Category Archives: Railroad Current

New England Gateway, The New “Alphabet Route”

Guest article by Ken Kinlock

Over the years we covered the historic “ALPHABET ROUTES”

More recently there has been a lot of activity in creating a “New England Gateway”. Because it involves several railroads, we will call it an “alphabet route”.

Before then, rail freight into and out of New England had been mostly Conrail (now CSX) or Guilford. Another route exists that avoids these carriers.

A test train has run to Johnson City, New York (January 2006). This coal train moved via the New England Gateway Route (P&W-NECR-VRS-D&H-NS)

“P&W” Providence & Worcester Railroad (the Providence and Worcester Railroad has joined the Genesee & Wyoming family of railroads)

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“NECR” New England Central Railroad

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“VRS” Vermont Rail System

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“D&H” Canadian Pacific Railway (was Delaware & Hudson once)

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“NS” Norfolk Southern

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A coal ship arrived at Providence, Rhode Island and was unloaded to a 50-car train.

The train travels to Worcester, Massachusetts, then to New London, Connecticut on the P&W.

It switches to the NECR for travel, back through Norwich, Connecticut then Palmer, Massachusetts, to Bellows Falls, Vermont.

At Bellows Falls, it is picked up by VRS and heads to Whitehall, Vermont.

From Whitehall, D&H takes it thru Saratoga, Schenectady and Oneonta to Binghampton.

NS carries it the last leg to Johnson City.

The route has varied, the owners have varied; but this is the basic “sketch” of the route.

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Rail Freight Thru Connecticut

A few years ago Jon Melnick, a transportation planner with the New York City Transit Authority, published an article about travel from Delaware to Connecticut not using AMTRAK. He took two days and 22 buses to travel from Newark, Delaware to Old Saybrook, Connecticut. We discussed how to continue on towards Boston.

2017 Update: Still no connection between Shore Line East and Providence, Rhode Island!

news article: “Feds drop Old Saybrook-to-Rhode Island bypass from final rail plan”

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Then we began to expand on our plans for: (1) bridge across Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Beacon; (2) revival of Beacon Line” from Beacon to Harlem Division, Danbury and Connecticut. So where do we go in Connecticut? The “Maybrook Line” which preceeded the “Beacon Line” before the Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie burned.

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We put together a WebSite on the freight railroads of Connecticut

Then we got copy of the Connecticut State Rail Plan.

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Amtrak owns the corridor that runs between Springfield, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut. This segment is one of the federally designated high-speed rail corridors.

The Boston and Albany route through Springfield toward Boston is a heavily congested freight route operated by CSX. It experiences between sixteen and eighteen freight trains per day.

Amtrak owns the 70 – mile segment along the Connecticut shoreline between
New Haven and the Rhode Island state line . The segment is primarily 2 – tracks with passing sidings near Guilford, Old Saybrook, and Groton
Connecticut, like other states, struggles with the mounting costs of maintaining its highway infrastructure. A single intermodal freight train can carry the same load as 500 trucks . Nationally,
freight shippers would have to add 50 million additional trucks on the roadways.

Encouraging and supporting approaches that maximize the amount of freight that moves by rail while minimizing tonnage moving over state highways will help reduce wear and maintenance costs on the state’s road system.
Railroads are the most fuel – efficient means of surface transportation, and are becoming more efficient and “green” at a much faster rate than long – haul trucking. Moving freight by rail
reduces the consumption of diesel fuel, reduces heavy truck traffic, and reduces carbon emissions.

The railroad track structure allows for the passage of wildlife and only experiences traffic a few times per day, as opposed to roads and highways, which see nearly constant movement of vehicles.

Unlike public transit and the public highway network, the rail freight industry is operated by the private sector for profit. There are ten privately owned freight railroad companies operating in Connecticut
These companies own most of the rail freight infrastructure in the state
and all of the rail freight equipment operating within the state.

Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC) is a regional short line that operates in the western part of Connecticut along the Berkshire Line (50.0 miles), and to Derby/Shelton via its Maybrook Line (33.5 miles)
and in western Massachusetts. HRRC owns the southern 13.6 miles of the Berkshire Line between Boardman’s Bridge and Brookfield, as well as the Maybrook Line to Derby.HRRC interchanges with CSX in
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has the potential to interchange with CSX in Beacon, New York.

