• Amtrak Empire Service (New York State)

  • 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

  by Railjunkie
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:54 am
Railjunkie wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:31 am Not for nothing but... Where is all this money coming from for this grand plan? NYS dosen't have it. People are leaving this state account the high tax rate, Ill be one of them in about 9 years.
I can’t speak to New York State’s finances, but it’s possible that the higher minimum wage will lead to more income tax revenue overall. One can only borrow so much money after all without sufficient collateral.

Borrowing isnt the answer NYS credit rating has been like a yo yo for the past ten years. Herr Coumo dosen't give two * about anything north of Westchester. If you saw a bill he recently passed you would think he didn't care about anyone in the state.

People are leaving the state how could an increase in the minimum wage help. There is not a lot of manufacturing jobs left in NY. Most of the cities are slowly dying because of this. The taxes fall onto the residence not the large companies that were once major employers.
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:39 am The station in Amsterdam should be moved much closer to the downtown area rather than keep it where it is. That would not only enable people to be dropped off in the downtown area. Yes, it would help enable a second platform to be built.
Yep, that was why I like Riverlink Park as a potential location in particular. You can’t really get much more downtown, parking and associated retail is available at the Riverview Center, there’s a pedestrian bridge across the highway and tracks already, and there is room for a third and eventual fourth track. That said I’ve never been to Amsterdam and don’t know what Riverview Center is like, or if it’s the kind of place where you would want a train station.
Downtown Amsterdam is a dump and has been for many many years. Moving the station a mile or so east isnt going to change a thing other than put it back sorta where it was.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
I believe there were / are space constrictions, with tunnels, around the Bear Mountain area, though.
  by mtuandrew
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:08 am I believe there were / are space constrictions, with tunnels, around the Bear Mountain area, though.
This is by no means the only restriction. So, what I’m guessing is that future NYSHSR will probably need to bypass the Hudson Valley in large part, and take to the hills on one side or the other. Higher-speed rail on the other hand will probably be internally-powered for the life of the rail system. (Note I don’t say internal combustion; sometime or another fuel cells may provide motive power.)
  by EuroStar
 
If NYSHSR ever gets built it will be in the Hudson Valley. Any attempt to build on the hills on one side or the other are bound to be many times more expensive. Yes, the tunnels are space constrained as are many other spots, but addressing those will be much cheaper than building from scratch.

Someone more knowledgable should correct me, but I thought that the autoracks used to come to Tarrytown via the OldPut meaning that the only severely restricted clearances are in the one section that contains the tunnels on the current route between Albany and NYC. HSR does not need double stack or autorack clearance, only enough for the wire. I am not sure, but the trash trains might be the tallest freight currently going through and that is likely to disappear sooner or later as NYC has found that loading the trash on boats is cheaper. Redoing the tunnels and any other restricted points is bound to be heaps cheaper than trying to put the tracks high on the hills or drill new tunnels under the mountains.
  by scoostraw
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:25 am
Arlington wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:52 am
SRich wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:21 am Now CSX are selling multiple lines, is there any chance that the to Amtrak leased line wil be sold to Amtrak ore NYDOT?
I'd like to see NYS do a Virginia-style purchase from CSX, and buy 2 track's width of ROW (and any station space) for the whole Empire route they don't own.
Brilliant. It was a 4-track ROW at one point. At least get the portion below Albany.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 4-tracks only as far as Rhinecliff.

Then 2-tracks only from there all the way to Albany. All tunnels and bridges etc. in that section are 2-tracks wide.
  by mvb119
 
scoostraw wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:56 pm
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 4-tracks only as far as Rhinecliff.

