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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

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  by Jeff Smith
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:23 pm
Jeff Smith wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:40 am Yorktown Heights would be an interesting destination, tied into the Harlem line as a branch. But if you do that, you might as well go to Jefferson Valley. Make it a North White Plains shuttle?
The Putnam Division never went to Jefferson Valley. After Yorktown Heights the line heads off toward the North-North-East through Amawalk, Granite Springs and Baldwin Place, before making a sharp easterly turn to go through Mahopac and Carmel. I suppose you could make an argument for extending this completely-hypothetical service as far as Baldwin Place or Mahopac, with a station on Route 6. No point going any farther than that-- you're getting into the catchment area for Brewster station.

Would imagine a service pattern similar to the Danbury Branch or the Upper Harlem, with 3-4 through trains AM and PM rush, and an off-peak shuttle. I'd extend the shuttle runs as far as White Plains itself, though, to provide service for people traveling there from up county. Plenty of room on the ROW just south of White Plains station to install a pocket track so a 3-4 car shuttle could dodge out of the way after unloading.
I knew that, but just a quick glance at a map showed Jefferson Village right there. And yes, at that point, Mahopac makes sense. Croton Falls Rd down to Crouton Falls (misspelling intentional lol) down from Mahopac is a roller coaster.

Now, if you think about it, that routing would be a better "around the horn" that the old Mahopac branch ran from Goldens Bridge.

A pocket track (or a couple) at White Plains would make a LOT of sense. That platform is so crazy that starting a few expresses from there makes quite a bit of sense.
  by Jeff Smith
 
CTRailfan wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:40 pm <SNIP>
The Poughkeepsie Bridge is too far north. The connection that needs to be made is a new railroad from Suffern across the Mario Cuomo with a connection at White Plains to shoot down an improved Harlem, and finally a connection to the New Haven at Port Chester to go to Stamford. That's all new trackage, and would have to follow the highway, so it would be astronomically expensive, but also necessary for growth and regional connectivity.

The former Erie Main would be very useful for Metro-North West of Hudson, in combination with the cross-Westchester service to White Plains.

In fact, the only Metro-North track I would re-activate would be the Harlem up to Millerton and the Erie Main, everything else would be brand new railroad (Suffern to Port Chester with NYC 3rd rail from Suffern to White Plains and 12.5kV60 to Port Chester), using existing rail routes that don't have passenger service today (Danbury to New Milford), electrification (25kV60 from Highbridge to Albany and down the West Side Connection to a phase break with Amtrak's 11kV25 system, from SoNo to New Milford, and Shore Line Junction to Springfield), or local improvements to stations or new stations (Barnum-Bridgeport, Devon Transfer, Orange, etc).
Mario Cuomo? Never heard of it LOL I will forever call it the Tappan Zee! But I do think a Rockland - Cross Westchester - Stamford routing would be very useful.

I don't think Millerton is really necessary on its own I think; much of the talk about staying in Wassaic was public resistance and the MTA charter.

Definitely New Milford, with a stop at Brookfield and perhaps around Stew Leonard's on Route 7.

We've had the Hudson line electrification extension talk; MNRR will never buy into catenary on their portion from Croton Harmon down, and I'm pretty sure Jaap will say that the FRA won't approve both. Is it necessary above Poughkeepsie, and into the city? I think it would cost a ton of money.
  by Ridgefielder
 
CTRailfan wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:40 pm The Putnam Branch would do no good for rail transit in the NYC area, as it would dilute service on the Harlem and Hudson. Better to improve parking, track, power systems, eliminate crossings, etc, on those two lines than to have a third parallel line to dilute service. Branches are also problematic in terms of diluting service, versus improving the main line service and beefing up infrastructure and trains.
What do you mean by "diluting service?"
  by CTRailfan
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:04 pmMario Cuomo? Never heard of it LOL I will forever call it the Tappan Zee! But I do think a Rockland - Cross Westchester - Stamford routing would be very useful.
You're not the only one who keeps referring to driving on a bridge that was demolished. :-D
I don't think Millerton is really necessary on its own I think; much of the talk about staying in Wassaic was public resistance and the MTA charter.
Yeah, it's kind of out there. It's probably not the best place to invest in rail service, versus improving rail service south of Wassaic. If an extension was done, however, I would definitely end at Millterton, as it gets even more rural farther north, and I don't see any value in a connection at Chatham.
Definitely New Milford, with a stop at Brookfield and perhaps around Stew Leonard's on Route 7.
That seems quite reasonable, the Route 7 stop would capture some traffic from around that area before it gets into Danbury proper.
We've had the Hudson line electrification extension talk; MNRR will never buy into catenary on their portion from Croton Harmon down, and I'm pretty sure Jaap will say that the FRA won't approve both. Is it necessary above Poughkeepsie, and into the city? I think it would cost a ton of money.
I see no reason why MNRR couldn't move to catenary. I would do the transition at Highbridge so that CSX could run to The Bronx without going over third rail, and Harlem trains that only use 3rd rail could go to Yankees Stadium. I'd beef up the Harlem's third rail to handle 12-car trains to Southeast and eliminate all grade crossings. Amtrak could run straight through from Penn to Albany with Acelas on overhead wire. I'd also build the cross-harbor rail tunnel, so there would be a freight route all around NYC that doesn't involve 3rd rail.

