Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed May 17, 2017 7:07 am

The way it would go if ALB were electrified and MNRR ran the Hudson with New Haven Line dual-input MU's is that there'd be a 25 Hz/12.5 kV to 60 Hz/25 kV phase break installed on the Empire Connection at the end of the current electrification. Amtrak would go across the phase break on-wire just like the 25/60 Hz break on the Hell Gate; MNRR would switch from overhead to LIRR over-running third rail at the phase break just like New Haven Line Penn Station Access will to avoid having to run on 25 Hz.

It would not induce any dependencies on modding the electrification in Penn Station or the Empire Tunnel. Other than maybe extending the existing wires + third rail anywhere several hundred feet further from the portal to whatever city block serves up space for installing the lineside phase break infrastructure. Otherwise the electrification attached to Penn doesn't need any modification whatsoever, and only the new stuff from the Empire portal to ALB gets done at 60 Hz/25 kV for the sake of scaling most track miles off fewest/widest-spaced substations. The first 25 kV substation doesn't even need to be located at the phase break itself, so it would not require third rail and 25 Hz overhead to be extended all the way to the swing bridge. The phase break can be a normal paralleling station well downwind from the first full 25 kV sub miles north on the Hudson main (say, on the land inside of Spuyten Duyvil Jct.).


The only compelling reason for changing the frequency inside Penn from 25 Hz to 60 Hz is to enable MNRR run-thrus to New Jersey (Secaucus, Newark, whatever) via the New Haven Line, in which case a change to grid frequency at same 12.5 kV solves the problem of lack of 25 Hz transformers on New Haven Line MU's. Changing out the circuit breakers to change overhead frequency would probably be less costly than extending the LIRR third rail into Jersey, but that's a whole other proposal and a whole other set of political turf wars apart from the current PSA proposal. And it obviously wouldn't have any Hudson Line coattails whatsoever since New Haven's the only one that points the right direction into Penn for reaching Jersey.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed May 17, 2017 11:59 am

DutchRailnut wrote:Empire tunnel yes, and a itty bitty piece of Empire connector.

Yes. I wasn't thinking of the tunnel so much as the ~4 miles (90 blocks) between the tunnel and the place where the tracks come out at grade level for good near Grant's Tomb at W122nd St. & Riverside Drive. The track is in a mid-block trench between 34th & 59th, then in a series of tunnels, semi-tunnels and such from there to 122nd. There are literally dozens of overpasses and buildings built over the trench in that span. Maybe there's enough clearance for 25kV under every single structure... but I wouldn't want to bet on it.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed May 17, 2017 1:07 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:
DutchRailnut wrote:Empire tunnel yes, and a itty bitty piece of Empire connector.

Yes. I wasn't thinking of the tunnel so much as the ~4 miles (90 blocks) between the tunnel and the place where the tracks come out at grade level for good near Grant's Tomb at W122nd St. & Riverside Drive. The track is in a mid-block trench between 34th & 59th, then in a series of tunnels, semi-tunnels and such from there to 122nd. There are literally dozens of overpasses and buildings built over the trench in that span. Maybe there's enough clearance for 25kV under every single structure... but I wouldn't want to bet on it.


You only need +2.5 ft. over the tallest railcar for safe electrical clearance under a 25 kV line. An MLV bi-level is 14.5 ft. tall and the tallest thing you can cram into Penn, so 17 ft. is needed on the Empire Connection for 25 kV. 17 ft. Is the height of a Plate F boxcar. As the West Side spent most of its history as a freight-only line, there's a good chance it's already Plate F. Or if not, short by so little that simple trackbed undercuts will do the trick. The newer air rights cover-overs are recent enough to be built to modern Amtrak- and NYSDOT- spec clearances, and were fine from Day 1.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby fredmcain » Thu May 18, 2017 6:01 am

I honestly don't know what you guys are talking about. I was completely unaware that there is *ANY* 25K volt catenary strung over the "Empire Connection". If that is true, then that could back up my vague memory about a long-term, back burner plan to eventually electrify the Amtrak line to Albany. I think there WAS a plan like that 30 years ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any info about when "Googling" for it.

