MOM Rail Service

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jb9152
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Post by jb9152 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:20 pm

nick11a wrote:The best way to keep trains on schedule would be to build a tunnel under the NEC for westbounds to access the supposedly planned MOM line, however, I doubt that will happen. And eastbounds might have to wait for a train to clear on 1.


That's already part of the Monmouth Jct. alternative, plus a "run-up" Track A to allow eastbounds to get up closer to track speed before merging with Track 1.

nick11a wrote:So, if they do use the NEC, then it'll be crossover time. Keep in mind, crossovers from one side to the other are done every weekday several times a day at Jersey Ave.


No, the crossover move won't be necessary with the Monmouth Jct. alternative, due to the tunnel described above. Also - regarding Jersey Avenue / County - that move is a capacity killer, and eats up an extra slot across the entire plant whenever it's made. You have to leave about 6 minutes of "headroom" in advance of the move on Tracks 1 and 2, and it just kills capacity.

nick11a wrote:While it would be dicy (Amtrak trains and stuff on 2 and 3), it wouldn't be terrible. If 80 MPH switches are in place, that would mean when things are ideal, the train can go through it pretty fast, but if they get held at a stop signal waiting for Amtrak trains to pass, that can slow it down a bit.


Maybe you didn't read some of my other postings (I know they're kind of long...I'm working on that!!), but the issue isn't crossover speed. It's the fact that NJT trains cannot stay out ahead of Amtrak trains on Track 2 without a boatload of headroom. Most of that available headroom, in fact just about all of the peak headroom, is already taken up by NJT outer zone express trains (the "Clocker replacements", 3900-series trains). So, if you wanted to run a MOM express on the NEC, you'd have to steal a slot from a 3900-series train, and that, my friend, ain't happening.

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Post by Jtgshu » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:49 pm

True enough - with money, you can do almost anything. But I don't think a "Cab Speed" aspect was part of the installation at County, which would mean that high speed crossovers would be a waste (which suggests that they're not high speed crossovers), but I could be wrong


They definatley look like high speed crossovers, and i doubt that Amtrak and NJT would spend all this scarce cash on simply building crossovers that are identical to whats currently there. They are 45mph crossovers there right now. The new switches im pretty sure have moveable point frogs as well, which are used in high speed crossovers, but of course, thats not an absolute thing. In case anyone doens't know, there is a new set of crossovers being installed east of the existing crossovers at County interlocking.

It won't matter anyway, because you could put 100 MPH switches there, and they wouldn't be used by MOM trains. Unless NJT trains can run with Amtrak (which they obviously can't), the slotting on Track 2 is way too dicey to use up on new service. It's already tough enough to slot in the outer zone expresses during the peak, let alone add some diesels or dual modes to the Track 2 mix. To make it work, you'd have to steal a slot from an existing outer zone express train. And that will not happen; you can't cut service from Trenton, Hamilton, and Princeton Jct., and NJT won't.


You are ignoring track 3 through this area (eastbound) and track 2 (westbound) both are signalled in both directions and can be used. I gotta question the whole track 2 being at capacity. East of Elmora, there are 4 tracks as well, and you have to include Coast Line trains in there as well. Trains are fluid thorugh there, ive been in North Elizabeth with 3 other trains passing at the same time. It takes some creative dispatching, but it can be done, but of course, there are slightly slower speeds (accelorating or decelorating for the S curves) but the speeds through there are still 100 (for NJT equipment) on 2 and 3. I remember seeing in print somewhere on here, that a station stop would be added for the N or S Brunswick stop for NEC trains (of course not all in peak times) - MOM would stop there, and give express service for those passengers to Newark, and not necessarily free up room, but rather, not add any more riders to the PJ, Ham or Trenton express trains.

Amtrak HATES locals - they would much rather put you on a track and get rid of you. If they had the chance, (no acela coming) they could LOVE to put a MOM train on track 2 or 3, let them run at 100mph all the way up to Newark Airport or better yet, Newark Penn.

