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 RedSoxSuck
 
JuniorMan24 wrote:Why dont they reopen the beacon line. If im not mistaken it goes all the way to danbury. It could have possibilities to tie in the danbury mall dunno seem like a neat idear. However neat doesnt make money does it oh well guess i already answered my own question ha haha.
It would connect Danbury, Dyckmans (middle of freakin NOWHERE north of SE) and Beacon. It supposedly takes a couple hours to get between Dyckmans and Beacon due to it being 25 mph most of the way, as well as all grade crossing protection being out of service (requiring the crew to "stop and protect"). I don't think there is much of a market, considering that you can gun it along I84 in a fraction of the time.

However, it would be nice if they would set it up so it could be used for emergency reroutes. Like if the you-know-what hits the fan on the Danbury branch, at, say, Merrit 7, I think it would be useful to be able to send trains via Brewster. But for regular service, never.

  by DutchRailnut
 
It takes over hour just to go from Danbury to Brewster, it takes the current bus connection 13 minutes, the Goldensbridge to Branchville connection 27 minutes.
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.

  by RedSoxSuck
 
Well, that's the end of that. Thanks Dutch.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I don't know if I've chimed in yet as I'm reviving an old thread, but here goes:

-The LOWER Put, from East View, where you could PUT (pun intended) a park and ride, down to the junction with the Hudson at Marble Hill.

-The AROUND THE HORN Put, i.e. the Mahopac Branch. This was the service that ran after service ended in the middle, and would be useful for Mahopac and Carmel to connect to the Hudson instead of having to drive in to stations along the Harlem.

-Any thoughts on the Getty Square branch? Too many crossings?

That's it for the Put; the middle portion is very scenic, bucolic, whatever you want to call it, but it's not dense enough, and tough geographically as noted upthread. And yes, even for these two portions, crossings would be problematic. I'd almost say the lower portion should run alongside the Deegan/NYS Thruway.

-The Upper Harlem for sure; that connection at Chatham could be very important for regional connectivity.

-Barring an extension to Chatham, I'd say the Beacon and Maybrook line west of the Harlem. The connection from the Hudson and onto the Harlem run in the correct directions for Poughkeepsie service across to the Harlem and White Plains, etc. It could prove very useful as a shuttle between Beacon and Southeast. The track is still there, but the connection is severed in Patterson at route 311.

-I'd say the Maybrook bridge over the Hudson, as the TZB crossing isn't happening. But it would connect with the Harlem, and really wouldn't do much to help Rockland County.

-As Otto noted upthread, at a minimum the Westchester's White Plains "branch" connecting from Columbus Av MNRR up to White Plains. The whole thing would be nice, of course.

-The Berkshire off of Bridgeport station. I think, though, restoration of the Maybrook from Derby Jct to perhaps up to Newtown. There's pent up demand for intrastate CT service.

ALL of these, of course, would be impossibly expensive, especially those where the tracks and ROW are gone. But as long as we're dreaming...
  by andrewjw
 
On the topic of the lower Put, I think it would be difficult to fit a modern 2-track ROW capable of speeds to make the project worth it into the old ROW, especially since the trail remaining would be a likely condition of any rail construction (see MD Purple Line). Given infinite budget, better model to serve the same land might be a heavy rail transit system (DC Metro / BART style) over or amid amid the Saw Mill Pkwy median with large park and ride stations at Kingsbridge, the Cross County Parkway (for Yonkers), Ardsley / Dobbs Ferry, and Elmsford or Tarrytown (with parking for anyone coming from northern Saw Mill or Taconic parkways), running over the new Tappan Zee Bridge (new alignment between and supported by the existing spans), stopping in Nyack and then along 287 to Suffern (stops at West Nyack and Spring Valley).

Such a line would run within the MNRR Hudson ROW along Harlem River and then under some major avenue (third, fifth, or ninth; note that TBMs are relatively cheap and the cost explosions with recent subways have been the stations: stations at 125 St, 53 or 59 St, 42 or 34 St, Houston or 14 St, and Canal or Chambers st only) and under the river to Atlantic Terminal to take over the LIRR line to Jamaica (and potentially continue to two branches of the same concept under the Northern and Southern State Parkways).