Another possibility is that some catenary was strung in the tunnels leading to Penn Station that's energized at 11K volts to allow N.E. Corridor or NJ Transit equipment to back up in there should the need ever arise. They may have designed it to allow it to be converted to 25K volts should the need ever arise. That would make sense, too, since there WAS once a plan to eventually convert the entire N.E. Corridor to 25,000 volts 60 cycle. But it's my understanding that those plans have been shelved or at least pushed way, way, off onto a back burner. They may have even fallen off the back of the stove onto the floor! :)

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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu May 18, 2017 6:38 am

Regular old Penn Station 25 Hz/12.5 kV--not 25 kV--cat is strung up to MP 1.2 of the Empire Tunnel just for accessing the small wye track. Ends same place the third rail does. Hz vs. kV may be where the confusion is.

Yes, there was that old AMTK plan to convert 25 Hz/12.5 kV to 60 Hz/25 kV...abandoned as you said when they opted to refurb all the 25 Hz infrastructure instead. That doesn't have any bearing on the Empire Connection.

If Albany electrification is eventually pursued, brand new 60 Hz/25 kV electrification would be constructed from MP 1.2 of the Empire Connection to Albany. But...the existing 25 Hz/12.5 kV fed out to MP 1.2 through the Penn/Sunnyside substation would stay exactly the same and MP 1.2 (or thereabouts) would become the West Side's equivalent to the Hell Gate's 25 Hz/60 Hz phase break at MP 5.3. Amtrak's panto-only vehicles would switch voltage + frequency on-the-fly at that spot, and MNRR dual-input MU's would switch between 60 Hz/25 kV AC overhead and 750V DC third rail on that spot...in roughly mirror image to how they're going to change at the Hell Gate phase break.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby fredmcain » Thu May 18, 2017 6:56 am

F-Line,

Duh. 25 cycle - not volts. I gotchya. My bad.

Yeah, that make perfect sense.

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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby Railjunkie » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:31 am

The wire on the Empire connection extends about 2 or 3 car lengths past CP Empire, which is the entrance to the tunnel itself. There is no wire hung on the wye and you would still need another 3 to 4 hundred feet hung to be able to access it. They dont use the wye for anything other than storage NOTHING gets turned there. Best you could do is turn and engine.

If you can find it look up the NYCS RR plan to hang wire Croton to Buffalo I believe the study was done in the 30s. NYC didnt do it then when labor and material was cheap and NIMBYs were not even thought of yet. Why do we need wire to Albany? Who is going to pay for it? There are a few communities along the way that would fight it tooth and nail. Not to mention the tree huggers who would be upset that man has moved a mountain of stone and dirt to hang un sightly cat poles.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby Nester » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:44 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:If they go to Albany, the third rail is getting ripped out north of Spuyten Duyvil, 25 kV overhead is getting strung where only 3 substations can cover the entire near-150 miles, and MNRR will be ordering New Haven Line MU's to run the Hudson out of GCT & NYP and sending it surplus-to-(Harlem)-requirement 3rd rail-only MU's to retirement or LIRR repurposement.

All of that...including the SD-CH re-electrification and rolling stock purchase...are less expensive and less painful than building new substations every 6 miles to poke north of Croton-Harmon. 750V DC just doesn't scale well at intercity distances. If Albany ever gets truly serious about funding NYSHSR, there'll be enough MNRR pot-sweetener for the electrification change and rolling stock to get their cooperation. Blind opposition from the MTA isn't a fait accompli if the effort to do Keystone-or-better service all the way up the Hudson is deadly serious about treating the whole corridor's needs...commuter and intercity. It's just that Albany thus far is really half-arsing it on the NYSHSR studies, and interagency turf warrage is NY politics' favorite sport. Passive-aggressiveness isn't a terminal condition. It's just that if nothing changes...nothing changes and of course change-resistant fiefdoms are going to butt heads.