I would also expect Midway to be totally rebuilt with all this, including high speed crossovers, allowing 80mph. the express from PJ east would cross over from 1 to 2, while the MOM train was makign a station stop at S or N brunswick, then cross over to 2 at the other end of the interlocking or at a new interlocking, or at county, and follow the 3900 train up. With higher speeds at teh interlockings and crossovers, the dispatchers might not be so hesitant to cross trains over ad around others, especially NJT trains, considering MU's woudln't even need to slow down, and push pulls would only have to slow down 20 mph (100 to 80), not get down to 45, which usually ends up about 25 by the time the breaks finally release, 2 miles before the cross over. Thats why it takes so long to cross over at Midway or County - its HORRIBLE..........

As a side note, there are other locations where you get a "cab speed" for a high speed crossover - outside of 562 territory - In Lane intelocking, track 1 to A on the top of the flyover, and track 5 into track 4. The cab speed signal allows 80mph over teh switch.

But speaking of County (yard), whos to say that it will even been there when MOM opens up? Crossing all the tracks as slow as they do might not even be an issue anymore because the yard might be shut down and moved to M-ville - who knows???? - im sure CTEC 8 would be THRILLED to not have to clog up his whole railroad with crossover moves at County
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Post by E-44 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:51 pm

I think the capacity issue is not about track capacity and running speed but really about highway capacity and how many cars will come off the highways. Most articles I've read on highway capacity indicate that one lane can handle 1500-1600 cars per hour optimally (at speed).

If the 21,000 daily one-way boardings number is for real, then does it follow that this equates to over 13 highway lane equivalents? Even if it equated to half that much (half for the morning and half for the evening), where could you build those lanes in Monmouth and Ocean, much less in overdeveloped Middlesex?

I also like to think of the people who absolutely have to drive. If the long distance and so-called middle-zone intrastate commuters are out of their way, then the short-haul commute gets better too.

Getting back to speed again, NJT says the 139 bus from Freehold to PABT is scheduled for 83 minutes. I took it today and while traffic was pretty light and the weather excellent, it took 104 minutes and people on the bus, when asked, told me this was a "good" day. I'm guessing that the MOM-via-Monmouth Jct. run would be about the same, even factoring in a train change in Middlesex County or Newark. I think it would be fast enough to be competitive.

A couple of weeks ago, we walked the ROW from Farmingdale to Freehold and as we passed farms along the somewhat sunken ROW, you could have easily thought you were back near the turn of the last century. That looks like some pretty light rail. There will be some serious roadbed and trackwork needed down there.

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Post by Tom V » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:27 pm

Would the tunnel plan for Monmouth Junction include a track alignment that would allow trains from MOM to travel south to Trenton?


No connection South, if folks want to head South they would transfer at the first NEC station which would either be North or South Brunswick.

As for electricfying the line it's not even being considered, the plan for the future once the new Hudson tunnels are built is to use dual mode diesel/electric locomotives to connect non electrified territories with NY Penn.

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Post by nick11a » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:51 pm

NJT is planning in the long run to move trains from County to the ever-expanding Morrisville and make Jersey Avenue a mainline station. Good point about this meaning that there will be more "express" slots on tracks 2 and 3 for MOM trains and the like.
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Post by jb9152 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:29 am

Jtgshu wrote:They definatley look like high speed crossovers, and i doubt that Amtrak and NJT would spend all this scarce cash on simply building crossovers that are identical to whats currently there. They are 45mph crossovers there right now. The new switches im pretty sure have moveable point frogs as well, which are used in high speed crossovers, but of course, thats not an absolute thing. In case anyone doens't know, there is a new set of crossovers being installed east of the existing crossovers at County interlocking.


Could be HS crossovers, then, absolutely. But add to the cost of the new interlocking the cost of adding the Cab 60 and Cab 80 aspects to the signal system (which currently doesn't support them). Re-design control lines, re-wire the CIHs - it's not a small job. That's why I'm a little skeptical. But I hope it's true! HS crossovers at County would fix a few problems, not the least of which is the knock-down you get at the distant signal.

