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Philadelphia - SEPTA wants to separate freight and passenger rail

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  • Edward
    SEPTA will seek a $20 million federal TIGER economic recovery grant to separate freight and Regional Rail passenger traffic on the West Trenton line, the plan
    Message 1 of 7 , May 26, 2013
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      SEPTA will seek a $20 million federal TIGER economic recovery grant to separate freight and Regional Rail passenger traffic on the West Trenton line, the "plan philly" site reports. At issue is 3-3/4 miles of track between Woodbourne and West Trenton. New track would separate CSX freight trains and SEPTA Regional Rail. Without the grant, SEPTA might be forced to abandon electric commuter rail service between those points owing to the federal mandate for Positive Train Control {PTC] collision avoidance systems. The SEPTA and CSX PTC system are incompatible so they could not share the same track. Here's a SEPTA Silverliner train at Woodbourne:
      http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3391090
      And a CSX train at Woodbourne:
      http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3297122
      And the news story:
      http://tinyurl.com/nn7xva2
      "SEPTA seeks TIGER funds to separate freight and passenger trains
      Wednesday, May 22, 2013
      By Christine Fisher

      SEPTA is working on a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant application that could mean the difference between increasing safety, speeds and ADA accessibility along the West Trenton Line or discontinuing that service all together.

      If approved, the $28-million request will allow SEPTA to fund its portion of a SEPTA-CSX project to separate passenger and freight trains running between Woodburne and West Trenton stations.

      The project would restore 3 ¾ miles of track adjacent to the CSX-owned tracks that SEPTA and CSX currently share.

      This would alleviate congestion, allow SEPTA to fully implement the federally mandated positive train control system and allow SEPTA and CSX to dispatch their own trains through that corridor.

      It would also make it easier for SEPTA to make Yardley and West Trenton stations ADA accessible.

      Without the TIGER grant, though, SEPTA does not have the funds to complete this project and could face having to discontinue service between these stations or other costly alternatives.

      "The concern would be that either we would be told not to operate there, or we would be paying unbelievable fines to operate in that area, which would [make it] tough to decide whether or not to continue to operate," said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA deputy general manager.
      ----
      (photo caption)
      West Trenton Station, Photo by Neal Santos
      ----

      WEST TRENTON LINE CONGESTION

      The West Trenton Line has SEPTA's third heaviest railroad ridership and is becoming increasingly important for CSX, which averages 20 trains to, from and through Philly everyday.

      This segment of rail is important for CSX service to cities north of Philadelphia.

      It also serves as a branch to swing trains west to St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis and other cities.

      On SEPTA's end, the Authority expects to see increased ridership, in part due to ongoing I-95 construction.

      With so many important trains running on the same tracks and many of them running during peak hours, congestion is a serious issue.

      "This is really a forward looking project because we're already having capacity issues in this area," Knueppel said.

      "They're not constant but when they happen they're pretty rough."

      When congestion causes backups, SEPTA riders may experience delays, and CSX can face harsh penalties, as high as thousands of dollars per hour, imposed by its customers.

      The frequency of CSX trains traveling through Philadelphia and this segment of track in particular is only expected to increase.

      At the moment CSX is working to undercut other sections of track to allow double-stacked trains to pass through Philadelphia rather than detouring around the city.

      "You'll see more and more traffic that's petroleum products because it seems like pipelines are either maxed out or they're hard to construct with environmental regulations, so railroads are now carrying increasing amounts of petroleum products," Knueppel said.

      The hope is that, by restoring the tracks adjacent to the current shared segment and thus separating SEPTA and CSX trains, the project will alleviate some of this congestion.

      POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL

      "Another part of this puzzle that's all going to come to a head is positive train control (PTC)," said Kevin Jurgelewiscz, SEPTA project manager, at a presentation he made to a SEPTA Citizen Advisory Council subcommittee.

      PTC is a federally mandated safety system intended to keep passenger trains from colliding and provide other safeguards.

      SEPTA, like all other passenger railroad providers in the country, has until Dec. 31, 2015 to install PTC on its entire rail network.

      In total, bringing SEPTA up to PTC compliance, will cost roughly $330 million, $130 million of which as been spent to date.