Is this accurate? I was under the impression that you would need substations every two miles or so for 750VDC and every 4 miles or so for catenary. I think it's a great idea and would a tremendous amount of long-term good for the Empire Corridor - but who is going to pay for it and where are you going to put a substation between Peekskill and Cold Spring in the marsh and swamp to power anything? If your one-per-50 (linear) miles statement is correct, it becomes a non-issue for power but a large issue for cost.

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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:42 am

MNRR I think had looked at this in one of their 5 year plans, or long-term plan/study. I'd have to look back through the forum for it. It was on their radar at one time.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby RRspatch » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:35 pm

Nester wrote:
Is this accurate? I was under the impression that you would need substations every two miles or so for 750VDC and every 4 miles or so for catenary. I think it's a great idea and would a tremendous amount of long-term good for the Empire Corridor - but who is going to pay for it and where are you going to put a substation between Peekskill and Cold Spring in the marsh and swamp to power anything? If your one-per-50 (linear) miles statement is correct, it becomes a non-issue for power but a large issue for cost.

Nester


The standard rule for catenary, at least the AC type, is 1 mile for every thousand volts between substations. The PRR system, which was built for 11Kv, featured substations about every 10 miles. If that rule holds true then 25Kv would need a substation every 23 to 25 miles or so. Going any higher than that (South Africa has some 50Kv stuff) and you run into too many over head clearance issues.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:20 am

That's more or less accurate, although the NEC's New Haven-Boston electrification went variable-distance between substations.

--------------------

NEC 25 kV substation listing:
-- Branford @ MP 80, powering MP 73.6 New Haven (12.5 kV to 25 kV phase break) to MP 103.1 Westbrook* [29.5 miles]
-- New London @ MP 123.6, powering MP 103.1 Westbrook* to MP 150.2 Richmond* [47.1 miles]
-- Warwick @ MP 177, powering MP 150.2 Richmond* to MP 198.7 Norton* [48.5 miles]
-- Sharon @ MP 212.4, powering MP 198.7 Norton* to Boston South Station terminal district (roughly MP 228.5 + terminal trackage) [29.8 miles]

*locations of switching stations, which isolate each substation's power sections.

--------------------

The substations are all built off the ROW requiring offsite local road access, and obviously need to be placed near enough to a set of transmission lines to tap them. The Shoreline's switching stations are built on or adjacent to the ROW and require no external access, but take up the equivalent of 2 track berths and thus may require strips of property acquisition for a tri- or quad-track section. Each power section bordered on one end by a substation and the other end by a switching station is then broken up by paralleling stations once every 6 miles located within the ROW containing the circuit breakers and single autotransformers. Those are laid out as wide as the switching stations (i.e. about 2 track berths), but are only about half as long...basically similar in size to any old biggish set of signal bungalows.

Paralleling stations:
-- Mill River/New Haven phase break to Branford sub - 0 paralleling stations (total distance < 6 mi.)
-- Branford sub to Westbrook switching station - 3 par. stations
-- Westbrook switch to New London sub - 2 par. stations
-- New London sub to Richmond switch - 4 par. stations
-- Richmond switch to Warwick sub - 3 par. stations
-- Warwick sub to Norton switch - 3 par. stations
-- Norton switch to Sharon sub - 1 par. station
-- Sharon sub to South Station terminal district - 2 par. stations (Readville par. is the only paralleling station NHV-BOS that features 2 autotransformers instead of 1)

Note that Sharon and Warwick subs are only half-filled with equipment...at only enough equipment to run Amtrak equipment on 2 tracks. Slack space is fully future-proofed within the substation security fences for adding the MBTA/RIDOT's and SLE's shares of transmission equipment for commuter rail capacity, and at 4 full electrified tracks when NEC FUTURE expands out the capacity inside MBTA/RIDOT Providence Line territory. The switching and paralleling stations appear to be set up to be expanded back-to-back on that same approx. 2-track footprint for any future tri- or quad- track considerations, so would be expanded by length not width.

