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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 7th, 2017, 02:22 AM   #6641
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Suggest any rural republican the construction of federally funded trains and they will cry "communism!".
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Old January 7th, 2017, 02:47 AM   #6642
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Or "tax and spend", or "boondoggle" (blech).

The thing to remind those rural Republicans (or any Republicans) is that all of the money that is being spent belongs in the places where it's being spent; more- populated areas of the country generate more tax revenue than the less-populated areas, such that the urban zones that tend to lean Democrat are (to an extent) funding the rural zones that run Republican.

Teaching "salt of the Earth, hard-working" country people that their work is deemed less valuable than that of us snooty urbanites might seem unkind, but if the world's going to work closest--the best for the most--to the way it ought to, it's a lesson that must be taught.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 03:30 AM   #6643
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Well even private attempts have been met with backlash on a local and state level...this country would just rather sink further into the Abyss then enter the 21st century.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 04:47 AM   #6644
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A fairly decent majority of the people in this country want HSR. The issue is that certain groups are able to fund a minority voice and amplify it beyond all due recognition.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 07:15 PM   #6645
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Port Authority moves ahead with capital plan, delivering $2.7B Gateway commitment.





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After months of bitter political squabbling, the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unanimously agreed Thursday to introduce a $32.2 billion capital plan that includes the first major outlay of funding for the Gateway rail tunnel.
The 10-year proposal includes $2.7 billion to support construction of the tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan, as well as related work on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The total includes $302 million that was already approved to pay off debt associated with replacement of the Portal Bridge, a major bottleneck just outside the city.New York and New Jersey have agreed to cover half of the cost of Gateway, which is estimated to be a $20-billion-plus undertaking, with the federal government covering the remainder.

“Today’s commitment to the Gateway project is by far and away the largest single commitment of financing to the Gateway tunnel and the only one that is committed, real and that the project can rely on,” Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, said after the agency’s meeting in New York. “I think it’s a huge step forward.”
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Old January 7th, 2017, 07:47 PM   #6646
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A fairly decent majority of the people in this country want HSR. The issue is that certain groups are able to fund a minority voice and amplify it beyond all due recognition.
Hmmm....Sounds familiar.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 08:54 PM   #6647
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Well, Amen, Hallelujah, and Peanut Butter! The Great Pumpkin DOES EXIST!!!!!

Finally, some good news in this hellish world. Lets get this damn sucker moving! I want to get a job working on Gateway, if at all possible.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 09:30 PM   #6648
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This looks good for sure! What would the impact of completion be on speed and reliability of long distance trains going South of NYC?
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Old January 7th, 2017, 11:32 PM   #6649
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It might save only 15 minutes. But the real impacts will be on reliability and capacity. Right now, the infrastructure is seriously deteriorated and the whole area is essentially one large choke-point. This project will eliminate the capacity issues and remove the delays from malfunctioning equipment.

Perhaps the best example is Portal Bridge. The current Portal Bridge was built in 1907 and is a swing-span. It must be opened to allow critical barge traffic at least once a day. However, it requires a large crew to lock and unlock the pivots, and the bridge has a tendency to jam part-way, causing massive delays. Furthermore, due to the age of the structure, speeds are restricted to 60 mph across the bridge compared to 90 mph on either side.

Portal North will be a high-level bridge that will replace the existing structure. Since it will be a new bridge, it won't have any speed restrictions, and since it will be high-level, it won't open, and therefore be more reliable. This alone will mean more capacity since the schedules won't have to accommodate openings and trains will be faster. Portal South will provide an additional two tracks to create a four-track line and increase capacity.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 11:37 PM   #6650
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The Hudson River Tunnels are from 1910 and desperately needed a major overhaul even before Hurricane Sandy inundated them with brackish water several years ago. Engineers are holding their breath to keep the tunnels open until the new ones are ready. They absolutely MUST be shut down for a major overhaul YESTERDAY. The construction of new tunnels will allow this to happen, and once the overhauls are done, will provide much more (badly needed) capacity into Manhattan.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 12:04 AM   #6651
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How long will that project take?
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Old January 9th, 2017, 02:07 AM   #6652
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All of Gateway?

2040~ish.

Some parts, like the Penn Station Newark improvements, could be done by the end of the year, or next year at worst. Portal North is fully blueprinted, if I recall properly, and can be started whenever the funds appear-which would lead to a 3-4 year construction period. Portal South needs some detail work, and would then be similar.

Harrison is a small project on existing RoW-it consists of leveling an embankment and shifting the westbound PATH track onto it followed by rebuilding the existing PATH alignment as the fourth NEC track. If the shovels started tomorrow, it might well be ready by Christmas.

Sawtooth Bridge is not big in size, but its in a very tight place, with lots of active tracks all around. Its a very complex endeavor, so I would say 2-3 years for planning and 3-4 for building. On the other hand, absolutely no land not owned by participating railroads anywhere near it, so no property takings or anything.

The High Line is simpler but bigger, so I would give a similar time-frame for that. It involves building up embankments to add more tracks and replacing two bridges on a busy rail line. Not really any land takes, but it does cross some wetlands.

The Penn Station expansion, on the other hand, is something that will take DECADES.

The box under Hudson Yards will enable the new Hudson River tunnels to enter the station-that's much of the Manhattan approaches right there. After about 2-3 years to organize and start construction, you have another 3-5 to actually dig the tunnels.

