• Cuomo proposed High Speed System in NY

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by NaugyRR
I think a huge help, however small, would be to re-arrange and upgrade RHI and HUD to high-levels. The dwell times on the three high-levels south of them is pretty low, especially when people with luggage don't need to navigate down the traps. Just on and off. The stairway at RHI is getting pretty ratty, and could probably use an overhaul anyways. I don't know what kind of modification would be required for the elevator.

The station at HUD I think would need to be moved to accommodate high-levels, there's no way you could do an island platform at the current location. Maybe a staggered setup like you see in the UK?

In my "Foamer Fantasy" I think a park-and-ride station closer to the Rip would be a good set up. You lose the direct access to Warren Street, but you gain a better connection to the hiking trails at Olana and across the bridge, better access to Catskill, 9, the Thruway, and 23. They've got a nice park-and-ride set up and integrated into the new traffic circle, I could see an access road and path to a new Amtrak station complimenting it well. I have no idea how well that could play out engineering or logistics-wise, but it all looks good in my brain at least, haha.
  by west point
Getting NYP - ALB under 2 hours would save a lot of passenger minutes. As well the under 2 hours may be a psychological point that will attract many more passengers ? Maybe Amtrak can get enough funds to straighten the 2 curves mentioned above with longer tunnels ? Would that be enough to get under 2 hours ?
  by njtmnrrbuff
Getting high level platforms at RHI and Hudson are very important. The steps should definately be improved at Rhinecliff first but adding a high level platform is a must. Not many people are boarding Amtrak trains heading for NYP at Poughkeepsie, Croton Harmon, and Yonkers. At those stations, more people are boarding Amtrak trains heading northbound and then detraining heading south. Passengers boarding at POU, CRT, and YNY are more often than not taking Metro North when heading to and from the city. Having high level platforms at those stations helps with the dwell times-I agree.

Plenty of people get on and off of Amtrak trains at Rhinecliff and Hudson. Many people who get off in Rhinecliff are probably heading to Rhinebeck, Northern Dutchess County communities, as well as Kingston. People are probably heading to the Catskills, especially if their destination is along Rt. 28. As for Hudson, the station doesn't just serve the city of Hudson well. You have people heading to the Northwestern part of the Catskills, many towns in Columbia County like Chatham, as well as Western Mass. My family and I have friends who live in Great Barrington, and when they are visiting their son in Bethesda, they take Amtrak from Hudson to NYP to connect to the NEC.

The two hour and twenty five minute running time between NYP and ALB is pretty good. It matches that of driving. Of course, when people get off their train across the river from Albany in Rennselaer, many of them aren't actually only heading to Albany. There are people that are heading to Saratoga Spring, even though two Amtrak trains serve there but the ride on Amtrak to and from Saratoga is a bit slow north of Schenectady. You could have people heading to another suburb of Albany. There are people who may be heading to Southwestern Vermont as well as part of the Berkshires.

That's not a bad idea of having another Hudson, NY Station but much closer to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Is there a lot of undeveloped wooded areas near where the Rip Van Winkle Bridge goes over the tracks? I see wooded areas on maps. There would have to be an access road from very close to where the bridge is in the Hudson side to where this park n ride lot station would be if it ever gets built. I do agree that it would reduce travel time for those people who are coming from Olana, part of the Catskills, and Rt. 9. It's whatever NY State wants to do since the Amtrak Empire Corridor is a state funded service.
  by cle
I could easily demand for more trains up the core route to Albany, especially post Covid as the Hudson Valley and upstate grow in popularity. Soho House are opening at Rhinebeck too! :)

A second tph might also call at Beacon and be an Albany terminator, whereas everything north of Albany could miss Beacon as today, but possibly also Yonkers and Croton - and speed up the longer distance services, as per this thread!
  by Jeff Smith
If you ask me, if Cuomo wants this line to be upgraded, he should involve Brightline/Virgin. Freight separation west of Albany would be an issue, of course, and MNRR's share of the ROW. Now, if you brought it down the NYS Thruway ROW, and used the TZB median, you eliminate a lot of the issues.
  by Railjunkie
From south to north

Peekskill I dont know how or where one would straighten that curve without either going through the park or skipping Peekskill all together

The three tunnels in the highlands AKA little middle and big (Ft Montgomery) I dont see anything happening there. Why because A its on a shelf and B its also some of the deepest
water on the Hudson. MNRR spent a boat load of money a few years back to secure the one section that was starting pull away.

