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Old 09-30-2019, 10:26 AM
 
164 posts, read 85,936 times
Reputation: 81

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If you look at a map, there is tons of underused rail infrastructure that could get people in and out of the city. We have Metro North, the LIRR, the Subways, etc.

We have rail in the city that isn't used anymore:

New York City:
Lower Montauk Branch (LIC to Jamaica)
Bay Ridge Branch (Astoria to Bay Ridge)
Rockaway Beach Branch (Rego Park to Ozone Park)
North Shore Branch (Staten Island)

Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess:
Maybook Branch (Beacon to Danbury)
Putnam Line (right of way still exists - Bronx to Putnam county)
Mahopac Branch (Westchester to Mahopac, Putnam)

Rockland/Orange/Ulster:
West Shore Branch (Newburgh, Kingston, Albany)

There is always conversation about getting people out of their cars and into Mass Transit. There are a lot of "Transit Deserts" where having a car and traveling long distance is an absolute must.

Why aren't these lines activated? Metro North could easily run trains on the West Shore of the Hudson. You could take a train from Weehawken or Grand Central straight to a place like Newburgh. Maybe the MTA could take over and upgrade those LIRR branches that aren't being used.

Certainly it would cost way less to retrofit or upgrade existing ROWs than building new rails. Think of the Second Avenue Subway. It cost $2.5 Billion per mile! (Not to mention nearly 100 years to build).

What are your thoughts?

Last edited by ThatCareerGuy; 09-30-2019 at 10:47 AM..
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Confines of the 101 Precinct
20,309 posts, read 35,338,193 times
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https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/...nned-for-2019/
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Old 09-30-2019, 11:28 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,826 posts, read 24,237,008 times
Reputation: 12053
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatCareerGuy View Post
If you look at a map, there is tons of underused rail infrastructure that could get people in and out of the city. We have Metro North, the LIRR, the Subways, etc.

We have rail in the city that isn't used anymore:

New York City:
Lower Montauk Branch (LIC to Jamaica)
Bay Ridge Branch (Astoria to Bay Ridge)
Rockaway Beach Branch (Rego Park to Ozone Park)
North Shore Branch (Staten Island)

Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess:
Maybook Branch (Beacon to Danbury)
Putnam Line (right of way still exists - Bronx to Putnam county)
Mahopac Branch (Westchester to Mahopac, Putnam)

Rockland/Orange/Ulster:
West Shore Branch (Newburgh, Kingston, Albany)

There is always conversation about getting people out of their cars and into Mass Transit. There are a lot of "Transit Deserts" where having a car and traveling long distance is an absolute must.

Why aren't these lines activated? Metro North could easily run trains on the West Shore of the Hudson. You could take a train from Weehawken or Grand Central straight to a place like Newburgh. Maybe the MTA could take over and upgrade those LIRR branches that aren't being used.

Certainly it would cost way less to retrofit or upgrade existing ROWs than building new rails. Think of the Second Avenue Subway. It cost $2.5 Billion per mile! (Not to mention nearly 100 years to build).

What are your thoughts?
Yea, there are a lot of rail lines and ROW that can take in passenger rail. A lot of these used to have passenger service at some point, but then fell out of use for various reasons especially. In addition to that, a lot of existing LIRR stations within the city without rapid transit options have commuter rail stations that are somewhat infrequently used due to pricing and frequency especially in Queens and the Bronx. Some progress has been made on those with the introduction of CityTicket and then Atlantic Ticket programs.

There are a lot of proposals for additional in-city service and among them are probably the most reasonable way to quickly expand rapid transit within NYC. The only one that seems to be definitely in planning, and in some sense officially moving forward, is the first phase of the Penn Station Access plan where some Metro-North New Haven Line trains will go through Astoria's Hell Gate Bridge on the way to Penn Station instead of Grand Central and will have four stops in the Bronx.



There's been a number of other plans like the Triboro RX and others that would make better use of the existing infrastructure.

