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National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak)

Northeast Corridor Construction Staging and National Timetable Development

Wilmington, Delaware

Working on-site at Amtrak’s Consolidated National Operations Center (CNOC) in Wilmington, DE, LTK is assisting Amtrak in developing revisions to Northeast Corridor and National operating plans.  In addition to the traditional Spring timetable change, these revisions are designed to support several capital improvement projects:

SDS1-AmtrakNEC1NEC Concrete Tie Replacement Project – Amtrak is replacing concrete ties in multiple locations along the NEC, including between Hunter (Newark, NJ) and County (New Brunswick, NJ) Interlockings and between Branford and Brook (Old Saybrook) Interlockings in Connecticut.  The associated track outages needed to support this replacement affect both Amtrak and commuter trains.  LTK assisted Amtrak in modifying operating plans to reliably support these construction outages.

Amtrak Acela Weekend Service Expansion – LTK is also supporting Amtrak in adding an Acela weekend round trip between Boston and New York to alleviate frequent sold-out conditions on Sunday afternoon trains.  In addition to the operating plan development work, LTK coordinated with Amtrak Mechanical forces to ensure that the required number of trainsets is available for the new weekend service.  LTK’s role also included coordination with Amtrak Legal staff ensure that the additional weekend trains comply with Amtrak North End Electrification Project legal agreements with the State of Connecticut that cap the number of train movements over the moveable bridges between New Haven, CT and Westerly, RI.

SDS1-AmtrakNEC2Metro-North Hudson Line Concrete Tie Replacement Project – LTK also worked with Amtrak to develop modified Empire Service (New York – Albany – Buffalo and points beyond) schedules to provide construction work windows for Metro-North tie replacement work between Beacon and Poughkeepsie, NY. The Metro-North timetable changes require companion adjustments on CSX trackage north of Poughkeepsie and west of Albany-Rensselaer, which were coordinated with CSX.   

Wilmington Station Waterproofing Project – LTK supported Amtrak in modifying weekend operating plans to support the successive outages of multiple station tracks in Wilmington, DE for weekend waterproofing work.  These outages require single track operations through the Wilmington area on weekends. The timetable modifications were developed as an overlay to the Northeast Corridor Concrete Tie Replacement Project schedules described above.

National Timetable    LTK assisted Amtrak with Spring 2009 modifications to the National timetable, including coordination with the various host freight railroads as well as with other Amtrak departments.

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

Trinity Railway Express - Commuter Rail Service Planning, Design and Implementation

Dallas, Texas

Service on one of America’s fastest growing new commuter rail system, the Trinity Railway Express, opened as scheduled on December 30, 1996. Supporting Dallas Area Rapid Transit since 1990, LTK provided all program management services and engineering support to develop, design and implement start-up rail service between downtown Dallas and Irving. An LTK advisor was seconded to the DART Project Management Department staff (reporting directly to the senior vice president of project management) to provide project oversight and direction. Service on the corridor was extended to downtown Fort Worth in December 2001, with a station at Centreport providing convenient bus transfer service to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

SDS3-DallasTrinityLTK project duties initially included implementation studies, site selection, environmental assessments and community input. Staff members also facilitated negotiations between DART and all major players in the impacted corridor, including the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth which jointly own the rail corridor; the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads, which operate freight trains on the corridor; and the city of Dallas and a consortium of five railroads, which jointly own a downtown terminal station (Union Station) that would be used.

Once all agreements were completed in 1994, LTK’s emphasis shifted to the selection, procurement, and manufacture of 13 vintage 1950s Budd Company Rail Diesel Cars (RDC). LTK prepared a rehabilitation specification and had direct responsibility for the management of the RDC remanufacturing contract.  LTK followed the cars through their warranty period.

Activities also included engineering design and construction contract preparation, award for a new equipment maintenance facility, two commuter rail stations, and one joint commuter rail/light rail station. Negotiations continued with the railroads, cities and the Federal Transit Administration over the funding, design, and construction of capacity improvements to the single track corridor that would permit simultaneous operation of freight and passenger operations. Both new tracks and railroad signal improvements were required.

The final project stage included developing a scope of services for an independent contractor to operate the service and maintain the vehicles and equipment maintenance facility, and negotiating with the proposers and supervising start-up efforts.

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Capital Area Transit (CAT)

Preliminary Design of Commuter Rail System

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Capital Area Transit (CAT), serving the Harrisburg, PA region, engaged Gannett Fleming and LTK Engineering Services to perform the preliminary design of their CORRIDORone starter commuter rail system.  CAT granted this work as follow-on work to earlier successful conceptual studies.  CORRIDORone is a two-legged through commuter rail route between Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg, PA. 

Gannett Fleming engaged LTK for operations analysis, track layout review, vehicle choice guidance, operations and maintenance cost forecasting, and other systems engineering.

LTK’s operations task included commuter train schedule development based on service parameters provided by CAT.  One parameter consisted of blending CAT and Amtrak Keystone service schedules between Harrisburg and Lancaster, necessitating schedule discussions with Amtrak.  Additional complexity to the schedule integration occurred during this study when Amtrak announced a line upgrade increasing speed and frequencies.  LTK in establishing the CAT schedules identified a line capacity constraint and developed a position paper for the client as background for future line enhancement negotiations.  Upon conclusion of schedule development, LTK produced pro forma operations and maintenance budgets adaptable to various contemplated scenarios.

LTK’s track layout task entailed conceptual advising for locating single and multiple track portions on the segment between Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg.  This piece of CORRIDORone utilizes a freight branch line that requires reconfiguration, rehabilitation, and coordination with Norfolk Southern.  Drawing on the schedule development, coupled with discussions with Norfolk Southern, LTK developed a joint line track configuration.  Integral in the track layout is the separation for Norfolk Southern yard and local switching operations from the commuter operations.   LTK also made recommendations on cost tradeoffs between separated and joint track usage.

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National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak)

NYSDOT Empire Corridor West High Speed Rail Operating Plan Development

Albany to Buffalo, New York

Working closely with New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), LTK is supporting Amtrak in developing future operating plans for the Empire Corridor, focusing on the segment from Albany-Rensselaer to Buffalo-Depew.  Two future scenarios are being developed:

  • SDS2-AmtrakECWOperational optimization of the existing two-track Corridor, through capacity-related improvements, such as additional interlockings, improved crossover speeds at existing interlockings and passing sidings/pockets to better support overtakes of freight trains by passenger trains,
  • Implementation of an extensive third track initiative between Albany-Rensselaer and Buffalo-Depew, with improvements between Buffalo-Depew and Niagara Falls. 

In both scenarios, CSX is assumed to continue to dispatch all of the trackage.  The “extensive third track initiative” also includes some sections of fourth track for higher speed passenger train “meets” and will also likely require the use of existing tracks by passenger trains in some segments of the Corridor.

The future operating scenarios assume that there will be at least two platform edges available for simultaneous dwells at Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo-Depew.  In addition, both future operating scenarios assume capacity improvements between Albany-Rensselaer and Schenectady, either in the form of a Colonie passing siding or full double track. 

Based on input from NYSDOT, the two-track Corridor operating scenario has approximately the same amount of passenger train service as at present on the ECW – the Lake Shore Limited, the Maple Leaf and two Niagara Falls overnight layovers. Trip times in the operating plan are based on aggressive dispatching and elimination of most slow orders/freight train delays but with no assumed track speed increases.

The operating scenario for the third track initiative assumes track speed increases.  The operating scenario for the third track initiative will strive to operate 8 to 10 round trips per weekday in the ECW, subject to available slots on Metro-North between Poughkeepsie and Spuyten-Duyvil.

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