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 TDowling
A spur on a line that is hardly ever used is pretty ludicrous. I take it you are referring to the Stewart airport connection which is already served by ShortLine and the Port Authority.
  by EuroStar
There is no viable right of way to get to the airport from the existing tracks. Random developments have blocked any route that splits after Salisbury Mills/Cornwall. Good luck buying those out even if the topology is favorable for rail right of way. One can try using the I-87 right of way splitting from the existing route before Salisbury Mills/Cornwall, but in places the residential development seems so close to the highway that I doubt that there is enough width for the tracks and the eventual 3 lanes each way highway. Interestingly enough there is an existing rail freight spur ending just south of route 94 that might take you into the city of Newburgh, passing through New Windsor, that might actually provide some ridership to justify some investment. Most likely though the idea is to create a big parking lot at Stewart and count that as the Newburgh station. Even though that is Newburgh, I doubt there is any place for a big parking lot downtown.

For maximum bang on the buck, if the MTA is ever hoping to get any spur to Stewart, the yard should be south of the split of the rail right of way and the I-87 right of way. That unfortunately is east of substantial portion of the current ridership.
  by Ridgefielder
EuroStar wrote:Even though that is Newburgh, I doubt there is any place for a big parking lot downtown.
Downtown Newburgh got pretty much bombed-out by 1960's-vintage "urban renewal." There's probably room enough for all the parking you'd need.
  by CentralValleyRail
How many tracks do you really need? 2 or 3 at the most especially since you have the full yard in PJ already. 2 or 3 tracks can easily hold 4-6 trains. There is definitely some area in the Salisbury Mills area or just north of the Harriman Station. There is some demand from Middletown, Campbell Hall (not much). Salisbury Mills and South (East) is the heavy traffic. Goshen Area is full of old birds that will never pass a yard there.
  by njtmnrrbuff
While the consistent commuter patronage probably begins at the Middletown-Town of Walkill Station, it's still far enough to the west that more people living in Middletown and the surrounding communities probably use the bus when they go into the city. In fact, if you live in lets say Goshen and you want to take the train, you might as well just drive to Harriman. Even if you are in Middletown, especially since that town is probably spread out, it's probably better to drive to Harriman. At Salisbury Mills-Cornwall Station, the right of way is literally a straight shot down through Orange County and into NJ. Harriman is probably the busiest station on the Pt. Jervis Line, given its easy access to 17, 87, and 6. I was in Harriman this summer and noticed new condos going up near the station. That will help fuel the ridership.
  by CentralValleyRail
Harriman is definitely the busiest station look at MNRR's numbers for it. Nearly doubles every other station.
  by Backshophoss
The best"bang" for the taxpayer's buck would be to buy Campbell Hall yard,with NS/MNJ retaining what little trackage they need to
do interchange work.
MN uses the yard as a base for the signal dept and track dept,and station maintaince(B+B dept).
Tends to be cheaper to rehab an existing yard then to build new.
The "branch" to Stewart Airport might be a long term goal,but will have to wait till after ESA is finally done,
so as to have MTA Capital Construction avaible to work on that.
  by SecaucusJunction
How about a station and yard at Woodbury Commons. That place is world known and is growing by the day.
  by TDowling
Secaucus, a woodbury common station is quite attractive co sidering it's popularity. I suggested a part time station when I first joined the forum but my suggestion was shot down for many reasons, one of them being the fact that it would favor one business over another. If it were a full time station on the other hand then there would be outrage from the community because of traffic. I predict a full time station will materialize once the 131 interchange is reconfigured.
  by CentralValleyRail
While Woodbury Commons is World Renown (especially in Asia) it's prime days have come and gone. They are in the process of a major transformation there but the deals being offered there are no longer what they were 5-10 years ago and patronage is down overall. Time will tell.
  by rhallock
I attended the meeting in Goshen today. At Campbell Hall the NS/M&NJ freight yard will remain the same. The new MN yard will be south of the main on what is now farmland. After the presentation I spoke with one of the MN representatives. He essentially said that the reason that the yard will be in Campbell Hall is that it is the only place where NIMBYs will probably not be howling for blood. It took eight years and $9.4 million to figure this out. A few other titbits: a) the Stewart airport branch is still being considered by another study (cost unknown); b) this man admitted that it was a great mistake to have torn out the line from Harriman through Monroe, Chester and Goshen, and that it would be next to impossible to bring it back due to the rail-trail people. Most commuters from those towns switched to bus rather than drive to Harriman. c) A graph showed the ridership levels since 1983. There was a sharp drop after 2008 recession and another after Irene. It has started to come back a bit the last couple years, but not much. They project up to 22 round trips on the line once the work is done. My own opinion is that many of these off peak trains will run almost empty and that there will be relatively little increase in overall ridership on the line. d) Freight service was barely mentioned, except to say that MN has priority over freight and that they are unconcerned about it. When asked, they said that there was only one freight and that it only operated at night, completely ignoring the fact that a daytime freight now operates from Hillburn to Campbell Hall and sometimes beyond. Rather dismaying to hear them display ignorance like that.
  by Backshophoss
Remember WOH service is handled by NJT dispatch,that freight moves only if they allow it.
  by EuroStar
While the person at the meeting might have been ignorant of the second freight, there is certainly no need for them to be concerned much with freight traffic. Unless there is something I am unaware of, there are not enough or big enough customers on the line to justify more freight service. I also cannot foresee need for NS to run more through freight to Croxton either. Another freight or two can be added without much effect on passenger capacity, especially after the addition of the passing sidings.

I am surprised that they are going with so many shorter passing sidings as opposed to fewer long ones that actually allow opposing trains to pass each other without stopping and waiting (with proper scheduling if trains run on time). Before the announcement I would have guessed that Tuxedo-Harriman gets double tracked completely. I guess what they are proposing is ok too. It does seem that they are purposefully avoiding double tracking through any station -- probably to save on costs. Most of the high traffic station have somewhat uncertain future (Harriman vs proposed at Woodbury Commons), so investing in the station infrastructure might lock them to inferior location. Tuxedo and Sloatsburg are forever staying where they are, but why invest $15 million or so per station for high platforms and elevators at low traffic locations.

Until direct service to NY Penn is available, ridership will not switch away from buses in those towns (and yes, the Erie main through the towns is lost forever). Most commuters prefer one seat ride. The transfer at Secaucus definitely wastes 7-10 minutes each way and unless the train is 14-20 minutes faster than the bus (probably even more than that is needed accounting for driving time to Harriman Station) people will not be willing to switch to the train. I am estimating that for the average person one minute wasted in the transfer is roughly equivalent to 2 minutes spent moving.
  by SecaucusJunction
While I agree the freight traffic point is moot right now, the plan will not be completed for at least another 6 years. Who knows what freight traffic would be like then? I'm sure not even NS. The fact that the sidings will be 2 miles in length would allow an occasional freight to sneak in if necessary.

I think there could be some good ridership gains with more frequent service. Look at the results when the Pascack Valley Line introduced reverse service. It will be a good way to show reliable service for when the new tunnels open. Right now, going to dinner and a show, or a sporting event in NYC is not possible. Working late would be difficult with late evening options as they are. Anyone who doesn't routinely work a 9-5 job would look to find other ways to get to work.
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