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    Is Penn Station via the MNRR Hudson Line a Possibility Again?


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    #1 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:45 AM

    For years, there has been talk off and on in Riverdale about the Hudson line running via the West Side to Penn Station via Amtrak's tracks. Yesterday morning while waiting for my MNRR train to GCT, I saw my Assemblyman talking about the idea of running MNRR service to the Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil stations with an individual who was clearly well versed with how the tracks are laid out along the Hudson Line. The thinking is that the track layout wouldn't allow for direct service to Penn Station for people in South Riverdale (Spuyten Duyvil) but an alternative would be to simply run shuttles (Hudson Raillink buses) up to the Riverdale - Wave Hill station where such trains could stop. There could also be a push for even more service to GCT with the argument being that Upstairs Riverdale does not have a subway and relies on MNRR like Westchester. I think that would be an uphill battle since more express trains from Westchester would have to be opened up to stopping in Riverdale, but the (MTA) has given Riverdale some of those trains already that make no stops in the South Bronx and run semi-express to GCT.

    Given what is set to happen in eastern parts of the Bronx, I would think that this project has a chance. The river towns like Croton-On-Hudson, Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and so forth would certainly go for it. It could be a huge development. Thoughts?
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    #2 checkmatechamp13

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 07:50 AM

    Alternative 1 has a station around 62nd Street (they're not sure where exactly yet. They're looking in the general 57th-72nd Street area for an exact site) and another station at 125th, both of which I agree with. In addition to making it easier to reach those areas from Westchester (and also allow whatever reverse commuters there are to make their way out to Westchester). I know a few people who commute from Westchester to CCNY (who would be able to walk from 125th. Obviously, Columbia is in the immediate area, especially with the expansion project), and 62nd is within walking distance of John Jay & Fordham.

     

    The UWS station is also in a relatively isolated area subway-wise. It's west of West End Avenue, which is the equivalent of 11th Avenue, so you might get some people who don't feel like walking over to the subway. (Especially if they have some type of pass already). 


    Edited by checkmatechamp13, 08 January 2017 - 08:00 AM.

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    #3 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 08:25 AM

    Alternative 1 has a station around 62nd Street (they're not sure where exactly yet. They're looking in the general 57th-72nd Street area for an exact site) and another station at 125th, both of which I agree with. In addition to making it easier to reach those areas from Westchester (and also allow whatever reverse commuters there are to make their way out to Westchester). I know a few people who commute from Westchester to CCNY (who would be able to walk from 125th. Obviously, Columbia is in the immediate area, especially with the expansion project), and 62nd is within walking distance of John Jay & Fordham.

    The UWS station is also in a relatively isolated area subway-wise. It's west of West End Avenue, which is the equivalent of 11th Avenue, so you might get some people who don't feel like walking over to the subway. (Especially if they have some type of pass already).

    I overheard 67th street as an option. My Assemblyman needs to get out more because he made some pretty dumb comments. For example, he asked why 67th street was being considered for the stop? The SAS was brought up, and he commented about how it was Manhattan centric and for the rich and how other places of New York City needed things like Crosstown bus service. Most of Yorkville has been middle class though of course there are pockets of wealth. I don't see it as a must for us in Riverdale because we already have the BxM2 to Penn Station, but it would likely cut down on travel time. The BxM2 has been a mess ever since construction started in the Times Square area so the bus is practically empty Southbound by 50th street. That is something the (MTA) needs to address.

    Edited by Via Garibaldi 8, 08 January 2017 - 08:26 AM.

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    #4 Around the Horn

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 01:19 PM

    It would depend on the locations of the Manhattan stops, and the associated ridership projections, but I do think it could potentially work...

     

    It would also require widening the ROW from 2 tracks to 4; you'd have to involve Amtrak in the discussion both if you decide 2 tracks are enough and if you expand to 4 tracks. 

     

    I'm kinda iffy on this proposal; it sounds good for now, but I'd just need to see some more details...


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    #5 DaTransitMan4608

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 06:33 PM

    I'm all for this proposal. Especially on the New Haven side since that means the Northeast Bronx and Southeast Bronx are gonna finally have a quicker way to Penn/West Side rather than using the subway.

    I'm for the Hudson getting it too, but I have some questions too regarding both:

    -How are they coordinate with Amtrak on this? The proposal involves using Amtrak ROW for both lines.

    -Will Amtrak make any of these new stops? For example, will we see select Northeast Regional trains serving Co-Op City and select Empire Service trains serving 125th for Columbia? Or is that just a pipe dream?

