Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:33 pm

I have ridden up to Wassaic many times. The through trains that run up there have very good ridership. It doesn't mean that many of those people are commuting five days a week to Manhattan as that is an extremely long commute. I'm sure that there are many commuters who are heading from the far reaches of the Harlem Line commute to White Plains-even that is still a pretty long commute. The third track should have been extended on the Harlem Line to NWP years ago.

Don't get your hopes up about extending the Danbury Branch to New Milford or to the Berkshires. The ride would take too long.

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by CTRailfan » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:23 pm

STOP dreaming of wire to POK on the Hudson Line,NOT NEEDED,same for the Danbury Branch.
So I should stop dreaming of improving a really well built line that already has a lot of service on it, and has massive potential for more service with overhead electrification, but you're going to dream of re-activating redundant lines to build dead-end routes on curvy and twisty right of ways that have been abandoned for over half a century to go basically nowhere? Also, in terms of improving railroads, we don't "need" anything if you want our infrastructure to remain horribly underfunded, outdated, and unable to grow. 25kV60 from Empire and Highbridge to Albany would drastically improve both Metro-North and Amtrak service on that line.
njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:33 pm
I have ridden up to Wassaic many times. The through trains that run up there have very good ridership. It doesn't mean that many of those people are commuting five days a week to Manhattan as that is an extremely long commute. I'm sure that there are many commuters who are heading from the far reaches of the Harlem Line commute to White Plains-even that is still a pretty long commute. The third track should have been extended on the Harlem Line to NWP years ago.

Don't get your hopes up about extending the Danbury Branch to New Milford or to the Berkshires. The ride would take too long.
New Milford actually a serious plan that CDOT/MN has. In a lot of other cases, various people on this forum (myself included) are thinking WAY ahead of where MN/MTA/CDOT are. Just like some people commute to White Plains, some commute to Stamford, and in both cases, occasionally commute to GCT. The Berkshires are more of a seasonal weekend destination like the Hamptons or Cape Cod. For the people going from Wassaic to White Plains, getting rid of dual-modes would be fine, as some regular diesel trains could go to White Plains.
Last edited by CTRailfan on Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by NaugyRR » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:17 am

The Brookvilles barely handle their shuttle assignments and are already in the process of getting an overhaul including prime mover replacement. They would not be able to handle the longer consist required for the larger passenger load involved, and especially not with the multilevels that the MTA is considering procuring. You'd still need to use a locomotive with the horsepower of the dual-modes, and at that point you might as well just have a new dual-mode design and continue the current service pattern.

The current plan to replace the three flavors of the dual modes (Amtrak, LIRR, and MN spec) with a common current design is a good idea. Builders have had forty years of the FL9 and almost 30 of the Genesis to learn from, along with access to modern high efficiency super low emissions diesel and lighter-weight compact electronics to work with.

The dual-modes are not junk, they are tired. Round trip after round trip after round trip in the morning, day, and night, in the severe cold and deep snow and the high humidity and Summer heat. I'm surprised that so many FL9's are still around after a life like that across multiple ownership, it's no wonder that the P32's are getting worse for wear.
"That sapling that once grew just south of Wassaic may be long gone, and the Harlem Line’s appearance may have changed over the years, but for decades to come, I can count on it continuing to provide me with funny recollections"

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by CTRailfan » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:38 am

NaugyRR wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:17 am
The Brookvilles barely handle their shuttle assignments and are already in the process of getting an overhaul including prime mover replacement. They would not be able to handle the longer consist required for the larger passenger load involved, and especially not with the multilevels that the MTA is considering procuring. You'd still need to use a locomotive with the horsepower of the dual-modes, and at that point you might as well just have a new dual-mode design and continue the current service pattern.
The SC-44 Charger would be a great pick, and it would have significantly more horsepower than the gimpy P32ACDMs that can't get out of their own way after you subtract out HEP load. Amtrak already uses it, and with any necessary modifications for MN or LIRR, it would be a good fit for a few through from Montauk, and Greenport through Jamaica to LIC, as well as Wassaic to White Plains. All other through services should be fully electrified.
The current plan to replace the three flavors of the dual modes (Amtrak, LIRR, and MN spec) with a common current design is a good idea. Builders have had forty years of the FL9 and almost 30 of the Genesis to learn from, along with access to modern high efficiency super low emissions diesel and lighter-weight compact electronics to work with.
It's a less terrible plan than the current locomotives, but not a great one. Amtrak's DM needs would be better served by something like an ALP-45DP, as that would open up all sorts of possibilities for service on and off the NEC without an engine change, and would adapt to electrifying the Hudson Line to Albany in phases. Virginia Beach, Newport News, Atlantic City, Inland NEC, Cape Codder, Maine via Worcester, Empire Service, somewhere on Long Island, the possibilities are endless.