The new platforms, though, would involve BUYING AN ENTIRE BLOCK OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. Let's repeat that: BUYING AN ENTIRE BLOCK OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. To make matters worse, there are several large office buildings and a very historic church on the site. Once ALL OF THAT (money and objections) is dealt with, you have a massive demolition job, followed by an immense excavation program in a very tight and sensitive site. Followed in turn by a major construction program. Notice that they are only now finishing the train stations destroyed by 9/11? Yeah. That's what you are looking at in terms of construction, not counting the property hearings. So about 2030? Maybe?

Seacaucus Junction is at the bottom of the priorities list. The loop can only be put in place after the PSNY expansion is operational. And the addition of more platforms won't be very useful without the new PSNY, either. Everything else is about repairs and opening up bottlenecks. This is the only part (aside from the new PSNY platforms) that is about actually adding whole new capacity and not smoothing out wrinkles to achieve what capacity there SHOULD be. And even the Penn South plan can be argued as simply fixing bottlenecks, too.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 02:19 AM   #6653
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Another quick note to above: traveling from Penn Station Manhattan to Penn Station Newark took about 12 minutes by Metroliner in 1971 on the eve of Amtrak. With subsequent rehabs, drop maybe two minutes off of it for today's time. The distance is only 10 miles. Any improvements would drop times by a small margin.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 05:32 AM   #6654
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Zy99 View Post
All of Gateway?

2040~ish.

The new platforms, though, would involve BUYING AN ENTIRE BLOCK OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. Let's repeat that: BUYING AN ENTIRE BLOCK OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. To make matters worse, there are several large office buildings and a very historic church on the site. Once ALL OF THAT (money and objections) is dealt with, you have a massive demolition job, followed by an immense excavation program in a very tight and sensitive site. Followed in turn by a major construction program. Notice that they are only now finishing the train stations destroyed by 9/11? Yeah. That's what you are looking at in terms of construction, not counting the property hearings. So about 2030? Maybe?
What Block? If it's the block I'm thinking about, then I hope they don't follow through with it, as it involves razing some gorgeous historic Art Deco and Beaux arts skyscrapers, as well as a couple of brand NEW luxury condo apartment towers. Is there ANY Adjacent block that they could other wisedo this on?
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Old January 9th, 2017, 06:21 AM   #6655
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The block due south of Penn Station, between 7th and 8th Avenues and between 30th and 31st streets. Like I said, it's a real issue. We're talking about a valued and beloved part of the city-scape. But that's the only real option.

The North Side of Penn Station is occupied by the LIRR, so adding platforms on that side would necessitate shifting all of the operations to the north. This would mean impossible curves for trains as they shift alignments, and would basically mean digging a new East River Tunnel to accommodate the LIRR since it wouldn't reach the current tunnels. It would be a giant mess with Amtrak and LIRR trains conflicting unless massive new track segments were blasted out from under adjacent blocks to allow the LIRR to get to and from the West Side Yard.

To the West is no good because the tracks are splitting and diverging, climbing up from the Hudson River Tunnels and rising into the West Side Yard for the LIRR.

To the East is impractical since the tracks are merging and diving into the East River Tubes and the Herald Square subway station complex is present.

Running the tracks above would mean an impossible gradient and would get in the way of the passenger concourses.

Running the tracks below would disrupt operations as they try to punch access-ways through the platforms from beneath (not to mention accessing below anyways).

Penn Station's current location and arrangement is largely the result of very careful balancing of factors way back in 1900 when the original design work was carried out. The station's basic layout has changed very little since then. The site and configuration were a delicate balancing act then and remain so today. The PRR left room in the original designs for expansion in multiple directions, including new tunnels and platforms. For adding capacity from New Jersey, a southern expansion of the station is the only feasible option.

I should also note that the concourses and the platforms are haphazardly configured to reflect the current users. Since the new tunnel and platforms will be geared towards NJ Transit, it is less hassle to add them to the Southern side where NJ Transit currently lives.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 06:25 AM   #6656
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These images from the blog LIRR Today show how things currently stand:

http://i.imgur.com/yl0EWFA.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/k58Dd3a.png
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Old January 9th, 2017, 06:40 AM   #6657
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To give an example of the complexity of Penn Station New York, a train from Albany can not use track 14 or track 1 (as an example). The switches for the Empire Connection, which is the tunnel from Albany, do not reach as high as track 14, making it impossible to reach any track above 9.

Track 1 is also out for different reasons: trains from Albany are powered by diesels equipped with 3rd rail shoes for electric running in tunnels. However, track 1 has no 3rd rail. Furthermore, track 1 terminates at a concrete wall immediately beyond the platform. Without a massive choreographed dance that would be hugely disruptive, only a train with a cab car/push-pull or an EMU can operate on track 1.

This is but a sample of the daily headaches facing Penn Station.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 07:32 AM   #6658
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All that makes the kind of expansion Penn Station needs sound essentially impossible. I cannot fathom an entire block being leveled for what basically amounts to transit expansion--in any major world city within densely built-up areas, much less in some of New York's most valuable area.

At the same time, the kind of transportation hub which NYC serves as for the entire metropolitan (and megalopolitan) area necessitates some infrastructure which is truly massive in scale. Has anyone ever proposed an inter regional rail transit hub outside of Midtown to supplement the existing hubs? Anywhere on Manhattan would be a massive endeavor, but then, it'd be that much more worth it, too.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 09:07 AM   #6659
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But they will still replace the critically old tunnels, right?

Expanding Penn Station itself seems like a big unfeasible mess given the way large public projects are handled in NYC.

Maybe capacity could be increased by improving train turnaround time?
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Old January 9th, 2017, 09:40 AM   #6660
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I think it is more a question of operating processes. With 22 tracks (19 through and 3 stub), Brussels manages 1200 trains per day. How many there ?

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