Empire Corridor upgrades

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GDRRiley

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 16, 2022
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672
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SF bay/LA
A very underwhelming plan proposed by New York state for improvements to the Empire Corridor. California's plan is far ahead and even states like Illinois and Michigan are more ambitious.
90mph (B) is the preferred alternative with160 and 220mph were barley studied. The improvements planned for 110mph are mediocre and CSX was hostile in a number of ways including requiring 30ft between pax and freight trains at that speed.
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https://railroads.dot.gov/sites/fra...Empire Corridor Tier 1 Final EIS-Volume 1.pdf
 
90B looks like the best choice to me, am I missing something?
110 was pretty heavily limited by the fact they didn't want to do major realignments nor did they push adding wires. Which is a key part of upgrading to those speeds. EMUs even if it was the heavy M8 at would have helped reduced the time a lot. 160-180mph which should have been a strong contender for Albany to NYC just got swept away.
metro north is also lying about the lack of capacity on their section. they can absolutely take more than 1 train an hour on their line
 
Everyone in the know among the rail advocacy groups knew that they were going to select 90B. It is a surprise that it took them 5 years to spill their guts :) IMHO their own table suggests that 110 would have been a better choice, but they know that their own table does not reflect the real costs expected. So to some extent it is a bit of a GIGO exercise with lipstick put on to make it look legitimately credible, :( but to some extent having the exactly opposite effect. Afterall you have to be very careful when cooking the numbers :D
 
90B looks like the best choice to me, am I missing something?
🤔 By the numbers given, 110 looks the best. For less than a billion more than 90B, you'd get 200k more riders a year on the same number of trains, a smaller deficit/subsidy, and a higher operating ratio.
 
But the break even point on the capital increase vs. the operating deficit decrease is 90 years, not including bond interest.
1) The same is nearly true (85 years) about the **big** leap of over $4 billion in capital between 90A and 90B.

Cost is relevant, but the focus should be on more bang for the buck, not just spending fewer bucks. Opponents would say the fewest bucks would be spent by doing nothing.

2) Financially, money is money, but politically it isn't. Capital comes mostly from the Feds (knock on wood!) while ongoing state operating expenses/subsidy are a focus of opposition. Spending capital to reduce annual expenses **and** have faster trains with more riders is the right choice IMHO.
 
If I'm looking at that, making end to end and hour and a half shorter is worth doing, making it 14 more minutes shorter is practically the same difference.
 
It is more than just time, added trips are included. If there is not an arrival/departure that works for you, time aboard may not be a factor. Doubling service to the West is a major improvement.
 
It is more than just time, added trips are included. If there is not an arrival/departure that works for you, time aboard may not be a factor. Doubling service to the West is a major improvement.
The number of trips is exactly the same between 90B and 110, the only two really in the running. 125 was dropped from consideration very early on since no one seemed to have the stomach for building a completely new ROW like CHSR is doing.
 
125 was dropped from consideration very early on since no one seemed to have the stomach for building a completely new ROW like CHSR is doing.
which is a real shame I get if the whole thing couldn't justify a new line but taking Albany to NYC could have been a 160mph route. with the Albany to buffalo getting the 90B plan but with more curve work
 
which is a real shame I get if the whole thing couldn't justify a new line but taking Albany to NYC could have been a 160mph route. with the Albany to buffalo getting the 90B plan but with more curve work
NY to Albany at 160mph has never been under any serious consideration. The most that has ever been formally considered is 125. Both will cost more than NYS is willing to spend on such things apparently.
 
I thought NYC to Albany already had some 110 mph sections. Is the 90 mph the overall average speed? Or are they planning to upgrade sections less than 90 now up to 90?
The 90A and 90B moniker mostly refer to Empire Service West, i.e. Albany to Buffalo. NYP - ALB might actually get some additional 110mph segments North of POU over time. But nothing will change on MNRR as far as I can tell.
 
A nice page by ESPA summarizing the projects on Empire Corridor South

https://www.esparail.org/resources/hudson-line-projects/
The interesting part for me is that they appear to be planning for two passenger-only tracks on each side of Amsterdam. For the areas west of Amsterdam are they planning to have two passenger tracks the entire way to Buffalo? I know the NYC originally had 4 tracks.
 
The interesting part for me is that they appear to be planning for two passenger-only tracks on each side of Amsterdam. For the areas west of Amsterdam are they planning to have two passenger tracks the entire way to Buffalo? I know the NYC originally had 4 tracks.
One has to poke around the FEIS to see if they say anything about proposed track layouts. They certainly have a lot of details about possible timetables that have been used for simulations to validate each alternative.

https://www.dot.ny.gov/empire-corridor/feis
 
The interesting part for me is that they appear to be planning for two passenger-only tracks on each side of Amsterdam. For the areas west of Amsterdam are they planning to have two passenger tracks the entire way to Buffalo? I know the NYC originally had 4 tracks.
No they’re just trying not be wasteful with the funds they have. Route 5 was built on several section of the NYC right of way. Amsterdam was one of these area. To fit a station towards the downtown will require a bit of work. The thinking seem, you might as well do it for a two passenger-only track and station project. This will give options for future growth and not require a massive amount to address any capacity. Amsterdam has some space on the west side, I am not sure what “downtown” is defined for them. Not sure if the Mayor could tell you either. I would put the station between Route 30 and the current station. Relocation of Route 5, and taken out a mostly abandoned strip of industrial area. This location would be on the edge of downtown (or what I define it as.) and easy walking. Of course getting to the retail area of Amsterdam would require a bus, or car to do so. There all up the steep hill north of the train tracks on route 30.
 
I know the NYC originally had 4 tracks.
The problem is that these 4 were on very close track centers, somewhere under 13 feet, possibly 12''6" maybe less. Therefore, you cannot simply plop down new tracks where the old were. While CSX asking for 30 feet is a little over the top, they should not even think about anything under 14 feet, and 16+ would be better.

This is a line that screams for improvements needed for higher average and maximum speeds. Also, for connections to station tracks, if not along the main lines, the turnouts to said tracks should be designed to allow the maximum speed that the train would have at that distance from the station on a smooth braking/acceleration curve. In other words, you would be slowing for and accelerating from the station platform, not for the turnouts into the station tracks.
 
Wow this is very cool! Are there further details of individual projects like status and timeline? Some of the figures there are in 2005 dollars (?)
A lot of extra funds at last year budget, nothing was directed to rail. 2005 was the year we started this study. The lawmakers will require a new study before committing to anything. Welcome to NY. It’s nice we identified problems, fixing things is a another issue.
 
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