Category Archives: Metro North Railroad

NY City Suburban Area Realtors: THIS IS FOR YOU

Buyers LOVE the suburbs, but only when the commute is good to great!

Enter the “MAYBROOK LINE”. Years ago it was THE major freight railroad into New England. It went from Maybrook, New York; across the Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie; from Beacon across New York Syaye to Danbury and on to Cedar Hill in New Haven. We have a great historical document:
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-maybrook-line-across-dutchess-county/.

Over the years, railroad freight habits changed, mostly through mergers. The bridge at Poughkeepsie burned and the railroad line became dormant and is owned by New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

For a great look at today’s Beacon Line, we will refer you to Emily Moser’s great WebSite “I Ride The Harlem Line”

This is her map of the area we are covering.

Occasional excursions, equipment moves and storage, and maintenance with hi rail vehicles, have all taken place, albeit infrequently. Though the rails itself may not be in use, running along parts of the line is fiber optic cabling that is integral to Metro-North operations.

MTA issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” regarding “all or part” of the line in 2016. But nothing came of it.

No, it is not practical as a rail line. What it could be practical for is a HYPERLOOP

This is the plan for a HYPERLOOP between Louisville and Chicago. Several options would work with the HYPERLOOP: The simplest would be Beacon on the Hudson Line, to Southeast on the Harlem Line.

Of course, the HYPERLOOP depends on clients! LOT of empty land along the route.

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Simple, Big Solutions for Penn’s Problems

Gotham Gazette

The original Penn Station was an architectural masterpiece. The most ironic part about removing it in a “monumental act of vandalism,” though, is that as a transit facility the original Penn Station had serious flaws. In fact, the platforms and tracks haven’t been significantly altered in more than a century.

Unfortunately, those flaws are growing more obvious by the day. Narrow, crowded platforms and grossly inadequate stairs and escalators are a constant source of delays, dangerous overcrowding and frustration for commuters. But most importantly, Penn Station is not actually a station for most passengers – it’s a terminal. The difference is not merely semantic; in a terminal, trains must cross each other as they enter and leave, making it far less efficient than a through-running station. Even when this doesn’t cause delays, it severely limits capacity and ensures every train has to travel more slowly in Penn.

Twenty-five years ago, we could tolerate these inefficiencies, but passenger counts from Long Island and New Jersey have skyrocketed. Any major investment plan for Penn Station must be focused on solving the cause of commuters’ misery. Amtrak’s Gateway Program and the new Moynihan Station, if optimized, could do so.

Phase 1 of Gateway would add two new critically-needed tracks between Newark and Penn Station. Phase 2 of Gateway, though, includes a new terminal station—Penn Station South. This would require the demolition of an entire city block at a price tag of $8 billion to build another inefficient terminal, and do nothing to alleviate conditions in the existing station. Those funds are better spent on improving Penn and regional connectivity.

This alternate plan would remove the need for Penn Station South, provide additional economic opportunity for the entire region and the opportunity to invest in projects that create smoother and smarter commutes. Through-running is the key to unlocking the ReThinkNYC vision. Highlights of that vision include:

First, build new facilities in the Bronx and New Jersey so it is possible to operate Penn Station as a through station. NJ Transit trains could be extended to Queens, the Bronx, and then along existing Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Lines; similarly, Metro-North and LIRR could be extended to New Jersey.

Next, widen and lengthen Penn’s existing platforms – and use the 31st Street side of the station for eastbound trains and the 33rd Street side for westbound ones, regardless of final destination. Universal “smart” ticketing between the systems can help erase arbitrary distinctions.

This would allow nearly 50% more trains to use the station.
NJ Transit would no longer need to use Sunnyside Yards, making it possible to instead build a major station across the East River that would have access to all of the region’s 26 commuter rail lines, Amtrak, both Penn Station and Grand Central, and seven subway lines. Sunnyside could be the new East Midtown.

