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Pennsylvania Station, Manhattan question

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Pennsylvania Station, Manhattan question
Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, April 6, 2023 7:09 AM

Did all trains on Penny's line through Manhattan run on overhead caternary or did some run on ordinary diesel electrics?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, April 6, 2023 9:03 AM

As far as I know all trains ran on the overheard catenary, diesels weren't supposed to be allowed to run in the tunnels.  If they were in the tunnels they were either "dead-in-tow" or a "Go ahead run it though, nobody's lookin'!" situation.  Wink

Which I wouldn't stick my neck out and say never happened!

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, April 6, 2023 9:57 AM

I thought it was third rail.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 6, 2023 10:00 AM

Amusingly, the original run through a bore of the completed North River Tunnel was with steam.

The operating concern involves the considerable grade exiting the tunnel 'in either direction'.  Either steam or diesel stalling at the bottom would result in terrific asphyxiation in a comparatively short time -- there was an accident in Italy during WWII that demonstrated the potential very effectively.  Even with the relatively short distance involved from Penn Station, by the time a recovery locomotive could be readied, brought into the tunnel, and tied on and the brakes on the train released, many passengers could be (expensively, if you remember Malbone St.) impaired or dead.

Unlike the situation at GCT, where "diesel" operation was often conducted at idle and sometimes at more than that with the FL9s that had inoperative third-rail pickup, PRR/PC/Conrail/Amtrak was always careful not to allow internal-combustion locomotive power through the tunnel.  During the time the Aerotrain ran, it was towed by GG1 going through the tunnel...

...what I don't know is whether the 567 in the Aerotrain had to be idling to supply the train with light and HVAC.  Likewise, I don't remember if all the small engines in some types of car, or the power unit of the 1950s Budd Tubular Train, were running in the tunnel or had to be shut down.

A consideration with the tunnel design is that they're not separately ventilated, as the Holland and later vehicle tunnels were.  If you are at the west portal, you can easily tell soon after a train enters from the east because displaced air comes out, proportional to speed.  Now, you can presume that there is also some of this air that presses backward into the partial vacuum created by the train's close passage.  Therefore any IC engine running to make power at the front of the train would preferentially pass heat and exhaust back along the sides of the train, which would require very good carbody sealing and recirculating HVAC circulation through the bore.  To some extent this would be minimized if the engine were pushing.  But even then, residual exhaust in the tunnel would affect a following train (likely as not to be on a close headway), and a stall or even a short traffic stoppage resulting in a stop in the tunnel would still have likely serious consequences.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, April 6, 2023 10:01 AM

The Hudson-Manhattan RR (now PATH) a commuter line and PRR subsidiary was third rail.  The PRR's main lines into Pennsylvania Station were catenary. 

The H-M RR crossed the Hudson in it's own tunnels into the city to a terminus on 33d Street, close to Pennsylvania Station but not part of it.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 6, 2023 10:21 AM

Flintlock76
The PRR's main lines into Pennsylvania Station were catenary. 

Oh dear, and you're from my part of New Jersey, too...

The tunnel was run with third rail through the era of Manhattan Transfer, first with DD1s and then with those execrable L5s, until some very skilful modifications were made by Gibbs & Hill to run 11kV catenary through in the early Thirties -- there is actually 'video' of a train going through the tunnel at the time the catenary support construction was just getting under way.

The third rail REMAINS in the tunnel, and was powered when needed (for example when wire trains are required) -- a pair of DD1s remained operational well into the PC era more or less just for this service.  Now, I hear you cry, why don't we use those Genesis 32DMs to run electric through the tunnel and then convert to diesel at the portal?  Their shoes are optimized for the ex-NYC infrastructure, not the PRR/LIRR standard, and while there might be an excuse for MetroNorth to assign 'their' engines to traffic going through New Jersey (e.g. the ex-Erie to Port Jervis) there isn't enough perceived need to get shoes capable of both overrunning and underrunning contact designed and installed.

(As an amusing aside: when I was talking with Port Authority commissioners in the late Seventies, I pointed out that when the time came to rebuild the catenary infrastructure in the tunnels (to 12.5kV 60Hz) they could rebuild a few FL9s with dedicated shoes and use them to 'ferry' traffic on third-rail power while the OHLE was under repair.  As the P32DMs 'age out' they could be repurposed for similar use when Gateway is opened and first one and then the other North River Tunnel is reconditioned.)

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, April 6, 2023 2:00 PM

Overmod
Oh dear, and you're from my part of New Jersey, too...

What can I say?  I'm not THAT much of a Pennsy fan and never hung around the tunnels!  

When I think "Pennsy in the tunnels" I think GG1's.  Wink

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, April 6, 2023 2:17 PM

I've ridden the U-A Turbotrain a few times in and out of Pennsylvania Station. I imagine that thing could fill the entire space with oily smoke in short order;

 Turbotrain at Penn Station by Steve Baldwin, on Flickr

    [edit!]

Oh, how the memory fails me. The Turbos were equipped with third-rail shoes (for operation into Grand Central) and the turbines could be shut down. Embarrassed I can not recall when or where the turbines were fired up and switched over for the Penn Station route? I 'believe' the Turbo's third-rail shoes were designed to utilize both over— and under running rail.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 6, 2023 3:38 PM

The ONE time I got to ride the Turbo into Penn Station, it was switched to third-rail power at some point (I don't remember the train either stopping or the lights flickering as the changeover was made) and none of the turbines were running on arrival.