Jtgshu wrote:You are ignoring track 3 through this area (eastbound) and track 2 (westbound) both are signalled in both directions and can be used. I gotta question the whole track 2 being at capacity. East of Elmora, there are 4 tracks as well, and you have to include Coast Line trains in there as well. Trains are fluid thorugh there, ive been in North Elizabeth with 3 other trains passing at the same time. It takes some creative dispatching, but it can be done, but of course, there are slightly slower speeds (accelorating or decelorating for the S curves) but the speeds through there are still 100 (for NJT equipment) on 2 and 3. I remember seeing in print somewhere on here, that a station stop would be added for the N or S Brunswick stop for NEC trains (of course not all in peak times) - MOM would stop there, and give express service for those passengers to Newark, and not necessarily free up room, but rather, not add any more riders to the PJ, Ham or Trenton express trains.


I know that there is 261 signaling on 2 and 3 Tracks. That's a good point, but you still have to get over to 3 Track somewhere to run express. It's generally not done west of Union because that leaves you only one track westbound for all NJT revenue, non-revenue, and Amtrak trains. But it's worth looking into, certainly.

The question of Track 2 being "at capacity" is complex. While it's not technically run at capacity, the fact that NJT trains cannot stay out ahead of Amtrak trains (especially Acelas, but even the Regionals) means that you have to schedule a train farther out ahead of an Amtrak the further west it merges with the NEC. So, to maintain, say, a 2 minute spacing at Newark Penn, you might have to get the train onto the NEC 10 minutes ahead of the Amtrakker. Doing so wastes slots on Track 2, but it's the only way to stay out of Amtrak's way. Right now the 3900s are scheduled to get out ahead of some Amtraks, but if they fall even slightly behind, CETC is likely to stick them on 1 Track to a point farther east like County or Lincoln until they can be overtaken by the Amtrak train. Operating those trains on 1 Track, of course, means that you have to compete for slots with middle zone trains coming out of Jersey Avenue. Oh, and don't forget the 6 minutes of headroom you have to give the cross-the-plant move at County for those middle zone trains. It's really a house of cards, and I can't see how inserting yet another slow (from a relative standpoint) NJT diesel or dual mode into the mix will make it any better.

Jtgshu wrote:Amtrak HATES locals - they would much rather put you on a track and get rid of you. If they had the chance, (no acela coming) they could LOVE to put a MOM train on track 2 or 3, let them run at 100mph all the way up to Newark Airport or better yet, Newark Penn.


Yes and no. Amtrak doesn't hate locals that run on 1 and A Tracks. They don't really have to worry about them - just let them run 1 and A and stop where the schedule says they stop; once they're on the track, the dispatcher doesn't have to worry about them, really. It's the trains on 2 and 3 Tracks that give them fits. They have to watch those trains to make sure they stay out ahead of Amtrak, and don't cause any cascading signal delay behind. The last thing they want is for an Amtrak train to see a less favorable than Clear signal (unless they're diverging at Menlo / Iselin, Midway, or Fair); to be clear - they don't want the Amtrak trains running up behind the NJT trains and as a result seeing a less than best possible aspect.

Jtgshu wrote:I would also expect Midway to be totally rebuilt with all this, including high speed crossovers, allowing 80mph. the express from PJ east would cross over from 1 to 2, while the MOM train was makign a station stop at S or N brunswick, then cross over to 2 at the other end of the interlocking or at a new interlocking, or at county, and follow the 3900 train up. With higher speeds at teh interlockings and crossovers, the dispatchers might not be so hesitant to cross trains over ad around others, especially NJT trains, considering MU's woudln't even need to slow down, and push pulls would only have to slow down 20 mph (100 to 80), not get down to 45, which usually ends up about 25 by the time the breaks finally release, 2 miles before the cross over. Thats why it takes so long to cross over at Midway or County - its HORRIBLE..........


As my son says, YEAH it is. I believe that a rebuilt Midway is part of the Monmouth Junction alternative, and the move you describe is definitely credible. I still question whether the real problem is the crossover, or simply staying out of Amtrak's way.

Jtgshu wrote:As a side note, there are other locations where you get a "cab speed" for a high speed crossover - outside of 562 territory - In Lane intelocking, track 1 to A on the top of the flyover, and track 5 into track 4. The cab speed signal allows 80mph over teh switch.


