The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

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

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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby jcpatten » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:18 pm

One would think that Amtrak would be all over the Harold project: they get to avoid LIRR interference with getting into Penn Station, they get to have fewer LIRR trains inside Penn, and fewer people going through the station.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby num1hendrickfan » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:46 pm

Every silver lining has a cloud they say. Yes that might free up space from fewer LIRR trains utilizing New York's Pennsylvania Station, however there are plans in the offering to run Metro-North trains into Pennsylvania Station. WIth fewer LIRR trains utilizing Penn the MTA may actually be enticed to fast track that plan giving commuters from points in CT access to Penn as well as GCT.

Food for thought.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:31 pm

from what I hear LIRR wants their Conductors to do flagging, while Amtrak claims its their territory and their peoples livelyhood.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby bulk88 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:30 pm

Can Hell Gates trains go to GCT via ESA or are the ramps in sunnyside too far east and only connect to the main line?
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby jackintosh11 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:02 pm

Why would they ever need to do that? The New Haven Line has a direct line into GCT without getting trackage rights from 2 other railroads.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby Head-end View » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:07 pm

It might be a useful alternative if/when there is a service interruption on Metro-North between Grand Central and New Rochelle. But I'm guessing the different types of third-rail used by M-N and LIRR would prevent such a detour by Metro-North trains.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:44 pm

you guys do understand that New Haven equipment does NOT fit into ESA tunnels right ???
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:16 am

DutchRailnut wrote:you guys do understand that New Haven equipment does NOT fit into ESA tunnels right ???


Yep. 63rd St. Tunnel was built in the 1970's to the dimensions of an M1, and not an inch taller. All those roof-mount HVAC units that the M8's (and M2/4/6's) have but the M1/3/7/9's don't won't clear the roof. The room underneath the car for all the extra AC power transformers and associated power equipment required for New Haven means those cars have no choice but to mount the HVAC units to the roof, whereas the third rail-only cars can keep all electronics self-contained under the car.

This isn't likely to change enough with successive generations of cars for it to matter. Even though radiator bulk keeps shrinking the better regenerative braking gets, that's still a freaking lot of underside space that would need to be freed up to get all that stuff off the roof and tucked under. If the day ever does arrive in the distant future where component shrinkage ever allows an M(even-numbered) car to just have a pantograph up there and nothing else...then CDOT's going to have overwhelming need to trade in that freed space first to whoever can build them a bi-level New Haven Line EMU that fits MNRR-GCT and Penn dimensions. There'll never be a scenario where rainy-day flex to run New Haven through ESA is ever a goal.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby Head-end View » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:25 pm

So let me get this straight.......... The Pennsy's planners over a hundred years ago had the foresight to design the East River Tunnels high enough so eventually several generations of LIRR bi-level cars and cars & loco's with pantographs could fit thru them; but the MTA's planners of the 1960's were so shortsighted that they couldn't envision ever running anything taller than an M-1 thru the East Side Access/63rd St. Tunnel?

Sorry to say that's about what I'd expect from a successful private enterprise vs. a government agency. Imagine if the MTA was running Microsoft or Apple? Still though, the MTA is a smarter agency than Boston's MBTA or Phila's SEPTA.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:38 pm

The "given" is any emergency reroute could wind up at Hunterspoint Ave Station and layup at LIC yard,if and when MN's PSA route
s up and running.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby lpetrich » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:03 pm

Head-end View wrote:So let me get this straight.......... The Pennsy's planners over a hundred years ago had the foresight to design the East River Tunnels high enough so eventually several generations of LIRR bi-level cars and cars & loco's with pantographs could fit thru them; but the MTA's planners of the 1960's were so shortsighted that they couldn't envision ever running anything taller than an M-1 thru the East Side Access/63rd St. Tunnel?

Sorry to say that's about what I'd expect from a successful private enterprise vs. a government agency. Imagine if the MTA was running Microsoft or Apple? Still though, the MTA is a smarter agency than Boston's MBTA or Phila's SEPTA.

A simplistic "businesses good, governments bad" conclusion. For counterevidence, look at much of the older railroad railroad infrastructure, especially in Great Britain (Loading gauge - Wikipedia)
Great Britain has (in general) the most restrictive loading gauge (relative to track gauge) in the world. This is a legacy of the British railway network being the world's oldest, and having been built by a plethora of different private companies, each with different standards for the width and height of trains. After the nationalisation a standard static gauge W5 was defined in 1951 that would virtually fit everywhere in the network.

So much for private-sector foresight.

As to Microsoft and Apple, they also made design decisions that caused trouble for later versions of their software, through they both improved over time.

Microsoft got into the operating-system business with DOS, and it was initially designed for the Intel 8088 CPU chip, with at most 1 megabyte of memory space. Users could use 640K of it, and the rest was dedicated to video-card memory and the like. When improved chips came along, like the 80286, a minor industry of "DOS Extender" writers emerged, for making use of the 80286's "protected mode", with its much larger memory space, as opposed to the 8088-like "real mode". The 80386 introduced an even larger memory space and 32-bit addressing, adding to the x86 series's original 16-bit addressing.

The first successful version of Microsoft Windows, 3.0, ran in 16-bit mode on top of DOS, but Microsoft did a new start with Windows NT, running in 32-bit mode (Win32), and only switching to DOS or 16-bit Windows (Win16) for running apps in them. It also had a compromise with DOS and WIn16 called Windows 95, released not long after. Windows 95 had successors 98 and ME, but Windows NT had successors 2000 and XP and every version of Windows since. Unlike with DOS and Win16, NT was written to run on several different CPU architectures with only a little bit of rewriting, making it much like some Unix flavors. That made it easy for Windows to support 64-bit instruction sets when they appeared in x86 chips, and also to be ported to ARM for smartphones and the like.

