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Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie viewed the Gateway announcement as a vindication of his decision to cancel ARC, but as Steinemann explains in the post below, Christie is off base. If anything, the chart is a testament to just how beneficial the ARC Tunnel promised to be, noting, for example, that ARC promised to connect commuters to the subway lines at Herald Square.
In addition, Gateway’s new Penn Station South adds four new platforms serving seven tracks underground between 30th and 31st streets from 7th Ave. A critical benefit of Gateway, that is not being widely touted, is the system redundancy that the connectivity to Penn Station provides.
The price comparisons between Gateway and ARC, reported at $13.5 billion and $10 billion respectively, are also misleading.
The 63rd street tunnel was prefabricated and lowered into a trench on the bottom of the east river, while the proposed Hudson tunnels will be constructed with tunnel boring machines due to the longer distance and deeper channel. Build the tracks to Penn, lose the Penn South, and have NJ Transit joint operate a few LIRR lines, such as Woodmere or Port Jefferson. That said, SF actually needs some sort of parallel line or secondary platform, when theres delays during rush hour, Embarcadero can reach dangerous levels of crowding on the platform very quickly. Forgive as I’m not a BART expert, but isn’t this an apples and oranges type comparison? BART has service patterns typical of an S-Bahn, track infrastructure typical of a subway, and station surroundings typical of American-style commuter rail.
You might be able to picture it if you think of a setup where all of the Bronx IRT lines ran deep into Westchester County, and ran only on the Lexington Ave Local in Manhattan. It is also somewhat similar to how Metro North RR and current LIRR run, in stretches during rush hr (I.E. While the Park Ave tunnel was built with local stations at 59th, 72nd, 86th and 110th, the stations at 59th and 72nd were never used in regular service. Building a 1-seat ride would once again turn the Transfer into a boondoggle that costs NJ Transit more than it could bring in to support the operating costs and debt repayment that is an ongoing drain to the agency. North Jersey riders aren’t getting a one-seat ride, but that means that Secaucus remains viable and not the boondoggle that it has been since the outset. Um, as an Amtrak intercity rider I’d like a decent station, rather than a hole in the ground. As a frequent user of Amtrak myself, I would like a railroad that runs on time and a station that’s convenient to get into and out of.
Now couple the news of this project proposal with the timing of Obama’s push for $52 billion in new HSR funding over 5 years. A very large fraction of the money would go to California HSR, whose current problem is funding and not NIMBYism.
That could leave one train per hour on each of the New Haven and Hudson lines, if Lautenberg’s site means only six trains per hour, three each way (or two each if it is six trains per hour each way).
Honestly, with track connections to the LIRR tracks, and Metro-North Access, this will hugely benefit New York as well. Alt G is still the right idea, but this project actually is Alt G compatible, unlike NJT’s. Gillen and his friend Matt Turk were among dozens of musicians and performers who made their way to Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall on Tuesday to audition for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Music Under New York program. While plenty of people toot horns or sing their way through the system, there are only about 100 or so acts that are officially recognized by the MTA, getting prime performing spaces in some of the busiest stations. Tuesday's auditions, with about 70 performers taken from 200 submissions, covered a musical range, from folk rock to electric violin.
Sixteen-year-old Banks Harris, of Brooklyn, skipped school along with companion Kane Dulaney Balser, also 16, for the chance to audition in front of more than two dozen judges, impressing many with her deep, powerful singing voice. While they have made some money doing it, Harris said the main draw was the chance to perform.
The program, which started as a pilot in 1985, is part of the MTA's Arts for Transit, which also places visual art in the subway system.
The artists on the roster are given the chance every two weeks to call in and make requests for time slots. Participating in the program has been a boon for some, Bloodworth said, because of the exposure it provides. The artists who do make it add a certain something to the experience of subway travel, even if their audience only hears them for a fleeting moment, said Jenneth Webster, producer of Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival and an audition judge. Hong Kong Photo Gallery - To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater.
New York, London, Prague, Iceland, Rocky Mountains, Angkor Wat, Sri Lanka, Seoul, Myanmar, and much more! NEW YORK (AP) - The agency that runs the city's subway system has put in place new track safety measures following the deaths of two workers. New York City Transit on Thursday sharpened its focus on safety after the workers were hit and killed by trains inside tunnels in separate incidents late last month. Supervisors have been given radios to improve communication with train controllers, and maintenance workers have been retrained on track safety. In addition, transit officials are testing devices that would sound alarms when trains approach crews working on the tracks. The measures will be in place until reports are completed by an inquiry board and a newly formed track safety task force. When the train turned electric, moved underground and became the subway, there were those who remained enraptured.
