Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

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Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:35 am

A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel


Anyone want to opine on this, um, fantasy? I'll cross-post from LIRR, to MNRR, to NJT, to Amtrak, and probably park it in NYS Railfan. I see a few inaccuracies.

https://www.crainsnewyork.com/op-ed/rad ... nsit-panel
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked for a review of the East Side Access transit megaproject to learn why it costs so much. The same question could be asked of Amtrak's Gateway. In fact, the mistakes made in the design of East Side Access could be avoided in Amtrak's project if our railroads work together.

This is no small task. It would require a tunnel between Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal and an agreement for New Jersey Transit, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road to seamlessly share it. It sounds ambitious, but it would ultimately save money while enhancing riders' access to the region.

Lack of cooperation between our various rail agencies delays projects and inflates costs. Consider East Side Access, which will connect the LIRR to Grand Central: Conceived in the 1950s, it was started and stopped in the 1970s and restarted in 2007. It has seen the opening date pushed back nearly a decade, to 2022, and costs triple, to $11 billion. One reason for this outrageous sum is that the LIRR had to build an eight-track facility 100 feet beneath Grand Central because Metro-North did not want to share the terminal—despite both railroads being divisions of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The same issue is bubbling up on Gateway. When NJ Transit was working on Access to the Region's Core, a project Gov. Chris Christie canceled in 2010, it found that 35% of its riders wanted access to Grand Central. But it could not get permission to share Metro-North's Grand Central or LIRR's East Side Access. Gateway has that problem too. As a result, NJ Transit plans to build six tracks south of Penn Station, costing billions of dollars.
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Re: A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel

Post by GirlOnTheTrain » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:14 pm

Watch, a few months from now he'll parade some "experts" that he appointed in front of the media with some "brilliant" new idea to get this done faster with no regard for safety. (See L-pocolypse debacle)
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Re: A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel

Post by ExCon90 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:22 pm

Is that a record for how much misinformation and baseless assumption can be compressed into 11 paragraphs?

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Re: A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel

Post by Kelly&Kelly » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:26 pm

The statement ignores the present state that all the facilities are currently utilized beyond capacity.

Along with the new access afforded by the 63rd Street tunnel and a new Hudson tube, facilities are necessary for platforms, storage and handling of trains and people. While the new routes get the fanfare and funding (East Side Access is costing $3,500,000,000 per mile), the high cost of the less glamorous but equally important facilities defies public understanding.

Unfortunately, most of what is emitted by politicians and their media lap dogs these days is propaganda, devoid of any useful factual content.

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Re: A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel

Post by BuddR32 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:14 am

GirlOnTheTrain wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:14 pm
Watch, a few months from now he'll parade some "experts" that he appointed in front of the media with some "brilliant" new idea to get this done faster with no regard for safety. (See L-pocolypse debacle)
Girl,,, you are NOT being fair to those experts Cuomo hired who spent and entire hour touring the Canarsie Tunnels.

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Re: A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:01 am

ExCon90 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:22 pm
Is that a record for how much misinformation and baseless assumption can be compressed into 11 paragraphs?
Why yes. Yes it is.

Penn South is NOT NJT's project, and K&K rightly point out that even with more throughput, these trains need a "runway" to land on. MNRR did not refuse LIRR; there was no capacity at existing tracks, and technological issues (signaling, third rail, ascent slope from tunnel). As it is, MNRR gave up Madison Yards and now have to store trains at Highbridge Yard. The writer also omits the fact that the original LIRR plan was a separate terminal near the Queensboro Bridge.

And tunneling between Penn and GCT to connect the two terminals directly ignores many many hurdles such as those faced by the Second Avenue Subway, including the fact that the Lexington Avenue line turn to run down Park south of GCT, and the original IRT tunnel continues over to Times Square. There is no reason to connect the two terminals. Yes, it would be nice if NJT had east side access. But via Penn it would be a dispatcher's nightmare, and there's simply no more room at GCT. If NJ wants east side access, they're going to have to find a location for another terminal. Good luck with that in midtown.

The best solution for NJ is an extended 7, or L, train, or a resurrected ARC that corrects all of the ARC plan's flaws. Of which there were many.

Interconnectivity is happening for the MTA via East Side Access, and subsequently, Penn Station Access, which WAS the MNRR tradeoff for Madison Yards. Why they're not already building out PSA is beyond me, so that it's ready to go when ESA launches. Even without actual Penn Access, reverse commute is a huge Hell Gate line benefit, so getting the stations and third/fourth track built should be a priority no matter what.
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Re: A radical idea for Cuomo's transit panel

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:09 am

Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by Publius Plunkett » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:17 am

The concept is excellent but the greatest enemy of a project such as the one described (or any of the proposals) is the entity that will approve and fund it....Government. The approval process, funding it and continuing to support it until completion, would require a government commitment that lasts as long as an election.

There have been significant improvements over the years. WSY was a major improvement. Rebuilding Harold Interlocking and of course PSCC and joint control of Penn Station traffic. Prior to PSCC, it was not uncommon for an LIRR commuter train to be held for an Amtrak track car move. PSCC virtually ended that.

