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Lower Montauk Branch Discussion

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20 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

I must have overlooked exactly where this reactivated Lower Montauk would terminate on the northern end. I’m guessing LIC because I don’t think it’s connected to any other terminal. Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central trackage are mainline only IIRC. Help me out here if I’m wrong. Carry on.

There is an additional option; around Flushing Avenue there is a rail branch that points towards Williamsburg. But those tracks are definitely out of use.

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16 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

There is an additional option; around Flushing Avenue there is a rail branch that points towards Williamsburg. But those tracks are definitely out of use.

I believe that's what is left of the Bushwick Branch. I remember that Times Square Stores had a warehouse near Bushwick and Montrose back in the day and they would get boxcar delivery of bicycles and auto parts from the LIRR freight yards up there. In the mid sixties there were trains running at grade throughout Bushwick and Williamsburg across some streets without crossing gates. I've seen that in that area but I also remember seeing that same procedure around Cooper Street near Wilson Avenue at the other end of Bushwick. At the eastern end of Bushwick IIRC the B20 bus used to cross some railroad tracks but I'm not sure if the bus on Grand St/Avenue does that. Maybe some surface fans can clear that up. Just musing. Carry on. 

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20 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

Let's face it. The (MTA) doesn't want to spend money on PTC on the line which is why they gave the line to NY&A in the first place. The fact that there is only one station at Richmond Hill gives them another excuse to ignore the line IMO. Maybe the city, by way of NYCT, could acquire the line and repurpose it for something other than heavy rail ? Isn't the present administration simpatico with developers ? Just wondering. Carry on.

Correct about PTC. The line had its ABS signals removed too.

The city/NYCT can't acquire the line and convert it to anything but heavy rail -- federal regulations disallow that. All of LI's/Brooklyn's/Queens's freight gets processed in Fresh Pond yard, a facility along the line, and converting, say, two tracks to a FTA-purview operation would hinder the NY&A's ability to sort cars there -- something that would sink the project given that the STB would see it as an 'obstruction of interstate commerce.'

What's more, the LMB itself serves a NYC trash facility that needs to be switched regularly, so any effort to convert the line to non-heavy rail would hinder the removal of our trash from our sidewalks. 

If the city developed it into a heavy rail asset, however, they could absoloutely work with the line (see below). Crowley was trying to, but now she's gone. 

11 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

There is an additional option; around Flushing Avenue there is a rail branch that points towards Williamsburg. But those tracks are definitely out of use.

Yes -- and at one time they went to williamsburg. Believe it or not, they are actually still in (very) active use! There's another trash transload along there that ships, well, trash, along with a supermarket that gets boxcars of produce, a beer distributor that gets cars of beer, and a building materials place that gets large quantities of crushed stone/lumber. All of these industries are switched at least once daily. 

I don't think the Bushwick branch would do much for passenger service, however. The ROW is narrow, the population density around it low, and transit connections nil. Better to do the Montauk Cutoff to LIC/GCT/PSNY

_____________________________

Again, I think this line's only chance is a TIF money type thing. Put stops in Richmond Hill, at Woodhaven Blvd, somewhere in Glendale, and in Fresh Pond (Maspeth stop would ignite a storm of opposition among industrial folks who would claim it'd be a vector for gentrification), and watch the money flow in from the resulting development. All those areas are underbuilt, and good transit access could spur a building boom that'd pay for the line. Think (7) extension. 

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

Correct about PTC. The line had its ABS signals removed too.

The city/NYCT can't acquire the line and convert it to anything but heavy rail -- federal regulations disallow that. All of LI's/Brooklyn's/Queens's freight gets processed in Fresh Pond yard, a facility along the line, and converting, say, two tracks to a FTA-purview operation would hinder the NY&A's ability to sort cars there -- something that would sink the project given that the STB would see it as an 'obstruction of interstate commerce.'