I was thinking the line to Suffern should be third rail, but in the long run, it might make sense to just build it as 25kV60 too from Port Chester to Suffern, leaving only Harlem Line service to Southeast as a pure 3rd rail operation.

Speaking of dual electrification, the plan to put 3rd rail on the Hell Gate Line is idiotic. That service should be loco-hauled so that it can run on 11kV25.
  by CTRailfan
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:30 pmWhat do you mean by "diluting service?"
1. Some passengers would switch from Harlem and Hudson services to Putnam, meaning that fewer trains would be needed on the Harlem and Hudson, diluting service frequency.

2. There are only so many slots into GCT during rush hour. Add trains coming from the Putnam, and you're going to lose trains coming from somewhere else, diluting service frequency.

The shuttle service with small, high-frequency shuttles to White Plains is the most logical proposal were service to be restored from somewhere around Mahopac with the Hawthorne tie-in, but I just don't see the density or demand for that type of service. That being said, if it were to also connect with the Suffern-Port Chester line via a slightly relocated North White Plains transfer station then maybe it would be able to attract enough ridership. I still think it would dilute traffic on the other lines, and the money would be much better spent beefing the existing lines up for more frequent service, with more parking structures, and more TOD.
  by Traingeek3629
 
Get either a new CTrail line or an extension of the WBL from Waterbury to Hartford via Bristol, New Britain, and Berlin. It's a dense area and it would connect three decent size cities plus the big towns in between.
  by CTRailfan
 
Traingeek3629 wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:20 pmGet either a new CTrail line or an extension of the WBL from Waterbury to Hartford via Bristol, New Britain, and Berlin. It's a dense area and it would connect three decent size cities plus the big towns in between.
The more direct route is now taken by the Busway boondoggle, but if you look at the route from New Britain to Waterbury, you'll see why it's not viable for passenger service- it winds and twists all over the place. It would be absurdly slow. There's not a whole lot to be had out of that route.

There's a LOT of work to be done on rail service in CT with stations, equipment, track configurations, electrification, etc, but not a lot of places to add new heavy rail routes that would make any sense. I think servicing the casinos from NYC via a station at Mohegan Sun to replace the Fung Wah busses would be great, and extending the Danbury to New Milford with seasonal diesel service north of New Milford would be great, but both of those are on current freight routes. Reconnecting the Valley Line would be of occasional use for freight, but would be cool for steam excursions. Again, no real passenger use that I can see.
  by Ridgefielder
 
CTRailfan wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:17 pm
Ridgefielder wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:30 pmWhat do you mean by "diluting service?"
1. Some passengers would switch from Harlem and Hudson services to Putnam, meaning that fewer trains would be needed on the Harlem and Hudson, diluting service frequency.

2. There are only so many slots into GCT during rush hour. Add trains coming from the Putnam, and you're going to lose trains coming from somewhere else, diluting service frequency.
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.
  by CTRailfan
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:17 amThe 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.
The money would be much better spent upgrading substations for 12-car M-9 sets, improving the signal system to allow more trains north of NWP, lengthening platforms, increasing station parking capacity, and fully grade separating the route. It looks like the original line was 4 tracks all the way from White Plains to GCT, so with some station reconfigurations, it looks like it could be triple-tracked all the way to North White Plains, allowing for a few more trains that currently end at Crestwood to go to NWP. I'd also get rid of the Dual-Modes by electrifying to New Milford and Poughkeepsie, and ending direct service north of Southeast from GCT and south of White Plains from Wassaic. Substituting 4 maxi bombs a day for 12-car M-9 sets would also add a lot of capacity for people getting off by Southeast, and then a diesel train would provide a connection north of Southeast with however many cars are needed depending on frequency of service.
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.
That's too far out for the subway. The Subway needs expansion and improvement, but it already has geographic scope creep with the Rockaway Beach Branch. NYCTA should terminate at JFK, and the LIRR RBB should be tied back in at Rego Park and Far Rockaway with a City Zone system that's the same price as a Metrocard for any LIRR or MNRR trip within city limits plus free transfer to NYCTA. The RBB has a 4 track ROW, so there's enough room to run 2 LIRR tracks and have NYCTA run as a single track dead-end between Aqueduct and JFK, leaving a track width for island platforms for LIRR, and keeping FRA and non-FRA physically separate.
  by NaugyRR
 