In Port Morris, the light industrial neighborhood east of the Bruckner Expressway and south of Hunts Point, commuters could catch NJ Transit and Metro-North – and an extended Second Avenue Subway serving the Bronx.

An AirTrain under the East River to an expanded LaGuardia Airport would provide a quick, convenient single seat ride for millions.

New Yorkers once dreamed of, and then built, big projects. Now, in this post-Robert Moses, post-urban renewal era, planners are taught to think “politically” smaller. This approach has prevented us from addressing transportation systemically and holistically. It’s time to think big…again.

below is the same chart as the featured image.

Jim Venturi is Principal and Founder of ReThink Studio. On Twitter @jimventuri and @RethinkNYCplan.

MTA can’t afford to wait on signals upgrades

Problems with both NYCT system-wide subway and LIRR signals at Penn Station require decisive action today, not tommorow.

The MTA must reprogram the $695 million Metro North East Bronx Penn Station Access, the $1.7 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2, and the $1.9 billion LIRR Main Line Third Track to help fund upgrading NYCT Subway System Signals. This would provide well over $3 billion as a down payment against $20 billion needed to bring NYCT Subway System Signals up to a state of good repair.

All three canceled projects can be funded out of the next MTA Five-Year Capital Plan for 2020-2024. This still provides ample time for both Metro North East Bronx Penn Station Access and LIRR Main Line Third Track project completions to coincide with LIRR East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal by December 2023 or 2024.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also needs to come up with the outstanding balance of $5.8 billion that he still owes toward the $8.3 billion shortfall to fully fund the $32 billion 2015-2019 MTA Five Year Capital Plan. The MTA can’t afford to wait until 2018 or 2019 for both $5.8 billion and additional $1 billion recently pledged by Cuomo in response to the ongoing subway and LIRR Penn Station crises.

In June 2016, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration provided $432 million in Superstorm Sandy funding to the MTA for repairs to the East River Tunnel, including signal upgrades. As of today, no funds have been spent. The MTA and LIRR have yet to complete negotiations with Amtrak for initiation of this work.

Eversource Request for License for Overhead Wires along Metro-North

The CT Dept of Transportation has decided not to issue a license that would allow Eversource to install overhead transmission lines along Metro-North Railroad corridor.
The decision was announced in a statement Tuesday by Peter Tesei, who said he was satisfied with the decision and that the need for the transmission lines had yet to be fully documented and “would disrupt continued daily operation of one of the region’s busiest transit hubs.”
More: https://greenwichfreepress.com/news/government/eversource-request-for-license-for-overhead-wires-along-metro-north-corridor-denied-by-ct-dot-91099/

WOW! Croton-Harmon……What A Fascinating Railroad Center!

We just updated our WebSite “NY Central Shops At Harmon

1913 saw the completion of electrification of Grand Central Terminal and the lower stretches of the Hudson and Harlem Divisions. Harmon, which is 33 miles from Grand Central Terminal, became the transfer point where electric locomotives were exchanged for steam and later diesel on through New York Central passenger trains. It also became the starting point for electric commuter service into the city.

Harmon was a New York Central-created community and came into existence because it was a logical point to be the outer limit of the electric zone. There was plenty of room as this was a requirement for an interchange point. Not only was there room for sidings and yards, but also for repair facilities. The steam engines that pulled the Great Steel Fleet to Chicago rested here. As the small, but powerful, electrics pulled in from Grand Central Terminal, the steamers quickly hooked on and took off up the Hudson.

The shops handled all servicing, inspection and repairs for all electric locomotives and MU equipment. They also handled servicing, inspection and minor repairs on steam (later diesel) in the area.

There were no third rails inside the shops. Instead, there were long 600-volt cables on reels hung from the ceiling. These were called “bugs” and were clipped to a third rail shoe when power was needed.

Harmon was basically a commuter passenger station and never developed into a transfer point. Stays were short as it only took a minute or two to change power.

