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DailyDose

A thought - Acela route extension to Toronto?

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I am 90% sure this won't be done in my lifetime, and it will probably never happen anyway, but how about HSR to Canada? Electrifying Amtrak's Empire Service? What are your thoughts?

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I am 90% sure this won't be done in my lifetime, and it will probably never happen anyway, but how about HSR to Canada? Electrifying Amtrak's Empire Service? What are your thoughts?

You would be surprised it may be done in this lifetime look up electrification of empire service or buy out deal not sure.

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I am 90% sure this won't be done in my lifetime, and it will probably never happen anyway, but how about HSR to Canada? Electrifying Amtrak's Empire Service? What are your thoughts?

It could be done, but knowing Amtrak they're probably gonna want Acela to go to Buffalo too.

 

Personally I'd love to see that happen.

 

 

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I am 90% sure this won't be done in my lifetime, and it will probably never happen anyway, but how about HSR to Canada? Electrifying Amtrak's Empire Service? What are your thoughts?

Not going to happen. Amtrak doesn't own the Empire Corridor, CSX does. CSX doesn't need HSR nor electrification. . The only way for HSR is for Amtrak to build a new ROW.

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Not going to happen. Amtrak doesn't own the Empire Corridor, CSX does. CSX doesn't need HSR nor electrification. . The only way for HSR is for Amtrak to build a new ROW.

They are planning a new ROW for the Acela through Danbury and Waterbury for faster speeds, so why not :P

You would be surprised it may be done in this lifetime look up electrification of empire service or buy out deal not sure.

I found the link: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_Service_(train)

 

To be cost-effective, Amtrak would have to purchase dual mode electric locos with AC and DC power.

Edited by DailyDose

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I know that over here in the GTA, there are plans to electrify the Lakeshore West Corridor (the route the empire train takes) from Toronto to Hamilton. There are no plans to electrify Hamilton-US Border. It is one step closer, albeit very small.

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They are planning a new ROW for the Acela through Danbury and Waterbury for faster speeds, so why not :P

I found the link: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_Service_(train)

 

To be cost-effective, Amtrak would have to purchase dual mode electric locos with AC and DC power.

Where is Amtrak going to get the money? The Congress doesn't want to fund Amtrak's capital projects and makes a fuss over meal service on long distance trains.

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Where is Amtrak going to get the money? The Congress doesn't want to fund Amtrak's capital projects and makes a fuss over meal service on long distance trains.

Long Distance trains (slow) have really fallen out of favor with the general public and the administration. High speed railroad has really gain traction. The Acela is sold out on almost every train and the ticket prices are comparable to a flight. There are seperate funds available for HSR. Amtrak is not having any problems getting funding for the next generation of Acela. HSR to Toronto is a great idea. CSX route does have some room along the ROW to expand so amtrak/nys could buy the middle of the row and csx could build around it.

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I dont believe ANY electrification of railroads aside from ones in place now, will happen in our life time.

 

California HSR wont be finished before we are dead.

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I dont believe ANY electrification of railroads aside from ones in place now, will happen in our life time.

 

California HSR wont be finished before we are dead.

In that case, I'm scratching it from my bucket list.

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Long Distance trains (slow) have really fallen out of favor with the general public and the administration. High speed railroad has really gain traction. The Acela is sold out on almost every train and the ticket prices are comparable to a flight. There are seperate funds available for HSR. Amtrak is not having any problems getting funding for the next generation of Acela. HSR to Toronto is a great idea. CSX route does have some room along the ROW to expand so amtrak/nys could buy the middle of the row and csx could build around it.

They will eventually have to just drop or restructure the long distance lines they are totally useless.

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Or make overnight HSR a possibility. Some countries already do it.

The rails on the freight owned tracks that amtrak uses for LD trains can't handle it and the frieght companies are resistant to upgrading them. LD trains will remain slow and with shotty on time performance until amtrak gets its own lines outside of the NEC. That investment alone kills the idea of LD HSR. There are certain corridors where it would have enough ridership where it would work (NYC>Toronto, or Montreal)

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Or make overnight HSR a possibility. Some countries already do it.

 

New York to Chicago HSR could work. Around 7 to 8 hours, not a short haul but not a week journey.

 

But Anything beyond would be too far and too long.

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New York to Chicago HSR could work. Around 7 to 8 hours, not a short haul but not a week journey.

 

But Anything beyond would be too far and too long.

Basically split the LD lines into shorter,faster & more frequent lines.

