Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

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: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby ekt8750 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:54 pm

bikentransit wrote:Can we get to Wawa first?


Wawa is currently under construction. Pardon the pun but we're getting there
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby scotty269 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:50 am

Going south/east from Suburban would require digging under the MFL/Trolley tunnel. Not saying it's impossible, but look at similar big-dig projects in London or Boston. Digging tunnels under existing cities = $$$$$$
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:20 am

scotty269 wrote:Going south/east from Suburban would require digging under the MFL/Trolley tunnel. Not saying it's impossible, but look at similar big-dig projects in London or Boston. Digging tunnels under existing cities = $$$$$$


The southernmost track of the Center City Commuter Tunnel is immediately adjacent to the north segment of the trolley loop. When the tunnel was built that segment of the trolley loop was moved south into the old "inner" loop that was originally occupied by the MFL when the MFL looped around City Hall.

And the CCCT is on 'top' of the Broad Street Subway (it was in effect "bridged" over it). So not really enough distance to get grade deep enough to get under the BSS which is deeper than the trolley/ commuter tunnel/ MFL in that area.

The subway was built deep enough to allow the PRR to extend eastward "on top" of it as the CCCT eventually was and the PRR considered it but never to any serious extent.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby ChrisinAbington » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:31 am

ekt8750 wrote:I know adding traffic on the Delair Bridge isn't the wisest of things but it is there and the infrastructure is already in place to run a passenger rail system in South Jersey. There is currently a ROW and rail that connects the ACL to the freight side of the River Line. From there, there you have the Vineland and Beasley's Point Secondaries as well as what's left of the Grenloch Branch (I know 2/3 of it is now trails and is the least shovel ready of the three lines but could have the most biggest return on investment).

If we're talking Delair, why would we want to go east in new tunnels from Suburban? Why not just follow the Trenton Line and terminate at Suburban from the west?
I bet few of us are likely engineers, but could Suburban track 5 or 6 feasibly be tied into the existing track 4 somewhere just to the east of Suburban? Four tracks would still enter Jefferson, but one could enter track 5/6 from the east without tunneling under half the city. That's just about the only way I'd see those stubs be extended.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby ekt8750 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:51 pm

ChrisinAbington wrote:If we're talking Delair, why would we want to go east in new tunnels from Suburban? Why not just follow the Trenton Line and terminate at Suburban from the west?


This is why I brought it up. I think tunneling is a waste when you have the Delair already in place.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby mm670 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:37 pm

Things to consider before spending limited dollars that are available for rail projects (new construction (tunnel) vs current alignment (Frankford Jct)).

Delair Bridge was built in 1895 making it 123 years old. What was the expected life span when it was built ? How many years does it have remaining ?

Lift span replaced the swing span in 1958-1960 making the lift span 58 years old. What is the expected life span ?

18.5 million dollar rehabilitation in 2011. At what point does it make dollar sense to replace vs rehab ? What is the plan if the bridge develops serious issues ? How would South Jersey freight / passenger service continue as there are no other connections ?

How serious is the Amtrak plan to "soften" the Frankford curve ?

Would the new tunnel develop new rail passengers or just steal them from PATCO ?
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:07 pm

If there’s ever a CCCT extension to New Jersey, it would be on NJT’s dime (plus PATCO’s nickel, and maybe SEPTA’s penny.) It would have to be in tandem with a NJT commuter railroad web in the Camden suburbs, probably also conversion of the RIVERline to heavy rail and possibly electrification. It would not replace the Delair Bridge for Conrail freight though, unless they simply shut it down and routed all South Jersey traffic via Trenton.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby NIMBYkiller » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:16 pm

