• 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 MACTRAXX
 
Guys: As usual a good group of posts on this matter. I will say this: With the construction of the Secaucus Transfer,something should have been done to eliminate this crucial bottleneck in the NEC. What about the higher-level bridge or bridges that was supposed to replace the Portal Bridge? Is seems to me that Amtrak and NJT dodged a bullet big time on this one as the damage to the bridge structure itself could have so much worse. To me,the wake-up call on Portal Bridge should had been after that derailment caused by the mitre rails 10 or so years ago. Amtrak breathed the proverbial sigh of relief on this one-What would happen and how much would life be disrupted for literally thousands of people had there been serious damage causing the bridge to be closed for a period of time? What gets me is that we are relying on a bridge and tunnels into NYP that are now 95 years old and should be supplemented if not outright replaced! Many things to think about.... MACTRAXX

  by JoeG
 
MACTRAXX--
I'm sure Mr Gunn would like nothing better than to replace Portal and other drawbridges. But, as Mr Norman would say, he's missing the "secret ingredient", which can only be supplied by Congress. Right now it seems he can't afford to run the microwaves in his cafe cars, so I doubt if any drawbridges will be rebuilt unless they fall into the river.

  by MACTRAXX
 
Joe G: I do agree with you on the point on Mr.Gunn BUT this is a problem-the bridge and tunnel should have been taken care of quite some time ago. I have a copy of a study done on behalf of the NJDOT,MTA and PA of NY&NJ back in the 70s that detailed building either a 2 or 4 track tunnel under the Hudson along with a new fixed higher-level bridge over the Hackensack River. The cost for the tunnels would have been around $750 million for the 2-track tunnel and $1.1 billion for the 4-track tunnel. This would have included a new terminal or addition in Manhattan as well as the new HR bridge. Had this been constructed as they planned we would not have these potential problems today! The PRR tunnels are in good condition for their age - it is a tribute to how well they were built but if there was adequate alternates to these tunnels,they could be extensively renovated to provide many more years of service. I am sure that many rail officials who have been around then as well as now would be in agreement. MACTRAXX

  by JoeG
 
MACTRAXX:
I agree with you completely. You might notice that, over the last generation or so, the amount of money available for public projects has dropped drastically. There aren't even many big highway projects. (Highway money seems to be spent on maintenance, since the original Interstate Highways had a design life of 20(!) years. What we need are politicians who are willing to defy the super-rich and vote for progressive tax increases (in this context, progressive means taxing higher incomes more than lower) that will finance a large array of overdue public works, including rail infrastructure improvements. Right now, both parties (The Republicans slightly more so) cater to the super-rich, who want all taxes reduced. These people, of course, would never set foot on public transportation of any sort and own their own jets for transportation.

  by Jtgshu
 
NJT is taking on the project of building new tunnels into NYP, along with a new station at 34th St. Although Amtrak is obviously involved, NJT is spearheading the movement, and rightly so, as its NJT trains which have maxed out the capacity of the North river tubes....

Take a look at the Access to the Regions Core website - lots of info in there. A Portal bridge replacement is scheduled AFAIK, to at least get a little off teh ground by the end of hte decade (planning, etc)

  by JoeG
 
The problem, JT, is that there is no major money committed to this project. Hopefully, there will be a gas tax increase, with some of the money going toward the tunnel, but if they do raise the gas tax, the governor's re-election chances probably drop to zero.

  by NJTRailfan
 
Back from field training at Ft Campbell. Now I'm back and free to post. All in all atleast Bernard Kerick was able to do better with the NYPD under Guliani then most since the Mayor John Lindsay era.

I'd rather have Kerick seeing how NJT would be better then Warrington. Just look how amtrak was left under Warrington. Do you think they are better now then before Warrington got ahold of it? If only David Gunn was fould before you better believe Amtrak would be no where near this bad at all. Wit the Acela it's like buyign that fancy Spinning rims for your car when you check engine light comes on and your car fails inspection. A gross waste of funds and now looks where Acela is. With that money you would've been able to better update the NE corridoor or any other line to higher speeds or replace signals and switches alogn with overhead wiring that would prevent unesssesary delays and have service run better and faster which would bring people away from Routes 1 and I-95 and away from Delta and US Airways Shuttle and would see these people on the train. But oh no Warington's infinate wisdom strikes yet again.

With that money you could've bought more passenger cars,engines not just for the Nort east but system wide to accomodate more passengers and have more freqency on the system. But once again common sense was not in the cards
  by sullivan1985
 
Months after the fire, a friend and I where canoeing the Hackensack River between Upper Hack and Portal and I took these shots of the damage that was caused by the huge fire.

1. http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=168128
2. http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=168129
3. http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=168130
4. http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=168131

The best I can say about this last image is the fire melted the paint on the bridge and exposed the metal work under it and rust is beginning to form in place of the paint.
5. http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=168132

Enjoy.

ALSO---

These are other photos I took today while on the Hackensack River.

1. Tag found on the side of DB Draw: http://www.deviantart.com/view/21491415/
2. Upper Hack from the south side on the river: http://www.deviantart.com/view/21492369/
3. NJT 4125 On Upper Hack: http://www.deviantart.com/view/21492429/

  by Jtgshu
 
I don't think the paint rusting like that is from the fire though. there are a few things on teh bridge that are painted liek that, the signal bridge on teh west side of the bridge comes to mind - it seems that they had one year money to repaint the bridge, did it in stages, and the next year, when they would have gotten around to painting the other side of the bridge, there was no money to finish the job.

Great pics! That was one hell of a fire.........

  by nick11a
 
Canoeing huh? Anything for a good shot heh? :-D

And yes, those are interesting shots. Thanks for posting them. I think they are still working on the bridge. I see cars parked on the service road quite a bit by it.

  by sullivan1985
 
nick11a wrote:Canoeing huh? Anything for a good shot heh? :-D

And yes, those are interesting shots. Thanks for posting them. I think they are still working on the bridge. I see cars parked on the service road quite a bit by it.
Yeah a few Amtrak guys where on it wrking through their sunday. A few of them waved at us :-)

  by AndyB
 
Mike,
Some great shots from a very unusual angle.
Thank you for posting.

  by rbenko
 
Good shots, although I'm a bit suprised a Police boat didn't come screaming down the Hackensack with guns blazing...

  by sullivan1985
 
rbenko wrote:Good shots, although I'm a bit suprised a Police boat didn't come screaming down the Hackensack with guns blazing...
Yeah I was wondering the same, because portal has cameras all over it. But Amtrak guys up top where just waving at us :-)

  by Ken W2KB
 
rbenko wrote:Good shots, although I'm a bit suprised a Police boat didn't come screaming down the Hackensack with guns blazing...
They use minisubs with torpedos. :wink:
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