• Cross Harbor Tunnel (PATH / NYCT/Freight) Staten Island - Brooklyn

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by GP40-2
JoeG wrote:The question is, how much car float business is there? Supposed it greatly increased? Would it justify a tunnel that would cost several billion dollars? If it cost $5 billion, the interest cost at 5% would be $250 million a year--and that doesn't include maintenance, etc. Also, I assume the tunnel would use electric engines, so the trains would have to have an engine change. But, it's been many years since an electric freight engine has been manufactured here. How much would the R&D for a new one cost, especially since there would not exactly be an order of hundreds? (Could they make a several-mile-long underwater tunnel in which diesels could be run? Would that require a ventilation system that would add plenty to the cost?)

Jerry Nadler likes trains but he isn't being realistic.
Joe, I have talked to the people who have did engineerring work on the tunnel and nobody is realistically considering straight electic locomotives. No Class 1 uses them and you would want the Class 1's onboard for this thing. Besides the new EPA Tier 3 emission standards are now coming on line and present modern diesel power is pretty darn clean compared to the the stuff that was around in the 80's.

If straight electric power is important the RR's would do what Amtrak as done, go overseas to the Europeans and import Americanized of the shelf stuff like the HHP-8 electric loco. Problem solved. Let's be honest you know that the components in the locos put by both EMD and GE is made in large part with foreign traction technology.

The Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel I think is just the "2nd Ave. Subway" of the 21st Century. They have two things in common.

1. They were determined in the early 20th Century as an infastructure need.

2. Failure to to meet those long assesed needs hasn't made the needs go away it had just made them worse.

Just because we have gotten uesd to this bad situation and consider it kind of "normal" we don't see they we are in fact behind the eight ball when it come to railfreight in New York City. I think worst than a third world nation, but since we are the "Big Apple" we don't see how bad off we are as compared to other American cities.

1. Our asthma rates are the worst of all American cities.

2. We get only about 3% of our goods by rail compared to about 30 to 40% in other American cities.

3. Our highways are a whole lot smaller than other cities and we don't have the room to expand them.

4. Our RR activity is so passenger orientated that even the presence of a small local freight freaks out the local commuter RR dispatchers and management.

5. All the successors to the Penn Central including Conrail and NS and CSX have fallen into the same pattern of bringing EVERYTHING to New Jersey and trucking the stuff over on Port Authority Hudson River crossings. And since they are making money they see no reason to change.

  by JoeG
Sounds like you see the freight tunnel mostly as a way to get trucks from NJ, off the trans-Hudson highway bridges and tunnels. So, I guess you envision a large intermodal yard on the east side of the Hudson. Where do you think it could be built?

  by pumpers
From the previous page:
As noted on NYNJs website ( former NYCH ) they just got alot of money, and finally did new track work in Greenville and selected areas and have a plan set forth for once. This new owner seems to be cleaning house and making the RR presentable and profitable again. They still have customers in Brooklyn, as well as the daily interchange with NYA.
Where did you see this? I see nothing interesting like this
at http://www.nynjr.com/index.php.
Maybe there is another site?
thanks, js

  by GP40-2
Jayjay1213 wrote:The tunnel idea is silly. Frank, can you provide any numbers, statistics, or real information to show how it would be a good idea?
If one thinks about it, why would CSX use it, they have the River Line, why use a tunnel to go thru NYC, then try and get across Metro North to get anywhere in New England? Metro North where they have equipment and time restrictions?
Why would NS use it? To connect to who besides the NYA? They already have their connection to New England via D&H and Guilford.
Just because this tunnel appears, does that mean new customers will just suddenly appear on the NYA?? I think not, they will have the same 15-30 carloads a day come in thru that gateway.
Why do some people think that if this tunnel is built, all of a sudden 2 mile long stack trains will start running thru it on 30 minute headway's? (Which I would love to know where they would go, NYA has no room for a intermodal yard, which would have to be on freight territory since well cars won't clear the third rail on LIRR).
Guys need to stop foaming and look at this like the business that it is.

JayJay and Joe,

When the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel was politically in favor with the previous city administration. The NYC Economic Developement Corp. conducted a number of scoping meetings to drum up political support for the tunnel. First early on in the project the site for the yard was supposed to be the old New Heven RR Harlem River Yard as past of the Oak Point Link project. But they blew that chance with the developer of the yard which is mainly a garbage train facility and the New York Post's newspaper plant.

Then they pick the old Phelps Dodge copper wire plant in Maspeth Queens along the LIRR's Montauk Div. which was and still is the best site for the intermodal yard.