What's more, the LMB itself serves a NYC trash facility that needs to be switched regularly, so any effort to convert the line to non-heavy rail would hinder the removal of our trash from our sidewalks. 

If the city developed it into a heavy rail asset, however, they could absoloutely work with the line (see below). Crowley was trying to, but now she's gone. 

Yes -- and at one time they went to williamsburg. Believe it or not, they are actually still in (very) active use! There's another trash transload along there that ships, well, trash, along with a supermarket that gets boxcars of produce, a beer distributor that gets cars of beer, and a building materials place that gets large quantities of crushed stone/lumber. All of these industries are switched at least once daily. 

I don't think the Bushwick branch would do much for passenger service, however. The ROW is narrow, the population density around it low, and transit connections nil. Better to do the Montauk Cutoff to LIC/GCT/PSNY

_____________________________

Again, I think this line's only chance is a TIF money type thing. Put stops in Richmond Hill, at Woodhaven Blvd, somewhere in Glendale, and in Fresh Pond (Maspeth stop would ignite a storm of opposition among industrial folks who would claim it'd be a vector for gentrification), and watch the money flow in from the resulting development. All those areas are underbuilt, and good transit access could spur a building boom that'd pay for the line. Think (7) extension. 

7

Just thinking out loud.. Do you think this branch could serve in the bigger picture alongside the RX and possibly RRB? With Infrastructure and space being a premium IMO everything should be looked at. Even if is isn't tied directly into the Subway system it could at least lay on top of the system and filter to the system as a whole. I think maybe look at the MC and RBB as feeders into the RX could be another way. I mean if $5-10 billion could buy us 15-20 miles of new line shouldn't we at least look into it? Everytime I take the District Line to Kew Gardens in London and I see Underground and Overground trains using the same trackage I'm reminded of how much-underused rail we have in NYC. If I'm looking at it from we can spur and create demand POV here's our chance. I mean just Queens Brooklyn and decentralized Manhattan travel as a whole could benefit.  Just my take. 

Edited by RailRunRob

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12 minutes ago, RailRunRob said:

Just thinking out loud.. Do you think this branch could serve in the bigger picture alongside the RX and possibly RRB? With Infrastructure and space being a premium IMO everything should be looked at. Even if is isn't tied directly into the Subway system it could at least lay on top of the system and filter to the system as a whole. I think maybe look at the MC and RBB as feeders into the RX could be another way. I mean if $5-10 billion could buy us 15-20 miles of new line shouldn't we at least look into it? Everytime I take the District Line to Kew Gardens in London and I see Underground and Overground trains using the same trackage I'm reminded of how much-underused rail we have in NYC. If I'm looking at it from we can spur and create demand POV here's our chance. I mean just Queens Brooklyn and decentralized Manhattan travel as a whole could benefit.  Just my take. 

RX yes -- it'll also have to be built as heavy rail for the same reasons as above. 

The RBB would cost similar amounts to reactivate to subway standards vs heavy rail ones, and because of that, I say do subway -- you'll get more out of it. 

I think the RX especially is a no-brainer now. We are one of the last major metro systems without any sort of cross-regional connectivity. LMB can then follow -- could even be used to route RX trains into manhattan.  

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I think that using the LMB and Bay Ridge branches could be good for operating DEMUs in a overground-like system. RX would be simple to stick on here as most of the surrounding ROW is foliage, allowing for easy platform construction. I don't see it coming too soon though as state politicians who don't even ride the subway will say it "costs too much".

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21 minutes ago, RR503 said:

RX yes -- it'll also have to be built as heavy rail for the same reasons as above. 

The RBB would cost similar amounts to reactivate to subway standards vs heavy rail ones, and because of that, I say do subway -- you'll get more out of it. 

I think the RX especially is a no-brainer now. We are one of the last major metro systems without any sort of cross-regional connectivity. LMB can then follow -- could even be used to route RX trains into manhattan.  

