Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by pnaw10
 
Dieter wrote: What made the MTA decide to stop at Poughkeepsie, rather than Rheincliff or Hudson? Why did MTA box themselves in at Poughkeepsie without leaving an open door for free extension in the future?
I'm not sure how correct I am, but I have a few reasons... no one itself may be the definitive reason, but they all seem to compliment each other.

1) Right now, MTA can't go further north than Dutchess County. Each county using MTA services has a tax to help pay for those services. If MTA wanted to run service to Columbia County (or vice versa), then Columbia County would need to start levying this tax. That rules out Tivoli and Hudson right off the bat. When Penn Central and NYC ran the line, it wasn't always gov't funded--or at least not in the same way--so this tax wasn't a factor back then.

2) MTA only owns the tracks as far as Poughkeepsie. Going beyond Poughkeepsie would require MTA to schedule trains at the mercy of CSX and its own schedule... and perhaps by CSX RTC's instead of MTA's. You can imagine the delays which could happen in that case. Of course, this could be made moot if MTA bought up all the trackage... which may or may not be cost-effective.

3) Poughkeepsie seems to be a logical place to terminate because of the yard there. Plenty of room to store trains overnight for the morning rush, without interfering with overnight freight service on the main tracks. Having trains terminate further north, where there are only 2 tracks, could at worst create safety problems or, at least some scheduling complications for MTA, Amtrak and CSX.

Of course, as they say, anything's possible. With the right backing and enough money, trackage can be acquired, a new yard and new stations could be built elsewhere, and service could be extended. But I remember seeing many an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal where it seems like anytime the idea of extending Metro-North is proposed, even just to Rhinecliff, the NIMBY's shoot it down. It's OK for Amtrak to stop there, but not for Metro-North... go figure.

On the other hand, if I was boarding the train in Rhinecliff, Tivoli or Hudson, I don't know if I'd want to sit through all the intermediate stops on the way. I'd probably cough up the extra few bucks to hit Amtrak, knowing it only stops 3 times before it gets to the city, as opposed to at least 9 stops a Metro-North usually makes coming from Poughkeepsie. To compete with Amtrak timewise, Metro-North would probably have to create some kind of "Upper Upper Hudson express" service, stopping at just Tivoli, Rhinecliff and Poughkeepsie (maybe New Hamburg), then skipping the rest until the obligatory Croton-Harmon stop.

But this is probably all just theorizing and fiction, as I don't see the NIMBY's budging on it anytime soon... for the very reasons you mentioned in the same post I'm responding to.

  by Nester
 
pnaw10 wrote: 1) Right now, MTA can't go further north than Dutchess County. Each county using MTA services has a tax to help pay for those services. If MTA wanted to run service to Columbia County (or vice versa), then Columbia County would need to start levying this tax. That rules out Tivoli and Hudson right off the bat. When Penn Central and NYC ran the line, it wasn't always gov't funded--or at least not in the same way--so this tax wasn't a factor back then.
Tivoli is in Dutchess County. Notwithstanding the trackage issues you alluded to in your post, the MTA could operate to Tivoli.

If the MTA wanted to run into Columbia County (i.e. add a stop/terminal in Hudson), it would require a change in state law. The Public Authorities Law that governs the operation of the MTA explicitly lists the counties in the MTA service area. Columbia is not on that list.

Nester

  by DutchRailnut
 
Yes Tivoli is in Dutchess but I don't think there is an interlocking.
so any train arriving at Tivoli would have to return at restricted speed(15mph) to previous interlocking before signal indictation were to pick up.
CSX won't put in an Interlocking just to accomodate MTA.
so a place to turn needs to be where a facility exists to do so.

  by rhallock
 
For the historic minded, here is a complete listing of stops from Harmon north with mileage from the Jan. 1917 Official Guide.
Harmon 32.64
Croton on Hudson 33.87
Oscawana 35.68
Crugers 36.66
Montrose 38.11
Peekskill 40.56
Manitou 45.36
Garrison 49.13
Cold Spring 51.83
Storm King 53.86
Dutchess Jct. 56.53
Beacon 58.26
Chelsea 61.79
New Hamburg 64.38
Camelot 67.51
Poughkeepsie 72.76
Hyde Park 78.52
Staatsburgh 82.97
Rhinecliff 88.36
Barrytown 93.97
Tivoli 98.27
Germantown 103.67
Linlithgo 107.59
Greendale 109.45
Hudson 113.74
Stockport 117.99
Newton Hook 121.17
Stuyvesant 123.56
Schodack Ldg. 129.65
Castleton 133.57
Rensselaer 141.63
Albany 142.20
Troy 148.32

  by Nester
 
DutchRailnut wrote:Yes Tivoli is in Dutchess but I don't think there is an interlocking.
so any train arriving at Tivoli would have to return at restricted speed(15mph) to previous interlocking before signal indictation were to pick up.
CSX won't put in an Interlocking just to accomodate MTA.
so a place to turn needs to be where a facility exists to do so.
I never said it would be easy, just that it was possible. Any "new" service north of Poughkeepsie is going to require some improvements in the track, structures and signal systems (which would likely mean, among other things, installing an interlocking at or in close proximity to the last stop on the line).

