New York City Stations/ West Side line ?

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 9, 2007 3:04 PM
Should add that construction of the Major Deagan Expressway wiped out much of the Putnam ROW and the Morris Heights Yard.
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, September 5, 2007 3:22 AM

About 20 mph, so an oil electric could have pulled mu trailers or mu equipment.  Or the possibiity still exists of mu operation north of 30th.   In any case,  I doubt that the three-power oil-electric stayed with the passenger equipment at 30th.   More probably it was used in freight service while the passenger equipment was safe with the mail cars used from through trains to and from the west and north and then special mail trains south of Harmon.  The 30 or 40 minutes layover at Spuyten Duyvil would have been long enough for a crew turn to Morris Heights to swap equipment, since one or more coach cleaner would be on duty at Morris Heights to handle Putnam steam main line trains and the short mu trains used on the Gettys Square Branch.  The layover also would permit catchup  time if the drawbridge were open delaying the northbound run,

Note the slow speed between Inwood and Spuyten Duyvil.   This was do to the slow order across the draw bridge.

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, September 4, 2007 12:51 PM

Daily except Sunday in 1934,

lv 30th St (0.00 miles) 0700

pass 60th St (1.66) 0715

depart 130th St (5.24) 0726

depart 152nd St (6.31) 0731

depart Fort Washington (7.48) 0737

depart Inwood (9.08) 0742

arrive Spuyten Duyvil (10.06) 0747

and the other three trains are similar.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, August 31, 2007 3:39 AM
And running time and stops between 60th St. and Spuyten Dyvil?
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Posted by timz on Thursday, August 30, 2007 12:24 PM

 daveklepper wrote:
While there were no engine servicing facilites at Spuyten Dyvil, there was a fully equipped yard at Morris Heights, and I suspect that is where the west side local may have originated and layed-up.

A local was scheduled to leave 30th St in the morning; 20-40 minutes after it arrived Spuyten Duyvil a local was scheduled from there to 30th St. Ditto in the afternoon-- the equipment (whatever it was) was at 30th St overnight and midday, far as we can tell from the TT.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, August 27, 2007 3:39 AM

I have to agree with your conclusion, and the speed and time check out.   I think the problem is solved and there isn't any issue between us now.   I guess I never did wander north of 34th Street on my footloose excursions around my dad's office and always assumed that ROW went north.   A wrong assumption.

But at the same time, as far as I know there were absolutely no "oil-electrics" with passenger train heating boilers, which would make use of mu eqiupment mandatory.   Non-streamlined pre-WWII New York Central coaches had the following four catagories:

1.  The oldest partially wood with steel underframe coaches still providing service on the West Shore, supplemented by some steel long distance coaches used primarily on Albany and Kingston trains.  Battery lighting and steam heating.

2.   The spartan arch-roof commuter cars used in Boston commuter service and on Putnam Division trains.   Head end lighting but steam heating.   Some had both battery and head end lighting.

3.   The long distance steel coaches with battery lighting and steam heating.

4.    MU motor cars and trailers, with jumpers to minimize loss of power at gaps and to provide heating and lighting for trailers, as well behind steam in the Peekskill service

I suspect the west side local was a three car train with two motors and a trailer in the middle.  There were I believe some control trailers, so it could have been two cars.

Exposed third rail shoes on the street?  No problem.  The wood shoe beam on the truck was painted red with white lettering giving a powerful warning message.  The same situation existed at all New York Central station platforms in the electrified zone other than the only station with high level platforms, GCT. 

Maybe someday someone will surface with a picture of an oil-electric pulling passenger train in the street!

More thoughts:   While there were no engine servicing facilites at Spuyten Dyvil, there was a fully equipped yard at Morris Heights, and I suspect that is where the west side local may have originated and layed-up.  MU's for the Putnam Division's electrified Getty's Square Branch operated out of there, runnig south to Sedgewick and 162nd st. to pick up their passengers off the 9th Avenue el, the 4-6-0's of the Putnam Division were serviced their, later Alco road-switchers, and perhaps what Herman Rinke meant were mu trailers hauled by an oil-electric.  That is a possibility.  If the running time between 60th Street and Spuyten Dyvil is a half hour or more including three or four stops, then an oil-electric is a possibility.   If the runnig time is 20 minutes with three or four stops or 15 minutes non-stop, then mu operation is indicated.  Not only running time will be helpful in deciding the matter, but also, your employee's timetable should give maximum speed and other restrictions for various types of motive power.   Is mu equipment simply considered part of the general passenger equipment or is it singled out, and if it is singled out is its operatoin discussed on the west side line?   Note that freights generally used third rail power north of 60th, R-1 and T-1 motors, but occasionally an oil-electric did run north of 60th on frieght. 

