Note: This is not a High Speed Rail Alliance event.
Alon Levy has been blogging about a computer model of Penn Station, NY that demonstrates that replacing the existing platforms to create a functional through station is feasible. It is going to be the subject of a Zoom webinar, on Thursday 9-28, at 19:00 Berlin time or 13:00 New York time.
The talk will be in conversation with New York Daily News reporter and editor Michael Aronson, who has been very passionate in private conversations about improving rail service in the area and criticizing poor project management and high costs. In particular, he may yet save the Gateway Project three years, advancing capacity that much faster.
Specifically, the issue is that the existing tunnels between New Jersey and New York, the North River Tunnels, were heavily damaged in Hurricane Sandy, and require long-term repairs. The preferred alternative is long-term shutdowns of one track at a time, which is not possible until the Gateway tunnel (the Hudson Tunnel Project) is completed and would take a total of three years across both tracks then. The alternative is to do those repairs during weekend shutdowns. It is commonly believed that already there is repair work every weekend, and the timetables through the tunnel are written with the assumption that traffic can fit on a single track every weekend, giving a 55-hour shutdown period once a week. However, Michael found out that over a four-year period ending in 2020, the full shutdown for repairs was only done 13 times, or once every three months, and most of those shutdowns were not for repairing the tunnels themselves; in the following year, no shutdowns were done due to corona, and subsequently, the sluggish pre-corona rate has continued. If the repairs are done every weekend as the timetable permits, then it should be possible to wrap up simultaneously with the completion of the new tunnel, saving those three years of shutdown.