May
22

East Side Access officially projected for August ’19

By

The MTA now projects August 2019 as the East Side Access revenue date.

A few weeks ago while speaking to a group of Long Island Business owners, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota previewed what had long been rumored concerning the East Side Access Project. The MTA did not anticipate finishing the project until mid-2019. For an agency long accused of mismanaging large-scale construction projects, this news was not surprising, and on Monday, when the authority confirmed its projections in a presentation to its Capital Project Oversight Committee, we learned just how deep the delays and cost overruns ran.

On the surface, the bad news is, well, bad. According to the most recent MTA projections, the project will not wrap until August 2019 and costs could run as high as $8.24 billion. That price tag is up nearly $1 billion since the last official estimate was released in 2009, and the expected date for revenue service has been pushed back by nearly three years. Those are the 80-percent probability projetions, and the news is bad all around.

As this news broke on Monday, MTA Board members, reporters and train riders all wanted to know the same thing: How did we get here? Six years ago, the MTA had hoped to wrap the project by 2013; three years ago, that date had shifted three years forward. Now, we’re still seven years away from seeing this massive project realized, and skepticism over this newly revised schedule is entirely warranted.

Still, much as they did with the similarly troubled Fulton Street Transit Center a few years ago, MTA officials pledged to stick with the current schedule. “The era of underestimating the cost of big projects is over,” Lhota said. “We’re going to be realistic about the cost and we’re going to budget accordingly.”

Ascertaining how the MTA has botched this project requires two separate arguments, First, the MTA ran into internal problems three years ago when they last assessed their own timeline. In 2009, the MTA put forward their 2016 estimate with no official risk analysis and no determination of the completion percentage. In 2010, when they finally conducted the analysis, the authority determined that their estimate was wildly optimistic. They had a 20 percent chance of hitting the cost and timeline goals. The 80 percent figures were closer to 2017 and $8.01 billion, but the authority never pushed that in public.

In 2011, the authority opted to change its risk analysis figures. Instead of providing a 50/50 figure, they would offer up an 80/20 figure and conduct a risk analysis on every project. So this new figure is a more concrete one. The MTA says there is an 80 percent chance the project wraps at $8.24 billion and by August 2019. There’s also a 20 percent chance the project comes in at $7.81 billion and is ready by September 2018, but that’s clearly an optimistic estimate. The current 80 percentile projection does, for what it’s worth, contain a 12-month contingency period and a cushion of around $0.36 billion should things go wrong.

The other problem, though, highlights what happens when various agencies — city, state, federal — who need to share resources have to work together. The short of it is that the MTA and Amtrak seem to be unable to properly coordinate train schedules and work on the Harold Interlocking, thus leading to massive delays and other assorted headaches. Ted Mann went in depth on this issue in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, and I strongly urge you to read that article if you haven’t already.

As Mann relates, the interaction between the MTA and Amtrak reached inept proportions when the federal agency decided to move workers at the last minute to Grand Central for National Train Day, leaving the MTA out in the cold. In official documents on Monday, the authority stopped short of pointing fingers, but it’s clear the MTA is fed up with working with Amtrak. It is, Michael Horodniceanu said of the East Side Access problems, “like riding a bicycle while trying to change the tire.”

So as the feds gear up to audit the project, we are essentially left where we were when things began. The project is optimistically seven years away from revenue service and another billion dollars in the hole. The money has to come from somewhere, and the faith in the MTA does too. At some point, funding partners will dry up, and large-scale projects will never materialize right at the time the city needs them the most. So now we wait seven more years. It’s always seven more years.



61 Responses to “East Side Access officially projected for August ’19”

  1. R. Graham says:

    We are talking about Amtrak. LOL no surprise there. Amtrak – Never on time and always in the way.

    • Nathanael says:

      Amtrak is getting nothing for this project, and the LIRR has a record of non-cooperation with Amtrak. So why should Amtrak disrupt its plans to benefit the LIRR?