Killing off the direct service to Wassaic would be a pretty unpopular move. Don't forget that Wassaic is one of the few direct connections to the city that residents of the Taconic, Berkshire, and Litchfield Hills have, and as a rider of those trains I can tell you that they are well patronized. It's very nice to go straight home from Grand Central without having to change trains in the elements in Brewster. The dual-modes aren't the monsters that you're making them out to be. They're getting tired but the principle works, and once replaced with newer more efficient dual-mode equipment will continue to work.
  by Ridgefielder
 
CTRailfan wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:06 pmThat's too far out for the subway. The Subway needs expansion and improvement, but it already has geographic scope creep with the Rockaway Beach Branch. NYCTA should terminate at JFK, and the LIRR RBB should be tied back in at Rego Park and Far Rockaway with a City Zone system that's the same price as a Metrocard for any LIRR or MNRR trip within city limits plus free transfer to NYCTA. The RBB has a 4 track ROW, so there's enough room to run 2 LIRR tracks and have NYCTA run as a single track dead-end between Aqueduct and JFK, leaving a track width for island platforms for LIRR, and keeping FRA and non-FRA physically separate.
I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. The A has been running to Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park/Beach 116th St. since 1956 without a problem. The population of the Rockaway Penninsula is greater than that of Hartford, Conn.-- Far Rockaway station alone has >1mm riders/year. There's zero reason to turn the line back over to the LIRR so you can pour thousands more riders into the already-at-capacity Jamaica Station.

And while at 36 miles the A might be the longest line in the NYC system, there are plenty of longer subway lines elsewhere. The Central line of the London Underground, for instance is 46 miles long and stretches all the past the suburbs to reach the open countryside: here's a view of the line from the M25 motorway near Epping https://goo.gl/maps/43Rdyk6TFUufLtRC7. If anything the NYC Subway should reach beyond the 5 Boroughs into both Nassau and Lower Westchester to alleviate some of the congestion on MN and the LIRR. There were serious efforts in the 1930's and '40's to preserve both the NYC Getty Square Branch and the NYW&B for just that, but they failed.
  by CTRailfan
 
NaugyRR wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:16 pmKilling off the direct service to Wassaic would be a pretty unpopular move. Don't forget that Wassaic is one of the few direct connections to the city that residents of the Taconic, Berkshire, and Litchfield Hills have, and as a rider of those trains I can tell you that they are well patronized. It's very nice to go straight home from Grand Central without having to change trains in the elements in Brewster. The dual-modes aren't the monsters that you're making them out to be. They're getting tired but the principle works, and once replaced with newer more efficient dual-mode equipment will continue to work.
For one, in order to eliminate the dual-modes, I'd electrify with 25kV60 from Norwalk to New Milford and Croton to Poughkeepsie, eventually expanding to Empire/Highbridge to Albany. New Milford would provide some service to GCT for those areas, and due to the distance, I'd suspect that some of that traffic is going to White Plains, which could be served by pure diesels that turn at White Plains. If the Harlem were extended from Wassaic to Millerton, and more passing sidings were put in, along with DMUs, far more frequent service could be offered, even without direct service.