Yes! A fascinating place.

Stewart Air Base A Fourth NY City Airport?

Stewart International Airport is in the southern Hudson Valley, west of Newburgh, New York, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Manhattan, New York City. The airport is in the Town of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor.

Developed in the 1930s as a military base to allow cadets at the nearby United States Military Academy at West Point to learn aviation (at the direction of General Douglas MacArthur), it has grown into the major passenger airport for the mid-Hudson region and continues as a military airfield.

Over the years it has had a checkered history of “ownership”: NY State, Port Authority, private, etc. Also all kinds of “do-gooders” who opposed it’s use.

Biggest problem is a convenient New York City connection.

Metro-North’s Port Jervis line offers a direct connection to Hoboken, New Jersey,from the Salisbury Mills Station. (pictured here) Salisbury Mills is about three miles from Stewart. Taxi service is available. NO BUS! Check out more on Salisbury Mills from “I Ride The Harlem Line”: http://www.iridetheharlemline.com/tag/salisbury-mills/

Metro-North’s Hudson line provides a direct link to Grand Central Station in New York City from the Beacon Station. (pictured here)

Leprechaun Bus Lines provides frequent and inexpensive connections from the Beacon Station to Stewart. Taxi service is also available.

Find out more about Beacon Station: https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-final-phase-of-the-nyc-rebuilding-at-fishkill-landing/

Could this ‘visionary’ plan solve the area’s transit woes? (VIDEO)

NJ.com via California Rail News

With Penn Station’s failing infrastructure at capacity, a plan to merge the area’s train and bus service into one regional system is the cornerstone of an idea floated by a New York design firm as a solution to the region’s commuting problems.

Called ReThink NYC Plan 2050, the centerpiece of the idea is a unified commuter rail that connects NJ Transit, Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road lines through a revamped Penn Station…

Some funding for the plan, estimated to cost $48 billion, would come from scaling back plans to replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal with a smaller structure. It would eliminate plans to build an annex south of Penn Station, which Rick called “a $7 billion to $8 billion mistake.”
The main criticism of Penn South annex is the extra tracks would dead end, limiting their usefulness.

“No other city is building a terminal in its core,” Rick said.
Instead, all platforms under Penn Station would be extended beneath the Moynihan Station, which will be the new name of the converted Farley postal facility.

Tarrytown Chevrolet Plant and NY Central Croton-Harmon

GM Tarrytown Plant

Here’s the story when it closed in the 90’s

Fast facts;

The plant was first built in 1903 – they built MAXWELL automobiles.

The plant was purchased by GM in 1916 and assigned to it’s CHEVROLET Division.

Tarrytown was linked to New York City by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad in 1849.

In the past 50 years, the plant manufactured Chevy Impalas in the 50’s & 60’s. 1971 – 1977, lots of VEGAS rolled off the assembly line there which have all rusted into dust with their little aluminum engine blocks, the ultimate death of that car. Yes, the Lumina was the final vehicle manufactured in Tarrytown. Here’s a shot of the plant being torn down with a view of the railroad in 1999;

Something hard to believe now in looking at the wasteland along Metro North in Tarrytown is that in 1980, this plant was the MOST EFFICIENT plant that GM owned with it’s best worker/management relations on record. At that time, the plant was riding high with the production of the popular front-wheel drive Chevy CITATION.

It’s a sad story that the plant died, but for a change, this can’t be blamed on nor linked to it’s rail service in any way. The State wouldn’t give them a tax break to keep production in Tarrytown, Tarrytown was too expensive for the workers to live nearby (they commuted two hours one way, ROUTINELY) and poor management in predicting consumer trends killed it. Japanese cars helped kill it too. Let’s be honest. Chevrolet cars didn’t hold up well, and fell sooner to rust than the competitors.

See more on Croton-Harmon railroad facility
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/ny-central-shops-at-harmon/

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!