• Penn Station turnaround for Empire Connection?

  • 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 Greg Moore
The discussion has drifted back and forth for a variety of reasons.
  by SRich
electricron wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 am
SRich wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:58 pm Why not electrify the Amtrak empire connection with catenary. Then Amtrak can fase out the p32 dm and buy a few dual power like the NJ version.
Amtrak does not own the rail corridor, MTA does for almost half the distance to Albany. MTA's trains use third rail DC to power their trains, not the high voltage AC Amtrak uses on its' catenaries. Why would MTA ever electrify their rails twice?
I didn’t say the MTA hudson line, but the Amtrak owned Empire Connection. Electrify that with 12.5 kV 25 Hz.
  by Jeff Smith
Legacy railroad problems... I perused the topic; apologies if I repeat anything. This is my summation:

I like the idea of a continuation of Empire Service... in either direction, basically westbound and eastbound to LI which is part of the New Haven Line Penn Access agreement for MNRR. But is there a justification for additional/changed electrification for 13 current daily Amtraktrains, including LD, to Albany (141 total miles, 109 north of Croton-Harmon)? The NEC has 22 BOS-NYP by comparison, from when they electrified east of New Haven (156 miles). The issue is the limited electric range it would need for access in and through Penn. The Empire Connection Tunnel has both electrification styles (which incidentally is something the FRA apparently doesn't like); the distance from NYP to the Hudson line is about 10 miles.

DC also has operational constraints for speed, and through the congested area south of CH you're not going to get much anyway. And you don't have to look any farther than the electrification project north of North White Plains to see potential issues (not sure if the Ronk line on the LIRR experienced similar issues).

Siemens is developing a variant of the Charger that will run on DC for Empire Service that will replace the P32 Genesis (and the only time it's used in DC mode is in Penn and the tunnels as it's LIRR-style). That solves the LI problem. But what if you wanted to run service along the NEC (either direction I suppose although I'm not sure what benefit service east on the NEC would be) you need a different solution. I think you still probably? need to loop the set for seat direction.

The only real solution for west/south service would be either a Brightline style setup with power at both ends for quick turn. But what type of power? The only engine that fits the mold right now would be an ALP-45DP, and it would run diesel once clear of the Empire tunnel.

As for electrification, you're probably not going to get MNRR to switch to M8 style equipment on the Hudson line to accommodate catenary. And MNRR is a long way away if ever from Hudson line Penn access, and how they'd access Penn would be an interesting question since they have under-running but would need over-running to do it. Yes, you could use M8 shoes, but where would you switch? Ultimately, you'd need the MTA to follow the Amtrak and NJT example for loco hauled equipment with multiple capabilities.

The easiest solutions are a Charger/DC variant, and an ALP-45DP (which would fit Montreal, BTW). Amtrak could electrify north of CH to Albany.
  by Jeff Smith
One other consideration: http://www.rethinknyc.org/through-running/

NJT and MNRR really need to jump on this, as it's possible now. And, if they can figure it out, MNRR and LIRR.
  by electricron
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:20 pm One other consideration: http://www.rethinknyc.org/through-running/

NJT and MNRR really need to jump on this, as it's possible now. And, if they can figure it out, MNRR and LIRR.
It's hard to not die laughing at a proposal that in one paragraph acknowledges there are 5 different power system which in the very next paragraph suggests it can all be made "one" by changing the older AC 16 Hz lines to 25kV 60 Hz lines. There was no solution provided what they will do with all the DC lines out there!

And as usual, there was no mention at all on who will pay for it. And of course, this last issue is what has delayed building new Gateway Tunnels.
  by Jeff Smith
Not sure if it can be done on the fly but the M8’s have over/under and the Amtrak shoes I think retract. MTA would need to install DC on the Empire connection about 10 miles. Then they could do an around the horn but not sure the market is there. The thought is they could change ends in NYP to run out to LI but with ESA even with a transfer it’s less necessary. I know I’m contradicting myself.
  by njtmnrrbuff
MNR isn't going to add any catenary on the Hudson Line. There is no need for it. Once M8s can serve NY Penn Station, they will only be used for New Haven Line trains. Yes, M8s have covered revenue assignments on the Hudson Line out of Grand Central but that is rare.
  by STrRedWolf
Okay, mind me rehashing things as I get a foothold on this thread and get my mind organized.