    -Will the MTA look into expanding Metro-North's fleet to accommodate this expansion? I don't know much about ridership growth on the Hudson (VG8, can you lend your observations on this?), but I've always thought MNRR would do fine handling any extra growth if they got Multilevels like NJTs. As for the New Haven, I feel as if they're gonna have less trains going to Penn than the Hudson line will so I feel like they won't need as many trains.

    Obviously this proposal is still in the planning stages, so we have to wait and see. As much as I would love to see Amtrak serve the Bronx, that very well may be a question of demand in the immediate areas. I guess it could see some usage from communities like Throggs Neck, and I'll even stretch it by saying it could see usage from Co-Op itself.


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    #6 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 07:46 PM

    It would depend on the locations of the Manhattan stops, and the associated ridership projections, but I do think it could potentially work...

     

    It would also require widening the ROW from 2 tracks to 4; you'd have to involve Amtrak in the discussion both if you decide 2 tracks are enough and if you expand to 4 tracks. 

     

    I'm kinda iffy on this proposal; it sounds good for now, but I'd just need to see some more details...

    Of course it could work.  This has been talked about for years going back several years ago.  It's just a question of making it happen.  Because Riverdale has a plethora of transportation options I think it was just tossed around, but with congestion worsening, it would be a nice option.  Ridership trends seem to show that people who work below 50th street in my neighborhood of near Grand Central take Metro-North.  Those working above that take the express bus, with some likely taking the bus to the (4) train at Bedford Park Blvd. but I don't think there that many people doing that for the East Side.  For the West Side, most people in Riverdale work either in West Midtown around 57th street, on the Upper West Side, or at Mount Sinai, so the BxM2 won't lose those riders.  This would however open up an option for those who may have overlooked the neighborhood who work in West Midtown near Penn Station.  Having TWO trains that can get you to East or West Midtown in 30 - 35 minutes is impressive.  A perfect example... Last Friday I got the 23:20 train out GCT, and was home before 00:00, even with connecting with the shuttle bus.  About a 30 minute commute.  

     

    I'm all for this proposal. Especially on the New Haven side since that means the Northeast Bronx and Southeast Bronx are gonna finally have a quicker way to Penn/West Side rather than using the subway.

    I'm for the Hudson getting it too, but I have some questions too regarding both:

    -How are they coordinate with Amtrak on this? The proposal involves using Amtrak ROW for both lines.

    -Will Amtrak make any of these new stops? For example, will we see select Northeast Regional trains serving Co-Op City and select Empire Service trains serving 125th for Columbia? Or is that just a pipe dream?

    -Will the MTA look into expanding Metro-North's fleet to accommodate this expansion? I don't know much about ridership growth on the Hudson (VG8, can you lend your observations on this?), but I've always thought MNRR would do fine handling any extra growth if they got Multilevels like NJTs. As for the New Haven, I feel as if they're gonna have less trains going to Penn than the Hudson line will so I feel like they won't need as many trains.

    Obviously this proposal is still in the planning stages, so we have to wait and see. As much as I would love to see Amtrak serve the Bronx, that very well may be a question of demand in the immediate areas. I guess it could see some usage from communities like Throggs Neck, and I'll even stretch it by saying it could see usage from Co-Op itself.


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    This entire project could be a major game changer.  However, with the current track set up it would only benefit Riverdale and Westchester.  With the configuration of the tracks and MNRR having to use Amtrak's tracks, the only pickup within the New York City outside of Manhattan will be at the Riverdale - Wave Hill station.  While busing is an option during the week to that station, I have concerns as well, one being that the Riverdale station is much more inaccessible than the Spuyten Duyvil station.  On occasion I use the Riverdale station, but because of the very hilly nature driving to the station makes more sense.  The Hudson Rail Link shuttle doesn't run on weekends, so I usually take Metro-North into the city and then the express bus back to avoid the hill situation OR, I would use the Spuyten Duyvil station, which is also very hilly, but you have more people that will actually brave the stairs and hills and walk from the station.  I've done both, and the Riverdale station in either direction is brutal for walking, especially coming back from Manhattan.

     

    As for ridership growth, the Hudson Line has seen tremendous growth.  When I first moved to Riverdale, the (MTA) began an aggressive marketing campaign at bus shelters, noting the convenience and quickness of Metro-North, and to some extent it kind of led me to use it more to the point to where I alternate between the express bus and the commuter train.  I think the Amtrak situation can be worked out just fine, and while MNRR does have a limited amount of fleet, there are more new cars due for the Hudson Line soon to replace the older fleet, so that should help.