Most visitors yesterday were entranced by close-up looks at undercarriages, wrenches the length of a man’s leg and opportunities to sit in the worn red seat of a subway cab, the part of the car where the motorman leans out the window. Some visitors even took photographs of a pile of metal shavings, for no particular reason other than that they were transportation authority metal shavings.
Greg Orlando, 50, who grew to love the subways as a child in Howard Beach, Queens, is now a firefighter in Staten Island. James Weider, 17, a senior at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, chose the subway as a senior research topic.
The visitors walked into a trench, so the bottom of a subway car’s door, at foot level in a station, was about a foot or so above their heads. The Corona facility, about 11 months old, has the look and feel of a clean room where computers are assembled, except for the undercarriages of the cars, which are coated with soot, and, up close, have the whiff of stables.
On one track was a set of clean subway wheels, 34 inches in diameter and lacking a car above them.
NEW YORK, May 18 (Reuters) - New York's mass transit agency said on Friday it was probing whether revamping subway stations and other upgrades will cost $500 million to $2 billion more than planned, though this work does not even include its mega-projects, such as the new Second Avenue subway.


Adding he will not have a hard estimate of the extra expenses until the transit arm of the busiest U.S.
In addition to upgrading subway stations, the huge extra sum might be needed to modernize repair shops and rail yards, and update signals and communication systems, he said. Pressed by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who led the oversight hearing, to say whether subway fares and bridge tolls will go up in 2008, Sander said this was premature.
The MTA, which has a long history of cost overruns, gets a share of city and state real estate-based taxes, and soaring apartment and commercial prices have pumped up its revenues. The various MTA agencies, which also run its commuter rail lines, city buses, and East River bridges and tunnels, all have been asked to determine how they could prune spending by 2 percent and by 4 percent, Sander said.
Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to charge rush hour Manhattan drivers $8 to encourage them to use mass transit.
But Bloomberg has not proposed giving the MTA more operating aid to cope with the additional 1 million residents anticipated to move to New York by 2030. The MTA's five-year $21 billion capital plan, now in its third year, faces even more risks. The Federal Transit Administration, guarding against the ballooning expenses racked up by Boston's Big Dig tunnel project, told the MTA to boost its cost contingencies for the Second Avenue subway to 15 percent from 12 percent, Sander said. Phase One of Manhattan's first new subway line in decades is still $800 million short, and the federal agency also sees the work taking six months longer than planned, he added. Various commissions are studying how the MTA can curb costs, by hiring more small contractors, for example, as well as how it can cope with rising prices for steel, and the higher wages construction workers now earn, thanks to the real estate boom, Sander said.
The MTA is scrounging for cash, partly because it must close $4.1 billion of budget gaps by 2010. And he made it clear he was conducting an extensive analysis of MTA's operations, including, for example, getting its police officers out of their patrol cars and onto commuter rail cars -- where only six or seven previously were assigned. The perfect solution would be for all Metro North trains to run through Grand Central and terminate at Penn. The rush and crush of people getting in and out should not be so surprising in a city like New York. I've wondered about the same thing, as well I'm an out-of-towner who often makes the transfer between Grand Central and Penn stations.
The MTA's East Side Access project - which brings Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal - reached another milestone on Saturday when a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) completed its journey from Italy and arrived on U.S. The bi-level 63rd Street tunnel was constructed starting in 1969, designed to carry both subway and commuter rail trains. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, covering New York City and the world of urban planning.
On Sunday, the New York Times ran an excellent story to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the completion of the first rail tunnels under the Hudson. The focus is on the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project, an ambitious plan by NJ Transit and the Port Authority to build a second set of trans-Hudson rail tunnels. If federal approval is given this summer and grants are secured later this year, construction will begin in early 2009 and take eight years. The article features an exceptional and informative interactive graphic and analysis of the tunnel boring techniques 100 years vs. The sophisticated machinery dwarfs the equipment used a century ago, when legions of sandhogs, or underground construction workers, risked their lives toiling in high-pressurized chambers slopping silt into carts that were hauled away by mules. These days, critics complain that the project would cost billions of dollars more than is currently projected and would overburden already crowded Midtown streets. Later this month we will welcome Jill Jonnes, the author of Conquering Gotham, to the MAS for a lecture and discussion about how lessons from the construction of the first Penn Station can inform the building of Moynihan Station, ARC, and other major civic projects.
