Effective Transit Alliance's view on the New York Regional Rail network

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Running an ALP45DP on LIRR in lieu of 3rd rail MU's would have to be in diesel mode throughout 3rd rail territory and could never run to Grand Central Madison or Brooklyn. They also do not change modes while moving. That may be fun for a Saturday railfan excursion, but completely ridiculous otherwise

LIRRs current diesel fleet can't fit into Grand Central either, which is why I said "most places." Additionally, if you think about it, diesels routinely operate into and out of NYP at this point. So, running an ALP-45 in diesel through NYP and into LIRR, would not be something to summarily dismiss as not possible. You can bring the ALP from NJ or CT in electric mode and change over to diesel on the platform, just prior to departure. The East River Tunnels supposedly have ventilation fans, that will hopefully get upgraded if they ever start the rehab projects.

Is it optimal? Maybe not, but it is entirely possible, right now since there is nothing that specifically forbids diesel operations into NYP.

And even then, they lack the ASC speed codes for the LIRR, which does not come cheap, and without it means a lot of slow running, unknown or false signal indications, and penalty stops.

Amtrak supposedly want to operate out into LIRR territory. As such, you would have to modify their train controls systems to conform. You could do the same for an ALP or whatever piece of equipment you want to buy. It is not uncommon to have multiple train control systems on a given piece of equipment these days.

These problems are hardly insurmountable by todays standards. The future should knock down even more barriers.

That being said, I still think it is a bad idea to have through running equipment.
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The positive thing about the proposal is that at least in the early phases it is not proposing blanket through running, but only of select route(s), which reduces the dislocation problem in case of delays to primarily the through running route, and of course some knock on, but that happens anyway. In some ways, it is similar to what Amtrak already does.

The latter phases of the proposal are progressively more and more fantasy land since the sort of organizational change that will be required to enable those won't happen easily spanning the multiple fiefdoms and state DOTs involved. A prerequisite I think will be a New York Area Transit Authority, and even then it is not clear that it will not devolve into a mush like the PANYNJ has.

Frankly just spitballing here, as a first step of run through, they could leave all existing services alone and just do a Jamaica to Rahway train hourly or half hourly if they can find the slots, which they should be able to at all times except Commission Hours I suspect. It will be necessary to reactivate the Graw Yard at Union interlocking to turn the trains at Rahway, and cobble together the few consists needed possibly in a pull-pull mode with a discarded ACS64 at one and and a DE30 at the other. An additional nice thing would be that it would provide a good way to transfer between EWR and JFK. If they cannot make a simple isolated run through like that work, anything else is even less likely.
No it is not an absurd claim for the platforms. The proof is looking at the "progress" that has been made over 30 years. Most of the M&E and the RVL still has low level platforms.
Why do you think progress has been slow?
10 minutes dwell time is exactly how long LIRR trains spend sitting in Penn Station and no more than that. It is not LIRR's responsibilty to solve NJT's problems. Since LIRR and NJT trains are routinely 5 to 10 minutes late, OTP would plummet, screwing up connections and single track passing meets on both systems.
You will paralyze the region with one major disruption if through running equipment comes to fruition.
Most countries with through running are not known for their always punctual trains. Why does it work for them but it can never work for NY?
If people wish to travel from one side to the other, they can transfer, and that can be done in 2 or 3 minutes. You don't disrupt 2 railroads for the 1% that do. LIRR is already catching abuse for altering the entire railroad for the 36% minority headed to Grand Central. With 70 route between LIRR & NJT permuations, the odds of satisfying anyone's itinerary ranges from infinitesimal to zero.
Yet every other city has plenty of passengers using through running trains. Again, where is your evidence that NY is significantly different?
Most countries with through running are not known for their always punctual trains. Why does it work for them but it can never work for NY?
Who says it "works?" Does it "work" or do is it merely "accepted?" What are the regulations involved that may be an issue over here? In either event case, just because some other country or state does something one way, doesn't necessarily mean it is the best option or route for another area.