Then 2-tracks only from there all the way to Albany. All tunnels and bridges etc. in that section are 2-tracks wide.
Peekskill to Garrison was always two tracks. North of Rhinecliff the right of way was wide enough for there to have been 4 tracks in many places. The NYC seemed to favor building their bridges with a double track span sandwiched between two single track spans as evidenced around Croton and Cold Spring, etc. You can see this on some of the bridge abutments to the north as well where they removed the two side spans and left the middle double track span. I don't recall there being any tunnels on the portion of the Hudson line north of Rhinecliff.
  by scoostraw
 
mvb119 wrote: Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:03 am
scoostraw wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:56 pm
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 4-tracks only as far as Rhinecliff.

Then 2-tracks only from there all the way to Albany. All tunnels and bridges etc. in that section are 2-tracks wide.
Peekskill to Garrison was always two tracks. North of Rhinecliff the right of way was wide enough for there to have been 4 tracks in many places. The NYC seemed to favor building their bridges with a double track span sandwiched between two single track spans as evidenced around Croton and Cold Spring, etc. You can see this on some of the bridge abutments to the north as well where they removed the two side spans and left the middle double track span. I don't recall there being any tunnels on the portion of the Hudson line north of Rhinecliff.
Immediately north of Rhinecliff is Astor Tunnel, which is 2 tracks.
  by mvb119
 
Definitely forgot about that, been a while since I was up that way. I did some searching around though. Looks like the tunnel did in fact have 4 tracks at one point. The bottom link shows 3 tracks as late as 1973.

http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0284.jpg
http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0280.jpg
http://www.twinplanets.com/rr/slides/R ... 07_L.html
  by MACTRAXX
 
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:22 pm
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:25 amBrilliant. It was a 4-track ROW at one point. At least get the portion below Albany.
Amtrak is already in a long-term lease from Schenectady to Poughkeepsie, and it doesn’t sound like they’re in any danger of the lease getting canceled. Why not lease or buy Niagara Falls to Schenectady instead of purchasing Schenectady-Poughkeepsie outright?
Andrew and Everyone:

The 86 mile segment of track between Poughkeepsie and Schenectady should be a
priority for Amtrak and NYS DOT to take full control of insuring its use for improved
passenger train use. (Poughkeepsie is at mile 74; Albany-Rensselaer at mile 142;
Schenectady at mile 160) Ownership of this line along with MNCR south of POU
could lead to future changes such as electrification with any move towards high
speed trains which is currently being proposed by NYS.

The 304 miles of the Water Level Route between Schenectady and Niagara Falls
(SDY-160 to NFL-464 from NY) will be a much more elaborate purchase knowing
that this is CSX main east-west freight route the same as it was under Conrail
and predecessors. Unless NYS DOT purchases this line outright there will have
to be track additions and other upgrades that will satisfy CSX as owner and allow
Amtrak to provide more service along with increases in speed limits on the route.

One of the first improvements could be a second track on the 9 mile segment
between Schenectady and Hoffmanns - where the passenger route meets CSX.
The one good note about this single track is the 110 mile speed limit on the
line between Hoffmanns and just west of Albany that helps move trains through
this single-track "bottleneck".

I realize that I may be repeating what others have mentioned on this subject
but in this case I fully agree that improved Empire Service will benefit NYS
going forward into the future.

MACTRAXX
  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
I think some folks here are missing how much influence the Governor has over MTA and MetroNorth. Lately, the current governor has treated the MTA as his personal fiefdom overriding its decisions and imposing his personal stamp on it. Examples of his micromanagement include overriding the plans and schedule of the L train rehab and specifying a New York State-centric paint scheme for the LIRR M9s and newer subway cars. I've also noted the police cars of the TBTA (MTA Bridges and Tunnels) Police have a prominent "NEW YORK STATE" on the trunk. They almost look like State Police cruisers with the dark blue and gold lettering.

In short, this governor will get what he wants from the MTA. If he wants higher speed for his HSR trains, he'll get it.
  by scoostraw
 
mvb119 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:40 am Definitely forgot about that, been a while since I was up that way. I did some searching around though. Looks like the tunnel did in fact have 4 tracks at one point. The bottom link shows 3 tracks as late as 1973.

http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0284.jpg
http://www.rhinebeckhistory.org/CONSOR ... .0280.jpg
http://www.twinplanets.com/rr/slides/R ... 07_L.html
Interesting. I always thought it was 2-track.

