NEC Future: HSR "High Line", FRA, Amtrak Infrastructure Plan

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NEC Future: HSR "High Line", FRA, Amtrak Infrastructure Plan

Postby afiggatt » Thu May 20, 2010 10:55 am

The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan report has been posted on the Amtrak website on the Reports & Documents page at http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentSe ... 7608345018. 180 pages long and a LOT to discuss. $52 billion total by 2030, anyone?

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You'll notice the above link that the OP started the thread with is gone. But the discussion continues!

Other NEC Topics:

Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

NEC Inland Route

Moynihan Station

Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby afiggatt » Thu May 20, 2010 6:51 pm

So no comments on a official Master Plan document that has a map on page 24 which shows proposed new lines to Concord, NH, restoration of the Lackawanna cutoff to Scranton PA & Binghampton NY, downstate Delaware service to Dover & Ocean City MD, NE Regional Service over the Buckingham Branch line to Charlottesville and onto Roanoke VA, and NE Regional service to Norfolk south of the James River? The plan is signed by the heads of the DOT for 12 states and the District of Columbia so it has some weight behind it.

I see a lot of state and commuter agencies input into this with varying degrees of ambition. On one hand, electrification to Springfield but on the other, only plan to get NYP-BOS travel times down to 3:08 by 2030 with no serious ROW re-alignment in CT. Wonder if CDOT is the driving force there because they don't need faster travel through eastern CT - MA and RI and NYC riders do, but not so much for riders starting in CT - and CDOT doesn't want to deal with the considerable political complexities of even modest re-alignments of the Shore line route.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu May 20, 2010 7:11 pm

The document is a long read. It might be worthwhile breaking the thread into sections that correspond to those in the document; ie. Boston-Kingston.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby jtr1962 » Thu May 20, 2010 9:41 pm

Is this just a study, or are they actually going ahead with everything proposed?

The document is a lot to digest. If they're really going to do all this, then all I can say is it's great we're finally putting a serious amount of money into the passenger rail system. It's just a shame no serious consideration was given to getting NYC-Boston running times under 3:08. Yes, it'll need a new alignment in spots. We actually talked about several possibilities in another thread. None were cheap, but all could have potentially gotten NYC-Boston not much over 2 hours.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby jstolberg » Fri May 21, 2010 12:39 am

Yes, the report will take a bit to digest.

Next step is preliminary engineering and environmental work. The states have applied for $15 million in federal funds for what is estimated to be a $18.8 million study that will take 3 years to complete.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby djlong » Fri May 21, 2010 8:20 am

What I find most interesting is, buried WAY deep in the lsit of improvements, they're talking about "undertaking a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed North-South Rail Link". (Linking Boston's North and South Stations)

I thought this project was deader than dead.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby FatNoah » Fri May 21, 2010 8:23 am

So no comments on a official Master Plan document that has a map on page 24 which shows proposed new lines to Concord, NH, restoration of the Lackawanna cutoff to Scranton PA & Binghampton NY, downstate Delaware service to Dover & Ocean City MD, NE Regional Service over the Buckingham Branch line to Charlottesville and onto Roanoke VA, and NE Regional service to Norfolk south of the James River? The plan is signed by the heads of the DOT for 12 states and the District of Columbia so it has some weight behind it.


The document incorporates planned/considered extensions to local and regional services. It does not state that all of these are definitely going to occur, but (and rightly so IMHO) any plan for the NEC needs to account for expansion of regional rail networks as well.

I was also suprised by the EIS for the NS rail link too. If the rail-link comes to pass, I'd image it would be so far in the future that a new EIS would need to be done anyway.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby afiggatt » Fri May 21, 2010 9:57 am

jtr1962 wrote:Is this just a study, or are they actually going ahead with everything proposed?

This is a proposed 20 year plan. The federal government and the states will have to come up with the money for the projects listed in the report to happen. If you look at the Track Schematics for the sections of the NEC, the track & station projects are in 3 colors: red for short term projects, blue for medium-term, green for long term. Many of the red short term projects are either already underway such as the replacement of the Niantic river bridge or authorized & in late planning & engineering stages such and the Pelham river bridge. Some of the projects listed for the feeder corridors such as the restoration of the tracks for the "knowledge corridor" in MA and the closing of the grade crossings on the Keystone East corridor have been funded by the HSR grants awarded from the $8 billion stimulus money. So some of the projects in the master plan will happen. But the medium and long term projects are in search of funding. New tunnels for the existing Penn Station under the Hudson and East River are not going be inexpensive.

