Most unlikely survivors?

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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:15 am

TomNelligan wrote:How about a line that was completely dead for forty years and then revived? That would be the MBTA's Greenbush branch.


The Old Colony lines are quite a story in their own right, aren't they?

-otto-
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby FLRailFan1 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:59 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
FLRailFan1 wrote:I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.


Pretty much the duration of my childhood in central CT was spent watching the state tie itself into knots debating the Hartford-Bradley "Griffin Line" (dropping the "s") light rail line that was going to go on the Griffins ROW. It got *this* close to happening so many times, and the state kept punting some small portion of it back to re-study. Then two-time federal inmate Rowland became Gov. and immediately killed it so he could pursue his "Busways Everywhere!" asphalt self-enrichment scheme...which originally was going to pave over the Griffins in addition to the New Britain Secondary. And then a funny thing happened while the study firms were ripping off the state pushing paper: the freight came back.


Believe it or not, it is still in the official CT State Rail Plan to this day to acquire the ROW between the Farmington River and Bradley Branch for "future considerations", since nearly all of it is pre-graded CL&P power line ROW. The Griffin Line is dead! / The Griffin Line lives! / The Griffin Line will be neither dead nor alive for as long as I live! :P


F-Line, which ROW from the Farmington River are they looking at? My childhood was in East Hartford in the late 60s/early 70s and seeing the Midland route busy, I thought it would be around today.

The Armory branch should be in the discussion, coming back from the dead...
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby ebtmikado » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:32 pm

The Armory Branch is barely hanging on, operating infrequently. If it weren'the for the owner's persistence, it would be long gone.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:20 pm

FLRailFan1 wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
FLRailFan1 wrote:I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.


Pretty much the duration of my childhood in central CT was spent watching the state tie itself into knots debating the Hartford-Bradley "Griffin Line" (dropping the "s") light rail line that was going to go on the Griffins ROW. It got *this* close to happening so many times, and the state kept punting some small portion of it back to re-study. Then two-time federal inmate Rowland became Gov. and immediately killed it so he could pursue his "Busways Everywhere!" asphalt self-enrichment scheme...which originally was going to pave over the Griffins in addition to the New Britain Secondary. And then a funny thing happened while the study firms were ripping off the state pushing paper: the freight came back.


Believe it or not, it is still in the official CT State Rail Plan to this day to acquire the ROW between the Farmington River and Bradley Branch for "future considerations", since nearly all of it is pre-graded CL&P power line ROW. The Griffin Line is dead! / The Griffin Line lives! / The Griffin Line will be neither dead nor alive for as long as I live! :P


F-Line, which ROW from the Farmington River are they looking at? My childhood was in East Hartford in the late 60s/early 70s and seeing the Midland route busy, I thought it would be around today.

The Armory branch should be in the discussion, coming back from the dead...


End-of-track at Tunxis Ave. and beyond on the CNE Griffins ROW is itself on a power line ROW, with a convergence of CL&P lines from all directions at the big electrical substation at the corner of Tarriffville Rd. & Hoskins Rd. Therefore, the Griffins extension to Bradley would go +1 miles from current end-of-track past the substation, crossing Tunxis Ave., Duncaster Rd., and Hoskins + Tarrifville right next to the cemetery. Then it diverts off the historic CNE ROW and grabs the 200 ft. wide due-north power line ROW coming off the substation, crosses CT 189/Farmington River/Tunxis Ave. on a bridge, and runs straight for 1-1/4 miles on the other side of the river. There's a flat-graded gravel access road running the whole distance that would become the new trackbed out to Hatchett Hill Rd. in East Granby, where the power lines peel off to the northwest and the remaining distance to Bradley requires a turn to the east on somebody else's land. The big Galasso Materials trap rock quarry is right there straight ahead past Hatchett Hill Rd., so that would obviously be the big potential freight customer underwriting a little bit of any mainline rail passenger proposal with freight revenue net gains.

None of the Griffins light rail studies are archived anywhere online (I've been trying for years to find one), so it's not clear what trajectories they were studying in the early-90's on the eastward turn in East Granby to complete the Bradley circuit. They probably did have a recommended routing down pat because the studies were very far along. East-west between the Galasso Materials quarry and International Drive there's still a lot of tobacco fields and very little new development in the last 30 years. Swing due east from Galasso across CT 187 alongside Hartford Gun Club and split between tobacco fields and the side driveways of the distribution centers on Int'l Dr. and it's doable in a straight line with flat grades and few adjacent wetlands. No major property acquisition required as it would be traceable on strips of easements solely between agricultural fields and side lawns of warehouses, with zero residential property in a 500 ft. radius. Since they did all sorts of NIMBY-wrangling back in the 90's, I would guess the old passenger studies rated this routing pretty high as it screams out on Google as least-invasive.