The one main problem with my plan is that at MTA pace, it would take a decade or more to get the electrification done that would be required to get rid of dual-modes, and I'm not sure how long they could make the P32s last.
The dual-modes are not junk, they are tired. Round trip after round trip after round trip in the morning, day, and night, in the severe cold and deep snow and the high humidity and Summer heat. I'm surprised that so many FL9's are still around after a life like that across multiple ownership, it's no wonder that the P32's are getting worse for wear.
Dual modes are junk. The FL9s were running as diesels at GCT for a long time because their third rail capabilities didn't work, even though they were good diesels for the time. The whole idea is fundamentally flawed, in that you can't get enough third rail horsepower to run in third rail mode for more than the tunnels, so you're left running underpowered diesels through electrified territory. The dual-mode trains have far less capacity than electric MUs, so LIRR loses a lot of capacity that they could have to diesel trains clogging up the line. There should be a couple of peak direction full-size 8-car ML diesel push-pull trains from Greenport to Jamica/LIC, Montauk to Jamaica/LIC, and Wassaic to White Plains, and that's it. Wassaic, Greenport, and Montauk should all see increased service from DMU scoots that connect to full-size EMU trains at Southeast and wherever LIRR decides to electrify to. The rest should be electrified. Oyster Bay, Port Jeff, Poughkeepsie, New Milford, Yaphank/Riverhead, Patchogue/Speonk, etc.

LIRR, MN, and CDOT should get together to find a good DMU that can clear the various third rail systems, handle high- and low-level platforms, and run in 2-car or 4-car sets and then share the same design for Greenport, Montauk, Wassaic, Springfield/Greenfield, Waterbury, etc.

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GirlOnTheTrain
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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by GirlOnTheTrain » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:15 pm

Electrification to New Milford???? We've already established that wire to Danbury might save about three minutes running time. Of all the things to spend money on, electrification of the Danbury branch and any oft-studied, never implemented because of HRRC extensions to New Milford ain't it. Plus in case you haven't noticed, the Berkshire line and the Danbury branch is pretty leafy. What good is electrification if the wires are just going to constantly get ripped down? (See New Canaan)
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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by CTRailfan » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:11 am

GirlOnTheTrain wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:15 pm
Electrification to New Milford???? We've already established that wire to Danbury might save about three minutes running time. Of all the things to spend money on, electrification of the Danbury branch and any oft-studied, never implemented because of HRRC extensions to New Milford ain't it. Plus in case you haven't noticed, the Berkshire line and the Danbury branch is pretty leafy. What good is electrification if the wires are just going to constantly get ripped down? (See New Canaan)
P-32's can't get out of their own way, while M-8's are like rocket ships. Direct fully electric service is worth something, and with proper tree trimming and construction of the catenary, tree issues should be rare.

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by DutchRailnut » Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:58 am

Heather its of no use arguing with someone who never operated either.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by CTRailfan » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:53 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:58 am
Heather its of no use arguing with someone who never operated either.
You don't need to be an engineer to understand how to improve transit. Just like you don't have to be a framer or a roofer to understand how to build a better house. The idea that someone has to work for the railroad to be able to advocate for better transit for Connecticut is quite obnoxious. Most people who do work for the railroad and post online here or in Facebook groups have an attitude that nothing can be changed, the way it is is the only way it can ever be, everything is impossible and can't be done, etc. That attitude serves no one any good in trying to improve transit. I sure hope that's not the attitude of most railroad employees in general.

Your own post is a good example of that attitude:
DutchRailnut wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:13 pm
The Beacon line also only has 4 engineers and 1 conductor qualified to travel Danbury to Beacon, with no ooption to qualify more.
The current qualified employees are all employyed on regular jobs and not available for emergency moves other than on their rest days.
You are claiming that no one on planet earth can be qualified to run on The Beacon Line who isn't already qualified? That's absurd. I'm not arguing there is any point to qualifying anyone on it, or that it should even be kept open (although I'd certainly preserve the ROW), but the idea that it's can't be done is simply wrong. It could be if there was a purpose to do so.

Obviously there is the political reality of chronic underfunding of transit, which has been the case since transit has been run by governmental or quasi-governmental agencies in the US. That's also not an issue of the merits of a project, like New Milford electrification, which clearly has merits, but rather of priority, in terms of how many tens of billions of dollars of other good projects are in line ahead of that project.

Meanwhile, this thread has people coming up with all sorts of out there ideas about re-activating part of the Putnam Branch, which is fine to dream about, and quite frankly fascinating to trace on Google Maps, but if that's part of the discussion then realistic and logical ideas to improve the existing lines that we have and already have proven demand shouldn't be treated like they're crazy ideas from another planet. The only two lines that I have seen a compelling argument for re-building on MN would be the Erie Main and the Upper Harlem to Millterton (maybe). For the greater New York area, I'd argue that the LIRR Central Branch from Nassau Community College to Farmingdale would be the top re-activation in terms of overall impact, even with the third main track, but that's a whole different discussion.

