Aldene Connection - Double Track?

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Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Tadman » Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:46 pm

I recently read that the Aldene Connection is single track yet graded for double track. Is there ever going to be a need for this? If I recall, CNJ was four tracks through here at one time.

I ask because here in Chicago, a number of once-double track interchanges were single tracked in the rough years when it appeared trains were never really going to be viable again. Now, traffic is so heavy that double track is being reinstated at some once again busy interlockers.

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Backshophoss » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:05 am

When Aldene was set up,CNJ was not in the greatest of shape back then,and wanted out of Jersey City Terminal,
the "ramp" was set up for double track but only 1 track was built.
Not sure how Hunter was set up back then,but there was some running against WB traffic there,
for trains on/off the Raritan Line,it's a choke point.
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by TrainPhotos » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:37 am

Might need a 3rd track to the west to eliminate traffic conflicts?
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:47 am

Backshophoss wrote:When Aldene was set up,CNJ was not in the greatest of shape back then,and wanted out of Jersey City Terminal,
the "ramp" was set up for double track but only 1 track was built.
Not sure how Hunter was set up back then,but there was some running against WB traffic there,
for trains on/off the Raritan Line,it's a choke point.

Hunter was set up to allow a single track connection from NK to reach all tracks heading to NWK. Even 4 track was 261 to Dock to accommodate "left hand" operation into NWK. However, it was slow move. So, even if you had doubled tracked the Aldene ramp, you're still going to hit a choke point.

Even today, with higher speeds diverting at NK, a holding track between High and Hunter and higher speeds diverging at Hunter and CLiff interlocking between Hunter and Dock, you still have a single track between what is High and NK.

At this stage of the game, I still don't see the need to to double track the Aldene ramp. The ramp is not that long. Even if an actual meet occurred there ( I have seen meets occur by Roselle so it is possible), how long is the wait? Is Conrail going to allow use of both tracks on their rails outside of rush hour? The reason I ask is because I've seen examples of Conrail SA pushing against Amtrak when they tried to send a westbound on the Lehigh Line with an Eastbound around Union. They didn't want the westbound. They wanted the eastbound to clear so the could send the westbound on the same track. Since Conrail SA refused to turn the traffic to allow for the westbound move, there was nothing left to do except sit there and wait it out for 7 minutes.
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by EuroStar » Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:06 am

TrainPhotos wrote:Might need a 3rd track to the west to eliminate traffic conflicts?
That is not happening for a long long time. There are a few bridges that allow only for 2 tracks now (because the bridge is 2 tracks or a station is ploped right in the middle so that the existing space for another track on the bridge cannot be used), so adding a third track is a very expensive proposition, possibly on the order of a billion dollars when everything is said and done. NJtransit does not have that money sitting around and the Conrail traffic is not enough to justify Conrail paying for another track.

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Literalman » Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:51 am

The NJ State Rail Plan (http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/NJStateRailPlan.pdf) lists Lehigh Line Improvements: Third track, ultimate fourth track, and signal modifications between CP Aldene Interlocking and Hunter Interlocking, though these improvements are listed under "Potential Long-Term Projects."
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Zeke » Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:27 am

The Aldene plan came to be because the Port Authority needed land the CNJ owned in lower Manhattan to construct the ill fated World Trade towers. The CNJ wanted out of Jersey city terminal and the costly marine ferry operation.The politicos began arm twisting the PRR to get the PRR controlled LV to accommodate the CNJ commuter trains by modifying its New York division main line between Aldene and Hunter.

The Aldene ramp was scheduled to be a double track ramp from it's inception but a CNJ official was caught embezzling the monies. Disregarding the theft, the whole project was over budget and the CNJ-LV partners made do with a single track.

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Tadman » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:09 am

So CNJ actually owned the land that WTC is built on? Was it their Manhattan ferry terminal? Interesting, thanks!

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by nick11a » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:17 am

Zeke wrote:The Aldene plan came to be because the Port Authority needed land the CNJ owned in lower Manhattan to construct the ill fated World Trade towers. The CNJ wanted out of Jersey city terminal and the costly marine ferry operation.The politicos began arm twisting the PRR to get the PRR controlled LV to accommodate the CNJ commuter trains by modifying its New York division main line between Aldene and Hunter.

The Aldene ramp was scheduled to be a double track ramp from it's inception but a CNJ official was caught embezzling the monies. Disregarding the theft, the whole project was over budget and the CNJ-LV partners made do with a single track.
Thanks Zeke. Cool stuff. Weird how the inactions of one man embezzling money shaped the future of the railroad for many years to come.
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Zeke » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:43 am

Your welcome Nick. Not to get to far off topic IIRC aside from the Barclay street CNJ ferry terminal there were two parcels around the WTC site that were owned by the CNJ. Around 1981 NJ DOT received a proposal from Conrail to sell the Lehigh line from Aldene to NK to the state. NJ Governor Brendan Byrne, who was a notoriously short sighted cheapskate pol when it came to state commuter rail, nixed the proposal. Boy do NJT rail ops ever wish that deal went through. After the Conrail 1999 Lehigh Line sale to NS and CSX they really wouldn't give NJT the time of day. Back in 2001 NJT wanted to double track the Aldene ramp and gave CSAO a sweetheart deal on the cost. CSX was up for it but the ever prickly suits on NS nixed it.

