• 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 electricron
 
Backshophoss wrote: Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:47 am Both Portal and Gateway should be considered as 1 project,combined would increase thruput and Capy in 1 shot.
Why? The Portal Bridge is entirely within New Jersey, while the Gateway tunnels crosses the border between New Jersey and New York. Their EIS studies, planning and public discussions to date have been separately handled, joining the two individual projects together will probably effect how the funding is divided between the two states and the federal government, and will also probably delay completing the EIS process for years.

The major funding problem is not that the three governments can afford to build both projects, it is they can not afford to do both at the same time. NJ needs to first finish the Portal Bridge, NY needs to first finish the Moynihan Station redo. Then both states will have subsequent funding available for the new Gateway tunnels. The federal government will eventually help fund all three projects.

When setting funding priorities, one has to look at whether each project can be effectively used, and aligned them for best use. The bridge is replacing an existing bridge, it can be used immediately upon completion. The new Gateway tunnels will be adding capacity, the additional capacity can not be used immediately - it requires expansion of Pennsylvania Station (Moynihan completion). The additional capacity caused by Moynihan completion can be used by LIRR and Amtrak, NJT will have to wait until the Gateway tunnels are built and the East River tunnels are refurbished before using the additional capacity created by Moynihan. Step by step, the work being completed in the proper order is important - otherwise wasting additional capacity when completed in the wrong order. Whereas I agree completing all at the same time would be ideal - what is the chances that will ever happen? Besides, the money to do all at the same time does not exist.
  by east point
 
There may be an added capacity to NYPS once the Gateway twin bores are in service.
1. Harold interlocking work finished. Harold should be finished. that would allow trains to enter and exit the East river tunnel bores faster.
2. Another item would be once gateway bores are in service one of the old bores would remain in service while other bore is refurbished.
3. NYPS final item needed would be for the management of NYPS to reduce the dwell time of all trains at the station . That would require a major change of how passengers are handled off and on. Moynihan might help that problem ?

These items would depend on how many more trains Portal North bridge would allow since it appears old bridge will be removed as soon as Portal north is in service ? Also the 4 tracking from Secaucus to Newark Penn is complete and sawmill bridge is replaced. There are a lot of factors aren't there ?

EDIT --- Almost forgot Amtrak is planning to start refurbishing one East river bore at a time starting in FY 2021.r
  by andegold
 
The original five track plan for Portal increases capacity. Two track replacement might increase throughput and make things flow smoother but unlikely it actually increases capacity.

Moynihan can relieve overcrowded platforms through new stairs and faster escalators. That will make for smoother commutes but not necessarily any true increase in throughput or capacity.

Gateway and Penn South will each increase capacity.
  by EuroStar
 
Supposedly there is a DEIS for Sawtooth Bridge replacement coming out soon.
The Federal Railroad Administration will release an environmental assessment for the replacement of the Sawtooth Bridges in northern New Jersey in the near future, which is a "key chokepoint for the northeast corridor, transiting about 350 trains each day," Chao said.
The Sawtooth bridge is not in a great shape, but a chokepoint? What are they even talking about? My understanding is that raising the speed on a new bridge would not really increase capacity all that much if at all.
  by lensovet
 
EuroStar wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:50 pm Supposedly there is a DEIS for Sawtooth Bridge replacement coming out soon.
The Federal Railroad Administration will release an environmental assessment for the replacement of the Sawtooth Bridges in northern New Jersey in the near future, which is a "key chokepoint for the northeast corridor, transiting about 350 trains each day," Chao said.
The Sawtooth bridge is not in a great shape, but a chokepoint? What are they even talking about? My understanding is that raising the speed on a new bridge would not really increase capacity all that much if at all.
I mean pretty much anything with two tracks and a MAS of <90 mph on the NEC can be considered a "chokepoint". obviously trains can't slow down or speed up on a dime, so a lower MAS on any segment has ripple effects on the rest of the line, and you're going to get way more bang for your buck if you can turn a 60 mph segment into a 90 mph one, vs. a 120 into a 150.
  by EuroStar
 
135mph on both sides? Newark Penn and Dock Bridge are on one side (Hudson interlocking is also there). Swift interlocking is on the other side. I do not have the current speed limits for the area, but I cannot imagine the speed limit being higher than 90mph. Maybe someone with more knowledge could chime in.
  by lensovet
 
