LIRR Mainline Third Track Project

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

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Third Track for the Mainline

Postby mwichten » Wed May 26, 2004 1:10 pm

I know that a bunch of you have talked about this in various threads, so this newsday article should be of interest:

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lilirr0527,0,6564143.story?coll=ny-topstories-headlines
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Coalition of transit advocates urges LIRR to build third tra

Postby Notinmyneighborhood » Wed May 26, 2004 8:38 pm

News12 has article and video about third track on main line

http://www.news12.com/LI/topstories/article?id=108031
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Thu May 27, 2004 9:54 pm

I don't know. I love the idea of adding capacity, which they need, but I still think LIRR would do better to reopen the central instead. Thats an extra 2 tracks with new service for towns not served by the RR.

And for grade crossing elimination, why? It costs more and wastes time. It's pointless.
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Postby LIengineerBob » Fri May 28, 2004 12:19 pm

The Central Branch is single track.
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Postby Vector » Fri May 28, 2004 4:17 pm

Hey nimby, if your interested in the "revival" of the secondary take a look at this link.

http://www.co.nassau.ny.us/eda/HubProjUpdate041204.pdf

It's in adobe acrobat format. You can download the reader for free. If you have trouble with the link email me and I will send you the file.

It's an interesting read...

After you look at it post some feedback... everyone else for that matter.
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Fri May 28, 2004 7:03 pm

I have trouble every now and then with PDFs, but I think I know what it is. I've seen it a few times. The basic idea is good, and the idea I have is more or less the same as that one. Basically, use RDCs or some form of DMU(hey colorado railcar, we got an idea for you!) and run 2 lines. One from Mineola, down the old ROW to the secondary, east on the secondary to Mitchell Field spur, then don the spur, and then build a new rail line that loops around to serve Hofstra, the collesium, and NCC, and then connects again to the secondary, but this time, heading west, to form a loop, and then return to Mineola.

The second line runs out of Hempstead, up to the secondary, east to the industrial spur, then up that to the end of it, and extend it to Merrick Av. Hopefully it could later be brought up to the Westbury station.


LIengineerBob:
The secondary is 2 tracks from Washington Av to Quentin Roosevelt Blvd, all though it was 2 originally 2 tracks further east. Either way, the ROW is still there, and is wide enough for the 2 tracks. It makes so much more sense than a third main line track(which would be great, but not before this). It would open up a whole new service area and open 2 new tracks instead of 1 new track.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Fri May 28, 2004 8:27 pm

Nimby - I agree rebuilding the Central line is a good idea, but:

* It'd be very very very expensive (a few billion - the whole ROW would need to be rebuilt, plus bridges, plus grade crossings, etc).

* It passes through areas where trains haven't run - heck, tracks haven't EXISTED - in 50 years. You'd have a hard time getting it through Levittown, etc. And certainly not as a diesel line - but by the time you're done with everything else, the costs of electric would be moot.

* You'd have to upgrade the Hempstead and Ronkonkoma lines to handle the traffic. Ok, not the end of the world. But something to think of.

It makes sense on a LOT of levels, but it's just not going to happen unless you can get a lot of communities around it and the money.

Who owns the remains of the ROW anyway? The LIRR or LIPA?

As far as a Hempstead / Mineola / Uniondale loop - intersting idea. But who'd use it?
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Fri May 28, 2004 8:55 pm

well, the loop line(which, if you take a look at my other thread, is extended to Glen Cove now), would serve anyone going to the collesium for w/e event, from anywhere on LI. Also, lots of college students would be happy with it. Right now, it takes 2 buses to get to NCC and Hofstra, and thats just from Mineola. This rail line would be a one seat ride for many, and a 2 seat for almost anyone else.

The Shopping line(which, also in the other thread, is extended to the old Northport sation), would serve those going to RFM, The Source, and other area shopping centers. Yeah, the route is served by a few buses, but they always get caught up in traffic and are packed. And if it can be extended to Northport, it would be a great asset to shoppers within the service area of the line, which would be a good amount of people.


As for re-building the central:

1. The 3rd track will also be very expensive, maybe even more expensive. It has to deal with building in areas that are fairly narrow. Grade crossing reconstruction also. Either way, I think that if the chance to have new passengers and a LOT of extra capacity is present, they should take it. Bridges? The only bridges I can thing they'd need is over the Meadowbrook Parkway and then over the tracks where they meet at B tower.