Yep. Those moves were put in when the EWR station was designed. I'd love to see more of it. I'd love to see Cab 60 and Cab 80 extended down the Corridor, actually.

Jtgshu wrote:But speaking of County (yard), whos to say that it will even been there when MOM opens up? Crossing all the tracks as slow as they do might not even be an issue anymore because the yard might be shut down and moved to M-ville - who knows???? - im sure CTEC 8 would be THRILLED to not have to clog up his whole railroad with crossover moves at County


Oh yeah! They might even take up a collection at CETC to help pay for that one!

One of the other things I've heard mentioned, but not in a long time, is replacing County with a new facility located off Corridor, on the Monmouth Junction alignment. Wire down through the wyes and new westbound tunnel to the new yard, and you'd have a crossing-move free way to get those pesky middle zone trains onto the road.

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Post by Jtgshu » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:41 am

I used to have an X train that turned from a 3900 series train during evening rush in Trenton. We would 99 percent of the time turn either on Track 1 or the "High." For a while, I had a good engineer who would hustle down the other end, and change ends in a flash and we would be in and out of Trenton in about 3 minutes - with Push pulls and usually 10 cars. Not an easy feat.

CTEC7 would give us the railroad as soon as I called him, and he knew that we would be moving in just a few seconds, and we would make it to NYP in approx 50 to 55 minutes, and a few times, even less. Other times, i had some engineers who would go upstairs, and get coffee, snacks, etc. Those days it would take us nearly 2 hours to get to NYP. It makes them happy when they can put you on a track and forget about you, while knowing that you are gonna get out of Dodge ASAP.

CTEC will give NJT trains the railroad if they run with it. No lollygagging around. The same holds true for express trains. If the engineer runs the train hard and keeps moving, CTEC will give railroad, other times, "its okay, slow down, your gonna follow the local." That same 3900 train, some times we would cross over at County (on bad days) other days, we would cross over at Midway to 4 and pass the express to MP that left ahead of us. Other days we would follow them, and they were mostly MU"s - which slowed us down even more

But for example, if Midway (or county) were highspeed xovers, we would save probably close to 3 or 4 minutes on our schedule, and keep moving at speed (or at least 80mph) instead of having to make suppression while passing the distant signal two miles away (auto 395 is it?) and then crawling down to about 25 to 30 mph, then accelorating back up to 45 for the xovers - if that same train could cross over at 80mph, that would, IMO, almost negate the slower NJT top speeds, because of the speed of getting the trains to clear up the railroad and makign that Approach signal pop back up to a clear - at least 2 minutes quicker i would safely guess could that railroad be cleared up compared to what is there now. Getting out of the way of the faster Amtrak trains is directly related to how fast the NJT trains could actually GET out of the way!

I don't think that MOM trains will be any "slower" than any other NJT trains, dual mode or straight diesel - I can't imagine Amtrak would be thrilled with anything less than 100mph MAS. Sure it does take a little longer for a diesel to get up to speed, but its not THAT bad....

As a side note with regards to County - i have only taken one trip down there in many months, but im pretty sure they have a new signal bridge for the Home Signals westbound. I don't think its in service yet though. I am positive that they have a high signal for track 1 west, and the dwarf will be replaced. So, they are already going to be rewiring and reworking the signals (maybe replace that little triangle with actual Approach or Limited Clear signal) so hopefully they will add the cab speed 60, but in particular the CS 80 to the signal system
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Post by Jishnu » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:35 am

Jtgshu, what you say gives me hope that some of the stuff that I was dreamin' about might actually be feasible. Of course we have no way of telling whether they will make the necessary changes in the signalling systems and all that. But the idea of moving selective express service to/from the inner tracks at County or Midway while keeping ahead of Amtrak is worth thinking about for getting better running times for MOM trains. All in all we are talking no more than two such slots in an hour anyway, and probably even one would suffice initially. As I have said before, it is not like all MOM trains need to go express, and indeed some do need to not go express at least until Lincoln in order to give MOMmers access to New Brunswick.

