Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:44 am

mtuandrew wrote:It would be nice to design Gateway for Plate F - that fits Superliners and gallery cars. Granted, it isn’t necessary because Superliners won’t be on the Corridor, but still.


It's not necessary now, but it would be good to "future proof" any major project like this. Anything is possible in the future. It's like most new bridges built over rail lines are now high enough to accommodate doublestack container trains even if they aren't running at the present time. Adding a couple of feet to the clearance should be possible by increasing the tube size slightly or engineering the structure within the tube itself (the existing tunnel diameter is 18.5 to 19.5 feet).

Since bi-level equipment will be the only way to increase capacity eventually this might be vital.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby Greg Moore » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:12 pm

I think the newer tubes are expected to be a bit larger than the existing ones, but Superliner sizes isn't going to happen.

There's several reasons for this:
1) The TOP of the tunnel has to be at a minimum depth. So making the tunnel larger means making the bottom deeper. This means steeper grades.
2) Even if you could overcome the grades issue, you now have a station that absolutely is not designed for Superliner equipment. You can't raise the roof of the track level, which means going lower.
3) Even if you overcome that, you now have to lower all your platforms.
4) Then you also have to do the same for the East River Tunnels.

At the rate that the current new tubes are going, it could easily be 100 years or more before the final steps take place.
At the additional cost of building bigger tunnels now, you could probably just invest that same amount and use the total money 10 decades from now.

There's just too many long-poles in the tent to make future-proofing really worth it.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby WhartonAndNorthern » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:13 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:It would be nice to design Gateway for Plate F - that fits Superliners and gallery cars. Granted, it isn’t necessary because Superliners won’t be on the Corridor, but still.


It's not necessary now, but it would be good to "future proof" any major project like this. Anything is possible in the future. It's like most new bridges built over rail lines are now high enough to accommodate doublestack container trains even if they aren't running at the present time. Adding a couple of feet to the clearance should be possible by increasing the tube size slightly or engineering the structure within the tube itself (the existing tunnel diameter is 18.5 to 19.5 feet).

Since bi-level equipment will be the only way to increase capacity eventually this might be vital.


I saw this in an FAQ on the new tunnels: even if they built the new tunnels to bi-level dimensions, the station and the East River tubes are still the limiting factor. All of the service facilities are on the other side of those East River tubes.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby east point » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:48 pm

WhartonAndNorthern wrote:[

I saw this in an FAQ on the new tunnels: even if they built the new tunnels to bi-level dimensions, the station and the East River tubes are still the limiting factor. All of the service facilities are on the other side of those East River tubes.



Ther are many factors to increasing height.

1. The obvious one of making the top of new tunnels below the muck level.
2. Only the new Penn south station can be built for taller passenger cars no way for present tracks
3. Only the planned east river tunnel bores 5 and 6 can be built for the necessary height.
4. It is unknown if the Harold CP duck under is built for higher cars . If not then a higher duck under would need to be constructed for acess to SSY.
5. Some MNRR CAT might need raising.
6. The road bridge overpass near BOS back bay will need raising.
7. Newark station canopy and CAT will need demo and raising.
8. The abandoned CNJ RR trestle that spans all Newark station tracks will need to be removed.
9. PHL tracks 11 & 12 and platform would need restoration as they are the only tracks available for higher clearances. Major work in lobby of PHL 30th street station.
10. Baltimore B&P tunnel will need the proposed replacement.e
11. WASH US work will need proposed work and expansion as only a couple tracks on upper level clear Superliners now.

Have $100B ? then no proble in 15 -20 years.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby n2cbo » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:40 pm

EuroStar wrote:For the mortal souls who cannot get a private tour of the existing tunnels, Gov. Cuomo presents the short movie "Tunnel Ninja" in which the governor kicks some rusty metal and crumbling concrete: http://gothamist.com/2018/10/18/cuomo_strong_tunnel_weak.php#photo-1. Regardless of politics and your view of the governor, the movie gives a view of the state of the tunnels that is not available elsewhere. And while I am sure they picked the worst spots to showcase, what can be seen is just bad, bad, bad ...


A stopped clock is even right twice a day. 8^) I guess this is one of those times. I actually agree with the Governor in this instance. That is a very informing video. I did not think that things were THAT bad. I can just imagine the catenary supports failing on a regular basis if they are all anywhere near as bad as the one that was shown in the video. Back when I worked for Amtrak in the 1970's I rode through these tunnels daily in the cab of an E-60, and they looked pretty bad back then, but this is ridiculous. The concrete lining looks like it will fall apart any minute.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:00 pm

In response to east point:

10 and 11 are already in design and 8 will happen sooner or later, so those aren’t limitations for a 40-year plan. Same for 1, 2, and 3 if a taller tunnel set is desired. For 7, it’s a problem but surely the roof or catenary can be raised nine inches? It already fits a 15’ 5” PL42AC, and a Superliner is carded at 16’ 2” according to Wikipedia. And as for 5 the MNRR cat, I’m not sure but I think P&W already runs Plate F cars down the NEC and across the Hell Gate. Amtrak catenary might be a bigger issue. That leaves 4, 6, and 9 as big problems for a future partial clearance improvement.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby BandA » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:52 am

You want to build them to the largest specification - A/C catanery w/double-deck equipment. You can pad the floor with ballast if necessary. Even maybe for doublestack freight. These puppies are all you get for the next 75 years.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:35 am

MN is almost done with the constant tension cat replacement work,that has remove the older cat wires from the NH RR Days.
That work has allowed plate F cars to traverse the New Haven line.
Leave the Superliners out west,they are NOT needed on the NEC,NJT's MLV I's and II's can run the entire NEC wth NO changes to the ROW!!!
With PANYNJ taking point on the Gateway and Portal Bridge projects with Amtrak,with or with out the blessing of the current administration,
these projects need to get started NOW!
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby benboston » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:02 am

Serious question. Has the idea of making the World Trade Center PATH Station into a true train station ever been considered? I'm sure the Wall Street Guys would love it. Also, it's a great way to ease congestion.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby Greg Moore » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:49 am

benboston wrote:Serious question. Has the idea of making the World Trade Center PATH Station into a true train station ever been considered? I'm sure the Wall Street Guys would love it. Also, it's a great way to ease congestion.

I'm not sure what you mean by "true train station".

If you mean connect it to the national rail network and run Amfleet sized cars through it, never going to happen. The PATH tunnels are even smaller (15.5'*) than the North River Tunnels (18.5')

(Apparently the the northern tunnel of the two uptown Hudson tubes is 18' in diameter, but this obviously isn't the tube to the WTC)
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby gokeefe » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:20 pm

BandA wrote:These puppies are all you get for the next 75 years.


I disagree. Once the two new tunnels are complete I strongly suspect that there will be an immediate movement to replace the two old tubes with new ones by whatever means necessary.

I do not believe that anyone intends to let it get this bad again. Two tunnels on this railroad is simply not enough by any stretch of the imagination. Too much growth in New York City and along the Northeast Corridor generally.

I anticipate something like the NYC water tunnels where a project will always be under construction in order to stay ahead of demand and obsolescence.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:27 pm

gokeefe wrote:
BandA wrote:These puppies are all you get for the next 75 years.


I disagree. Once the two new tunnels are complete I strongly suspect that there will be an immediate movement to replace the two old tubes with new ones by whatever means necessary.

I do not believe that anyone intends to let it get this bad again. Two tunnels on this railroad is simply not enough by any stretch of the imagination. Too much growth in New York City and along the Northeast Corridor generally.

I anticipate something like the NYC water tunnels where a project will always be under construction in order to stay ahead of demand and obsolescence.

But there are also a few highway tunnels and a couple bridges that will have to be repaired, reinforced, or supplemented in the next decades too, plus the East River rail tunnels and a bunch of subway tubes. Gateway has been sold as a two-and-two project, plus Portal and maybe Secaucus Loop, and the Feds and PANYNJ aren’t interested in more. The most we might get are a couple of PATH tubes to go along with the Amtrak ones, maybe a new Holland Tunnel tube to supplement the others.

I’m also not convinced we will have the money or national willpower to build more, but that’s another matter.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby gokeefe » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:33 pm

mtuandrew wrote:I’m also not convinced we will have the money or national willpower to build more, but that’s another matter.


It's a decision that would come up about ten years from now. Many things will be different then including the decision makers. Gateway gets built and the doors to the future will open ...
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:42 pm

gokeefe wrote:It's a decision that would come up about ten years from now. Many things will be different then including the decision makers. Gateway gets built and the doors to the future will open ...

True enough, though I have a hard time imagining more than four heavy rail tubes across the Hudson at any one time. Maybe Amtrak will entirely remove each North River Tunnel from service and replace it though? I’d consider it, encasing each old tunnel in a new one and then cutting the old one away from inside.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Postby Greg Moore » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:27 pm

gokeefe wrote:
BandA wrote:These puppies are all you get for the next 75 years.


I disagree. Once the two new tunnels are complete I strongly suspect that there will be an immediate movement to replace the two old tubes with new ones by whatever means necessary.

I do not believe that anyone intends to let it get this bad again. Two tunnels on this railroad is simply not enough by any stretch of the imagination. Too much growth in New York City and along the Northeast Corridor generally.

I anticipate something like the NYC water tunnels where a project will always be under construction in order to stay ahead of demand and obsolescence.


Can I smoke what you're smoking? We can't even get funding what new tunnels. You think after we finally (if ever) get the new tunnels they'll come up with MORE money to replace the existing ones? They'll at best refurbish, but certainly not replace.
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