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heymikey

Shoreline East -- why still separate?

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Hi all,

 

Just wondering why Shoreline East is still a separate, diesel-powered service. That was necessary back when the wires ended at New Haven. But running a diesel service under the wires isn't great for the environment, and forces a 2-seat ride to NYC.

 

Couldn't it be more efficiently combined with the New Haven line, with some of those EMU trains continuing thru to/from Old Saybrook or New London? Since CT already funds SLE and the CT end of the NH line, there doesn't seem to be a big money issue here.

 

There must be some politics here that I'm missing.;)

 

Mikey

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It can operate in case the catenary is shut down, which it is from time to time. Also, the new locomotives are tier 2 cleared, which are very clean diesel engines. If an automobile was as efficient as these loco's you'd get 800 miles a tank.

 

- A

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It can operate in case the catenary is shut down, which it is from time to time. Also, the new locomotives are tier 2 cleared, which are very clean diesel engines. If an automobile was as efficient as these loco's you'd get 800 miles a tank.

 

- A

 

Well, true, and it does mitigate the inefficiency. But since the wires are there, and the NH line is pretty well equipped with EMU's, it would still seem to be simpler to just run those 8 trains a day straight thru from/to NH and NYC, instead of forcing riders to change trains and maintaining a separate fleet of locos and cars.

 

Mikey

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Well, true, and it does mitigate the inefficiency. But since the wires are there, and the NH line is pretty well equipped with EMU's, it would still seem to be simpler to just run those 8 trains a day straight thru from/to NH and NYC, instead of forcing riders to change trains and maintaining a separate fleet of locos and cars.

 

Mikey

 

It's a legacy connection service from before the NEC was electrified to boston. The rolling stock doesn't have enough clearance to enter 3rd rail territory. It's limited these days by a specific bridge in CT that dates to the time of the rail line being put along the CT coast. Hopefully the bridge will be replaced with a higher one to allow more frequent service. The route also aides amtrak in passenger loading.

 

- A

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It's a legacy connection service from before the NEC was electrified to boston. The rolling stock doesn't have enough clearance to enter 3rd rail territory. It's limited these days by a specific bridge in CT that dates to the time of the rail line being put along the CT coast. Hopefully the bridge will be replaced with a higher one to allow more frequent service. The route also aides amtrak in passenger loading.

 

- A

 

Yeah, I know SLE is a "legacy" service, but that's just my point: why bother to continue the legacy -- separate rolling stock, passengers changing trains, diesel under wire, etc. -- now that eht line is electrified and the separate service is no longer necessary? Why not just run 4 of the New Haven line trains each way, each day, through to Old Saybrook or New London? Provide the same frequency of service in a (seemingly) much simpler fashion?

 

By the "Keep It Simple" principle, this would seem to be a no-brainer, so I must be missing something.:) What am I missing?

 

Mikey

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Yeah, I know SLE is a "legacy" service, but that's just my point: why bother to continue the legacy -- separate rolling stock, passengers changing trains, diesel under wire, etc. -- now that eht line is electrified and the separate service is no longer necessary? Why not just run 4 of the New Haven line trains each way, each day, through to Old Saybrook or New London? Provide the same frequency of service in a (seemingly) much simpler fashion?

 

By the "Keep It Simple" principle, this would seem to be a no-brainer, so I must be missing something.:) What am I missing?

 

Mikey

 

I would say that it's akin to :septa: + (NJT) combo on the NEC. :septa: goes all the way to newark DE along the NEC, then to trenton on the other side. Not the same obviously, but similar. The problem is, that if 3rd rail was extended to new london, the entire time of that going on there would be no way to get past new haven on conndot shore line east trains. Since amtrak is far more expensive, doesn't really have too much extra capacity there, and bus substitution wouldn't work, people would be out of that service till full 3rd rail installation was complete. Add to that the bridge being an issue, and there you have it. Till the bridge is replaced, there isn't a chance of shore line east going away. Even then.....

 

- A

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I would say that it's akin to :septa: + (NJT) combo on the NEC. :septa: goes all the way to newark DE along the NEC, then to trenton on the other side. Not the same obviously, but similar. The problem is, that if 3rd rail was extended to new london, the entire time of that going on there would be no way to get past new haven on conndot shore line east trains. Since amtrak is far more expensive, doesn't really have too much extra capacity there, and bus substitution wouldn't work, people would be out of that service till full 3rd rail installation was complete. Add to that the bridge being an issue, and there you have it. Till the bridge is replaced, there isn't a chance of shore line east going away. Even then.....

 

- A

 

Hang on - there's no 3rd rail in CT. The New Haven line is all under wire, once it splits off back there in NYC. The NH line trains have 3rd rail shoes for the NYC section, and pantographs for the wired section.

