WoH Port Jervis Line Service, Studies, Work, Status

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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby SecaucusJunction » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:14 am

Substitute busing in effect off peak next week across the entire line and next weekend west of Middletown. I feel bad for the riders of the line who keep getting bus service instead of the train. Definitely not a good way to try to increase off peak service.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:15 am

not doing upgrades and maintenance would far exceed current amount of suck, the riders experience.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:31 pm

SecaucusJunction wrote:MTA has no interest in their trains stopping at Wesmont. Ideally there would be no Port Jervis locals.

I've always thought that all Port Jervis Line trains should be express. The ride is long enough on an express, and forcing everyone to sit on a local through NJ definitely turns some away.

That being said, maybe the money just isn't there to make all Port Jervis trains express, but there are some seemingly easy scheduling changes that would eliminate some of the local runs.

Right now, 62, 67, and 41 are fully local in NJ. 42, 45, and 68 are mostly local, and 66 is semi express. 45 and 62 could be made express with the addition of one Suffern round trip. The new train would make all local stops on the Bergen Line to Suffern (replacing 45). Then it would become 1170 and go back to Hoboken. Currently, this trip uses the set from 1109, so the rotation would need to be changed by cutting 1109 (redundant west of Waldwick with 1151) to Waldwick, and then return as a new run to Hoboken making all Main Line stops (replacing 62)

67 and 68 could also be made express with the addition of a Suffern round trip. A train would depart Hoboken at about the time 67 does and make all Main Line stops to Suffern, then return as the last inbound Bergen Line trip of the night (replacing 68). 67 and 68 could both go express.

41 and 42 could be made express, but it would be less beneficial and more costly than 45, 62, 67, and 68.

On weekends, 75 and 81 could be made into semi express runs because they are completely redundant with 1719 and 1735 west of Ridgewood respectively. The rest of the locals (70, 74, 76, 78, 82, 69) would be much harder to get rid of without major scheduling changes.

Edit: Can someone tell me why 49 has Ramsey Route 17 listed as a stop to receive passengers only? Doesn't make much sense to that they wouldn't let people off there.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:52 pm

why ask scheduling questions , be concise or e nut . MTA .org has links
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby EuroStar » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:11 am

trainbrain wrote:I've always thought that all Port Jervis Line trains should be express. The ride is long enough on an express, and forcing everyone to sit on a local through NJ definitely turns some away.

The thing that turns the most people away is the change at Secaucus. If the loop ever sees the light of day, that would be 10 minutes per trip right there. And that is a gain on every train and trip, not just a few off-peak trains with insufficient ridership.

trainbrain wrote:That being said, maybe the money just isn't there to make all Port Jervis trains express, but there are some seemingly easy scheduling changes that would eliminate some of the local runs.

The money will be there if the ridership was there. Those off-peak trains just do not have enough riders to justify paying the "express" costs through NJ. As locals their cost to Metro-North is much smaller. Think about it: extending a local means that MN pays only the costs of operation beyond Suffern plus something in terms of equipment because that makes the set unavailable for an immediate run back to Hoboken.

The gold standard of MN for local/express service is the Hudson Line weekend schedule. With 4 tracks to Croton and 2 north of there to Poghkeepsie it is easy to run local from north down to Croton, then express from there to GCT with the local train departing immediately after the express. Same on the way north with the local arriving at Croton a bit before the north bound express. There are many reasons why that cannot be made to work well on the former Erie line. The only place where an express can pass a local is between Ridgewood and Waldwick. Everywhere else you just cannot pass a local that is in front of you even though theoretically there are for tracks between Ridgewood and Hoboken. That forces you to play schedule games by sending the express first and then the local immediately after it. If that was the only thing to consider problem would have been solved. You need to make sure that you about balance the NJ locals from Suffern going on each the Main and Bergen lines or certain local station pairs one east of Ridgewood and one west of Ridgewood would always require transfers which then you need to at least approximately time. You also need to make sure that the timings of your train meets west of Suffern are such that opposing directions trains do not end up waiting for each other. Then there are the badly designed plant at Waldwick. They seem to use only one track in the yard, but the line becomes double tracked before the yard and a train leaving the yard and going east to Hoboken blocks all tracks during the switching -- your schedule needs to time things there too. Now add to that the fact that Suffern to Ridgewood does not have enough ridership to justify dedicated NJ expresses for them you end up having to dance around semi-expresses stopping at some other local Bergen stops (where the ridership actually is). There are probably a few more considerations which I cannot think of and that is how you end up vary far from the ideal operating model.