Part of it the reason some haven't gotten very far has been hyperlocal opposition by those whose properties directly abut train tracks. Another is that MTA will need funding to get the tracks back in good condition for passenger service on some of these and to electrify them, though all in all, they are a really good idea and a good bang for the buck.

One of the major constraints though is that a lot of these would lead into the terminal stations in the city which has a limited amount of room since there's a giant interlocking and limited amount of berths that all trains would need to back in and out of so there's a chokepoint of sorts there. One thing that can greatly alleviate that is if MTA took on the expensive, but crucial (and less expensive than things they did opt to go for like the massive two tunnel double-decked Grand Central platforms for LIRR) work of making more through-running tracks going through the city rather than terminals where the trains need to back in and then out which is pretty much what most major cities in developed countries do as massive terminals are inefficient and a waste of space in the city core. Another constraint is that the trainsets for the three different commuter rail services aren't totally compatible with each other since they get their power in different ways / different voltages, though they can stay separate like numbered and lettered lines are for the subway.

The Regional Plan Association has recommended creating a Trans-Regional Express leveraging current commuter rail tracks as well as existing tracks that are unused for passenger service and some new tracks in order to create what is effectively a second system for rapid transit within the city. This would be like what cities like Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Paris, London, Berlin, Milan, Sydney, and many, many other cities do where the extensive commuter rail services operate like rapid transit lines when in the urban core because many different services/branches of commuter rail going further out interline and offer rapid transit-like frequency as each service or branch joins into a larger trunk.
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:47 PM
 
3,344 posts, read 1,670,124 times
Reputation: 3667
Alot of the designs occurred a long time ago. Before white flight!

In the city, planning was intentionally set to keep the poor away from the rich.

Tons of open space and housing north of the bronx, but no way to get there,but car to the train.

I would love to move up north, but depend on commuting for work. These people just don't want poor people going through their town. And by poor,I'm talking under $60k per year.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:35 PM
 
21,746 posts, read 14,434,611 times
Reputation: 15308
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatCareerGuy View Post
If you look at a map, there is tons of underused rail infrastructure that could get people in and out of the city. We have Metro North, the LIRR, the Subways, etc.

We have rail in the city that isn't used anymore:

New York City:
Lower Montauk Branch (LIC to Jamaica)
Bay Ridge Branch (Astoria to Bay Ridge)
Rockaway Beach Branch (Rego Park to Ozone Park)
North Shore Branch (Staten Island)

Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess:
Maybook Branch (Beacon to Danbury)
Putnam Line (right of way still exists - Bronx to Putnam county)
Mahopac Branch (Westchester to Mahopac, Putnam)

Rockland/Orange/Ulster:
West Shore Branch (Newburgh, Kingston, Albany)

There is always conversation about getting people out of their cars and into Mass Transit. There are a lot of "Transit Deserts" where having a car and traveling long distance is an absolute must.

Why aren't these lines activated? Metro North could easily run trains on the West Shore of the Hudson. You could take a train from Weehawken or Grand Central straight to a place like Newburgh. Maybe the MTA could take over and upgrade those LIRR branches that aren't being used.

Certainly it would cost way less to retrofit or upgrade existing ROWs than building new rails. Think of the Second Avenue Subway. It cost $2.5 Billion per mile! (Not to mention nearly 100 years to build).

What are your thoughts?
Lower Montauk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montau...#Lower_Montauk

Bay Ridge Branch: https://forgotten-ny.com/2009/03/lon...oad-the-bay-ri

Bay Ridge LIRR

Putnam Line: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Yo...utnam_Railroad

https://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/13/n...tnam-line.html

North Shore Line (B&O RR): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Shore_Branch

https://livingnewdeal.org/locations/...ten-island-ny/

And so it goes....

You'll see from above, and is something that happened all across tri-state area and USA as well. Railroad ROWs laid down prior to WWII or even WWI became unprofitable, useless, or otherwise no longer needed as modern post WWII America embraced cars/trucks.

