Metro North Port Jervice Line Improvements

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Metro North Port Jervice Line Improvements
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:40 AM

Project Goal
MTA Metro-North is planning service improvements for Port Jervis Line customers. To achieve this goal, Metro-North plans to add passing sidings along the PJL and construct a yard mid-point along the line at Campbell Hall.
Once these improvements are in place, they will allow for more frequent peak and off-peak service, and the introduction of reverse peak service.
In addition, these capital improvements will allow Orange and Rockland County residents to benefit from longer term capital projects such as a future Trans Hudson Crossing, which could provide the opportunity for a future one-seat ride to NYC, and improved  transit connections to Stewart International Airport.
Study Background
The PJL is primarily a single track railroad for the Line’s 65 miles in New York State between Suffern and Port Jervis.  This means it’s effectively operating as a “one–way street,” with limited opportunity for trains to pass each other along the LineIn addition, the Port Jervis Yard is located approximately 95 miles from the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, without an available passenger yard between these points for servicing and storing trains. Together, these constraints limit the number of trains Metro-North can operate during the peak, off-peak and reverse peak periods.  
Status:
Metro-North completed the Port Jervis Line Service Strategy Report and its accompanying documents. The report is the culmination of a collaborative effort among Metro-North, local elected officials, key stakeholders, and the public to develop a strategy for improving service on the Port Jervis Line (PJL). 
The report details the recommended strategy which was presented in early 2017 to local elected officials, key stakeholders, and the public. It allows for more frequent service and enables reverse and off-peak service increases on this largely single track line. Key to this strategy is the expansion of PJL capacity through the construction of a new rail yard in Campbell Hall and three new passing sidings along the line.
The next steps for this project involve completing the conceptual engineering efforts and conducting the environmental reviews. Metro-North will be issuing an RFP for a consultant to perform these tasks and approximately $26 million has been allocated in the MTA Capital Program to complete these efforts. Metro-North anticipates initiating this next phase in mid-2018 and concluding in 2020.
I can add a map with the edit button.
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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:56 AM

How close to the viaduct is this new yard?  I'm expecting very close, on the south/railroad east side.  Did they propose routes to the 'Tappan Zee bridge connection' that are more detailed than crayonista representations?

The Stewart connection, if done as heavy rail to the airport boundary, would follow interesting routes, as I remember the grade change from the Graham Line to Stewart being substantial.  It might be logical to share some of a new yard with equipment for a direct light-rail system to the terminals and parking for the rebuilt airport, and handle all trips and stops for the airport 'off' the main at a transfer platform east of the traffic to Port Jervis, for trains running in either direction.

Yes, any maps would be helpful and appreciated.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:47 PM

Overmod.  You have the edit button.  You also don't have to carry a laptop a mile to get a wideband connecion.  Just go to the Metro North website, find the news item, and copy the map and add it to this thread.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:09 PM

Moodna Viaduct is about 10 miles east of Campbell Hall.  The rail elevation in the viaduct area is about 400', at Stewart Airport its 424'.

http://www.mytopo.com/maps/?lat=41.4714&lon=-74.10690&z=14

Not sure why hey need another yard at Campbell Haul.  Are they thinking of ending some trips at C H or Middletown?  Maybe NS is selling their small freight yard at C H.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:28 PM

MidlandMike
The rail elevation in the viaduct area is about 400', at Stewart Airport it's 424'.

The critical thing is the area between them, through which a connecting service (rail or bus) would have to run.  Looking at the topo maps Mike provided I think you will see some of the options.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:30 PM

daveklepper
I can add a map with the edit button.

As long as they keep you on moderation there will be no edit button.  Put it in a new post in this thread and we will wait for it to appear.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:13 AM

And as long as they "keep me on moderation," I will not make the effort to get to the wide-band that is necessary to post photographs.  I have never been told specificalliy which statements have violated rules and have done my best in every case to stay within them.  I don't need wideband to post text and prefer to stay at the Yeshiva and not trapse to the University.  When I do have time at the Univesity, matters like Veterans Affairs and family photograhs obviously have a higher priority for the limited time there.

Again, I suggest you post the map.  You can do it with 1/10th the effort and time that I need to expend.

