Empire Corridor/Lake Shore Limited Proposals

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railiner

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I studied in Poughkeepsie when the New Haven ran over that bridge to Maybrook. Speed limit on the bridge: 5 MPH. I never knew the Federal ran that route. I'm having a difficult time imagining how the train got from Boston to Danbury and on westward to Poughkeepsie from there. When I rode it, it was an overnight Washington-NYC-New Haven-Boston train [late 60's] In my three years there, I never remember seeing a passenger train on the bridge.
You were born much too late...It ran that way before the Hell Gate Bridge was built, allowing thru service from Boston to Washington...
 

jiml

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Feb 27, 2019
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I've always thought the southern tier of NYS would be a good place for passenger rail. As mentioned, it's a bad area for winter driving west of NYC and doesn't get much better on I-86/390, where seldom-used tracks parallel the highway. I've been semi-stopped there in stormy weather only to have a freight train chug past. It may not have been going very fast, but it was faster than vehicle traffic. Not sure if those tracks or ROW could be part of any solution for an alternate route to Buffalo or Rochester, but sure would be interested to learn.
 

Palmetto

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You were born much too late...It ran that way before the Hell Gate Bridge was built, allowing thru service from Boston to Washington...
Fascinating. Apparently Boston-Hartford-Danbury-and over the bridge.
 

neroden

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Your Empire/Long Island service is riddled with operational pitfalls. I'm not sure Metro-North has the capacity to squeeze more trains into rush hour slots and I doubt you'd want to send an Amtrak to Long Island to stew in Greenport for almost 14 hours.
There's a reason my two a day proposal for extra service arrives in NYC *before* rush hour and leaves NYC *late night*. Part of it is to allow people to sleep on the train and save the cost of a hotel room in NYC, but part of it is to get out of the way of Metro-North's rush hours.
 

neroden

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Or one could rebuild the Lackawanna Cutoff so that trains can run to Binghamton from New York via Dover, Scranton as NY state has planned for a while. But getting NJ to stop dragging its feet on the Lackawanna Cutoff may be hard given its general incompetence at anything these days.
Yes, the Lackawanna Cutoff has been the clearly-best route from Binghamton (and Cortland, and Ithaca) to NYC for a long time. Crazy foot-dragging in NJ. The counties around Scranton are really eager.

Operationally I think service should run from Hoboken via the Cutoff to Scranton, Binghamton, Cortland, and all the way to Syracuse. This has been suggested by Senator Schumer, so the idea's out there. If timed right, people would also ride north from Scranton/Binghamton/Cortland to Syracuse, and even do so to connect to Empire Service.
 
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neroden

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Whether going thru Port Jervis, or restoring the Cutoff via Scranton, the biggest problem is New York to Binghamton would take about 5 hours by rail...you can drive it in
3 and 1/2 hours....
Only if there's no traffic. The buses often take 5 hours because they hit traffic around Dover (on the Scranton route) or Suffern (on the route 17 route).

5 hours would be perfectly competitive, especially since it means *you don't have to bring your car into New York City*, with the associated massive parking cost and hassle.
 

railiner

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Fascinating. Apparently Boston-Hartford-Danbury-and over the bridge.
As best as I could find, I believe it went via the 'Shore Line' Boston to New Haven, and then over to Danbury, Brewster, Poughkeepsie, Campbell Hall, then down the L&HR to Belvidere, NJ where it used the PRR's BelDel line to reach Trenton and on to Washington.
 

Amtrak57

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Yes, the Lackawanna Cutoff has been the clearly-best route from Binghamton (and Cortland, and Ithaca) to NYC for a long time. Crazy foot-dragging in NJ. The counties around Scranton are really eager.

Operationally I think service should run from Hoboken via the Cutoff to Scranton, Binghamton, Cortland, and all the way to Syracuse. This has been suggested by Senator Schumer, so the idea's out there. If timed right, people would also ride north from Scranton/Binghamton/Cortland to Syracuse, and even do so to connect to Empire Service.
I always thought that there should be an Amtrak Route using the Lackawanna Cutoff. My idea is to have a train that operates from Penn Station to Niagara Falls using a more "inland NY" route. From Penn Station, the train would make stops at Newark-Broad Street, Dover, Stroudsburg, Scranton, Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, Buffalo-Depew, Buffalo-Exchange Street and Niagara Falls. The line would use the Morristown Line from NYP to Dover, the Laackwawwa RR (which would be rebuilt) to Ithaca, a new set of tracts would connect Ithaca to Rochester and the current Empire Corridor would be used from Rochester to Niagara Falls. The service can start with 2-3 trains a day and can be expanded in the future. Although expensive, this would be a great way to add Amtrak service to the area.
 

neroden

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You're never going to get from Ithaca directly to Rochester, and there's no good online population anyway. The way to go is via Cortland and Syracuse. Ithaca traffic patterns point that direction anyway.

Theoretically, you could come into Ithaca from Owego and go out for Cortland on a single line, with a stop near the Cornell campus. Only problem is, someone built housing on part of the line in the post-1958 period, dammit.... It's still intact from Cornell to Cortland, but the route from Cornell to the southeast is totally obstructed. None of the routes out of downtown Ithaca (as opposed to Cornell) make a lick of sense, so forget all of them.

My "practical" sugggestion, after the Lackawanna Cutoff is restored, is to run Hoboken-Scranton-Binghamton-Cortland-Syracuse (track is intact all the way), with a separate train from Cortland to Ithaca scheduled around commuter traffic (track is gone but right-of-way doesn't have buildings on it).
 

jis

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Someone will first need to bell the "NJT and NJDOT" cat before anything will get done to restore the Lackawanna Cutoff beyond Andover. The best course of action may be to take the entire project away from them and give it to someone who has an iota of competence left to do anything at all in terms of new track construction. Everything involving construction of new infrastructure under the tender care of NJT is stalled in NJ for various non-technical reasons. Well, it seems like the South Brunswick station might happen but without the critical Midline Loop Flyover. So all it will do is gum up the NEC in the middle of the fastest segment, if Amtrak allows it. But we digress.

What needs to happen for restoring rail service NE PA from NY City and upto the Southern Tier in NY State is creation of a tristate commission with joint and federal funding, and an agency responsible for completing the constructions necessary. NJT will never get around to it before the 23rd century unless something changes fundamentally in NJ politics. Oddly enough, even the NJ Sierra Club, yes the Sierra Club, somehow has an odd argument for opposing restoration of service on the Cutoff. It is a single person's personal project there and the rest of the Limousine Environmentalists of NJ cannot even bother to muzzle him and throw him into Raritan Bay. :D
 
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