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Busy Bee Feb 2, 2022 7:50 PM

First off, the MTA isn't serious about anything other than a heavy rail project, they pretty much let that slip out when they announced the study. The LRT/BRT element of the study is just to satisfy alternative analysis requirements. Capping the open cut and running buses or light rail with grade crossings would quite possibly be the dumbest misallocation and squandering of strategic transport infrastructure seen in years, globally. No, they Interboro will be heavy rail. The only question is whether it will be subway spec, mainline heavy rail or, what I think is actually the likely outcome, a FRA approved heavy rail spec that is essentially an identical loading gauge between B division subway rolling stock and M series commuter stock, albeit likely only 60 feet long. And hopefully very modern in appearance and ideally automated. This will allow corridor compliance and the sharing of track in some situations i.e. through the cemetery tunnel or the Hell Gate line though I still think a separate tunnel between Astoria and Bronx is ideal after a stop at the western end of the LGA complex.

I think there is a bit of confusion about what I am suggesting with a stacked configuration. I'm saying the passenger service could be stacked in the space of one of the trackways. This would allow say the Interboro service to run on the outside edge of the corridor with station platforms occupying the space of a third trackway and along lengths of running between stations this third trackway space would act as a buffer between freight operations and the Interboro operations.

Also, there is no reason to believe that if they move forward with a 10+ billion dollar cross harbor tunnel scheme that it wouldn't require massive upgrades to the corridor, probably including the replacement of nearly every bridge and viaduct as they are nearing 120 years of age. Also as recently as 1969 the Bay Ridge Branch was in fact electrified with DC overhead (a NH project). It's entirely reasonable to expect any freight operations in this corridor after a multi billion dollar investment in a tunnel from Jersey would include electrification, as well as for environmental reasons. Whether that entail battery locomotives just for these inter-state movements, traditional overhead or even some sort of unusual solution like a center running APS rail or conduit system to alleviate concerns from the freight workers.

mrnyc Feb 2, 2022 8:18 PM

lets not forget that there was absolutely no indication of a bronx extension or of cross harbor for freight. the interboro as envisioned by hochul is the doable part that is strictly for transit between brooklyn and queens. its appropriate save the tunnels, new bridges and sunken trackbeds for another day.

Busy Bee Feb 2, 2022 8:31 PM

They are no doubt planning for the future though. The cross harbor tunnel is currently in its most recent study this very minute with the report due out this year. And a top rule of transit planning, at least ideally, is to provide provisions for the future and not squander investments. The last thing anyone wants is to put 3 billion into this and then they announce a major bridge/viaduct replacement initiative as part of an "unrelated" freight improvement scheme after Interboro construction. Although that would be so New York, USA wouldn't it?

Busy Bee Feb 2, 2022 8:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9522834)
In either of these situations, it gets really deep. Double stack needs ~18' of clearance, figure 6' for structural deck between the two, and then 14' for the subway level, then 4' for the bridges over the cut so that's a ~45' deep trench. This would likely conflict with sewer lines and water mains at every street crossing and it would create a barrier to subway extensions like the 2/5 down Nostrand.

We're still not on the same page here. I'm not suggesting the passenger service be stacked above an operating freight trackway. If the entire corridor was consistently 100' feet or more, man we'd be set, two tracks for passenger and 2 or more for freight paralleling like the original branch passenger setup. Unfortunately we've got some narrow points where widening may not be possibly or feasible. I'm suggesting stacking both passenger tracks in the space of a single trackway with platforms occupying the space of the adjacent trackway (wider actually, closer to 18-24 feet). Assuming car heights above rail of around 12', a stacked concrete structure could likely be accomplished within ~30' in height, which wouldn't complicate a Nostrand extension, or Utica subway for that matter. Between the stations, this space acts as the separation between freight and passenger uses, with layup tracks that could be used for storage since a dedicated yard, at least for the Brooklyn to Queens portion may be a challenge, though Linden Shops seems like an obvious candidate.

mrnyc Feb 3, 2022 3:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9522938)
They are no doubt planning for the future though. The cross harbor tunnel is currently in its most recent study this very minute with the report due out this year. And a top rule of transit planning, at least ideally, is to provide provisions for the future and not squander investments. The last thing anyone wants is to put 3 billion into this and then they announce a major bridge/viaduct replacement initiative as part of an "unrelated" freight improvement scheme after Interboro construction. Although that would be so New York, USA wouldn't it?

need i remind you the cross harbor tunnel alone was estimated at over $2B back in 2000 and $11B by 2014? we can only imagine the staggering estimate it would be today. never mind the additional brooklyn rail line reconstruction, which sounds like it would be significant without a subway line next to it, much less with one.

also, you then get to the issue of if the interboro is up and running why would you even build cross harbor when it took away so much rail capacity? and last but not least ... the time and costs ... the costs alone for adding cross harbor, seperation walls, lowering rail beds, double stacking, yadda, yadda, would be beyond belief these days. it ain't happening even in your grandkids lifetime. not to mention hydrogen or electric powered trucks and ships will be all the rage by then anyway. :shrug: so -- build the interboro transit line now and worry about freight later. if its really sooo needed for freight in 30yrs then tear out the interboro line then and use it for more freight. it wouldnt be the first subway line to come and go.

