Cuomo Backs Hell Gate Transit Plan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State address on January 8, included a proposal for Metro-North service from the Bronx to New York Penn Station via the Hell Gate Bridge, a possibility that Metro-North and its parent MTA  has been studying for years.  Cuomo was unequivocal in his address, saying that it will happen, according to reporting by Matt Flegenheimer in The New York Times (January 9).  The proposed service would involve new stations to be built in the Bronx along Amtrak’s Hell Gate line, used by through trains between New York and New England, but without local service for many decades.  Stations would be built at Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park, and Co-Op City; the trains would apparently continue on to New Rochelle and points farther in Westchester and possibly Connecticut.  Service could connect Bronx stations to Penn Station in as little as 30 minutes; the proposed line would not, however, connect with subway lines in the Bronx.  Problems that would have to be overcome would include finding space for the new trains at Penn Station, already operating at capacity in peak hours.  Some relief might be possible when the Long Island Rail Road starts diverting trains to Grand Central Terminal, but that is not scheduled to happen before 2019.  Some Long Island legislators reportedly have looked askance at letting Metro-North trains from the Bronx and Westchester compete with Long Island Rail Road trains at Penn Station.

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