--------------------

So...basically 30-mile long power sections for sections that contain a big terminal district, and 50-mile long power sections everywhere there isn't a terminal district (incl. regular end-of-line commuter rail layovers that lack shops). If space for the sub & switching equipment is provisioned with foresight like they did with the NEC, spacing on the Hudson Line would be roughly the same for 2 vs. 4 tracks and dense vs. less-dense commuter traffic. You can hedge a little bit on tighter spacing in current MNRR electric territory because Croton-Harmon is a full-blown terminal district with shops, but don't go overboard and assume that twice the traffic in MNRR electric territory requires twice the number of 25 kV subs. Distances between electrical section breaks are not so rigidly fixed that you have to go shopping for more sites instead of bigger sites like the NEC Shoreline has done to provision for more tracks and electric commuter rail density. Hudson Line will probably need more square feet per substation site than the max-provisioned Shoreline subs to stuff more equipment, but you'll never be so pinned in for +X square footage at any one candidate site that you'd be forced to build wholly additional substations too-short a distance away. Not when the sub spacing is flexible enough that you can just shop around for a different site in the same area that's got +1 extra acres of land to be had inside the security fence, and when the switching and paralleling stations will already fit on what's a contiguous 5+ track ROW Spuyten Duyvil to Hastings-on-Hudson and contiguous quad everywhere SD to Barrytown except for the rock cliffs pinch between Peekskill and Garrison.


Use the NEC layout of subs + switching stations as a guide to come up with your Hudson/Empire layout. Figure that because of the Croton-Harmon terminal district you'd need a shorter 25-30 mile distance to an adjacent sub on the immediate power section that contains Harmon shops. And also that you'd need a shorter 25-30 mile distance to an adjacent sub on the immediate power section that contains Albany shops. But everything in-between--including MNRR Upper Hudson on 3 electrified tracks in former diesel territory--can probably be spaced at 50 miles. Including Poughkeepsie layover, since that extra storage wiring is going to host far less activity than a terminal w/shops like CH or ALB or a heavy inner-vs.-outer zone transfer station like CH. Note also that the Hudson layout does not have to take into account the Penn Station terminal district, which is on the 25 Hz side of the Empire Connection phase break at MP 1.2...or GCT and anything inbound of Hudson MP 11, which would remain on the existing 750V DC third rail south of CP 12 interlocking where the Empire and Hudson merge.

Just mapping out a few spacing scenarios in my head...I keep arriving at a consistent 4 subs for spanning the whole corridor to ALB. Definitely no more than 5; that's shorting way too many power sections by way too much if you're arriving at a count of 6 subs or greater.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby Nester » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:50 am

Very insightful. Thank you. Using the information in this post you could conceivably place one substation in the vicinity of Beacon and one at Croton to cover the Hudson line, one in the vicinity of Rennsaler, leaving only two locations in between to deal with. Rolling stock and motive power issues notwithstanding, this isn't as exepensive as I projected it to be.

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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby truck6018 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:43 am

Costs aside, there are also the "environmental" concerns, (NIMBY's) to deal with. I guess they would rather have smoke billowing from the motors than miles of third rail (or wire) and substations.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:02 pm

other than plans in mind of buffs, there is nothing about further or replacement of electrification.
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Re: Metro-North Hudson Line Electrification

Postby Ridgefielder » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:31 am

truck6018 wrote:Costs aside, there are also the "environmental" concerns, (NIMBY's) to deal with. I guess they would rather have smoke billowing from the motors than miles of third rail (or wire) and substations.

They're not using first-generation Alcos on the Empire Corridor. The P32DM's run pretty clean, without much smoke at all. I know-- I live within sight of the Harlem Division, see the MN Wassaic expresses barreling though all the time.

And we're not talking something trivial here like ripping up an encroached driveway or running a freight on a long-dormant line like the Grafton & Upton. The whole of the Hudson from Manhattan to Albany is a National Heritage Area under the protection of the National Park Service. Running wire through the views from FDR's house at Hyde Park, or Frederick Edwin Church's Olana, at Hudson, is going to be controversial with all sorts of people, not just local yappers.
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