• MTA 2020-2024 Capital Budget - NYC Metro Area Wide Priorities

  • 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.
  by Jeff Smith
 
An op-ed by Larry Penner: https://www.masstransitmag.com/manageme ... -shortfall

Some snippets:
New York MTA already has several billion available to deal with a multi-billion-dollar shortfall

The NYC Citizens Budget Commission report confirms that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) $51-billion 2020 - 2024 Capital Plan is no longer financially feasible. Why does MTA Chairman Pat Foye continue to refuse consideration for the following options to assist in solving the New York MTA's financial crises?

Some sub-topics:

$6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2

$1.5 billion for the Bronx East Metro North Penn Station Access

1% Arts in Transit capital projects expenditure requirement

Planning studies for system expansion
  by STrRedWolf
 
Okay, let me cut this down to bare essentials and give my opinion:

$6.9B for 2nd Ave Subway Phase 2 IE Extend the Q to 125th street to vent overcrowded 4/5/6 trains. Needed, overdue by decades, commit the funds.

Here's the thing. When 2022 comes around and recovery is in place, the 4/5/6 is going to be overcrowded AGAIN. Before the pandemic, the 4/5/6 were overcrowded for decades. In terms of "distance", the 2nd Ave Subway is "far more critical" than anything else and is on par with safety, good repair, and COVID-19. It can't wait. It's overdue.

$1.5B for Bronx East Metro North Penn Station Access IE route Metro North like Amtrak to Penn Station. Hold on this.

While the author of the op-ed makes a good point on an agreement, he misses the infrastructure side. In short, you gotta electrify the route some way that's compatible with Metro North and deal with the bridge at Spuyten Duyvil. That's a hard task, something that even us forum members spitballing ideas can't seem to crack.

There's can't, and there's won't. Can't is a physical thing, won't is a mental thing. IMO you can't, thus hold on this until you get the engineering done.

1% Arts in Transit Capital Projects expenditure requirement If it's required by law, you gotta spend it.

MTA Outside Contractors Audit and/or fire them!

Seriously. I heard that MTA doesn't even have a handle on how many outside contractors it even has. It's trying to get a handle of it now with new leadership at the top of the agency.

$12 billion of FTA funding projects and programs in active grants
$1.4 billion of FTA FY2020 federal formula funding
$1.5 billion of FTA FY2021 federal formula funding
Reallocate.

$12 billion FTA funding transparency and accountability
FTA independent engineering and other oversight consultants
Not germane to the issue at hand.

These two are wish-list items that I have to question why they're even in the op-ed in the first place. They have no relationship to the rest.

Planning studies for system expansion Hold if possible.

These studies are probably already paid for, or already paused.

In the end... it's not a very well researched op-ed piece. Some good points but it could have been so much better.
  by Jeff Smith
 
The question on Penn Access has always been "if you build it, will they come." to paraphrase Field of Dreams. So much is dependent on East Side Access of course. The tech hurdle of electrification is a hiccup; they just need a small fleet of ALP's, whether it's 46' or 45-DP's, or ACS-64's. They don't need to extend third rail, and they don't need to send 8's. This can be part of the DM discussion going on between Amtrak, LIRR, and MNRR.

Hudson to Penn Access is not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

SAS should definitely happen.
  by Riverduckexpress
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:28 pm $1.5B for Bronx East Metro North Penn Station Access IE route Metro North like Amtrak to Penn Station. Hold on this.

While the author of the op-ed makes a good point on an agreement, he misses the infrastructure side. In short, you gotta electrify the route some way that's compatible with Metro North and deal with the bridge at Spuyten Duyvil. That's a hard task, something that even us forum members spitballing ideas can't seem to crack.

There's can't, and there's won't. Can't is a physical thing, won't is a mental thing. IMO you can't, thus hold on this until you get the engineering done.
To expound on what Jeff wrote, the MTA's current planning and funding efforts for Penn Station Access only include New Haven Line service on the Hell Gate line; Hudson Line service to Penn was kicked to some unspecified point in the future and is of no concern at this point. The MTA's plan is indeed to extend the LIRR's overrunning third rail for a mile or so along the Hell Gate line in Queens, to the current voltage changeover point, to allow M8s to operate into Penn Station.
Jeff Smith wrote:The question on Penn Access has always been "if you build it, will they come." to paraphrase Field of Dreams. So much is dependent on East Side Access of course. The tech hurdle of electrification is a hiccup; they just need a small fleet of ALP's, whether it's 46' or 45-DP's, or ACS-64's. They don't need to extend third rail, and they don't need to send 8's. This can be part of the DM discussion going on between Amtrak, LIRR, and MNRR.

Hudson to Penn Access is not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

SAS should definitely happen.

Although Joe Giuletti (CTDOT commissioner, and former Metro-North president) has expressed support for bilevel coaches along the New Haven Line to increase capacity, would the MTA really want to go with anything other than M8s for the mainline? Procuring triple-catenary locomotives (or coach-compatible EMUs like New Jersey Transit) just seems like adding additional complexity to MTA maintenance/operations (compared to the MTA's solution of extending the third rail) for relatively little gain unless you're interested in something bigger, like through-running between the railroads (which isn't something the MTA/CTDOT have seriously moved towards, AFAIK). Assuming the third rail shoes on the M8s can be flipped on the go (not sure if that's possible or not, somebody who knows more than me please correct me) I would think the MTA would want M8s running all over the mainline, so that a GCT train can be easily sent to Penn (or vice-versa) in the case of an emergency, and to keep their service branding consistent.