From Penn Station north, we have the following power options and tunnel/Bridge layouts (per Wikipedia and Wikimapia):
  • Penn Station tunnel under Hudson Yards from station to 36th street. (West line starts)
  • A tunnel between 39th and 43rd
  • Overhead catenary and top-contact third rail (LIRR style), NYP to 41st street.
  • A short tunnel 44th to 45th.
  • Freedom Tunnel 45th to 123rd.
  • Open air until Inwood/Spuyten Duyvil Bridge.
  • The bridge, which is a swing-arm.
  • Bottom-contract third rail (MNRR style) Riverdale (end of West Line) to Croton-Harmon (assume all tracks although diesels run express on inner tracks).
  • No power north of Croton-Harmon
Hmmm... I'm reminded of the New Haven line and that section of the NEC...
  • From Grand Central to Pelham, third rail MNRR style.
  • Overlapping catenary (12.5kV 60Hz) for a quarter mile south of Pelham.
  • Catenary all the way up to New Haven, and past to Mill River.
  • Newer caternary (25kV 60Hz) Mill River to Boston.
Aaaah... MNRR's M8's swap between catenary and third rail. I though it was Amtrak that had to do that. Amtrak just switches between 12kV 25Hz (PRR) and the 60Hz systems like nothing. Also, Amtrak swaps engines in Albany, no matter what. Their P32AC-DMs are restricted to Albany to Penn Station. And finally, the Inwood/Spuyten Duyvil Bridge opens up for barge traffic!

Now we see what the technical problems are. You can electrify the West Line via catenary but you're stuck w/PRR catenary until Amtrak remodulates to 60Hz throughout the NEC. You got the bridge to contend with. You have third rail but it's not quite expensive for MNRR to switch to 60Hz catenary at Riverdale, and run that all up to Albany (the M8's handle that).

It's the freakin' center pivot swing-arm bridge at Inwood! You have to get power to it, because any catenary needs to be powered right then and there.
  by STrRedWolf
An odd spark of an idea here: Instead of using the West Line, why can't we have the trains go through Grand Central to Penn Station? I mean, how deep are the LIRR tunnels for East Side Access?
  by Railjunkie
Why on earth would Amtrak hang wire for 10.2 miles????? It makes no sense what so ever. MNRR isn't hanging wire for Amtrak themselves Conrail CSX PC NYCRR Chucks RR or anyone else. Its cost prohibitive.Third rail between Croton North station and GCT has worked for over 100 years why fix what isn't broken. FORGET WIRE ALL THE WAY TO ALBANY. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. MNRR isn't paying for Harmon to Poughkeepsie and Amtrak NYS don't have the $$$,$$$,$$$.$$ either. That's BIG CAKE. Wish in one hand and sh!t in the other and see which one fills up first.

There are four main tracks between CP12 (Empire Connection) and Harmon, numbered 4-2-1-3 west to east. There is a section of track one that has no third rail. M7s when in revenue service use four and three but can use one and two for deadhead moves tracks or if three or four OOS account MOW work. Amtrak generally uses two and one, but we are not restricted to just those two tracks. Ive followed many a local on the outer tracks.

We do indeed swap engines in Albany for 48/49 64/63 68/69. There have been numerous times when a single mode(P42) has gone through from either Montreal or Toronto, as long as it has ACSES send it. It could be towed in to Penn or come in on its own power. The dual modes are not just restricted to Albany Penn service, there are no engine changes on Niagara Falls or Rutland trains. Dual modes have crossed the boarder to Canada, dosen't happen often but... About the only trains a dual mode will not be on is 48 west of Albany unless its going to Beech Grove for paint.
  by mtuandrew
STrRedWolf: why does the Spuyten Duyvil bridge need power at all? Your only traffic on that route is either dual-mode, which obviously needs no wire, or third-rail MU which runs in long enough sets to reach power on either side of the swing section.

If you insist on overhead AC power, you still don’t need anything but a dead insulated stretch of wire since trains will be able to coast across the dead section.

And if you insist on powering the overhead on the bridge, PRR and NYNH&H solved that dilemma ages ago (see: Long Bridge, DC-VA, among others.)

This is all a lot of work to avoid dual-mode locomotives or dual-shoe trainsets. (Or the obvious but expensive answer, flip over all the ex-NYC third rail.)
  by David Benton
With modern inverter and control technology , all sorts of combos are possible, and economical. Seems to me, 3rd rail on the Empire corridor is the best option. Then get some modern hybrid equipment , that can use 3rd rail and supplement it with diesel when necessary. Seems silly to have 3rd rail power available, and not use it . Amtrak needs to get its carbon footprint down, its alot less energy efficent than buses,which is not a good position to argue its continued existence / expansion.
  by mtuandrew
Mr. Benton: are you suggesting Amtrak use third rail NYP-Poughkeepsie? In all practicality that would mean having to use DEMU trains rather than dual-mode locomotives, which isn’t out of the question but does make for different maintenance needs than Amtrak has had since retiring their RDCs and removing the traction motors from the Metroliner cars.
  by David Benton
Andrew , i would think something like the Brightline powercar, one each end for short distance trains , doubled up at the front for the likes of the LSL.
The key would be the ability of the diesel to cover any "gaps" anyway , and supplement the 3rd rail if enough current could not be drawn for the 3rd rail. A similar concept to a hybrid car , except without the battery. The requirement is that it can run both on the 3rd rail and diesel at the same time , not a problem with today's controls.
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