 If my thoughts about operating out of Morris Heights are correct, then the train loaded and discharged on the south-east Y-track at Spuyten Dyvil, the track that brough Harlem Div frieghts to the west side line.

Morris Heights was also the origination and termination for the daily Putnam freight train.. 

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Posted by timz on Sunday, August 26, 2007 6:40 PM

 daveklepper wrote:
I would not know where to locate such a map locally, but go ahead and check and report.
No use my checking it--you're the one that needs to see that NY Central was on 11th Ave from 60th to 35th St. (The map may not show it in the street, but it sure won't show it anywhere else.) You can look at the map online at the link I gave.
 daveklepper wrote:
If the running time is 15 minutes, than you are more correct about street running than I am.  Not being 20 minutes, which would be all street running...

1.66 miles in 15 minutes is 6.64 mph.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, August 26, 2007 2:36 AM

I would not know where to locate such a map locally, but go ahead and check and report.   If the running time is 15 minutes, than you are more correct about street running than I am.  Not being 20 minutes, which would be all street running, can be explained that part of the distance might have been on PRW within the confines of the 60th Street yard, whose northern end was around 71st Street and whose southern end was probably at one time pretty close to 42nd street, leaving a gap of only say 35th to 44th Street as street running.  Do by all means report on what the  NYC 1920's map shows, and you are correct that with 15 minute running time it could not have been only mu equipment  --- but, like the rush-hour Peekskill service out of Grand Central, which regularly ran rush hours as regular mu's GCT - Croton-Harmon (then just Harmon, with a Croton stop at the actual end of third rail a little farther north), and then were pulled by a 4-6-2 to Peekskill.   The Pacifics assigned to this service had oversized generators and the tenders had jumpers for heating and lighting the mu's.  This happened with at least two trains every evening rush hour, and I assume the reverse happened in the morning.  (The regular service to Poughkeepsie usually used coaches and a change of power at Harmon.)  I think this is a possibility, mu's running down to 60th Street, and then an oil-electric pulling mu cars down down to 30th Street.  There were never any locomotive servicing facilities at Spuyten Dyvil. so that would have been a very logical way to provide the service.  I emphases this because I am pretty sure Herman Rinke, who worked as Suyten Dyvil towerman for many years, told me it was mu equipment.  He would not have seen the add-on of the oil-electric engine at 60th Street or he may have forgotton to mention it to me.  A lot eaiser to provide an oil-electric with jumpers for coach heating and lighting in the mu's than putting in boilers for heating and forgetting lighting.  And don't forget the issue of speed north of 60th street, where mu's would have an advantage.  Did any oil-electric-electric's have heating boilers?

The operation of mu equipment on the NYC north of Harmon behind steam continued after WWII and may have even been extended to some Poughkeepsie trains during WWII.

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Posted by timz on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:29 PM

 daveklepper wrote:
so my memory of el structure of the west side freight line going north of 30th street is a real memory.
Well, sure-- it's still there today, as far north as 33rd St. The ramp down to street level originally was just north of 35th St; I assume it was removed to make room for the Javits Center. The street running on 11th Ave was north from there, until June 1937.
 daveklepper wrote:
it seems likely that the ''new'' cut was actually dug in part of the old r/o/w that may have been a surface alignment with grade crossings or an embankment with underpasses at critical streets.
You'll never find a trace of any such thing. A good place to look would be http://www.historicmapworks.com where you can search for "Manhattan" and get detailed 1920s maps.
 daveklepper wrote:
do check the running time in the timetables and that will settle the argument.
I doubt that. The 1934 timetable shows 1.66 miles 30th St to 60th St; schedule time for the "Local" was 15 minutes.