If things continue to look extremely grim, I think SAS Phase 2 is toast. Would hardly be the first time it's happened to this line.
  by Jeff Smith
 
All good points, RDE. Pre-COVID-19, though, the M8 fleet was fully utilized. I know they're getting some more, but if things return to "normal", will they have enough to run Penn service? I can't hardly see them diverting current service from GCT.

They do indeed have "flippable shoes", and I assume they'll come up on the fly as they do in Pelham. I'm not sure what the line item cost is for DC extension, and would Amtrak even want it extended beyond Harold?

I just think given the cost of extension, some type of coach service would be useful. A DM Catenary/Third Rail could work too, with flippable shoes.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Riverduckexpress wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:43 pm To expound on what Jeff wrote, the MTA's current planning and funding efforts for Penn Station Access only include New Haven Line service on the Hell Gate line; Hudson Line service to Penn was kicked to some unspecified point in the future and is of no concern at this point. The MTA's plan is indeed to extend the LIRR's overrunning third rail for a mile or so along the Hell Gate line in Queens, to the current voltage changeover point, to allow M8s to operate into Penn Station.
Another reason to hold on it -- this level of logistics needs to be worked out. Plus, isn't the Hell Gate bridge only 2 tracks plus a movable span?

With more time to think about things, the more I have to wonder about the state of affairs pre-pandemic. I haven't seen any studies on traffic flow -- how many people off the Hudson and New Haven lines would benefit going to Penn over GCT? Is your final destination the World Trade Center or Wall Street? Or more rarely, would you transfer from Metro-North to LIRR? I love to see the data behind it all.
  by NaugyRR
 
I usually choose to take Empire trains out of Rhinecliff over going to Wassaic for the scenery, comfort, and free parking. Where Metro-North has them beat is GCT and trip flexibility (a Metro-North ticket is valid on ANY train going to the destination printed on it). If anything, I'd like to see Amtrak get some GCT slots in exchange for the New Haven trains going to NYP.
  by Jeff Smith
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:50 am
Riverduckexpress wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:43 pm To expound on what Jeff wrote, the MTA's current planning and funding efforts for Penn Station Access only include New Haven Line service on the Hell Gate line; Hudson Line service to Penn was kicked to some unspecified point in the future and is of no concern at this point. The MTA's plan is indeed to extend the LIRR's overrunning third rail for a mile or so along the Hell Gate line in Queens, to the current voltage changeover point, to allow M8s to operate into Penn Station.
Another reason to hold on it -- this level of logistics needs to be worked out. Plus, isn't the Hell Gate bridge only 2 tracks plus a movable span?

With more time to think about things, the more I have to wonder about the state of affairs pre-pandemic. I haven't seen any studies on traffic flow -- how many people off the Hudson and New Haven lines would benefit going to Penn over GCT? Is your final destination the World Trade Center or Wall Street? Or more rarely, would you transfer from Metro-North to LIRR? I love to see the data behind it all.
With ESA coming on line in the near future, I'd expect any LIRR/MNRR transfers to take place at GCT. As for NH line projections into NYP, I don't think it's going to be anywhere near those diverting via ESA to GCT from NYP. The real value therein is the East Bronx service, whether it's inbound or reverse peak.
  by Backshophoss
 
The M-8's cannot run on the 25hz wire,they lack the needed iron core in the main transformer
Getting LIRR 3rd rail past CP Gate is the cure,but from where on the LIRR 3rd rail power grid?
  by west point
 
Just a thought. Does Amtrak like the idea of M-8s running thru their East river tunnels on just 3rd rail with only an unproven secondary contact shoe for only power ? plus the PANs nigh come too close to the wire ? Nowthere may be a way to limit power draw of each M-8 so as to not overload the transformer when on 25 Hz ?
  by west point
 
At present the Hell gate bridge has only 3 tracks. 2 Amtrak on west side and CSX next to those. Past track 4 to far east removed by CSX (?). Restoration of track 4 and return track 3 to Amtrak will require rebuilding track and reinstalling CAT, signaling, and necessary interlocking switches at Gate as well.

Then you have replacement of the draw bridge which Amtrak says is needed. That will have to happen first.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Upgrading the Hellgate Line is very important for not only Amtrak's own operations, but for Metro North as well. It's very important that Amtrak replaces Pelham Bay Drawbridge before Metro North runs anything on the Hellgate.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Someone find Prince Andrew's checkbook...

I don't think the Pelham Bay draw is going to be rebuilt anytime soon, although it does need replacing.

The 4th track on the Hell Gate will not be added back, so there will be a bottleneck there.

Substations will have to be added for DC extension from Gate. I'd rather see them use an ALP and LIRR-style doubledeckers than extend third rail. Of course, this fleet, probably just a few train-sets, would be dedicated to the NEC. I'd even use them for through running to NJT.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:06 pm Substations will have to be added for DC extension from Gate. I'd rather see them use an ALP and LIRR-style doubledeckers than extend third rail. Of course, this fleet, probably just a few train-sets, would be dedicated to the NEC. I'd even use them for through running to NJT.
LIRR or Amtrak branded Bombardier Multilevels, anyone? They're rated for 125 MPH operation, right? NJT and MARC have them on the NEC. Besides, they're only 6" taller than the Viewliner II's (14' vs 14' 6") -- where can't they go? (What's 6" between friends? :-D )

Hmmm... I wonder about dedicated sets...