RHI, ever wonder why the platform only has a partial canopy? I ll tell ya Conrail started to remove it and the Cliffers pitched a fit. Something to do with the historical nature of the building

HUD its on the national registry of Historic buildings I wouldn't even begin to think of the paper work needed to put in high level platforms. Amtrak already had a bit of an issue when they shot crete the rock wall north of the station to keep it from sliding onto the ROW
  by njtmnrrbuff
Metro North will never relocate their Hudson Line out of Peekskill. Even if they relocate their tracks elsewhere in Peekskill, that won't save much travel time. It's very hilly once you walk away from the Hudson River and MNR Hudson Line right of way.

Fort Montgomery is on the west shore of the Hudson, not on the same side of the river where MNR and Amtrak run on. The first two tunnels along the Hudson Line aren't meant for having the trains go super fast. The tunnels at Breakneck Ridge are a different story but even there, I think that the trains are limited to 80 mph. That's still pretty fast.

I don't think it should be super tough to build high level platforms at Hudson Station. Yes, the station is listed on the registry of historical buildings. There have been plenty of train stations listed on the registry of historical buildings that have been converted to high level platforms. Kingston, RI Station, I think is an example. Back to Hudson Station-there is a little bit of a curve where the current platforms are but I don't think it should be much of an issue. Probably the best choice would be to realign the middle track at Hudson Station. In other words, move it a little closer to where the outermost track is that's closest to the station building so that way, a center island platform can be built. If the center island high level platform doesn't work, then I would add two side high level platforms and just eliminate the track closest to the station building. This track, I don't think, is active. Of course, the two side high level platform option should also involve building a pedestrian underpass to get between the two tracks.

Rhinecliff is definately a historical station but it needs a very serious upgrade.
  by NaugyRR
Railjunkie wrote: Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:22 am RHI, ever wonder why the platform only has a partial canopy? I ll tell ya Conrail started to remove it and the Cliffers pitched a fit. Something to do with the historical nature of the building
That kills me; I'm all for saving historical buildings and land preservation, but at some point safety and efficiency need to allow common sense to prevail. The last time I was there the damn stairs on the north end of the platform shake and rattle as you climb up, and they have netting on the ceiling once you're inside the overpass. The inside of the station house is gorgeous and certainly has a very nostalgic vibe, but you go out to the platform and it's just worn down; the concrete on the platform is cracking, the old posts for the canopy section that was removed look like hell, the lighting is dim and gloomy, the wooden benches are short and uncomfortable.I think if I had to look down at the damn thing everyday I'd rather see something redone and cared for than letting it to rot in the name of preservation. Put some high levels in, rebuild the canopy (full length) to look old but with some LED lighting, and call it a day.

And icing on the cake... with high levels, idiots that stand too close to the edge of the platform when there's three feet of snow on the ground won't get blasted as bad and accuse the railroad for it, haha.
  by Pensyfan19
Another thing to be taken into consideration is to restore the two tracks which were pulled up so that the Empire Corridor (one of the busiest passenger and freight corridors in the U.S.) would have four tracks after Croton Harmon all the way to Buffalo, or even Chicago. This way you have room for Amtrak, high speed express services, and CSX freights all on the same efficient water level route.
  by njtmnrrbuff
I think first, NY State should work on upgrading Rhinecliff Station since it seems like that has a lot deficient infrastructure. The steps have to be improved and if the canopy is in poor shape, it should be either worked on or replaced. If it can be upgraded while being raised to make room for a center island high level platform, that would be nice. The more the stairwell, station platform, and canopy at Rhinecliff rots away, then the more of a chance that somebody could get seriously hurt or even killed walking up and down those steps there. This could cause more people to not use Rhinecliff Station. In fact, many people who live around there will drive to Poughkeepsie to take Metro North when heading into NYC.