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    #7 checkmatechamp13

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:00 PM

    There's no point in spending all that money reconfiguring the tracks just to serve an extra section of Riverdale. Remember that across from Spuyten Duyvil is Inwood Hill Park, so in addition to the cost of building an extra connection to backtrack to the Amtrak Line, you have to deal with the environmental issues of going through the park.

     

    Another Hudson Rail Link line could be created from the Spuyten Duyvil area up to the Riverdale station, and the rest of the passengers can continue taking the BxM2 or Bx10/20-(1) train like they do now. 


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    #8 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:59 PM

    There's no point in spending all that money reconfiguring the tracks just to serve an extra section of Riverdale. Remember that across from Spuyten Duyvil is Inwood Hill Park, so in addition to the cost of building an extra connection to backtrack to the Amtrak Line, you have to deal with the environmental issues of going through the park.
     
    Another Hudson Rail Link line could be created from the Spuyten Duyvil area up to the Riverdale station, and the rest of the passengers can continue taking the BxM2 or Bx10/20-(1) train like they do now.

    The track issue regarding Spuyten Duyvil (the neighborhood and the station) has to be brought up regardless of cost because the station serves the bulk of the riders from Riverdale. In order for such a project to work it would need to be established how you're going to get riders from the densest parts of Riverdale, which are Spuyten Duyvil (South Riverdale) and Central Riverdale. Now if they have to bus people to the Riverdale station there has to be enough room to accommodate that many new buses and cars plus the cars and buses that already come there. The folks in Fieldston and North Riverdale are likely the ones using that station, with some people from Central Riverdale as well. Spuyten Duyvil is more accessible for those who want to walk or take the local bus so then the question is how to market such a plan if the Riverdale station has to be the station for all Riverdale residents. That's really the question. There will be additional costs either way.
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    #9 Around the Horn

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    Posted 08 January 2017 - 11:26 PM

     Ridership trends seem to show that people who work below 50th street in my neighborhood of near Grand Central take Metro-North.  Those working above that take the express bus, with some likely taking the bus to the (4) train at Bedford Park Blvd. but I don't think there that many people doing that for the East Side.  For the West Side, most people in Riverdale work either in West Midtown around 57th street, on the Upper West Side, or at Mount Sinai, so the BxM2 won't lose those riders.  This would however open up an option for those who may have overlooked the neighborhood who work in West Midtown near Penn Station.  Having TWO trains that can get you to East or West Midtown in 30 - 35 minutes is impressive.  A perfect example... Last Friday I got the 23:20 train out GCT, and was home before 00:00, even with connecting with the shuttle bus.  About a 30 minute commute. 

    So in addition to Penn Station, stations in Midtown (either 50th, 53rd or 57th) and 72nd Street and then 116th Street for Columbia?

     

    I would be very interested to see commuting patterns for the rest of the Hudson line.


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    #10 checkmatechamp13

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    Posted 09 January 2017 - 12:40 AM

    The track issue regarding Spuyten Duyvil (the neighborhood and the station) has to be brought up regardless of cost because the station serves the bulk of the riders from Riverdale. In order for such a project to work it would need to be established how you're going to get riders from the densest parts of Riverdale, which are Spuyten Duyvil (South Riverdale) and Central Riverdale. Now if they have to bus people to the Riverdale station there has to be enough room to accommodate that many new buses and cars plus the cars and buses that already come there. The folks in Fieldston and North Riverdale are likely the ones using that station, with some people from Central Riverdale as well. Spuyten Duyvil is more accessible for those who want to walk or take the local bus so then the question is how to market such a plan if the Riverdale station has to be the station for all Riverdale residents. That's really the question. There will be additional costs either way.

     

    Yeah, but while those riders in Spuyten Duyvil make up a decent percentage of Hudson Line riders (considering it's just one stop), you have to consider that it would be slowing down riders coming from Westchester (presumably Putnam/Dutchess riders would be on trains that go express after Yonkers, so they would be taking the straight tracks anyway). The question is: Does the time saved by West Midtown-bound Spuyten Duyvil riders warrant the inconvenience to West Midtown-bound Westchester riders and the extra cost involved in creating a branch just for them? 

     

    So in addition to Penn Station, stations in Midtown (either 50th, 53rd or 57th) and 72nd Street and then 116th Street for Columbia?

     

    I would be very interested to see commuting patterns for the rest of the Hudson line.

     

    The plans right now are for 3 stops in Manhattan: Penn Station, UWS, and West Harlem. 


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