The HRRC has an opportunity to interchange with Pan Am Southern Railway in Derby, should the potential for this particular routing present itself.
HRRC operates trains between Pittsfield and Canaan on Monday through Friday, and between Canaan and New Milford on Sunday through Thursday.
It operates a local switching operation in the New Milford -Danbury
– Newtown area on Monday through Friday. There are switching yards
in N. Canaan, New Milford, Danbury, and Hawleyville/Newtown, along with
and an engine and railcar maintenance facility in Canaan.

P&W provides local freight service from Milford to Derby

In Connecticut, CSX operates nearly 70 miles of railroad and maintains 11 public and private grade crossings. In 2009, CSX handled more than 9,500 carloads of freight and employed
seven people in Connecticut. Products shipped include lumber, municipal and construction waste, plywood, limestone, and wood
pulp. CSX has a TRANSFLO terminal in North Haven that provides transloading (transfers of freight between railcars and trucks),
materials management, and logistics services
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European Champion In The Rail Industry

The engineering giants Alstom and Siemens are to tie up their rail operations. Alstom of France and Germany’s Siemens say that the merger will create a new “European champion in the rail industry”. The new group,which will be led by Alstom’s chief executive Henri Poupart-Lafarge will be called Siemens Alstom and is expected to compete against China’s state-backed operator CRRC. Alstom makes TGV trains in France while Siemens makes the equivalent ICE inter-city trains that run on German long-distance routes. The French government,which owns around 20 percent of Alstom will shed its stake as part of the deal.

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Fall time is the perfect time to take a ride on the Essex Steam Train.

The Essex Steam Train commenced operation in 1971 with only one steam engine and three coaches. Today they operate fifteen coaches with two steam trains, a Dinner Train, and professionally host and cater private and corporate events in our River Valley Junction.

Some of their upcoming events include Haddam Swing Bridge Fall Special, North Pole Express, and Santa Special.

For more information http://essexsteamtrain.com

Read even more about the Essex Steam Train
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/essex-steam-train/

Southeastern railroads brace for Irma

Railroads serving Florida and the Southeast coastal region are making preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma, which is forecast to make landfall along South Florida and move up the East Coast.

The Federal Railroad Administration on Wednesday declared an “emergency event” for all freight railroad operations. Acting FRA Administrator Heath Hall called the storm “extremely dangerous” and advised “preparations be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area.” The state of Florida declared a pre-emptive state of emergency for all 67 counties. Hall activated the FRA’s Emergency Relief Docket granting waivers for certain FRA regulations during and after the storm. Also, the Surface Transportation Board postponed the Sept. 12 public listening session, regarding CSX service issues.

Norfolk Southern in a service announcement said traffic en route to the region will be held at various yards throughout its system in an effort to alleviate congestion in the affected regions. The railroad is in the process of issuing embargoes for these locations. Its Engineering unit is staging resources, including ballast trains, equipment, and generators, and will begin storm recovery efforts once it is safe to do so.

“Norfolk Southern will be working with customers in these areas to identify switching needs and service curtailment. Customers with questions regarding local service should contact their Operations and Service Support, Unit Train, Automotive, or Intermodal representative,” it said.

CSX said it is taking precautionary measures to protect employees, rail traffic and infrastructure while it monitors the storm. “All necessary actions will be taken as conditions warrant, including relocation of personnel, and rerouting rail cars and locomotives out of areas in the projected path of the hurricane. Customers with freight moving through impacted areas will be advised of any potential delays.”

Amtrak has temporarily suspended services in Florida. The Miami-New York Silver Star (92) and Silver Meteor (98) are cancelled for Sept. 9-11. Silver Star 91 (New York-Miami) will operate from New York City to Orlando on Sept. 7. Silver Meteor 97 (New York City-Miami) will operate from New York to Jacksonville, Fla. Trains 91 and 97 are cancelled for Sept. 8-10.

Auto Train 53 (Lorton, Va.-Sanford, Fla.) is cancelled for Sept. 9. Auto Train 52 (Sanford-Lorton) is cancelled on Sept. 10-11. No alternate transportation will be provided.

Florida-based FEC Railway continues to monitor the path of the hurricane. On Sept. 7 the railroad will operate southbound mainline train 101, and northbound 202 and 222. Local service changes will be communicated individually to the affected customers. On Sept. 8 local and mainline service is suspended.

Commuter operator Tri-Rail, which operates from Miami north to Mangonia Park, will suspend all services as of Sept. 8 until further notice.

Railway Age

Joint US-Mexican rail facility to speed trains at Laredo

(Laredo, Texas) Kansas City Southern (KCS) (NYSE: KSU) president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer joined officials representing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexican Customs (SAT) Thursday in the dedication of a new, joint Unified Cargo Processing facility at the Laredo, Texas railroad
border-crossing.