As for the new crossovers at County interlocking, they are indeed moving frog points and to a somewhat knowledgeable eye they do appear to be higher speed than the current crossovers, not merely because they are moving frog but because the angle at the frog is smaller.

As for Midway, I have not seen anything on what they plan to do. Clearly the will need to create a new interlocking East of Midway (something that I referred to in my earlier post as Midway East) or extend the interlocking boundary of Midway Eastwards in order to at least handle the two switches - most likely high speed where MOM will join the NEC. I have no idea whether there are any plans to put in high speed crossovers East of that point as part of this new or extended interlocking.

The other unknown is the various possibilities for a new station on the NEC in that area. If a new Park and Ride station is built at the J&J site that will add a bit more complexity, specially if that is designed as an interchange station for MOM to both East and Westbound NEC. I have heard talk of building such a station with two island platforms outside of the main NEC alignment with additional platform tracks A and 5, sort of like at EWR. But who knows what will actually happen. Then there is the other possibility of a South brunswick station perhaps somewhere in the vicinity of Monmouth Jct., that would open up an alterane set of new interchange possibilities, andd associated complications.

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Post by KFC Jones » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:27 am

With all this hypotesizin' and postulatin' about 100mph running, lets' keep in mind that (so far) the bi-levels are only good for 80.

I have no idea if the plan would be to use them on the MOM... then again plans don't always work out.

"Its a known unknown"... Donald Rumsfeld

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Post by hsr_fan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:03 pm

After riding the Acela Express from Boston to New York on Sunday, I have to say, 150 mph feels like what rail travel should be like! Even 100 mph seems slow. It's a shame that NJ Transit and every other commuter agency in this country insists on being stuck in the 80 mph and under rut while the technology exists for much higher speeds. If this country were more like Japan, people living in places like Bay Head or Port Jervis would probably be looking at a reasonable 1 hour commute or less!

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Post by NJTRailfan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:55 pm

hsr is correct. I don't understand on why some of you are "happy" with the traisn goign at a mere 80-90 mph when they should be well over 100 like 150 mph. The technology is infact there tried tested and true by the French, Germans, Japaneese, English, Italians , Koreans,etc since the 70s in most of these countries. You are basically just bringing the technology here to America . We are basically backwards compared to these places. Imagien gogin from Pt Jervis to Hoboken-NYP in an hour or less of from Lakehurst-Hoboken in the same time frame as well as Dover-NYP , Dover - Hoboken and W Trenton to Hoboekn (when soem of the se routes finally coem on line . Even the Cutoff travel from Scranton to Hoboken to be knocked down to a time less then it would take a local train to go from Hoboken-Hackettstown.

More people would ride the trains this way and not use the highways. It's about time we caught up to the rest of the world rather then being left at the station yet again
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Post by geoking66 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:39 pm

hsr_fan wrote:After riding the Acela Express from Boston to New York on Sunday, I have to say, 150 mph feels like what rail travel should be like! Even 100 mph seems slow. It's a shame that NJ Transit and every other commuter agency in this country insists on being stuck in the 80 mph and under rut while the technology exists for much higher speeds. If this country were more like Japan, people living in places like Bay Head or Port Jervis would probably be looking at a reasonable 1 hour commute or less!


You have to take into account grade crossings, which basically stop high-speed rail until they are removed.

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Post by jb9152 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:42 pm

Jtgshu wrote:...not going to quote the whole thing


Great anecdotal points, and here's hoping that this is what happens.

Keep in mind also, though, that ARC is coming, and will be 'asking' the NEC to supply several more trains in the peak. Not sure where MOM will shake out there, but I guess we'll find out.

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Post by lensovet » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:15 pm

While we're on this, can someone tell me what's the minimum headway between trains on the NEC (any track)? Any published sources that I could cite?
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Post by nick11a » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:34 am

Yes Jt, in the past 4-5 months, they've been replacing signals one by one on the NEC for at least the westbound side of that signal. These are much brighter and bigger and can be seen much easier.

Here's a shot I took back in April with only the Track 1 signal replaced (right most signal). Notice the difference.
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