The dual-modes are lousy diesels and downright awful electrics. MN would be better off with great electrics in the M-7/M-9 fleet and great diesels like the Nippon-Sharyo or Stadler DMUs, or if a few longer trains are needed, a small fleet of Siemens SC-44's, possibly ordered with new power for WoH operations. Running diesel in electric territory is idiotic as well, although for direct service to White Plains from Wassaic or Millerton, it would be necessary for a stretch.
Ridgefielder wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:38 pmI'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. The A has been running to Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park/Beach 116th St. since 1956 without a problem. The population of the Rockaway Penninsula is greater than that of Hartford, Conn.-- Far Rockaway station alone has >1mm riders/year. There's zero reason to turn the line back over to the LIRR so you can pour thousands more riders into the already-at-capacity Jamaica Station.
You do realize that the RBB doesn't GO to Jamaica unless you go around the long way, right? The distances involved are longer than subways should be handling, if you look at a map, the NYCTA has a function and purpose in terms of the distance it covers, except for the RBB that sticks out like a sore thumb. The big opposition to the LIRR taking that back over would be fares, which would be solved by doing a MetroCard fare for all commuter rail citywide. It would also add a couple of stations with direct service to Penn and GCT in some currently underserved areas on it's way up to Rego Park.
And while at 36 miles the A might be the longest line in the NYC system, there are plenty of longer subway lines elsewhere. The Central line of the London Underground, for instance is 46 miles long and stretches all the past the suburbs to reach the open countryside: here's a view of the line from the M25 motorway near Epping https://goo.gl/maps/43Rdyk6TFUufLtRC7. If anything the NYC Subway should reach beyond the 5 Boroughs into both Nassau and Lower Westchester to alleviate some of the congestion on MN and the LIRR. There were serious efforts in the 1930's and '40's to preserve both the NYC Getty Square Branch and the NYW&B for just that, but they failed.
New York is not London, nor is it Washington, DC. Instead of building crazy and absurdly long subway lines, the money should be spent on improving, electrifying, and beefing up capacity on commuter rail lines. There is a LOT of improvement that can be made to both MNRR and LIRR that would add a LOT of capacity to both of them. There are also a lot of other really good ideas in terms of rail plans in the NYC area that don't involve building subway lines deep into the suburbs that no one asked for with ridiculously long rides. I'm not too familiar with the NYCTA projects, but in terms of heavy rail, there is the cross-harbor freight tunnel, TriBoroRX, Penn Access for MN from Hudson and New Haven, as well as the rebuilding of Penn that would unlock capacity for MN, Amtrak, NJT, and LIRR. There are also myriad improvements to various NJT, MNRR, and LIRR lines that would improve service and capacity throughout the region, none of which involve crazy long subway rides.

If anything were done with the "Lower Putnam", it should be done as MNRR, but that still runs into the issues of service dilution and downstream congestion. There's a reason it was abandoned. It's technically a terrible route, and from a density/development perspective, it's also a terrible route. There's good reason why it's a bike trail and not a railroad.
  by Kurt
 
Hate to blow a hole in your dreams, But IIRC the Park Avenue tunnel is not tall enough to string catenary wire in it. There is also no more room to lower the floor of the tunnel as that as was done in the early 1990s and there is an obstruction
  by CTRailfan
 
Kurt wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:01 amHate to blow a hole in your dreams, But IIRC the Park Avenue tunnel is not tall enough to string catenary wire in it. There is also no more room to lower the floor of the tunnel as that as was done in the early 1990s and there is an obstruction
Who proposed putting overhead wire in the Park Ave Tunnel? I sure didn't. I proposed running it to Highbridge and Empire (or thereabouts), meeting the NYC third rail at highbridge, clearing the path for freight to not hit third rail from Oak Point to Selkirk via the Hudson Line, and allowing M-7/M-9 sets to service special trains to Yankees/E153rd. I would stagger it so that the transition happens parallel to the Highbridge shop and yard, keeping the freight track clear of third rail and giving plenty of room for Yankees/E153rd Harlem Line trains to cross over and turn. I don't think there's any value in double electrifying Yankees/E153rd, as the Hudson Line would have M-8/M-10 sets anyway. Hudson Line service from Rhinecliff would be M-8/M-10 sets, Amtrak would be ACS-64s or Acelas from Albany to Penn. I'd also do TriBoroRX and the cross-harbor tunnel as 12.5kV60 or 25kV60 so that freight would also have a clear path without third rail and at least Plate C from Oak Point to Fresh Pond and 1" over Plate H from Maspeth-Fresh Pond to Oak Island. TriBoroRX would use overhead wire from EWR to Co-Op City. Metro-North Penn Access from Poughkeepsie and Stamford/Danbury/New Haven would use loco hauled electric push-pull that can run on 11kV25/12.5kV60/25kV60.

In all of my plans, GCT remains for single-level equipment only, and clearances stay the same as they are today for M-8/M-10 sets. Penn remains the current passenger standard for NJT ML-style cars. M-7/M-9s are smaller than both ruling clearances except for third rail equipment AFAIK.
CTRailfan wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:35 pmFor one, in order to eliminate the dual-modes, I'd electrify with 25kV60 from Norwalk to New Milford and Croton to Poughkeepsie, eventually expanding to Empire/Highbridge to Albany.
  by Backshophoss
 
Harlem line : the Mt Kisco Middle track,for staging short turns
The Mahopac branch and the Put to Put Jct,bringing back Lincolndale,Mahopac center,Carmel.
Brewster North(Southeast) to Hopewell Jct shuttle via CP Dyke connection to the Maybrook.
this covers the gaps in the area.

Danbury Branch : After ConnDOT gives HRRC the boot,expand to New Milford.

STOP dreaming of wire to POK on the Hudson Line,NOT NEEDED,same for the Danbury Branch.
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