Commuters into and out of New York’s famed Grand Central Terminal faced crippling delays Wednesday, a day after a raging fire broke out beneath elevated train tracks in the city, officials said.
The blaze Tuesday night at a garden center underneath Metro-North tracks, north of the station in Manhattan’s East Harlem section, halted train service and left thousands of commuters stranded on their way home.
Metro-North said two of the four tracks in the area of the fire were operational for Wednesday’s morning rush. Trains were slowed from their normal 60 mph to 30 mph as repairs continue.
The fire caused damage to a center column beneath the elevated tracks.
“You can see the damaged column in the center. We have to take the load off that structure … and transfer it to other places so that the center beam can be supported so the two inside tracks can go back into service,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast told WNYW’s “Good Day New York” on Wednesday morning.
Commuters were warned to expect long delays and crowded conditions, and officials encouraged customers to work from home or find alternate travel plans.
The commuter line is running on a Saturday schedule and is at 60 percent capacity, MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said. Officials said between 140,000 and 150,000 riders were affected by the delays.
Most seemed to take the inconvenience in stride.
“I had to stand the whole time. I was only delayed like 30 minutes,” said Mike Joshi, who got on at Southport, Connecticut, headed to New York for his teaching job in Brooklyn.
A train that left White Plains at 6:30 a.m. was so crowded that by the time it traveled seven stops, to Mount Vernon, no one could get on. The conductor announced that another train behind would make all local stops. The passengers included many teens on their way to school.
Before reopening the tracks for Wednesday’s commute, the MTA said in a statement that crews “inspected all elements, including the supports, track, power and signal, and ran test trains to ensure safety.”
More than 150 firefighters responded to Tuesday’s blaze, which officials said also involved construction debris and several trailers and vehicles and may have blown off bolts from the tracks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the scene and detailed the damage, WCBS-TV reported.
“The fire was so hot that they could hear the rivets, the bolts popping,” Cuomo said.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury when he slipped, but no civilians were hurt.
This is the crowd of people on the platform coming off the first passenger train into Santa Monica in 63 years on May 20th. Photo by Noel T. Braymer
Today is the day. While many were happy about the Gold Line Foothill Extension opening earlier this year, I think the level of excitement about today’s opening of the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica is several magnitudes greater. As Kathy Seal eloquently detailed in her recent post, this project was made possible by authentic grassroots activism, exemplifying the famous quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
And I notice the one thing no one seems overly concerned about is ridership. From day one the new Expo rail extension will be used. In fact the chief concerns are crowded trains (due to the rail procurement delivery situation that currently afflicts Metro) and the travel time from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles being too long. As to the latter I urge all readers of this blog to sign the petition to LADOT that it provide the line signal preemption. I am gratified the petition has generated significant attention for the issue and hopefully it will force officials to finally act.
Saturday Southern California Transit Advocates will have a booth at the Culver City station during the community celebration for the opening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A list of vendors and schedule of the musical performers at that location is posted at this link. The purpose will be to share information and engage the public. Charles Hobbs, author of Hidden History of Transportation in Los Angeles, will also be at the booth and I expect representatives of the Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada to also be present. RailLA also has booth at the station. Come by and say hello.
Certainly this weekend will be about savoring this achievement, but starting next week we need to rededicate ourselves to build on it because there is still much work to do to facilitate expanding our rail network. On Monday, Move L.A. will hold its 8th annual Transportation Conversation. We cannot be complacent. To build a coalition and pass the Los Angeles County transit sales tax measure in November (which requires securing a two-thirds majority) will not be easy but is necessary. Move L.A.’s forum will be key to that effort and I am attending. I urge all in a position to attend to do so and join our movement to create multi-modal networks (transit, bicycling, walking) that support sustainable communities. The future doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of vision and commitment. Join me on the front lines and aid the struggle for a better tomorrow.
(From the Huffington Post)
Would you like to have Hyperloop in your city?
I’m proud to be a founding Board Member of Hyperloop One (the new name for what was formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies).
Last week, I was in the Nevada desert for the Hyperloop Propulsion Open Air Test with the rest of the board, the Hyperloop One team, and hundreds of members of the press.
If you’re not familiar with Hyperloop One, consider what it would be like to travel on the ground at 760+ mph (faster than a jet airplane).
Here are some fun travel examples:
- L.A. >> San Francisco in 35 minutes
- Montreal >> Toronto in 30 minutes
- L.A. >> Vegas in 20 minutes
- Dubai >> Abu Dhabi in 15 minutes
- London >> Paris in 15 minutes
In this blog, I am going to give an overview of the Hyperloop and explain how you could bring this transportation system to your city through the Hyperloop Challenge.
What is Hyperloop?
In 2013, Elon Musk and a group of engineers from Tesla and SpaceX published a speculative design document for a concept they called “The Hyperloop.”
Born out of frustration with California’s plan for a bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco (the slowest and most expensive per mile bullet train around, with an estimated cost of $70 billion), the vision for the Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system that could take travelers from San Francisco to L.A. in 35 minutes for a fraction of the cost.
In other words, it’s a “vacuum tube transportation network” that will be able to travel at around 760 mph (1200 kilometers per hour) – on land and underwater.
The team is led by Brogan BamBrogan, who did the design work on the second-stage engine of SpaceX’s Falcon 1 and was the lead architect for the heat shield of the Dragon capsule.
This team is going big and bold, and they’re doing it the right way.
The just closed their latest round of funding of $80 million and achieved a MAJOR technology milestone last week.
The Hyperloop Propulsion Open Air Test
Last Wednesday, the Hyperloop One team held what was essentially its first test run, conducting a “propulsion open-air test.”
The team built a half-mile track 35 miles north of Vegas to test its custom-designed linear electric motor at speeds of 540 km/hour.
The motor accelerated from zero to 100 mph in about 1 second and proceeded down the track until stopped by a custom, sand-based braking system. It was a smashing success!
This was the first of a series of unique innovations from the Hyperloop One team, including advancements in propulsion, tube design and fabrication, levitation systems, pod designs, and thermodynamics and systems engineering.
Hyperloop One’s new CEO Rob Lloyd (past Global President of Cisco) notes that passing this hurdle means they are well on their way to having a full-scale hyperloop to test by the end of the year – on a projected 2-mile track reaching full speeds of over 700 mph.
Hyperloop’s Kitty Hawk Moment — End of This Year!
In 1903, the Wright brothers flew their aircraft for the first time in Kitty Hawk, NC.
The flight lasted only 12 seconds and covered a distance of just 120 feet, but it marked a major milestone in human history: humanity realized that powered flight was real.
This moment changed the face of transportation forever.
Today, every major city throughout the world has an airport, and thousands of airlines fly between them, transporting millions of passengers daily.
Rob Lloyd calls this week’s Open Air Test Hyperloop One’s “pre-Kitty Hawk Moment.”
He expects the Hyperloop One team will have their real Kitty Hawk moment by the end of this year.
Just as in 1903, when few people realized how much the world would change as a result of that first flight, we have likely not yet fully grasped how much the world will change because of Hyperloop.
Lloyd is already looking towards the future — noting that once the Hyperloop is fully functional, “we then imagine how we’re going to take this technology and solve the world’s toughest problems.”
As to where the Hyperloop goes, well… maybe it’s up to you! Keep reading…
The Hyperloop Challenge
Want the Hyperloop to come to your city?
Hyperloop One is hosting a global competition inviting teams from around the world to submit a commercial, transport, economic and policy case for their city, region or country to be considered to host the first Hyperloop networks.
The challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition, aims to identify and select locations around the world with the potential to develop and construct the world’s first Hyperloop networks.
Our goal is to get different key stakeholders (government officials, academics, private investors and architects, to name a few) involved to facilitate the implementation of this technology.
We are asking for teams comprised of these stakeholders to make the case for how Hyperloop can drive economic growth and create new opportunities in their community.
If you or someone you know is interested, register for the challenge here.
As a member of the Judging Committee, I am excited to hear about your proposals.
Hyperloop is just one example of the amazing transformations that exponential technologies are causing across industries.
Follow Peter Diamandis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PeterDiamandis
Hotels and railroads go way back.
InterContinental New York Barclay, New York
e have been clear from day one: We prefer, welcome, embrace Bernie Sanders and his game-changing campaign. We sincerely hope he can still win the Democratic presidential nomination in November. With Sanders we see the best chance for fundamental change.
Our concerns with Hillary Clinton remain unchanged. We have laid out the case ad infinitum. If you like life under a security blanket, she’s a solid choice. A Clinton presidency would maintain, perhaps strengthen, a very unjust and corrupt system.
But this leads us unavoidably to a different kind of revolution, one just as ambitious as Sanders’ political revolution: Donald Trump’s fascist revolution in the making. Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump would absolutely, by orders of magnitude, launch a far greater assault on democracy and international law than Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s Nazi-inspired rallies are a warning. They are a warning that every American would be well advised to heed. What we learned from George W. Bush is that political suicide is possible and the consequences can be catastrophic.
The Bernie-or-Busters (More on political suicide)
The entire Bernie-or-Bust concept is fraudulent on its face. It’s an attempt by individuals – whoever they might be, and it’s not clear who they are – acting entirely on their own, to commandeer Sanders’ political revolution for their own political ends, whatever those might be. Bernie, the movement’s namesake, has exactly nothing to do with it. Far from it.
From day one, Bernie Sanders has made it absolutely clear that his decision to run as a Democrat was intended to strengthen and unify the Democratic Party, not divide it and destroy it. Sanders, Clinton, and O’Malley, while he was still in the race, explicitly pledged to unify against whoever the Republican candidate might be.
The Bernie-or-Busters should rename themselves the “My-Personal-Political-Fantasy-or-Bust,” because in reality that’s what it is, however poorly defined. It is certainly nothing that Bernie Sanders has promoted or participated in. Suggesting so is categorically disingenuous.
If Bernie says unify, I will unify.
Managing the Next President
At a point less than a year from now, we will awaken one morning with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump as President of the United States. At that moment every American who cares about the future and direction of the country needs to be ready to go to work with or without the blessing of the political establishment.
Historically, democracy functions best when the people lead and the politicians follow. Yes, that does in fact work. Who would be easiest to manage efficiently?
If you are not a billionaire the answer is simple: Bernie Sanders. He will be the most responsive and cooperative with community based citizen groups. That leaves Clinton and Trump.
Trump has made his contempt for intrusive little people mettling in the affairs of the ruling class abundantly clear. With Trump you can expect a Bush style no-holds-barred assault on democracy and international law, in addition to abortion rights, civil rights, and individual rights in general.
That leaves Hillary Clinton. Can she be “managed?” Short answer: far better than Trump, not nearly as well as Sanders. The key to understanding Hillary Clinton the politician is her belief, despite all evidence to the contrary, that she is a progressive. Clearly it is a delusion. But perhaps a useful delusion.
What would Hillary Clinton do to prove herself a progressive? It’s a tantalizing question that may already have been answered by her husband during his presidency.
There were positive takeaways from President Bill Clinton’s tenure. One very interesting and often overlooked development was a tolerance of dissent, leftist dissent particularly. President Bill Clinton was not a progressive and did not act progressively. Nor, however, did he attempt to destroy progressives or progressive organizing.
The left was free to organize in the Clinton years. That fueled, among other things, the rise of the Green Party. By 2000 the Greens had a real chance to accomplish something. What they did with that chance is a different subject. But there was no question that the Clinton years were fertile ground for the growth of the American political left.
In truth, Obama has been significantly less tolerant of progressives than Bill Clinton. But that’s another piece altogether.
So while it would be unwise to hold your breath waiting for President Hillary Clinton to act progressively, you could probably feel a bit safer doing so yourself than you would be with a Generalissimo Trump at the helm.
I’m looking forward to backing Sanders in Philadelphia and beyond. But I’ll vote for the Democrat either way.
The Chinese “Year of the Monkey” that began in February is looked upon as a metaphor for what’s happening with supply chains by the folks at DC Velocity.
The creative and intellectual talents of monkeys often are overshadowed by their sometimes confused appearance. In an article on the site, Clifford Lynch seems to think that supply chains exhibit those same traits, but that there actually is creativity going on behind the scenes. Read all about it HERE.