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If you were going to do something like that, your first step would need to be putting a new high-speed capable ROW between NYP and Schenectady (preferably four tracks for flexibility and capacity reasons) and start running service every 30-45 minutes on the lower Empire Corridor at 125-150mph top speed and 100mph or so average speed. That would wind up dropping travel times between NYC and Albany down to about an hour or so, making it feasible for people to commute on Empire Service trains the same way they commute on the Downeaster up here (especially if you can get the economy fares down to $25-$30 or so and can start selling weekly or monthly passes).

 

The next step would probably be to link up that alignment with the planned next-gen HSR by adding about a 40-mile two-track segment between Fishkill and Danbury, mostly built above/ in the median of I-84 and maybe with an additional stop at Brewster to connect to the Harlem Line. That would let you run high-speed trains directly between Albany and Boston mostly via existing trackage; assuming 100-125mph average speed, an Albany-Poughkeepsie-Danbury-Boston local run would still only take you around 2.5 hours. By comparison, an Albany-Boston run on Greyhound takes 3.5-5 hours; it's cheap ($23-35 if you book ahead a week or two) but 2.5 hours on a train beats 5 hours on a bus anytime.

 

Assuming you could get that triangle running reasonably well, then the next steps would be electrifying and building out Syracuse-Rochester-Buffalo-Toronto in stages. The run from Schenectady to Toronto's a little under 400 miles, and the full run to New York City is about 550. You could probably extend a significant fraction of Empire Service trains out as far as Rochester and then run some of those trains express south of Albany during peak commuting hours, bringing total trip time down to 3 hours or so from Rochester to NYC. Once you got out to Toronto you'd be able to run 4-5 trains daily from Toronto to NYC and 1-2 to Boston depending on demand.

 

Once you've done that, then you'd be looking at running an additional 225-ish miles of high-speed track between Schenectady and Montreal to get the Adirondack converted to HSR; at 3-4 hours from Montreal to NYC and 4-6 from Montreal to Boston via Danbury you've basically covered all your main bases for intraregional transport by train. It would be nice to run something along the I-90 corridor so that people in Framingham, Worcester, and Springfield can get in on the action, but it wouldn't be strictly necessary to do so because of the Danbury connection. The last big thing to do would be to build the last 500 miles of HSR from Buffalo to Chicago so that you could reduce the running time on the Lake Shore Limited down to about 7-8 hours, and then you'd have completely upgraded and revitalized a decent chunk of the Northeast's rail service. If you have extra money to blow when all that's done, then it might be worth upgrading the Downeaster, sending it to Bangor, and actually connecting North and South Stations in Boston.

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If you were going to do something like that, your first step would need to be putting a new high-speed capable ROW between NYP and Schenectady (preferably four tracks for flexibility and capacity reasons) and start running service every 30-45 minutes on the lower Empire Corridor at 125-150mph top speed and 100mph or so average speed. That would wind up dropping travel times between NYC and Albany down to about an hour or so, making it feasible for people to commute on Empire Service trains the same way they commute on the Downeaster up here (especially if you can get the economy fares down to $25-$30 or so and can start selling weekly or monthly passes).

 

The next step would probably be to link up that alignment with the planned next-gen HSR by adding about a 40-mile two-track segment between Fishkill and Danbury, mostly built above/ in the median of I-84 and maybe with an additional stop at Brewster to connect to the Harlem Line. That would let you run high-speed trains directly between Albany and Boston mostly via existing trackage; assuming 100-125mph average speed, an Albany-Poughkeepsie-Danbury-Boston local run would still only take you around 2.5 hours. By comparison, an Albany-Boston run on Greyhound takes 3.5-5 hours; it's cheap ($23-35 if you book ahead a week or two) but 2.5 hours on a train beats 5 hours on a bus anytime.

 

Assuming you could get that triangle running reasonably well, then the next steps would be electrifying and building out Syracuse-Rochester-Buffalo-Toronto in stages. The run from Schenectady to Toronto's a little under 400 miles, and the full run to New York City is about 550. You could probably extend a significant fraction of Empire Service trains out as far as Rochester and then run some of those trains express south of Albany during peak commuting hours, bringing total trip time down to 3 hours or so from Rochester to NYC. Once you got out to Toronto you'd be able to run 4-5 trains daily from Toronto to NYC and 1-2 to Boston depending on demand.