Busy Bee Feb 3, 2022 5:04 PM

I beg to differ.

mrnyc Feb 4, 2022 2:13 PM

well sure it would be great to have cross harbor, but why, who is paying, what is the ridiculous timeline and most importantly what are other comparable priorities where all that money and effort could be spent instead?

maybe this ongoing study of it will tell us something about that.

its actually in the news today and gov hochul is also gung ho about it:

https://www.amny.com/transit/cross-h...r-covid-pause/

ardecila Feb 4, 2022 6:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9522973)
We're still not on the same page here. I'm not suggesting the passenger service be stacked above an operating freight trackway.

I think this is how the L is set up at Wilson Ave right now, no? That might be doable and I assume they will use this kind of cross-section in certain places where there is only room for 3 trackways. Or so that they can use the 4th trackway for wider station platforms to comply with ADA.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9522883)
Also, there is no reason to believe that if they move forward with a 10+ billion dollar cross harbor tunnel scheme that it wouldn't require massive upgrades to the corridor, probably including the replacement of nearly every bridge and viaduct as they are nearing 120 years of age. Also as recently as 1969 the Bay Ridge Branch was in fact electrified with DC overhead (a NH project). It's entirely reasonable to expect any freight operations in this corridor after a multi billion dollar investment in a tunnel from Jersey would include electrification, as well as for environmental reasons. Whether that entail battery locomotives just for these inter-state movements, traditional overhead or even some sort of unusual solution like a center running APS rail or conduit system to alleviate concerns from the freight workers.

Designing the tunnel for 2 tracks, double-stack containers and OHLE would be a truly enormous tunnel. In fact, I would argue for a single-track harbor tunnel unless officials are serious about providing NJ-Brooklyn passenger service in the future.

This might be a good use case for battery locos actually, or battery "tenders" that can be clipped onto a dual mode locomotive to operate in emissions-free mode. You're talking about relatively short runs from NJ to Fresh Pond Yard or elsewhere on Long Island. At each end you can set up areas to swap out the loco and charging areas for a small fleet of battery equipment. It's a much easier challenge than using batteries for long-haul freight or for passenger service.

k1052 Feb 4, 2022 7:39 PM

I doubt you could (politically and financially) build terminal facilities on the NY side to even take advantage of double track double stack ROW.

jmecklenborg Feb 4, 2022 9:01 PM

One ancillary use for the harbor tunnel could be an Amtrak Auto Train, but I believe the current Auto Train is blocked by the old tunnel in Baltimore and so service from Long Island to Florida (where else?) can't happen until the new tunnel is built there.

jmecklenborg Feb 4, 2022 9:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9525183)
Designing the tunnel for 2 tracks, double-stack containers and OHLE would be a truly enormous tunnel. In fact, I would argue for a single-track harbor tunnel unless officials are serious about providing NJ-Brooklyn passenger service in the future.

There is absolutely no reason for a duel-track double-stack tunnel. Some of the major mainlines around the eastern U.S. send dozens of trains through single-track tunnels. They have staging tracks near opposite portals that let them send 3-4 trains through in one direction, one after the other, then they run 3-4 trains in the opposite direction. There aren't going to be any mile-long trains traveling from New Jersey to Long Island.

Speaking as someone who places purchase orders for containers from Asia, I can't really see this tunnel opening up Asian suppliers to the businesses out on Long Island. It often takes 6-8 weeks for a container to arrive to Los Angeles, then another 5 days to get to KC or Chicago. The 1-2 days saved by this tunnel aren't a deal-maker for most products.

It could be advantageous to the shipping of food and especially refrigerated food. I don't work in food so I don't have any special insight, although I assume that tons of truck deliveries to Long Island grocery stores and restaurants are made at night, when traffic is light coming over from New Jersey via Staten Island. Do Long Islanders pay more for food than people in New Jersey? Probably, but how much more I don't know.

k1052 Feb 4, 2022 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9525448)
One ancillary use for the harbor tunnel could be an Amtrak Auto Train, but I believe the current Auto Train is blocked by the old tunnel in Baltimore and so service from Long Island to Florida (where else?) can't happen until the new tunnel is built there.