2. The fact that the rails haven't been there really is no problem, IMO. The ROW is there, it would serve the community greatly, and the NIMBYs that whine about it can kiss my ass for all I care, b/c a few monthes after service starts, they'll be riding those trains.

3. Why not as a diesel line? It'd be cheaper to build and maintain.

4. Hempstead line really wouldn't need much upgrading. The main line would, but it has needed upgrading(double tracking) for a long time now. And even if the trains can't run on the main, they can go down the central to Babylon, maybe even PD and reopen the south farmingdale stop

5. I know LIRR doesn't own it, so yeah, probably LIPA.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Fri May 28, 2004 10:04 pm

<i>As for re-building the central:

1. The 3rd track will also be very expensive, maybe even more expensive. It has to deal with building in areas that are fairly narrow. Grade crossing reconstruction also. Either way, I think that if the chance to have new passengers and a LOT of extra capacity is present, they should take it. Bridges? The only bridges I can thing they'd need is over the Meadowbrook Parkway and then over the tracks where they meet at B tower. </i>

No doubt the 3rd track will be $$$, but, a central reactivation will be MORE. not only because of the legal stuff (millions alone), but the 'studies'. And, there'd be massive 'dirt work' required. Very expensive.

<i>
2. The fact that the rails haven't been there really is no problem, IMO. The ROW is there, it would serve the community greatly, and the NIMBYs that whine about it can kiss my ass for all I care, b/c a few monthes after service starts, they'll be riding those trains. </i>

Like it or not, it IS a problem. For the last 50 years, the ROW hasn't even come close to resembling a rail line. In most places, there are NO tracks, or even any hint a rail line existed there. this isn't a case of homeowners moving in next to a deactivated line, there WAS NO RAIL LINE when they moved in. It didn't exist. It wasn't 'there first'.

<i>
3. Why not as a diesel line? It'd be cheaper to build and maintain. </i>

Because it won't add much capacity to the system, and by the time you're done with everything else, the costs of electrification will be nothing. We're easily talking about 100+ million a mile here. At that point, the cost of third rail is not much Vs the added advantages it'll have. In any case, have fun selling a rebuilding of a 50 year gone ROW that abutts hundreds of homes, just to run diesels on it. In today's political climate, it's not going to happen, and even MU operation would be viewed as 'too loud' for some. The added value - the ability to reroute Ronkonkoma line trains to it, lower noise, would far outweigh the minimal added costs, when you look at the overall picture. And it'll only have to be done in the future anyway.

<i>
4. Hempstead line really wouldn't need much upgrading. The main line would, but it has needed upgrading(double tracking) for a long time now. And even if the trains can't run on the main, they can go down the central to Babylon, maybe even PD and reopen the south farmingdale stop </i>

You'd want higher speeds west of Garden City. As for the Ronkonkoma branch, it could use double tracking, but that's another ball of wax and another big outlay.

Like I said, realistically, you're talking about a billion plus dollar project. probbably twice that amount. It's effectively 'new' track construction in a very crowded area, with lots of special needs (ASC, better grade crossings, high platform stations, bi directional signalling, overpasses over roads that can't be closed durring construction, tight clearences).

Look, I think it's a good idea, too, but right now, it's simply not that practical, because of the cost / hassle to do it. 20 years from now, when a third track's in, it's 2 track to KO and beyond, and the system's capacity is maxed out, and demand is still growing, it'll make sense to do it. But now, a 3rd track is cheaper and more viable.
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no foresight...

Postby badneighbor » Fri May 28, 2004 10:21 pm

damned fools...shut these various lines down when they thought the LIRR was only here to serve the City... There is such an untapped market here. but the MTA doesnt see the real future.
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Postby thrdkilr » Fri May 28, 2004 10:34 pm

I hate to say it, but adding the 3rd line to the main is the way to go. You would be getting all those road crossing in NHP, and Mineola eliminated, which would speed things up. How many grade crossings are we talking about on the old central? Hell theres 13 in Garden City alone!
Of course we're not talking logic here, I'm convinced that Nimby is trying to build the worlds largest layout for his own amusment, there will be hell to pay when the tax payers find out what he's up to...
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Postby Nasadowsk » Fri May 28, 2004 10:56 pm

I agree Nimby has some bizzare ideas, but I think as far as rebuilding the Central line, it may actually happen in our lifetimes. Or some progress towards it.

