• Double Tracking the Entire Pt. Washington Line

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by njtmnrrbuff
Being that the Pt. Washington Line is one of the most busiest LIRR lines in the system, I am surprised that there is still single track between just east of Great Neck and just west of Pt. Washington. Why is that? It seems that the Pt. Washington Line would be a great candidate for having double track the rest of the way from Great Neck to Pt. Washington. This would help provide more reverse peak service on the Pt. Washington Branch. It would probably also help the trains run a little more on time. I was doing a lot of railfanning today out there and saw that multiple trains were a little behind schedule but nothing too bad.
  by R36 Combine Coach
The Manhasset Viaduct (Long Island's highest railroad trestle) is part of the original 1898 line and would be very costly to build a second twin span. Plandome station (also from 1898*, elevated 1913) is also only single track.

*Station rebuilt 1990 after fire based on original
  by njtmnrrbuff
Eventually the Manhasset trestle will probably have to be replaced but I guess that it’s not a top priority. Another concern about double tracking east of Great Neck will probably be also resident opposition and cutting down a lot of trees. Even if this project can’t get done, at least, the MTA can let LIRR run a few more reverse peak trains as far as Great Neck. It seems that there is a big gap between Trains # 406 and 408 and then between 300 and 410. There are so many offices within walking distance of Great Neck Station. Yesterday, I noticed that many passengers boarded each westbound reverse peak train at Great Neck.
  by MattAmity90
It's not just cutting down trees, they actually said it would be impossible. Here's why:

-Cutting trees.
-relocating Plandome.
-Changing the topography along the ROW.
-Manhasset is similar to being in a ditch, and floods if heavy rain moves through.
-Manhasset has a retaining wall with power lines next to it.
-They will have to relocate the power lines at Plandome, since it is similar to Manhasset.

I could go on and on, but eventually the Manhassett Viaduct will have to be rebuilt. I would build on site the new span, and sway the tracks like a chicane.
  by berlintransit
While double-tracking of the whole stretch from Great Neck to Port Washington is a complicated thing, timetabling and operations could be a lot more flexible with an interlocked loop from out of Plandome Station to Port Washington. This could begin after turning east north of Plandome and incorporate the existing Pt Wash drill track. Interlocking at least the switches leading into the Port Washington station tracks would also be helpful, I guess, so a westbound train can depart sooner after a terminating train has arrived. This would enable 4 trains per hour and direction to be timetabled for peak service (half of which should skip Plandome for stabilization).
For ESA preparation, the LIRR is also extending a couple of tracks in Port Wash 'yard' to store more trains. The money would certainly be invested in a wiser way if put into improvements supporting more reverse peak service. Indeed, the Port Washington branch is the 'shortest' LIRR branch meaning a continuous operation in both directions is the way more sensible and efficient option compared to getting trains out of the yard in the suburbs and back into the yard in NYC, even for the peak of the peak.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Yes, the topography along the right of way once you get east of Great Neck. That is true about Manhasset and Plandome Stations having the power lines right next to the right of way. Yes, Manhasset is in a ditch.
Whenever the Manhasset viaduct is replaced and if it ever gets replaced with a double track viaduct, I don't know how much that would help increase reverse peak service on the branch, especially east of Great Neck.

What is an interlocked loop?

As for ESA, I think the Pt. Washington Line will have very high ridership on the trains heading to Grand Central Terminal. It seems that many people who live along the branch and work in Manhattan have their offices closer to Grand Central Terminal than Penn Station.

As for reverse peak service, people might not only be commuting to jobs in Great Neck. There are probably many people who might work in parts of Queens like Bayside and definately Flushing. I know that it might not always be easy to turn a reverse peak deadhead train into an actual revenue move but if they can do that, that would close the gaps in the schedule. The trains don't even have to make every single stop on the schedule. For instance, it seems that Murray Hill doesn't need to have every reverse peak train stopping. It's close enough to either Flushing-Main Street or Broadway.
  by Commuter X
Not a chance
Too may projects and not enough money to expand service