Autoracks are real tall. I don't think it would be worth dealing with the clearances on the Bay Ridge branch. B&P tunnels aside I think there are some other issues like clearance under the wire on the NEC and in some intermediate stations with stuff that big.

Busy Bee Feb 4, 2022 9:28 PM

A major goal of the tunnel and intermodel center is to remove as much 18 wheeler traffic as possible from NYC and Long Island, which is a worthwhile goal by itself.

As for whether a tunnel would, or should, be single or double tracked, I cant imagine a possibility that they fund a 10 billion plus tunnel and opt to save a fraction of the overall investment by permanently introducing the operational inflexibility that would come with a single track trans-Hudson freight tunnel. I just dont see it. Modern infrastructure projects seem to shy away from creating a bottleneck right from the get-go.

ardecila Feb 4, 2022 9:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9525473)
There is absolutely no reason for a duel-track double-stack tunnel. Some of the major mainlines around the eastern U.S. send dozens of trains through single-track tunnels.

I agree with you, but the Port Authority's last study only looked at double track options. It also looked at tunnels that could also accommodate trucks, either with rail tracks set in a road bed or a roll-on/roll-off system like the Chunnel.

The only reason to consider a double track tunnel in my opinion is to pave the way for a future passenger service. A connection from Bayonne to Brooklyn isn't that valuable, but you could probably do service to Newark Airport and a PATH connection.

k1052 Feb 4, 2022 10:02 PM

Realistically I don't see cross harbor ever getting funded. Expanding the car float operation is probably the most plausible step. Would be nice to see a larger, more seaworthy, purpose built ferry running cars back and forth instead of just dumb barges. They can't move them when the weather is marginal which is a disadvantage.

mrnyc Feb 5, 2022 7:21 AM

^ exactly. and that is a far cheaper option. the weather isnt really a big factor in the harbor. weather disruption would average like a week’s worth per year.

i do agree if a cross harbor tunnel was built, which it wont be, it would and should be double tracked. i mean why bother with single given all that expense and effort.

the problem is brooklyn cant handle that capacity. the vision is 22 frieght runs per day in brooklyn, up from the current five per day. i would think that could be achieved with a single track tunnel. so what would you do with the other tunnel track? passenger service?

mrnyc Feb 5, 2022 7:22 AM

a call to add seating in penn moynihan train hall:


https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/pr...han-train-hall

ardecila Feb 7, 2022 12:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 9525932)
^ exactly. and that is a far cheaper option. the weather isnt really a big factor in the harbor. weather disruption would average like a week’s worth per year.

i do agree if a cross harbor tunnel was built, which it wont be, it would and should be double tracked. i mean why bother with single given all that expense and effort.

the problem is brooklyn cant handle that capacity. the vision is 22 frieght runs per day in brooklyn, up from the current five per day. i would think that could be achieved with a single track tunnel. so what would you do with the other tunnel track? passenger service?

I think one stumbling block is that carfloat operations are hugely labor-intensive and hard to scale up. The whole advantage of rail freight is that it uses less labor than trucking, but if you take away that efficiency then shippers will continue to send trucks for LI shipments. Obviously the capital cost of a rail tunnel is enormous, but once it's built, the operating costs are quite cheap.

mrnyc Feb 7, 2022 2:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9527241)
I think one stumbling block is that carfloat operations are hugely labor-intensive and hard to scale up. The whole advantage of rail freight is that it uses less labor than trucking, but if you take away that efficiency then shippers will continue to send trucks for LI shipments. Obviously the capital cost of a rail tunnel is enormous, but once it's built, the operating costs are quite cheap.

yes and the enormous upfront cost is very, very enormous.

not to mention the time involved and the tradeoff of what we would not be getting built because of this tunnel project.

it all seems to come down to pricing and diivving up the 17 additional freight rail runs per day in brooklyn to reach a presumed capacity of 22 runs per day, up from the current 5 per day.

so how can that best be achieved? by a one track tunnel? two track tunnel? a new freight ferry fleet from nj to brooklyn?

and what about electric trucking, how far along is that? electric pickup trucks are on the way, can freight hauling be far behind? or at least for hybrid freight trucking? seems it's a very hot topic:

https://insideevs.com/car-lists/best...cks-2022-2023/
https://www.greenbiz.com/article/7-e...big-2022-plans

i hope the current study sheds some light on this, we will see.

mrnyc Feb 8, 2022 1:12 AM

new nyc mayor adams is all in for ny gov hochul’s empire penn station plans:


https://nypost.com/2022/02/07/gov-ho...y-mayor-adams/


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