Transit records: Amtrak, NYMTA, SEPTA, Sound Transit, Tri-Rail

Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Brookville’s latest VLR supporting Sound Transit’s T Line Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension has arrived in Tacoma, Washington. (Photograph courtesy of Sound Transit)

Amtrak completes station upgrades in northeast Missouri. In addition, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is conducting a Station Operations Exercise at Grand Central Madison; The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) celebrates “a century of elevation”; the last of five LRVs arrived to support Sound Transit’s 2.4-mile extension of the Tacoma (Wash.) Link line; and South Florida’s Tri-Rail commuter railroad comes a little closer to serving Miami Central Station.

Amtrak held a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 13 for the completion of its $6 million station accessibility project in La Plata, Missouri, according to a KTVO report. The station, built in 1887, is served by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief long-distance service between Chicago and Los Angeles.

“We had an ADA project a few years ago that did the interior and deck upgrade,” Bob Cox, an Amtrak depot custodian, told the outlet. “And then we recently completed a repair project in good condition, which gave us new windows, bricks, roof, gutters, siding, practically a new building. It’s still the original structure in below, but it is still upgraded for continued Amtrak service here for many years.

“Before COVID, we served 11,000 people through this station,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told KTVO. “That’s 10 times the population of La Plata because people come from far and near to take Amtrak trains here in La Plata.” The purpose of the station project, he said, was “[m]make it more welcoming, fixing the building systems, but not modernizing it. We wanted to keep the same look that people had in 1945 when the station was last rebuilt, and we are very proud of the work.

Grand Central Madison in New York. (Photograph courtesy of New York MTA)

On November 13, MTA held a station operating exercise in Grand Central Madison, which is scheduled to open later this year. Some 200 volunteers navigated the concourse and took notes on travel routes through the terminal, signage and general wayfinding.

The event included finding exits; platforms; lifts; several indoor locations such as the ticket office; ticket vending machines; and the MTA Police Department office. It also included external locations, such as subway connections and taxi ranks, as well as connections to MTA Metro-North Railroad, Citi Bike, and other destinations.

“As visually impressive as Grand Central Madison is, functionality is always key,” said Catherine Rinaldi, interim president of MTA Long Island Rail Road and president of Metro-North Railroad. “These drills are an important part of preparing to welcome our customers to the new Grand Central Madison terminal, and we look forward to the day it opens its doors to all of New York.”

The 750,000-square-foot Grand Central Madison, whose name was announced May 31 by New York Governor Kathy Hochul and MTA officials, is part of LIRR’s $11.1 billion project that will bring services on the East Side of Manhattan.

Last month, LIRR crews entered the final stages of testing.

LIRR passengers will see weekday service increase systemwide by 41% when Grand Central Madison opens. The commuter railroad will add 269 trains per weekday to its current 677 for a total of 936 trains per weekday.

Construction of the East Side Access (ESA) project – originally conceived in the 1960s and developed in the 1990s – began in 2006 (see map below) and represents the largest expansion of the LIRR service since the opening of the original Pennsylvania station and its East River tunnels. September 8, 1910. The project includes Grand Central Madison, located below Grand Central Terminal, which currently serves MTA Metro-North Railroad and MTA New York City Transit. Among the benefits of the new service: more evenly spaced trains and fewer major service interruptions; more frequent service to Queens; more frequent service on Ronkonkoma and West Hempstead branches; a 28% increase in Brooklyn service; reduced travel times from Long Island to Manhattan; and fewer people at Penn Station, according to MTA.

“The new route will also allow LIRR to meet all of the anticipated customer demand to Manhattan when Amtrak begins a project in 2024 to rebuild its East River tunnels to Penn Station,” according to MTA. “The project will take one of four tunnels out of service, in order, over a three-year period, reducing LIRR’s capacity at Penn Station – capacity that LIRR will be able to sustain all the way to Manhattan with its new tunnels to Grand Central Madison. As ridership continues to recover from the pandemic, the new terminal allows LIRR to continue growing for years to come.

On November 11, officials from SEPTA and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania marked the 100th anniversary of the elevated Frankford section of the Market-Frankford line.

“For 100 years, the Frankford section of the Market-Frankford Line has connected northeast Philadelphia with downtown, and today [Nov. 11] we are so proud to mark this special milestone,” said SEPTA CEO and Managing Director Leslie S. Richards. “We are grateful to the more than 1,000 SEPTA employees who work tirelessly to operate and maintain what has become our most-used line.”