All of the ideas that I have proposed are well thought out, and realistic, at least from a need and technical perspective, even if I'm bringing up things that are $100Bn+ down the priority list. In fact, looking at the data and the current operations, the top of the priority list is mostly going to be parking, stations, and maybe a few interlocking re-configurations to accommodate those stations or smoother operations in general. Then you'd probably get into adding tracks back and power and signal upgrades, and then, after that, you might get into route extensions on existing freight and passenger routes (i.e. MN Penn service, New Milford, TriBoroRX etc), and re-activating old routes. Of course that all depends on what is dependent on what else from the system perspective, which doesn't seem to get enough attention, but is really, really important. What you do on some little branch that is lightly used can start to have cascade effects (i.e. Devon Transfer for Waterbury trains freeing up capacity in Bridgeport or LIRR double tracking to Ronkonkoma not being fully utilized without the third main track), and one project can make another project more useful, (i.e. sending TriBoroRX to EWR would be absurdly expensive on it's own right, but combined with the Cross-Harbor Freight Tunnel it would make perfect sense).

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:43 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:17 am
The Harlem Division is basically at if not overcapacity right now between North White and Southeast. Anyone who has to stand as far as Chappaqua or Katonah can tell you that. If a resuscitated Put relieves some of that nobody is going to complain. You also might take traffic off the highways-- plenty of people who live up-county work in White Plains, not the city. And as I said, the (completely imaginary) service pattern would be 2-3 extra peak hour inbound/outbound. GCT certainly has room for that.

Further thought on what I'll call the Lower Put, including the Getty Square branch. I don't think it would ever make sense as a MN line. However I *could* see it succeeding as rapid transit. Bring the D up Moshulu Parkway from the Grand Concourse, hook onto the old ROW at Van Cortlandt Park and run it up as far as, say, Tucakhoe Rd. or Odell Ave. in Yonkers.
Couldn't agree more. I like your extension issue from above Kensico station to the old ROW to YH, or a little beyond as I suggested, not on the original ROW. Backshophoss' idea of a renewed "around the horn" is needed too.

I've always thought slight extensions of NYCT makes sense. The 5/Dyre into Mt. Vernon, the 2 up to Mt. Vernon East, the 4 up Yonkers Raceway/Empire Casino. I wouldn't extend the Concourse line that direction; the 1 might make more sense. I'd extend the Concourse line across to the East Bronx, and tie it in with the Q/Second Avenue. They've got stuff they need to do Queens and Brooklyn first, and finish the SAS.

I do think the Put would be really useful as a branch off the Hudson up to above Yonkers Avenue, where there is good bridgework still intact; I'm not sure if there are any at grade crossings below that. If you really want to get creative, run it across to Spuyten Duyvil, and rebuild the wye (the tower I think is gone), or if not that, then up to Yonkers.

Oh it's fun to fantasize!
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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:01 pm

CTRailfan, electrification is NOT going to do anything for the Danbury line, and studies have shown that. As a good friend used to say "the juice isn't worth the squeeze", this time literally. It doesn't matter that the M-8 is like a "rocketship" (guffaws!); the line is curvy with serious grades, and multiple crossing that are speed restricted. I've ridden it; it won't work.

WHY would MNRR want to switch the lower Hudson to overhead, and extend it beyond Croton-Harmon? Again, "not worth the squeeze". There have been studies on that, and it's simply not necessary. MAYBE as far as Peekskill, but even that is not crazy. You're going to require a brand new fleet for that line like what the NH has, which is much more expensive, and heavy. It's NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, EVER.

You mentioned the MNRR and CtDOT has "serious studies". That really makes me laugh. MNRR had nothing to do with the studies. NOTHING. CtDOT has spent millions on studies; search for "Danbury Branch Study". The final report was something like two pages, saying "oh yeah, we'd really like to do this but can't". The only thing worth it would be the New Milford extension, and CtDOT will need to find funds to buy the HRRC ROW above Danbury to New Milford (they own the rest to state line).

But you abjure reactivating lines that could reduce congestion and/or serve as feeders?

ADMIN RULING: the topic is about "track you'd like back". It's not about electrification. Find the appropriate topics in a search (and there are topics on such as Danbury and/or electrification) and post there. Learn. Listen. I appreciate the passion and zeal, but you're a voice in the wilderness. FURTHER POSTS CONCERNING SUCH WILL BE DELETED.
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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by nomis » Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:04 pm

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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:25 pm

Reopened.
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Re: Track you'd like Back (MetroNorth)

Post by Ridgefielder » Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:15 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:43 pm
I've always thought slight extensions of NYCT makes sense. The 5/Dyre into Mt. Vernon, the 2 up to Mt. Vernon East, the 4 up Yonkers Raceway/Empire Casino. I wouldn't extend the Concourse line that direction; the 1 might make more sense. I'd extend the Concourse line across to the East Bronx, and tie it in with the Q/Second Avenue. They've got stuff they need to do Queens and Brooklyn first, and finish the SAS.
I'd do it as an extension of the Councourse line-- or the A, for that matter-- for two reasons. One, you'd be using the more-normal-sized B Division rolling stock instead of the itty-bitty A division stuff they need for the IRT. And two, the 1 is slowww once you get onto the elevated structure north of Dyckman Street. Those last few stations up to 242nd St. take forever. You'd also have the problem of getting trains off the Broadway elevated and onto the below-grade Put without bulldozing through the middle of Van Cortland Park.

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