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by pumpers » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:53 pm

Zeke wrote:Around 1981 NJ DOT received a proposal from Conrail to sell the Lehigh line from Aldene to NK to the state. NJ Governor Brendan Byrne, who was a notoriously short sighted cheapskate pol when it came to state commuter rail, nixed the proposal. .
Conrail was well known for trying to get rid of lines that weren't absolutely key to them to save $$ , but it is hard to understand why they would want to get rid of that part of the old LV main - it is a key stretch to connect their lines from northern NJ going west (ex Lehigh and Reading) with their main line going north (NYC river line )... Today I bet NS and CSX are glad that they still control it.
JS

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by nick11a » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:42 pm

Zeke wrote:Your welcome Nick. Not to get to far off topic IIRC aside from the Barclay street CNJ ferry terminal there were two parcels around the WTC site that were owned by the CNJ. Around 1981 NJ DOT received a proposal from Conrail to sell the Lehigh line from Aldene to NK to the state. NJ Governor Brendan Byrne, who was a notoriously short sighted cheapskate pol when it came to state commuter rail, nixed the proposal. Boy do NJT rail ops ever wish that deal went through. After the Conrail 1999 Lehigh Line sale to NS and CSX they really wouldn't give NJT the time of day. Back in 2001 NJT wanted to double track the Aldene ramp and gave CSAO a sweetheart deal on the cost. CSX was up for it but the ever prickly suits on NS nixed it.
Ha, once again, it goes to show you never know what the future holds.

Since we're talking about the Aldene Connection, I've got questions about signaling. Coming off of the Lehigh to the NEC, what is the normal signal you get when the tracks are good and clear? Medium Approach Medium?

And lastly, when coming off of the NEC onto the Lehigh, what is the normal signal that you get? In my few westbound trips from the view of the passenger seat, I've only seen an Approach displayed here.
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Ken W2KB » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:48 pm

Zeke wrote:Your welcome Nick. Not to get to far off topic IIRC aside from the Barclay street CNJ ferry terminal there were two parcels around the WTC site that were owned by the CNJ. Around 1981 NJ DOT received a proposal from Conrail to sell the Lehigh line from Aldene to NK to the state. NJ Governor Brendan Byrne, who was a notoriously short sighted cheapskate pol when it came to state commuter rail, nixed the proposal. Boy do NJT rail ops ever wish that deal went through. After the Conrail 1999 Lehigh Line sale to NS and CSX they really wouldn't give NJT the time of day. Back in 2001 NJT wanted to double track the Aldene ramp and gave CSAO a sweetheart deal on the cost. CSX was up for it but the ever prickly suits on NS nixed it.
Couple corrections. The Barclay Street ferry was the Lackawanna. CNJ was three or four blocks to the south at Liberty Street. The Liberty Street terminal was considerably to the west of the WTC site and did not need to be acquired for the WTC. The other CNJ property your mention, office building east of West Street (West Side Highway), was needed, but that did not impact the ferry operation in any way.

The two primary reasons the Port Authority, in cooperation with the Coast Guard, wanted to end CNJ ferry service was (1) the ultimate expectation that the Bayonne - Cranford shuttle could be eventually abandoned and the Newark Bay Draw removed to allow larger ships to utilize the Port Authority's Ports Newark and Elizabeth, and (2) to have a massive infusion of PATH riders from the CNJ trains terminating in Newark help stem the massive deficit. I've seen Port Authority ads that touted how the Port was able to improve PATH and substantially increase ridership as a result - never mentioning that most of the PATH ridership increase was due to the elimination of the Lackawanna and CNJ ferries.
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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by Zeke » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:46 pm

Your right Ken due to advanced age I had Barclay street on the brain. I ought to know the CNJ ferry terminal was at Liberty and West St. I rode it as a lad a number of times before it came off. A CNJ official that had been busted down to Eport trainmaster by Conrail who had been close to the CNJ trustee IIRC Tympany told me they owned a property on Barclay street that eventually became the site of WTC 7.He was shunned by the NYC green team that took over Conrail day one but knew a ton of CNJ insider stuff and retired around 1978. His first name was Kenny but I cant remember his last name. Are we far enough off topic ? LOL

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Re: Aldene Connection - Double Track?

Post by TrainPhotos » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:01 pm

EuroStar wrote:
TrainPhotos wrote:Might need a 3rd track to the west to eliminate traffic conflicts?
That is not happening for a long long time. There are a few bridges that allow only for 2 tracks now (because the bridge is 2 tracks or a station is ploped right in the middle so that the existing space for another track on the bridge cannot be used), so adding a third track is a very expensive proposition, possibly on the order of a billion dollars when everything is said and done. NJtransit does not have that money sitting around and the Conrail traffic is not enough to justify Conrail paying for another track.
I was referring to a possible short stretch of 3rd track to eliminate conflicting moves. 3 tracking the whole line isn't needed at current traffic levels. If a west Trenton line were to start running, you'd definitely need a 3rd track, but that's an entirely different can of worms for a different thread...
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