Indeed I'm always in wonder with what London was able to do in 10 years with there Overground network.  Linking LMB with the RX make's it way more useful. Heavy Rail would be the easiest way to expand. I've always wondered why the MTA can't create something like the Overground.. Not exactly National rail service but not fully RTO either. Ive stated this before but..I was talking to a few of my active engineering friends some with the (MTA)  different agencies about the idea they Agreed it would be a great way to expand the for the least amount. Very low hanging fruit The only thing they thought maybe couldn't happen like in London Is shared trackage. Even if you have PA5 and R160's  they Brokedown the FRA/FTA stuff. But  still a City Rail system could work (Shurgs) Fold the SIR into this new (MTA) arm. M7-9 cars with more rapid style seating? And just integrate within Subway fare system even if with transfers. Think it's something to look at IMO.

Edited by RailRunRob
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31 minutes ago, R68OnBroadway said:

I think that using the LMB and Bay Ridge branches could be good for operating DEMUs in a overground-like system. RX would be simple to stick on here as most of the surrounding ROW is foliage, allowing for easy platform construction. I don't see it coming too soon though as state politicians who don't even ride the subway will say it "costs too much".

The RX from the Bronx to BayRidge is about 25 miles even if you didn't do the Hell Gate and you did Jackson Heights or even LGA to BayRidge that's still 14-15 miles.. I could almost Guarantee that it would be a quarter of the cost of a full SAS. 14 miles of the RX would still come well under Phases 1 and 2 of the SAS it's a bargain. You have to attach economic growth, taxes and regional income gains for Politicians to get it. That and the photo op.. Show em the pot of gold all anyone cares about.

Edited by RailRunRob
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8 hours ago, RR503 said:

Yes -- and at one time they went to williamsburg. Believe it or not, they are actually still in (very) active use! There's another trash transload along there that ships, well, trash, along with a supermarket that gets boxcars of produce, a beer distributor that gets cars of beer, and a building materials place that gets large quantities of crushed stone/lumber. All of these industries are switched at least once daily. 

I don't think the Bushwick branch would do much for passenger service, however. The ROW is narrow, the population density around it low, and transit connections nil. Better to do the Montauk Cutoff to LIC/GCT/PSNY

_____________________________

Again, I think this line's only chance is a TIF money type thing. Put stops in Richmond Hill, at Woodhaven Blvd, somewhere in Glendale, and in Fresh Pond (Maspeth stop would ignite a storm of opposition among industrial folks who would claim it'd be a vector for gentrification), and watch the money flow in from the resulting development. All those areas are underbuilt, and good transit access could spur a building boom that'd pay for the line. Think (7) extension. 

Eh, LMB has very low worth in terms of leveraging development, since about a third to a half of its immediate vicinity is cemeteries and Newton Creek. What is left is not great land to develop (probably Superfund levels of contaminated) and very flood prone.

I mostly suggested a Bushwick Branch use to provide a relatively easy path to at least Montrose Av (L), but I think such a line would be more useful going to Williamsburg than LIC. The LIC end of the line is not great from a connectivity standpoint; the Cutoff, now that it doesn't exist, also points in the wrong direction, and that area of LIC is much less connected to the subway anyways. There's also something to be said about the fact that, like the RBB, this would just dump people into congested East River crossings.

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7 hours ago, RailRunRob said:

Indeed I'm always in wonder with what London was able to do in 10 years with there Overground network.  Linking LMB with the RX make's it way more useful. Heavy Rail would be the easiest way to expand. I've always wondered why the MTA can't create something like the Overground.. Not exactly National rail service but not fully RTO either. Ive stated this before but..I was talking to a few of my active engineering friends some with the (MTA)  different agencies about the idea they Agreed it would be a great way to expand the for the least amount. Very low hanging fruit The only thing they thought maybe couldn't happen like in London Is shared trackage. Even if you have PA5 and R160's  they Brokedown the FRA/FTA stuff. But  still a City Rail system could work (Shurgs) Fold the SIR into this new (MTA) arm. M7-9 cars with more rapid style seating? And just integrate within Subway fare system even if with transfers. Think it's something to look at IMO.

