Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

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Patrick Boylan
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by Patrick Boylan » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:36 pm

delvyrails wrote:I (and others) used to think the the New York Short Line would be a great addition to the commuter network; but now we see that there are other uses for it which are more important, namely restoring and increasing long-distance freight service up and down the CSX "I-95 corridor" and also getting Amtrak Superliners and Auto Train on to that route directly into the the New York City area.
Although the CSX route Philly to north Jersey has generous clearances those super duper liners and auto trains would have to get to Philadelphia somehow in order to take advantage of the New York Shortline, and the only 2 decent routes I can think of have clearance issues under existing Amtrak catenary and Baltimore tunnels on both Amtrak and CSX.

R3 Passenger
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by R3 Passenger » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:22 am

Patrick Boylan wrote:
delvyrails wrote:I (and others) used to think the the New York Short Line would be a great addition to the commuter network; but now we see that there are other uses for it which are more important, namely restoring and increasing long-distance freight service up and down the CSX "I-95 corridor" and also getting Amtrak Superliners and Auto Train on to that route directly into the the New York City area.
Although the CSX route Philly to north Jersey has generous clearances those super duper liners and auto trains would have to get to Philadelphia somehow in order to take advantage of the New York Shortline, and the only 2 decent routes I can think of have clearance issues under existing Amtrak catenary and Baltimore tunnels on both Amtrak and CSX.
I don't like to contribute to off-topic cinversation, but I think Mr. Boylan is missing the point on the Auto Train. The AT needs special ramps at the station for loading the auto racks. The current auto train makes no stops between Lorton and Sanford. Because of the special equipment and its popularity, it would not be necessary to make stops between NYC metro, Lorton, and Sanford.
Lines Frequented: SEPTA Trenton Line, West Trenton Line, Warminster Line; NJT Northeast Corridor Amtrak Northeast Corridor (PHL-NYP).

Bill R.
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by Bill R. » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:04 am

Matthew Mitchell wrote:Bring money. Bring a lot of money.
I never said cheap, Matt, only likely cheaper and, because of the existence of a fairly wide, grade-seperated R.O.W., less hassles than building a subway line from scratch. Admittedly, an improved NYSL offering RRD service doesn't offer certain advantages provided by a Boulevard subway line, but it does offer others. Believe me, I'm realistic about the actual chane of such a project being completed (<<0).

The point I was origally moving toward a page ago is that the Newtown line restoration should not be viewed in isolation, but rather in the mix of what is appropriate for lower Bucks, eastern Montgomery, snd NE Philadelphia as a whole. I was hoping to have a response from John Scott concerning my questions, but that has not as yet occured.

Patrick Boylan
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by Patrick Boylan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:07 am

R3 Passenger wrote: I don't like to contribute to off-topic cinversation, but I think Mr. Boylan is missing the point on the Auto Train. The AT needs special ramps at the station for loading the auto racks. The current auto train makes no stops between Lorton and Sanford. Because of the special equipment and its popularity, it would not be necessary to make stops between NYC metro, Lorton, and Sanford.
I hope we won't get into too much trouble being off topic. An extended auto train must get from Washington DC to NYC metro even if it would not need to make stops, and as I mentioned, the only 2 routes I can think of between DC and the New York Shortline in Philly, Amtrak or CSX, have clearances too low to allow the auto train's equipment.

John Scott, PA-TEC
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by John Scott, PA-TEC » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:49 am

Bill R.,

Land for parking, at least most of it, would have to be purchased. We need about an acre for every 100-125 parking spaces. Even at Center City prices, flat land is still the cheapest way to build parking (or we wouldn't see so much of it - look at every new retail establishment in the suburbs and every surface parking lot downtown.)

However, the difference between Huntingdon Valley and Beth Ayres is that HV has not spent the last 30 years gobbling up the cheapest, closest land. The marginal cost of each new acre at HV, or any dormant station, will be much lower than the marginal cost of each new acre at BA or an existing station. The existing stations have expanded into the cheapest land first, leaving ever more expensive remaining options for expansion.

I don't want to categorize anybody's site as "underutilized" and therefore a candidate for a voluntary, market value sale. However, I'm convinced there are more of them near HV than BA. I'm thinking 400-500 spots could be made available.

I honestly don't have an answer to the scheduling question at the moment. I haven't heard any good reason it can't be done, but I haven't gone train by train to see what has to shift to allow a new route to feed in. However, with a max of about 800 riders on that spur, we wouldn't need too many slots. Even one sellout train a day would be an efficient investment.

