East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby SwingMan » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:44 am

Just to add to the point of improving the right of way. There is a lot that needs to be re-done, not just the visible rails, ballast and ties. The crossing circuits need to be timed for faster operation, and there are a lot of crossings. Again not easy, but here is just a simple way of actually seeing what can be done if the track speed is raised from the current MAS. That is:

45mph to 65mph from KO to MR (Manorville)
40mph to 55mph from MR to GY (Greenport)

3:49 (KO)
4:05 vs. 3:59 (YA)
4:14 vs. 4:06 (MR)
4:20 vs. 4:09 (AH)
4:29 vs. 4:14 (LD)
4:37 vs. 4:20 (R)*
4:44 vs. 4:23 (K)
4:56 vs. 4:29 (SD)
5:04 vs. 4:35 (Greenport station)*

Time cut: 29 min

* Time added for impending speed restrictions

Add 45 minutes to the bottom end for Jamaica to Ronkonkoma express running and viola, you have a (mostly) direct, 95-100 minute trip to the North Fork from Jamaica, 2 hours from Penn.
Compare this with the current closest thing to direct, express service: Trains 2070 to 256. Combined running time of roughly 2 and a half hours.

The regular Scoot service would see a very dramatic improvement. With the combined running time shaved off the local train from Penn Station and the Scoot, a 2 hour trip to the North Fork is not out of question even on a local.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby workextra » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:45 pm

The North fork demographic has changed since they laid 3rd rail
To Ronkonkoma. Today the stretch between Ronkonkoma and Greenport needs to be broken down into 2 sections.
Ronkonkoma to Riverhead and Riverhead to Greenport. The latter section being the more seasonal as tourist based economy.
The ridership between the Ronkomkoma-Riverhead section does in fact exist. However this ridership is being forced to drive to Ronkonkoma because the schedules are not inclusive enough to be worth risking your commute. This is further compromised by the 45/40mph speed limit over this stretch.

In fact the manual block is capable of handling more service. It was the poor decisions of the 90s era culture that created today problems. The culture created at that time thought it was wise to spend the millions of dollars necessary for signal,track, and equipment modernization on the political correctness garbage and thought Bringing in the degrees over the commonsense was the solution to the railroads problems. The result was a giant Political correctness and customer service organization that happens to run a railroad. Once operations was put on the back burner that's
When all the major failures and problems began.

All along the a North Fork was just slowly developing and the Hampton jitney saw what the railroad was spending millions to say didn't exist.

Today if they can get the equipment, and extend the platforms or make high/lows then we can run legit commuter scoots between Robkonkoma and Riverhead. With maybe half hour service during the hight of the rush hour. Then hourly to bi-hourly service during the lag time.

Over night. One late eastbound that leave Ronkonkoma around 12am making stops upon request then turns for one early AM rush hour train.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby rr503 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:00 pm

OK so I did a census analysis of zip codes 11980, 11763 and 11949 and none of them gave any manhattan zip codes within the top 10 places where people work. In fact, only once did a NYC zip show up in the analysis (11201 was #9 for 11763). So I doubt that the commuter market is really there for people going to the city, and for those who do, Ronkomkoma is a better option, with a 1 seat ride to all major NY terminals along with frequent service and plentiful parking. As for people going to the North Fork for holiday, I can see that market working, but not needing anything close to half-hourly service as you suggest.

As for the 90s culture that spent money on upgrading infrastructure *gasp*, well, that's what we'll need to revitalize the Greenport line, won't we? And let's also look at this from a 'greatest good for the greatest number' perspective. The LIRR can spend hundreds of millions upgrading platforms, track, signals and sidings on the Greenport line, where (let's be honest) the ridership potential is mediocre at best, or they can spend that money on the Main line or Babylon Branch, speeding up twice daily commutes for tens -- even hundreds -- of thousands of people. In a time when the LIRR is strapped for cash, one has to prioritize, and sadly, I just don't see the North Fork making it that high on the list. I think that once the ESA, 3rd track and 2nd track are done, along with PTC and (god willing) the replacements for the DE/DMs/C3s, the MTA will have the time, equipment and cash to talk more seriously about this. Until then, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Edit: here's the census program: http://onthemap.ces.census.gov/
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:36 pm

Me neither. The Main Line, especially between Floral Pk and Hicksville, needs that third track fast since there are plenty of offices near many of those stations, which would open up doors for better reverse peak service. As far as driving to KO goes from any town along the Greenport Line, I am thinking probably if you live in and around Riverhead and certainly anywhere west of there, absolutely. You have the LIE and there are probably other parallel roads. If you live east of Riverhead, especially in Southold, then you might as well spend extra to take the bus. Westhampton or Speonk are other alternatives for train service, if you live in Riverhead or a few miles east of there.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby SwingMan » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:33 am

