CAPITAL PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING
October 24, 2022
1. For the purpose of comparison: Interlocking A at Penn Station has CLOSE ALIGNMENT (six tracks from the west spaced 12' apart o.c.) resulting in: small Angle of Divergence, with the shortest possible Length of Track. So: the least physical disturbance in diverging trains = A Quick and Highly Efficient Alignment.
2. (Parenthetically: The Jamaica AirTrain Terminal and Approach runs at the wrong angle, so that the AirTrain platform requires a longer walking distance to be reached than it would otherwise: THIS WAS DONE IN ORDER TO TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE ON THE GROUND AS POSSIBLE.)
3. Compare Penn Station's INTERLOCKING A to the DIAMOND CROSSING west of the New Platform at Jamaica: The diamond crossover must be used by every Atlantic Avenue train that terminates there. Going west, the tracks splay to accommodate a difference in grade, so the crossover gets slower as you go west. Starting out fast, with both tracks running towards each other from the platform, the two diverging tracks then run to sharp curves and big-angle switches at the crossover's west extremity. BECAUSE: Instead of running along with the eastbound track over the brand new Van Wyck Expressway bridge of your Atlantic Avenue Connection, the westbound track takes the place of an old eastbound track on the adjacent-but-quite-distant flyover - where my imagery shows the old track dead-ends. This is being done deliberately to destroy the versatility of the station, by closing the old EB track, leaving only three tracks going to the EB side of the station now from Atlantic Avenue. (Apparently the old track hasn't been removed yet. To use both - by providing a turnout at the current dead end - would result in a problematic directional conflict. [I rode over the "dead end" on 10/24 coming from Brooklyn. The conflict is now realized, though it will probably be ameliorated somehow, with opening of the new platform.]
4. THE NEW BRIDGE over the Van Wyck Expressway appeared earlier in Google Earth as being designed for TWO tracks. It took FIVE YEARS to build that bridge including demolition of the old one starting in 2018. The tracks were removed by 5/2017, if not before. AND NOW IT'S ONLY GOOD FOR A SINGLE TRACK???! If so, it should be removed and rebuilt at the perpetrators' expense.
5. I've measured the curves on the EB leg that runs over the new bridge: There are two opposing, over-broad, simple curves having 1500' radii - with an 86.3' tangent in between. The loopy, curved alignment runs over the new bridge so as to take as much space as possible on it. AS OPPOSED TO INTERLOCKING A: it's a slow alignment, with a lot of extraneous track.
6. The FRA's Code of Federal Regulations says you can have two opposing spirals just converge like that. But there's no room for spirals or superelevation in an 86.3' tangent. This flies in the face of railroad standards held to for more than 100 years worldwide. The CFR requires 17.5' spacing on Mainline Passenger Track, yet it's only 15' on the new Three-Track Project. Did someone at the LIRR object?? The European standard for 125mph track is somewhat less (13.123') than the longstanding US standard of 13'4" for mainline track. Most LIRR trackage uses the 13'4" US standard. But not the Three-Track Project.
7. If you'd done the Central Branch first you could have four-tracked the Main Line for a fraction of the cost of the Three-Track Project - and without producing the steep, dark and narrow underpasses like something out of the 19th Century - good for a pissoir. The decision to reverse timing of the two projects was A GRAVE ERROR IN JUDGEMENT. (There is some misinformation going around amongst the gainful "cognoscenti" that the Central Branch would require a major, deep-bore tunnel of extreme length. That's a lie. It is an extremely viable, and manifoldly desirable project, with no bored tunnel required.)
8. The Freight Carrier Railroad Engineering FRA Revolving Door Cabal WANTS the over-broad track spacing, because - when their square wheeled, bad brakes, 5-mile-long freight trains derail at 5mph - they are less likely to foul the adjacent track, and then the wreck can be more easily cleared. That's part of their Business Formula, but it's no good for passenger railroading, and CERTAINLY no good for the Long Island Railroad!
9. There was sufficient length on the approach to the 6-track Belmont Terminal to connect it to a new grade-separated replacement for Queens Interlocking, but the new platform at Elmont BLOCKS any possibility of that grade separation project (for now) by hogging all the space at the south. INSTEAD OF GRADE SEPARATION, you are now introducing additional "LADDER TRACKS" to allow direct access to the main line from the fifth station in the space of a mile, and thereby IMPOSING ADDITIONAL DIRECTIONAL CONFLICTS on the Main Line of the Long Island Railroad.
10. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming you're too dumb to know this stuff.
11. AND I'VE ARGUED THIS PARTICULAR POINT AT LENGTH: the pre-existing platforms at Jamaica are all 1000' long - contrary to what anyone there is telling you. There is room for all doors of 12-car M7 trains on every one of those platforms. But with two exceptions only, ALL THE SIGNALS ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PLATFORMS. It would seem to me that one would re-locate the signals first, BEFORE extending the platforms. The Platform Extension Project is NOT NECESSARY, but the stationmaster or someone at Jamaica has done a great job of propagandizing your personnel on the ground there, to the effect that it is impossible for 12-car trains to platform all their doors. They all argue it quite volubly in my face. The operators are more knowledgeable on the subject.
12. It appears there are electrical outages on the "Jay" side (ostensibly because the tracks are only used to run diesel trains to the platforms.) And on the "Hull" side as well. Trackage appears barely passable, if at all. WHY? Answer: To make for a fraudulent ploy in order to justify the catastrophic and exorbitantly costly modifications your misguided committee intends to authorize. The new modifications will CANNIBALIZE the most versatile Jamaica Station alignments possible, in return for an overpriced, doltishly (and deliberately) oversimplified configuration that depends on having EVERY SINGLE TRAIN stop at Jamaica. IT IS AN IDIOTIC SOLUTION NOT A SOLUTION AT ALL.
I have done a video on the Port Washington Branch WHICH I WOULD LIKE YOU TO WATCH - found at my YouTube channel: bruce hain. I am working to produce another video showing the CORRECT way to maintain the cross-platform versatility at Jamaica while affording significantly increased train capacity (throughput) as well - and will notify you when that one is available. Here is the link to the current video:
Very Truly Yours,
Bruce W. Hain
Jamaica, New York
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