kind of NY/NJ entity should pay for most of it.
  by Backshophoss
 
PANY with Amtrak should manage the construction of Gateway,NJT(and the state) throws $$$$$ in the pot with the feds ,Amtrak, and NY state.
Everybody pitches in,or this never gets done
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