WoH Port Jervis Line Service, Studies, Work, Status

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

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jmp883
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Post by jmp883 » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:19 am

As a former train dispatcher trainee on the NJT Mainline I'm glad to hear the signal work is done. I trained on the Mainline desk during most of 2002. That was when the dispatch office was still in Hoboken. Now that the train dispatchers are at the R.O.C. in Kearny a good friend of mine who still works there has told me that the signal situation west of Suffern is a thing of the past.

When I worked there this is how things worked: east of Suffern you'd select the route, pull the signals, and the model board would almost immediately reflect what you just did. West of Suffern was a different story entirely. On average it would take 1-3 minutes after selecting the route and signals before you'd see the model board show that the route was set and that the signals were in. Quite often it would take up to 5 minutes, and once it took us almost 20 minutes to get the switches and signals to come in at Harriman to allow local freight HO-8 to go into the siding to clear up for one of our commuter trains.

It was one heck of a way to operate a railroad! :-D
Joe P, KC2PJL

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nick11a
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Post by nick11a » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:44 am

Really, that's fascinating. Sounds like the "good ol' days."
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Steve F45
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Post by Steve F45 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:08 am

Nyterider wrote:A related question: What's the prognosis for NS traffic on this line in the future? They've essentially sold the Port Jervis line to Metro-North. I just hope the Southern Tier between Port Jervis and Binghamton doesn't become an abandonment candidate. :( If I really need to post this under Norfolk Southern, just give me a holler.



Doesn't NYS&W use the track west of port jervis? also would it be difficult to double track the line north of ny/nj border?

jmp883
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Post by jmp883 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:09 am

2005Vdub wrote:

Doesn't NYS&W use the track west of port jervis? also would it be difficult to double track the line north of ny/nj border?


Delaware Otsego, parent company of the NYS&W, does operate on the Tier from Binghamton east, I believe it's their CNY operation. I'm not sure of the train frequency or any other details, but I'm sure someone here can fill in those details.

The idea of double-tracking the Tier between Suffern and Binghamton has always been an interesting one. Between Suffern and Port Jervis the roadbed is in excellent condition. That's amazing since the line was single-tracked at least 10-15 years ago, if not longer than that. Of course using the roadbed as an access road for railroad maintenance vehicles doesn't hurt. If I recall correctly from my short time on NJT the double-track roadbed is fully intact all the way from Suffern to Port Jervis, with several passing sidings along the way. Since the line west of Suffern runs through predominately rural area there are very few properties, if any, that have encroached on the line. Even though NJT/MNRR have increased the frequency of trains to and from Port I still don't think there is a need for double track at this time. The laying of the 2nd track shouldn't require any property acquisition, and I don't think it would have any additional impact on the current residents. Of course that does not take into account the NIMBY factor. NIMBY's will always find something to complain about, no matter how idiotic or inconsequential that thing may be.

I've never been on the line west of Port Jervis so I don't know its condition. Train frequency is much less than what it is east of Port so even if the roadbed is still in good enough shape to allow for the 2nd track to be relaid I don't think it will ever happen.

I'd love to see the line come back....I just don't think it'll happen in my lifetime.
Joe P, KC2PJL

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Steve F45
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Post by Steve F45 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:33 am

Sounds like a crazy idea, but besides binghamton are there any "larger towns"? Would it be worth while to even extend passenger service that far?

jmp883
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Post by jmp883 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:13 pm

That's a question that's been posted here before. The answer to extending passenger service beyond Port Jervis is no. Between Port and Binghamton the villages along the line are rural towns with relatively small populations compared to the towns east of Port Jervis. Even if you were to run an express service between Port and Binghamton with limited, or no, stops I still don't think you'd make enough money to support the service.

20-25 years from now, depending on how the area grows, it might become a viable option, but not for the foreseeable future.
Joe P, KC2PJL

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njt/mnrrbuff
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Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:23 pm

Trust me, while the PJL goes through rural areas, it doesn't mean that homes are not being built. More and more people are moving to that area from ither the city or surrounding areas. They still work in the city and make that commute. Hopefully train service will continue to improve on that line but I think it will. DO NOT expect any service to Bingo. Bingo is too far for commuter rail service from NYC to go.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:52 pm

In my 1952 OG, the Erie Limited took 5 hours 15 min between Jersey City and Binghamton. (I assume it did not take the Graham Line.) If the railroad were to be rehabbed, it is hard to see that service to Bingo would take less than 5 hours at best. The railroad is very curvy. Straightening the curves would be prohibitively expensive. So the train would be much slower than Short Line Bus, which does the trip in around 3.5 hours.

jmp883
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Post by jmp883 » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:47 am

Njt/mnrrbuff and Joe G both make some very valid points. Viable, money-making train service between Binghamton and Port Jervis is not likely to happen anytime soon, if ever in our lifetimes.

There is one option that MIGHT work....some type of railfan excursion or dinner train. The line between Binghamton and Port is very scenic and would be an enjoyable way to spend several hours. Trains could be alternated between dinner trains and more railfan-oriented excursions with photo stops along the way. Facilities could be built in both Binghamton and Port Jervis (or even Susquehanna) on old rail yard land.

Understand that I said it MIGHT work because there are too many factors that would need to come into perfect alignment for the concept to work at all. I'll be seen whistling Dixie, kissing my own vertical smile, while standing in Macy's window at Christmastime before we'll see any passenger service between Bingo and Port.

But....it is fun to dream and wonder what could be, or what could've been :-D .

Catch you all on the BUOI (Buffs Using Overactive Imaginations)!
Joe P, KC2PJL

Charter Member of the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club, NJ Chapter 15
Amateur radio....the only REAL radio left in the world.
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Steve F45
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Post by Steve F45 » Sun Mar 26, 2006 6:52 am

JMP, i think that would be great too. I mean there's only so much you can see in NJ. I'de love for a excursion like that.

A few during the spring/summer and maybe more frequent ones during the fall for the folliage.


Oh and on a side note, to bad they couldn't reconnect the PVL to the PJ line in suffern. With them double tracking...i mean installing "passing" tracks on the pvl im looking forward to some sort of weekend service in both directions. The PVl is a nice ride especially during the fall.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:26 am

The line between Suffern and Spring Valley could be rehabbed easily. The only thing holding it up is NIMBYs, who are very powerful in Rockland.

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Post by nick11a » Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:45 pm

JoeG wrote:The line between Suffern and Spring Valley could be rehabbed easily. The only thing holding it up is NIMBYs, who are very powerful in Rockland.


Having this line might prove to be very valuable in case they have equipment trouble in Spring Valley or need to get equipment from one yard to another.
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njt/mnrrbuff
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Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:34 pm

I doublt that reavtivating the row will occur all the way from Spring Valley. That will invite more freight traffic as well on the PVL.

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Post by Penn Central » Sun Mar 26, 2006 3:24 pm

I talked to Peter Stangel shortly after Metro-North was formed in 1983. He wanted to eliminate the yard in Spring Valley and extend the Pascack Valley Line service to Suffern. It made so much sense but homeowners along the route turned out to protest at a public meeting and the idea was dropped.

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Post by nick11a » Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:15 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:I doublt that reavtivating the row will occur all the way from Spring Valley. That will invite more freight traffic as well on the PVL.


Yes, and of course, the Pascack Valley Line has way too many through trains as it as (as the NIMBY's would have you to believe.) I don't know about you, but when 11J passes through downtown and blocks the umpteemillion crossings, it really ticks me off! :wink:
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