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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 6:33 AM

The SEPTA commuter tunnel was not entirely a new idea.  The PRR had proposed a tunnel connecting Suburban Sta with Broadway in Camden. 

Also, don't discount the value of Reading-side commuters being able to detrain at Suburban Sta and 30th St., which is much closer to the growing office space center of the city. 

Finally, the tunnel gets rid of the capacity constraint and cost issues of stub ended terminals.

 Now, if SEPTA would just try to live up to the tunnel's promise...Smile [:)]

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 5:17 AM

a bit of history.  my dad's downtown medical office was on west 29th street between 8th and 9th avenues.   mom, a registered pharmacists, served as nurse.   on occasion I would join them for a restaurant meal downtown, using the eighth avenue subway or the ninth avenue el while it still ran.   sometimes a last minute importan patient that required attention would delay them, and i would be footloose in the area for an hour or two.  so my memory of el structure of the west side freight line going north of 30th street is a real memory.

this was confirmed by a review of the march 2002 issue of trains, which showed the incline as originally constructed at 35th street, not 30th street.

but furthermore, it seems likely that the ''new'' cut was actually dug in part of the old r/o/w that may have been a surface alignment with grade crossings or an embankment with underpasses at critical streets.   and it would have been more logical for work to have proceeded south from 60th street, rather than building the el structure and leaving surface running betwen it and the 60th street yard.    another possiblity would have been an r/o/w  close to twelfth avenue which had to be relocated to make room for the access to the new elevated west side highway over twelfth avenue.  as a youngster i was told once that the west side highway structure south of 72nd street partially used the old freight elevated r/o/w structure, but i believe that was wrong, and the person who said that was confused with brooklyn's gowanus parkway using part of the old brooklyn 3rd avenue bay ridge line elevated structure, which it did.   that elevated line ran until 1940, and i did see it but not ride it.   rode the culver line which separated from the bay ridge el at 36th st and 5th avenue.

but you may be right about no mu and no third rail.   do check the running time in the timetables and that will settle the argument.

pardon my difficulty with this computer's caps key.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 3:36 AM

Maybe, but again check the employees' timetable.

And on railroad matters I have learned to mistrust the Times.

There is the possibility of relocations from other alilgnments as well.   Before moving eleven years ago, I saw lots of historical photos of NC New York street operations.   Bt the only PASSENGER trains ever in photograhs on Manhattan streets were 19th Century behind steam or horses.

All the "oil-electric" photos were freights, and those showing the front of the train always had a Manhattan cowboy leading.

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Posted by timz on Monday, August 20, 2007 8:51 PM

 daveklepper wrote:
i think i remember elevated structure in this aree, and the line may have gone from street to elevated earlier and then been depressed.

You think maybe there was once NY Central elevated trackage between 36th St and 60th St? If you ever decide to hunt for evidence of that, better pack a large lunch.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, August 20, 2007 10:20 AM
check the emloyees timetable running times.   on the street, 8mph top speed, preceded by horseman, 4 mh average, about 25 minutes between 30th and 60th street; grade seperated about 5 to 10 minutes.   i think i remember elevated structure in this aree, and the line may have gone from street to elevated earlier and then been depressed.
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Posted by timz on Sunday, August 19, 2007 3:37 PM
If you can get to a library that has the NY Times on microfilm, you'll see that the elevated line from 30th St to the so-called St John's Park terminal opened in 1934, but the depressed line from 60th St down to 35th didn't open until June 1937. So all trains ran in the street on 11th Ave until then-- so no third rail south of 59th St until 1937 at least.
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, August 19, 2007 4:07 AM
My understanding was that the entire line was grade separated by the time the elevated St. John's Park Terminal opened, but that some street trackage paralleling the new line remained in place to serve specific customers not served by the elevated line.  I think the electrification to 30th Street went into place with the grade separation.   I may be wrong, but that is my memory.   Indeed, I think some of the street trackage remained in place almost up to WWII and perhaps during the war.
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Posted by timz on Sunday, August 5, 2007 4:27 PM
 daveklepper wrote:
I understand the electrification extended down to 30th street for trains to the P. O. annex, and I suspect mu equipment was normal for the two daily trains each way.
Eventually third rail got down to 30th St or thereabouts, but in 1935 the line from 60th St to 30th St was still street running, on 11th Ave. They probably didn't have third rail in the street-- right?
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, August 5, 2007 7:29 AM

thanks for an authoritative answer.   I was wrong about l93l, then it was '34 or '35.   Possibly when Riverside Park was extended over the tracks and the West Side Highway built north of 72nd streetm the service was abandeoned, and this was 1935.