1. It right across the street from the main UPS B'klyn-Queens sorting plant. UPS is the biggest costumer for the Class 1s.

2. There is a ton of LTL trucking firms that have their NYC area facilites right in the same area i.e. Roadway, Yellow Freight, Old Dominion and others.

3. It right next to both the Long Island Expressway and Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

4. It is still big enough for a effective intermodal yard. They had plans for an multi-story sorting building for the containers and trailers. If you can't go out, go up.

5. The site is located on a primarily freight only nonelectrified mainline hence no operating window worries and 24 hour operations are possible.

As noted earlier in this thread there are NIMBY problems but nothing that can't be solved with mitigating measures such as building special ramps to the highways so no additional truck traffic is dumped on Grand Ave. in Maspeth. Paying the full cost of the move of established businesses that have to be relocated to make room for the yard.

JayJay has a point of why would NS and CSX use the tunnel to reach New England. If you are talking about northern New Englend you are right. But if you are referring to southern New England it is a basket case that is overrun w/trucks. Just drive along I95 between the Bronx and New Haven and tell me that a couple of (though single level) intermodal trains would not be in need here.

A friend of mine who works for Metro North likes the tunnel idea quite a bit. He sees it as a way of getting CSX out of their hair and for the most part off the Hudson Div. permanently. He sees where that CSX and for that matter CP Rail would route all NYC traffic down the River Line (which is now being redoulble tracked anyway) through the tunnel at Greenville up the Bay Ridge Bridge to Fresh Pond for the NYA interchange and proceed on the New York Connecting RR to the Hell Gate Bridge and on to their yard at Oak Point and the Hunt's Point Market.

Then they can grow the bussiness as big as they want or can without worrying about the restrictions, operating windows, size of consists and type of motive power that can use that Metro North now imposes on them now. They also can bring high cube freight car into NYC for transloading for additional saving something that can't do now w/o using the Cross Harbor RR floats. Therfore cutting out an additional middleman.

The Cross Harbor tunnel would give both NS and CSX flexibility in routing traffic from the south. Instead of routing traffic from California, the southwest and Mexico through the national railroad blackhole aka Chicago they could route traffic through the New Orleans, Memphis and Dallas gateways. Not to mention to have a easier time of getting garbage trains to the south instead of taking up capacity on the River Line. Just a couple of thoughts.

I know full well that the tunnel is currently out of favor with the current Bloomberg administration. Two days ago I listened to 1st dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff plugging the mayor's NYC 2030 plan on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC radio. At the end of the interview Brian asked Doctoroff about the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel since the mayor want to make NYC's air the cleanest of any american big city by 2030 and what he is going to do about the truck traffic. Doctoroff poo pooed the whole idea of a rail tunnel giving the same lame excuses we have seen on this thread, i.e. the RRs are not going to use it wha tis the point since the warehouses are all in New Jersey anyway so why even have a freight train come into NYC directly.

So my question to Mr. Bloomberg, Mr Doctoroff and my fellow posters on this forum. If all the projects say is true that NYC (the five boroughs alone not counting the increase in the surrounfidng suburbs) will have a one million increase in population by 2030 what do you propose to do the additional truck traffic that will needed to serve such an increase in people and how you intend to make NYC's air the cleanest without reducing the truck traffic in some meaningful way??????????

  by DutchRailnut
Again the cross harbor freight is a money pit nothing more.
Diverting freight to queeens is not gone solve air polution in Manhatan or the Bronx, rail cars coming down riverline vs hudson line are just gone make a roundabout trip for same destination.
There is no way railroads can compete with trucks, and we can not force freight onto trains
as long as it takes 28 hours to get a freight car from port of Baltimore to a shipper in NJ its safe to assume that trucks will beat that time to LI anytime.

If the city built the Cross harbor tunnel they would probably be forced to pay the Cross harbor railroad an equivelent fee per car for ruining their business.

  by Otto Vondrak
(Nitpicky: Harlem River Yard (Willis Ave) is more or less occupied by the trash terminal (more or less). New York Post plant is a few blocks away on 138th Street on the east side of the Hell Gate apprpoach.)

  by GP40-2

You are absolutely right that you can't force freight into railcars but you can market them into railcars. In recent years RRs particularly the shortlines have gotten considerable freight out of trucks in boxcars by promising the shippers cheaper rates, consistancy and reliablity. Which any logistics expert is more important than speed alone.

Here again nobody has come up with an alternative solution of increasing railfreight traffic and reducing truck traffic in NYC in order to bring the air quality into acceptable limits.