Furthermore far as northeast and large part of "rust belt" and even south and or going west are concerned the loss of manufacturing killed railroads primary customer base.

Passenger/commuter rail service is all very well, but *freight* is what paid the bills. As industry closed/moved away there was less and less freight that needed collecting/delivered. Coupled with the new Interstate highway system and stiff competition from truck haulage railroads found themselves losing money if not going bankrupt. In northeast a further blow was Big Coal dying out as source of heating, powering locomotives/ships and so forth. Many of the railroads in NY/NJ/PA/Appalachian region made huge parts of their money hauling coal out to points east, west, north or south. Coal was shipped to ports in NJ for instance for export.

Railroads were also under *very* heavy federal and local government regulation. Service, rates, etc... were all decided in Washington, D.C. Railroads were (and still are) taxed (in some cases very heavily) on all their property; this includes ROW, stations, terminals, yards, etc.... New Jersey taxed railroads so badly that it didn't need an income tax until they largely had vanished by 1976.

The bankruptcy of Penn-Central (largest corporate action to date in United States) finally forced Congress to act on complaints by RR industry.

Passage of Stagger's Act into law relaxed many of the tight restrictions on RR, and allowed them to shed unprofitable lines. Inter-city passenger service was given to newly created Amtrak (because no one else wanted to be bothered), and for a time large parts of northeast freight was bundled into Conrail.

Conrail along with newly created NJT, Metro North, MTA, Amtrak, and a few others quickly began abandoning and or consolidating rail lines. With only a handful of RRs left there wasn't a need for the duplication that came via competition as say two railroads tried to service same market/industry.

Shutting down/abandoning a RR ROW is one thing; restarting or rebuilding decades after that event is difficult, expensive and sometimes nearly impossible.

Any railroad regardless of ownership today faces issues that just didn't exist prior to WWII. Environmental impact and other studies, modern (construction) labor rules, ability of local community involvement to drag out if not outright kill a project.

Case in point is the current Lackawanna Cut-off project. Over $62 *million (in 2008 money, likely more today) is being spent to reactivate barely 30 miles of tracks. Had Conrail not tore things up and trains kept running all these years that figure would be lower. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lackaw...ration_Project

This nation does *not* do big infrastructure projects well. Just look as sums spent for SAS ($4.45 billion), East Side LIRR Access (over $11 billion and still counting), and you begin to get the picture.

Back in the day private railroads paid for infrastructure themselves (usually by floating bonds/ taking on debt against predicted future revenue). The largest railroads in USA today are all freight carriers, and they are *NOT* interested by and large in passenger rail service. It is only because federal government mandates Amtrak be given access that it can run on "foreign" tracks at all. If some freight carriers had their way they'd kick Amtrak with it's slow and problem prone trains off their rails.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_C...any#Bankruptcy


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDbNGMIosVU
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Old Today, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,654 posts, read 3,231,027 times
Reputation: 3490
I want more passenger rail. I hate flying and having my civil rights violated by the TSA.


We can invade countries in a month but we can't build passenger rail. its so sad. Chinese are blowing us away in passenger rail.
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Old Today, 01:01 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,826 posts, read 24,237,008 times
Reputation: 12053
Here's a step in the right direction: Metro-North Opens New Haven Line for Travel Between Fordham and Manhattan

This was one of the dumbest things about the system. At the Fordham Metro-North stop, both the Harlem Line and the New Haven Line would serve the station, but passengers for the New Haven Line weren't allowed to board trains and head southbound or weren't allowed to get off at the station if coming in from 125th or Grand Central. So for people going in those directions who would have been more than happy to pay the fare, instead of 189 daily services, they had 93 daily services and had to watch the other 96 go by as it literally stopped at the station and then go on. They've finally corrected this, but it took them a really long time to correct what was a massive wasted opportunity of not just transit that's easy to implement, but actual running services that people were simply disallowed to use.

Chicago also has something similar with South Shore Line trains coming in from Indiana that share tracks and stops with the Metra Electric service. It's really dumb.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; Today at 01:24 PM..
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