Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Jeff Smith »

Posted in several other threads, including in NJT and LIRR, courtesy Jaap:
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JamesRR
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by JamesRR »

Jeff Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:32 pm
Posted in several other threads, including in NJT and LIRR, courtesy Jaap:
What's not shown in the governor's crude slide is that in actuality the plan to add tracks had them running east under 7 Ave to the next block - to fit 12 car trains on those stub tracks. So, that property will need to be affected, and the terminal tracks will dip under the 7 Ave subway.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Ridgefielder »

JamesRR wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:47 pm
Jeff Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:32 pm
Posted in several other threads, including in NJT and LIRR, courtesy Jaap:
What's not shown in the governor's crude slide is that in actuality the plan to add tracks had them running east under 7 Ave to the next block - to fit 12 car trains on those stub tracks. So, that property will need to be affected, and the terminal tracks will dip under the 7 Ave subway.
Dipping under the 7th Ave subway shouldn't be a problem-- the current tracks do that, too. Question is whether the tracks would just tunnel in beneath those buildings on the east side of 7th Ave. or if they'd be demolished and a new headhouse constructed on the site. The buildings in question are a typical mix for that area-- a 1920's office building on one corner, a third-rate 1920's hotel on the other, and three late-19th-century low-rise commercial buildings in between.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Greg Moore »

My understanding is the plan since it was first proposed by Amtrak was demolishing the existing buildings.

Probably cheaper to demolish, do a cut and cover and resell the air rights than to try to put in tracks under existing buildings.

The biggest issue with this design is them being stub tracks, but I suppose 7 or 8 stub tracks is better than none at all.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Ken W2KB »

Greg Moore wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:10 pm
My understanding is the plan since it was first proposed by Amtrak was demolishing the existing buildings.

Probably cheaper to demolish, do a cut and cover and resell the air rights than to try to put in tracks under existing buildings.

The biggest issue with this design is them being stub tracks, but I suppose 7 or 8 stub tracks is better than none at all.
NJ Transit uses the existing stub tracks and would use these new ones to avoid many trains having to go east to the yard. Far better than building the now canceled ARC tunnel project to 4 or 6 stub end tracks under Macy's just to the north of Penn Station, with no rail connectivity to Penn Station. That would have resulted in two sets of tunnels, each set with two tracks but no flexibility to run 3 in one direction and 1 in the other during rush hours, or 2 and 1 if one track was closed for maintenance or blocked by a disabled train. Gateway Project will have all 4 tracks to Penn Station with essentially full flexibility.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Greg Moore »

Oh agreed. ARC was a bad idea all around.

And yes, NJT can use these and if Amtrak goes with some sort of push-pull for Empire Service trains, that frees up tracks 5-6 quite a bit.

Just saying that run-through would give even more flexibility.

But anything that adds more capacity to NYP is probably a good thing.
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Riverduckexpress »

Tangent: ARC was a bad project but the one silver lining is that it would have at least directly connected to the 34 St-Herald Square subway station, making connectivity a little better. Meanwhile Penn South and Moynihan Hall increase the walk from the subways and the Cuomo admin. is pretending the Gimbels/Hilton passageway doesn't exist (presumably they couldn't find a way to get the MTA/Amtrak/Vornado to play nice together?) Sure at the end of the day there are more pressing concerns than the walk from Penn Station to the subways but it seems like a strange omission in Cuomo's mission to make Penn into a World-Class Transportation Facility.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by rvlch »

Greg Moore wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:29 pm
But anything that adds more capacity to NYP is probably a good thing.
More than "probably", the lack of such additional station capacity is currently a/the major hurdle to getting Federal $ prioritized to Gateway projects. So this is potentially a very significant step toward overcoming that issue.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by eolesen »

The preservation community is already fired up about tearing down 100 year old buildings for Penn South...