BTW the NYC asthma rate is worse than the national average it just northern Manhattan and the south Bronx just happens to be worst of all.
  by henry6
In the usual parochial upstate/downstate attitude: There is no freight rail service on LI because Long Islanders allowed it to happen by encouraging highway bridges from the Throggs Neck westward and south to the Verrizano Narrows. With all those bridges it was cheaper for a truck to pick up and deliver from Orient and Montauk Points on into Queens and Brooklyn. So now that LONG ISLANDERS need freight rail service, having lived in the lap of highway bridge luxury for so long, who should pay for the rail freight improvments, vis a vie a tunnel? Will private industry pick up the tab? Or will Long Islanders pick up the tab? Or will Upstaters have to come up with the monies to bail them out?

  by Jayjay1213
I agree that Maspeth would have been a decent site for an intermodal yard but with that resturant depot eating up space now, it sort of takes away from it. With the lead, and other such things, what will the tracks be, 2000'? Thats barely 8 5 baggers. Do not forget that the Bay Ridge and Montauk are not the correct height for double stacks.
As for the New Haven area, I agree, alot of industry around there, but NS dosent have access to that region, the tunnel would then only help one company, CSX, a bit unfair, especially since thats not my current employer :wink:

  by GP40-2
Jayjay you are right. The NYC-EDC was supposed buy the Phelps Dodge site before anybody bought it and started building on it. They told me that they were waiting on the the Port Authority NYNJ to buy it for them. Like are you freaking kidding me I thought. Those are the last poeple on earth to put significant coin towards such a project.

One thing I have learned by going to these regional railfreight meetings regarding lot of these planning types. They talk, talk, and talk and expect that because their plans make sense that some white knight w/deep pockets will just come along and fund it. And since the Port has the deepest pockets in town surely they will see the wisdom and right a big check. It that how it goes??? Right???

As for the Bay Ridge Branch and the Montauk Div in not being double stack ready you are right again.

What really turned me on about the project was not so much as the tunnel. That is only ONE part of the project. The real meat was the anncillary projects like completely rebuilding the Bay Ridge and the Montauk for double stack and high cube including the East New York Tunnels, modern signalling, multiple track mains with cross overs,staging yards in Canarsie and Brownsville and for rail access to a modern container yard in Sunset Park with a modern new automobile terminal and more.

When people hear of the tunnel they get pun intended "Tunnel Vision" and say how can people like Jerry Nadler talk about a modern railtunnel that begins in crap(Greenville) and lets out in crap(Borough Park) .I am talking about railfacility wise of course.

The other aspects of the project should of been pushed to people in the RR industry and railfans. Maybe then peoplewill stop rolling their eyes when the term "Cross Harbor Railfreight Tunnel" is mentioned

  by ncvab
GP40-2 wrote: They talk, talk, and talk and expect that because their plans make sense that some white knight w/deep pockets will just come along and fund it.
Who said "their" plans made sense?

  by Sir Ray
I know it's been discussed, but getting back to carfloat operations - what if the NYRR carfloat operations were extensively expanded, with new larger carfloats capable of handling perhaps 1/2 a double stack train at once - yes, it's more labor intensive than a nice tunnel, and you have a significant capital expenditure for new float bridges and larger carfloats (self-propelled ones, of course), but over the medium term would this work as a l(relatively) lower cost substitute to a cross-harbor tunnel?

(I'm not too convinced the current NYRR facilities and operations could handle such expanded service levels, seeing as how in the past few years they managed to flip a float loaded with hoppers, or lost use of the Brooklyn transfer bridge when apparently one of the floats filled with water or something - I thinking on the level of the Alaskan railroad or maybe the Ann Arbor floating operations in their prime (or heck, New Haven/LIRR railroad operations in their prime)

  by roee
To me, if they want to see if rail shipments will work, why not build a small intermodal yard on LI some where, and run some single stacks on the existing rail tunnels late at night. I know the tunnels are packed during the day, but I'm sure at 3:30am there aren't many trains running from NJ to NYC and NYC to LI. I know someone is going to say that the clearances are too tight, or that the grade is too steep, but I highly doubt that. If one electric locomotive can pull 6-8 passenger cars out of the tunnel, I'm sure running 4 or 6 in DPU fashion, they can pull some signal stacks, which are very light. If they see some serious demand from one train a night each way, then maybe they could look at expanding it, but $5B seems a little high for a pipe dream.

  by Steve F45
How cool that would look flying out of the western portal in nj.
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