EuroStar wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:36 am 135mph on both sides? Newark Penn and Dock Bridge are on one side (Hudson interlocking is also there). Swift interlocking is on the other side. I do not have the current speed limits for the area, but I cannot imagine the speed limit being higher than 90mph. Maybe someone with more knowledge could chime in.
lol yeah no way in hell there's 135 anywhere even remotely close to these bridges.
  by RRspatch
 
My somewhat out of date 1996 Amtrak employees timetable shows 90 MPH Bergen to the eastward limits of Hudson and 70 MPH over the Portal Bridge. While I've heard the speed over Portal Bridge has been dropped it's quite possible the rest of it is still 90 MPH. I seriously doubt speeds on the High Line would ever be any higher. BTW - I'm referring to the line between Bergen and Portal on the old PRR. I first heard this term years ago on a visit to "40 Office". Not sure if that term is still in use or not. This is of course not to be confused with the ex NYC High Line which is now a rail trail.
  by ThirdRail7
 
RRspatch wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:28 am My somewhat out of date 1996 Amtrak employees timetable shows 90 MPH Bergen to the eastward limits of Hudson and 70 MPH over the Portal Bridge. While I've heard the speed over Portal Bridge has been dropped it's quite possible the rest of it is still 90 MPH. I seriously doubt speeds on the High Line would ever be any higher. BTW - I'm referring to the line between Bergen and Portal on the old PRR. I first heard this term years ago on a visit to "40 Office". Not sure if that term is still in use or not. This is of course not to be confused with the ex NYC High Line which is now a rail trail.
This is accurate. Indeed, they were testing Portal at 80mph until Mail 12 derailed and sideswiped 79. The speed dropped to 45 over Portal for years and was finally raised to 60mph.

What is left out is the rest of the High Line west of Swift drops to 60mph at the Sawtooth Bridge (E60s had a 40mph restriction).
Replacing the Sawtooth bridge would allow you to operate 90mph to REA. It is only another 2 miles (roughly) but that can help if you're heading east.
  by lensovet
 
EuroStar wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:18 am The Sawtooth DEIS can be found here.
relevant bit:
New Alignment Alternative – Option 2A
  • 2 NEC tracks to the north of the existing alignment, referred to as Sawtooth Bridge North
  • 2 NEC tracks along the existing alignment, referred to as Sawtooth Bridge South
  • Morris & Essex Line Track 5 would be reconstructed on a new viaduct structure north of the existing Morris & Essex Line Track 5 alignment
Amtrak selected the New Alignment Alternative – Option 2A as the Preferred Alternative for the Proposed Project. Option 2A would entail the construction of two new tracks and associated viaduct structures to the north of the existing Sawtooth Bridges (referred to as the Sawtooth Bridge North) while the existing bridges and tracks remain in service. Once construction of the new tracks is complete, Amtrak would move service from the existing bridges onto the new Sawtooth Bridge North and demolish the existing bridges. Amtrak would then construct a new bridge with two tracks along the existing alignment (referred to as the Sawtooth Bridge South).
I worry that this will turn into another Portal North situation, but I guess that's better than doing absolutely nothing.
The Phase I and Phase II of the Proposed Project would take a total of approximately seven years to build, primarily due to the site constraints and the need to maintain active rail operations. Depending on funding availability, construction could begin in 2022, after the final design and permitting phase. Both Phase I and Phase II could be completed and operational by 2029.
  by EuroStar
 
lensovet wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:44 am I worry that this will turn into another Portal North situation, but I guess that's better than doing absolutely nothing.
The way this is proposed it definitely seems that it is meant to have Phase I completed and Phase II abandoned unless the money for Portal South and the Gateway Tunnels is found. There is little benefit in building Sawtooth South if the only place to be quad-tracked is Dock to Swift (and that is not even in the project, but it is doable relatively cheaply as it is mostly cable relocation, gravel and rail). Even Sawtooth South plus Portal South plus quad tracking between Dock and Secaucus is of minimal utility without the new Gateway Tunnel. Quad tracking to Secaucus has some operational utility primarily because of the duck-under for M&E, but still it is minor utility compared to the cost of Portal South itself.

Each of Sawtooth North and Sawtooth South will be much cheaper than Portal North and Portal South respectively given that no in-the-water construction is necessary and the height is not dictated by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Coast Guard. Still I doubt that we are looking at less than $500M for Phase I (relocation of M&E track 5 and Sawtooth North). That is not money Amtrak can spend on a single bridge. NJT and non-Amtrak Federal money will be needed.
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