New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:07 pm

I found F-Line to be focusing my attention on two things:
1) That the T has right of first refusal on any new passenger service in PAR territory (NH)
2) That the T has even stronger rights Lowell-Boston (on its own territory)

So that NH will need a very T-compatible operator, which, as a practical matter, would end up being the T or Amtrak

And Concord - Boston is about 75 miles and 93 minutes (IIRC from the 2013/14 study),

For comparison, Wickford Junction is 53 miles and Kingston will be 65 miles.
Last edited by Arlington on Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:42 pm

From Page 45 of https://www.nh.gov/dot/org/aerorailtran ... ummary.pdf
For Study purposes, several presumptions were made regarding Intercity 8 [4 daily roundtrip] operations:
  • Operated by Amtrak, although no decision on the operator has been made at this point
  • Offered with a single push-pull locomotive hauled train set with four coaches
  • Rolling stock would be similar in configuration and performance to the equipment used for the Downeaster and MBTA commuter rail service; the train set would be stored and serviced overnight at the Concord Station where a plug-in and basic cleaning and servicing facility would be provided
  • Operated from the same pool of equipment used to provide Downeaster service with an extra locomotive and control coach added to that pool to offset the additional burden this service would create; Amtrak would provide heavy maintenance at its facilities in Boston’s Southampton Street Yard or further south on the Northeast Corridor as is the practice with the Downeaster equipment
  • Two crews would be required to provide service each day, and a full roster of three crews plus a spare would be necessary to handle routine service requirements; the minimum required crew would be an engineer and conductor, although it is likely that Amtrak would operate the service with a third crew member to assist with operation of doors and management of passengers
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Trinnau » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:07 pm

Arlington wrote:I found F-Line to be focusing my attention on two things:
1) That the T has right of first refusal on any new passenger service in PAR territory (NH)
2) That the T has even stronger rights Lowell-Boston (on its own territory)

So that NH will need a very T-compatible operator, which, as a practical matter, would end up being the T or Amtrak

And Concord - Boston is about 75 miles and 93 minutes (IIRC from the 2013/14 study),

For comparison, Wickford Junction is 53 miles and Kingston will be 65 miles.


Don't forget the T actually owns the line all the way to the MA/NH border even though they only operate to Lowell. So ANY trip on the Pan Am Northern Main has to operate on MBTA-owned property (even Worcester-Nashua direct).

Food for thought, but 90-minute or so service to Boston sees good ridership today on the Fitchburg, Worcester and Providence Lines. The limited number of stops on the current Lowell Line certainly helps the longer trip. Lowell is 25 miles from North Station with a 47-minute all-stop trip. A comparable trip from South Acton takes 56 minutes with all-stops or from Ashland takes 65.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Dick H » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:30 pm

Probably more details later, but WMUR TV9 just put out a blub that the $4M Commuter Rail Study was removed from the 10 year Transportation Plan this afternoon.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:03 pm

If so, should we be surprised? It's New Hampshire, after all. It might as well be Texas or Florida as well, AFAIC.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby leviramsey » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:48 am

They may just be waiting to see if Massachusetts shoots itself in the foot this November...
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby artman » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:04 pm

Dick H wrote:Probably more details later, but WMUR TV9 just put out a blub that the $4M Commuter Rail Study was removed from the 10 year Transportation Plan this afternoon.


I see articles dating from 2016 mentioning the stripping of the $$$, but nothing this year. Can you cite hyperlink?
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Dick H » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:16 pm

From the Union Leader of 2/21
On Wednesday, the House Public Works and Highways Committee voted along party lines to strike a $4 million grant for commuter rail from the proposed 10-year highway program.
Gov. Sununu requested the grant since it was a critical part of the state’s application to try to lure Amazon to locate its second national headquarters here.
After the state was bounced from that competition, leading GOP legislators said Sununu told them he “wouldn’t lose sleep” if the House took it out.
Sununu’s about-face played a role but also important was the past opposition to commuter rail from House Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett.
As the former longtime chairman of this House committee, Chandler was one of those most responsible in the Legislature for opposing any investment in commuter rail.
Chandler publicly has said committee members were in charge of deciding what was in or out of the 10-year bill.
But the Speaker did make an impromptu visit to the committee just before the panel took two hours of positive testimony on commuter rail being part of the package.
Now the committee has spoken, it’s going to be an uphill battle for supporters to get back in the bill.
One thing is for certain; supporters won’t be giving up and they’ve put together a broad cross-section of businesses that are on board with this request.

