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Thread: High Speed Rail - Amtrak Northeast Corridor

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    Default High Speed Rail - Amtrak Northeast Corridor

    The topic of this thread is the proposal to build a dedicated-track High Speed Rail (HSR) link along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) from Washington DC to Boston. A project of this magnitude would be long-term - taking decades, and expensive - over $100 billion. Amtrak itself is under threat, with legislation in Congress by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman John Mica (R-FL) and House Rail Subcommittee chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) to privatize the NEC.

    There are two proposals: One by the University of Pennsylvania PennDesign group, the other by Amtrak.

    The PennDesign proposal is less expensive at $100 billion, with numbers based on 2010 dollars. The Amtrak proposal is $117 billion, but adjusts for inflation. The Amtrak proposal is also preliminary; a more detailed report is expected.

    The Amtrak New York to Boston alignment differs significantly from the PennDesign, but Amtrak studied various alignments, and picked a representative "Analyzed alignment."
    It is important to note that virtually all of the alignments considered pose a variety of construction and environmental challenges. It was beyond the scope of this study to analyze all potential alignments in significant detail. However, a representative alignment was chosen for analytical and costing purposes.
    Both proposals recognize the unsuitability of using the present NEC Shore Line route in Connecticut, but they are bypassed in different ways.

    Amtrak proposes an 11.8 mile tunnel from New Jersey to an HSR station at Penn Station, an HSR station at GCT, and continue north into the Bronx. The alignment leaves the NEC at New Rochelle, and runs on a northern route along Interstate Highway and railway routes through Hartford and on to Boston.

    PennDesign proposes a tunnel from New Jersey to an HSR station at Penn Station, and continue east with a new tunnel under the East River. Above ground in queens, it would follow the LIRR main line to an HSR station at Jamaica, then into Nassau and Suffolk, with HSR stations at Garden City, Farmingdale, and out to Ronkonkoma-McArthur Airport. The alignment would swing north, with a tunnel across Long Island Sound to New Haven, and north to Hartford, and basically a similar path of Amtrak to Boston.

    Amtrak: A Vision for High Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor

    PennDesign: Designing a High Speed Rail Service

    One thing I don't understand: Both proposals would require a new HSR station under Penn Station. The Amtrak Gateway tunnel emerges in Manhattan at railyard level, unsuitable for an HSR station. Does this mean there would be an additional HSR tunnel, or that Gateway would be modified, given both of these proposals seem to predate Gateway?

  2. #2

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    Why is railyard level unsuitable? That is the only way the tracks could link up with GCT's tracks.

    Regarding the Jamaica station, now that would be something! Linking up the airport with connections on the NEC like in europe
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; March 12th, 2012 at 01:13 PM. Reason: removed unneccessary quote

  3. #3

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    Please stop quoting entire posts if you are only responding to one point. Especially if the post is immediately preceding.

    Quote Originally Posted by futurecity View Post
    Why is railyard level unsuitable? That is the only way the tracks could link up with GCT's tracks.
    The railyard is at the level of the existing platforms of Penn Station, and the new platforms of the proposed Penn South.

    In both proposals, an HSR hub station is necessary, and the tunnel has to continue either to GCT or east to the East River. Where do you put them?

    In the Amtrak proposal, the Manhattan tunnel thru GCT is dedicated to HSR; it doesn't use the Metro North tracks. Presumeably, the tunnel would run beneath the Metro North ROW.

    Did you read the two proposals? A dedicated track system is critical to both.
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; March 12th, 2012 at 01:31 PM.

  4. #4

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    Fair enough! It is odd alright!

    I wonder why they couldn't just dig from Penn Station South with a new deep bore tunnel to GCT. Is it not possible to connect a shallow station with a deep bore tunnel?

    I don't see the need to replicate Penn Station South deeper to be honest.

    Also, wouldn't a deep bore tunnel under GCT interfere with ESA? I'd say it might be easier to use the spare platforms at GCT with a new tunnel from Penn station South dedicated to Amtrak?

    Also, I'm sure there could be some way of allowing commuter rail to utilize these tunnels, given that the HSR would be operating at slow speeds under Manhattan. It would be waste for such a tunnel to be limited to Amtrak when New Jersey transit could access the East Side.
    Last edited by futurecity; March 12th, 2012 at 01:43 PM.

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    While they're at it, they should build a passenger vehicle tunnel alongside any train tunnel across Long Island Sound

    I have no idea where they think they can find the right of way land to build HSR through Long Island though

  6. #6

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    Minimal land, if any, needs to be taken.

    The existing LIRR ROW can be used to Ronkonkoma. Tracks would be either elevated above or trenched next to the existing line. Where necessary, short tunnels would be used. I don't know how they would get north, but satellite views show a ROW extending north from a site near I-495 a little east of Patchogue Road. LIPA? It runs to LI Sound at Port Jefferson.

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    I do like the Penn Design ,with the exception of Wilmington which deserves a station and Worcester.... LI will be tricky , HSR tracks will have to be grade separated and separated from the LIRR tracks due to safety reasons. I don't why the Amtrak proposal once on the CT side does not go up towards Worcester which would capture more riders. I do think there should be a Grand Central connection , for Future Upgrades to the NEC.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
    I do like the Penn Design ,with the exception of Wilmington which deserves a station and Worcester.... LI will be tricky , HSR tracks will have to be grade separated and separated from the LIRR tracks due to safety reasons. I don't why the Amtrak proposal once on the CT side does not go up towards Worcester which would capture more riders. I do think there should be a Grand Central connection , for Future Upgrades to the NEC.
    I prefer the LI alignment, then up through New Haven and Hartford. This would allow JFK to be connected somehow to the network - a huge plus. I suppose it would be an air=train connection to a new station at Jamaica, however it still would free some slots from JFK. I predict, though, that they will chose the safer and less expensive route that won't require a very expensive bridge/tunnel under the LI sound.

    It is vital that they avoid the shore route, given how difficult it would be to make that into a proper HSR ROW.

    Having it go through Hartford would be a boon for that city, but Providence and perhaps New Haven might miss out. I don't see how that would work out politically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by futurecity View Post
    I prefer the LI alignment, then up through New Haven and Hartford. This would allow JFK to be connected somehow to the network - a huge plus. I suppose it would be an air=train connection to a new station at Jamaica, however it still would free some slots from JFK. I predict, though, that they will chose the safer and less expensive route that won't require a very expensive bridge/tunnel under the LI sound.

    It is vital that they avoid the shore route, given how difficult it would be to make that into a proper HSR ROW.

    Having it go through Hartford would be a boon for that city, but Providence and perhaps New Haven might miss out. I don't see how that would work out politically.
    You can skip Providence , but you can't skip New Haven...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
    You can skip Providence , but you can't skip New Haven...
    Why?

    If you can't skip NH, you'd be limited to either the Shore routing or the LI route. Both are difficult and expensive to turn into HSR lines compared to a route inland in rural areas.

    Hartford makes up for NH IMO. It's a bigger city. NH will still have decent medium speed service to NYC and Boston.

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    Quote Originally Posted by futurecity View Post
    Why?

    If you can't skip NH, you'd be limited to either the Shore routing or the LI route. Both are difficult and expensive to turn into HSR lines compared to a route inland in rural areas.

    Hartford makes up for NH IMO. It's a bigger city. NH will still have decent medium speed service to NYC and Boston.
    I was saying the LI route has more weight then the Shore line route. But don't abandoned the Shore line completely , and build a connection into GCT for the Shore line route...

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    Wow have times have changed , now i can write off the whole CT shore...anyway Amtrak is testing 160-170mph trains along the NEC in NJ , MD and New England...


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