      To make matters worse for the cash-strapped Authority, the passenger train PTC system is not compatible with the freight equivalent.

      On the CSX-owned portion of the West Trenton Line SEPTA would have to comply with the CSX freight system.

      Therefore SEPTA would not be in compliance with passenger train PTC mandates and would either not be allowed to run or have to pay potentially prohibitive fines.

      "In the presently shared segment between Woodburne and Trenton [stations], no easy PTC solution is available," Jurgelewiscz said.

      If this TIGER grant is approved and SEPTA is able to restore the 3 ¾ miles of track, SEPTA and CSX trains could run on separate tracks and be able to use their own, separate PTC systems.

      If the application is denied and SEPTA is unable to implement PTC on this section of the West Trenton Line, it will likely face high penalties or be told not to operate there.

      ADA Accessibility

      At present, Yardley and West Trenton stations are not ADA accessible because they lack high-level platforms.

      Because CSX owns the tracks that run past these stations, to make the stations ADA accessible without separating the tracks, SEPTA would have to install both high-level platforms and gauntlet tracks.

      The gauntlet tracks would essential swing over about two-feet to align passenger trains with the platform.

      When switched back, the tracks would allow freight trains to pass unimpeded.

      If SEPTA is able to separate the currently shared track segment and thus avoid installing the gauntlet track, Knueppel said, "All the money that you save will probably be what we end up spending [on separating the tracks], and if we get the TIGER we won't even spend that much."

      "It literally pays for the separation in the end," he said.

      In addition, the track separation will allow SEPTA to increase passenger train speeds on this track segment from 60 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour.

      Separation will also provide security when it comes to dispatch agreements.

      At the moment SEPTA dispatches all trains, even CSX freight trains, between Woodburne and West Trenton stations.

      For CSX this means one of their major routes has a six-mile hole where they do not have control of their own trains, Knueppel said.

      Per the current agreement, CSX can take over dispatch duties with just 60-days notice.

      If CSX and SEPTA were to run on the separated tracks, each would be responsible for its own dispatch.

      Funding

      The problem is, of course, funding.

      "We virtually don't have the money," said Rich Burnfield, SEPTA's chief financial officer.

      "We've spent ourselves out trying to achieve positive train control such that we do not have the money for this separation other than through the TIGER."

      "We've done what the government asked us to do," he said.

      "We've spent every last penny that we have, and now we're coming up short. That's why this is so very important."

      SEPTA's $28.8 million portion of this project includes restoring 3 ¾ miles of rail that were previously removed.

      SEPTA will also add another shorter segment of rail so that trains can run in both directions.

      CSX will be responsible for a $10 million portion of the project.

      This will cover two interlocking adjustments to allow SEPTA and CSX to have their own interlockings, prep work and a small track extension.

      In total the project will cost an estimated $38.8 million.

      It is still unclear whether or not CSX will join SEPTA's application for TIGER funding or whether it will use other funds.

      Regardless, the TIGER grant application is due June 3 and is one of SEPTA's top priorities.

      Because the track separation project has regional implications and SEPTA has put together successful TIGER Grant applications in the past, officials seem confident with their current application.

      "We're going all out for this," Burnfield said.

      "… I think this is just a continuation of SEPTA's commitment to do whatever we can in a very creative way to advance a capital program to address the needs of our customers."
      [end text]
      -----
      Edward B. Havens
      Tucson, Ariz.
    • Joe
      The two biggest obstacles involved: 1.  CP-Wood and the connecting track from the NS Morrisville Line to the Trenton Line.  That is going to have to cross
      Message 2 of 7 , May 26, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        The two biggest obstacles involved:
        1.  CP-Wood and the connecting track from the NS Morrisville Line to the Trenton Line.  That is going to have to cross SEPTA rails to maintain access to CSX for C746 and dimensional moves (like those heat exchangers) that are handled on occasion.

        2.  Moving the West Trenton MU yard to the other side of the right of way to avoid the need to share an interlocking there as well.