trainbrain wrote:Edit: Can someone tell me why 49 has Ramsey Route 17 listed as a stop to receive passengers only? Doesn't make much sense to that they wouldn't let people off there.

NJTransit did not want to pay, so Metro-North made them do it in order to not subsidize NJ trips. MN wanted the stop due to the high school ridership --students from NY attending the Bosco school there and going home in the afternoon. You can take the train and get off there, but make sure you have a ticket to Suffern.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:30 pm

That makes sense with NJT not wanting to pay for MNCR's express train, and MNCR didn't want to pay for the full cost of the train while subsidizing NJ riders.

If that yard is ever built at Campbell Hall/Salisbury Mills, something will have to be done to allow more express trains through the NJ portion. From looking at Google Earth, there should be room to build a bypass track between Passaic and Clifton without altering the stations, and the said track could be built all the way to Lyndhurst if that station and Delawanna are widened. Only the peak period trains really have scheduling conflicts with the locals, so there wouldn't need to be 4 tracks anywhere.

One of the Waldwick issues looks pretty simple to fix, by extending the 3rd track past the yard, almost to Allendale. That allows express trains, and through trains to Suffern to pass terminating local trains. However, it doesn't solve the problem of the trains going into service at Waldwick blocking all 3 tracks. I don't think building a flyover would be cost effective, but it would definitely solve all the issues.

Personally, the Secaucus transfer doesn't bother me as much as spending an additional half hour slogging through 15 local stops. Say I, or anyone for that matter wants to go into the city outside of rush hour. Do I change my travel times to take a fast train that runs when it isn't convenient for me, drive in and deal with the traffic and parking headaches, or take a train that runs at a convenient time, but gives me a scenic tour of suburban NJ, when I just want to get to NYC.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:32 pm

As far as the loop goes at SEC, you will be passing the upper level, over the loop at reduced speeds and stopping at the lower level, and this would be a reason not to build it. It would probably take almost as much time to either keep the current layout for switching from upstairs to downstairs and vice versa as opposed to operating over the loop. NJT might also want to look into building escalators and steps directly from the NEC platforms to the Main & Bergen County, Pascack Valley, and Pt. Jervis Line ones. Remember this about rail ridership in North Jersey-it is not as strong as the bus.
About express service on the Pt. Jervis Line, it would be nice for there to be more of them as that travel time is very long on a local through NJ. Having a third track through Passaic and Clifton might not be a bad idea. Of course, it would also be good to have it go to where the Hackensack River Bridge is, and add a second track over the bridge on the Main Line. The triple track between Ridgewood Junction and WC interlocking probably has overtakes during the week but sadly, it would be nice to see that third track extended all the way to Suffern which will probably not happen anytime soon. Again, many people who live in North Jersey, even in Bergen County take the bus to the city. This is not the Northeast Corridor.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:07 pm

If the money is available, a new Lyndhurst station (closing Kingsland) could be made wide enough for 3 tracks. The Delawanna station would also need to be widened for a 3rd track to be added. I believe a new Lyndhurst station was/is considered, but I've never heard anything about adding a 3rd track on the main line. The running times on both lines for an express train are comparable, and since the Main Line is the easier one to add a 3rd track to, it should get it. As was mentioned earlier, extending the 3rd track past Waldwick Yard to reduce congestion with trains entering the yard would not cost much, and would reduce some scheduling headaches.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby EuroStar » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:40 am

trainbrain wrote:One of the Waldwick issues looks pretty simple to fix, by extending the 3rd track past the yard, almost to Allendale. That allows express trains, and through trains to Suffern to pass terminating local trains. However, it doesn't solve the problem of the trains going into service at Waldwick blocking all 3 tracks. I don't think building a flyover would be cost effective, but it would definitely solve all the issues.