Nester

  by DutchRailnut
 
Any and all discussion on expansion north of Poughkeepsie is moot.
The residents of those towns have let the MTA clearly known they do not want the service and would not let any construction happen like platforms or parking lots. Unless Amtrak bites the dust and MTA takes over the service these people won't let it happen.

  by pnaw10
 
DutchRailnut wrote:Unless Amtrak bites the dust and MTA takes over the service these people won't let it happen.
Not that I wish bad things for Amtrak -- I hope it continues to survive -- but I think it would be a great slap in the face if Amtrak did fold, and MTA said, "you had your chance to welcome us, but you blew it" to all the folks north of POU. Because if Amtrak ever does fold, you can bet those NIMBY's will change their mind faster than you can say "Urban Sprawl."

To Nester, I apologize for my error about Tivoli being in Columbia County. As great as they are, neither Google Maps nor Google Earth show county boundaries, and I didn't have any other maps handy to check... at a glance it just seemed too far north to still be part of Dutchess. I stand corrected.

  by Nester
 
One of the documents I read said that they (meaning Northern Dutchess residents) did not want MN service because it was slower, did not offer Penn Access, and the equipment was less spacious. All of these things are true, and they would have no choice but to accept them if Amtrak folded.

They also mentioned suburban sprawl, but as time has shown, that's happening anyway.

PNAW10 -- no worries about Tivoli. It's often mentioned because it's the the northernmost village along the Hudson in Dutchess County.

While I personally belive that MN will *eventually* offer service north of Poughkeepsie, the battle has been fought and lost for the time being, and they should probably look to expand service in markets they already operate in.

Nester
  by Tom Curtin
 
The simplest answer to "Why did the MTA stop at Poughkeepsie?" is simply that this was where the New York commutation zone always ended, going back many decades into the New York Central.

  by Dieter
 
Hey Nester!

Let's roll back the question in time then....

Why did Penn Central kill commuter service at Poughkeepsie, rather than Harmon? If they had thought of it, they would have pushed for it.

Dieter.

  by pnaw10
 
Dieter wrote: Why did Penn Central kill commuter service at Poughkeepsie, rather than Harmon? If they had thought of it, they would have pushed for it.
I'm about to leave for work, so I don't have time to do the research I *should* be doing for this, but I have a feeling that the availability of Hudson River crossings may have played a factor in determining where commuter service would end.

Actually, the 1943 NYC commuter schedule I recently acquired shows commuter service ending in Peekskill. Obviously, long-distance trains continued beyond here, but I'm not sure if they made all the stops today's commuter trains do, or if the stops were spaced further apart.

In any case, I would guess the eventual decision to stop at Poughkeepsie had to do with either the Poughkeepsie railroad bridge and/or the Mid-Hudson Bridge. I'd have to go look up the dates both were built to be sure, but that's my off-the-cuff guess. When the Pou RR bridge was in service, it was the only rail crossing between NY City and Albany, making Poughkeepsie an important junction between the east/west and north/south routes.

As far as the Mid-Hudson Bridge is concerned, it allows people from Ulster County to get to the trains. Again, just guessing b/c I don't have time to look it up, but if the MHB was built before any of the other bridges to the north (ie. Kingston-Rhinecliff, Rip Van Winkle) then perhaps POU was also the northernmost auto crossing before Albany once upon a time (not counting ferries).

Perhaps if the K-R or the RVW were built first, commuter service would have gone to those points to serve customers driving over from the west side of the river. Again, just a quick guess, so I could be wrong... gotta get to work, goodnight all!

  by District D RTC
 
Correct, there is currently no interlocking at Tivoli. The interlockings north from POK station north to ALB are:

CP-75 (Division post MN/CSX).
CP-89 (North end of Rhinecliff Station).
CP-94 (Barrytown).
CP-103 (Germantown).
CP-114 (Hudson).
CP-115 (SB only, signals only, to protect Hudson Sta.)
CP-124 (Stuyvesant).
CP-125 (#2 track only, N. of Stuyvesant, Jct Castleton Sub).
CP-141 (NB Only, appoaching Renselaer)
CP-142 (S/end of ALB sta, Jct Post Rd Branch, R-LAB)

There are HBD/DED detectors at Staatsburg (MP 83.7) and at (MP 99.0).