The biggest difference between the two projects, however, are the compromises that Gateway requires of NJ Transit.
Whereas ARC mentioned it as a possible future project, new access for Metro North at Penn Station is a full component of Gateway.
The Gateway Tunnel also includes the Portal Bridge Replacement project, which ARC critics demanded should have been considered part of ARC’s total cost. The new option that would allow the two new tubes at least some sort of East River connection via the southernmost LIRR tunnels means the new tubes can be beneficial as part of an overall high-speed rail corridor from Washington to Boston. When I look at the double track Embarcadero BART in San Francisco, compared to the 20 tracks of NYP, its amazing how much they get done during rush hour, and how NYP is such a glutton for platforms due to their old-timey railroad orientation. Penn doesnt have this problem because passengers typically arent waiting on the platform itself. So on the one hand it’s primarily suburban, with multiple lines converging to create a single high-frequency urban line, just like the Munich S-Bahn. Only he explains it with analogies that are a lot more comprehensible to New York railfans.
Off-peak trains are limited on the North Jersey train lines, and parking is the single biggest impediment to greater commuter train usage. Before then, Secaucus was a billion dollar boondoggle because the transfer traffic wasn’t there.
NJ Transit, if it built the loop connector, would be cannibalizing ridership from Secaucus, and riders from North Jersey would still be faced with increased commute times (5-7 minutes each way) to Hoboken as has been the case since the track realignment and opening of Secaucus (most folks still ride the train to Hoboken for transfers to Lower Manhattan and Midtown below 34th Street).
Fortunately, it’s a stub-end that allows trains from either the new or the old tunnel to access both the new and the old tracks.
For most of the way, the people along the line support construction because they want the jobs and the access to LA and the Bay Area.
Its my understanding that many foreign systems (RER, S-Bahn) operate more in this fashion as well.
Assuming that when the Empire Corridor gets upgraded and electrified, it would need two frequencies per hour each way.
Most riders could be intercity passengers heading to Penn Station to connect to Next Gen Acelas going to Boston or DC. Now New York and New Jersey can benefit equally; hopefully Christie will use that thick head of his and actually work with others to get this done! Music Under New York organizes more than 150 performances a week at 25 locations, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and the subway stations at Times Square and Union Square. She pointed to the example of Susan Cagle, the singer-songwriter who signed a record contract and has appeared on Oprah Winfrey's television talk show.
Artists have to have more than just talent, they have to have a performance that can translate in the crowded, noisy subway system.
In both cases, investigators suspect the workers didn't hear approaching trains until it was too late.


Using loud diesel generators at work sites is discouraged, and non-emergency work has been banned in areas where emergency telephones and alarm boxes aren't working, transit officials said. He took the tour with six friends, who are members of The New Jersey HiRailers in Paterson, N.J. Sander said the MTA has enough buses and trains to take on the extra 85,000 people expected to quit driving. This map shows that there are unused 5th tracks between Times Square and Penn Station down both Seventh AND Eighth Avenue. Due to budget shortfalls, the tunnel remained unused until 1989, when F train service was routed through the tunnel's upper level to 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. The original set of tunnels reached peak capacity in 2003, which makes ARC an “urgent necessity” according to transportation officials.
Contractors will deploy boring machines the length of football fields to drill through granite, schist and other materials, use laser-guided satellite signals to pinpoint their location, and carve a path under 34th Street so wide that commuters will be able to walk underground to 14 subway lines, and to PATH, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road trains. But in other ways, the techniques for boring through hard rock and under riverbeds and serpentine city streets remain remarkably similar.
Others say that the project is not ambitious enough, and that it should be extended to Grand Central Terminal [see”The Mother of all Train Station Connections]. As Gilbert Taylor wrote in a Book List review, “…New York City’s Pennsylvania Station was the visible manifestation of a titanic subterranean project.
He’s going to track the progress of the Gateway Tunnel there, and he is allowing me to post some of his analysis here as well.
