• Amtrak to Long Island: MTA agrees to explore

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Arlington
I have two reasons that nobody should be working particularly hard to send Long Island trains to Boston:


1a) it involves too much backtracking (a c shaped path); going west to go east
1b) There's no place to do the c anyway
1c) No train should ever plan to stop short of, or turn away from, NYP (except for tunnel closure emergencies)


2a) the Southside (WAS/HAR/PHL) has lots of trains that currently terminate at NYP could be extended onto Long Island.
2b) the Northside has low demand density and restrictive CT slots, and therefore no extra frequencies terminating at NYP that you might extend to L.I.
2c) If there ever were additional trains added Northside it would always be a better idea connect to Philadelphia and Washington rather than turn them onto Long Island
  by njtmnrrbuff
I don't see the point in Amtrak running between Long Island and Boston and vice versa, and just in general. I agree that it takes too much time to backtrack. MTA LIRR already runs plenty of trains to NYP, especially from the electrified points. Keep in mind that on the North Shore, people have the advantage of taking the ferry over from Pt. Jefferson to Bridgeport and then getting Amtrak from there or at least, taking a Metro North train to New Haven and then connecting there for more Amtrak options. People who live all the way out east can go to Orient Point, take the Cross Sound Ferry to NLC, and then pick up Amtrak there. Fortunately both the Bridgeport and New London Ferry terminals are extremely close to train stations served by Amtrak.

As for running Amtrak to Greenport, that is not going to happen nor there is really a need for that to happen. The North Fork isn't as populated as the South Fork. The ride east of Ronkonkoma is very slow for commuter rail standards, despite the tracks being very straight in many areas. Not to sound negative but I am about to mention this from a business perspective-I am surprised that year round weekend service east of KO was restored. The Jitney runs a very good business out to the North Fork and just Eastern LI in general.
  by east point
Arlington wrote:I have two reasons that nobody should be working particularly hard to send Long Island trains to Boston:


2a) the Southside (WAS/HAR/PHL) has lots of trains that currently terminate at NYP could be extended onto Long Island.
2b) the Northside has low demand density and restrictive CT slots, and therefore no extra frequencies terminating at NYP that you might extend to L.I.
2c) If there ever were additional trains added Northside it would always be a better idea connect to Philadelphia and Washington rather than turn them onto Long Island

Correct. The lower demand north of NYP is some what artificial. The current 39 train limit in CT east of new haven really precludes hourly service NYP <> BOS. If the limit is raised that woud have the result of giving all passenger travel to from BOS unlimited oportunities for travel as long as there are seats available. Now once the 39 limit is raised and Amtrak has equipment and seats available there may be a surge in ridership but who knows? The slower times as compared to NYP <> WASH is a major impediment.

Another impediment to more NYP <> BOS service is the ongoing draw bridge replacements that will go thru 2050 . Walk bridge now under construction is just the first. CT does have the right idea that it is adding a CP just east of walk to complement the one just west of the bridge. That way mostly 3 track and severl months of 2 track operation over walk during construction will minimize delays. Hopefully the same type planning will be done at the other bridge replacements.

All the above really preckudes any LI <> BOS service but service for both WASH and Albany could be a added benefit once a terminating station short of Montau is found suitable. Maybe one summer turn to Montauk might be possible.
  by njtmnrrbuff
All of the money that might be spent on the Amtrak Long Island project can be used elsewhere but with a few exceptions.
  by Backshophoss
Remember that 39 train limit to/from Boston is Coast Guard imposed,not ConnDot/MN,that could change if the Inland route is finally reopened
for Amtrak service,would be nice if the "safety valve" was available(S. Norwalk-Danbury-Devon Jct-Devon via the Maybrook line(HRRC)) :(

Also the Montauk branch to Montauk yard limit is NOW TCS/261/ASC with ACSES to be installed soon,so the MAS will rise from 59 mph
so more service to the south fork will be possible.
And would allow seasonal Amtrak service from DC to the Hamptons/Montauk
  by njtmnrrbuff
What would the speed limit on the Montauk Line increase to?

If any Amtrak service would make it to Montauk, having the trains start out in DC would be the best and most logical choices for the following reasons.
1. The route is direct.
2. Amtrak Northeast Regional trains are long hauled consists at times. I believe that right now, the LIRR Cannonball operates with 12 cars during peak season. I believe that during the peak Thanksgiving travel times, Amtrak has operated its trains with 10 cars. I forgot how many seats a C3 bilevel has over an Amfleet I or Siemens car. I’m sure that by the time if and when Amtrak service operated to LI, many of the Amfleets would be retired.
  by mtuandrew
DC or Virginia are perhaps the best places to originate Long Island service in terms of customer demand. Operationally and politically, the best place is Albany and points north or west.