Now to Apple. Its first big success was the Apple II, and it had successors over the 1980's. Its Lisa was an attempt to create a GUIfied computer, but it was expensive and it didn't get very far. Its Macintosh was its next success, and it has had successors ever since. The original Macintosh was single-tasking and it effectively had a 24-bit memory space, despite using 32-bit addressing. The original MacOS used the high byte for various features of the memory. But later Macintosh models used the entire 32-bit space by having an app declare whether it was "32-bit clean". They also got cooperative multitasking, with GUI apps having to switch control over to each other. That was made easy by how the GUI layer worked: one would call a function to see what event the GUI layer had for the software. But if an app did not call it, it would hog the computer.

Apple originally used Motorola's 68K chips, but when it switched to PowerPC chips in the early to mid 1990's, it wrote a PPC-to-68K emulator, and ran much of the OS in that emulator. Apple originally tried to write a more advanced version of the MacOS called "Copland", but it involved some awkward compromises, and it failed miserably. The old MacOS would run as an app of the new MacOS, in an environment that got named the Blue Box. But the GUI part of every new-MacOS app was supposed to run in the Blue Box also. If it seems like a mess, it was.

In the meantime, ex-Appleites Steve Jobs with NeXT and Jean-Louis Gassee with Be worked on some advanced-OS designs, Unix-like OSes with nice GUI shells. Neither of the two was very successful. In the mid 1990's, Apple shopped around for advanced OS designs, considering both the NeXT and Be possibilities. Apple decided on NeXT, and the NeXT people took over Apple from inside. The current design of the MacOS is essentially NeXT's OS with some earlier MacOS features added on.

This new NeXT-Mac OS supported the old MacOS in "Blue Box" fashion as an app in it, but with new apps not needing the Blue Box for their GUI parts. Apple eventually dropped support for MacOS Classic, as Apple called it. This new NeXT-MacOS, which Apple called MacOS X and now calls just macOS, was designed to run on several CPU architectures, and it was easily ported from the PowerPC to the later Intel-x86 and the ARM architectures. it also was portable from 32 bits to 64 bits. When Apple moved to Intel-x86 chips, it ran PPC apps with a PPC emulator, even running some of the OS in it.

Looking at these histories, it is evident that there are a lot of differences between the software business and the railroad business. In the software business, it's much easier to have new software and old software coexist, and one can run old software inside of new software if one so desires.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby SRich » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:24 am

Your point?
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:56 pm

The 63rd St. tunnel's dimensions weren't an arbitrary decision made in a vacuum. It's a precast double-decker tunnel carrying the 63rd Street Subway on the upper level. The water-crossing segments consisted of 4 precast tunnel sections that had to be sunk 2 on each side of Roosevelt Island, then connected through the middle of the island with combo of cut-and-cover and rock boring. Not easy construction at all because the tunnel sections had to be floated all the way up from Maryland, slipped under all the bridges, navigated through numerous shallow-water pinch points...all while dealing with the tides, since the East River is technically not a river but a saltwater tidal estuary. And because the tunnel was precast, with the lower LIRR level needing to be load-bearing for the upper subway level, that likely created some constraints on how divergent the upper vs. lower dimensions could be while keeping the weight in distribution (if similar double-deck tunnels are any leading indication). Despite the fact that the 70's city budget crisis meant that the subway wasn't hooked up to it until 1989, the water and island crossing won all sorts of engineering awards for innovative design and smooth construction in the face of all its numerous logistical challenges. Boston's Big Dig took notes from the 63rd St. tunnel's construction achievements when Massachusetts was building the I-90 highway tunnel in precast sections across the tidal estuary Ft. Point Channel in the early-00's through a shallow-water gauntlet of low-clearance bridges, tidal effects, and load-bearing retaining walls.

Just tally up the littany of potential engineering blockers for what they were trying to do. Buried in the fine print of 47-year-old technical documentation archived in some library I'm sure you'll find a full explanation why the LIRR level had to have a 13 ft. M1-sized ceiling that was closer to the ~12 ft. height of the B-division subway cars that ran upstairs...instead of a ~15 ft. tunnel provisioned so an FL9 or modern equivalent dual-mode loco could haul coaches (and future bi-levels) through there. Much less a kitchen sink future-proofed 17 ft. tall tunnel that could do all the same with third rail and catenary like the other East River Tunnels do. All the far-reaching promise of ESA and all the far-reaching promise of HSR on the NEC--administered publicly, not by the then- 98% dead private passenger roads--have been front-burner debates for a half-frickin'-century now. Nobody had a colossal brain fart undermining all that longstanding debate about futures and future-proofing by forgetting to carry the 1 on the 63rd St. tunnel dimensions. Somewhere in there in plain Engineering-speak there's an explanation as to why the lower-level dimensions had to be 13 ft. to construct the thing at all on its most favorable alignment.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby Head-end View » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:18 pm

Points well taken. Thanks Ipetrich and F-Line for your perspective.

So there were engineering reasons why the LIRR tunnel couldn't be any higher; I get it. But today it seems ludicrous that they won't be able to ever run bi-level trains thru it like the older East River Tunnels. And it limits LIRR's Grand Central Line forever and ever to single level cars. A real shame.
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Re: The East Side Access Project Discussion (ESA)

Postby EuroStar » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:04 am

Head-end View wrote:So there were engineering reasons why the LIRR tunnel couldn't be any higher; I get it. But today it seems ludicrous that they won't be able to ever run bi-level trains thru it like the older East River Tunnels. And it limits LIRR's Grand Central Line forever and ever to single level cars. A real shame.


On the bright side, this will force them to electrify any place that wants direct service to the new terminal. It *might* speed up electrification to Yaplank or Speonk.
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