For passengers on trains from Bergen, Passaic, Rockland and Orange Counties on the Main-Bergen and Pascack Valley lines, Gateway will not provide the long-promised, one-seat ride to Manhattan (at least not at first).
In fact, a presentation on Lautenberg’s site promises capacity for six hourly trains on Metro North’s New Haven and Hudson Lines. Finally, Amtrak’s proposal also suggests extending the 7 train not westward but eastward from its future terminus at 34th St. If, for some reason, a train dies in one tunnel, as happens frequently now, the Gateway tunnels will provide a back-up. Like ARC and the Portal Bridge projects, Gateway will double the right-of-way from Newark Penn Station to New York Penn Station from two to four tracks.
The more federal funding that is sought, the more it helps to have House and Senate members in states besides New York and New Jersey who can see a benefit from a Hudson River tunnel project. But unlike an S-Bahn, it’s entirely greenfield, and incompatible with mainline rail, raising the costs of everything.
Where is NJ Transit going to get the funds to operate 12 additional trains into Penn Station, let alone the 25 claimed under ARC (and Amtrak gets an additional 8-12 trains – so the total capacity is actually close to the same number as under ARC, but with the added benefits to HSR on the NEC).
It’s now utilized for additional traffic from the parking lot and those who would use the station to attend events at the Meadowlands via the spur line that opened last year. For Penn Station, there was access to Sunnyside Yards, while there was no such access for ARC, which meant that the trains had to go somewhere (back into New Jersey?) that would reduce the actual capacity.
Unfortunately, it’s still unnecessary infrastructure and still costs about five times what most Continental European cities would be spending on the same project. The billion(s of?) $ being wasted on Mohnihan, which will in no way improve mobility,* could go to straightening tracks, improving signals, investing in constant tension catenary, electrifying commuter rail, or any number of worthy local transit projects. The NIMBYs are cocooned in the Bay Area demagoguing about how grade-separating the local commuter line and running high-speed trains on it at low speed will be the end of the world. The artists, as street performers, are allowed to take whatever money they are given from passers-by. They are building a miniature reproduction of the subway, complete with a Times Square station and a Washington Heights repair yard at 207th street. He explained that the facility runs 24 hours a day, employs 162 workers and services 409 subway cars, nearly all of them No. Could the 'S' trains somehow be connected to either (or both) of these tracks, and continue to Penn? East Side Access is a $6.3 billion project that will provide access to Grand Central Terminal for Long Island Rail Road commuters. Its trailing gear and the smaller components that make up the rest of the machine will arrive separately later this month. The lower level currently terminates at 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue, where the TBM will pick up shortly to begin boring toward Grand Central.
And critics say that the new annex would be too far underground and not part of other plans to redevelop the area around Pennsylvania Station.
Its sweeping story…comes together marvelously in Jonnes’s admiring history of the undertaking.” Jonnes’s presentation will include compelling historic images not featured in her book, which closes with the hope that Moynihan Station will be “…a return to the grandeur of the past.
The details of the Gateway operating arrangement are not clear, but improvements over the current arrangement are essential. Due to the complicated nature of the train platforms underneath Moynihan station, however, it seems impossible for NJ Transit and Amtrak to utilize three of the four tunnels for peak-directional flow as the LIRR currently permits in its four tunnels under the East River. Any changes to the connection between the Northeast Corridor and NJT’s Morris & Essex and Montclair Lines (located just west of the Portal Bridge) remain unclear at this time.
And the dominance of parking lot stations in the suburbs, with very little development, is inexcusable. These other systems are commuter rail that put multiple stations within the CBD as well as through-running.
This would mean some pretty significant reconstruction at Times Square but maybe it would be worth it. If it's a common trip then this might be worthwhile, but if my case was unusual then just forget I mentioned it. Connecting tunnels will be completed in Queens to link the tunnel to the LIRR's Main Line and Port Washington branch tracks. Finally, as I noted yesterday, Gateway increases NJ Transit’s peak train capacity by only 13 additional trains, as opposed to ARC’s 24 additional trains. But the connection between these two terminals is pretty inconvenient, particularly if you're carrying luggage. Once the shipment has cleared customs, the pieces will be taken by truckload to Long Island City, Queens, where they will be lowered into the 63rd Street tunnel via a massive excavation.
The TBM will be assembled in the launch box and will begin digging its way toward Grand Central later this summer.



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