      Heck, it’s not like National Train Day wasn’t known about and planned a YEAR in advance — it’s really irresponsible project management for ESA not to work around the known-long-in-advance LIRR and Amtrak schedules.

  2. John-2 says:

    New York and New Jersey reps actually should have some clout over Amtrak here, since both states are among the agency’s main advocate in Washington.

    But it does make you wonder what the costs might end up looking like on an Amtrak Gateway project across the Hudson, if their urgency at getting the work done here on time and closer to budget is roughly on the same level of Tommy Chong motivating himself to leave a medical marijuana clinic (Of course, since ESA is the MTA’s baby and Amtrak has no trains going into Grand Central other than on National Train Day, that might also explain their disconnect from this project, while they would be far more focused on a trans-Hudson project that would be their tunnels.)

    • R. Graham says:

      But this is what kills me about Amtrak. The faster the MTA is able to get ESA done the sooner they can start pulling some TPH from Penn and redirecting those TPH to Grand Central. They are missing the big picture in the fact that it opens up the schedule to Amtrak. Sure Gateway will come at some point but it may not be before half of us posting here dies so why not help make improvements however you can get them in this day and age?

      • jim says:

        LIRR isn’t pulling any trains from Penn Station. The trains going into GCT are either redirects from Brooklyn or new service.

        • Eric F says:

          Is that for certain? I understand that the LIRR needs additional capacity, but this project is at least partly premised on the idea that some thousands of people taking LIRR trains don’t want to go to Penn Station at all. Why wouldn’t a fully functioning ESA not call for some reduced service into Penn?

          • John-2 says:

            At the moment, the MTA is saying service will remain the same, but that could just be gamesmanship with Amtrak in order to retain their platform slots at Penn Station until they at least find out what the public’s new commuting patterns are.

            If after ESA opens the traffic patterns see a major shift over to Grand Central to the point that some Penn Station-bound trains are running well under capacity, the MTA probably isn’t going to want the extra crew and rolling-stock expense to send more trains than needed to the west side, and that’s when you’ll see reduced service that would possibly allow both for more NJT trains and/or New Haven service via Hell’s Gate into Penn.

            • bob says:

              The pols from Long Island demanded the LIRR not cut service to PSNY when ESA opens, so LIRR has been very cagey in what they say. If the estimates about how many people switch prove true, they will wind up cutting service to PSNY….but better to have actual numbers than just planning studies.

              • R. Graham says:

                In all honesty….unless you see the LIRR running significantly more trains on the same tracks, expect a cut in service to PSNY. It’s as simple as that. The whole point of ESA is because of the demographic. People WILL shift.

                • nyland8 says:

                  “People WILL Shift” … and well they should. And a few MetroNorth lines should run into Penn, starting with half the Hudson Line trains, by running them down the Empire Corridor along that terribly underutilized Amtrak ROW. And a few others should come in from Queens.

                  A better balance between MetroNorth/LIRR and NYPS/GCT serves everyone’s best interests. As does having greater system redundancy in case of emergencies.

                  • Metro-North/ Hudson Davison Trains to Long Island would lessen the need to have connecting trains from Penn to Huntington for Port Jefferson. Passengers bound for Port Jefferson, would not have to change trains at Huntington. Instead of using two trains to complete their journey to Port Jefferson one is needed. The need to transfer at Huntington is practically true on the weekends and holidays.
                    This would also create more space in Penn Station as well as more effective use of train crew personnel. There are some trains which the LIRR operate, do not have enough personnel to collect non militia tickets from passengers. The train crews which are no longer needed for Penn Station-Huntington connection can be reassigned to trains which do not have enough ticket collectors.
                    Some Amtrak trains on the Empire Corridor should also be used for this purpose.
                    Remember Amtrak’s Baseball Special Train between Albany and Shea.

  3. Alargule says:

    You’re never alone: Amsterdam’s North-South Line has been u/c since 2003; the estimated completion date has been pushed back from 2011 to 2018 (!) and the costs have more than doubled in the mean time…

    Almost seems as if getting megaprojects finished ‘on time’ and ‘within budget’ has become as improbable as winning the lottery these days…

  4. East side d says:

    Brutal. Did they report on Second Avenue Subway timeline?