        Interestingly enough, the issues involved in this SEPTA situation does not seem to be a concern to NJ Transit, which uses the Conrail Lehigh Line between CP-Aldene and CP-Newark.  Their cab signal and train control equipment is ACSES-compatible, and they are using a form of ACSES for their PTC compliance, similar to what SEPTA is using.  But they are also not compatible with the freight PTC systems, yet there are no plans to separate them on that stretch of track.  CSX has no plans to add ACSES to its locomotives aside from the few GP40-2's that already have it as well as their existing cab signals; and they are mostly used up in New England.  So PTC compliance will become an issue for a job like the C746 when it is running on SEPTA rails.  Same goes for CSX units operating on Amtrak and Metro-North between Albany and Croton-Harmon, then to Oak Point.  Again, unless they install ACSES and the freight PTC systems, there will be compatibility issues,
        yet there does not seem to be a concern by Metro-North or Amtrak over how things will be handled.

        So my question is: do they know something that SEPTA doesn't, or is SEPTA just looking for a reason to separate?  They cite Yardley and West Trenton for not being ADA accessible, but at the time Yardley was rebuilt, mini-high platforms were still acceptable.  West Trenton would have been a problem because elevators would be required to access the pedestrian underpass, along with a few ramps.  However, Woodbourne and Langhorne would be stuck remaining non-accessible in the northbound direction in all this...

        Joe



        --- On Sun, 5/26/13, Edward <edhavens@...> wrote:
        SEPTA will seek a $20 million federal TIGER economic recovery grant to separate freight and Regional Rail passenger traffic on the West Trenton line, the "plan philly" site reports. At issue is 3-3/4 miles of track between Woodbourne and West Trenton. New track would separate CSX freight trains and SEPTA Regional Rail. Without the grant, SEPTA might be forced to abandon electric commuter rail service between those points owing to the federal mandate for Positive Train Control {PTC] collision avoidance systems. The SEPTA and CSX PTC system are incompatible so they could not share the same track. Here's a SEPTA Silverliner train at Woodbourne:
        http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3391090
        And a CSX train at Woodbourne:
        http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3297122
        And the news story:
        http://tinyurl.com/nn7xva2
        "SEPTA seeks TIGER funds to separate freight and passenger trains
          Wednesday, May 22, 2013
          By Christine Fisher
           
        SEPTA is working on a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant application that could mean the difference between increasing safety, speeds and ADA accessibility along the West Trenton Line or discontinuing that service all together.

        If approved, the $28-million request will allow SEPTA to fund its portion of a SEPTA-CSX project to separate passenger and freight trains running between Woodburne and West Trenton stations.

        The project would restore 3 ¾ miles of track adjacent to the CSX-owned tracks that SEPTA and CSX currently share.

        This would alleviate congestion, allow SEPTA to fully implement the federally mandated positive train control system and allow SEPTA and CSX to dispatch their own trains through that corridor.

        It would also make it easier for SEPTA to make Yardley and West Trenton stations ADA accessible.

        Without the TIGER grant, though, SEPTA does not have the funds to complete this project and could face having to discontinue service between these stations or other costly alternatives.

        "The concern would be that either we would be told not to operate there, or we would be paying unbelievable fines to operate in that area, which would [make it] tough to decide whether or not to continue to operate," said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA deputy general manager.
        ----
        (photo caption)
        West Trenton Station, Photo by Neal Santos
        ----

        WEST TRENTON LINE CONGESTION

        The West Trenton Line has SEPTA's third heaviest railroad ridership and is becoming increasingly important for CSX, which averages 20 trains to, from and through Philly everyday.

        This segment of rail is important for CSX service to cities north of Philadelphia.

        It also serves as a branch to swing trains west to St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis and other cities.

        On SEPTA's end, the Authority expects to see increased ridership, in part due to ongoing I-95 construction.

        With so many important trains running on the same tracks and many of them running during peak hours, congestion is a serious issue.

        "This is really a forward looking project because we're already having capacity issues in this area," Knueppel said.

        "They're not constant but when they happen they're pretty rough."

        When congestion causes backups, SEPTA riders may experience delays, and CSX can face harsh penalties, as high as thousands of dollars per hour, imposed by its customers.

        The frequency of CSX trains traveling through Philadelphia and this segment of track in particular is only expected to increase.

        At the moment CSX is working to undercut other sections of track to allow double-stacked trains to pass through Philadelphia rather than detouring around the city.