The problem is that connecting a radial line into the center (LMB) to a circumferential one (RX) provides pretty much poor ridership results for everybody involved. From Brooklyn going to LIC via the RX is probably not actually faster than existing transit options. For evidence that combining these kind of routes generally doesn't provide good ridership, just check out the Forest Hills (G). 

RX ideally focuses on connecting outer borough activity centers. I would run it from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights, and maybe to Flushing via the PW as a Phase II. (I'm not convinced that there's a good Bronx routing coming from the Jackson Heights leg.)

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1 hour ago, bobtehpanda said:

The problem is that connecting a radial line into the center (LMB) to a circumferential one (RX) provides pretty much poor ridership results for everybody involved. From Brooklyn going to LIC via the RX is probably not actually faster than existing transit options. For evidence that combining these kind of routes generally doesn't provide good ridership, just check out the Forest Hills (G). 

RX ideally focuses on connecting outer borough activity centers. I would run it from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights, and maybe to Flushing via the PW as a Phase II. (I'm not convinced that there's a good Bronx routing coming from the Jackson Heights leg.)

The RX and LMB cover a lot of areas without Rapid transit coverage Canarsie, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Glendale to name a few. So King's Highway -Utica to LIC I'm sure this would have to be  quicker.  Even a Jamaica or Rosedale to Williamsburg use of the LMB as a Feeder line could be useful with Middle Village being a transfer point to the RX or the (M) just not so sure we have the luxury to waste or overlook any existing infrastructure. We should at least get a study going. What's the issue with adding a extra track to the Hellgate and extending to the Bronx?

Edited by RailRunRob

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1 hour ago, RailRunRob said:

The RX and LMB cover a lot of areas without Rapid transit coverage Canarsie, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Glendale to name a few. So King's Highway -Utica to LIC I'm sure this would have to be  quicker.  Even a Jamaica or Rosedale to Williamsburg use of the LMB as a Feeder line could be useful with Middle Village being a transfer point to the RX or the (M) just not so sure we have the luxury to waste or overlook any existing infrastructure. We should at least get a study going. What's the issue with adding a extra track to the Hellgate and extending to the Bronx?

Not using it and doing nothing is not really "waste". No one's tripping over themselves to get to the Shops at Atlas Park. Quite frankly, the problem with Lower Montauk is that nothing's there, and everything of note is already served by other transit.

For example, if you build RX, you can get to LIC from Jackson Heights pretty quickly. LMB does not really cut time from that journey at all. The issue with connecting RX and LMB is that right now they intersect in the middle of a train yard, far away from any useful street connections and hemmed in by parks and cemeteries. LMB is awful with location; I'm not saying that both RX and LMB are useless, I'm saying that LMB is useless.

The value for the Hell Gate segment is quite frankly much less than the other two given that the Hell Gate already sees capacity issues and needs all the capacity for future Acela and Metro North expansion. The MTA also concluded as part of Penn Station Access that building an Astoria station was impractical because of the grades and construction complexity. And finally, there's the open issue of where to send it once it actually gets to the Bronx, because there's not really an optimal, cheap path for it the way there is one connecting Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights via ENY.

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7 minutes ago, nostalgia said:

I must have missed it. What is RX? I'm guessing RRB is the Rockaways Branch of the LIRR.

Triboro RX is Bay Ridge Branch DMU service. RBB is Rockaway Beach Branch, the ROW from Rego Park to Ozone Park / A train Rockaways branch.

Edited by quadcorder

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55 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

Not using it and doing nothing is not really "waste". No one's tripping over themselves to get to the Shops at Atlas Park. Quite frankly, the problem with Lower Montauk is that nothing's there, and everything of note is already served by other transit.