The thinking behind this is that South Jersey certainly has some potential for additional commuter rail markets, but that the existing route via Delair is slow, circuitous, and inefficient (and has to deal with Zoo which I've heard is a problem spot, but please correct me if I'm wrong). How much time do you think would be saved going via a new tunnel from Camden to Suburban for the existing and any new commuter rail branches vs the "grand tour of Philly" via Delair that literally takes you around the entire city before reaching 30th St? That's been my main reason for wondering about the physical possibility, but if it's not going to represent a decent time savings, then no, this project probably would not be worth it. With regards to BSS, the dive would then have to begin after bridging over BSS and the northern tracks have until 9th St to get low enough to pass under the existing CCCT tracks. So far I have not heard any physical reason why this could not be done (I was wondering specifically about underpinnings for the buildings above Suburban Station or along the route east), only debates about whether it should be done, which is another topic.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby MACTRAXX » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:51 pm

NK (and Everyone:)
After remembering that any added commuter rail routes into South Jersey have been fought with
NIMBY opposition (the best examples are any new PATCO lines and light rail to Gloucester County
or Glassboro) and that even getting the former PRSL rehabilitated to become the ACRL had its own
specific opponents (RAGE anyone?) to add any new routes into South Jersey other than the River
Line. For some decades PATCO was the one and only service serving the South Jersey suburbs.

If there was going to be any extension of new added commuter rail routes into South Jersey that
would have connected with the Center City tunnel that the extra capacity of tracks would have
been built as new or provisions for future use. This will never be built today thanks to many
factors with NJ/PA politics at or near the top of the list.

South Jersey once had a group of PRSL routes radiating out of Camden that were electrified with
third rail that was allowed to be totally abandoned in the 1950s. How different things may have
been if these routes stayed operational and then evolved into being part of today's NJT system...
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby NIMBYkiller » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:53 pm

Again, simply asking if it's physically possible, not about the NIMBY or political aspect.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:11 pm

NIMBYkiller wrote:Again, simply asking if it's physically possible, not about the NIMBY or political aspect.


You may find some of this interesting and on point:

http://www.pennways.com/Commuter_Tunnel.html
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby Bill R. » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:38 pm

NIMBYkiller wrote:Again, simply asking if it's physically possible, not about the NIMBY or political aspect.


NIMBYkiller, the short answer is yes for 5,6 & 7 if you dive and shift northward, but I'm not sure about 0. As it is isolated to the south of tracks 1,2,3 & 4, incorporating track 0 track into part of a pathway for theoretical NJ Transit service via tunnel under the Delaware isn't really practical.

A previously missing discussion point is what happens when you get to Camden. There is no room adjacent to PATCO & The Riverline to build a portal to make a connection onto the embankments heading south or east, plus the grade change is significant. To access the Mount Holly Branch, you would need to tunnel east beneath the Cooper River to a portal near the Conrail Pavonia Yard.

For the southern branches, you would need to tunnel south underneath Seventh Street to a portal south of Atlantic Avenue. The rough Google Earth estimate for both tunnel branches, assuming the theoretical tunnel is placed under Arch Street in Philadelphia and would pass by Walter Rand T.C beneath MLK Boulevard in Camden, yields approximately 5.4 miles. Add electrification into the mix, and then (for comparison) consider the projected costs associated with the Gateway project in NYC.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby NIMBYkiller » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:53 am

Well understood about the financial hurdle, and your portal locations on the NJ side are more or less correct. Just trying to think outside the box a bit. Has an O&D study ever been done for vehicles traversing the Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin, and Betsy Ross bridges? Regarding track 0, I just figured having a way to send trains outbound with fouling trains traveling west across center city would be a smart idea.
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Re: Extending the stub end tracks at Suburban Station

Postby trhickey » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:44 pm

Interestingly, including one PATCO track in the Center City Commuter Connection (forming a Center City loop couplet with Locust Street and leaving three tracks for commuter rail) was part of the original City of Philadelphia concept in the 60s. It fell as side for a number of reasons, first of which was the need for two RR tracks in both directions.

As a practical matter, the existing CCCC had to thread a very tight 3-D needle east of Suburban Station---over the top of the Broad Street Subway/Subway-Surface Loop and under JFK Boulevard (the roof of the tunnel IS the surface of JFK, which had to be raised a foot or two to fit...) and between City Hall and the Masonic Temple (BOTH extremely fragile masonry structures). That is why there is some much up-and-over, jog-left-and-jog-right between Suburban and Market East.
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