The Turbo most certainly didn't have dark oily smoke in a confined space.  What it had, in spades, was that white-kerosene overheated-metal jet-airplane reek.  Which was something you could smell clearly as the train came by platforms at Stamford... several tracks over.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, April 6, 2023 8:09 PM

Overmod
... Now, I hear you cry, why don't we use those Genesis 32DMs to run electric through the tunnel and then convert to diesel at the portal?  Their shoes are optimized for the ex-NYC infrastructure, not the PRR/LIRR standard, and while there might be an excuse for MetroNorth to assign 'their' engines to traffic going through New Jersey (e.g. the ex-Erie to Port Jervis) there isn't enough perceived need to get shoes capable of both overrunning and underrunning contact designed and installed.

Amtrak's P32AC-DM were equiped with overrunning LIRR-type 3rd rail shoes.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, April 8, 2023 11:48 AM

OK, follow up question. Amtrak's schedule shows trains coming into Manhattan on the old NYC Hudson River line bypassing GCT and terminating at Penn Station (Moynihan Hall). I think I read a few years ago they jog over to the west side line but I'm not positive about that. At what point do they switch from third rail to caternary? 

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Posted by ndbprr on Saturday, April 8, 2023 1:40 PM

Off topic but PRR tried to run some freights through in the middle of the night but the idea didn't work very well.

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Posted by nealknows on Saturday, April 8, 2023 3:36 PM

The line out of NY Penn up the West Side Highway runs dual mode Amtrak P42-DM engines (I could be wrong on the model of the train, but they are dual mode in the 700 number series). They keep a rescue engine on the west side of the station past the platforms. I would think just prior to entering the tunnel where it turns east to NYP they switch to 3rd rail power, no catenary. I don't remember seeing any catenary wires or poles on a ride into NYP around 2005, but I could have missed it.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 8, 2023 6:12 PM

John-NYBW
OK, follow up question. Amtrak's schedule shows trains coming into Manhattan on the old NYC Hudson River line bypassing GCT and terminating at Penn Station (Moynihan Hall). I think I read a few years ago they jog over to the west side line but I'm not positive about that. At what point do they switch from third rail to catenary?

My understanding is that the Empire Connection dual-modes had the overrunning (LIRR ex-PRR) shoes, used them approaching Penn Station, but ran diesel all the way up the West Side including in the long tunnels under Riverside Park, crossed over to the River Line at Spuyten Duyvil, and then continued on diesel power (not using the NYC third rail)

They do not have pans like the ALP45DPs, and the 'third rail' capacity is only for the station approach

The Metro North (etc.) P32s would have underrunning shoes suitable for the ex-NYC approach to GCT.

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, April 8, 2023 6:40 PM

Occasionally a diesel slips through...

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by OldEngineman on Saturday, April 8, 2023 9:39 PM

On the Empire Connection, both 3rd rail AND catenary begin just outside the Empire Tunnel.

Amtrak P32's coming south will switch from diesel to 3rd rail inbound, I think most guys will leave the engine idling until they're sure the 3rd rail traction power is working.

Leaving Penn bound for the Empire Connection, the main engine will usually be started as soon as the departing train clears the Penn Station platforms, so it's ready for changeover at the end of the Empire tunnel.

Back when Amtrak was using the FL9's into Penn (starting around April 1991 when the Empire Connection was opened), I don't remember any of them working on 3rd rail. Most didn't even have 3rd rail shoes. So you ran them in on diesel, and shut it down just after you stopped on the platform.

A long, LONG time ago (New Haven days), the FL9's had 2-position 3rd rail shoes, one for the NYC under-running 3rd rail, and another for LIRR style over-running rail. They could go into Penn if they had to, but I don't believe it was normal operating procedure (so long as they had electric locos instead).

Re Ed's video of the P42 in Penn -- they must have run out of P32's that day. It was probably either go with the P42, or let the train sit...

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 9, 2023 5:56 AM

Do the Amtrak P-42s have Stage IV or Stage V emissions? If so, they should be able to keep the main engines idling, or even at power if need be.

Of course, rules and regulations do not always keep up with technology.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 9, 2023 6:11 AM

SeeYou190

Do the Amtrak P-42s have Stage IV or Stage V emissions? If so, they should be able to keep the main engines idling, or even at power if need be.

Of course, rules and regulations do not always keep up with technology.

-Kevin

 

Eh?  Huh?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, April 9, 2023 2:14 PM

SeeYou190
Do the Amtrak P-42s have Stage IV or Stage V emissions?

More like tier III. The new Siemens ALC-42 Charger, with Cummins QSK95 engines meet tier IV:

https://media.amtrak.com/2020/08/amtrak-prepares-for-new-diesel-locomotive-fleet/

Although modern when bought in the 90s, the P-series locomotives have been intensively used for more than 25 years, lack up to date technology and do not achieve Tier 4 emissions standards.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, April 9, 2023 11:09 PM

SeeYou190

Do the Amtrak P-42s have Stage IV or Stage V emissions? If so, they should be able to keep the main engines idling, or even at power if need be.

Of course, rules and regulations do not always keep up with technology.

-Kevin

 

The unburned fuel and NOX may be cleaned up, but they do nothing for CO2 and oxygen depletion.

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