As for reasons one might use Amtrak to the Hamptons even if the MAS is still 59 mph, it’s much more comfortable and does offer a one-seat ride past NYP, as well as being faster by skipping a few stops between NYP and JAM and again past Hicksville. If you’re only talking to Hicksville, it’s pretty much a wash unless you want the legroom and you’re going to ALB.

MAS in LIRR diesel territory is 65 mph. This has been the case for many years.
For MU trains MAS is 80 mph on parts of the LIRR.

The Ronkonkoma-Greenport Line has a speed limit of 40 mph on the route.
This line in some of its long stretches without stations outside of places such as Riverhead (20 mph)
should be upgraded enough to allow 65 mph. There are only 6 stations east of Ronkonkoma for a
distance of 46 miles to Greenport - a speed limit increase may well help ridership numbers.

The prime reasons for the increase in Ronkonkoma-Greenport Scoot Service is both political (East
End NYS politicians representing the Towns of Riverhead and Southold fought to add train service
especially after the MTA Payroll Tax was enacted) and strategic - by running more trains there is
a better chance to increase/build a loyal ridership base over time instead of cutting back the
already limited train service on the route.

Any possible Amtrak service to Long Island will likely be in the form of a limited seasonal service
to the South Fork running through from Washington or Upstate New York. In any case this will be years away after major LIRR projects (ESA and the Main Line Third Track Project) are completed.

  by Ridgefielder
TomNelligan wrote:
gokeefe wrote:What's the history of run through service on the LIRR? ... I recall they were owned by PRR. Was there ever a LI to PHL train? How about ALB?
The Pennsy never ran regular through service onto Long Island except (if I remember correctly) during the 1939 World's Fair. As for Amtrak, when the Empire Connection first opened there was some talk of through service extending east from Penn Station, but the only trains that actually ran were some baseball specials to Shea Stadium.
The Beebe/Clegg tome The Trains We Rode implies that there was a through Pittsburgh-Montauk service back in the 1920's called The Sunrise Special (the Hamptons were a Pittsburgh-money resort back in the day; New Yorkers went to Newport.) Whether this was a true through train or just a couple through Pullmans isn't entirely clear from the online search. Going way back-- pre-Penn Station-- there could well have been a carfloat operation similar to the LIRR/NY&NE Long Island & Eastern States Express (New York to Boston via the Oyster Bay Branch, a carfloat(!), the Danbury Branch, and the NY&NE main through Waterbury, Hartford, Willimantic and Putnam).

Think it's safe to say that there hasn't been a regular through service in living memory, though.
  by Ridgefielder
There's a Hamptons-centric political factor that may be in play here.

In the last couple of years there's been a huge upsurge in helicopter-share and private-plane-share services. Think Uber for aircraft. They advertise on CNBC in Manhattan all the time (the ads are as obnoxious as you'd imagine.)

This in turn has lead to a large upsurge in air traffic into the two airfields on the East End-- Gabreski in Westhampton, and the small town airfield in East Hampton. It's gotten bad enough that there's a groundswell of local pressure out there to sharply curtail the number of flights-- or even outright close the East Hampton field.

Doesn't seem that farfetched to think that Albany would jump on the opportunity to show that they're studying a way to reduce flights and/or offset the damage from a closed airfield.