 

I understand the electrification extended down to 30th street for trains to the P. O. annex, and I suspect mu equipment was normal for the two daily trains each way.

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Posted by timz on Saturday, August 4, 2007 12:06 PM

It seems the West Side wasn't electrified until 1931 -- and that was only as far south as 60th St, right?

The 1919 and 1934 employee timetables shows two passenger trains each way on the West Side: a morning round trip 30th To Spuyten Duyvil and back, and ditto in the afternoon. They're not in the 1938.

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Posted by timz on Friday, August 3, 2007 6:44 PM

 daveklepper wrote:
the West Side mu Hudson Division local service (electric) stopped in 1931

In 1930 MUs ran (with revenue passengers?) down the West Side to where?

 daveklepper wrote:
I think, but am not absolutely certain, that with the construction of the high line, the southern terminal was initially the St. John's Freight Terminal

Waitaminnit ... the terminal of the MU passenger service? Which ended in 1931, before the High Line was built?

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 4:06 AM
I think, but am not absolutely certain, that with the construction of the high line, the southern terminal was initially the St. John's Freight Terminal, but after a short time is was relocated to a location farther north, possibly near Pennsylvania Station.   I will try and get an accurate answer to this question.
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Posted by GP40 on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 10:04 AM

Well, I was off by nine years, "no biggy".

Since this is in line with the original thread, What as the southern terminus for this Hudson Div.  Westside Line MU service. Was it the St. John's Freight Terminal Building???? Did the service run on the High Line???  

I have seen pictures of that ERA fantrip from the St. John Freight Terminal Building. It kind of give a glimspe of what might of been. Imagine if they re-extended the Westline to its original Chambers Street terminal location. 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 30, 2007 2:51 AM

Thanks for your support.   Again, that 49% figure of Metro North and the success of the Fordham stop prove me correct.   However, I must hasten to report that the West Side mu Hudson Division local service (electric) stopped in 1931, several years before the tracks were covered over by the  construction of the West Side Highway and the extension of Riverside Park.   An ERA fan trip, pulled by an R-class electric, ran around 1946, with dining car!

Regarding the dual-mode third rail shoe and the FL-9 problems in general, I have decided on a separate posting.   I worked for EMD summer of 1952, made one contribution to load regulartor technlogy (MIT SB EE Thesis) which went into the transition from the GP-7 to GP-9, and designed the circuits that converted the existing FT's to automatic transition, so they could mu with F-3's and later models in the lead.   JB is right in that is isn't easy or simple, but  the problems are straightfoward and I think worth solving in a straightforward manner.

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Posted by GP40 on Sunday, July 29, 2007 10:46 AM

JT22CW, 

Dave is not suggesting that we put mainline LIRR equipment on the 7th Ave. IRT. What he is referring to is building local stops on the Westside Line that are near points of interest and to where there is increased commuer traffic from what is was in the past.  Example: before Robert Moses built Lincoln Center the area where it sits on now was a slum no two ways about it and nobody wanted to go there. Now in the early 21st century with Lincoln Center, Trump City and Mayor Bloomburg and his friends pushing real hard for developement of the Far Westside a commuter stop there makes more and more sense.

While you are right that NYC is still the final destination of choice for commuters it is where "within" NYC have the commuting destinations have changed. Some same as in the past but also some new ones has developed. Since I know that you have respect for past operational presidence. There were local stops alongs the present Westide Line when it was the old Hudson River RR and I believe the service lasted well into the 1940's.