Last task upon crossing Int'l Drive is just the interface with Bradley across the CT 20 airport interchange, Schoephoester Rd., the parking lots, and the terminal...then linking it up with end-of-track of the Bradley Branch to complete the circuit. All of that's on state-owned land, so they can worm their way across any way they choose. The big Hamilton Standard plant on Schoephoester across from the terminal used to be the official end-of-track for the Bradley Branch before they stopped receiving rail and tracks were cut back a mile to Firehouse Rd...so state-owned Bradley Branch land and HS siding land are probably still landbanked if they want to join the branches down by the plant across the street from the terminal.


The purchase line item for all this Bloomfield-Bradley land is earmarked in the 2012 CT State Rail Plan for $3M, strictly as a "2016-2031" wish list item. Even if it doesn't happen for 50 years (if ever), that's not bad for future-proofing's peace-of-mind if they want to incrementally save up their pennies. Since half the distance from end-of-track to Bradley is all-CL&P property and CL&P is regulated by the state, I would imagine that could transact cheaply and quietly some time when there's public funding quid pro quo's to exchange about utility grid upgrades. It wouldn't necessarily be an $X million payout for a ROW that may never be used for transportation, but rather $XX million in state-paid power line upgrades where CL&P gives them a way below-market deal on the property or a permanent easement. For that reason most of the $3M quote in the State Rail Plan is probably a phantom placeholder. If they luck their way into a land swap on the 3 miles of CL&P from end-of-track to Hatchett Hill Rd., then the the rest is simply spending small change to secure the tobacco field and warehouse property easements while East Granby's still in a staunchly anti-development state of mind. Then sit on it forever. Chump change for making sure nothing blocks their path in the next half-century.


Since this build almost for-real happened as LRT in the 90's, never write-off entirely what could happen here at >25 year timetables even in screwy CT, the land of studies-about-studies. A dense-stop line with FRA-compliant DMU's pinging back and forth between Hartford Union to Windsor Locks station on the Springfield Line could scoop up Univ. of Hartford, lots of thick North End and Bloomfield residential density, the big Bloomfield/Windsor office parks, and Bradley while doubly serving as a high-and-wide freight bypass between Enfield and Hartford (which may be needed as a backup plan for Springfield Line congestion if the Armory can never be reconnected to Springfield). Maybe the 90's light rail plan would've had a little more juice and survived the Rowland axe if multimodal planning weren't in the dark ages and they'd considered a mainline rail diesel dinky (RDC's for starters) + freight stimulus angle instead of boxing themselves into an all-or-nothing closed electric trolley system that precluded freight and precluded any pingback to/from the Bradley Branch.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:39 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
NashuaActon&Boston wrote:Looking at New Hampshire, it's interesting how many seemingly more viable routes crumbled before the line to Lincoln north of Plymouth. It is quite scenic. But useless for so long. The Hillsboro is going to stay put as long as an independent RR continues to operate the trackage west of Milford. Close shave a few years back for the Hillsboro with PAR being temporarily awarded the M&B lease.


Milford & Bennington only uses 5 miles in the middle of the line between Wilton and Milford for the twice-daily conveyor belt trains between the quarry and the cement plant. The outer 15.5 miles haven't been used since Wilton Scenic went belly-up except for a few one-off M&B moves to keep it technically active for the sake of being technically active. For all the periodic rumors about Mondnock Paper at end-of-track being interested in rail again, the potential carloads from such a small plant are way too tiny to float the cost of maintaining all those track miles for itty-bitty M&B...and too small to cover the operating cost for PAR to run the Nashua local 2-1/2 times the distance.

M&B can only run those periodic "paper-active" negotiating-ploy moves for so long before the track out there really does need to be fixed with real money that can only be justified with revenue that ain't ever coming from that mill or another excursion carrier...so it's inevitable that someday it's going to be taken formally OOS west of the quarry. They're just delaying the inevitable as long as they can by milking the upgrades done (wasted?) 2 decades ago for Wilton Scenic until the snowmobiliers have chewed up the trackbed and enough winters have chewed up the crossings that the OOS designation is required. How many more years that takes before "paper-active" is no longer sustainable is anyone's guess, but there isn't a way forward for the state-owned track west of the quarry. It's eventually going to be trails-ville out there, though M&B's self-motivation and self-protection to claim as much operating territory as possible will delay that inevitable indefinitely (both the taking it OOS move, and the much later throwing-in-towel move). They're certainly going to keep the "paper-active" status to the mill maintained until Pan Am gets bought out by another company and that TBD buyer shakes out as zero threat to M&B for more territorial spite games like they had to endure a few years ago.


Interesting analysis, F-Line. I've walked much of the line between Milford and Greenfield in the past year. The unused section of track west of the quarry is in remarkably good condition, still, thanks to the Wilton Scenic upgrades. It's how the MEC Rockland Branch is likely to look in 10 years. A line rebuilt for traffic that never materialized. No trains = not so much wear and tear.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:44 pm

The MEC Rockland Branch being rebuilt for passenger service that never had a chance to flourish..
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