Does that mean you're going to be seeing a string of Amfleets and a P32 in the Montauk yard anytime soon? Color me skeptical.
  by mark777
Again, I'm gonna run by that question again as to why Amtrak service to Long Island would be a huge benefit to anyone as opposed to hoping on an LIRR train into the city and switching over to an Amtrak train? We touched on the subject of equipment, and this leaves us with Amtrak using their GE DMs double ended to reach destinations on Long Island. Max speeds where able could be up to 80 Mph max on the electrified lines, but slower speeds east of Babylon and east of Ronkonkoma. Trains would still transverse the same rails used by the LIRR complete with delays, speed restrictions, and volume of traffic. I'd go further and say that an Amtrak train from Ronkonkoma west to Penn will do the trip in the 1hr 15min trip (give or take a few). Penn station will require a lengthy stop over to pick up passengers. Then to use the Empire service head to the west side and up and onto the Hudson line. I would estimate to all occur in a 2.5 hour time span between Ronkonkoma and just say be barely out of the Bronx by then. Repeat the same steps but now on an LIRR train from KO to Penn, switch over at Penn to an Amtrak train, and maybe be either exactly in par with an Amtrak train run thru to LI or maybe slightly longer. In any case, you are not bringing any significant upgrades to the area by having Amtrak doing it on its own. Like I said, A big waste of money.
Lets talk about the airports. while JFK, LGA and EWR all compete to have the longest security lines in the world will monumental delays as a norm, those of us who use ISP as our choice airport will not run through any of those issues. So take anyone living around Ronkonkoma, heck even in eastern Nassau county, get to ISP, park your can almost by the door. Walk in and check in and go thru security check point all under 30 mins, and I know this cuz I just did it 2 weeks ago, and all the times before that. I can fly to PHL or BWI, use to be able to fly to ALB at one time, but my point here is that there are no congested airports out in Suffolk. It's just underserved by the airlines. If the market is not there already, then that tells you that demand for destinations such as DC, Boston, Albany, etc are not really there to warrant flights out of ISP. So what would Amtrak be exactly trying to tap into on the island? You wont have Acela service or Metroliner service out here. Just the trusty DM with its amfleet cars that hit 110mph along the way through the Adirondacks. The rest of the way would be on a more reserved commuter line type speeds that will do nothing to cut times and most certainly to gain an advantage over the airlines and area airports. Just remember that trains compete very well vs airlines on the NE corridor primarily because you have the proper right-of-way along with proper equipment to have a true high speed service corridor between the north eastern cities. Long Island doesn't fit into that equation, neither is technically the Vermonter. Waste of tax payer money. use the money instead to upgrade all the Hudson and east river tunnels, finish the east side access, improve service on the LIRR, electrify east to Riverhead and to Speonk, eliminate grade crossings, etc.. Keep Long Island for the LIRR as it is serving as the regions commuter railroad.
  by DutchRailnut
max speed for diesel equipment at LIRR is 65, it would be same speed for Amtrak Diesel equipment.
  by mtuandrew
Mark: so what I’m reading from your post isn’t that Amtrak has no home in Long Island, it’s that Amtrak, NYSDOT, and MTA should consider extending Empire Service as far as RKK (Ronkonkoma) station and KISP airport. They should then try to provide a cross-platform connection to a southbound NEC train at NYP. Further, this service should be in a bigger gap between LIRR trains so Amtrak can effectively skip stations between JAM (if that’s what we are calling Jamaica) and RKK. Maybe something like this:

4:05pm: LIRR Ronkonkoma departs NYP
4:10pm: LIRR Port Jefferson departs NYP
4:15pm: LIRR Hempstead departs NYP
4:20pm: LIRR Babylon departs NYP
4:25pm: LIRR Port Washington departs NYP
4:30pm: Amtrak Empire Service departs NYP

4:20pm: LIRR Ronkonkoma arrives JAM
4:25pm: LIRR Port Jefferson arrives JAM
4:30pm: LIRR Hempstead arrives JAM
4:35pm: LIRR Babylon arrives JAM
4:35pm: LIRR Port Washington diverges onto Port Washington Branch
4:42pm: Amtrak Empire arrives JAM after skipping all stops after NYP. Holds 2m.

4:45pm: LIRR Babylon diverges toward Babylon
4:47pm: LIRR Hempstead diverges toward Hempstead

4:46pm: Amtrak Empire Service passes Hillside Support Facility
4:49pm: Amtrak Empire Service passes Floral Park, skipping all stops between Jamaica and Mineola (MNL?)

4:45pm: LIRR Ronkonkoma arrives MNL
4:50pm: LIRR Port Jefferson arrives MNL
4:55pm: Amtrak Empire Service arrives MNL

5:00pm: LIRR Ronkonkoma arrives HIX (Hicksville)
5:05pm: LIRR Port Jefferson arrives HIX, diverges onto PJ Branch
5:08pm: Amtrak Empire Service arrives HIX

5:20pm: LIRR Ronkonkoma arrives RKK
5:25pm: Amtrak Empire Service skips all stops after HIX and arrives RKK, after being on the LIRR train’s markers since about Deer Park.

There, you’ve gained 20 minutes over LIRR to Ronkonkoma. You could make it nearly half an hour time saved, if you also shuffle in an LIRR Montauk using the Main Line.

NOTE: I am unfamiliar with LIRR train spacing or timetables and don’t know their time between stations, but the principle holds if you can shuffle trains between JAM and RKK and overtake trains west of JAM.
  by SwingMan
DutchRailnut wrote:max speed for diesel equipment at LIRR is 65, it would be same speed for Amtrak Diesel equipment.
80mph MAS, 65mph is Diesel Territory.

It is a very reasonable prospect, contrary to what everyone here believes.

Basically, the thru service from Albany to Montauk would essentially take over the slots of the current Montauk trains, running express to the East End rather than making many intermediate stops. The new shuttle service being provided is a sample of how the LIRR will service the East End, with connections from a western local train so people could still travel locally on LI to the East End.

Also remember that NYS wants to merge operations between LIRR, MNR, and Amtrak Empire Service, including a joint order of equipment. This would be the exact opportunity to create this service and open a potential new market within the State of NY.

It is also not about giving passengers a one seat ride from Upstate NY to Eastern Long Island, it's about utilizing equipment and services to the maximum potential for the benefit of the State of NY. The biggest hurdle in my mind is getting everyone in the company onboard with it.
  by east point
Almost All LIRR passengers are very familiar of changing trains at Jamaica. They could almost as easily change to Amtrak at NYP!
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