I also find that I can put my jpg scanned photographs into pdf booklets and send them to friends, who will then send them to their friends, without trapsing to the University for wideband.  Any of them are free to post my photographs on this and the other Kalmbach website Forums.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:01 AM

daveklepper

And as long as they "keep me on moderation," I will not make the effort to get to the wide-band that is necessary to post photographs.  I have never been told specificalliy which statements have violated rules and have done my best in every case to stay within them.  I don't need wideband to post text and prefer to stay at the Yeshiva and not trapse to the University.  When I do have time at the Univesity, matters like Veterans Affairs and family photograhs obviously have a higher priority for the limited time there.

Again, I suggest you post the map.  You can do it with 1/10th the effort and time that I need to expend.

I also find that I can put my jpg scanned photographs into pdf booklets and send them to friends, who will then send them to their friends, without trapsing to the University for wideband.  Any of them are free to post my photographs on this and the other Kalmbach website Forums.

 

Dave you always bring up interesting topics and add alot to any discussions you join in. Keep being David.

Thanks

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Posted by JOHN MEHRLING on Monday, February 12, 2018 5:36 PM

David,

Has NJT signed off on running the new trains below Suffern in terms of track and terminal space? Penn Station Direct?

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Posted by aegrotatio on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:35 PM

Wait, isn't there a railroad yard in Suffern that could be used to alleviate the "lack of yard storage" problem between Hoboken and Port Jervis?

 

I think so.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:01 AM

aegrotatio
Wait, isn't there a railroad yard in Suffern that could be used to alleviate the "lack of yard storage" problem between Hoboken and Port Jervis?

Largely full with the very large number of NJT trains that otherwise terminate or hold over there.  We're talking about something further north but not on the far side of Moodna (which is not for a variety of reasons where a stop for Stewart is likely to be).

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:36 PM

What are the reasons for not locating the Stewart stop at Salisbury Mills which is the closest station.

Also there already is a shuttle service between Stewart and Beacon station on the Hudson line.  Will the new Port Jervis line service be an improvement, or simply another alternative.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, February 15, 2018 12:59 PM

How frequent is the shuttle service?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, February 15, 2018 6:55 PM

daveklepper

How frequent is the shuttle service?

 

Here is the schedule:

https://www.leprechaunlines.com/commuter_newburghbeacon.asp

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 16, 2018 8:58 AM

MidlandMike
What are the reasons for not locating the Stewart stop at Salisbury Mills which is the closest station.

There is a bit of a problem with Salisbury Mills being just north of the single-track viaduct, and the Graham Line taking the abrupt turn to the west just north of the station.  Presumably enhanced Stewart traffic would involve multiple trains which would have to be held over or turned in that area.  You also still have issues with getting from Salisbury Mills over to the Stewart airport area (which would probably initially involve 94 east to a special interchange on 87).  I would still think that a better answer is a relatively small facility to the south of Moodna, perhaps in the area where the Graham Line runs substantially parallel close to 87 and a transfer facility to shuttles could be relatively easily put in.

I was mistaken earlier in remembering Campbell Hall as being south of Moodna -- it is most certainly not.  But it is, I believe, the next 'formal' stop north of Salisbury Mills, and of course has several potential 'railroad grades' through it to the east that should connect to the Graham Line as needed.  I do not know if there are restrictions against 'fleeting' two normal NJT/MN consists relatively close together, but I suspect that proper CBTC would eliminate the viaduct as a 'bottleneck' to Stewart service provided that multiple trains in different directions did not have significant dwell just north of the viaduct. 

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, February 16, 2018 9:08 AM

Are they really serious about a rail bridge near the Tappan Zee? If so would that eliminate the service to Hoboken? 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 16, 2018 9:27 AM

54light15
Are they really serious about a rail bridge near the Tappan Zee? If so would that eliminate the service to Hoboken?

The 'replacement' Tappan Zee bridge was explicitly designed to carry rail tracks in the center of the span; in fact I had thought until fairly close to construction time that more of the structure for them was being built in.  As built, I haven't seen any priority to install the track earlier than (IIRC) some time in the 2040s, and it may be only a single track when implemented (which makes the Moodna Viaduct look very, very short by comparison).