I cannot see them extending to Allendale only. If it ever happens it will be three tracks up to Suffern. Technically the issue is that you cannot just end the track, you need a full interlocking where that happens and moving the existing one just a couple of miles north seems like a lot of cost for little benefit. The big problem is the money. Who will pay? Why would NJ pay for a track used to run Metro-North expresses? Why would Metro-North invest in out of state project? The latter has happened(Metro-North chiped in some money for Secaucus Junction Station), and could happen again, but NIMBYs from NJ will see it as a NY project and get NJ politicos to kill it, or at the very least make it much more expensive than necessary. The way to avoid blocking all tracks at Waldwick is to build a pocket track in between the running tracks (it is four track right of way) -- take a look at what LIRR is doing at Massapequa. I do not see that as likely though. It is more likely that if ridership grows enough they will just give up on the short turns at Waldwick and run everything up to Suffern.
trainbrain wrote:Personally, the Secaucus transfer doesn't bother me as much as spending an additional half hour slogging through 15 local stops. Say I, or anyone for that matter wants to go into the city outside of rush hour. Do I change my travel times to take a fast train that runs when it isn't convenient for me, drive in and deal with the traffic and parking headaches, or take a train that runs at a convenient time, but gives me a scenic tour of suburban NJ, when I just want to get to NYC.

I do agree that an express is about 30 minutes faster than a full local through NJ. That is a big difference, but I still fail to see how the off-peak trains can get enough ridership to justify running express. Losing the transfer, which turns many people off because they have to get up from their seats and get on a likely crowded NEC train is the only way I see that ridership can be bumped enough (both peak and off-peak) to justify the off-peak trains becoming express.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby EuroStar » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:47 am

trainbrain wrote:If the money is available, a new Lyndhurst station (closing Kingsland) could be made wide enough for 3 tracks. The Delawanna station would also need to be widened for a 3rd track to be added. I believe a new Lyndhurst station was/is considered, but I've never heard anything about adding a 3rd track on the main line. The running times on both lines for an express train are comparable, and since the Main Line is the easier one to add a 3rd track to, it should get it. As was mentioned earlier, extending the 3rd track past Waldwick Yard to reduce congestion with trains entering the yard would not cost much, and would reduce some scheduling headaches.

The design for Lyndhurst is two tracks without space for another track in the middle. You will not see any portion of the Main line tripple tracked ever in my opinion. Who would pay and why? NJTransit does not really need to express trains over that line(the big ridership is at Radburn and Glen Rock, not Hawthorne and Paterson) and Metro-North will find it even harder to fund something so remotely beneficial to it. And don't forget NJ is broke.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:26 pm

Looking at Google Earth, Ramsey Route 17 appears to be wide enough to add a 3rd track without demolishing anything. Allendale, Ramsey Main Street, and Mahwah are not, and would need to be rebuilt. I agree that having a 3rd track from Ridgewood to Suffern is better than having in on the Main Line where I mentioned earlier. I thought it wasn't practical because Ramsey Route 17 wasn't wide enough, but it looks like it actually might be. The way to keep the NIMBY's from blocking it is to advertise that having the extra track, and also the station renovations would be beneficial to riders coming from them.

The Waldwick short turns are absolutely necessary because there is more ridership east of it than west, and it would make no sense to run everything empty to Suffern.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby SecaucusJunction » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:07 pm

There is zero chance of the Main Line east of Ridgewood getting any more track. A few years ago, part of that line was single track through Paterson. The only hope would be to go 3 tracks to Suffern. The platforms along the line need replacement anyway and only one side would have to go. We can be sure that NJT isn't going to pay for it. MTA would have to foot just about all the costs. They would probably want exclusive use of the track.

