Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

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Re: Track 3 catenary replacement

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:38 pm

Have you consulted the MTA homepage ?? and it is not only Catenary but bridge timber and steel replacement too.
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Re: Track 3 catenary replacement

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:10 pm

There used to be a status page similar to the M8 page regarding the progress of this project; that link is no longer on the Metro North home page. The search function yielded pitiful results.

This was the link: http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/catenary.htm

You now get a 404 error.
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Re: Catenary and Interlocking work

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:13 pm

<BUMP> because what else does a site admin do?. Merging in topics...
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby gokeefe » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:19 pm

This is the new link http://web.mta.info/mnr/html/catenary.html ... and likely to be the final address for this soon to be completed project.

I was surprised to realize that this project was still ongoing. I figured it was almost done a year or two ago. As many have noted it is a serious undertaking on the busiest railroad in North America.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:52 pm

2017 was always the projected wrap-up. If you go to the refreshed Google 2016 satellite imagery (menu, then turn 3D off switches it from '15 view to '16) you can track their rate of progress from the air by which stations have temporary bridge plates in place and what direction those bridge plates have moved to their next stations between yearly views. They've been on-schedule in ho-hum fashion for a few years now, so home stretch should go quietly and we'll at long last have all 4 tracks online at the same time without big chunks OOS.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby Arlington » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:08 pm

Sorry if this has been asked, but neither the first 8 pages here or the MTA page say what the practical upside is when completed. Mostly just 100-year replacement with a bit of reliability in temp extremes and a bit of capacity due to power upgrades?
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby gokeefe » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:15 pm

The question answers itself but I believe the answer is to a degree far greater than presumed. The wires had major reliability problems due to age and in heat. The power system was likewise unreliable due to age and inability to tolerate heat and heavy loads from increasing service and ridership.

I don't know what the system design basis was but I would imagine Metro-North has been operating to the very limit of what the railroad (power included) can handle.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:04 am

Arlington wrote:Sorry if this has been asked, but neither the first 8 pages here or the MTA page say what the practical upside is when completed. Mostly just 100-year replacement with a bit of reliability in temp extremes and a bit of capacity due to power upgrades?


Well, it's just the cat, not the supply, that this project is about. CDOT's done quite a bit of outright power upgrades and power reliability upgrades to the source separately during the decade-long duration of this project. And they used the track outages during this project to replace more than a dozen undergrade bridges in the project area, refinish a bunch of overgrade span abutments and decks, and renovate some station platforms while the temp bridge plates were out in force. There was a lot of extracurricular going on in the coattails from this project that weren't directly part of the project. Definitely much more where that came from still needs to be done, but they threw a kitchen's sink worth of other SGR work between the margins and got their money's worth out of the ground time the track outages afforded their maint crews. The aggregate improvements go a lot further than just new overhead.

In addition to old components being old and shot, the switch to constant-tension cat is a big deal for reliability. Too many heat-related speed restrictions and brownouts with wire sag during summer, too many downed wires during winter. Too many intermittent track outages on any given day because a wire problem needed to be tended to. It was a very real and everpresent OTP drag for a line with such incredible traffic densities. And it would've prevented them from ever increasing train capacity making this new supplemental M8 purchase to run 10-car trains on the Stamford locals and New Haven expresses, because every extra pantograph per consist touching that bouncy old wire would've exacerbated the brownout problem and effectively imposed a cap on consist length that got shorter and shorter during summer heat and winter deep freeze. No matter how robust the juice was at the source, those +60-94 additional cars were never possible without full cat renewal.

On other parts of the NEC we mainly hear about constant-tension upgrades being coached in terms of Amtrak speeds and reliability therein. This isn't going to make Amtrak go faster on the New Haven Line because traffic density on all 4 tracks in the limiter for Amtrak on the New Haven Line...but pound-for-pound C-T matters more here than in 150 MPH territory down in the Jersey swamp by keeping everything in that incredible traffic density moving more reliably with MUCH lower daily potential for wire-related speedos. We've already seen the positive effects with each new segment that's completed.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby Arlington » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:46 am

^Thanks! So to pluck out the keywords, is this fair summary?
1) Longer trains (cat packaged with fleet & power expansion)
2) Elimination of small, chronic threats to OTP (eliminates "old metal" problems, and "old structures" done at same time)
3) Elimination of large extreme threats to OTP (eliminates "fixed tension" problems, and takes some "old structures" crisis out of the way)

The more precisely-scheduled the trains run, with there be an opportunity to run more trains, faster and on shorter headways?
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby gokeefe » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:54 pm

My impression of the situation is they are merely trying to run the schedule they already have at the highest possible OTP and with the longest possible trainsets. There are going to be a lot of fringe benefits to Amtrak that will accrue from this project.