For example, if you build RX, you can get to LIC from Jackson Heights pretty quickly. LMB does not really cut time from that journey at all. The issue with connecting RX and LMB is that right now they intersect in the middle of a train yard, far away from any useful street connections and hemmed in by parks and cemeteries. LMB is awful with location; I'm not saying that both RX and LMB are useless, I'm saying that LMB is useless.

The value for the Hell Gate segment is quite frankly much less than the other two given that the Hell Gate already sees capacity issues and needs all the capacity for future Acela and Metro North expansion. The MTA also concluded as part of Penn Station Access that building an Astoria station was impractical because of the grades and construction complexity. And finally, there's the open issue of where to send it once it actually gets to the Bronx, because there's not really an optimal, cheap path for it the way there is one connecting Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights via ENY.

Yeah, there's some truth to what you're saying. I just looked at some population density maps for the LMB corridor. I see your POV on that one. Right there is more service coming to the Hell Gate didnt forget are they planning to electrify all four tracks? Couldn't the RX use the Northern/Eastern tracks on the span?  Paths on the Bronx side ?the NEC to Co-Op can accommodate 6-8 tracks. With MetroNorth Service in the works might be redundant. Altho the RX if within Subway fare zone would be more options for people along the line. But the lack of connections to other lines besides the (6) I could see that as not worth while.. What about the old Port Morris ROW? Under St Mary's Park ? Connection to the (6)(2)(5) and if somehow you could get it over to Hudson Line you could run it alongside the old Putnam ROW?  Get a connection to the (4)(D) on that side of town.  But yeah worst case Jackson Hts to BayRidge would be a help.

Edited by RailRunRob

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18 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Not using it and doing nothing is not really "waste". No one's tripping over themselves to get to the Shops at Atlas Park. Quite frankly, the problem with Lower Montauk is that nothing's there, and everything of note is already served by other transit.

For example, if you build RX, you can get to LIC from Jackson Heights pretty quickly. LMB does not really cut time from that journey at all. The issue with connecting RX and LMB is that right now they intersect in the middle of a train yard, far away from any useful street connections and hemmed in by parks and cemeteries. LMB is awful with location; I'm not saying that both RX and LMB are useless, I'm saying that LMB is useless.

The value for the Hell Gate segment is quite frankly much less than the other two given that the Hell Gate already sees capacity issues and needs all the capacity for future Acela and Metro North expansion. The MTA also concluded as part of Penn Station Access that building an Astoria station was impractical because of the grades and construction complexity. And finally, there's the open issue of where to send it once it actually gets to the Bronx, because there's not really an optimal, cheap path for it the way there is one connecting Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights via ENY.

Yes, there are many cemetaries along the LMB, and yes a LMB-RX connection would be hard. However, I don’t think you’re appreciating the potential value of the land along the LMB. That stretch from Grand Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard is the least park dominated of it all, at a good elevation, with good geology, and is rife with empty/undeveloped land. All those parking lots by Atlas Park and Woodhaven, and even Atlas Park itself could be converted into much higher density developments. What’s more, given the LMB’s proximity to manhattan, if trains from the line were sent via the cutoff and the sunnyside reversing loop (not anywhere near the time penalty you’d expect), we could create a string of neighborhoods along the corridor with decent commute times that aren’t dependent on the subway. That would be big. 

RX we seem to be on the same page on — I agree Bronx extension is a bit extra, unless you can somehow tunnel the end of it under 149th street to 3rd ave. 

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I'd also like to point out that the only TIF project we have any evidence for so far, Hudson Yards, is a massive mega-development that is larger than most business districts in America, yet still has issues when it comes to actually paying for the things it was supposed to do. BQX is also supposed to have a 50% shortfall with TIF financing, and that's in a place that's already hot and with prime location. So consider me skeptical that TIF anything is actually going to work. They rarely do.

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