        "You'll see more and more traffic that's petroleum products because it seems like pipelines are either maxed out or they're hard to construct with environmental regulations, so railroads are now carrying increasing amounts of petroleum products," Knueppel said.

        The hope is that, by restoring the tracks adjacent to the current shared segment and thus separating SEPTA and CSX trains, the project will alleviate some of this congestion.

        POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL

        "Another part of this puzzle that's all going to come to a head is positive train control (PTC)," said Kevin Jurgelewiscz, SEPTA project manager, at a presentation he made to a SEPTA Citizen Advisory Council subcommittee.

        PTC is a federally mandated safety system intended to keep passenger trains from colliding and provide other safeguards.

        SEPTA, like all other passenger railroad providers in the country, has until Dec. 31, 2015 to install PTC on its entire rail network.

        In total, bringing SEPTA up to PTC compliance, will cost roughly $330 million, $130 million of which as been spent to date. 

        To make matters worse for the cash-strapped Authority, the passenger train PTC system is not compatible with the freight equivalent.

        On the CSX-owned portion of the West Trenton Line SEPTA would have to comply with the CSX freight system.

        Therefore SEPTA would not be in compliance with passenger train PTC mandates and would either not be allowed to run or have to pay potentially prohibitive fines.

        "In the presently shared segment between Woodburne and Trenton [stations], no easy PTC solution is available," Jurgelewiscz said.

        If this TIGER grant is approved and SEPTA is able to restore the 3 ¾ miles of track, SEPTA and CSX trains could run on separate tracks and be able to use their own, separate PTC systems.

        If the application is denied and SEPTA is unable to implement PTC on this section of the West Trenton Line, it will likely face high penalties or be told not to operate there.

        ADA Accessibility

        At present, Yardley and West Trenton stations are not ADA accessible because they lack high-level platforms.

        Because CSX owns the tracks that run past these stations, to make the stations ADA accessible without separating the tracks, SEPTA would have to install both high-level platforms and gauntlet tracks.

        The gauntlet tracks would essential swing over about two-feet to align passenger trains with the platform.

        When switched back, the tracks would allow freight trains to pass unimpeded.

        If SEPTA is able to separate the currently shared track segment and thus avoid installing the gauntlet track, Knueppel said, "All the money that you save will probably be what we end up spending [on separating the tracks], and if we get the TIGER we won't even spend that much."

        "It literally pays for the separation in the end," he said.

        In addition, the track separation will allow SEPTA to increase passenger train speeds on this track segment from 60 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour.

        Separation will also provide security when it comes to dispatch agreements.

        At the moment SEPTA dispatches all trains, even CSX freight trains, between Woodburne and West Trenton stations.

        For CSX this means one of their major routes has a six-mile hole where they do not have control of their own trains, Knueppel said.

        Per the current agreement, CSX can take over dispatch duties with just 60-days notice.

        If CSX and SEPTA were to run on the separated tracks, each would be responsible for its own dispatch.

        Funding

        The problem is, of course, funding.

        "We virtually don't have the money," said Rich Burnfield, SEPTA's chief financial officer.

        "We've spent ourselves out trying to achieve positive train control such that we do not have the money for this separation other than through the TIGER."

        "We've done what the government asked us to do," he said.

        "We've spent every last penny that we have, and now we're coming up short. That's why this is so very important."

        SEPTA's $28.8 million portion of this project includes restoring 3 ¾ miles of rail that were previously removed.

        SEPTA will also add another shorter segment of rail so that trains can run in both directions.

        CSX will be responsible for a $10 million portion of the project.

        This will cover two interlocking adjustments to allow SEPTA and CSX to have their own interlockings, prep work and a small track extension.

        In total the project will cost an estimated $38.8 million.

        It is still unclear whether or not CSX will join SEPTA's application for TIGER funding or whether it will use other funds.

        Regardless, the TIGER grant application is due June 3 and is one of SEPTA's top priorities.

        Because the track separation project has regional implications and SEPTA has put together successful TIGER Grant applications in the past, officials seem confident with their current application.

        "We're going all out for this," Burnfield said.

