Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:00 am

Wingnut wrote:
NorthPennLimited wrote:Otherwise, they will be using car floats and tug boats again between Port Richmond and Coopers Landing when the Delair Bridge finally flunks its periodic FRA bridge inspection.


This point cannot be stressed enough. If a replacement isn't funded and built soon, the ACRL and all freight rail activity in South Jersey will cease to exist. Atlantic City, which is already borderline, would not have enough riders to survive if they are forced to turn back at Pennsauken. As for freight...is feeding Pavonia Yard from Morrisville by looping through Trenton over now inactive trackage and running down the River Line at night even remotely plausible? I just can't see it. And would car floats be a financially viable alternative for the SJ freight market?

Car floats unlikely at best (I'd suggest Packer Ave - SouthPort.) RIVERline far more likely for the period in which Delair would be OOS. There's enough business (freight + passenger) that I can't see any of the interested parties letting the bridge go for long. Regardless, you couldn't send freight through both the Center City Tunnel and a continuation tunnel to Camden - SEPTA would have a fit.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby SCB2525 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:58 am

I think freight through the tunnel could be done in a world where a continuation tunnel was complete and used as an interim to rebuilding delair if limited to overnights. However, you'd have to rebuild a connection to CSX at Zoo (I doubt the flyover at Phil is stout enough to alloe freight via Airport) and I doubt if the bridges between 20th st and 30th are up to the task without heavy renewal.

It isn't even worth talking about a tunnel to NJ from Market East unless NJT had a solid vision of commuter rail in South Jersey to utilize it, and even then, is the capacity to do so present between Market East and 30th? It may be smarter to just tack 1-2 tracks for freight to a BSL extension to add that much more benefit to either project.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:13 pm

SCB2525 wrote:It isn't even worth talking about a tunnel to NJ from Market East uknless NJT had a solid vision of commuter rail in South Jersey to utilize it

Hahaha, NJT vision for South Jersey transit, esp commuter rail. Not likely - I'd wager on NJT LRT running on PATCO over the Ben Franklin sooner. (Which isn't a bad idea, come to think of it. Maybe a suggestion if Glassboro ever happens.)
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:19 pm

It might be quicker to rebuild the Delair bridge than to build and install float bridges on both sides of the river (especially for a temporary operation which would cease to be useful once the bridge was completed). As stated above, the bridge would simply have to be replaced--there is no other option. Using the RiverLINE in the interim might not be possible; I believe there is enough local switching going on at night that it would be difficult to run a couple of through freights in addition during the relatively narrow time window available. Of course there are plenty of sidings, but they're designed for LRV meets, and I don't know how many could let a local freight clear for a road freight to pass.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby rrbluesman » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:05 pm

I read an article about a new potential PATCO proposal that indicates this tunnel was originally conceived by the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines railroad. Is there any substance to this statement?

-Ed
Ed

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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby bikentransit » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:29 am

That is true: The Pennsy did consider building the tunnel when Suburban Station was first planned.

On another note, it would be nice if an agency (SEPTA or NJT) could institute more service between Cherry Hill and center city. If it had wires, it could be a short little branch line that had a new station at Frankford Junction and another one at Aramingo Ave and/or Richmond Street. Both areas aren't greatly served and it's a royal pain getting downtown from those areas. In addition, it would add a nice connection to Pennsauken for connecting to the Riverline to get to Camden or points north.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby roadmaster » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:40 pm

rrbluesman wrote:I read an article about a new potential PATCO proposal that indicates this tunnel was originally conceived by the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines railroad. Is there any substance to this statement?

-Ed


I would also like to know the "substance" of this claim; especially about the tunnel from SS to Jersey, that is a big whopper. I have plenty of material obtained from my grandfather who worked from the preliminary planning to post construction of the Philadelphia improvements and I can't find anything that remotely mentions a tunnel past the stubs at SS until the 1950's - which was a proposal of what is there now, not over to Jersey.

I still have not gone through everything yet - and most likely will not anytime soon, but I would like to know the source of these pre-construction claims because outside of this forum - i'm getting nut'n.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby ChrisinAbington » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:22 pm

When the Delaware River Bridge (Ben Franklin) was in the planning stages, I know a tunnel was one of the considerations studied. It would not be surprising in the least if heavy rail was considered as part of the tunnel proposal, although it's a pretty dry read. How that would have tied to the rest of the system is anyone's guess, but it predates Suburban being underground. Probably entirely unrelated to the topic at hand, but food for thought.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:31 pm

Extension from Suburban Station to New Jersey would have required extensive electrification of the whole South Jersey network to render it of any use. Hard to justify economically, but on the other hand how would the suburban development of South Jersey have been changed had through electrified service been implemented at the time? Haddonfield to Chestnut Hill, Moorestown to Bryn Mawr, via 30th St.? Don't think there was any money for that in 1950, when received wisdom was that the railroads were on the way out.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby roadmaster » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:41 am

This is what I'm getting at, the tunnel would have been a huge investment for what? At the time of this alleged tunnel proposal, service to SJ was in it's heyday with two railroads fiercely competing against each other - and still, I do not see this service justifying a tunnel. Post bridge? forget about it. The tunnel idea in the 50's was not to Sj but the first proposal of the connecting tunnel that exists today. And as you said, in the 50's, money for something like that was not going to be spent.