 

Once you've done that, then you'd be looking at running an additional 225-ish miles of high-speed track between Schenectady and Montreal to get the Adirondack converted to HSR; at 3-4 hours from Montreal to NYC and 4-6 from Montreal to Boston via Danbury you've basically covered all your main bases for intraregional transport by train. It would be nice to run something along the I-90 corridor so that people in Framingham, Worcester, and Springfield can get in on the action, but it wouldn't be strictly necessary to do so because of the Danbury connection. The last big thing to do would be to build the last 500 miles of HSR from Buffalo to Chicago so that you could reduce the running time on the Lake Shore Limited down to about 7-8 hours, and then you'd have completely upgraded and revitalized a decent chunk of the Northeast's rail service. If you have extra money to blow when all that's done, then it might be worth upgrading the Downeaster, sending it to Bangor, and actually connecting North and South Stations in Boston.

 Can you please run Amtrak?

 

The rails from NYC to Albany are already upgraded to handle at least 125 mph operation. NYS and Amtrak did the work for the turbo train so that is pretty much done. They would have to electrify the line, I don't think Amtrak wants to deal with the Jettrain or bombardier again (for a while at least) after the issues with the Acela. But if Amtrak wanted to run a jettrain  Albany tomorrow, they wouldn't have to do that much work.

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 Can you please run Amtrak?

 

The rails from NYC to Albany are already upgraded to handle at least 125 mph operation. NYS and Amtrak did the work for the turbo train so that is pretty much done. They would have to electrify the line, I don't think Amtrak wants to deal with the Jettrain or bombardier again (for a while at least) after the issues with the Acela. But if Amtrak wanted to run a jettrain  Albany tomorrow, they wouldn't have to do that much work.

 

As far as I'm aware, the major issues with this going ahead as such have to do with space shortages at NYP as well as CSX owning a lot of the trackage between NYC and Albany (and Selkirk Yard sitting maybe a few miles south of Albany handling damn near everything that crosses the Hudson). You could have a JetTrain or Turboliner doing 125mph between NYC and Albany tomorrow if you wanted, but running it on 30-60 minute headways at 100-125mph average speeds without getting stuck behind CSX locals and/or killing twenty minutes outside NYP waiting for a free track isn't going to happen without serious infrastructure improvements.

 

If you want to make that reality, then a few things need to happen:

 

1) NYP needs a decently substantial expansion in track capacity. The existing infrastructure is already doing 1200 trains a day and it's always running half a step from disaster; currently only 10-15 of those daily trains are coming in off the Empire Service. If you get HSR to Albany with respectable service frequencies, that number is going to shoot up to 30 or 40, and if the full regional HSR buildout happens that number will probably settle somewhere between 60 and 80. Currently, there is no way in Hell we can fit all those trains into NYP without causing a disaster. If you wanted to do things properly, you'd separate the HSR stuff from the regular Amtrak/NJT/LIRR traffic and provide a separate 8-track station responsible for handling service on both the high-speed NEC alignment and the Hudson River corridor.

 

2) You're going to need to relocate a fair amount of the freight traffic that has to go through Selkirk and down the Hudson River corridor to get to the New York metro area and southern New England; there are a number of different options for doing this. One way to deal with it would be to build out the Cross-Harbor Tunnel and allow freight traffic to run straight through from NJ under New York Harbor to intermodal facilities in Queens and the Bronx; another option would be to put in some sort of dual-mode passenger/freight rail corridor across the Tappan Zee Bridge and then connect that to freight tracks up in Westchester County. If you can pull a lot of the freight traffic out of Selkirk and off the Hudson River corridor then you'll be able to get infinitely better reliability on your passenger trains. That's also part of the reason I think that HSR along the I-90 corridor should be handled by an entirely new ROW; pushing most of the freight off the Hudson River corridor will require a new downstate Hudson crossing, and will most likely also push a number of trains onto the I-90 and I-91 corridors.

 

3) Once you've done those things you're going to want to buy up the Hudson River corridor outright from CSX and sell them only very limited trackage rights; between the new downstate crossing and the (possible but definitely on the freight railroad's dime) upgrades to the I-90 and I-91 corridors it should be possible to limit freight service to late nights (when few passenger trains are running) and dispatch high-speed passenger trains with absolute priority over freights. The last big things that would need to happen would be the construction of additional yard space in the Albany-Schenectady area for passenger trains, quad-tracking the line from Schenectady down to Croton-Harmon (and possibly from Spuyten Duyvil down to NYP as well), and maybe even building some sort of elevated superstructure to hold additional tracks from Croton-Harmon down to Spuyten Duyvil (to avoid congestion due to HSR and Metro-North commuter service sharing tracks).