        "… I think this is just a continuation of SEPTA's commitment to do whatever we can in a very creative way to advance a capital program to address the needs of our customers."
        [end text]
        -----
        Edward B. Havens
        Tucson, Ariz.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Matthew Mitchell
        ... Correct. Moves solely within interlockings do not require PTC equipment. The route for dimensional and other such loads has to be preserved. ... Correct.
        Message 3 of 7 , May 26, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          >>1. CP-Wood and the connecting track from the NS Morrisville Line to the
          >>Trenton Line. That is going to have to cross SEPTA rails to maintain
          >>access to CSX for C746 and dimensional moves (like those heat exchangers)
          >>that are handled on occasion.

          Correct. Moves solely within interlockings do not require PTC equipment.
          The route for dimensional and other such loads has to be preserved.


          >>2. Moving the West Trenton MU yard to the other side of the right of way
          >>to avoid the need to share an interlocking there as well.

          Correct. Moving the yard is not part of the current project, but is
          envisioned in the future, funding permitting.


          >>Interestingly enough, the issues involved in this SEPTA situation does
          >>not seem to be a concern to NJ Transit, which uses the Conrail Lehigh
          >>Line between CP-Aldene and CP-Newark.

          I've not heard what's going on with NJT, nor do I know who actually owns
          the segment of the RVL from Bound Brook to the junction with the NEC.



          Their cab signal and train control equipment is ACSES-compatible, and they
          are using a form of ACSES for their PTC compliance, similar to what SEPTA
          is using. But they are also not compatible with the freight PTC systems,
          yet there are no plans to separate them on that stretch of track. CSX has
          no plans to add ACSES to its locomotives aside from the few GP40-2's that
          already have it as well as their existing cab signals; and they are mostly
          used up in New England. So PTC compliance will become an issue for a job
          like the C746 when it is running on SEPTA rails. Same goes for CSX units
          operating on Amtrak and Metro-North between Albany and Croton-Harmon, then
          to Oak Point. Again, unless they install ACSES and the freight PTC
          systems, there will be compatibility issues,
          yet there does not seem to be a concern by Metro-North or Amtrak over how
          things will be handled.

          So my question is: do they know something that SEPTA doesn't, or is SEPTA
          just looking for a reason to separate? They cite Yardley and West Trenton
          for not being ADA accessible, but at the time Yardley was rebuilt,
          mini-high platforms were still acceptable. West Trenton would have been a
          problem because elevators would be required to access the pedestrian
          underpass, along with a few ramps. However, Woodbourne and Langhorne would
          be stuck remaining non-accessible in the northbound direction in all this...

          Joe

          --- On Sun, 5/26/13, Edward <<mailto:edhavens%40cox.net>edhavens@...>
          wrote:
          SEPTA will seek a $20 million federal TIGER economic recovery grant to
          separate freight and Regional Rail passenger traffic on the West Trenton
          line, the "plan philly" site reports. At issue is 3-3/4 miles of track
          between Woodbourne and West Trenton. New track would separate CSX freight
          trains and SEPTA Regional Rail. Without the grant, SEPTA might be forced to
          abandon electric commuter rail service between those points owing to the
          federal mandate for Positive Train Control {PTC] collision avoidance
          systems. The SEPTA and CSX PTC system are incompatible so they could not
          share the same track. Here's a SEPTA Silverliner train at Woodbourne:
          <http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3391090>http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3391090
          And a CSX train at Woodbourne:
          <http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3297122>http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3297122
          And the news story:
          <http://tinyurl.com/nn7xva2>http://tinyurl.com/nn7xva2
          "SEPTA seeks TIGER funds to separate freight and passenger trains
          Wednesday, May 22, 2013
          By Christine Fisher

          SEPTA is working on a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating
          Economic Recovery) grant application that could mean the difference between
          increasing safety, speeds and ADA accessibility along the West Trenton Line
          or discontinuing that service all together.

          If approved, the $28-million request will allow SEPTA to fund its portion
          of a SEPTA-CSX project to separate passenger and freight trains running
          between Woodburne and West Trenton stations.

          The project would restore 3 3Ž4 miles of track adjacent to the CSX-owned
          tracks that SEPTA and CSX currently share.