My question still stands though. If comments like this are going to be made:
bikentransit wrote:That is true: The Pennsy did consider building the tunnel when Suburban Station was first planned.
Please inform me of the source outside internet banter.

ChrisinAbington wrote:When the Delaware River Bridge (Ben Franklin) was in the planning stages, I know a tunnel was one of the considerations studied. It would not be surprising in the least if heavy rail was considered as part of the tunnel proposal, although it's a pretty dry read. How that would have tied to the rest of the system is anyone's guess, but it predates Suburban being underground. Probably entirely unrelated to the topic at hand, but food for thought.


Now I get to go against my own request and present something that was hearsay. Here we go - I heard when a river crossing was seriously considered in the 1900's (1918?), the tunnel idea was raised for multiple reasons and the only rail option in the preliminary planning was for trolleys. The study revealed that a six lane bridge would be cheaper then a two lane tunnel; the bridge having four lanes for cars and two for trolley. When it was decided that a bridge would be built with the 4 car and 2 trolley lanes, the idea of designing and constructing a bridge that could also handle two additional "heavy" rail lines was added. As we all know, the trolley never happened and these two lanes were converted to highway and the rail line implemented for future use was what actual became usable. What was never clarified to me was what you raise. When it was finalized that the two rail lines would be installed on the bridge for "future uses", what service did the planners have in mind?
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby fishmech » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:44 pm

My understanding of what the outer rail line structure on the Ben Franklin Bridge was supposed to be for was simply that nobody could agree on that subject! Some people wanted just more trolley service, some wanted those newfangled rapid transit services, some wanted regular steam services. That's why when the bridge originally opened those sections were left bare, and you had to wait several years for further decisions to be reached after it opened, before the stubby old "Bridge Line" subway service was constructed along the bridge. We could have easily ended up with them remaining bare, or converted into single extra lanes for road vehicles.

The strength of the supporting structures and the clearance outline was designed to be an OK fit for almost all rail transportation of the time just to be safe (Possibly even tall enough to handle the sort of catenary the Pennsy had started installing on today's NEC? If anybody has proper measurements around that'd be helpful). There would obviously have needed to be major construction projects to bring across mainline rail from any of the existing services on either side of the river, but that wasn't the bridge organization's problem.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby NorthPennLimited » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:45 pm

KYW 1060 Traffic news was reporting NJT Atlantic City Line train service was suspended between Cherry Hill and 30th Street because the Delair bridge was stuck open and wouldn't close.

Looks like the 120+ year old bridge is feeling its age.

Might be time for the port authority, and railroads to start designing a new way to transport freight trains and commuter trains into South Jersey from Pennsylvania. With all this talk from the Trump administration about doing big infrastructure projects, now might be the time to build a new bridge or tunnel that will meet our current freight and passenger train needs, as well as future demand.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:30 pm

Not disputing the age or critical nature of the Delair Bridge.

But the draw (lift) section only dates from about 1960. It was constructed when the shipping channel was enlarged. The original draw (swing) has been fixed in closed position since then.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby ekt8750 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:47 am

NorthPennLimited wrote:KYW 1060 Traffic news was reporting NJT Atlantic City Line train service was suspended between Cherry Hill and 30th Street because the Delair bridge was stuck open and wouldn't close.

Looks like the 120+ year old bridge is feeling its age.

Might be time for the port authority, and railroads to start designing a new way to transport freight trains and commuter trains into South Jersey from Pennsylvania. With all this talk from the Trump administration about doing big infrastructure projects, now might be the time to build a new bridge or tunnel that will meet our current freight and passenger train needs, as well as future demand.


To be fair, it was reported that the high winds are what caused the lift bridge to get stuck.
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Re: Delaware River Commuter Rail Tunnel PA-NJ

Postby Suburban Station » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:18 am

Suburban Station was originally designed so that its two northernmost tracks could be extended east towards a proposed tunnel under the Delaware River to connect to Pennsylvania Railroad lines out of Camden, New Jersey. This was never done.

http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/11/sing ... urning-30/
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