• NEC Future: HSR "High Line", FRA, Amtrak Infrastructure Plan

  • 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 afiggatt
 
I've seen several links to newspaper articles today on Amtrak studying adding additional Hudson river tunnels. The NEC Master Plan was released last month, so either Amtrak or some other agency brought it to the attention of the media this week.

For a seriously ambitious $98 billion plan from University of Pennsylvania graduate students on upgrading the NEC, check the writeup today at the Transport Politic website http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2010 ... -corridor/. The PDF documents for the UPenn plan can be found at http://studio.design.upenn.edu/hsr/node/81. If people want a plan that goes east from NYP through Long Island out to Ronkonkoma, then tunnels under the Long Island Sound to New Haven and then follows an inland route to Boston, this is the plan for you! The re-route through downtown Baltimore may be the most viable although not likely to happen along the in-land new Haven - Boston route, but $98 billion for the whole thing is rather low.
  by mrsam
 
afiggatt wrote:If people want a plan that goes east from NYP through Long Island out to Ronkonkoma, then tunnels under the Long Island Sound to New Haven and then follows an inland route to Boston, this is the plan for you!
Ummm, yeah. What's the current price tag for the ARC tunnel? I think it's somewhere north of ten billion, for tunnelling just a couple of miles. And I'm asked to believe that digging under the LI sound, under what it looks on the map to be its widest point (and by eyeballing it really looks to be about hundred times longer than the tunnel under the Hudson) plus everything else that's in there, is going to cost only ten times more.

Setting aside the money angle, if it looks like it's going to take about three or four years to dig under the Hudson, I'd say that if we get started on this now, maybe in the year 2525 the first train will be ready for its inaugural run under the LI sound.

Can't wait.
  by afiggatt
 
mrsam wrote:Ummm, yeah. What's the current price tag for the ARC tunnel? I think it's somewhere north of ten billion, for tunnelling just a couple of miles. And I'm asked to believe that digging under the LI sound, under what it looks on the map to be its widest point (and by eyeballing it really looks to be about hundred times longer than the tunnel under the Hudson) plus everything else that's in there, is going to cost only ten times more.
The ARC aka the Mass Transit Tunnel project current $8.7 billion estimated cost is not just for the 2 tunnels under the Hudson, but also includes the excavation of a large cavern for the new station, acquisition of land and property in Manhattan for building the whole thing, then building out a deep underground station with access to NYP and the city above, and new access tracks & a yard in NJ. A tunnel under Long Island sound from the middle of the island would not encounter the problems of tunneling under modern Manhattan, but obviously would be a huge and expensive project. That part of the UPenn plan is a non-starter in my view.
  by strench707
 
Yeah also I couldn't tell if they planned to differ most trains up that way because if they did then they would miss Stamford and many people take Amtrak to there from the North and South.

Davis
  by orulz
 
strench707 wrote:Yeah also I couldn't tell if they planned to differ most trains up that way because if they did then they would miss Stamford and many people take Amtrak to there from the North and South.

Davis
First we must acknowledge that the UPenn plan is a pipe dream.

But regarding Stamford, the idea is, that the travel market between anywhere and Stamford is peanuts compared to the travel market between New York and Boston if the travel time could be decreased to 1hr 45min. The new line would bypass Providence as well, for example.

Nevertheless, Probably the UPenn plan could be implemented while keeping existing service levels through Stamford untouched.
  by Matt Johnson
 
I was on the NEC yesterday and was noticing how the catenary structures look rather neglected. I know that replacement will be a rather monumental undertaking, but I wonder how much longer the PRR-vintage catenary will last.
  by Greg Moore
 
nyrmetros wrote:Anyone think that NJT and Amtrak should have built a join tunnel system or no ?
Should have is past tense. Things still could change.

I think the options came down to:

"No new tunnel" <-- Not really an option, but I know some bureaucrats would have preferred the "no cost" answer.

"Current solution" <-- A lot less flexibility, but apparently politically feasible.

"THE" original tunnel, join Amtrak/NJ Transit tunnel with service into Penn Station. Ideal, but apparently money isn't there.

Of course the future plans now suggest such a tunnel anyway (in addition to the current solution) much further down the road. So we shall see.
  by 48toNYP
 
Assuming things remain as they are and NJT completes its project, and eventually Amtrak builds a new tunnel as well.
Which agency would be the more likely to push for the final piece of the puzzle for through running and connect with Grand Central? It seems Amtrak would want to be the one if for nothing else to protect its market share between CT and NJ (despite however marginal it may be)
  by mtuandrew
 
Why would Amtrak need a connection with NYG? They chose to abandon that station to Metro-North when they opened the West Side Connector from the tip of Manhattan to NYP. Metro-North would probably be the agency most interested in connecting Grand Central Terminal with Pennsylvania Station, but I'm not sure they'll ever be directly connected by heavy rail. Amtrak has NYP, NJ Transit is building its own NYP facility, Metro-North has NYG, and the Long Island RR is building a connector so it can use both NYP and NYG. The most I can imagine is that the MTA would build a direct subway connector, and even that is questionable.