The line spans 13.5 miles with 28 stations, allowing riders to get from Upper Darby/West Philadelphia to Frankford in Southeast Philadelphia in just 45 minutes.

The original Market Elevated Railroad opened on March 4, 1907, with approximately six miles of track for service east to west from 69th Street to City Hall at 15th Street. The Frankford Extension extended the line from the Old City to Bridge Street in northeast Philadelphia.

“Construction of the long-awaited 6.5-mile line of the Frankford section began on September 13, 1915 and took seven years to cost $11.6 million, which equates to over $200 million today. ‘today’, according to SEPTA. “For the first time, residents of Northeast Philadelphia had access to downtown in an hour or less. The line boasted innovations such as concrete in the support beams to reduce vibration and noise from passing trains, as well as carriage doors that automatically retracted if they hit a passenger.

“The route of the ‘Frankford El’ changed slightly in the late 1970s, when the construction of I-95 through downtown caused the line to be moved to the freeway median and the construction of Spring Garden station to replace the old Fairmount station.Between 1987 and 2000, SEPTA completely rebuilt the line to improve structural integrity.

Brookville Liberty NXT LRV for Sound Transit. (Photograph courtesy of Sound Transit)

On November 10, Sound Transit reported that the last light rail vehicle supporting its T Line Hilltop Tacoma Link extension had arrived in Tacoma. It is part of a $26.5 million five-car contract that was awarded to Brookville Equipment Corporation in 2017.

In March 2022, Brookville began shipping Liberty® NXT LCVs to Sound Transit for operation on the agency’s 2.4-mile extension of the 1.6-mile Tacoma Link line, scheduled to open in the first quarter 2023.

Measuring 66 feet long and 8 feet wide, each VLR will offer space for more than 100 passengers, with approximately 68.570% low-floor standing space available, and can accommodate up to 26 people, with four accessible seats. for those with bicycles and wheelchairs. . The new fleet will also be ADA compliant with deployable deck plates.

Sound Transit’s $217 million Hilltop Tacoma Link expansion project (see map above) is expected to more than double the length of Tacoma Link, starting with a relocated theater station and adding six new stations connecting the stadium district, Wright Park and major medical centers. facilities before reaching the new terminus in the Hilltop district. It also includes an expansion of the transit agency’s operations and maintenance facility in Tacoma.

Over the next few weeks, crews will grind the rails and test cars on the new track, according to Sound Transit.

On November 14, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) announced that it had received a signed tripartite agreement, with Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway and Brightline, which allows SFRTA personnel to begin training and testing for the implementation of the Tri-Rail commuter train. rail service at Miami Central Station. “The agreement shows progress in ongoing negotiations for SFRTA to operate Tri-Rail trains across the approximately eight-mile span of the FEC Corridor that connects to the South Florida Rail Corridor, and opens the door to Tri-Rail trains to be tested at MiamiCentral Station,” SFRTA said.

SFRTA engineers and drivers will be trained to familiarize themselves with routes, test drive units and check rides, according to the agency. Once the qualifications are completed, they will be allowed to train additional SFRTA employees. Testing of automatic train control (ATC) and positive train control (PTC) technologies will also begin during this process, ensuring that Tri-Rail trains meet the requirements set on the FEC corridor, SFRTA said.

Plans to begin training and testing have been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and all signatory parties, SFRTA reported.

“This final step has been made possible by building a great partnership which has been essential in moving things forward,” said SFRTA Executive Director David Dech, who took office earlier this year. “One of my main goals coming to South Florida was to make sure we had quality conversations with our partners at Brightline and FEC, knowing that’s the only way to overcome the hurdles. who held us back.”

The $70 million project to bring Tri-Rail trains to downtown Miami is expected to be completed in 2023, Dech told the SFRTA board on September 23, according to miami today. The announcement came four months after former executive director Steven Abrams “assured the public that Tri-Rail trains would be in downtown Miami by November.”

To learn more about the project, read “Will Tri-Rail Reach Downtown Miami in 2022?”

Key words: Amtrak, Breaking News, Brookville Equipment Corporation, MTA, MTA Long Island Rail Road, MTA Metro North Railroad, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYMTA, SEPTA, SFRTA, Sound Transit, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Tri- Rail

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