Thanks.
  by Ridgefielder
 
EuroStar wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:43 pm If NYSHSR ever gets built it will be in the Hudson Valley. Any attempt to build on the hills on one side or the other are bound to be many times more expensive. Yes, the tunnels are space constrained as are many other spots, but addressing those will be much cheaper than building from scratch.

Someone more knowledgable should correct me, but I thought that the autoracks used to come to Tarrytown via the OldPut meaning that the only severely restricted clearances are in the one section that contains the tunnels on the current route between Albany and NYC. HSR does not need double stack or autorack clearance, only enough for the wire. I am not sure, but the trash trains might be the tallest freight currently going through and that is likely to disappear sooner or later as NYC has found that loading the trash on boats is cheaper. Redoing the tunnels and any other restricted points is bound to be heaps cheaper than trying to put the tracks high on the hills or drill new tunnels under the mountains.
The Putnam Division was the New York Central's high-wide dimension route into NYC back in the day. However, GM North Tarrytown Assembly outlasted the Put as a through route by almost 35 years-- the tracks on the middle 25 miles of the Put from Eastview to Lake Mahopac were lifted in 1962, GM pulled out of Tarrytown in 1996. So autoracks must be able to clear the Bear Mountain tunnels.

I've said this over and over again in other places, but: we have to remember that the goal is a higher *average* speed, not a higher *top* speed. Given that the New York Central's secondary NY-Chicago train, the Commodore Vanderbilt, took 2hrs40mins to cover GCT-Albany in 1948 (roughly the same as today's Empire Service) it's not unreasonable to think there are improvements that could be made short of building the Mid-Hudson TGV that could get you over the ~140 miles along the Hudson in closer to 2 hrs.
  by scoostraw
 
I remember when bridges were raised on the Hudson Division for the auto racks.

Also if memory serves, I also recall one or more of the bridges having been struck by high loads before they were raised,
  by rcthompson04
 
WhartonAndNorthern wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:09 am I think some folks here are missing how much influence the Governor has over MTA and MetroNorth. Lately, the current governor has treated the MTA as his personal fiefdom overriding its decisions and imposing his personal stamp on it. Examples of his micromanagement include overriding the plans and schedule of the L train rehab and specifying a New York State-centric paint scheme for the LIRR M9s and newer subway cars. I've also noted the police cars of the TBTA (MTA Bridges and Tunnels) Police have a prominent "NEW YORK STATE" on the trunk. They almost look like State Police cruisers with the dark blue and gold lettering.

In short, this governor will get what he wants from the MTA. If he wants higher speed for his HSR trains, he'll get it.
Yes that is the point I don't understand when I noted that Metro North is a creature that exists at the state's will. If Cuomo wants MetroNorth to allow faster Amtrak service, he will get it.

What is exactly Metro North's issue with higher speeds? This seems like the kind of issue that could go away at least in part with some money and prodding.
  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:11 pm

Yes that is the point I don't understand when I noted that Metro North is a creature that exists at the state's will. If Cuomo wants MetroNorth to allow faster Amtrak service, he will get it.

What is exactly Metro North's issue with higher speeds? This seems like the kind of issue that could go away at least in part with some money and prodding.
Likely:
  • they have to pay to maintain the track at a higher class
  • they have to reengineer the signal system (recheck block lengths vs stopping distance, longer blocks or cascaded signals [3-block or 4-block])
  • Possibly re-certification of the PTC for higher speeds and maybe adding additional cab-signal aspects similar to what Amtrak did with ACSES II
  • they want to avoid dispatching complexities of mixing high speed intercity trains with express and local (all-stop) commuter trains
Now if someone offers to pay for this or if NY transfers title to a state HSR authority, things may change.
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