The objective of this new facility is to share Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) security scanning images; conduct Mexico export processing at the U.S. railhead; streamline the documentation review of northbound trains; and conduct joint inspections, when needed, on inbound shipments.

During the week that U.S., Mexican and Canadian trade representatives begin opening negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. and Mexican customs officials are dedicating this new facility to improving the fluidity and security of this vital, cross-border rail corridor.

“As our governments begin the important work of updating the North American Free Trade Agreement this week, we must all remember the importance of the NAFTA trade relationship to both countries and both economies,” said Mr. Ottensmeyer. “This project, and others to follow, are essential to facilitate the goal of expanding trade and particularly increasing exports of goods such as refined petroleum products and petro-chemicals from the U.S. to Mexico.”

The Laredo/Nuevo Laredo rail crossing is the busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border, processing on average 23 trains in both directions per 24-hour period, and carrying a wide variety of products such automobiles and parts, steel, grain and petroleum products. It is vital to the economic security of both countries. CBP, Mexico Customs, KCS and Union Pacific are committed to continually improving this border-crossing for security, safety and efficiency through government and private sector collaboration. Eliminating stopping trains on the bridge would increase velocity and fluidity of train movements over the border, which is important for all
stakeholders. Keeping trains moving increases security and throughput, while reducing traffic congestion within the city limits of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.

“This project is a model for how communities, governmental authorities and private enterprises can work together to create outcomes that benefit everyone and strengthen our relationships with our key trading partners and neighbors,” said Mr. Ottensmeyer.

Demand for rail shipments across this busiest international rail gateway in both directions will continue to increase in the future, particularly with growth in U.S. agricultural and future energy exports to Mexico. New and innovative ways to keep this trade moving securely and efficiently over the border will be needed in the future to expand trade between the U.S. and Mexico and make North America even more competitive.

TRA NewsWire

Governor Cuomo Announces Major Construction To Begin On New Grand Moynihan Train Hall

Albany, NY – August 17, 2017 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of major construction of the Moynihan Train Hall, a world-class transportation hub for the 21st century. The Farley Building redevelopment into the Moynihan Train Hall will create a new 255,000-square-foot Train Hall for Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak passengers and increase total concourse floor space in the Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex by more than 50 percent. The Farley Building will also house 700,000 square feet of new commercial, retail and dining space within the mixed-use facility and create an iconic civic space for Manhattan’s West Side.

“For decades, passengers were promised a world-class train hall worthy of New York – today, we are delivering on that promise and turning that dream into a reality,” said Governor Cuomo. “We are transforming the Farley Post Office into a state-of-the-art transit hub to get travelers where they need to go faster and more comfortably. With better access to trains and subways, vibrant retail and business opportunities and stunning architectural design, we are bringing Penn Station into the 21st century.”

The Governor also announced the completion of the first significant milestone in the construction of the transformative Penn-Farley Complex announced by the Governor in September 2016, as workers finished demolishing the former sorting room floor slab. This accomplishment – five months ahead of schedule – will enable Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP, and Skanska USA, the developer-builder team, to begin full construction of the train hall, including the one-acre skylight.

Since September 2016, significant progress has been made to prepare the James A. Farley Post Office building for this dramatic transformation. To date, Skanska has removed more than one acre of concrete and steel flooring to increase the vertical space underneath Moynihan Train Hall’s future skylight. This process entailed the demolition of 6,000 tons of concrete and the removal of approximately 800 tons of steel, as well as an additional 400 tons of hazardous materials. Skanska has also made significant progress in the interior demolition of all five floors of the Farley Building.

The Farley Building was designed by McKim, Mead and White as a sister to their masterpiece – the original Pennsylvania Station. Five decades after the loss of the original structure, the Moynihan Train Hall will once again provide New Yorkers a grand entrance in a McKim, Mead and White architectural marvel. The Farley Building’s train hall will bear the name of one of its great champions – the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

The Farley Building’s Moynihan Train Hall will feature a new, spectacular 92-foot high skylight that will rest upon the building’s historic and architecturally-dramatic steel trusses. All LIRR and Amtrak trains will be served by the nine platforms and 17 tracks that will be accessible from the Train Hall, serviced by eleven escalators and seven elevators. The Train Hall will provide a direct connection to the Eighth Avenue Subway and create direct access to the train station from 9th Avenue for the first time, bringing unparalleled regional transportation options within convenient reach of the booming Hudson Yards and Far West Side areas.

