• All Things Portal Bridge: Amtrak and NJT Status and Replacement Discussion

  • 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 ryanov
 
The article says the fire was on the bridge. Apparently some of you know better that that was not the case.

In any case, if the new bridge didn't have a bunch of wood pilings close to the track level, it would likely be less susceptible to fire.
  by DogBert
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/nyreg ... oblem.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Nothing most of us don't already know - though there is a rendering of a possible replacement bridge, if they can ever get the funding (the cynic in me believes there will have to be a disastrous derailment with many deaths before anything happens)

Quick snippet for those that don't have NYTimes access:

"It carries more trains than any other railroad bridge in the Western Hemisphere, yet few people beyond those who rely on it have heard of it. It goes largely unnoticed, unless something goes wrong, which happens with irritating frequency. After all, the bridge is 104 years old.

Every time it swings open to let a boat pass is a test of early-20th-century technology that can snarl train travel from Boston to Washington, the nation’s busiest rail corridor. And over the years, since it is partially made out of wood, it also has proved to be quite flammable.

To the tens of thousands of commuters on the hundreds of trains that cross it going to or coming from New York City, the Portal Bridge is infamous.

Since the start of last year, the bridge has been blamed for about 250 delays on the rails, according to New Jersey Transit, which is its heaviest user."
  by kitn1mcc
 
There lots of old bridges like this
  by Greg Moore
 
Not quite as critical as this one though! 450 trains a day is impressive.
  by DogBert
 
It's one of the highest trafficked passenger RR drawbridges on the planet. I know this country is full of crumbling bridges, but the economic impact of this one failing is pretty severe.

The fact that its replacement isn't funded should scare the pants off anyone that lives in NJ and commutes to NYC, considering how long it takes to actually get a bridge built around here.
  by dowlingm
 
The only regular river traffic comes from the tugs that push barges of sludge from the Bergen County Utilities Authority complex in Little Ferry to a sewage treatment plant in Newark
I don't suppose anyone's considered alternative means of shipping this crap pending a rebuild, to at least reduce the burden on the mechanisms?
  by Greg Moore
 
I'm sure they have. And I'm sure Amtrak and NJTransit is going to pay for it. And since their bridge (and opening/closing it) is their problem it would be their cost.

The real solution is fund the damn replacement.

And I'm not going to get into red vs. blue as much as "hey, let's be a bit purple and get some stuff done!"
  by Jersey_Mike
 
It's funny how people were outraged when Penn Station was demolished, but are now hot to scrap a structure from the same time period and of similar historic significance. It's sort of like how people only care about those endangered species which are "cute".
  by Matt Johnson
 
Come on Mike, you know there's a difference between a structurally sound and rather magnificent station being torn down, and replacing aging tunnels and bridges. That seems about one step away from lamenting the replacement of historical rails, ties, and ballast as part of maintaining the physical plant.
  by Jersey_Mike
 
At some point Penn Station would have needed rehabilitation just like the bridge needs it today and since you brought up rails yeah I lament that Amtrak no longer installs the 155 lb variety. You see that new design? It's all swishy and minimalist. The old bridge is from when America knew how to build stuff properly and on a budget. It's Penn Station vs the new WTC PATH station.

Anyway wasn't there a plan to keep the existing bridge, build the new one, then fix the old one to eventually have 4 tracks worth of capacity?
  by JoeG
 
I, too, thought they were going to build a new 2-track bridge and fix the old one to provide 4 track capacity. When the new Amtrak tunnels get built they will need the capacity. Of course, whether the new tunnels will be built in my lifetime is still not clear.
  by electricron
 
That is what is troublesome about the new Portal Bridge and the new North River tunnels - spending the money to build either is only worth it if you build both. These two repair/expansion projects appropriations need to be tied together legislatively.
  by Woody
 
OTOH, maybe Congress will allow a Billion or so to be spent to replace a bridge near the end of its useful life. The Gateway tunnels will cost many times as much. So start small now while Congress is suffering from the austerity delusion, or fostering the austerity illusion, whatever, then later spend big under a different President.
  by Frank
 
There is a reason why they want to replace the bridge, its ancient and getting increasingly unreliable, it is also a bottleneck on the NEC. There is nothing of historical value about the bridge, it is the same as many swing bridges of the era. I would not be worth keeping the old bridge for another 20 years.
  by ApproachMedium
 
That bridge is a piece of crap now. It might have been great 100 years ago but with the amount of traffic etc thats going across it refurbishing it is not the answer. To refurb it even properly you would need to take it out of service at various points of time which will cause traffic delays. Replace it with something bigger stronger and that does not open next to it and haul it away. in 104 years the economy has changed, the trains have changed and having a movable bridge link there anymore is just not feasible. Even when the bridge does open and works correctly it causes all kinds of delays because of the amount of traffic in the area.

Penn station isnt something to compare a bridge to that sits in the middle of the meadows. There is no beauty to it. There is no luster. Its a big steel riveted thing that carries trains. If you wanted to see it saved somehow they could float it down to where DB draw is and let it replace that or hog up more space in the river there. Other than that its just a problem waiting to happen. How many times does it need to go on fire? Fail to close? Derail trains?
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