This is a pretty out-there idea, and doesn't use existing ROWs. I'm not seriously proposing it might happen in the foreseeable future. I'm just pointing out that the most effective ways to provide new services to the MNRR's target population might not be within existing rail ROWs or using NYC's existing technologies. Because it would be largely within existing ROWs and above ground, and have relatively few stations, the costs (within NYS north of NYC, excepting the bridge) would be very low per mile, and such a system would provide much better service to WoH communities than existing service through NJ. Additionally, FRA alternate-compliance might allow new trains with WMATA performance characteristics to run from the new system onto FRA rails (Suffern to Harriman; down the Park Avenue tunnel or the West Side Line).

You didn't mention the Erie Main Line through Goshen, but it is also a potential "track you'd like back" within the Metro-North territory. I'd propose it might be cheaper and more politically feasible to build a metro line along US-6, which would not require taking back a trail or running trains right through the center of town.

May I ask if there is a specific reason you awakened this thread after 13 years? Has there been a new development?
  by Jeff Smith
 
I was searching for something else...

I read up a few posts and saw just how slow the Maybrook/Beacon is. Other than a branch shuttle, it doesn't make any sense.

For the record, none of these are likely to happen any time soon, if ever. Just wishful thinking.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
The other issue with Metro-North for Chatham or say Rensselaer/Troy, is that Columbia & Rensselaer Counties are not in the charter and would probably lose their minds over paying taxes for the MTA. You could probably get the Harlem Line back to Mount Riga, but after that, it's a lost cause. Columbia and especially Rensselaer won't pay for it, as useful as service further north on the Hudson & Harlem would be. Same problem for the Hudson Line is that the MTA would need a place to store cars in Tivoli since that would be the last station.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
GirlOnTheTrain wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:37 pm If you went to Mt. Riga you could call it the Raggie train.

Oh wait, my northwest corner of CT is showing ;)
Yeah even then, it would probably just be a short extension to Millerton with provisions for further, but otherwise, it's not happening. I don't even know if an extension to Chatham would even stop in Mount Riga.
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:19 am That's it for the Put; the middle portion is very scenic, bucolic, whatever you want to call it, but it's not dense enough, and tough geographically as noted upthread. And yes, even for these two portions, crossings would be problematic. I'd almost say the lower portion should run alongside the Deegan/NYS Thruway.
Actually, if I could wave my magic wand and make it happen, I'd *restore* the Middle Put from say Yorktown Heights south to around Graham and connect it to the Harlem Division just south of the Hawthorne station. That part of Upper Westchester is way more suburban now than when the NYC pulled the plug in the late '50s.
  by Jeff Smith
 
That's a good point; the two pass very close there.
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:17 am That's a good point; the two pass very close there.
So close that I'm surprised the Central never did just this. It's less than 3,000' from the Hawthorne station to the Put ROW on the other side of the Saw Mill River valley. The only thing between the two is the Saw Mill River Parkway. Don't think there's much of a difference in elevation, either.
  by Jeff Smith
 
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?
  by Ridgefielder
 
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.
  by CTRailfan
 
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.

In terms of priorities, there are a ton of people today on all three lines driving to stations further from their houses because there isn't enough parking. I'd deal with the parking and station facilities on existing lines first and I think there may be some modest ridership to be gained on the existing lines. I'd also look at TOD and zoning, which could further increase ridership over time without increasing parking facilities. Moving from open lots to garages wherever possible could also both free up land for TOD and drastically increase the amount of available parking. I'd also make all parking free on weekends, and make better provisions for longer-term parking for people traveling elsewhere via rail or air.

There may well be reason to go north of Wassaic, but I'm not sure what the connection at Chatham would gain anyone. A connection to the Lake Shore Limited would be mostly redundant to connections via Albany. If anything, I'd go to Millerton and end there, as that provides a nearby connection to parts of Connecticut as well, so there might be some critical mass of ridership. However, I'd improve the upper Harlem service with more sidings, and higher frequency service with DMUs first. Electrifying to Danbury and Poughkeepsie, combined with more frequent DMU service on the upper Harlem that required a transfer at Southeast would finally get rid of the pesky dual-mode locomotives.

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).
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