There is plenty of ridership west of Waldwick. Suffern and the Ramsey stations are some of the busiest on the route. And for many years, the bus was really the only way to get to NYC. Service, especially off peak and on weekends, was very sporadic and all trips required going out of the way through Hoboken. For the decade after Secaucus opened, the Main and Bergen Lines had the highest percentage yearly increases of any line. The numbers between 15 years ago and now are not even comparable.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:03 am

The Allendale and Mahwah stations definitely need to be updated. Ramsey Main Street, while pretty much up to date, would have to be widened to add a 3rd track, and the likely scenario would be to put a track where the westbound platform is, and the westbound platform would become the express track, with the new track becoming the new outbound local track. Ramsey Route 17 looks to have been built with the space to add a 3rd track, so no station modifications needed there. The westbound track would need to be moved to the middle and become the express track, and the new track would replace it as the new westbound local track.

One potential issue would be that most eastbound express trains stop at Ramsey Route 17, and couldn't use the new express track, while 51, 53, 55, 59, and 65 do not stop there. 42 and 50 are the only eastbound Port Jervis trains that do not stop there. I imagine the extra track would allow for some additional semi express runs that could serve Route 17, so that the Port Jervis express trains wouldn't need to make stops there. Also, with 3 tracks there, any mid day freight trains could use it and not have to worry about competing with passenger trains, since mid day passenger service could easily use only the local tracks.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby EuroStar » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:37 am

Yes, Ramsey Rt 17, was built with the allowance of a third track in the middle. If you look carefully enough you can see that all undergarde bridges on the line have extra space on both sides where the old local tracks used to be. The platforms at Ramsey Main, Allendale and Mahwah were poured where those tracks used to be, so one of them will need to be lifted and replaced by new tracks and the platform set back from there.

NJ pays something for the luxury of the express trains stopping at Ramsey Rt 17(except the one that only receives passengers). I do not know how much, but they do.

While Metro-North will end up paying for the third track eventually, I do not see them getting exclusive use of it. That is a sure way to cripple rail operations. Most likely they will get priority during normal operations, but when trains break down on the local tracks or when there is maintenance on the local tracks, they won't have the middle one exclusively for Metro-North. I do not see any of the stations getting a Ridgewood style center platform.

You certainly hit it on the nail. Metro-North will need to pay for the track. That implies relocating platforms at three stations, which triggers ADA compliance requirements unless they can get away with this being a clearance route for NS and thus only mini-high platforms. Metro-North has no benefit from the high platforms at these stations, so NJ needs to pay for them. Metro-North will probably pay for the Siffern High platforms. The high platforms with a couple of more expresses *might* be enough to get the NIMBYs to relent, bit that is uncertain. More noise separation walls in the style of Ramsey Rt 17 and Wesmont might be needed. This just shows you that the budget stars need to align in both states in order for this project to get going (and this is the one that has a chance of eventually being done as opposed to more tracks on the Main line). Before this ever happens, Metro-North will need to exhaust the improvements they can make west of Suffern and NJ will need to find a way to not use its capital money on operations, so that they can fund the high level platforms. NJTransit has been trying to cobble together the money for Lyndhurst for over 9 years now, but each year it has been a victim of having to move the money to operations.

The only thing that could get this moving faster is more ridership, but at current rates we are probably 40 years away from doubling. I believe we are quite far from pre-Irene ridership levels still. A lot of people switched to buses or to the Hudson line and never came back. The far suburbs have also lost a lot of their appeal since the crisis.

As an aside into the earlier comment about the extra time spent by the locals in NJ, if NJ converted all stations to high level platforms you could probably save 3-5 minutes on the full run between Secaucus and Suffern. That is not much, but is a low hanging fruit given ADA requirements.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:46 pm

Any third track in NJ would most likely be owned by NJT. Again, I wouldn't count on it happening anytime soon.

Short Line runs a better service, especially along the Pt Jervis line. Of course, they provide a one seat ride to and from NYC. For those people who live along 84, especially around Cornwall-many of them drive across the Hudson to Beacon and then train down from there.
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