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Posted by JT22CW on Friday, July 27, 2007 10:56 PM
 daveklepper wrote:
First, the "technical problem'':   With the EMD-design shoe, there isn't any (what?) in going from underruning to overruning on the fly.   You should study the deisgn of the third rails.  Possibly you are thinking that the LIRR, subways, and Staten Island use a third rail located like the old elevated NY third rail and the very similar existing CTA third rail, which is fairly high, close to the running rail, and allowed a gravity shoe that slid up and down, but with very little toleration for sidewise devience, on the third rail.   It may have been planned or it may be luck, but the two third rail designs (and LIRR, the subways, PATH, and Staten Island. uise the same design, by intent), and NYC underrunning allow a center sprung (sprung to a horizontal position,to have pressure upward with deviation downward and pressure downward when forced upward) simple shoe design to work on both.   So all that is needed is a short gap between the third raiils, not any longer than encountered at switches and possibly involving third rails on both sides with gaps staggered to allow continuous power, with the proper ramp on each end.   The ramp on an overruninng third rail is of course the opposite of a ramp on an underruning third rail.

There is really zero technical problem if the EMD design is used and if the tolerances on the drawings that were the basis for their design are adhered to.    Which they definitely were in the first five or so years of FL-9 operation, and the third rail pick-up performed reliably into both Grand Central and Penn.   So much so, that the practice of immediately switching to diesel after leaving the tunnels was not adhered to in practice until the electric performance became a problem later.   I was a reverse commuter from GCT to the N. White Plains Station and I could tell when the switch to diesel occured because of the noise level in the front coach.  When I lived in Boston earlier I rode the New Haven frequently, behind all the passenger electrics and the FL-9's into both New York City stations.   (Later, I had a cab ride New Haven - Penn in a GG-1.)

You make it sound so easy.  If it were that easy, it would have been put into practice long ago.  But it must not be so easy, since no modern railroad does it or appears to be able to do it, right?  You make it sound like Budd Cosmopolitans (M2, M4, M6) and the upcoming M8 would be able to run into NY Penn right now without any interference problems with the LIRR third rail.  (Every anecdote relayed to me by RR personnel insists that no such thing is the case.)

Forgot about the two recent Spuyten Duyvil bridge strikes?  Amtrak had to run into GCT with prime-mover on, and go around the loop.  This magical third-rail contact shoe design must be a dog, no matter how much you're hyping it, if it didn't translate to the Genesis.  Put them on MUs, and you multiply the possibility of things going wrong by 12, per train, at least (most MU trains are 12 cars long).

Revealing that you have had cab rides is bad form, especially online.  Keep that to yourself, I advise.

I spent most of my life as a New York City resident and I assure you West Side access for the Hudson Division, Manhattan Upper West Side Access for LIRR patrons, and LIRR-MN Hudson through service is very definitelly needed and would bring auto drivers into the rail commuter network.   So is Penn Station access for New Haven Commuters.   New Jersey Transit trains running unnoccupied through the East River Tunnels to reach Sunnyside Yard is wasted capacity in those tunnels and that capacity can be used for New Haven commuters to reach Penn Station and points beyond including Newark and Newark Airport
No, there's no such demand.  I lived in Elizabeth, NJ for eighteen years, and my late father was himself born in Brooklyn and lived in NYC for a long time; neither of us observed what you are asserting.  The chief destination remains NYC, including for automobile drivers.

Not a lick of consideration for railroad labor?  These are time-honored and still-valid running patterns.  Fixing what isn't broken will not work.

For years Fordham was bypassed by all New Haven trains.   Only NYC Harlem locals stopped there.   Now it is the third busiest station on the NEW HAVEN line, in addtion to being the second busiest on the Harlem
Trains stopping at Fordham are, except for three trains, Stamford locals.  And I suspect that people on the Stamford local would rather that the train doesn't make the stop.  Should we reopen 138th Street Station in the Bronx, too?
Columbia University and George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Center could do the same, taking all three together, for both the LIRR and the Hudson Division
How would the LIRR get to Columbia U's Washington Heights campus (it's on Broadway), Lincoln Center (also on Broadway) and the GWB?  Only way would to go via the subway, as it did in the past.  The LIRR would have to dispense with 85-foot cars, in that case; it can't run on Broadway since it doesn't have cars with the dimensions of the MP41 anymore.  The West Side Line is nowhere near any of those three locations; the closest it gets to the GWB area is running well below Riverside Park.  People can (and do) transfer to the IRT at Marble Hill from Metro-North, if that's where they want to go.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 26, 2007 12:16 PM