          This would alleviate congestion, allow SEPTA to fully implement the
          federally mandated positive train control system and allow SEPTA and CSX to
          dispatch their own trains through that corridor.

          It would also make it easier for SEPTA to make Yardley and West Trenton
          stations ADA accessible.

          Without the TIGER grant, though, SEPTA does not have the funds to complete
          this project and could face having to discontinue service between these
          stations or other costly alternatives.

          "The concern would be that either we would be told not to operate there, or
          we would be paying unbelievable fines to operate in that area, which would
          [make it] tough to decide whether or not to continue to operate," said Jeff
          Knueppel, SEPTA deputy general manager.
          ----
          (photo caption)
          West Trenton Station, Photo by Neal Santos
          ----

          WEST TRENTON LINE CONGESTION

          The West Trenton Line has SEPTA's third heaviest railroad ridership and is
          becoming increasingly important for CSX, which averages 20 trains to, from
          and through Philly everyday.

          This segment of rail is important for CSX service to cities north of
          Philadelphia.

          It also serves as a branch to swing trains west to St. Louis, Chicago,
          Indianapolis and other cities.

          On SEPTA's end, the Authority expects to see increased ridership, in part
          due to ongoing I-95 construction.

          With so many important trains running on the same tracks and many of them
          running during peak hours, congestion is a serious issue.

          "This is really a forward looking project because we're already having
          capacity issues in this area," Knueppel said.

          "They're not constant but when they happen they're pretty rough."

          When congestion causes backups, SEPTA riders may experience delays, and CSX
          can face harsh penalties, as high as thousands of dollars per hour, imposed
          by its customers.

          The frequency of CSX trains traveling through Philadelphia and this segment
          of track in particular is only expected to increase.

          At the moment CSX is working to undercut other sections of track to allow
          double-stacked trains to pass through Philadelphia rather than detouring
          around the city.

          "You'll see more and more traffic that's petroleum products because it
          seems like pipelines are either maxed out or they're hard to construct with
          environmental regulations, so railroads are now carrying increasing amounts
          of petroleum products," Knueppel said.

          The hope is that, by restoring the tracks adjacent to the current shared
          segment and thus separating SEPTA and CSX trains, the project will
          alleviate some of this congestion.

          POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL

          "Another part of this puzzle that's all going to come to a head is positive
          train control (PTC)," said Kevin Jurgelewiscz, SEPTA project manager, at a
          presentation he made to a SEPTA Citizen Advisory Council subcommittee.

          PTC is a federally mandated safety system intended to keep passenger trains
          from colliding and provide other safeguards.

          SEPTA, like all other passenger railroad providers in the country, has
          until Dec. 31, 2015 to install PTC on its entire rail network.

          In total, bringing SEPTA up to PTC compliance, will cost roughly $330
          million, $130 million of which as been spent to date.

          To make matters worse for the cash-strapped Authority, the passenger train
          PTC system is not compatible with the freight equivalent.

          On the CSX-owned portion of the West Trenton Line SEPTA would have to
          comply with the CSX freight system.

          Therefore SEPTA would not be in compliance with passenger train PTC
          mandates and would either not be allowed to run or have to pay potentially
          prohibitive fines.

          "In the presently shared segment between Woodburne and Trenton [stations],
          no easy PTC solution is available," Jurgelewiscz said.

          If this TIGER grant is approved and SEPTA is able to restore the 3 3Ž4
          miles of track, SEPTA and CSX trains could run on separate tracks and be
          able to use their own, separate PTC systems.

          If the application is denied and SEPTA is unable to implement PTC on this
          section of the West Trenton Line, it will likely face high penalties or be
          told not to operate there.

          ADA Accessibility

          At present, Yardley and West Trenton stations are not ADA accessible
          because they lack high-level platforms.

          Because CSX owns the tracks that run past these stations, to make the
          stations ADA accessible without separating the tracks, SEPTA would have to
          install both high-level platforms and gauntlet tracks.

          The gauntlet tracks would essential swing over about two-feet to align
          passenger trains with the platform.

          When switched back, the tracks would allow freight trains to pass unimpeded.