Matt Mitchell,

The money is already out there. It is time we stop asking for more, and instead ask where it's all going. Name the last time $10 million, out of the $400 million or so that gets spent year, brought a single new rider to the system.

Pacobell73
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by Pacobell73 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:54 pm

RussNelson wrote:
jfrey40535 wrote:... a bike trail that dead ends on both ends. Not very safe. I wouldn't want to have a heart attack back there.
I think you'll find that bicyclists have many fewer heart attacks than the rest of the population. Have you ever heard of a bicyclist having a heart attack anywhere, much less on a rail-trail?
Not bicyclists, but there have been many documented joggers who drop dead of heart attacks while running. The trail is dangerous at both ends.
"A train running once a week is better than no train at all." - Me

JeffK
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by JeffK » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:07 pm

Pacobell73 wrote:
RussNelson wrote:
jfrey40535 wrote:... a bike trail that dead ends on both ends. Not very safe. I wouldn't want to have a heart attack back there.
I think you'll find that bicyclists have many fewer heart attacks than the rest of the population. Have you ever heard of a bicyclist having a heart attack anywhere, much less on a rail-trail?
Not bicyclists, but there have been many documented joggers who drop dead of heart attacks while running. The trail is dangerous at both ends.
Not trying to get too far off-topic, but a friend and fellow cyclist had a heart attack on the SVT at age 46. He has genetically high cholesterol and it should have killed him but his heart was strong from cycling. That was 16 years ago and we're still riding.

hammersklavier
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by hammersklavier » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:14 pm

limejuice wrote:I've never been a fan of any proposal to make the Newtown line a spur off the Neshaminy at Ayres. Unnecessarily adding traffic to the nearly saturated Jenkin-Wayne corridor has the potential to really foul up the entire RRD during rush, should major troubles arise. It also limits the potential for expanding service on the existing lines through Jenkintown while severely limiting the number of trains that are going to be available for service on the Newtown line. From the standpoint of operating cost/efficiency, it just seems completely insensible to run two trains where only one is needed. Why subsidize two weaker lines instead of one stronger one? (I'm pretty sure Mr. Mitchell has presented that argument so many times he ought to have a macro for it.) If you're going to put a connecting track in at Ayres, if anything build it in the southeast quadrant so you can run expresses or detours off the Neshaminy line via Fox Chase.
Actually, from an operations perspective you can get around most of these cited problems by sending the trains that currently terminate at Glenside to the Southampton/Huntington Pike spur John Scott's proposing.

On the flipside, I feel like park-and-rides, while building ridership in the short term, cap it in the long term (by how many spaces are available)--Ambler, in particular, has this problem. They are also an oblique kowtowing to suburbanization. It would be far better, in the long run, to implement dense develop by these train stations, which is what is happening elsewhere in the country. This is what is called transit-oriented development, or TOD, and it has become a popular buzzword in land-use circles.
"A train or a train concept with a history of success elsewhere should by default be legal on mainline tracks in the US and so should the established operating and maintenance practice..." --Alon Levy

limejuice
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by limejuice » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:10 pm

I've been giving this idea a lot more thought lately, and given that traffic congestion is way more severe northeast of Jenkintown than it is in the northwest direction, I think the case can be made for intensifying service on the Neshaminy end, even at the expense of Glenside turns. And Glenside station is an 8 minute walk from my front door. Of course, this means having to build and maintain a new interlocking and connecting track at Ayres. Another option would be to go with the proposal of a complete interlocking at Somerton while abandoning Neshaminy Falls. Then we could have Somerton turns in place of Glenside turns. But adding another 30 minutes to the round trip might not be worthwhile. And though there'd be more trains, there ain't a blessed parking spot available along that stretch, save for a dozen or so at Noble (which might have some TOD potential) so in order to realize any benefit, there would need to be parking decks at Bethayres, Philmont, Somerton, Forest Hills.. So maybe that's not such a great option right now. If only there was another unused railroad that ran to the northeast of th..OH YEAH! So I think the bottom line is either constructing the crossover and connecting track as per John Scott's proposal at the expense of Glenside turns, or rebuilding the line up from Fox Chase.

I think the Fox Chase routing still wins for several reasons: 1. Better cost recovery for Fox Chase and Southampton/Newtown trains, as they will be one and the same. 2. We can keep the Glenside turns, especially since they had infrastructure (Carmel South, Glenside siding) built and maintained for this purpose. 3. Not having to deal with the added environmental issues involved with building that connecting track on protected wetlands. 4. Maintaining a much simpler interlocking at Ayres with fewer moving parts.