First, the "technical problem'':   Withg the EMD-design shoe, there isn't any in going from underruning to overruning on the fly.   You should study the deisgn of the third rails.  Possibly you are thinking that the LIRR, subways, and Staten Island use a third rail located like the old elevated NY third rail and the very similar existing CTA third rail, which is fairly high, close to the running rail, and allowed a gravity shoe that slid up and down, but with very little toleration for sidewise devience, on the third rail.   It may have been planned or it may be luck, but the two third rail designes (and LIRR, the subways, PATH, and Staten Island. uise the same design, by intent), and NYC underrunning allow a center sprung (sprung to a horizontal position,to have pressure upward with deviation downward and pressure downward when forced upward) simple shoe design to workk on both.   So all that is needed is a short gap between the third raiils, not any longer than encountered at switches and possibly involving third rails on both sides with gaps staggered to allow continuous power, with the proper ramp on each end.   The ramp on an overruninng third rail is of course the opposite of a ramp on an underruning third rail.

There is really zero technical problem if the EMD design is used and if the tolerances on the drawings that were the basis for their design are adhered to.    Which they definitely were in the first five or so years of FL-9 operation, and the third rail pick-up performed reliably into both Grand Central and Penn.   So much so, that the practice of immediately switching to diesel after leaving the tunnels was not adhered to in practice until the electric performance became a problem later.   I was a reverse commuter from GCT to the N. White Plains Station and I could tell when the switch to diesel occured because of the noise level in the front coach.  When I lived in Boston earlier I rode the New Haven frequently, behind all the passenger electrics and the FL-9's into both New York City stations.   (Later, I had a cab ride New Haven - Penn in a GG-1.)

I spent most of my life as a New York City resident and I assure you West Side access for the Hudson Division, Manhattan Upper West Side Access for LIRR patrons, and LIRR-MN Hudson through service is very definitelly needed and would bring auto drivers into the rail commuter network.   So is Penn Station access for New Haven Commuters.   New Jersey Transit trains running unnoccupied through the East River Tunnels to reach Sunnyside Yard is wasted capacity in those tunnels and that capacity can be used for New Haven commuters to reach Penn Station and points beyond including Newark and Newark Airport.

For years Fordham was bypassed by all New Haven trains.   Only NYC Harlem locals stopped there.   Now it is the third busiest station on the NEW HAVEN line, in addtion to being the second busiest on the Harlem.   Columbia University and George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Center could do the same, taking all three together, for both the LIRR and the Hudson Division.

 

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Posted by JT22CW on Thursday, July 26, 2007 2:56 AM