          If SEPTA is able to separate the currently shared track segment and thus
          avoid installing the gauntlet track, Knueppel said, "All the money that you
          save will probably be what we end up spending [on separating the tracks],
          and if we get the TIGER we won't even spend that much."

          "It literally pays for the separation in the end," he said.

          In addition, the track separation will allow SEPTA to increase passenger
          train speeds on this track segment from 60 miles per hour to 70 miles per
          hour.

          Separation will also provide security when it comes to dispatch agreements.

          At the moment SEPTA dispatches all trains, even CSX freight trains, between
          Woodburne and West Trenton stations.

          For CSX this means one of their major routes has a six-mile hole where they
          do not have control of their own trains, Knueppel said.

          Per the current agreement, CSX can take over dispatch duties with just
          60-days notice.

          If CSX and SEPTA were to run on the separated tracks, each would be
          responsible for its own dispatch.

          Funding

          The problem is, of course, funding.

          "We virtually don't have the money," said Rich Burnfield, SEPTA's chief
          financial officer.

          "We've spent ourselves out trying to achieve positive train control such
          that we do not have the money for this separation other than through the
          TIGER."

          "We've done what the government asked us to do," he said.

          "We've spent every last penny that we have, and now we're coming up short.
          That's why this is so very important."

          SEPTA's $28.8 million portion of this project includes restoring 3 3Ž4
          miles of rail that were previously removed.

          SEPTA will also add another shorter segment of rail so that trains can run
          in both directions.

          CSX will be responsible for a $10 million portion of the project.

          This will cover two interlocking adjustments to allow SEPTA and CSX to have
          their own interlockings, prep work and a small track extension.

          In total the project will cost an estimated $38.8 million.

          It is still unclear whether or not CSX will join SEPTA's application for
          TIGER funding or whether it will use other funds.

          Regardless, the TIGER grant application is due June 3 and is one of SEPTA's
          top priorities.

          Because the track separation project has regional implications and SEPTA
          has put together successful TIGER Grant applications in the past, officials
          seem confident with their current application.

          "We're going all out for this," Burnfield said.

          "Š I think this is just a continuation of SEPTA's commitment to do whatever
          we can in a very creative way to advance a capital program to address the
          needs of our customers."
          [end text]
          -----
          Edward B. Havens
          Tucson, Ariz.

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Joe
          With regards to the RVL, The track from the NEC at HUNTER to CP-NEWARK is Amtrak-owned and controlled; it is their Lehigh Line Connection track. From CP-NEWARK
          Message 4 of 7 , May 26, 2013
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            With regards to the RVL, The track from the NEC at HUNTER to CP-NEWARK is Amtrak-owned and controlled; it is their Lehigh Line Connection track.

            From CP-NEWARK to CP-ALDENE, the RVL trains are on Conrail's Lehigh Line, on which the stations at Union and Roselle Park are located.  That trackage is owned and dispatched by Conrail Shared Assets.
             
            From CP-ALDENE (where the RVL trains leave Conrail tracks) on to High Bridge is the actual NJT RVL Line trackage.

            Joe



            --- On Sun, 5/26/13, Matthew Mitchell <mitchell@...> wrote:
            I've not heard what's going on with NJT, nor do I know who actually owns
            the segment of the RVL from Bound Brook to the junction with the NEC.


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Mark
            Something definately doesn t make sense. If the freight RR PTC system is incompatible with ACSES, does that mean AMTRAK has to keep a dedicated fleet of
            Message 5 of 7 , May 27, 2013
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              Something definately doesn't make sense. If the freight RR PTC system is incompatible with ACSES, does that mean AMTRAK has to keep a dedicated fleet of locomotives for the NEC, and a dedicated fleet for LD trains off the corridor? If that's the case, how would an AMTRAK train from Cumberland, MD or Richmond, VA running on the CSX PTC system get into Union Station in DC. Same arguement for MARC and VRE who are also using freight PTC systems arriving into Union Station.

              Are they going to seperate Ford - Kalb if the NS and SEPTA PTC systems don't work together? Or will they get some kind of FRA waiver like NJT has for trains running the CR Lehigh Line between Hunter and Aldene?

