Are high platforms possible in all locations?

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Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby Myrtone » Wed May 03, 2017 9:17 pm

I have seen photos of the Newark light rail and they only show off-street track. This makes we wonder if high platforms are possible in all locations. Low floor LRVs were originally developed to acheive level boarding mainly on street based systems where at least some stops cannot have high level platforms. Has Newark been able to avoid the problem that low floor rolling stock was designed to solve? Have high platforms been considered for Newark.

Just remember there are unavoibale trade-offs of having floors lower than the wheel tops. Must North American ones seem to have pivoting bogies and part high floor. There are some 100% low floor designs but most of them have fixed bogies, and all have wheel boxes where the bogies are. This means that low floor rolling stock is really only suitable for applications where the constraints on providing high platforms outweighs the trade-offs of having low floors. If high platforms are possible in all locations, then one can have level boarding without the trade-offs of low floors.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby EuroStar » Thu May 04, 2017 7:44 am

I will let other who actually are more familiar with the system fill in the details, but its history as a subway plus extensions along existing heavy rail rights of way (Bloomfield) and a few relatively wide streets with available property next to them (Broad Street) seems to have enabled the avoidance of low level platforms. Google Maps seems to indicate that the system does not really share right of ways with streets other than for the Broad Street extension, but even there it appears that car lanes are designed to not overlap with the rail right of way even when they are next to each other and at the same elevation.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby Ken W2KB » Thu May 04, 2017 2:23 pm

Myrtone wrote:I have seen photos of the Newark light rail and they only show off-street track. This makes we wonder if high platforms are possible in all locations. Low floor LRVs were originally developed to acheive level boarding mainly on street based systems where at least some stops cannot have high level platforms. Has Newark been able to avoid the problem that low floor rolling stock was designed to solve? Have high platforms been considered for Newark.

Just remember there are unavoibale trade-offs of having floors lower than the wheel tops. Must North American ones seem to have pivoting bogies and part high floor. There are some 100% low floor designs but most of them have fixed bogies, and all have wheel boxes where the bogies are. This means that low floor rolling stock is really only suitable for applications where the constraints on providing high platforms outweighs the trade-offs of having low floors. If high platforms are possible in all locations, then one can have level boarding without the trade-offs of low floors.


A significant concern is the length/slope of disabled ramps to accommodate those with disabilities who cannot negotiate multiple steps. Also, snow and ice conditions are considerable more hazardous with platform steps and steeper ramps.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby cobra30689 » Thu May 04, 2017 4:48 pm

I guess it would depend on need, the municipality.....and $$$$. If you can put a high level platform at Summit and not be electrocuted (said in jest, but have you ever seen how low that wire is???), places like Perth Amboy should not be a problem.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby EuroStar » Fri May 05, 2017 6:51 am

cobra30689 wrote:I guess it would depend on need, the municipality.....and $$$$. If you can put a high level platform at Summit and not be electrocuted (said in jest, but have you ever seen how low that wire is???), places like Perth Amboy should not be a problem.


The clearance of many of the bridges over the old Lackawanna lines is insufficient. Don't forget that the original electrification was much lower voltage to ground (also DC). While Lackawanna spent the money on grade separation, it did not future-proof the railroad.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby EuroStar » Fri May 05, 2017 7:00 am

Speaking of high level platforms. Is there any reason why NJT has not eliminated more of the low level platforms (other than lack of $$$)? High traffic stations such as Millburn and Radburn could significantly cut boarding and disembarking time with high level platforms. Metro-North east of Hudson and LIRR up to the far east territory seem to have completely done away with low level platforms. Why is NJT so far behind? The high level an Lyndhurst has been talked about for at least a decade and still there has not been a shovel in the ground. A few high level platforms on the high traffic stations could improve the trip time for many while also adding ADA compliance. Speaking of which, how has NJT escaped lawsuits for lack of ADA compliance at so many stations? MTA Subways seems to be regularly targeted for lack of elevators and other ADA elements.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby SecaucusJunction » Fri May 05, 2017 2:29 pm

Its all about money. NJT was mandated to make certain stations ADA compliant, which is the reason Ridgewood got high levels. I believe it is because Ridgewood is considered a transfer point. Radburn, I think, has the largest number of riders on the Main/Bergen Lines, but remains low level.

To save money, NJT builds those little mini-high level platforms and claims ADA compliance, even though the trains rarely stop anywhere near them.
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: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby Ken W2KB » Fri May 05, 2017 8:44 pm

EuroStar wrote:Speaking of high level platforms. Is there any reason why NJT has not eliminated more of the low level platforms (other than lack of $$$)? High traffic stations such as Millburn and Radburn could significantly cut boarding and disembarking time with high level platforms. Metro-North east of Hudson and LIRR up to the far east territory seem to have completely done away with low level platforms. Why is NJT so far behind? The high level an Lyndhurst has been talked about for at least a decade and still there has not been a shovel in the ground. A few high level platforms on the high traffic stations could improve the trip time for many while also adding ADA compliance. Speaking of which, how has NJT escaped lawsuits for lack of ADA compliance at so many stations? MTA Subways seems to be regularly targeted for lack of elevators and other ADA elements.