 

If you can successfully do those things, then you can have reliable high-speed commuter service to Schenectady and beyond even before electrification, and electrifying will make things even better.

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As far as I'm aware, the major issues with this going ahead as such have to do with space shortages at NYP as well as CSX owning a lot of the trackage between NYC and Albany (and Selkirk Yard sitting maybe a few miles south of Albany handling damn near everything that crosses the Hudson). You could have a JetTrain or Turboliner doing 125mph between NYC and Albany tomorrow if you wanted, but running it on 30-60 minute headways at 100-125mph average speeds without getting stuck behind CSX locals and/or killing twenty minutes outside NYP waiting for a free track isn't going to happen without serious infrastructure improvements.

 

If you want to make that reality, then a few things need to happen:

 

1) NYP needs a decently substantial expansion in track capacity. The existing infrastructure is already doing 1200 trains a day and it's always running half a step from disaster; currently only 10-15 of those daily trains are coming in off the Empire Service. If you get HSR to Albany with respectable service frequencies, that number is going to shoot up to 30 or 40, and if the full regional HSR buildout happens that number will probably settle somewhere between 60 and 80. Currently, there is no way in Hell we can fit all those trains into NYP without causing a disaster. If you wanted to do things properly, you'd separate the HSR stuff from the regular Amtrak/NJT/LIRR traffic and provide a separate 8-track station responsible for handling service on both the high-speed NEC alignment and the Hudson River corridor.

 

2) You're going to need to relocate a fair amount of the freight traffic that has to go through Selkirk and down the Hudson River corridor to get to the New York metro area and southern New England; there are a number of different options for doing this. One way to deal with it would be to build out the Cross-Harbor Tunnel and allow freight traffic to run straight through from NJ under New York Harbor to intermodal facilities in Queens and the Bronx; another option would be to put in some sort of dual-mode passenger/freight rail corridor across the Tappan Zee Bridge and then connect that to freight tracks up in Westchester County. If you can pull a lot of the freight traffic out of Selkirk and off the Hudson River corridor then you'll be able to get infinitely better reliability on your passenger trains. That's also part of the reason I think that HSR along the I-90 corridor should be handled by an entirely new ROW; pushing most of the freight off the Hudson River corridor will require a new downstate Hudson crossing, and will most likely also push a number of trains onto the I-90 and I-91 corridors.

 

3) Once you've done those things you're going to want to buy up the Hudson River corridor outright from CSX and sell them only very limited trackage rights; between the new downstate crossing and the (possible but definitely on the freight railroad's dime) upgrades to the I-90 and I-91 corridors it should be possible to limit freight service to late nights (when few passenger trains are running) and dispatch high-speed passenger trains with absolute priority over freights. The last big things that would need to happen would be the construction of additional yard space in the Albany-Schenectady area for passenger trains, quad-tracking the line from Schenectady down to Croton-Harmon (and possibly from Spuyten Duyvil down to NYP as well), and maybe even building some sort of elevated superstructure to hold additional tracks from Croton-Harmon down to Spuyten Duyvil (to avoid congestion due to HSR and Metro-North commuter service sharing tracks).

 

If you can successfully do those things, then you can have reliable high-speed commuter service to Schenectady and beyond even before electrification, and electrifying will make things even better.

 

1) An HST to Alb wouldn't have to run that frequently. The Acela from NYP to WAS runs once an hour (in each direction) and NYP to BOS varies from once an hour to every 2 hrs.  Both of those markets are much larger than ALB. Just on that fact I would say every 2 hours is fine. That would be 10-12 extra trains everyday. If Amtrak went with a double decker HST like the TGV Duplex, they could run few trains. I'm not advocating against the expansion of penn station, it is needed more than any other project I can think of.

 

2/3) After reading into the freight traffic, CSX just leased Amtrak the rails between Poughkeepsie to Albany in September 2014. CSX only runs 5 trains a day. Amtrak is already doing the prep work for adding another track. Metro-north owns the track from Poughkeepsie to yonkers and amtrak owns from yonkers to nyp.  The major hurdle of CSX is mostly out of the way, they still need to buy CSX tracks outright, but the lease is much better than the situation before. 5 trains don't seem like a huge headache. Good timing and multiple tracks could sort that out along with 2 hr between HST, it could work out good. Once you go past ALB in any direction freight traffic becomes a massive nightmare and all those things need to be done in regards to freight rerouting.

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