Also, I don't think there's any guarantee that a terminal at Huntingdon Valley would draw much traffic off the surrounding roads. 232 & 63 is very congested during the rush, and assuming most of the potential riders are coming from the north and east of there, they're going to be making a left into this terminal among the throngs of cars heading to the Willow Grove turnpike interchange from the Fox Chase area. I'm not sure such an expensive undertaking will reap much of a reward in terms of easing traffic congestion on area roads, as much as having Southampton or Newtown trains running via Fox Chase would.

I can't remember if I've said it before, but the main line from Jenkintown - Tabor at the moment, according to my casual observations and back-of-the-napkin calculations, can handle roughly 10 trains per hour without slowing down following trains. At the moment, they run about 8 per hour during the rush. And since there's no appreciable capacity added when you get to NX, and there's 2 trains an hour from Fox Chase, the trunk is effectively full during the rush. I guess technically you could do the HV turns if you eliminated the Glenside turns, but it seems to me that it makes much more sense to run via Fox Chase, because we'd get to keep the Glenside turns, and you'd need to run Southampton/Newtown trains via Fox Chase anyway.

Matthew Mitchell
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by Matthew Mitchell » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:21 pm

limejuice wrote:I've been giving this idea a lot more thought lately, and given that traffic congestion is way more severe northeast of Jenkintown than it is in the northwest direction, I think the case can be made for intensifying service on the Neshaminy end, even at the expense of Glenside turns.
<MACRO>
limejuice wrote:Why subsidize two weaker lines instead of one stronger one?
</MACRO>

Also, there aren't all that many Glenside turns to shift over to a Newtown line. What's left is mostly at the peak, and scheduled for very specific purposes. By running those Glenside turns, you can allow the peak-of-the-peak Warminster and Lansdale trains to run express. That speeds up service for those customers, gives you a little better throughput on the trunk, and balances out loads between trains, particularly in the PM. Turning at Glenside lets you get another peak trip out of some of those trains, and with the others, let SEPTA take a coupla cars off the Warminster and Lansdale trains to shift over to the overcrowded Norristown line.

hammersklavier
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by hammersklavier » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:11 pm

Part of the problem is that reconstructing the line between Fox Chase and Beth Ayres is going to be so very expensive. It'll be wiser for the powers-that-be to work on dealing with the Bryn Athyn NIMBYs first, as they represent the biggest issue in terms of disallowing any service further to the north. Unluckily for us, none of the powers-that-be are really very competent.

As for the capacity problem between Jenkintown and Wayne Jct.--could a third track reasonably be added between Wayne Jct. and Newtown Jct.? One in the form of a siding extends from there up to Fern Rock...if upgraded to mainline standards, it would allow the center track to become bidirectional and useful for overtaking.
"A train or a train concept with a history of success elsewhere should by default be legal on mainline tracks in the US and so should the established operating and maintenance practice..." --Alon Levy

nomis
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by nomis » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:26 pm

hammersklavier wrote: As for the capacity problem between Jenkintown and Wayne Jct.--could a third track reasonably be added between Wayne Jct. and Newtown Jct.? One in the form of a siding extends from there up to Fern Rock...if upgraded to mainline standards, it would allow the center track to become bidirectional and useful for overtaking.
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 26#p945226 my thoughts on the matter ...
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glennk419
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by glennk419 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:00 am

hammersklavier wrote:Part of the problem is that reconstructing the line between Fox Chase and Beth Ayres is going to be so very expensive. It'll be wiser for the powers-that-be to work on dealing with the Bryn Athyn NIMBYs first, as they represent the biggest issue in terms of disallowing any service further to the north. Unluckily for us, none of the powers-that-be are really very competent.
It was my understanding that whatever authority was responsible for removing the ROW at the Shady Lane culvert would be responsible to restore it should service ever be reinstated. I'm not sure if that was Abington Township, Montco or the state, or a combination of all three. The railroad would have needed a total rebuild anyway so the trail is not that significant of an obstacle (except for the three people who actually use it). As far as Bryn Athyn, there have also been reports that their objections have dimished significantly since the patriarch of a certain family is no longer with them.
Glenn

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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by Clearfield » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:45 am

glennk419 wrote:It was my understanding that whatever authority was responsible for removing the ROW at the Shady Lane culvert would be responsible to restore it should service ever be reinstated.
It's SEPTA.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".............. Spock

My opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization, Association, or Authority.

nomis
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Post by nomis » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:52 am

glennk419 wrote:The railroad would have needed a total rebuild anyway so the trail is not that significant of an obstacle (except for the three people who actually use it).
Wrong ... here is 4 people plus the photog using it :)
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