It is my understanding that the relevant provisions of the ADA apply only when a facility such as a station is newly constructed or an existing station is substantially renovated or expanded. Hence, many of NJT stations are exempt from ADA requirements for the indefinite future, and compliance is voluntary.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby TDowling » Sun May 07, 2017 5:30 pm

Just my two cents; the dearth of high platforms in [i]any[i] given location on the system is due in part to its ridership numbers, in addition to geographical constraints that necessitate the use of public transportation in places like Westchester and Long Island. IOW, MTA territory most likely requires the use of these platforms due to high ridership.

Withuot having access to the Newark Light Rail or NJT statistics, my guess is that constructing high platforms would be too spendthrift.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby EuroStar » Mon May 08, 2017 8:13 am

SecaucusJunction wrote:To save money, NJT builds those little mini-high level platforms and claims ADA compliance, even though the trains rarely stop anywhere near them.

I have seen them. But then many stations don't have mini-highs -- even high passenger count ones such as Radburn and Millburn.

TDowling wrote:Withuot having access to the Newark Light Rail or NJT statistics, my guess is that constructing high platforms would be too spendthrift.

Here is some passenger statistics from a few years ago(FY2014) the numbers will be larger now.
Milburn: 1672
Glen Ridge: 1203
Radburn: 1428

These numbers exceed the boardings at many Metro-North locations that already have high levels (to pick just a few: Ardsley-on-Hudson, Greystone, Glenwood all have less than 600).
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby EuroStar » Mon May 08, 2017 8:38 am

In many places one really has to wonder why nothing has been done for so many years. I guess money is the answer. While sometimes geography and other conditions get in the way, there are surprisingly many locations where there are only minor engineering difficulties.

For example, Millburn is on straight track with no freight. Putting back the few hundred feet of third track and then two high side platforms are the obvious solution. That would even improve operations as it would become possible to pass strains stopped at the station. It also should not open the can of worms that triple tracking to Summit is. It will require an overpass though as the existing tunnel is too small and likely cannot be brought up to modern standards for a reasonable amount of money.

Radburn is also on straight tangential track. Unless NJDOT wants to sink Fair Lawn Ave to eliminate the crossing, the real estate is there for high platforms of proper width. And the bonus is that if the crossing is staying, they don't even need to build an overpass at the far end. Also the parking lots provide the necessary emergency exits.

Rutherford has also puzzled me: straight track with enough real estate and a crossing that definitely is never going away, so why did they even waste their time with the mini-highs back in the day when they put them in? Again, no need for an overpass because of the crossing.

And these are all stations where the passenger counts justify high levels. I am not talking about Broadway with its tiny count of passengers (but great straight track and already existing street underpass).
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby trainbrain » Mon May 08, 2017 12:14 pm

All the Port Jervis Line MNCR stations have space to upgrade to high level platforms, but that line has freight and not enough ridership to warrant upgrades. One of the stations I use (Suffern) can't be changed to high levels without adding an overpass as it's grade separated and requires stairs to go down and under the tracks.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby andegold » Mon May 08, 2017 12:45 pm

Why would Suffern need an overpass? As you stated there is currently an underpass connecting the two sides and, if I'm not mistaken, a fence separating the tracks the full length of the current platforms. Passengers certainly walk around the fence at both ends but that has never been sanctioned. Why would the underpass be any less usable for high platforms than it is for the current low platforms?
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby EuroStar » Tue May 09, 2017 6:53 am

I did not mention Suffern for a reason. High level platforms at Suffern are actually complicated. You eventually want to add another track between Suffern and Waldwick (not any time soon, but if Metro-North really wants to run the number of trains they are talking about, the express track will be needed). The configuration you want there is probably similar to Ridgewood with one island platform and one side platform. Now you are talking track relocation and definitely elevators because there is not enough space for ADA ramp. In spite of being a transfer station (at least in theory) it sees fewer passengers than some of the other stations I mentioned.

The puzzle is not why Suffern has not been converted to high level platforms, but why busier and less challenging locations have not.
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Re: Are high platforms possible in all locations?

Postby SecaucusJunction » Tue May 09, 2017 4:06 pm

I'd love to see the third track between Waldwick and Ridgewood put back. The funny thing is Route 17 was built to accommodate a third track, but the middle track would be inaccessible, even though most of the PJ trains stop there. I'm not sure who's idea that was. The rest of the stops would need at least one platform rebuilt, possibly forcing them to go all ADA compliant. If that happened, HoHoKus and Waldwick would be the only low levels west of Ridgewood Jct. I'm sure NJT would add that to MTA's tab.
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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