Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby electricron » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:27 pm

jonnhrr wrote:Perhaps it is time to examine why this tunnel is so expensive. Consider that the Swiss bored a 57.5 km tunnel under the Alps for about the same price as Gateway is supposed to cost, and I don't think the cost of living in Switzerland is much lower than the NY Metro area. is it graft? Excessive regulations that drive up the cost of doing business? All of the above?

Also note that Switzerland is a much smaller country than the US yest still able to pay for such a project but we "can't afford it".

Jon

Switzerland didn’t pay for the Gotthard base tunnel with its own money generated from within the country, it relied upon funds from other EU nations to fund it, mainly with a trucking tax while accepting standard EU sized trucks. It’s only been very recently that Switzerland has allowed full sized EU truck operations on its mountainous highways.

Switzerland is more akin to an individual state within the EU than the entire USA.
So which way is the basis of,your argument?
What-so-ever, they did find outside funding sources to fund this base tunnel.
Last edited by electricron on Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
electricron
 
Posts: 4314
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby east point » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:47 pm

Do not think the Fed Government is not a beneficiary. If a north river bore shuts down the US IRS will take much more than a 10 - 20 Billion hit.
east point
 
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby EuroStar » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:29 am

OrangeGrove wrote:As has been noted, Amtrak could get along just fine without the Gateway tunnels; They are needed for NJ Transit and commuter rail. In fact, just for the sake of argument, even if one of the two existing tubes were shuttered unexpectedly, there would technically remain sufficient capacity in the other for Amtrak (not at all practical, of course).

Still, while Gateway does not completely address the problem of packing more and more trains into an already overburdened Penn Station, it is critical for the region. Nothing has actually been cancelled. A new tunnel will get done ultimately, but the political process has to play out first.


While technically one tunnel will have enough capacity for Amtrak trains, politically Amtrak will be unable to keep its current level of serve while completely shutting NJT out of Penn Station. With reduced service, revenue will be lost even if cars are added to the preserved trains in order to avoid reduction in total seats.

While impossible to prove, I believe that the thinking of high brass at NJT and NJDOT is that if they can get the federal government to pay for a tunnel and expanded Penn then great, otherwise the state for lack for will or ability will not pay for these itself and will look to revert to the scheme of the past where the trains bring the commuters to the shore and another mode takes them from there to Manhattan. While not put anywhere in writing, NJT's backup plan in case one of the tunnels becoming unusable seems to be to send everything they can to Hoboken. While the official reason for filling the Long Slip canal and building 6 more platform tracks there is to prevent flooding, it is pretty clear that the extra capacity is also meant as relief of the existing Hoboken station when there are issues with the tunnels under the Hudson. It is worth noting that the original plan was for 7 unelectrified tracks (e.g. for the diesel lines), while the current plan is for 6 electrified tracks. While the filling has not progressed much, the money for it and the new tracks is coming primarily from the FTA as Sandy recovery funds.

As for a new tunnel eventually getting done, allow me to be selfish: if the tunnel will not be opened during the next 30 years, what good is it for me when I am 6 feet under?
EuroStar
 
Posts: 553
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:26 pm
Location: Middle of Nowhere

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:48 am

Everyone: An editorial from the New York Daily News - January 3, 2018

The Right Hudson Tunnel: Scale back Gateway to save it
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/huds ... -1.3734084

Anyone who uses trans-Hudson rail service between NY and NJ understands that these new tunnels
have been needed for many years - and the calamity in the making should one or both tubes have
to be taken out of service for major reconstruction - along with Portal Bridge which is just as old.

If scaling back some of the excess of the Gateway Project helps get the project built sooner offering
relief to renovate and replace this aging infrastructure let's get underway and get this project done.