  5. Eric F says:

    Isn’t the Amtrak coordination excuse a bit too over-comprehensive? A great deal of the work involves building the new station platforms and other facilities under GCT. That work in no way involves any intersection with Amtrak. The project involves building new GCT entrances throughout midtown-east, again, without any Amtrak property in the vicinity.

    One minor aspect of the project that is ancillary but highly visible in midtown involves simply adding a new entrance to some GCT platforms at 245 Park Ave. I believe this is to head off future crowding in the main hall when (and if) LIRR passengers start uising the place. The entrance would just link to existing Metro North tracks as far as I can determine. Also, as far as I can tell, this is a self-contained project segment that is not dependent on other work. The project kicked off after years of delay but finally started in March 2010 with an 18 month project timeline (i.e., completion scheduled for September 2011). In September 2011, the MTA decided that 18 months was not enough time and the project was extended another 6 months to March 2012. That delay alone is a 33% timeline extension. March came and went and the project is still not completed and I’m not aware of any new scheduled end date. As of now the 18-month project is now in it’s 26th month and running. In no way can this timeline overage for a relatively insignificant part of the project be pinned on Amtrak.

    • R. Graham says:

      Actually the Harold Interlocking area is one of the most complicated areas of the entire project. The soil in that area is practically silt being so close to the East River and like mentioned you have to tunnel under the interlocking, active LIRR, active Amtrak, active NJT, under an active subway tunnel, under active subway elevated structure beams and no work gets done unless Amtrak has its crews at the ready in the area for the signal and electrical safety requirements.

      • George says:

        The 245 Park Avenue entrance is way more complicated than the Harold Interlocking. The soil in that area is close to the East River and the Hudson River and you have to build escalators next to an active sidewalk, between an active Qdoba and Au bon Pain, and nothing can get done unless crews are at the ready in the area for the escalator thingy.

        • R. Graham says:

          But there’s a big difference between fixed structures overhead and active tracks overhead on similar soil. Trains on active tracks overhead weigh more than people walking on active sidewalk.

        • Jerrold says:

          George, you’re being sarcastic, right? At least I HOPE so!

          • Eric F says:

            Clearly, none of the “facts” in his blurb are remotely accurate.

            By the way, about 200 feet away from 245 Park is a construction site for a new skyscraper. Somehow, operating above the Lex line and fronting busy Lexington Ave. (and it’s sidewalk), the private sector was somehow able to demolish a low slung structure and is now sending up a steel shell at the rate of at least a floor per week. 200 feet northwest, the MTA’s contractor acts like adding a doorway to Grand Central is like inventing cold fusion.

            • nyland8 says:

              The MTA’s contractors and subcontractors building ESA, SAS and 7 extension ARE the private sector. And the private sector knows the ins and outs of change orders, cost overruns and extras. That’s often how they stay in business. And anytime a bid is placed, the GC goes in with material quotes that they have gotten from their providers – with a contract timeline. So if any project takes a year, or two, or three or more years longer than first anticipated, then the cost of merely providing material can skyrocket. When I give you a material quote for 2009, I can’t expect to be held to that number in 2014.

              It may not be cold fusion in terms of sophistication or complexity, but building a skyscraper above ground is a lot less difficult than building the equivalent of a skyscraper below ground.

              • Eric F says:

                They are the private sector under a public authority’s contract. If a contractor renovating your kitchen had this type of performance record it’s possible that you’d take some action. By the way, it could be that there is a very good reason or reasons why this little project is taking such a long time, but there has been no information given regarding the delay, and this opacity would tend to make people assume the worst.

                “It may not be cold fusion in terms of sophistication or complexity, but building a skyscraper above ground is a lot less difficult than building the equivalent of a skyscraper below ground.”

                The 245 Park Avenue project probably does not go below 20 feet underground. It has zilch to do with the deep cavern station.