 

On the other hand, here's what I may have missed. The NYC-New Haven overhead section is electrified at 12.5 kv 60 Hz and the New Haven-Boston section is at 25 kv 60 Hz. Will the M-8 cars be dual (3rd rail DC and 12.5 kv AC) or triple power (plus 25kv AC)? I couldn't find that detail on the web.

 

I hope they're triple -- it would seem foolish to order a whole new fleet that's incompatible with the newest electrification. If the M-8's can handle all 3 systems, it's no big deal to run them all the way up to New London. At that point, from a technical point of view a separate diesel SLE service is superfluous. And it shouldn't be politically hard, because ConnDot is already funding both the NH line service and SLE. One hopes it would even cost less if they could get rid of the separate SLE fleet.

 

(Indeed, then they could run all the way to Boston, but that'd be too tricky politically.)

 

Mikey

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Oh i forgot to add that amtrak trains don't stop at 6 of the 9 stops on the route. If they ran trains to new london on the new haven line and discontinued SLE, they would need to add these stops. Its better for the state to run them.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shore_Line_East

 

- A

 

Hmmm. I thought I asked a simple question, but this is getting snarled up and confused. I'm suggesting that M-N, not Amtrak, run the through trains.

 

Let me put this a different way:

 

You're at Grand Central around 3 PM. You're going to Guilford. There are 2 cases:

 

1. It's 1999, before the NH-Boston electrification. You take an M-N train (of M2 EMU cars) at 3:07, changing at NH at 5:02 for an SLE diesel train to Guilford.

 

2. It's 2009. The wires now run all the way to Boston. You take the same M-N train (of M2 EMU cars) at 3:07, changing at NH at 5:02 for the same SLE diesel train to Guilford.

 

Why can't the M-N train run all the way to Old Saybrook (or New London)? If it could, the separate SLE operation would no longer be needed.

 

Two sub-questions:

 

(A) Can the M2's run under the new electrification? If so, there's no need for SLE now. If not, we still need SLE.

 

(B) Can the new M8's run under the new electrification? If so, SLE will be superfluous once the M8's are in service. If not, why on earth not?

 

Are there any readers out there who are familiar enough with the CT situation to give some definite answers?

 

Thanks!

 

Mikey

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Sorry if i confused you. SLE is not (MTA), it is 100% ConnDOT, unrelated to metro north operations. It does not use the overhead wires because it started operating before there were wires to use. Now that the wires are there, they are considering getting EMU. The connecting service to GCT you speak about isn't allowed currently because (MTA) has no agreement to operate past new haven. I hope this cleared up any confusion. B)

 

- A

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Sorry if i confused you. SLE is not (MTA), it is 100% ConnDOT, unrelated to metro north operations. It does not use the overhead wires because it started operating before there were wires to use. Now that the wires are there, they are considering getting EMU. The connecting service to GCT you speak about isn't allowed currently because (MTA) has no agreement to operate past new haven. I hope this cleared up any confusion. :)

 

- A

 

Yep, that definitely helps. Technically, M-N could run a through service if they had compatible cars, which the M8's will be and -- I assume -- the M2's are not.

 

The rest is basically political -- working out the agreement terms, funding, etc. M-N is officially a NY agency, but already has an agreements with ConnDOT to run to New Haven, and one with NJ Transit to run that west-of-Hudson route in NJ. So things are possible if the various managers and politicians want them to happen.

 

Recently SEPTA and NJ Transit started selling each other's tickets for Phila-NY connecting at Trenton, and advertising the possibility as well. And there's periodic talk around DC about joint tickets -- and maybe even interoperating trains via DC Union Station -- between MARC and VRE. So cooperation is possible...

 

Mikey

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Whatever the case may be, we have come a long way from the edge of oblivion as far as passenger rail is concerned, however we still have a long ways to go. My hope is that in my lifetime i can catch a train from within 5 street miles of my house that can take me where i want to go. It's possible.

 

- A

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I've heard rumblings that once the new M8's are in service that MNR would run service from Old Saybrook into GCT. The current SLE Diesel locomotives and their rail cars would be diverted eventually to the proposed commuter rail line running from New Haven to Springfield as those lines are not electrified.

 

It just makes sense to have MRN do this as SLE is now running on the weekends and even making stops on the reverse commute. When I was taking it every day in the late 90's there were no weekend trips and no stops on the reverse commute.

 

Also on another note, I hope the Danbury branch re-electrification goes quickly and then even more diesel locomotives will be freed for other jobs, whether it be more SLE service, the proposed New Haven-Springfield line or something else entirely.

 

It would also be great when the new Hudson River crossings are done for NJT into Penn Station as that is pretty much the only thing capacity wise holding up MNR service to Penn Station. Then when East Side Access is done LIRR will get GCT service and it will just be that much easier to get where you want to go in NYC.