I would confidently state there won't be any special 'rail only' bridge, whether to Piermont or not.  Permitting alone would kill that off.  (Been there and looked at it a half century ago)

It would certainly not eliminate the service to Hoboken, for a variety of reasons including the doubtless weird things that have to happen on the east end of the Tappan Zee for the bridge-level track to connect to the River Line.  On the other hand it promises to greatly reduce the traffic that would have to use the Manhattan Direct connection to get into Penn Station, as a connection via Beacon could easily use the Empire Connection, much less used than the North and South River Tunnels (see! I found out what they're supposed to be called!), to get there.

I think there is little reason to make any current infrastructure plans contingent on the Tappan Zee 'connection' -- any potential layover or service yard in, say, Campbell Hall would be decades old before any practical application to that traffic occurs.  But if the two services are to have a common location for, say, a heavy or light rail connection to Stewart, it may make sense to conduct short-range planning to "optimize" long-range use of the assets constructed.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, February 18, 2018 1:47 AM

MidlandMike

Only one midday run each way and zero weekend service.  Seems intended as much for Sterwart Airport workers as for commuters working in Manhattan.

 
daveklepper

How frequent is the shuttle service?

 

 

 

Here is the schedule:

https://www.leprechaunlines.com/commuter_newburghbeacon.asp

 

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, February 19, 2018 8:29 PM

daveklepper

 

 
MidlandMike

Only one midday run each way and zero weekend service.  Seems intended as much for Sterwart Airport workers as for commuters working in Manhattan.

 
daveklepper

How frequent is the shuttle service?

 

 

 

Here is the schedule:

https://www.leprechaunlines.com/commuter_newburghbeacon.asp

 

 

 

 

 

8:54 AM first run sounds a little late for the start of a workday for an airport worker.  The schedule sounds to me as much for business flyers as airport workers.  The fact that so few trips make the final leg to the airport, seems to indicate this service is mostly getting town people to/from the station.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Saturday, February 24, 2018 1:56 AM

Thanks for the information.  I didn't know the yard was at capacity.

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 24, 2018 7:20 AM

aegrotatio

Thanks for the information.  I didn't know the yard was at capacity. 

It can be difficult to believe how full the yard at Suffern can get unless you see it at a peak layover time. 

This is not to say you are somehow wrong in thinking Suffern provides a useful potential resource.  Part of the original studies I did on this involved the assumption that much of the 'fourth airport' traffic would not coincide with typical commuter load peaks either inbound or outbound to Manhattan/Hoboken, and so much of the equipment laying over at Suffern might be used for airport service (with rationale as necessary for using New Jersey equipment to serve New York regional destinations).  The concern would remain peak layover accommodation for what might constitute a considerable number of additional trainsets...

I believe an additional complication is that there has been fairly extensive development in that area since 287 was completed 'all the way round' which likely makes it difficult or impossible to enlarge the facilities there.

I am continuing to look for documentation of the 'official engineering reasons' for the new yard being placed where it is, and encourage anyone else here to find and post information as well.

Remember that at least some of the proposed 'expansion' of the service on this line is contingent on service not to Stewart "as it is" but on its full expansion to a 'fourth airport' to take load off EWR and LGA in particular.  This would imply dramatically higher mass transit access at least as far as the airport boundary, both for 'primary' feeder service (given prospective changes in car ownership and use by the 2040s or so) and for reasonable employee access.  This needs to be factored into the use of the Salisbury Mills Station in particular (you'll understand the situation much more forcefully by going there or perhaps using Google Street View or one of the high-resolution satellite/aerials sites to see the topography).  

There is another potential complicating factor here that I would invite comment on.  The current Port Jervis trains are made up of a reasonable 'pro rata' share of Metro North and NJT-owned equipment.  A prospective traffic increase to a 'fourth airport' might change this to involve more Metro North capital investment, both in equipment and support 'infrastructure', for the mix of trains that run through.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, February 24, 2018 7:55 PM

The irony here is that Srewart Airport could get rail transit before LaGuardia.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Saturday, February 24, 2018 10:01 PM

When the I-287 interchange was completed the yard looked more hemmed-in than ever (I commuted daily through there in the 1980s before, during, and after the project).

 

Would you think that re-double-tracking or installing more passing sidings and maybe even pocket tracks can work?  If I recall correctly the junction at Harriman has a lot of real estate.  And there is a closed depot somewhere near Arden.

 

Perhaps they can expand it along the Piermont line but I think it's in service for a few local customers and is abandoned just north of the former Ford plant site.

 

 

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