                • Duke says:

                  When you are required by law to hire the lowest bidder, you get what you pay for. The contractors know damn well that they can do the shoddiest work in the world, and so long as they have the low bid, the job is theirs. Then they can come up with a million changeorders and don’t come out so low. If I had a choice of who to hire and knew a contractor was particularly notorious for talking this tactic, I wouldn’t hire them even if they underbid everyone else. But the MTA doesn’t have the option of exercising this discretion.

                  • Nathanael says:

                    Bingo. It’s obvious that the contractors aren’t even bothering to check Amtrak’s schedule before making their own schedule; that behavior should be sufficient to blacklist the contractors, but apparently not under NYS law.

          • Jerrold says:

            ALSO ,what’s a Qdoba? That Mexican restaurant is called “OAXACA”. They thoughtfully have the phonetic spelling right there on their signage: WA-HA-KA. At ANY rate, I’m actually very happy that other people here are talking about this matter. At times, I was thinking that I was the only person here who has taken an interest in that project. It’s a project that would make sense even if ESA had never existed. It will provide an eastern exit from the 47th St. cross-passage, to complement the existing western exit at Madison Ave.

            • Eric F says:

              This little ESA adjunct is as good a canary in the coal mine as any.

              And I’m not sure many people are aware of the new entrance or even of ESA generally. Most people just aren’t very interested or focused on stuff like this.

    • bob says:

      This Amtrak project was not on anyone’s list until 2 years ago. I was initially skeptical it would really have such a large effect, but I spoke to someone who has been doing PSNY operations for several decades. When he ran through the description of what platforms are lost for each track you take out at Harold it became clear that yes, this really is such a big deal.

      Since we’ve survived with Amtrak delaying the maintenance for so many years, couldn’t we have survived a few more?

  6. Larry Littlefield says:

    “The era of underestimating the cost of big projects is over,” Lhota said. “We’re going to be realistic about the cost and we’re going to budget accordingly.”

    The budget and schedule were more than reasonable, but the contractors find ways to grab more.

    If you increase the budget, that become the new minimum. They get into the project and one the MTA is committed, start working to ensure either price explodes or it doesn’t get done.

    • Phantom says:

      Don’t just blame the contractors.

      Costs are stratospheric also because of union scamming and bad NY labor law. It is astonishing that there is any construction in this state.

  7. Jerrold says:

    The article headline says ’18. You meant ’19, right?

  8. Jim D. says:

    Rail advocates have crucified Chris Christie’s decision to cancel the ARC project due to his supposed fear of cost overruns – this news just gives him enormous credibility in his campaign for a second term in Trenton (and likely his long-term national prospects as well).

    • Jerrold says:

      Maybe NOT long-term. I won’t be surprised to see him thsi year as Romney’s running mate. Even MORE reason to re-elect Obama, as imperfect as he may be.

      • Eric F says:

        This does give CC a nice talking point for when he’s bashed over canceling ARC. There can be more nuanced criticisms of his actions and of ARC, but as a simple talking point, this is perfect for him. That said, the NJ Turnpike Authority looks to be delivering it’s own mega project in central/south Jersey within its cash budget and timeline — and in fact may be even doing better on both scores than initially projected — so it’s not as if a public authority inherently must botch every single thing it does.

        • Bolwerk says:

          Talking point is right. It certainly doesn’t relate to the reality of public financing, or that projects Christie favors have similar problems.

    • Phantom says:

      Yes a thousand times over

  9. How imaginative. MTA has caught New Jersey Transit’s favorite excuse: Blame Amtrak. Won’t matter if the accusation is accurate or not; the “whipping boy” approach works, often repeatedly.

    But we Jersey rail advocates used to marvel at how NJT would seek to blame even Gladstone Branch delays on Amtrak—before the Kearny Connection was put in place.

    • Nathanael says:

      It is indeed obvious that none of the delays are Amtrak’s fault. National Train Day was scheduled a full year ago, guys. If you at the MTA or its contractors didn’t bother to check with Amtrak before planning something, you’re a bunch of idiots.