I like the idea of seamless movements without opposing traffic interfering with each other. And I believe that facilities "to land on" would be part of the overall project, even though they were not mentioned in detail in the proposal. But it can't be done without government funding and approval. Which means that the generation that enjoys the improvements are probably in elementary school now.

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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by rr503 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:05 am

This is the future, I think. Our regional transportation authorities will fight any such effort in any way they can (because muh fiefdom, right), but I think it's important to dispel this myth that NYC's rail infrastructure is at capacity. People are right to point out that more tunnels =/= more trains into Penn, but platform occupancy at Penn is what it is because of the fact that we're essentially operating a through station as a terminal -- goal number one of the various through running proposals is to simplify operations in the area to allow more trains to make it through.

A similarly operational capacity limit exists at GCT. It's is a stub, yes, but we have enough tracks to get lost in and fewer trains than I believe were run 'back in the day' -- the issue seems to be interlocking speeds and long platform dwells. There is capacity, and there is in fact a potential alignment from Penn to GCT, if our planners would realize that EMUs can take grades. This was ARC Alt G, and building it would likely increase GCT capacity, as through stations are more fluid than terminals.

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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by Jeff Smith » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:48 pm

GCT's capacity issues can be summed up in one word: Park Avenue Tunnel and Viaduct. Okay, that's five LOL! As for more or fewer trains, I don't think there are fewer, just a very different mix since all LD is out of NYP.

There is already equipment that would allow through running. Amtrak and NJT equipment can switch catenary feeds on the fly, and MNRR has an over/under shoe for the different DC types on the M8's (which I hope has been tested).

The issue with the Amtrak and NJT equipment is it's limited to catenary/NEC territory with the exception of the ALP-45DP. NEC runs that terminate at NYP could conceivably be turned for Empire service with that engine, or continue onto Long Island. However, Amtrak doesn't own any, and they and Bombardier don't play nice.

The issue with MNRR and LIRR equipment, assuming the "odd-number" MTA EMU's could be fitted with over/under shoes, is that there is no third rail on the Empire Connection past the tunnel (about 9 - 10 miles), and on the Queens NEC to where the catenary feed changes type as MNRR equipment can only run on 60hz. Those gaps need to be filled. LIRR equipment can't continue west past NYP, nor could MNRR, with no catenary.

What's needed is an equipment pool that incorporates some of the through running possibilities. The easiest solution is the 45.
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Publius Plunkett
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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by Publius Plunkett » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:41 pm

Jeff are you suggesting a "co-owned" set of MU's for GCT service? Something that can run on either railroad's 3rd rail? I wonder if that's possible. That might not be a bad idea. I bet that MNCR would be receptive to that but, the LIRR wouldn't. Still, not a bad idea if that is what you are suggesting.

I never saw a third rail shoe that had the capability of "over" or "under" 3rd rail. Does anyone have a photo?

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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by rr503 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:48 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:48 pm
GCT's capacity issues can be summed up in one word: Park Avenue Tunnel and Viaduct. Okay, that's five LOL! As for more or fewer trains, I don't think there are fewer, just a very different mix since all LD is out of NYP.
I would *imagine* that the interlockings at either end of the Park Avenue stretch are more limiting than the tunnel/viaduct itself. The, what, 40-45tph they run in the peak direction isn't all that much for 2 tracks in any reasonable metropolis. I'd love to see their signaling capacities.
Jeff Smith wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:48 pm
What's needed is an equipment pool that incorporates some of the through running possibilities. The easiest solution is the 45.
In the long run, it'd likely be a lot better to find some common EMU. Loco haul sets inherently underperform self powered trains, which is important especially if we're considering ARC Alt G-like connections with relatively difficult vertical geometry. Also line capacity is highly correlated with acceleration, so there's that too.

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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:43 am

Publius, the M8 has the capacity to run on both over and under running third rail, and 60hz catenary, either 12.5 or 25 kv. Wiki has a picture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M8_(railcar)

Everything else MTA fleet-wise is either over (LIRR) or under (MNRR) running with no catenary pickup to clarify for others.

Further clarification: The Amtrak P32 shoes are retractable, but can only be changed in the shop to run on either type of third rail, something they did when they had diversions to GCT for Empire Connection work.

NJT's ALP equipment is capable of 12.5 or 25kv, and 25 or 60hz operation.

So PP, yes, basically I'm suggesting a common pool between at least the MTA and NJT, at least a limited pool.

Amtrak already through runs, but not onto the Empire/Hudson line. One issue there is that I think Albany service is a state-supported service. They'd have to contract with Amtrak to continue NEC runs that end in NYP onto Empire.
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Re: Crain's Article on New York/New Jersey Connectivity

Post by Riverduckexpress » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:25 pm

This thread might not be the most appropriate place for these questions, but I didn't really see a better thread and figured these questions were not worthy of their own threads:

So alongside the ALP-46, is the ALP-45DP also capable of traversing all three catenary systems used in the area?

What about the Arrows? Are they capable of running on all three catenary systems? I've heard there's some power restriction as to where they can be used, but I'm not too familiar with them so I hope somebody can clarify.

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