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 Paul1705
 
There was a light rail option on the table once. It didn't entirely use expressway medians; one part of it was, for example, on Route 59 in Rockland.

I'm not really surprised it wasn't approved. The service area had jobs and population, but not enough density - probably indefinitely - to support the line. White Plains is not big enough to anchor a light rail service.
  by NIMBYkiller
 
I just can't see rail conquering the terrain without massive capital investment, and the money would likely be better spent elsewhere where we'd get more bang for our buck. For Rockland<>Westchester<>Fairfield transportation, enhanced bus service (BRT/dedicated lanes) seems like the only reasonable answer. However, I'd be remiss to ignore the desire to connect Rockland/Orange with Manhattan. PABT and the XBL are both maxed out, and the plan to simply expand or build a larger PABT are just band-aid solutions that don't address the problem at its root cause, that being the sheer volume of people riding in. It would be worth it to study the daily ridership into the PABT or even on all routes using the XBL (since many just go onto local streets rather than into the PABT) to see which have passenger volumes that would justify replacing them with commuter rail service. I'm willing to bet a lot of Hoboken division routes (PVL, Bergen/Main, Port Jervis) and areas along rail lines that don't have any commuter rail are heavy contributors and could justify direct commuter rail into Manhattan. Gateway doesn't solve it without the Secaucus loop, and even then Gateway would probably get maxed out with beefing up the existing Amtrak/Midtown Direct/NEC/NJCL/RVL services, so no space for the Hoboken division stuff (and that's assuming the necessary Penn South completion as well). That being said, what about using the old Edgewater tunnel as a lead to start diving down into a new tunnel that would hook into the Empire Connection? With Penn South, space could perhaps be freed up on the existing NYP tracks 1-5 for WOH services. The limiting factor here would be the single track connection from 42ndish St to NYP (could a second track be strung under all the new Hudson Yards development?).

To the ones that will automatically say no, we can't build another tunnel, the only response I have is what other choice is there to get the job done? Our infrastructure expansion has not kept up with our regions growth, so now we're stuck scrambling to get everything done all at once in order to catch up.
  by JoeG
 
If we are dreaming, lets resurrect Gustav Lindenthal's plan for a massive bridge from W 57 St to Hoboken. The bridge would have held 12 railroad tracks and 24 traffic lanes. Construction was briefly started but done in by the panic of 1893. Lindenthal later designed Hell Gate Bridge.
  by Paul1705
 
JoeG wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:46 pm If we are dreaming, lets resurrect Gustav Lindenthal's plan for a massive bridge from W 57 St to Hoboken. The bridge would have held 12 railroad tracks and 24 traffic lanes. Construction was briefly started but done in by the panic of 1893. Lindenthal later designed Hell Gate Bridge.
There were later plans to build tunnels in that area. There was a plan for a North Jersey to Grand Central connection (I can't find it on-line right now) and a 1950s concept for a kind of super-Hudson Tubes loop that would have come in under 57th Street.

I guess we'll have to see how Gateway shakes out (if at all) and what future commuter patterns and traffic are. I've heard that the Port Authority is studying "after Gateway" cross-Hudson needs.
  by kitchin
 
Today it would be 6 tracks, bicycle, pedestrian and a winding garden half the width. Portland did a lesser version, and without the garden. Car-lovers did grumble.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Cuomo eschewed rail ostensibly to get the bridge done quickly using design/build . There is allegedly still the option to add rail later, but he has moved on to other pet projects. Now, with his political and legal troubles, the project could come back with another champion. Rockland and Orange have long insisted that they are short-changed, and it's hard to argue with them.

It would be expensive as hell to be sure; the Piermont option is out, and as noted upthread, the terrain is difficult. Of course, tunneling methods have become more efficient, and with design/build, it might not be prohibitively expensive. Drop the option for a direct track connection to the Hudson and the Harlem which would require takings and more tunneling/fly-overs, and it's even less so.

I think the real usefulness of the line is cross-Westchester anyway, particularly White Plains and Westchester Avenue. EoH, notwithstanding the pandemic, is at capacity into GCT anyway. Tie into the New Haven at Port Chester in the direction of Stamford, and provide for connections at Tarrytown and White Plains.
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:11 am It would be expensive as hell to be sure; the Piermont option is out, and as noted upthread, the terrain is difficult. Of course, tunneling methods have become more efficient, and with design/build, it might not be prohibitively expensive. Drop the option for a direct track connection to the Hudson and the Harlem which would require takings and more tunneling/fly-overs, and it's even less so.