  10. lawhawk says:

    How is it that the FTA can estimate the costs and duration better than the MTA (or NJ Transit for that matter), on these capital projects. You would think that the local agency would have a better grasp of the costs, conditions, and obstacles to getting these projects done.

    As for ESA, we’re dealing with two separate but interrelated projects – ESA and the Harold Interlocking (HI). The MTA is claiming that Amtrak is to blame for the delays – primarily with the HI logistics of balancing construction with maintaining service. If it’s a matter of better coordination to achieve the HI portion, then everyone ought to be sitting in a room to make sure it happens in a timely fashion because no one (not MTA nor Amtrak nor NJ Transit) can afford cost overruns or delays. It seems that that isn’t happening or that it isn’t being successfully coordinated in a way that makes any sense.

    Stringing out the construction over an even longer period wont solve the problems here either – it just means that more people are to be inconvenienced for an even greater period of time.

    Since the MTA seems to have found success with Fastrak, perhaps the MTA should expand it to the LIRR service so that work can proceed at a faster and more efficient clip through HI, enabling work to be done. At the same time, Amtrak and the union has to work on providing better access to the site so that the work can proceed in a timely fashion.

  11. jros says:

    don’t worry….amtrak will blame CSX…..

  12. jim says:

    National Train Day is one of Amtrak’s big promotions (whether we think it’s silly is beside the point — for Amtrak it’s a big deal). Its date has been known for several months. I very much doubt that Amtrak pulled people at the last minute to support it. Amtrak will have planned for those people to be at GCT for weeks or months in advance. LIRR discovered it at the last moment.

    There is an anti-pattern in project scheduling that I used to warn my students against. It’s a kind of tunnel vision. This project is the most important thing in the world to its manager, so it must be the most important thing in the world to everyone else. The PM can, therefore, expect the rest of the world to flex and build his schedule accordingly. When the rest of the world doesn’t flex, his schedule breaks.

    Yes, Amtrak and LIRR need to talk more and more frequently. But LIRR has to understand that its priorities aren’t everyone else’s.

    • R. Graham says:

      No they didn’t pull people at the last minute because they never sent the people. They sent word of their intentions at the last minute which is the problem. The focus could have been elsewhere or as a matter of fact wasted time and money of moving equipment into place could have been avoided.

      • Nathanael says:

        Amtrak’s intentions were obvious; it’s clear that MTA Capital Construction didn’t bother to ASK Amtrak what its intentions were until the last minute. This is very clearly MTA’s fault.

  13. AlexB says:

    I understand the conditions in Queens are highly complicated, but they act as if these realities just came to light. I suspect that the planning and execution of this project were both conducted poorly, as seems obvious from the WSJ article. Yes, they have to build this over nights and weekends, but certainly someone could have measured how much time that actually means and planned accordingly. Unlike the recent budget and time increases to the Expo line in LA, which were at least partially because better nicer things were added to this project after community complaints, our cost overruns are entirely due to mismanagement and inadequate preparation. From the article, why isn’t most of the work done on the weekends? If you are trying to avoid shutdowns and conflicts, wouldn’t that have been an obvious place to start? If they missed that low hanging fruit, there is no telling what else they’ve messed up.

    When JP Morgan wastes $2 billion, we are outraged. When government incompetence wastes $2 billion, we shrug our shoulders and are left to wait (im)patiently for opening day. Like the World Trade Center, there are simply too many cooks in the kitchen; a powerful, independent federal authority should have been set up to manage and direct construction with the ability to change train schedules and ensure workers are on the job when they are supposed to be. The scale of this project cetainly warrants it. The unfortunate and honest truth is that at $8 billion (for now), this benefits of this project will be outweighed by the cost, at least over the course of our lifetimes. It doesn’t help that Long Island is choking itself to death: the areas in Nassau close enough to provide a convenient commute to this new terminal are effectively built out and residents are casually opposed to the kind of denser development around train stations that would allow the county start growing again. We are effectively rewarding benign neglect and shortsightedness with the (now) largest construction project in the nation.