At the end of the day, this point is the easiest thing verify. One only needs to look at the various railroads and their disruptions to see that through running equipment can easily spread to another railroad. It happens now, without through running equipment. Through running equipment will likely extend the situation and prolong the recovery time.
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Who says it "works?" Does it "work" or do is it merely "accepted?"
It works in that they are able to provide a reliable enough service for millions of commuters to use it.
In either event case, just because some other country or state does something one way, doesn't necessarily mean it is the best option or route for another area.
That's perfectly true, but nor is it the case that what other cities do is irrelevant. If everywhere else does something, it is at least worth considering.
I read “Modernizing New York Commuter Rail: A Report by the Effective Transit Alliance” and had some thoughts about it. What I put together was too long for a comment on this site, so I uploaded it as a web page on my own website at http://www.stevedunham.50megs.com/ModernizingNYCommuterRailComments.htm
I asked Alon Levy for a response and they gave a typically combative reply:
Yes, many; Dunham is exactly what is wrong with American commuter rail advocacy. He’s assuming that current service is optimized; it isn’t, and when we point that out with references, he either misreads the references or doesn’t read them at all.

1. The Eisele papers, i.e. the “sources from 1968 and 1978,” describe service today too, with the zonal express trains of peak service. The entire point is that service today is based on how suburban white flighters traveled 50-60 years ago.
2. The line that headway should be no more than half the passenger trip time is based on a lot of literature on the elasticity of travel demand with respect to both. No, we’re not calling for six-minute service to destinations 20-30 minutes away; we literally have a table of proposed frequencies, and the outer-urban ones are a train every 10 minutes.
3. Hourly service on LIRR, Metro-North, and NJT lines is exactly the example of the indifference of commuter rail planners to frequency. Hourly is not good, and neither is half-hourly to Stamford. It only looks good if you only benchmark yourself to other North American failures. More relevantly, the peak-to-base ratio in New York is about 4, cf. 2 in Tokyo, 1.5-2 in Paris depending on the line, and 1-1.3 in Berlin depending on the line. Berlin has more ridership on the S-Bahn than all New York-area commuter rail combined, and almost as much as all American commuter rail combined.
4. Commuter trains are cheaper to run than buses. That’s why competent (i.e. non-North American) commuter rail agencies charge mode-neutral fares; that the S-Bahn is more comfortable than a bus is immaterial, because mode-dependent fares as in New York would incentivize passengers to take worse, higher-cost-to-provide service.
5. The lines we’re proposing to supercharge frequency on don’t have grade crossings.
6. Commuter trains have more spare capacity than the subway (average crowding on the peak LIRR was less than full seated capacity even pre-corona), so shifting riders from the E and F trains to the LIRR is on net good, even if it annoys Long Island white flighters.
7. Around half of the through-commuters from Jersey live within reasonable range of a commuter rail station that feeds into Manhattan (counting Raritan Valley); the other half live near PATH or the Erie lines. But this is with today’s nearly-unusable service; better service does change how people travel.
8. Clockface timetables are essential for planning timed connections, timed overtakes, timed meets on single track, crew scheduling, and turnaround times – and the line that they lead to long turnarounds rings hollow when American commuter trains take 20 minutes to turn around where German regional trains do so in eight minutes (and regional trains here are still worse than in Switzerland).
I am exactly what is wrong … I laughed when I read this. I assume that current service is optimized? Not by a long shot. I didn't say that, and I don't believe it. I just don't agree with the report's assessment of the direction commuter rail service needs to take.

No, I didn't read the references. I've been riding commuter rail since the 1970s, and it is very different today. While the service structure in the New York area is mostly similar to what it was 50 years ago, elsewhere, especially on systems that didn't even exist 50 years ago, it is often substantially different. Levy twice attributes service patterns to white flight. Nowadays suburbs are often ethnically mixed and populated by families of commuters who cannot afford to live closer to the city. I used to be one and lived in such suburbs.

A lot of the statements in his response distort what I said or what the report says.

"Supercharge" is vague. Does the report not advocate service every 10 minutes on NJ Transit lines in Bergen County, in Raritan, and in South Amboy? All of those have grade crossings. Maybe I misunderstood what the report advocates for frequency in those areas.

"Around half of the through-commuters from Jersey live within reasonable range of a commuter rail station that feeds into Manhattan (counting Raritan Valley); the other half live near PATH or the Erie lines": half and around half: this is typical of what I meant when I said that the report doesn't quantify the supposed market for through running. And I would bet my last dime (or if I were a transit agency, my last billion) that a lot of the commuters between New Jersey and Westchester County have a much shorter commute driving than taking rail via Manhattan now matter how often it runs.

Again: the report demands huge investments to accommodate markets that are not quantified, and the benefits are not quantified.
Personally I consider Alon to be an excellent armchair philosopher and I find his writings quite interesting and thought provoking in that context, but not necessarily for planning anything that can realistically be built. I guess in these contentious times, I should add that I am as entitled to an opinion as anyone else ;)