Right now, nothing out there is indicating the buildup of the East end is going to stop. The LIE has no more room to expand, especially in Nassau. At some point, push will come to shove, and the LIRR will simply have to be expanded, or else Nassau and Suffolk will be major traffic headaches. Moreso than now!

That means either new track, or electrification. Guess which is cheaper by better than a factor of 10.

IMHO, within 20 years, you will see a major shift towards an all electric LIRR, simply because there will be no other choice, except billions of dollars spent on new rail construction. On top of that, LI and metro NY is on the EPA's nonattainment list for air quality again. We smog cars and trucks already. The cheap fix is gone. Power plants are all oil and gas. Getting rid of diesels will be looked at more and more as a viable option.

Crazy?

Well, go back to 1930. Tell someone that in the year 2000 there'd be virtually no national rail system, steam trains would be long gone, the government would run passenger rail services, and the LIRR would have 5 times the ridership of the government run national rail system. Oh yes, and that almost all of the farms in Suffolk would be gone.

They'd look at you funny.
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3rd main

Postby badneighbor » Fri May 28, 2004 11:08 pm

All good points, I just think the MTA will not be able to start another great project now with so many irons already in the fire. I hope the real issues could be addressed here, but the State won't fix this any time soon.
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Sat May 29, 2004 11:06 pm

1. Doesn't the 3rd track need studies too? As for the dirt work, how much do you really think they need to do?

3. Electrification doesn't have to be done. LIRR can use DMs on the line if they wanted to run to NYP. Hmmm...where would these DMs come from? How about those Patchogue trains not stopping anywhere beyond Babylon. Have them stop on the central. Also, if LIRR wants, run a DM from Greenport once a day. Also, it can be used for freight, freeing up even more space on the main, allthough, I don't know how smart of an idea this would be....Maybe just stick with passenger service and keep the freight where people expect to see it.

4. I don't really see a need for higher speeds west of GC. After all, the line will be fairly crowded with trains should this line be open, I doubt there'd be much space for these trains to "run free." And plus, how much faster can they make the Hempstead? What's the limit now? 45?

I hope you're right about in 20 yrs them needing it, b/c quite honestly, they do need it now. However, I too don't see the line being built for atleast another 20 yrs(well, I'm hoping 10, but that's really pushing). Also, by the time construction would start, it may be time to look for some new cars. This would give LIRR the chance to purchase double decker cars with both vestibule and lower level boarding, that way the new stations can be low level platforms(cheaper to build and maintain).


thrdkilr:
How would grade crossing elimination speed things up? MAS on the line is already 80, which I believe is the highest MAS systemwide.

13 crossings in Garden City? Not true. On the central, starting at Franklin Av crossing, it's only 5 crossings I believe to the parkway.

If it's not logic, then why does it seem to make so much sense? More rail service in new areas=less cars on road=less pollution=EPA being happy...seems logical to me. I'm leaving the actual trian layout to MSTS, and possibly my HO layout.


Diesel service really isn't much of a problem as far as pollution goes compared to all the cars and trucks it could take off the roads. Yeah, electric is cleaner, but it's more expensive. If we can get enough cars off the road to make a decent dent, I think settling for diesel service would sit just fine with the EPA.
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Postby JoeLIRR » Sun May 30, 2004 12:31 am

I agree w/ that NIMBY,

Also as stated above that they clame that re building the CRR is not feisable as of now, in the end it may and will come down to its re construction. yes it will cost billions, but billions well spent to serve out communites. my idea of a rebuilt CRR would be to elevate it just East of NCC then all "EL" from there. Or plan to start the "EL" from just east of clinton rd. yes i do know that it san "EL" wil cost a * load more but "SAFTEY comes BEFORE money" or thats atleast how it sould be. if they were to start rebuilding the CRR tommrow, it still will not be done for 20-30 yrs with the game of "politics". and also a 3rd track on the main will help alot if not ease conjestion on a completed CRR.

Both projects will have to work together at some point in time.

tho any hope for a quick re build for the CRR would be to check and repair the tracks to just behind NCC and run a diesel bsck and forth to the college stoping (new stops "clinton rd - quinton roosevelt blvd - NCC")


that also will cost im shure in the milions, but it may be worth it.

the LIRR had alot of potential service to alot of places but due to the depression, better decissions at the time the LIRRs future potential was over looked for todays stardards.
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