 daveklepper wrote:
JT   Just what is the massive technical problem?    There are two basically different electrical systems for railroads and rapid transit in NY.   One is the 600-650V DC electrification used by the NYC, the subways, and the LIRR.   Except for the third rail shoe problem, which I will get to in a moment and which the EMD boys had SOLVED on the FL-9, all three systems are compatible.   Want proof?   When the first mass production Budd stainless steel subway cars were introduced, the R32's around 1962, the Budd people as a publicity stunt ran press familiarization trains between Grand Central Terminal and a temporary platfrom at Mott Haven Yard with these R-32's.   And prototype subway cars have typically demonstrated their speed capabilities on the LIRR.
I think you misunderstand.  The technical problem lies in attempting to create an on-the-fly switchover system between over-running and under-running third rail, especially for MUs and straight-electric locomotives, to permit continuous run-through operation from one to the other.  No such thing exists at present, and no such thing will exist at any time in the future either.  I already acknowledged that Amtrak P32AC-DMs (and their former FL9s that operated into NYP) would be the only locomotive capable of running a train through from the Hudson Line into LIRR territory and vice-versa (via NY Penn, that is); but to achieve the pipe-dream of through-running between Metro-North and LIRR in particular, with MUs, that technical problem must be surmounted as I described.
The story of the FL-9 third rail shoes is something like this.   The double sprung shoe required that both types of the third rail be within the engineering tolerances that were given to EMD in the design stage.  As track maintenance declined, during the "Bad Years"  (See the New Haven Historical Society's Book "Diesels to Park Avenue".) these standards were not kept.  But even worse, track maintainers would cut out a section of third rail in the Park Avenue Tunnel without putting in the require ramping rails and the end of the cutout sections, or at least not putting them in properly.  An FL-9 would come along and have its shoes literally ripped off by the restart of the third rail
So would MU contact shoes.  How does this apply uniquely to the FL9?
New Haven Line equipment has on occasion been used for all-third rail passenger use on Hudson and Harlem LInes, seldom, but it has been done.   And they used to regularly visit the Harmon shops.
What's the maintenance toll on the equipment when so used?
The other basic system is the high-voltage catenary AC system.   With modern electronics, it is easy to design locomotives that work equally well on 60 Hz and 25 Hz AC, and three different voltages, 11,000, 12,500, and 25,000, are only a slightly more complex problem.   The cost of the locomotives or MU cars would be reduced if one could get rid of 25 Hz, still used from Harold Tower and Sunnyside Yard to Washington Union Station.  A transformer at a given capacity is about twice as heavy and costly for 25 Hz as for 60 Hz, but once designed for 25Hz, it can easily also handle 60 Hz.   (Remember that the audio transformers in high fidelity amplifiers had to be efficient from 20 Hz to 15,000 Hz!   I used to design all kinds of transformers for Mystic Transormer Co. in Winchester at the same time as I was a part-time B&M test engineer, so I commuted either on the locomotive or in one of the wood open platform coaches still in use on B&M suburban trains, during my MIT senior year.)
That's not the chief problem, as already noted.  Even if NJ Transit had stayed with 3 kV DC as installed by the Lackawanna Railroad instead of converting to 25 kv 60 Hz AC, they could have bought ALP-44s that could switch on the fly between that and 11.5 kV 25 Hz AC—the defining characteristic is catenary wire, where pantographs permit minimal physical interference.  Even Arrows could have been converted to switch on the fly; if the TGV can switch between 1.5 kV DC and 25 kv 50 Hz AC, there's no reason any electric trains cannot.

IIRC, the Silverliner fleet of SEPTA has a dormant automatic variable-tap transformer system, which was installed in anticipation of Amtrak possibly converting the former PRR between New York and Washington DC to 25 kV 60 Hz AC (whereupon SEPTA would presumedly retain 11.5 kV 25 Hz AC on their system).

Remember that the Europeans do this sort of stuff routinely and reliably.   A typical TEE had to encounter four different electrical systems
The TEE was typically diesel.  Even the electrified TEE trains didn't have to deal with going from under-running to over-running third rail, and most definitely not with MUs.  This is the unique and major obstacle in the NYC area infrastructure-wise.  Even if there were demand for through-running commuter trains (which there isn't, as far as I can see), that obstacle will remain a "doozy".

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 3:23 PM

JT   Just what is the massive technical problem?    There are two basically different electrical systems for railroads and rapid transit in NY.   One is the 600-650V DC electrification used by the NYC, the subways, and the LIRR.   Except for the third rail shoe problem, which I will get to in a moment and which the EMD boys had SOLVED on the FL-9, all three systems are compatible.   Want proof?   When the first mass production Budd stainless steel subway cars were introduced, the R32's around 1962, the Budd people as a publicity stunt ran press familiarization trains between Grand Central Terminal and a temporary platfrom at Mott Haven Yard with these R-32's.   And prototype subway cars have typically demonstrated their speed capabilities on the LIRR.

The story of the FL-9 third rail shoes is something like this.   The double sprung shoe required that both types of the third rail be within the engineering tolerances that were given to EMD in the design stage.  As track maintenance declined, during the "Bad Years"  (See the New Haven Historical Society's Book "Diesels to Park Avenue".) these standards were not kept.  But even worse, track maintainers would cut out a section of third rail in the Park Avenue Tunnel without putting in the require ramping rails and the end of the cutout sections, or at least not putting them in properly.  An FL-9 would come along and have its shoes literlly ripped off by the restart of the third rail.