Don't count on MNR bringing those two additional tracks back to their line. It would be nice. Wherever the right of way runs right along the banks is tough to add more tracks. Maybe in other spots of the Hudson Line, a third track could be brought back. Maybe have the track closest to the river at Peekskill Station reactivated for revenue trains and then add a new interlocking just north of the station before the tracks start to run along the banks of the river again. North of Peekskill, the right of way is probably best to remain two tracks until just north of the village of Cold Spring where three can begin and remain that way for the duration of the trip to Poughkeepsie. I think those two short tunnels between Peekskill and Manitou are probably too narrow to have a third track. There is water on almost both sides of the two tracks. Another idea that I had is have the third track start up again in Garrison and remain that way until Poughkeepsie. One of the issues with this is in Cold Spring, some walkways including the one that takes people from the MNR Station to the village would need to be moved. The restaurant along the tracks too might have to have some of its property moved a little more inward.
Pensyfan19 wrote: Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:39 pm Another thing to be taken into consideration is to restore the two tracks which were pulled up so that the Empire Corridor (one of the busiest passenger and freight corridors in the U.S.) would have four tracks after Croton Harmon all the way to Buffalo, or even Chicago. This way you have room for Amtrak, high speed express services, and CSX freights all on the same efficient water level route.
PF: The reduction from 4 to 2 tracks between Albany and Buffalo
was a New York Central project in the 1960s under President Al Perlman
removing the two "passenger" mains with the reduction in NYC Empire
Services. At that point CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) was installed on
the double track route with periodic crossovers. Another prime reason
for the reduction in tracks was to save money on NYS property taxes.

Some track segments south of Albany were reduced from 4 to 2
during those years where applicable.

Somewhere else in this or the CSX Forums is a mention of a proposal to
reduce to a single track route with second track segments or sidings.
Reducing the Albany-Buffalo tracks should be strongly opposed and
in that case NYS DOT should insure that this never happens...MACTRAXX
  by Gilbert B Norman
Lest we forget, Mr. MACTRAX, two of those four NYC tracks were designated "passenger only". Perlman wanted "out" as soon as he was on the property; why maintain plant for a business we have no use for?

But the four track "right of way" remains; if a Federal or State agency can come up with the $$$$, I'm sure CSX will come to the table.

UP "came" with Utah transit. $$$ talks.
  by njtmnrrbuff
The real test for bringing down travel times on Amtrak trains in Upstate NY is west of Schenectady. It doesn't have to be European style high speed but the goal should be 110 mph. Maybe in the short term, CSX should seriously consider looking at points along the Water Level route where speed restrictions can be removed. Btw, the Livingston Avenue Bridge is supposed to be replaced down the road. INext, the second track should be built between Schenectady and Hoffmans and then triple track the Water Level Route for the rest of the route westward. More of the stations west of Albany should get high level platforms and some of them need to have platforms on both sides of the right of way like Syracuse.
  by Greg Moore
Some comments (and mostly going on memory)
2:25 running time: Amtrak seems to have removed their actual schedules so going to their site shows schedules ranging from 2:25->2:40
I remember when 2:20 was far more common. And as I've noticed in the past, I've seen it done (Friday last train NB) in 2:10 with a 10 minute wait at POU.

Some of it is simply working with MNRR on scheduling, signaling and block sizes. There's some other work. But, we need to get back to what used to be more common.

As for 4 - tracks west of Albany
Not going to happen. CSX has made it clear that they want a minimum spacing from their existing 2 tracks that would limit room for ONE additional track. But, given the number of passenger trains, that should still work.

The other issue as I understand it is that in some cases however, the room available isn't on the same side as the existing stations, etc which would require crossing over for boarding and unboarding.

So it's not quite as simple as "let's build 2 new tracks and we're all set".
  by njtmnrrbuff
The travel times on select trains between NYP and ALB have been lengthened by 10-15 minutes to account for Metro North infrastructural work. Four tracks west of Albany is likely overkill. While CSX may run many trains across Upstate NY on the stretch of the Water Level Route shared with Amtrak trains west of Hoffmans, it's not like we are talking about a super busy commuter rail route. In Virginia along the CSX Former RF&P, there has been a third track added in spots and more will be added in the next 10 years to help accommodate a close to hourly Amtrak schedule as well as more VRE commuter trains, thanks to the Commonwealth of VA taking over ownership of the CSX Line. Back to NY State, three tracks with the current number of CSX trains would probably help provide flexibility for Amtrak trains. It looks like a side platform would have to be added at the Rome Amtrak Station. I know that there is presently a center island platform there but if a third track ever gets built, having both platforms would be beneficial for train flexibility. The same think would hold true for Rochester Station as well.
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