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Arlington »

eolesen wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:48 am
The preservation community is already fired up about tearing down 100 year old buildings for Penn South...
Just a landlord's ploy for higher eminent domain price?
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Ridgefielder »

Riverduckexpress wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:32 pm
Tangent: ARC was a bad project but the one silver lining is that it would have at least directly connected to the 34 St-Herald Square subway station, making connectivity a little better. Meanwhile Penn South and Moynihan Hall increase the walk from the subways and the Cuomo admin. is pretending the Gimbels/Hilton passageway doesn't exist (presumably they couldn't find a way to get the MTA/Amtrak/Vornado to play nice together?) Sure at the end of the day there are more pressing concerns than the walk from Penn Station to the subways but it seems like a strange omission in Cuomo's mission to make Penn into a World-Class Transportation Facility.
It's not like Penn is not connected to the subways. The 7th Ave. 1-2-3 and the 8th Ave. A-C-E both have smoother access to Penn than the 4-5-6, S and 7 have to Grand Central. It's just not connected to the BMT and the 6th Ave lines. And there are no trains serving Herald Square that you can't transfer to at either 42nd St./Times Square or West 4th Street.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by JamesRR »

Greg Moore wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:29 pm
Oh agreed. ARC was a bad idea all around.

And yes, NJT can use these and if Amtrak goes with some sort of push-pull for Empire Service trains, that frees up tracks 5-6 quite a bit.

Just saying that run-through would give even more flexibility.

But anything that adds more capacity to NYP is probably a good thing.
Also, once LIRR East Side Access opens, some Metro-North trains may begin coming into Penn from the West - so presumably, they could use some of these stub tracks, too. That happens whether or not new tunnels are built under the Hudson.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by rvlch »

Arlington wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:56 am
eolesen wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:48 am
The preservation community is already fired up about tearing down 100 year old buildings for Penn South...
Just a landlord's ploy for higher eminent domain price?
My thought precisely. I worked in 370 7th (aka 7 Penn Plaza) until just a few years ago. I also support preservation of significant architectural history, but there is none on this block. 370 is a solid enough building but nothing out of the 1920s ordinary. The church? If I recall one of the most expensive parcels the PRR acquired to build the original station complex was a church which, when it got a sweet enough deal, was happy to move. It also could probably be preserved in an otherwise complete redevelopment if such became the linchpin to a deal. The NY ESDC has deep pockets.

related, there was considerable discussion, including input from a very knowledgeable construction engineer type, earlier in this very thread (vicinity of page 30) about the relative costs and issues of full redevelopment of this site vs underpinning the existing and digging out underneath. I might be remembering this wrong but my memory is that the full redevelopment cost was viewed as higher, primarily due to the cost to acquire all the property. (I haven't gone back to find Don31's specific detail posts on the matter, but they are there.) Of course the "potential long term economic benefit" of full redevelopment is theme song for the NYS ESDC.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by unichris »

Ridgefielder wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:22 am
It's not like Penn is not connected to the subways. The 7th Ave. 1-2-3 and the 8th Ave. A-C-E both have smoother access to Penn than the 4-5-6, S and 7 have to Grand Central.
That corridor from the 123 up to Amtrak can be interesting if time is tight and the place is busy. Heard recently east side access might be adding an additional subway entrance at GCT, but yes, for those lines you have a point.
It's just not connected to the BMT and the 6th Ave lines. And there are no trains serving Herald Square that you can't transfer to at either 42nd St./Times Square or West 4th Street.
That's big though. It's a long block to walk with luggage in a hurry (also used to be really nasty with idling tour busses fouling the air) but staying in system and transferring runs the risk of being delayed by delays, finding the train too packed, etc. And even if the train is right there when you get to the other platform, that transfer in times square is not trivial.

What they really need to do is re-open the Gimbels passage and keep it safe. Remember in my first months in NYC trying one rainy day to find the thing that logically had to exist without success. Only recently did I learn it actually does, but has been walled off since the 70's.

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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Ridgefielder »

rvlch wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:56 am
Arlington wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:56 am
eolesen wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:48 am
The preservation community is already fired up about tearing down 100 year old buildings for Penn South...
Just a landlord's ploy for higher eminent domain price?
My thought precisely. I worked in 370 7th (aka 7 Penn Plaza) until just a few years ago. I also support preservation of significant architectural history, but there is none on this block. 370 is a solid enough building but nothing out of the 1920s ordinary. The church? If I recall one of the most expensive parcels the PRR acquired to build the original station complex was a church which, when it got a sweet enough deal, was happy to move. It also could probably be preserved in an otherwise complete redevelopment if such became the linchpin to a deal. The NY ESDC has deep pockets.
The ESDC has deep enough pockets, in fact, that the structure could be disassembled and relocated. Any fight over it would likely be with the congregation, though, not the Archdiocese-- they'd likely be happy to sell and redeploy the money.

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