In addition to the demolition and removal of existing materials, work has begun on many new features of the Penn-Farley Complex, including:

Restoration of the exterior façade on 31st Street and the interior courtyards;
Creation of new openings to accommodate escalators carrying passengers to platform level;
Shielding three of six underground train platforms for demolition and construction operations; and
Installation of 100 tons of new steel.
The $1.6 billion project is being funded with $550 million from the State, $420 million from Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority and a federal grant, and $630 million from the joint venture developers. The new Train Hall is targeted for completion by the end of 2020.

The Moynihan Train Hall is part of the $2.5 billion transformation of the Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex announced by Governor Cuomo in January 2016 to dramatically modernize, upgrade and redesign America’s busiest transit hub into a world-class facility for the 21st century. The complex also includes a comprehensive redesign of the LIRR’s existing 33rd Street concourse at Penn Station and an extensive renovation to the adjacent Seventh and Eighth Avenue subway stations. The plan will include nearly tripling the width of the 33rd Street Corridor, which is among the busiest sections of Penn Station and stretches along the station’s lower level from Seventh to Eighth Avenue. Other improvements include upgraded lighting and wayfinding and digital screens to convey information and create a modern passenger experience.

ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “A 21st century transit hub is integral to a strong 21st century economy. Today’s milestone brings us one step closer to a world-class, fully-modernized Penn Station and I commend the Governor for prioritizing and investing in critical infrastructure and moving this project forward.”

Amtrak co-CEO Wick Moorman said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in advancing construction on the Moynihan Train Hall. The new Train Hall will provide a modern new concourse for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers, funded in part by a $105 million contribution from Amtrak. Along with Amtrak’s infrastructure renewal and concourse improvements at Penn Station, this is another significant milestone is the effort to create a better customer experience for passengers in New York.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, “Today’s announcement is a major step in realizing Senator Moynihan’s bold vision of a grand rail gateway into New York City. I applaud Governor Cuomo, who has worked tirelessly to transform the Farley Federal Post Office Building in Manhattan, and am proud to have helped push for federal funding for this project. I am convinced that Moynihan Station is just the sort of infrastructure improvement and economic development that New York and our nation needs. In addition to generating thousands of good jobs, Moynihan Station will bring our aging infrastructure into the 21st Century and expand our capacity for passengers and make New York-in particular, the West Side of Manhattan-more accessible to commuters and visitors.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, “Governor Cuomo has unveiled a bold vision for transforming the Farley Post Office Building into a hub that will do justice to the extraordinary Beaux Arts structure and the urgent transportation needs of New Yorkers. When finished, the Moynihan Train Hall will be a grand destination with shops and restaurants that will attract all New Yorkers and make commuting and travel more pleasant. I am thrilled that New York will once again be served by an iconic terminal whose grandeur and beauty reflects all that is best about our city.”

Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for this mega project as part of his commitment to invest $100 billion in infrastructure projects across New York and for today’s announcement to unveil the modernized renovations of the Moynihan Train Hall. The new Moynihan Train Hall, in its beauty and redesign, will be a critical part of Penn Station’s overhaul, improving New York’s transit infrastructure and helping to connect travelers beyond Manhattan and throughout cities around the world.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “After decades of false starts, it is a testament to splendid architecture of McKim, Mead & White, the enduring legacy of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo that the Farley Post Office will now be transformed into the Moynihan Train Hall. I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for jumpstarting this monumental project in my Senate district which will be an enormous benefit for commuters and a significant boost to the city’s economy.”

Senator Marisol Alcantara said, “After decades of stagnation and delay, New Yorkers are finally bearing witness to the revival of the Farley building into a train hall truly worthy of this great city. This state-of-the-art transformation will turn the new Moynihan Train Hall into a world-class gateway to Manhattan – offering locals and tourists alike a truly spectacular look into New York City, whether it is their first time visiting or they are simply commuting to work. I thank Governor Cuomo and my partners in the legislature for getting this long-anticipated project on the fast track for completion because New York City deserves the best and with this project, we will deliver just that.”

Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried said, “We’ve waited a long time while all the players have tried to sort out the Farley/Penn Station project. Governor Cuomo has done a great job putting it together and moving it forward. Transforming the Farley building into a 21st century transit center will help people who live, work and visit in our area move more easily and quickly. I commend our state and city partners for bring this project to fruition, providing jobs to New York men and women, and proving to the world that government can get things done.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said, “I’m glad to see Gov. Cuomo’s administration is continuing to make progress on this long-overdue project. Manhattan has long deserved an intercity rail terminal worthy of the greatest city in the world. As this project moves forward, I look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo and Penn Station’s elected officials to make sure the neighborhood and transit network reap the full benefit of this upgraded station complex.”