    Unlike Metro North and NJTransit ridership, the LIRR is in decline; nevertheless, is getting the most capital construction. If anything, this should have been combined with NJTransit and Metro North from the start. It should not have been seen as a terminal for the LIRR, but a modern station linking all three systems, with connections to and from the existing Park Avenue, East River and North River (Hudson) tunnels. You wouldn’t need new Hudson tunnels in order to increase throughput via efficiency gains allowing trains to go where people want to go. It would have cost a lot more, but provided benefits at level of magnitude much higher than just saving some Long Islanders 20 minutes to get to the east side. Imagine a hourly train from Jamaica to White Plains or Stamford. Instead of focusing on efficiency, utility and urban planning, these projects have really become union welfare in all but name.

    • SEAN says:

      Ault G anyone?

      • Jerrold says:

        What’s Ault G?

        At least with Qdoba, It was clear that he meant Oaxaca. With Ault G, I can’t even figure out what you’re TRYING to say.

        • Ben says:

          Probably he means ARC Alt G, in that it would have connected the East River, North River and Park Avenue tunnels to a single station (NY Penn), though that plan also included a trifling westward extension of the tunnel connecting GCT with PSNY.

    • Nathanael says:

      JP Morgan has wasted far, far, far more than $2 billion, just for reference.

      Don’t get me started on Goldman Sachs, Citi, Bank of America, etc. TRILLIONS.

    • Nathanael says:

      “powerful, independent federal authority should have been set up to manage and direct construction with the ability to change train schedules and ensure workers are on the job when they are supposed to be.”

      You’re describing the US equivalent of British Rail here. In other words, total rail nationalization. Yeah, we should have done it back in the ’30s — Keynes said so, incidentally — but we didn’t. And our politics have been getting stupider and stupider, so nobody in power is willing to consider it at all now.

      Yes, LIRR should be combined with Metro North and NJT, but entrenched interests made it impossible for Walder even to combine it with Metro North. LIRR’s corporate culture is isolationist and it needs to go.

      • When you think of corporate culture today regarding mass transit it must be stopped. Even the corporations of the past had more foresight to make mass transit more efficient.
        This happen during the 1939/40 World’s fair, when the Pennsylvania Railroad operated through train service to the 1939/40 World’s fair via Penn Station from various parts of the country.
        In my procession I have a train schedule of train from Chicago to the 1939/40 World’s Fair Station in Flashing Meadows.
        The World’s Fair Station is now Mets Willets Point Station on the Long Island Railroad’s Port Washington Branch.
        The Long Island Railroad at that time was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. I also have photos of the Pennsylvania Railroad Silver Mentor on a test run using a catenary locomotive and a third rail locomotive with passenger cars. A catenary locomotive is needed to operate in Pennsylvania Railroad electrified territory and a third rail locomotive is needed to operate in LIRR electrified territory.
        We need the corporate wisdom of the past to open the eyes of the MTA and giving non electrified stations of the LIRR more through train service to Penn Station’
        People must contact their New York State Legislators and tell them that Metro-North’s Upper Hudson Division and the LIRR Upper Port Jefferson Branch must be combine some of their trains, via Penn Station. The people should also tell their government officials the advantages.If they say this could not be done; tell them that Amtrak operated a through train from Albany to Shea stadium Station on the LIRR’s Port Washington Branch. Amtrak’s Route from Albany to Shea stadium Station, includes Metro-North’s Upper Hudson Division

        There were also plans for a daily train between Albany and Port Jefferson via Penn Station [See Newsday July 1991.] Metro-North was also thinking about trains to Long Island. These trains were supposed to go to stations near Long Island Beaches. [See Articles in the New York Times in June or July of 1993].
        This would make both railroads more efficient and create more space in Penn Station and the LIRR Upper Port Jefferson Branch would more train service to
        Public transport must also be simple and direct so that a person can get to their final destination. Here on Long Island, the LIRR however seems to have two classes service for their commuters. One type service is at electrified stations. These stations in most cases offer the criteria of convenient, reliable and frequent service. This type also offers simple and direct so that a person can get to their final destination. The second type is train service from non- electrified stations. The second type train service from these stations maybe reliable, but is sometimes not convenient because it is not frequent as electrified stations.
        So let’s find and spend public dollars wisely for all commuters and give every commuter good quality train service.