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
MACTRAXX
 
Posts: 3824
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:55 am
Location: Islandia,Long Island,NY

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby andegold » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:58 am

Are these new tunnels to be separate tubes like the old tunnels or will they have connecting shafts? If they are to be separate tubes (or, if not currently planned as such, could they be) could just one tube be built initially followed by the shutting down and rebuilding of one and the other of the old tubes? This would (presumably) be faster and less expensive than building both new tubes at the same time. While it will not add capacity until all three tubes are in place that really shouldn't be that much of an issue since the station itself really doesn't have the capacity anyway. Once all three tubes are in service wouldn't there would be considerable added capacity since, as a through station, the third tube would essentially double peak hour capacity without reducing reverse peak? Then a fourth tube could be considered if the need and capacity are both there. Granted, this does next to nothing for NJT Raritan riders or NJT's fleet of dual mode locomotives but it does a lot for budgets and reliability. With the tunnel box in place the ability to build the fourth tube is preserved.
andegold
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:37 pm

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby JoeG » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:17 am

The problem is, Penn Station is pretty much maxed out, as are the tunnels. Sure, Gateway could be built in stages but that would probably raise the total cost. I hope that the NY and NJ Congressional delegations,elected officials, etc keep pushing for the whole project. Half measures won't satisfy the current administration. Depending how the elections this year turn out, and depending on how Trump's unpredictability goes, and depending on what, if any infrastructure plan he comes up with, Gateway might get revived in a year or so. It does, after all, have to get done. Lets hope something gets built before one of the old tubes fails.
JoeG
 
Posts: 326
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:40 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:29 pm

andegold wrote: While it will not add capacity until all three tubes are in place that really shouldn't be that much of an issue since the station itself really doesn't have the capacity anyway.

Just as a reminder: Penn Station has 11 platforms serving 21 platform tracks.

Across town, Grand Central has 26 platforms serving 44 platform tracks. GCT is more than double the size but handles fewer passengers a day.

Penn is operating at something like 200% of design capacity. Any new North River tunnels will have to include an expansion of Penn itself. Otherwise there's not much of a point.
Ridgefielder
 
Posts: 2501
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm
Location: Harlem Division MP 15

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby east point » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:41 pm

Several points
1. The new tunnel bores do not parallel the present ones so no connections there.
2. Two new bores are needed for safety concerns. The first time a train in a new bore catches on fire under the Hudson the passengers need to be able to escape to the other bore.
3. The north Portal bridge needs building because if present one fails then that is the same result as both the North river tunnel bores shutting down simultaneously.
4. NYPS does have track capacity problems but additional bores will enable quicker turns of trains increasing track capacity.
5. It will take more personnel to speed up trains vacating station tracks by LIRR, Amtrak, & NJT.
6. There is no guarantee that one of the present North river bores will not shut down before new bores are built. Or for that matter both bores. What if another "Sandy" comes and floods the present bores again ?
east point
 
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby EuroStar » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:13 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:Everyone: An editorial from the New York Daily News - January 3, 2018

The Right Hudson Tunnel: Scale back Gateway to save it
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/huds ... -1.3734084
...
If scaling back some of the excess of the Gateway Project helps get the project built sooner offering
relief to renovate and replace this aging infrastructure let's get underway and get this project done.

MACTRAXX


The editors of the Daily News know zilch about Gateway and would do better by educating themselves before writing editorials. While I support value engineering, what they are advocating is a non-starter.

1. The editors advocate for a single tube. As east point said, the need for two parallel tubes is for safety reasons, so passengers can escape from one tube into the other in case of smoke or other dangerous conditions. Note that the old tubes have connections between them, but due to their construction a third tube cannot be adjacent to them and use them as the safety escape. For the record, the Channel tunnel has 3 tubes, one of them being a service tube also used as safety escape.
2. The editors advocate for low Portal bridge thinking that lower bridge will save money. Little they know that a low bridge must be a movable bridge that is actually likely to be much more expensive than fixed high spans.
3. They have no understanding that the tracks under the Post Office are the same tracks that are under Penn and do not represent extra capacity especially given that Moynihan Station is being built for LIRR, not NJT.
EuroStar
 
Posts: 553
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:26 pm
Location: Middle of Nowhere

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby andegold » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:18 pm

Joe G: Your point that Penn is maxed out is exactly my point. The new tunnels do nothing to increase capacity in the station, only in the tunnels. Therefore the full capacity of two new tunnels is not needed as it cannot be used.

Ridgefielder: Like JoeG all you have done is confirm my point that the added capacity of the new tunnels is meaningless. All it really provides right now is redundancy and reliability. Both of which are badly needed but which can be accomplished less expensively and more quickly with only one tunnel.