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Indeed. I think it would be beneficial also to have a through tunnel between NYP and GCT. This could serve (MTA) operations, (NJT) operations, and amtrak operations, and give them just one more option in case of an incident.

 

As far as (MTA) taking over SLE route, they will in fact have to utilize more of the platforms at GCT to accommodate the increased number of trains per hour, also those routes will likely be limited stops between GCT and new haven. As far as diesels being reassigned, i think that is the likely thing to happen, and hopefully that project will go forward as well as the re-electrification. If the power ever goes out, at the very least you'll have the ability to put diesel service to 125th st.

 

- A

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The M-8s will reportedly be able to run under Amtrak wires. We shall see if they indeed run out to OSB or even NLC. Amtrak owns the ROW east of New Haven and we'll see what kinds of tradeoffs they want. New London is probably O-U-T out for frequent service unless they can get the bridge opening agreements revised to allow for more frequent bridge closings to boat traffic. Right now they're maxed out IINM.

 

I'd like to see EMU's cruising the line but until then, the 2 seat ride is about as seamless as any 2 seater I've seen, at New Haven anyway. I get off MN and SLE is right across the platform. If MN is a bit late, the SLE train will wait.

 

Someday, they'll extend SLE to New London and MTBA will extend to New London and we'll have serious linkage. I might even live to see such an arrangement :P

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The M-8s will reportedly be able to run under Amtrak wires. We shall see if they indeed run out to OSB or even NLC. Amtrak owns the ROW east of New Haven and we'll see what kinds of tradeoffs they want. New London is probably O-U-T out for frequent service unless they can get the bridge opening agreements revised to allow for more frequent bridge closings to boat traffic. Right now they're maxed out IINM.

 

I'd like to see EMU's cruising the line but until then, the 2 seat ride is about as seamless as any 2 seater I've seen, at New Haven anyway. I get off MN and SLE is right across the platform. If MN is a bit late, the SLE train will wait.

 

Someday, they'll extend SLE to New London and MTBA will extend to New London and we'll have serious linkage. I might even live to see such an arrangement :P

 

That would be very cool Hey, :septa: links to newark de, why not MBTA to conndot? :cool::tup:

 

- A

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Indeed. I think it would be beneficial also to have a through tunnel between NYP and GCT. This could serve (MTA) operations, (NJT) operations, and amtrak operations, and give them just one more option in case of an incident.

- A

 

I don't see a new tunnel happening any time soon. I think the best we can hope for in the mean time is that Amtrak will allow (MTA) to use their tracks from New Rochelle through Queens to Penn Station. It's doable, but that depends if Amtrak will allow it.

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I don't see a new tunnel happening any time soon. I think the best we can hope for in the mean time is that Amtrak will allow (MTA) to use their tracks from New Rochelle through Queens to Penn Station. It's doable, but that depends if Amtrak will allow it.

 

Once the ESA is complete it will become more likely, as the capacity increase would allow the "other" system to get in on some platforms. Peak hours is totally nuts as it is now at NYP, so spreading out the load would allow not only MNRR trains to use NYP, but also west side yard!

 

- A

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There is an issue with that needs to be resolved first. MNR can run on Amtrak catenary power, but it cannot run on LIRR 3rd rail without modification. MNR collects power from below the third rail and LIRR from above the third rail. Until the cars are modified to work on both, I don't see any MNR cars going into West Side Yard.

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There is an issue with that needs to be resolved first. MNR can run on Amtrak catenary power, but it cannot run on LIRR 3rd rail without modification. MNR collects power from below the third rail and LIRR from above the third rail. Until the cars are modified to work on both, I don't see any MNR cars going into West Side Yard.

 

You are correct about the west side yard, however, every track at NYP that i've seen has catenary. To put wire to west side yard would not be some huge undertaking, wouldn't even take a year to construct i'd bet. Not saying this is the plan, however it would be a good idea & let problematic equipment be taken away from the platforms away from public access especially if doors needed to be open. Another possibility, all be it unlikely is use of the MMC, however, it isn't totally out of the question seeing as (MTA) pool service equipment goes there. I can see MNRR running to/from NYP on new haven and hudson routes, however the current track layout would make it impossible to put them on the harlem line.

 

You could also use dual mode gennies on the hudson line.

 

To be clear... you'd need to electrify the freight track along the harlem river and reverse direction 2x just to get on the harlem line from NYP. Not gonna happen.

 

- A

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While looking at this situation on google earth i discovered an old abandoned freight ROW that could in theory be used to bring trains originating/terminating at NYP to the harlem line using the NEC tracks in the bronx. This connection could also be used in case NYP was closed for some reason to continue amtk operations north of nyc. It would take some switching, but it would work, and no need to change direction. The middle of this old line is under the (2)(5) at westchester ave between the jackson ave and 3rd ave stations.

 

- A

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