I guess it just flew over the heads of you guys, that the only way to grow is to actually provide the service that people want, long enough for it to be realized for it's full potential. The amount of housing developments built from the 1970s onward was mind boggling, really. Do you think the railroad REALLY thought that Ronkonkoma and all the stations west there of were going to become as important as they are now? I'm sure they did, because it was nothing close to what it is now in the early 1980s. Now look at what is being built within steps of the train. Farmingdale, Wyandanch, Mineola, etc. There is adaptation to new and changing markets. Right now it's a no brainer with the bus, the point is this section of track, in it's 182 year history, has hardly ever lived up to it's potentional. What workextra said has truth to it, though, that being that there are two different markets that need to be sectioned.

It's easy to look at what's been in place forever and call it a waste of time, but you cannot take anything as it is now. There must be the thought that 10 years down the road, you can say "I'm sure glad we planned for this" instead of "Boy, I wish we had thought about this back then".
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby 4behind2 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:00 am

Many have forgotten the Yaphank and Greenport trains that provided service to several hundred riders at Holtsville, Medford, and Yaphank. Upon the service cutback, these people drove to KO or PD for better service, thereby crowding the parking lots, etc.

KO electrification was a victim of its own success. There are North Fork residents who drive to KO daily for service. I'm sure they can be identified by non resident parking fees, or a simple survey by Service Planning of existing Mail 'n Ride commuters with North Fork zip codes. Some form of forecasting can then be planned for additional service (and yes, I remember the extended Blocks on Fridays in the summer) additional trainsets, etc. Through service to Jamaica or NYP would be most optimal, but this is years away.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby freightguy » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:39 pm

I wonder what things would've been like if the Port Jeff branch still reached Wading River?

Believe me the bucolic North Fork doesn't want increased train service out there.
Signed off
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby SwingMan » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:16 pm

See the Wading River Extension did not make sense and still does not because the Port Jefferson Branch is just not direct enough for growth. The lot in Port Jefferson doesn't even get half full on a weekday. 4behind2 said it best, the electrification was a victim of it's own success. It has swallowed up a great portion of the ridership in that region.

freightguy, no doubt. That will always be one of the toughest aspects to overcome. It's quite amazing how it is just 90 miles from NYC, and the residents want to believe they are on a literal island from everything else around them.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby rr503 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:54 pm

Yeah. Part of the reason that I don't see this line coming back soon is that people like options. We saw it in the airlines, and now we are seeing it with the Main line. KO just has so many trains compared to the stations further out, and unless they upgrade KO to riverhead to 60+ mph and run trains frequently, we will not see people going to stations like Medford or Yaphank in any quantities. Even if done, a big enough market doesn't exist to sustain it(see my earlier post), and with the general trend these days being towards people living in denser developments near(er) to the urban core and public transit (a la Deer Park, Mineola and Wyandanch), I doubt there ever will be. The MTA needs to deal with those people living in these new developments along the Main line before they can attend to the line east of KO; there are simply more commuters there. Not only that, but there is a sizable reverse-commuter population that needs to be served and is growing. Most -- if not all -- of those people are going to towns within say, 35 miles of the city. Maybe 30 years from now, when all the choice sites in Nassau and western Suffolk have been built out, we will see new, transit-oriented development east of KO (and accompanying rail service), but not until then. People just don't want to commute 2+ hours anymore. You'll notice that the once explosive growths in population of Brookhaven and Riverhead towns have slowed; Riverhead has grown a measly .8% since 2010, and Brookhaven just .7%. The age of exurbs is over. The Greenport Branch's future is in harnessing the tourist population, not the commuter.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:41 pm

The reverse commuting market, even between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, is strong. In fact, I believe that the MTA wants to reopen Republic Station, given its close proximity to several offices and other commercial developments. East of KO, pretty much is primarily geared toward tourists although in the larger villages such as Riverhead, there are many people living there. The average Joe who commutes two hours is probably going to his city office a few times a week. Not as many people are moving to Eastern LI as Monroe County, PA, where traffic is bad there. However, much of the Poconos still maintains its tourism charm. Don't expect NJT to run trains there anytime soon as they have their own issues with capacity into and out of NYP. Martz runs a very good service from Northeastern PA to NYC and even in a lot of traffic, the bus carrier would be faster than the train if it were ever to run to Scranton. The former Lackawanna Pocono Main, once you get east of the Stroudsburg, is very curvy and the tracks are poor. NJT is slow enough to begin with so why make it even slower.
Back to the LIRR, I am not surprised that many Yaphank, Medford, and even residents east of those places would drive to KO to get the train. Obviously there are many more trains, it is a faster ride to the city, plus you don't have to change much if you are going to Midtown Manhattan. Yaphank is probably like 10 miles from KO and if I were living there, what's the point in using the station there that serves very few trains, providing a slow ride, when I can drive about 10 miles for better service.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby Riverduckexpress » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:58 pm