  14. I am gland the MTA realizes constructing East side Access is more complicated than they first thought. They should consider additional options to be more efficient and improve not just electrified lines but non electrified lines as well.
    For example the current Eastside Access Project to Grand Central Station does not address the issue of making both railroads into a more regional commuter rail system at less cost. In fact, this makes the gap for better train service to Manhattan Railroad Terminal between the Long Island Railroad’s electrified and non-electrified lines even worse. Stations which mark the end electrification such as Ronkonkoma [on the mainline AKA the Ronkonkoma Branch] and Huntington are going to create more pollution and traffic jams. This would also hurt the development of the Ronkonkoma Hub. This situation would be cause by more and more people who live or work near a non-electrified station getting into a cars going to an electrified station for better train service.
    This is what not what mass transit is for. Mass Transit should be a convent way for the people who use electrified and non-electrified commuter railroad lines to get to their final destination.
    Remember the old long Island Railroad Diesel Passenger saying before making the last stop at Jamaica” All passengers please change at Jamaica”. The Eastside Access to Grand Central will be just another station they will have to change too.

    Making through service between the Long Island Road road’s electrified lines and some Metro-North’s Electrified Divisions at Grand Central Station would be a step in the right direction.
    Provisions should also be made for commuters living near non-electrified lines such as the Upper Port Jefferson Branch. . These non-electrified lines should offer the criteria of convenient, reliable and frequent service. Just as most electrified lines do.
    How about having through train service between Metro-North’s Upper Hudson Davison and the LIRR’s Upper Port Jefferson Branch, via Penn Station? This would improve train service for non electrified areas of the LIRR such as its Upper Port Jefferson Branch and aloud this upper branch to have more access to Penn Station
    To say this could not be done is wrong, Amtrak a through train from Albany to Shea stadium Station on the LIRR’s Port Washington Branch. There were also plans for a daily train between Albany and Port Jefferson via Penn Station [See Newsday July 1991.] Metro-North was also thinking about trains to Long Island. These trains were supposed to go to stations near Long Island Beaches. [See Articles in the New York Times in June or July of 1993]. MTA should combine Metro-North Upper Hudson Division with a LIRR Non- electrified line such as the Upper Port Jefferson Branch.via Penn Station to stop this class system at the LIRR. Combining routes would give the LIRR Upper Port Jefferson Branch better train service to a Manhattan Railroad Terminal. Metro-North Upper Hudson Division trains once they reach Penn Station should continue on to Long Island. This helps manage the track space in Penn Station more wisely. I would also the LIRR use less scheduled trains at Penn Station because the Metro-North Train would take the place of the Long Island Railroad Train to Long Island from Penn. Crews from both railroads could be changed at Penn Station so that operate the Penn Station train in their own territory. Before this happens, LIRR train crews must be instructed on how to operate a dual mode train sets. Metro-North and New Jersey Transit have a similar arrange to operate a train from New Haven to Secaucus using a NJT electric train set

    This would make both railroads more efficient, even though their power systems are different… It would also stop the problem of bunching of passengers at electrified station which mark the end of electrification. The term bunching of passengers, means, large amounts of passengers scramble for certain seats as the train stops at the station. This is partly caused by people who live near non-electrified station, but drive an electrified station for better train service and use these trains.

    The public transport must be accessible, convenient, reliable and frequent.
    So let revise the plans the plans for the East side Access and give the public transportation which accessible, convenient, reliable, frequent and efficient for all.

  15. bob says:

    Funny how the decision to keep pushing the bad estimates on the public is only ascribed to the faceless “MTA”…why not put the blame on the person ultimately responsible, Jay Walder?

