All Things Portal Bridge: Amtrak and NJT Status and Replacement Discussion

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EuroStar
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by EuroStar » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:36 am

Ground has been broken on the Portal Bridge replacement https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/ ... 759758001/. This must be for the work platform and utility relocation. To the best of my knowledge the bridge is still not fully funded.

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JamesRR
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by JamesRR » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:26 am

To be clear, the first phase is just a two track replacement bridge, higher up than the current one?? Then another will join it (eventually)?

Woody
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by Woody » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:47 pm

Yes. You got it.

andrewjw
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by andrewjw » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:55 am

Yes, but a two track, high speed, fixed span without risk of going out of service in between two-track main lines replacing the existing bridge will provide much more relative to current than the second fixed bridge will relative to the first, at least until Gateway is completed.

EuroStar
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by EuroStar » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:10 am

While Portal Bridge South is not likely to materialize any time soon, its relative benefit is much underappreciated. A second bridge plus two more tracks from there to Swift interlocking will provide significant relief to the train interleaving problems caused at the junction where Midtown Direct trains merge onto the NEC.

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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:31 am

Also, 90 MPH speed limit on the new span vs. 25 or whatever it is now.

andrewjw
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by andrewjw » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:59 pm

Not to be pedantic, but I did say "high speed"

east point
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by east point » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:27 am

EuroStar wrote:While Portal Bridge South is not likely to materialize any time soon, its relative benefit is much underappreciated. A second bridge plus two more tracks from there to Swift interlocking will provide significant relief to the train interleaving problems caused at the junction where Midtown Direct trains merge onto the NEC.
More importantly is what Amtrak plans to do with the present swing bridge. If kept then the 4 track improvement reliabilities would be acquired. Even though the possibility of the swing bridge failing is always there. Plus the unlikely event that the North Portal bridge has to have some unanticipated work. Two separate bridges even with one problematic seems to be the plans elsewhere. Note MNRR's Walk bridge and Cos Cob bridges will be two separate 2 track bridges instead of the single 4 track bridges. Already the Susquehanna bridge replacement is planed to be two separate 2 track bridges.

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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by EuroStar » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:36 am

While I am an advocate for keeping the existing two track bridge in addition to the new two track north bridge until the second fixed south span could be built, I do not believe that this is in the cards as per the public information I have seen. Unless more tracks are added at least up to Swift interlocking, the benefit of four tracks over the river is nil given that Secaucus Junction was built without sufficient foresight and on its west side it is and will remain a three track station (in spite of the four platform tracks) unless an expensive reconstruction of the viaduct is done to add a fourth track between Secaucus and the river. I do not believe that this is in the cards because if you read the Hudson River Tunnel DEIS carefully between the lines, it is obvious that Amtrak wants to bypass Secaucus station on the south when the area is quadtracked. If you are not going to build four tracks between the station and the river or between the river and Swift, you might as well demolish the existing movable span as there will be no current use for it. Neglecting it for 20 years and then coming back to it once the rest of Gateway in ready to be built is a no-go as the bridge will need to pass the same modern requirements applicable to a new bridge. It will be cheaper to just build the new south bridge.

east point
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by east point » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:42 pm

But Gateway project does include the 4 tracking.

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JamesRR
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by JamesRR » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:48 am

Yes. 4 tracks through that area, + the two new tunnels + the Penn South tracks are all Gateway.

east point
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by east point » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:47 pm

east point wrote:But Gateway project does include the 4 tracking.
The Gateway project consists of many separate independent items. The order of which item occurs is subject to various funding and political pushes but here is a tentative "MAYBE" order.
1. The west side tunnel boxes ( 2 separate contracts under construction).
2. North Portal bridge.
3. Track and tunnel construction of the 2 new North river tunnel bores. Once in operation then item 4 is needed.
3a. Rebuilding of present North river bores one at a time. Once both bores and items 4 & 5 completed will be needed for maximum capacity.
4. 4 tracking including all necessary crossovers at the track joining NEC, Portal bridges, and Newark Penn from where new tunnel tracks will join present 2 MT NEC to the Newark Penn station. This project would have no use until Portal north is complete. Includes improving the Mid=town direct connection to allow
5. Penn south station work started and completed.
6. Portal south bridge started and completed including all track work.
7. Demolition of current Portal swing bridge.
8. Secaucus loop connection to NEC not needed until new bores complete and Penn south complete.
9. Extra tracks and platform at Secaucus.
10. Rebuilding Dock drawbridge ( just east of Newark Penn )
All these projects will by the nature of their many years construction may overlap.
Not in the Gateway program but planned far in the future is the addition of East river tunnel bores 5 & 6connecting to all Penn south tracks and maybe NYP tracks 1-6 (?) to allow better access to Sunnyside and Hell Gate route.

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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:08 pm

I don't think Secaucus Loop is needed at all. From the time that the train passes the upper level platforms and to the time that it stops on the lower level, it would probably take just as much time to go up the escalators into the station building and go back down to the basement. What would be nice is that if there were elevators, steps, and escalators going from the upper level platforms to the lower level. Also bear in mind that the majority of towns in Bergen County, especially along the Pascack Valley Line have very good bus service to the city. Even in Ridgewood, the 163 bus runs multiple buses an hour between there and NYC. The 165 bus has very good service, even on the weekends.

east point
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by east point » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:48 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:I don't think Secaucus Loop is needed at all. .
That has always been a concern of many. Believe the NJT concept is to fill in NYP capacity and relieve Hoboken. But that sounds very hollow ?

EuroStar
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Re: NEC Portal Bridge Thread - Operation, Replacement Etc.

Post by EuroStar » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:41 am

The major reason why the loop is there is because people hate switching vehicles during their commute. If there was no switch the demand would be about 20% more than its current levels. There are enough people who find the going up and down escalators and stairs unappealing. That coupled with getting on an overfull rush hour NEC train, is enough to turn enough people off and direct them to another mode of transportation. Another problem is that NJT does not stop enough trains at Secaucus. It is quite irritating to have a couple of M&E trains pass by without stopping while stuck waiting for 15-20 minutes for a delayed and already packed NEC train to take you to NYP. The loop will actually cut about 10 minutes of total commute time for most Bergen commuters.

The one thing that is really messed up with the bus is that the fare is lower even for the same distance, for example Ridgewood to NYC. The lower fare plus the direct, no vehicle change, route is what is keeping the bus ridership relatively high and train ridership suppressed.

There is no intention to relieve Hoboken. Hoboken relief is coming via the new 6 platform tracks that will be built on the filled up Long Slip canal.

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