East Point:
1. I did not ask about connections between new tunnels and old. I asked if the new tunnels would have a service tunnel or shafts connecting them with each other. If yes then they must be built at the same time. If no, then what technical reason is there for not building them separately?
2. You can only use one to escape a fire in the other if they have a service tunnel or other shaft connecting them. This is why the first question I asked was whether or not they would be built together with such a connection or not.
3. Yes, Portal bridge needs to be replaced regardless of the status of the tunnels. I didn't say otherwise.
4. I made the point that the additional bores would allow for quicker movements. A single additional bore provides almost the same additional capacity in that regard as two additional bores unless the service plan is to have three tunnels running in the peak direction and only one in the reverse.
5. This has nothing to do with the cost or anything else to do with the tunnels.
6. You're making my point for me. A single tunnel can be built quicker and for less money than two tunnels (or three if there is a service tunnel) as half the number of boring machines and labor will be needed vs simultaneous construction of two tunnels. The quicker one tunnel is built the quicker one of the old ones can be taken out of service and rehabilitated. If the two new tunnels (and accompanying service tunnel) are built in sequence rather than simultaneously you won't see the savings from fewer machines or workers but I would imagine neither tunnel could go into service until both are fully built thereby adding considerable time to the process vs building a single standalone tunnel and then moving on to the rehab of the old ones.

I am merely asking these questions to examine if there is a way to accomplish the most important things without the desire for the perfect solution getting in the way of accomplishing any solution.
andegold
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:37 pm

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby JCGUY » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:55 pm

The Daily News' fixation on the real estate cost of acquiring the Penn South property seems to me misplaced. The eminent domain and taking seems like the easy part of the project. The cost may be large, but it's a certain cost not subject to endless delays and overruns due to labor issues, engineering challenges and material costs. Looking back, I would have thought that the East Side Access experience would be a good lesson on the value of taking a less than desirable city block and building a station close to the surface over undergoing a generation of deep cavern building only to leave commuters half way to the center of the earth each day.
JCGUY
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 7:16 pm

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:27 pm

andegold: how about we compromise and build one tunnel, but with two tracks :-)

Anyone seriously proposing less than two new tracks hasn’t seriously studied the condition of the North River Tunnels or the commuter demand from New Jersey. It would be even better to plan for four tracks in two tubes, whether those become conventional rail, HSR-only, or PATH.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4980
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby rr503 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:43 pm

JoeG wrote:The problem is, Penn Station is pretty much maxed out, as are the tunnels. Sure, Gateway could be built in stages but that would probably raise the total cost. I hope that the NY and NJ Congressional delegations,elected officials, etc keep pushing for the whole project. Half measures won't satisfy the current administration. Depending how the elections this year turn out, and depending on how Trump's unpredictability goes, and depending on what, if any infrastructure plan he comes up with, Gateway might get revived in a year or so. It does, after all, have to get done. Lets hope something gets built before one of the old tubes fails.


I wonder if any operational changes could be made to increase capacity (through running, etc)... Or are we wholly maxed out?

For someone who loves to talk of his being a 'businessman' who 'makes deals,' a Trump nixing of gateway would be pretty damn stupid from an economic standpoint. (to say nothing of a sociopolitical one)
rr503
 
Posts: 592
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 4:13 pm
Location: North by Northwest

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:55 pm

rr503 wrote:For someone who loves to talk of his being a 'businessman' who 'makes deals,' a Trump nixing of gateway would be pretty damn stupid from an economic standpoint. (to say nothing of a sociopolitical one)

And yet, totally believable from a man who also fired the entire council on HIV/AIDS prevention.

I’m a little surprised no one has yet compared and contrasted this to Scott Walker’s cancellation of the Hiawatha Service Madison extension and Talgo purchase. Similarly hard-line economics, but even more stark consequences for not moving forward.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4980
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby andegold » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:23 pm

mtuandrew wrote:andegold: how about we compromise and build one tunnel, but with two tracks :-)

Anyone seriously proposing less than two new tracks hasn’t seriously studied the condition of the North River Tunnels or the commuter demand from New Jersey. It would be even better to plan for four tracks in two tubes, whether those become conventional rail, HSR-only, or PATH.


In an ideal world I'm sure it might even be cheaper to build a new four track tunnel and abandon the old tubes altogether. We don't live in that world, we live in this one. I was only asking questions and putting out alternatives.
andegold
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:37 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests