Category Archives: Metro North Railroad

Connecticut’s WALK BRIDGE: Save It, Replace It or Reuse Parts?

A lot of more than just local interest in the “WALK BRIDGE” in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Metro-North Railroad Walk Bridge in Norwalk, Conn. Some Norwalk officials are calling for the Connecticut Department of Transportation to replace the Walk Bridge with an ‘iconic’ structure and some residents will likely miss the existing 120-year-old bridge. The Norwalk Preservation Trust states that the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and if the state must replace the bridge it should fully fund a Norwalk Historical Society Museum exhibit on the bridge and railroad.

This bridge carries not only dozens of Metro-North commuter trains, but also vital to AMTRAKs NorthEast Corridor between Boston and Washington, DC.

As the state gears up to replace the Walk Bridge, sentimentality is growing among local people over the iconic structure that has marked Norwalk’s skyline for 120 years.
“The loss of the existing bridge, its catenaries and high towers, as well as its brownstone structural elements would forever change the character of the area,” wrote the Norwalk Preservation Trust in its response to the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s report on the project. “We respectfully request that the repair and retention of the existing bridge be given further study in the hopes that demolition can be avoided.”

If the railroad bridge and its “associated elements must be demolished,” the NPT wants the DOT take a number of mitigation measures such as leaving the historic granite or brownstone abutments in place, or reusing them as part of the new bridge.

When built in 1896, the bridge was both state-of-the-art and also the last of its breed.
“In its wide proportions and heavy steel construction, the Norwalk bridge exemplifies the railroad swing bridge at its height of development: after the mid- 1890s, nearly all movable bridges were bascules of one type or another,” reads a portion of the nomination report that landed the bridge on the register.

Dick Carpenter of East Norwalk, author of “A Railroad Atlas of the United States in 1946,” said the Walk Bridge is the only four-track swing bridge that he knows of on a major rail line in the nation. That and its age are its distinguishing characteristics, he said

DOT, after considering more than 70 design concepts, ruled out repairing the existing bridge or replacing it with a fixed-bridge. The state’s preferred replacement is a 240-foot vertical lift bridge that would cost $425 million to $460 million to build. Work is slated to start in mid-2018.

“We are aware of numerous other century old bridges across the country that have been repaired and maintained and are expected to last for another century and beyond, such as the Williamsburg Bridge in New York,”

The Hyperloop Could Make Even More Massive Megacities

The Hyperloop, is the latest and greatest in ground transportation. Made sort of famous by Elon Musk, it uses vacuum tubes to move containers that hold people and cargo. The United States is sort of behind the rest of the World, so let’s first of all talk of Australia.

The Hyperloop zips around in a tube at 1000+ km/h (620+ mph). These high speeds have the possibility to shorten travel times, making it easier to get from city to city.

Despite skepticism, Hyperloop One hopes to connect Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Passengers can travel between the two in under an hour.

Now, officials from Hyperloop One are proposing that the Hyperloop could eventually merge the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, creating one huge megacity. The best part? Travel time is around an hour.

“We’ll make Sydney and Melbourne really connected to each other. If you connect two cities with Hyperloop, you get, effectively, a sort of global city punching above its weight in a global economy,”says Hyperloop One VP Alan James.

For those unfamiliar with the technology, Hyperloop is essentially a passenger/cargo carrying capsule that zips around in a tube at 1000+ km/h (620+ mph). Those speeds promise to change the very urban landscape.

But the system does face a lot of skepticism. A real Hyperloop test hasn’t really been done, so we can’t see the effects on humans or cargo that travel on it. Also, there are no estimates on the massive infrastructure costs that could be associated with building Hyperloop tracks.

If it were to work out, though, a ticket from Sydney to melbourne would be booked via an app and cost less than a full-priced, last minute plane ticket.

Now a lot of projects on the drawing boards in U.S. Only today will mention the two that our company is involved in. The bigger one is linking Chicago and Louisville. The smaller one is on an unused railroad in Metropolitan New York City. It will link Beacon Station on the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Division with Southeast Station on the Metro-North Railroad Harlem Division. More and more people live in the area between the two stations and if they work in New York City must choose which station they will drive to. Next week we will be attending a site visit conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority!

MTA Metro-North Railroad Looking At Options For “Beacon Line”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad are asking companies and organizations to step forward with ideas for how to revitalize a little-used rail line that runs east-west across Dutchess and Putnam counties.

The line, known as the Beacon Line or the Maybrook Branch, connects with Metro-North’s Hudson Line at Beacon, proceeds east through Fishkill, Hopewell Junction, and Stomville, and connects with the Harlem Line north of Southeast.

Although owned by Metro-North Railroad, the line is not currently used for passenger train service.

Metro-North Railroad’s Beacon Line is a non-revenue line connecting the railroad’s three revenue lines east of the Hudson River. West to east, they are the Hudson Line, Harlem Line, and the Danbury Branch of the New Haven Line. It was purchased by Metro-North in 1995 from Maybrook Properties, a subsidiary of the Housatonic Railroad, to preserve it for future use, training, and equipment moves. Maybrook Properties had purchased the line from Conrail after Conrail withdrew from the Danbury, Connecticut, freight market

“Perhaps there are ways that the line could be put to use for the benefit of the public that are outside of our mandate as a public transportation agency,” said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. “We want to find out how much interest there is in this real estate and what ideas folks may have that could lead to the revitalization of the line.”

Well now! We have a current project to build a HYPERLOOP between Louisville, KY and Chicago!!!

The MTA has issued a formal Request for Expressions of Interest, or RFEI, which is available at the MTA’s website under Doing Business With Us, then Real Estate, then Leasing/Sales & Current Requests for Proposals.

It was no simple task following the instructs of Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. First of all we checked the box “foreign company” then found we could not insert our telephone number. Oh well, we used Louisville telephone number. Then we had to make a choice of real estate project. Ours was not listed so we checked “Parking Lot”. Then we went through numerous pages of searching and could not find anything.

If any of our readers are interested in paeticipating with us, please contact us

MTA unveils budget and financial plans, proposes fare hikes

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) earlier this week released its preliminary 2017 budget and four-year financial plan, which together propose more than $1 billion for a host of initiatives.

In particular, the budget and plan would provide funds for measures to improve customer experience, increase service and service support, increase support for MTA’s capital program, enhance safety and security, and invest in necessary maintenance and operations.

As part of the financial plans, MTA is considering implementing two 4 percent fare increases in 2017 and 2019.

The four-year plan includes $195 million from 2017 through 2020 to support capital projects aimed at improving the rider experience. These include adding Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and digital screens to 400 subway cars, MTA officials said in a press release.

Other investments will allow MTA New York City Transit to enhance and expand its Lexington Avenue subway line platform controller.

In addition, MTA will invest an additional $46 million in safety and security initiatives from 2017 to 2020 to augment existing measures. Those investments include upgrading railroad crossings, adding on-board vehicle cameras, providing more “Help Point” intercoms, and improving security operations throughout the agency’s system.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) earlier this week released its preliminary 2017 budget and four-year financial plan, which together propose more than $1 billion for a host of initiatives.

In particular, the budget and plan would provide funds for measures to improve customer experience, increase service and service support, increase support for MTA’s capital program, enhance safety and security, and invest in necessary maintenance and operations.

As part of the financial plans, MTA is considering implementing two 4 percent fare increases in 2017 and 2019.

The four-year plan includes $195 million from 2017 through 2020 to support capital projects aimed at improving the rider experience. These include adding Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and digital screens to 400 subway cars, MTA officials said in a press release.

Other investments will allow MTA New York City Transit to enhance and expand its Lexington Avenue subway line platform controller.

In addition, MTA will invest an additional $46 million in safety and security initiatives from 2017 to 2020 to augment existing measures. Those investments include upgrading railroad crossings, adding on-board vehicle cameras, providing more “Help Point” intercoms, and improving security operations throughout the agency’s system.

Metro-North, LIRR mobile ticketing app to launch in August

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s eTix mobile ticketing app will be available to all MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and MTA Metro-North Railroad riders by the end of the summer, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
MTA’s new “eTix” app
Source: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s website

The app’s launch date has been moved up from the original launch that had been scheduled for year’s end, according to a press release issued by Cuomo’s office.

LIRR and Metro-North riders can use the app to check schedules, see service status and purchase tickets without having to wait in line. The app also offers account management tools, which give riders the ability to secure refunds for unused mobile tickets, request duplicate receipts and manage profile information such as password and linked credit card numbers.

Beginning July 5, MTA eTix was made available for riders on the LIRR’s Port Washington Branch and Metro-North’s Hudson Line. During the week of Aug. 22, the app will be available systemwide for both commuter railroads.

“This new app puts riders first by eliminating the ticket line and helping New Yorkers and visitors get where they need to go with more freedom and convenience than ever before,” Cuomo said. “We will continue to create a 21st century transit system that embraces innovation to ensure that we are building a stronger, more competitive New York.”

Next year, MTA expects to allow LIRR and Metro-North riders to transfer to New York City Transit (NYCT) subway and buses with a single app and a single transit account, according to Cuomo’s release.

The app is powered by Masabi’s JustRide ticketing platform, which has been used by other U.S. transit agencies, including Southern California’s Metrolink.

In April, NYCT issued a request for proposals for a firm to develop a new mobile fare payment system. The agency is expected to launch that app in 2021.

Walk Bridge Failure Causes Railroad Delays

A mechanical failure left the Walk Bridge in Norwalk stuck open for hours and caused major delays for trains moving through the area, according to Metro-North and Amtrak.

Norwalk police say the drawbridge was stuck in an open position around 3 p.m. causing significant delays on Metro-North’s New Haven Line and slowing Amtrak trains between New York and New Haven. As of 5 p.m. the railroads had restored limited service, but significant delays of up to 90 minutes continued.

Around 10:30 p.m. Metro-North reported that train service had resumed to three of the four tracks over the Walk Bridge and delays were only expected to be around 20 minutes. Sunday service is expected to run on schedule.

This is not the first time a failure of the Walk Bridge caused issues for riders. In 2014 Gov. Dannel Malloy called a “crisis summit” after multiple service disruptions left commuters delayed for hours. After that, experts began formulating solutions to repair and eventually replace the bridge.

Train Service Into NYC’s Grand Central Limited After Blaze

In this photo provided by Ben Parkin, firefighter battle a fire runder the Metro-North railroad tracks in New York

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.

  • By The Associated Press

MTA nets $27 billion in New York state’s 2016-17 budget

Under a New York state budget agreement announced late last week, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive more than $27 billion in funding, including $8.3 billion toward the agency’s capital program.

The amount marks the state’s largest investment toward the capital program, MTA officials said in a press release.

The MTA will now submit a revised plan of projects to be supported by the capital program to its board and to the state’s Capital Program Review Board.

“The [capital] plan will enable the MTA to maintain critical infrastructure while renewing, enhancing and expanding our system to meet the ridership and growth demands of the future and improving the current experience for the millions who critically rely on our system each day,” said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast.

The state budget also allocates $1.5 billion toward Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway extension.

Additionally, the budget sets aside $27.14 billion for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). That sum includes $21.1 billion for capital improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and facilities throughout the state, according to a press release issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The budget aligns capital programming for NYSDOT and MTA over a five-year period and includes additional commitments for priority projects and programs that extend over a sixth year, Cuomo’s release stated.

Devon Transfer Reopens as Metro North Track Work Resumes

MILFORD, CONNECTICUT — The temporary Devon Transfer point on Metro North’s New Haven Line trains will go back into service.

Work to the overhead catenary lines and the metal bridge over the Housatonic River is resuming, requiring that the transfer point be reopened, Metro North officials said.

The Y-shaped wooden platform on the Milford shore of the river was closed in mid-November when the bridge rehabilitation work was stopped for the season. Waterbury branch trains that had been using the Devon stop to transfer onto the main New Haven Line went back to making that transfer in Bridgeport.

“The temporary station at Devon Transfer will be reactivated until October,’’ Metro North spokeswoman Nancy Gamerman said. “It’s a planned continuation of last year’s bridge and track work.’’

Work on the project began last April and continued seven days a week, weather permitting, Metro North officials said. The state Department of Transportation is a partner on the project that involves steel repairs, a new wooden deck and new miter rails on the Track 3 span.

The northbound side of the Devon bridge spanning the Housatonic River in Stratford became stuck in the open position, delaying traffic for days in July. The incident occurred during a routine bridge test and was not related to the repair project.

The work on Devon’s Track 3, known as the inbound local track, is part of a $5.8 million project the railroad calls a “priority repair project on Devon Bridge, ” that is designed to keep the span operating.

Timber and rails are being replaced on the section of Track 3 on the bridge itself; some minor steel repairs are also being done.

During this construction season, the following changes will be in effect:

—Southbound customers who usually transfer to main line trains at Bridgeport will instead get off at the Devon Transfer Station.

—Customers who travel to New Haven will transfer again at Bridgeport for a main line train to New Haven.

—Northbound customers will be dropped off main line trains at Devon Transfer Station and board a waiting train for Waterbury.

Devon Transfer features a walkway connecting two four-car length platforms. The temporary location has lights and a public address system and will solely provide train-to-train transfers.

Metro-North plans for ‘aggressive’ track improvement program in 2016

By late June, MTA Metro-North Railroad plans to install 16,200 new ties on its New Haven Line.

Additionally, the commuter railroad will renew 12 switches/crossover panels in the Stamford Yard on the same line by early July. Work on both projects is part of Metro-North’s “aggressive” right-of-way improvement program for 2016, according to the railroad’s April “Mileposts” newsletter.

Crews will replace 44,800 ties on the Hudson and New Haven lines as part of Metro-North’s 2016 right-of-way improvement program.
Photo: MTA Metro-North Railroad

As part of that program, Metro-North’s crews will replace 44,800 ties and resurface 91 miles of track bed on the Hudson and New Haven lines.

Across all three of the commuter railroad’s lines, crews will conduct 8.24 miles of rail renewal work, replace 52 switches, weld 1,600 rail joints and restore 24 grade crossings.

Due to a mild winter, Metro-North already has surfaced 8,750 feet of track bed and welded 73 rail joints on the New Haven Line, according to the April newsletter. On the Harlem Line, crews have surfaced 5,300 feet of track, welded 62 rail joints and replaced 42 ties.

Learn more about freight and passenger railroads’ maintenance-of-way projects throughout North America in Progressive Railroading‘s 2016 MOW Spending Report.