I'll bet the AirTrain from Shea/Flushing to LGA is built first
  by njtmnrrbuff
I don't think it's in the short term to double track the entire Pt. Washington Line. Even for the sake of reverse commuting, it seems that Great Neck is where much of the reverse commuting ends. I'm not saying that there probably aren't reverse commuters who might use the train to head east of Great Neck but it seems that many of the downtown offices aren't located within any immediate areas of Manhasset, Plandome, and Pt. Washington Stations. I could be wrong though. I know that Northern Blvd is located pretty close to the Manhasset Station and there are plenty of offices in Manhasset along Northern Blvd not too far from the train station. I was in Manhasset a few weeks ago and walked from the station down to the Macy's.
  by NIMBYkiller
Double tracking the entirety of the line from east of Great Neck to Port would physically be challenging at best for the reasons already mentioned (viaduct, trench), but from north of the Webster Av bridge, through Plandome, to the end of the drill track is certainly doable. From Webster Av to just north of Plandome you have space on the west side of the ROW. Those power lines could easily by put underneath as part of the project or could be moved over, they don't take up much space. Between Plandome and the end of the drill track you have a creek and a strip of woodland along the east side of the ROW that absolutely has enough space for a 2nd track (I know this area very well, my friends and I used to go off roading there or drinking 40s in those woods all the time). That ought to buy you more than enough flexibility to avoid the majority of the delays on WB departures from Port caused by EB trains, and to extend the one reverse peak train that terminates at Great Neck in the morning (that gap is brutal, I used to work overnight in Great Neck at the hotel across the street from the train and get off at 7am. I would pray the AM shift would come in 5 mins early and marathon sprint to catch that train to Port. If I missed it I was stuck taking the bus). Manhasset you've got some offices, and Port you've got the industrial park on West Shore Road that NICE serves now from PW as well as St Francis Hospital which is accessed via the N23 from Port. It's not a huge driver of ridership, so I'm not so sure how worth it this project would be. I'd file this between "nice to have" and "reliability improvement"
  by R36 Combine Coach
At the very last, could a passing siding be installed one of those areas for reverse peak trains?

The Port Washington Branch segment that is single track is 4.2 miles in length from Great Neck
(13.9 miles from LIC) to Port Washington (18.1). As mentioned the biggest obstacle would be the
Manhasset Viaduct between Great Neck and Manhasset (15.4) adding a second track alongside or
outright replacement. This track segment between these two stations is 1.5 miles. It is 1.1 miles
from Manhasset to Plandome (16.5) and then 1.6 miles to the end of track at Port Washington.

This stretch of track is short enough that the LIRR is able to schedule trains over this segment
with a minimum of conflicts. It would be good to have double track between GN and PW but
with the Manhasset Viaduct and the line topography it would be a costly proposition.

Great Neck and Bayside are the highest ridership stations on the Port Washington Branch
along with Flushing Main Street. Downtown areas such as Port Washington have employment
and shops walking distance from the LIRR station along with nearby places of interest such as
the North Shore Animal League. NSAL used to promote how close they were to the LIRR in PW.

Extending a track westward to Plandome or even Manhasset as a start could offer flexibility but
in any case the Manhasset Viaduct is the costly-to-replace "bottleneck". A track extension in my
opinion would not be worthwhile without added platforms at Manhasset and Plandome - another
thought would be to have any new track segment allow trains to run nonstop from Neck to PW
but may face opposition from Manhasset and Plandome riders on that bypass option.

Last edited by MACTRAXX on Thu May 23, 2019 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by workextra
To double track the viaduct would be easily done, but financially prohibited at this time.
When the time comes to replace the existing span, a new span can be built in line with the new extended pocket at Neck. This would allow a full bridge replacement w/o affecting regular service. Upon completion of the new span, a second span in the same alignment of the current span is built and places in service. The viaduct issue solved. In time this will have to happen. When though, is anyone’s guess.

Manhasset, would have to become a island platform and the station building removed and built above the high island.
Plandome could go either way, an island platform would be ideal for the crews, but would require the removal of the existing structures. They would be able to clear room and take land to build the second platform on the other side.
None of this is really a priority now, but should be part of the Manhasset viaduct replacement program when which program is begun.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Is Manhasset Viaduct on National Register or a NY State official landmark?
  by workextra
Not sure on the status regarding the viaduct as a landmark/historic structure. It’s historic built in 1898 I believe. But they did upgrades to it that void some historic aspects. Anyhow, as much as I like that old structure; I’m sure many buffs feel the same way about it. There is no financial justification to double tracking Neck-Port Washington if the said project does not include a new- double track Manhasset viaduct. We similarly saw this with NS building their arch in letchworth state park. That old Erie viaduct was right around the same age and in much worse shape, replaced with a beautiful arch span.

After the neighbors, politicians and locals moan and groan about how much their property values and taxes will be affected +/- and their quality of life by the construction. The project will likely end in paper and as a stale mate, until the LIRR is forced to suspend service East of Great Neck- “account of viaduct unsafe for further service”. Fortunately we’re many years away from that north shore apocalypse. Maybe the environmental groups would propose a rail trail and commuter zip line as alternative. [laugh]
  by Nasadowsk
workextra wrote: After the neighbors, politicians and locals moan and groan about how much their property values and taxes will be affected +/- and their quality of life by the construction.
It's Great Neck. They moan and groan about everything. Oddly, the Avalon next to the sewer plant filled up in a few weeks anyway. (Yes, they moan and groan about the noise and smell - the plant's redoing their digesters now. They moan and groan about that, too).
The project will likely end in paper and as a stale mate, until the LIRR is forced to suspend service East of Great Neck- “account of viaduct unsafe for further service”. Fortunately we’re many years away from that north shore apocalypse. Maybe the environmental groups would propose a rail trail and commuter zip line as alternative. [laugh]
Oh hell no. The second the LIRR even thinks of suspending service, Manhasset, Plandome, PW, and Sands Point residents will be all over them. And they've got more money (= lawyers) than those peons in Great Neck have ;) You'll probably see a record set for fastest bridge replacement...