Gannett Fleming Engineers and Architects, P.C., received a platinum award in the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York’s (ACEC New York) 46th annual Engineering Excellence Awards for its work on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Babylon train wash facility.
With just more than an hour ride to Penn Station in New York City from the Babylon Station, the Babylon Branch of the LIRR is the busiest of its 11 branches. When it was time to build a new train wash facility between the station and the tracks leading to the Babylon Train Yard, a creative approach was needed to ensure the least disturbance to daily operations. Because taking the line out of service simply was not an option, Gannett Fleming was called upon to find an original solution to both meet the needs of the LIRR and reduce the impact on customers. Work included a challenging 32-month staged construction schedule for both the new train wash facility and its associated track work.
As the prime consultant, Gannett Fleming provided the conceptual, preliminary, and final design along with construction phase services, and the firm led a multidiscipline team covering architectural, structural, geotechnical, environmental, civil and site, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, as well as track and traction power.
Key to maintaining service was the incorporation of precast sectionalized track beds into the design. Traditional cast-in-place construction would take the track out of service for several months. With precast track, areas of the ballasted track could be removed and replaced with sectionalized track during scheduled weekend outages, allowing for the return of the wash track to revenue service by Monday morning.
This new facility is designed to accommodate electric and diesel-hauled trains, and consists of a single-story unit masonry building adjacent to the steel-framed wash bay with metal clad siding. The wash system is designed to service 180 train cars each day to keep car exteriors clean and reduce replacement costs.
To reduce environmental impacts and achieve social benefits that exceeded traditional engineering for this type of facility, LIRR and the project team worked to incorporate many sustainable attributes into the scope of work. The architectural and structural design of the project included post-consumer recycled steel, insulated perimeter concrete block construction and perimeter insulation, insulated roof structure – R-30 performance, insulated roll-up doors, thermal window frames and insulated glass, and low volatile organic compound sealants.
The heating, ventilation, and plumbing design included energy recovery units and dual-flush water closet valves and self-closing faucets. The wash equipment allows for filtering, reconditioning, and reusing up to 71 percent of wash water. In addition, the facility integrated photovoltaic panels on the south half of the wash bay roof with an anticipated generation of 46,200 kilowatt-hours per year.