At least the MTA is adding ASC between Ronkonkoma and Yaphank. That will cut a few mins off trip times, right? It's not much but I guess you have to take that first step somewhere.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby CentralValleyRail » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:43 am

when will that be complete?
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby Riverduckexpress » Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:26 pm

Don't know, but in the 2015-2019 capital program book the funding for that project is listed under the year 2019, so it's probably several years away.
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:08 am

News: MTA.info

It's a pretty long post, so although there's an exception to the fair-use rule for press releases/government info, I'll just post the details:

Proposed North Fork Weekday Service Enhancements

The LIRR is proposing to shift existing scheduled to allow for a morning departure from the North Fork that provides a mid-day arrival in New York City as requested by the community. The train could depart Greenport in the mid-morning and make all local stops to Ronkonkoma, where it would arrive in time to connect to a train due into Penn Station in midday. (This train would take the place of a current train that departs Greenport at 12:42 p.m., to connect to a train arriving at Penn Station at 3:33 p.m.)

To allow for this train, the LIRR would reschedule the existing train that originates in Deer Park at 7:54 a.m., and terminates at Riverhead at 8:55 a.m. This train could instead originate in Ronkonkoma in the morning and would make all local stops to Greenport. This train would be well-timed to receive passengers from an eastbound train originating in New York City in the future, when the completion of the Ronkonkoma Branch Double Track project and the Main Line Expansion Project allow the LIRR able to increase morning eastbound service to Ronkonkoma.

For weekday evenings, the LIRR is proposing to create a new evening train departing Yaphank and stopping at Medford before arriving at Ronkonkoma. This train, too, would be well-timed to connect passengers to a waiting westbound train at Ronkonkoma once the Main Line Expansion Project and Ronkonkoma Branch Double Track project are completed and LIRR reverse-peak train service is enhanced.

Options

The LIRR is proposing two options for North Fork weekday service enhancements. Option 1 would consist of the improvements noted above and leave existing afternoon trains unchanged.

Option 2 would include the changes noted above and would add an afternoon round trip to Greenport but eliminate a mid-afternoon round-trip to Riverhead which is used by approximately 10 people.

North Fork Weekend Service Enhancements

After re-establishing year-round weekend service to the North Fork in the fall of 2016, the Long Island Rail Road is now proposing to double weekend service to the North Fork from May through October.

The current year-round weekend service consists of two round trips per day, operated by one crew over a nine-hour period between approximately 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Under two alternatives being put forward, weekend service day would be essentially doubled from May to October, with addition of a second train crew dedicated to North Fork service.

Options

The LIRR is proposing two options for North Fork seasonal weekend service enhancements. Option 1 would allow for three round trips to Greenport in the late morning, early afternoon and mid-evening, plus a new early evening round-trip as far as Yaphank. Option 2 would allow for four round trips to Greenport in the early morning, late morning, mid-afternoon and evening.

South Fork Proposed Enhancements

The LIRR is proposing to create a South Fork-exclusive “Commuter Connection” service that would consist of six trains per weekday for travel exclusively within the South Fork, and to extend one morning Penn Station-bound train.

South Fork-Exclusive Commuter Connection


The LIRR is proposing to add six trains per day serving the eastern segment of the Montauk Branch. These trains, which would not connect with trains to or from trains to New York City, would include three one-way trips east of Speonk in the mornings, and three in the afternoon during commuting times. They are proposed with the hope of reducing traffic congestion on Montauk Highway/Route 27 by providing motorists with an alternative, and the hope of stimulating the East End economy by offering an environmentally friendly way to travel within the South Fork.

Extension of Morning Direct Train to Penn Station


Under existing schedules, a year-round weekday direct train to Penn Station departs Speonk at 5:08 a.m. The LIRR is proposing to originate that train at Southampton and make stops at Hampton Bays and Westhampton before continuing on its existing route from Speonk making all stops to Babylon then running express to Jamaica, arriving at 6:41 a.m. for connections to Brooklyn and Hunterspoint Avenue, then running express to Penn Station to arrive at 7:02 a.m.
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: East End Service: Greenport Scoot, Montauk Line, Etc.

Postby rr503 » Sun May 28, 2017 1:02 pm

Rode the Montauk Branch yesterday -- new signals in place and bagged, waiting to be activated. They're all colorlight type -- look a bit like DL&W signals to me.
When will these be turned on? And will turnouts go to remote operation with their activation?
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