Obvious things like reductions in delays aside I think in general more people will want to use the trains which is good for everyone all around. These are customers which will pay premium fares for premium service (think Stamford to Newark Airport). I'm sure the work at HAROLD interlocking will help the situation as well.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:51 pm

Arlington wrote:^Thanks! So to pluck out the keywords, is this fair summary?
1) Longer trains (cat packaged with fleet & power expansion)
2) Elimination of small, chronic threats to OTP (eliminates "old metal" problems, and "old structures" done at same time)
3) Elimination of large extreme threats to OTP (eliminates "fixed tension" problems, and takes some "old structures" crisis out of the way)

The more precisely-scheduled the trains run, with there be an opportunity to run more trains, faster and on shorter headways?


Pretty much. You won't see any schedule improvements as immediate outflow from this project because there's still so many SGR improvements yet to come like the movable bridges + whacking bridge-related speed restrictions, PTC and the best high-density signaling they can possibly wrangle, and churning through the rest of the platform-lengthening program to tame station dwells and keep everyone moving. But this was a critical and necessary project for being able to pack trains as close as they can be packed for the next few decades of demand growth, and doing so reliably. The OTP improvements are huge. It can't be understated what havoc weather conditions and daily aches-and-pains used to wreak under that ancient variable-tension cat. That was a big Achilles heel for a line so mission-critical with such extreme service density.

And, yes, 10-car crowd-swallowers with matching 10-car platforms (only 2 left to lengthen on the west-of-Stamford locals) is one of the few really significant things they can do to increase capacity without breaching the density ceiling they're already sitting on/close-to. Those 5-8 dozen M8 supplementals get a little bit lost with all the talk of secondary frills like bar cars, Penn Station Access provisions, and reserves for Shore Line East. But putting the 10-car consists out in force on the regular old peak schedules is the single most meaningful service enhancement they can make. And there was no way you could ever flood the schedule with that many max-size consists under fraying variable-tension overhead. 5 pantographs per consist in-contact with a wildly-bouncing wire? Brownout-city. They'd have to hold their breath that the variable-tension cat could hold up to that with just a modest number of consists slipped into the margins. No way could they have done that for a plurality/majority of the peak period's service layering without going full constant-tension cat. That's a big, big gain when they get the cars and do the other associated follow-through upgrades to unleash the supersize consists.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:08 pm

gokeefe wrote:My impression of the situation is they are merely trying to run the schedule they already have at the highest possible OTP and with the longest possible trainsets. There are going to be a lot of fringe benefits to Amtrak that will accrue from this project.

Obvious things like reductions in delays aside I think in general more people will want to use the trains which is good for everyone all around. These are customers which will pay premium fares for premium service (think Stamford to Newark Airport). I'm sure the work at HAROLD interlocking will help the situation as well.


Not to mention...many fewer trains sardine-packed with standees. That's the biggest quality-of-service improvement of all that'll get people riding. It physically hurts for a large portion of the population to have to stand and balance for an hour or more after a long day. Can't control chronic aches & pains, or easily control how much stuff you have to lug to/from work. Lots of people who much prefer taking the train have no choice but to drive and put up with traffic if they simply don't have good enough odds of getting a seat on a daily basis. Max-length consists in large quantity on the most crowded runs are the most direct way to address that. It'll be another 20 years' worth of regen braking efficiency gains and radiator/component shrinkage before it'll be physically possible to stuff the New Haven Line's tri-power inputs underneath a bi-level/MLV-spec EMU carbody capable of increasing the per-car seating capacity. So lengthening is it for the time being until technology catches up enough to play any height/stacking games. But it's exactly the solution that'll get those leaners who want the train but can't--physically or otherwise--gamble on daily standee odds. Those commuters will now take the train full-time with full confidence that they'll get a seat nearly all trips.

Infrastructure upgrades such as this package which help improve those odds to certainty end up doing the most to improve farebox recovery and make permanent converts out of reluctant commuters.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby gokeefe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:12 pm

What's the schedule for the supplemental M-8 delivery and the platform lengthening?
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:24 pm

about 4 years for additional M-8's, as for platform lengthening the state is so broke,that CDOT is suggesting cutting branch line service on weekends and nights plus delaying Springfield line by 2 years.
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Re: Original NH Catenary Replacement Progress

Postby gokeefe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:59 pm

I would imagine that Metro-North will want to lobby the incoming administration for project funding necessary to complete platforms in CT. It's an obvious need and would leverage 20 years and untold hundreds of millions of dollars in existing investments.
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