While the lack of aggressiveness in speeding up times on the NYP-BOS segment is disappointing, the positive aspect is that there is a NEC infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission. If the Commission stays active and funded, intercity ridership steadily increases on the NEC, and pressure grows for faster NYP-BOS run times, they can then do preliminary engineering studies and release a revised Master Plan or proposals calling for selected re-alignments of the Shore Line route or other alternatives. Provides a framework for long term plans and upgrades to the NEC as it develops, rather than Amtrak out there all by itself asking Congress for more funding.

But, yea, there is a LOT in this document and interesting tidbits on new or long delayed proposed projects to absorb.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby Hawaiitiki » Fri May 21, 2010 12:51 pm

I was just scanning the New Jersey area part of the document and they called the Pascack Valley Line, the Passaic Valley Line. Just reminded me of running track in HS when there were always two PVHS's at meets and were both green and white about 20 miles away from each other.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby TREnecNYP » Fri May 21, 2010 5:50 pm

Read it.

Pretty much my thoughts, ideas, and observations ironically enough. The service through to NYP/HOB via scranton stands way out as something i've wanted to see for a long time.


The new alignment near the airport makes sense.

I pretty much concur with everything in there, i just hope it all happens, all of it, not just the amtk part.

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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby travelrobb » Sat May 22, 2010 6:11 pm

I don't know--as a document envisioning Amtrak in 20 years, I find this "Master Plan" pretty uninspiring. Most of the emphasis appears to be on capacity expansion, but almost all of that expansion is for commuter, not intercity, services. Commuter lines would add about 1,000 trains, Amtrak would add about 60. Yes, there's five more Acela trains north of New York, but no additional Acelas south of New York to Washington (see table 18 on page 42). That would mean 15 trains each to Boston and Washington from New York, which is absurd -- the population density map on p. 23 suggests that the south end should support many more express trains than the north end. Also, the projected 24-minute trip-time savings between New York and Washington would presumably spur additional demand. In fact, I would think that if the regular Acela service with 5 intermediate stops actually achieved 2:21 minutes as projected, then the market would support augmenting that hourly service with one-stop service clocking in at 2:10 on a near-hourly basis.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby TREnecNYP » Sun May 23, 2010 1:44 pm

You realize that you just said hourly acela service would be supported, right? That's a pretty big damn leap from a few years ago when there were no "luxury" options with amtrak.

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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby morris&essex4ever » Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

With a president who is a strong advocate of mass transit, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these ideas become reality. We know the new Hudson River Tunnels are going to be built as well as replacement of the Niantic River and Portal Bridges. Hopefully the catenary is upgraded to constant tension south of New Haven.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby Greg Moore » Sun May 23, 2010 3:42 pm

Careful, we know new North River Tunnels for NJT will be built. They will move some traffic going into Penn Station by directing it into a new station just north and deeper than Penn. But they currently have no plan to connect them to Penn Station.
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Re: NorthEast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan released

Postby afiggatt » Sun May 23, 2010 5:49 pm

The report does state, under alternatives to be evaluated in the next phase of the Master Plans, that additional capacity will be needed for NYP with new tunnels under the East and Hudson Rivers - this is in ADDITION to the NJT ARC tunnels. The track schematics show as long term projects, two new Hudson tunnels and 2 new East River tunnels, the East River tunnels to also provide direct access trains to JFK. This along with the expanded platform capacity for NYP - beyond the current NJT NYPE project - is what causes the hefty $12.5 billion figure for the Penn Station New York Capacity Improvements category. This would make for 6 Hudson River Tunnels to NYP & connected extensions and 6 East River tunnels. By 2030 or 2040 or whenever.

Not living in NYC, I do wonder whether a direct train to JFK is worth spending the considerable bucks to do so. Isn't a LIRR train to Jamaica station and then the Air Train to JFK reasonably efficient? (Not having taken it myself).
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