New Haven Line equipment has on occasion been used for all-third rail passenger use on Hudson and Harlem LInes, seldom, but it has been done.   And they used to regularly visit the Harmon shops.

The other basic system is the high-voltage catenary AC system.   With modern electronics, it is easy to design locomotives that work equally well on 60 Hz and 25 Hz AC, and three different voltages, 11,000, 12,500, and 25,000, are only a slightly more complex problem.   The cost of the locomotives or MU cars would be reduced if one could get rid of 25 Hz, still used from Harold Tower and Sunnyside Yard to Washington Union Station.  A transformer at a given capacity is about twice as heavy and costly for 25 Hz as for 60 Hz, but once designed for 25Hz, it can easily also handle 60 Hz.   (Remember that the audio transformers in high fidelity amplifiers had to be efficient from 20 Hz to 15,000 Hz!   I used to design all kinds of transformers for Mystic Transormer Co. in Winchester at the same time as I was a part-time B&M test engineer, so I commuted either on the locomotive or in one of the wood open platform coaches still in use on B&M suburban trains, during my MIT senior year.)

Remember that the Euopreans do this sort of stuff routinely and reliably.   A typical TEE had to encounter four different electrical systems.

Note that the commuter car designs used by Metro North and the LIRR are nearly identacle.

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Posted by JT22CW on Thursday, July 19, 2007 6:29 PM
 daveklepper wrote:

Again, technical arguments against through service simply don't hold up

They seem to hold up well against your failure to debunk them, with all due respect.
Both LIRR and Metro North are part of the MTA, and for a long time some consultants have advised that the two plus the subway system be combined under MTA Rail Operations with MTA bus operations being the other organization (and the two coordinating).   OIbviously there is cultural war, not a technical problem, with this idea
There is a massive technical problem with that idea; the only way to resolve same is massive conversion of electrical infrastructure on both right of way and rolling stock.  The "MTA Commuter Railroad" idea is dead and buried.

I would not regard the arguments of consultants worth consideration.  They are solely about the paycheck.

But the existing Amtrak type dual modes could provide the service by using LIRR third rail in Penn Station and in all tunnels and diesel elsewhere.
What service?  There is no service proposed.
And the FL-9 dual sprung shoes were not a problem until maintenace, mostly of the third rail, particularly at breaks in the Park Ave Tunnel and GCT approaches, fell down.  
This is based on what, exactly?  If you maintained them, please let us know.

The FL9 was a monster built to be too many things to too many railroads.  They were even built with overhead third-rail pantographs to draw power from the (now inactive but still in situ) overhead third-rail in the GCT approaches.

There is a technical paper on how such through service drastically improved commuter train usage in Glasgow, but I don't have my finger on it
Be careful of argumentum ad verecundiam.  Which service are you talking about?  Looks to me like the vast majority of trains to/from Glasgow still terminate at Glasgow Central.
A fleet of dual-third rail or dual-mode LIRR-Metro-North locomotives (or mu cars) would also be useful for special event traffic surges on both railroads.   And except for the type of third rail and easily bridged cab signal automatic train control differences (Amtrak equipment can handle both), there aren't other technical problems.  Voltage of both systems is the same (Hudson Div and LIRR) and both are DC.
Yet you do not address how to go from one system to the other via the unelectrified West Side line.  The two systems were not designed to run together.
The new 3-voltage New Haven Line cars could easily run over New Jersey Transit without problems
Please don't say "without problems".  These are a first of their kind; and they've got a lot of hardware on board, to perform tasks that they would not do on a daily basis.  Neither tthe earlier Cosmopolitans nor the "washboard" and earlier New Haven MUs had to do what will be expected of the M8.

Technical issue:  The M8s will never run over the New York Connecting Road into Penn Station.  They will, like the earlier Cosmopolitan fleet, have fixed third-rail contact shoes.  Unless a yet greater expense (and extra maintenance job) is executed, that being using retractable third-rail contact shoes, and a greater expense beyond that, which is being able to run on 25 Hz lines (Metro-North catenary is 60 Hz), the cars will not even be able to run on the NYCR.  Expectations for running east of New Haven are specious at best; unless of course all platforms on the Shore Line East are converted from low to high.  I predict "hangar queen" status for these monsters.

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