New York City Council Member Corey Johnson said, “After decades of hand-wringing, New York will finally have at the heart of its transportation network, a state-of-the-art, 21st century transit hub. Spectacular in its architectural design and fit for commercial and retail development, the Moynihan Train Hall demonstrates that government can deliver remarkable results for the people it serves. For years, many talked about the grand idea of transforming the iconic Farley Post Office, but to no avail. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision and unwavering leadership, we are celebrating another major milestone in the transformation of Penn Station and giving New Yorkers the world-class transit hub they deserve.”

In January 2016, Empire State Development, the MTA, LIRR and Amtrak issued an RFP soliciting proposals for the comprehensive redevelopment of the century-old, landmarked Farley Building, including a Train Hall and the surrounding office and retail space. RFP responses were received in April 2016 and reviewed by a panel of private and public experts from the real estate, construction, design and finance fields.

In September 2016, the Governor announced the selection of a developer-builder team, including Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP, and Skanska USA, to redevelop the Farley Building. Empire State Development and the joint-venture reached financial close on the transaction in June 2017.

Governor Cuomo is investing $100 billion in infrastructure projects across New York to promote economic development, create jobs, and expand opportunity. These investments enable New York to rebuild and modernize its roads, bridges, broadband networks, public buildings, and other critical infrastructure across the state while putting thousands of New Yorkers to work. Governor Cuomo has jumpstarted long-stalled or long-overdue projects, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge, the transformation of LaGuardia and JFK Airports, the Jacob K. Javits Center expansion, and building a new Penn Station.

LongIsland.com

CSX Woes Hurting Shippers…Wake Up Hunter Harrison

Dozens of U.S. trade groups have asked federal rail regulators to investigate CSX Corp’s “chronic service failures,” saying problems at No. 3 U.S. railroad have rippled across the North American rail network, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter, from the Rail Customer Coalition sent on Monday, is the latest challenge to CSX Chief Executive Hunter Harrison’s effort to ramp up productivity at the Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad and fulfill investor expectations for substantially better financial performance.

The 44 trade groups, representing chemical and agricultural companies, steel and auto makers, and beer producers and importers, among other companies, told U.S. lawmakers on House and Senate Transportation committees “chronic service failures” could degrade the nation’s broader rail network.

“This has put rail dependent business operations throughout the U.S. at risk of shutting down, caused severe bottlenecks in the delivery of key goods and services, and has put the health of our nation’s economy in jeopardy,” they said.

The shipper groups want Congress to make it easier for them to file complaints and allow other operators to use CSX track during service disruptions, according to their letter.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said the company has acknowledged that some customers are experiencing service issues as Harrison implements his vision for driving efficiency, known as Precision Scheduled Railroading.

The letter comes about two weeks after the Surface Transportation Board notified Harrison of complaints about CSX’s service. And an analyst survey last month found shippers have moved freight to rival Norfolk Southern Corp and truckers.

CSX’s service problems were exacerbated by an Aug 2 derailment in rural western Pennsylvania that forced the company to re-route trains. Federal safety officials are investigating the cause of the accident.

Shippers and employee sources said Harrison’s changes and cuts are causing rail cars and trains to sit idle or be re-routed across multiple states, delaying product shipments, and leading to inadequate customer service.

Crowley Maritime Corporation hauled 150 container loads by truck from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, and then loaded them onto Florida East Coast Railway trains to avoid CSX’s system issues.

Current and former CSX employees say the railroad is suffering from poor communication from leadership, job cuts, and rapid changes to operations – like doubling train sizes, shutting hump yards where train cars are sorted, increasing the frequency of crew changes on a service line, and blocking overtime pay.

In Montgomery, Alabama, dwell times jumped to 60.9 hours from 35.8 hours a year earlier, and doubled in Nashville, Tennessee, to 71.9 hours. However, some of CSX’s cost-cutting moves do not appear to be dramatically affecting operating performance in other locations, based on data CSX provides to the AAR.

At CSX’s Barr Yard in Chicago, roughly seven managers now run the company’s service line, down from more than 35 managers a month ago, an employee told Reuters. The overall work force has been halved by furloughs, he said.

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.