I think the real usefulness of the line is cross-Westchester anyway, particularly White Plains and Westchester Avenue. EoH, notwithstanding the pandemic, is at capacity into GCT anyway. Tie into the New Haven at Port Chester in the direction of Stamford, and provide for connections at Tarrytown and White Plains.
A direct connection to the Harlem would be way less of an engineering challenge than the Hudson, for what it's worth. You wouldn't necessarily need to take land, either.

Assuming the line is on top of or next to I-287, you could build a connection that branches off at Exit 5, runs 2-3k feet on a viaduct over Tarrytown Road, crosses in front of the County Center, bridges the Bronx River and joins the Harlem just north of the White Plains station. A light rail operation wouldn't even need to be elevated-- you could just run down the Tarrytown Rd. median to a terminus next to the White Plains station.
  by Jeff Smith
 
It's definitely more doable than a connection to the Hudson, although you'd definitely need to triple-track that stretch down to Crestwood. Then there's the GCT/Park Avenue viaduct and tunnel capacity issues. I do think the connection would have to be closer to 287 though, to account for track curvature and elevation. Maybe bring it in between 287 and Randolph Rd? across old Kensico Rd and the BRP.

Light rail is something that's been forgotten about, but I just don't think it's a good fit for that distance and density. But within Westchester, I'd say LRT should be looked at.
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:37 pm It's definitely more doable than a connection to the Hudson, although you'd definitely need to triple-track that stretch down to Crestwood. Then there's the GCT/Park Avenue viaduct and tunnel capacity issues. I do think the connection would have to be closer to 287 though, to account for track curvature and elevation. Maybe bring it in between 287 and Randolph Rd? across old Kensico Rd and the BRP.
Bringing it in that way would involve knocking down part of a residential neighborhood on the top of the hill there. Going down Tarrytown Road keeps you on NYS-owned property. Also-- the Cross Westchester heads uphill after the Route 100/Tarrytown Rd. interchange to get onto the viaduct that carries it over the BRP, the Bronx River and the Harlem Division. Getting the tracks down to the level of the Harlem from there would be more, not less, difficult.

For what its worth, if any rail is ever built I highly doubt it will actually connect directly to the Harlem. Far more likely to just be a transfer point, if that.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I think at this time if we keep commuter/heavy rail, it would definitely require a viaduct, and come in behind the County Center somewhere. It would be silly not to have a track connection for inter-operability, but any revenue trains would need to replace some of the NWP originations. Then, they need a way to cross over White Plains to continue on down 287 and the "Platinum Mile". Meaning more viaducts, or tunnels. That would be rough.

At this point, better off doing LRT originating at Suffern, and transfer stations only.

Ah, to foam lol.
  by JoeG
 
When they had various public hearings before Prince Cuomo pushed through a bridge with no rail, Westchester didn't want rail. Westchester residents saw it as only benefitting Rockland. In Rockland, more residents wanted it but some didn't. in the rail plans, Airmont was to get an elevated station and residents didn't like that. Probably Monsey didn't want it.

The question is whether these anti-rail views have changed. If Biden's infrastructure plan were to pass, maybe there could be money for adding rail to the bridge. That would never happen without solid support from both sides of the river.
  by Jeff Smith
 
If they can find a way to efficiently get rail across, I'd be for it; the 287 corridor is a mess.

I just remembered a thought I had a long time ago about how to connect it without requiring awkward track connections at either WP or T'Town; run it down the old Put corridor, but on 87 in the median, not the former line now trail. Get it close enough to the park, and you could shoe-horn it in with a connection at the MOW stub. You could add a few stations in this way; perhaps this line could replace some Hudson Line trains running into NYP if that ever happens. Of course, if it's LRT, it's a connection at Marble Hill.

The line would essentially wye at the 87/287 junction in Elmsford, with the other line going on to WP and perhaps PC, where it would link up at the current PC station using the old NYW&B ROW. This could be an LRT transfer as well.
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:02 amI just remembered a thought I had a long time ago about how to connect it without requiring awkward track connections at either WP or T'Town; run it down the old Put corridor, but on 87 in the median, not the former line now trail. Get it close enough to the park, and you could shoe-horn it in with a connection at the MOW stub. You could add a few stations in this way; perhaps this line could replace some Hudson Line trains running into NYP if that ever happens. Of course, if it's LRT, it's a connection at Marble Hill.
It's an interesting idea. The problem is there's no median on I-87 through Westchester. The highway is 3 lanes in each direction with a Jersey barrier down the middle. And from Mile Square Rd. in Yonkers to the NY City line its in a trench. Remember the Thruway is pre-Interstate-- the part through Yonkers opened in 1956.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Yeah, I forgot 87 wasn't all that great. I've been in the South too long, with mostly expansive medians (a situation being remedied shortly). The old ROW is too narrow with too many at-grade crossings. They'd have to get creative on 87 with flyovers, viaducts, all that expensive stuff.
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