Besides, as for protecting its own NJ to CT traffic, Amtrak doesn't have a real rail-based competitor. Anyone interested in traveling via commuter rail still has to get off at NYP and transfer via two subways to Grand Central.
  by JoshKarpoff
 
http://secondavenuesagas.com/2010/07/23 ... n-october/

Moynihan construction start in October
By Benjamin Kabak

After this week’s PACB approval, construction on Phase 1 of Moynihan Station will begin in October. With a tortured history that rivals many of New York City’s late-20th Century transit expansion plans, a firm start date for the project is good news indeed. Phase 1 is a $267-million expansion plan for Penn Station, and it is expected to be completed by 2016. When the $1.5-billion Phase 2 will get off the ground is anyone’s guess, but when the project is finally completed, New Yorkers will enjoy a much airier and roomier commuter rail hub, evocative of the old Penn Station. Issues concerning track capacity into and out of New York City will not be addressed.
So they're moving forward with the more useful part of the Moynihan Station project, the part where they add more station entrances, concourse space, as well as additonal stairways and elevators to the platforms. I can't remember whether the repurposing of the old "Mail Track" as the new LSL, Maple Leaf, Adirondack and Empire Service platform is under Phase 1 or Phase 2, but I hope that it gets done soon. To give these trains an additional platform of their own would be a major step forward in capacity.
  by zhaos
 
The upenn plan definitely dreams large. As someone who has lived in the Stony Brook University area, I cannot imagine a HSR line traveling up suburban, low-density Long Island from Ronkonkoma to Stony Brook University and then under the Sound. Perhaps you could build trackage along these power lines that run N-S (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= ... 1&t=h&z=15). But who on Long Island would support a disruptive line that brings little obvious benefit locally? Tunneling on Long Island also means digging into the island's precious aquifers. You can imagine important local interests all over the Northeast blocking nearly every part of the plan. Perhaps the penn study was only meant to show the limit of what is physically possible, for it is a political impossibility to realize such a plan.

Honestly, all Acela needs to be more successful is to have travel times low enough that taking a plane is not worthwhile between Washington and New York and New York and Washington. The northeast corridor unfortunately does not have much reserve capacity for further expansion and usage. Why not spend a few billion on upgrading the nation's internet lines and developing some awesome teleconferencing technology? For all we know, maybe that's the way the future will go, given that the Northeast will be stuck with its current infrastructure for quite some time.
  by NH2060
 
Given that Amtrak's proposed 220mph line wouldn't be fully operational until 2040 (assuming that it ever gets built) and that the proposal calls for improving and enhancing the existing Northeast Corridor service, wouldn't it make sense to just straighten those sections of the NEC (especially in CT) that have kept both the Regionals and the Acelas from achieving their full potential? For starters, the line between New Haven and the Rhode Island border has a decent amount of track that's good for 100mph+ operation and most of the route in Rhode Island and Massachusetts is good for 125-150mph operation. Straightening out and widening the sharpest (and the not-so-sharpest) of curves would require the relocation of homes, but (depending on the houses themselves) they could be moved to a new location, perhaps even the location that was once occupied by the existing ROW. How much this would cost is another story, of course. However, since the only real complaint (a legitimate at that) about the NEC is the fact that it's not fast enough, this wouldn't be a waste of money and would only help reduce trip times more and more. Plus, even after the new high speed NEC line is built in 2040 (or whenever it's finished) there will still be a strong demand for rail travel along the existing route.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I'd like to be first responder to what I will presume is a bona fide inquiry made by a young railfan.

There has been much discussion regarding the Not in my Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome at the forum; having grown up residing in Fairfield County, I know first hand the consternation that any proposal for the condemnation of private property will arouse. I can recall during the early 1950's how each proposed routing of "The Thruway' which became I-95 after tolls "paid for it" (surprise; somebody kept their word on that point). I can recall as a kid residing in Cos Cob at the time, my Mother and Father have heated "worried whispers" (the stuff kids weren't supposed to hear) to the effect of 'they'll put it right over the top of our house" (it is in fact some two miles away from 11 Mead Ave). I heard 'second hand' stories when "The Parkway' was built through 'Back Greenwich' and that pitted one wealthy neighbor against another - and that was back in the day when Robert Moses could part with concrete any locality he chose as if it were the Red Sea.

Unfair it may be, the power of the NIMBY's rises exponentially with the affluence of the affected region - need more be said about Southern Connecticut on that point?

In short, the existing NYNH&H right of way laid out first by livestock and indigenous people and then upon which landowner was or wasn't willing to sell to the railroad is what you got - and it is all you are going to get.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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