    I think now we have a pretty good idea of why he was so anxious to get the heck thousands of miles away….

    And why Dr. H (head of MTACC) never gets criticized is another mystery.

    • Nathanael says:

      I don’t think you can really blame this one on Walder; the mess originated before him, and he was fighting other battles at the time. (He lost most of them, including the attempt to merge the LIRR with Metro-North. It’s no wonder he left, given that he was not permitted to fix things.)

      • Nathanael says:

        Dr. H is another matter, he’s been there for the entire duration of the project, and can rightly be blamed….

  16. jjj says:

    They should be waterboarded at halftime of a Jets game

  17. How the MTA Make Its Two Commuter Railroads More Efficient.

    The MTA seems only to implement small changes. They have not made more aggressive changes in order to get more support of all modes of public transportation. The public transport must be accessible, convenient, reliable and frequent. Public transport must also be simple and direct so that a person can get to their final destination. Here on Long Island, the LIRR however seems to have two classes service for their commuters. One type service is at electrified stations. These stations in most cases offer the criteria of convenient, reliable and frequent service. This type also offers simple and direct so that a person can get to their final destination. The second type is train service from non- electrified stations. This train service from these maybe reliable, but is sometimes not convenient because it is not frequent as electrified stations.
    To bring better train service to non- electrified rail lines access to Penn Station for the LIRR. Better access to Penn Station means the start of train service from Metro-North Upper Hudson Division to Penn Station and continues onto the Long Island Railroads Upper Port Jefferson Branch after a change of crews. This type of train service is similar to Amtrak Baseball Special which operated between Albany and Shea Stadium Station, on the LIRR Port Washington Branch.
    This would give the Long Island Railroads Upper Port Jefferson Branch more direct through train service to a Manhattan Railroad Terminal. At present the LIRR Upper Port Jefferson Branch, only offers two peak round trips and some holiday service through service to Penn Station. This year they have modified their direct train service to Penn by offering one round trip on a modified weekend schedule during bad weather on Monday –Friday. There one round to and from Penn Station for some special events and holidays.

    All commuters have to remember that the Eastside Access to Grand Central is for electric trains; the Long Island Railroads’ non-electric lines commuters who live near the Upper Port Jefferson Branch, would have to ether drive and park their car at an electrified station or change trains probably at Jamaica to get the same destination. This defeats the purpose of having fewer cars on the road and not making the MTA’s two commuter railroads more efficient. The LIRR’s Eastside Access to Grand Central should also incorporate through Metro-North’s Lower Hudson Division and Harlem Division electrified portion with some of the LIRR electrified routes. This could be done third rail adjustable shoes.We do however have great transportation system under the MTA, but it still needs a little refinement to make it better. It would also stop the problem of bunching of passengers at electrified station which mark the end of electrification. The term bunching of passengers, means, large amounts of passengers scramble for certain seats as the train stops at the station. This is partly caused by people who live near non-electrified station, but drive an electrified station for better train service and use these trains.
    Though train service via Penn Station should also be discussed with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak’s other routes, once New Jersey Transits new dual powered catenary locomotives are proven reliable

    All these railroads should have representatives meet to discuss this issue and come up with a plan and implement it.

    If you want more detailed information please read about proposal by Metro-North, to operate beach trains to Long Island using dual mode train sets. See New York Times Articles 1991-1993. One such article is entitled “‘back To the Beach”. Metro-North did not go through with this at the time, because they said it not generate enough passengers to cover the fare. Also See Newsday July 1991 article for more info on Albany and Port Jefferson Station train.
    This interstate train service between Metro-North and the LIRR, would give Long Islands sport fans better access to trains to Yankee Stadium at Metro-North’s Yonkers Station.
    Let’s find and spend public dollars wisely for all commuters who use our railroads and improve service.
    Please contact the MTA and your New York State Legislator in written form on this matter. and tell them that you want better train service for non electrified areas of the Long Island Railroad.

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