ExCon90 wrote: ↑Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:46 am
The professionals at Amtrak and LIRR have been dealing with that situation for years, and it's always the same: for every train that's added a train has to come off -- and whose train shall it be? Amtrak's, MN's, or NJT's? I think there's an unspoken assumption when an additional train is proposed that capacity will somehow be made available, most likely by adding two tunnels.
Adding two tunnels does not add more platforms or tracks at Pennsylvania Station.
I suppose they could just keep Pennsylvania Station open longer? Suppose we allow the new service to Reading be the first train into Pennsylvania Station in the morning, and the last train out of Pennsylvania Station in the evening, when Pennsylvania Station is not too busy?
NY to Philadelphia per Amtrak schedules with non Acela trains takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. It's 63 miles between Philadelphia and Reading, assuming an average train speed of 50 mph (being very generous) it would take a train 1 hour and 16 minutes. So it would take a train between NYC and Reading 2 hours and 55 minutes - let's agree to simplify and state approximately 3 hours.
The Pennsylvania Station opens every morning at 5 am and closes every evening at midnight. So the train would leave Reading around 2 am in the morning to reach New York at 5 am, and would arrive at Reading around 3 am in the morning after leaving New York at midnight. Shifting the times of the train a half hour within New York's opening and closing times, a train could arrives at Reading about 2:30 am and as quickly as possible turns around for its departure.
Would they be happy with an once a day around 2:30 am service in Reading? Would they be happy with a around 1:15 am and 3:45 am service in Philadelphia? Really?
And if you ask me if I think it is possible, just look at when the Sunset Limited visits San Antonio, when the Texas Eagle visits Little Rock, when the Empire Builder visits Fargo, or when the California Zephyr visits Salt Lake City, much bigger cities than Reading with terrible hours of service. Yes, it can happen!
The nicest part of that solution is Amtrak would only need one train set to provide the service, and would give their workers something to do that early and late in New York, Philadelphia, and Reading. And even nicer, it would not require $15 billion for new tunnels and who knows how much more for Pennsylvania Station South.