              --- In Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com, Joe <silverliner_2@...> wrote:
              >
              > With regards to the RVL, The track from the NEC at HUNTER to CP-NEWARK is Amtrak-owned and controlled; it is their Lehigh Line Connection track.
              >
              > From CP-NEWARK to CP-ALDENE, the RVL trains are on Conrail's Lehigh Line, on which the stations at Union and Roselle Park are located.  That trackage is owned and dispatched by Conrail Shared Assets.
              >  
              > From CP-ALDENE (where the RVL trains leave Conrail tracks) on to High Bridge is the actual NJT RVL Line trackage.
              >
              > Joe
              >
              >
              >
              > --- On Sun, 5/26/13, Matthew Mitchell <mitchell@...> wrote:
              > I've not heard what's going on with NJT, nor do I know who actually owns
              > the segment of the RVL from Bound Brook to the junction with the NEC.
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Matthew Mitchell
              ... I expect Amtrak will equip some of its diesels with both systems. ... Either by equipping the locomotives with both systems, or being exempt from PTC
              Message 6 of 7 , May 27, 2013
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                >>Something definately doesn't make sense. If the freight RR PTC system is
                >>incompatible with ACSES, does that mean AMTRAK has to keep a dedicated
                >>fleet of locomotives for the NEC, and a dedicated fleet for LD trains off
                >>the corridor?

                I expect Amtrak will equip some of its diesels with both systems.


                >>If that's the case, how would an AMTRAK train from Cumberland, MD or
                >>Richmond, VA running on the CSX PTC system get into Union Station in DC.

                Either by equipping the locomotives with both systems, or being exempt from
                PTC within yard limits.
              • Joe
                Amtrak will have to start dedicating the diesel fleet to geographic areas.  The Phase II Amtrak Heritage unit is quipped with the ITCS PTC system for the
                Message 7 of 7 , May 27, 2013
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                  Amtrak will have to start dedicating the diesel fleet to geographic areas.  The Phase II Amtrak Heritage unit is quipped with the ITCS PTC system for the Chicago-St. Louis corridor as well as regular (non-ACSES) cab signals, so chances of seeing that unit further east will be slim now.  But the Illinois ITCS is not compatible with the Michigan ITCS, so they have to have units for that.  NS had to equip units with the Michigan ITCS to operate on Amtrak as well as the freight PTC.  CSX has units that are Amtrak-ACSES and RFP cab signal equipped for use in New England.

                  Basically, Amtrak would need locomotives equipped with the freight PTC, ACSES, both ITCS systems, and the associated cab signals for Amtrak (which also covers CSX RFP, CSX ex-Conrail, NS ex-Conrail, SEPTA, NJT, Metro-North, and MBTA).

                  NJT appears to have gotten a waiver for the Lehigh Line, but will NS get ACSES for units on trains operating via NJT and Metro-North from Croxton up and over the Southern Tier?  And the various locals that ply NJT rails?  Will CSX add ACSES to more switchers to cover their units that run on SEPTA?  Ford to Kalb can't be separated simply because there is no way to do it; not with freight operating both ways at Kalb to access NS and via SEPTA to the Stoney Creek and because there is no space to do it.

                  If NJT can get a waiver for operating over 6 miles of freight-PTC trackage in New Jersey, then there is no reason SEPTA can't get it for operating over 6 miles of freight-PTC trackage in Pennsylvania.  They don't seem too concerned about Ford to Kalb, so there is more to this here..... besides the ADA issues of Yardley and West Trenton, and I already mentioned that, along with Langhorne and Woodbourne only being compliant in one direction.

                  Joe



                  --- On Mon, 5/27/13, Matthew Mitchell <mitchell@...> wrote:
                  >>Something definately doesn't make sense. If the freight RR PTC system is
                  >>incompatible with ACSES, does that mean AMTRAK has to keep a dedicated
                  >>fleet of locomotives for the NEC, and a dedicated fleet for LD trains off
                  >>the corridor?

                  I expect Amtrak will equip some of its diesels with both systems.


                  >>If that's the case, how would an AMTRAK train from Cumberland, MD or
                  >>Richmond, VA running on the CSX PTC system get into Union Station in DC.

                  Either by equipping the locomotives with both systems, or being exempt from
                  PTC within yard limits.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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