Full Article here, but the above is the only reference to the commuter rail issue.
http://www.unionleader.com/Kevin-Landri ... g-02222018
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby artman » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:17 pm

Thanks!
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby BowdoinStation » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:26 pm

My Humble Predictions..
The Downeaster will be extended to Presque Isle, the Ethan Allen Express will be extended from Rutland to Burlington, MBTA Commuter Rail will be extended from South Station to both Fall River & New Bedford, there will be some type of passenger rail service arriving and departing from Pittsfield, Mass. There will be some type of commuter rail service from Boston to Springfield, Freight service will be restored to Gloucester MA, Coal Trains to Bow will be running again.. The Red Sox will win another World Series, the Patriots will win two more Super Bowls, the Celts will eventually oust the Warriors, the Orange and Red lines will have new cars...I will lose 35 pounds.. Any or all of these possibilities could happen before there is passenger train service on the rails north of Lowell to Nashua, Manchester, and possibly Concord. It is very clear that the State of New Hampshire wants absolutely nothing to do with commuter rail service in it's current form. I am glad the state is going to waste that four million dollars to study the fact that the wheels on the bus are round and round. What a kick in the teeth. If anyone didn't think Gov. Sununu was totally posturing on studying commuter rail, please allow me to sell you a parcel of oceanside frontage in Kansas.. What about high speed ski train service to Waterville Valley?? I will think of it the next time I am sitting in bumper to bumper highway traffic to Boston.. :wink:
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby b&m 1566 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:11 pm

I'm deeply offended...


You forgot to mention the Bruins!!!
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby newpylong » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:30 am

Though I would ride it likely several times a year, I am not shedding any tears on this. Hard to sell something that will likely only benefit Manchester south to someone in Coos or Grafton County who can't pay their bills. We would just be in another situation (like the Berkshires in MA) where their money is being is siphoned east to maintain infrastructure in the Greater Boston area. Yes, that is how taxes work, but people's representatives are at least speaking up for them.

Roads and bridges are falling apart (and I don't mean commuter rail competitors like 3 or I-93). Per student reimbursables from the state are declining. Until an alternative tax source can be found to fund all these infrastructure projects, this thing needs to stay on the back burner.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby eustis22 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:58 pm

>We would just be in another situation (like the Berkshires in MA) where their money is being is siphoned east to maintain infrastructure in the Greater Boston area. Yes, that is how taxes work, but people's representatives are at least speaking up for them.

I'm sorry. I don't mean to be snarky, but I'm pretty sure the Greater Boston area generates far more in taxes than the rest of the state combined. The "we don't use it so why should we pay for it" meme can be applied to everything from schools to roads to bridges to state parks and Meals-On-Wheels. On the flip side, I believe that Mass companies are NH's biggest employers, no? The railway infrastructure can always be paid for by slapping a toll on traffic entering and leaving Massachusetts at the NH border on Rtes 3, 93, 91, and 95. I'd be fine if the Great and General Court mandated it would always be $1 higher than the tolls NH imposes.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Arlington » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:54 pm

Rural areas are generally net takers of road money: Lower property values, with fewer parcels fronting more road, mean property taxes can't keep up the local share of costs, while at the same time there are a large number of lane miles of (empty) road being maintained, with fewer users and fewer gas gallons able to be taxed. City people (and the trucks that serve them), idling in jams or stopped at lights are paying gas taxes while consuming relatively fewer lane miles per minute or per gallon.And the average city trip is physically shorter, consuming less road per trip.

So in rural areas there is more road being supported by fewer people/taxpayers, lower effective gas taxes, &skimpy property taxes. I'd suspect that to the extent NH taxes unearned income, that NH or MA income tax payments are dominated by metro Boston wealth (NH Seacoast, Nashua, Manchester)

One of the things that made rural living cheap for the last century is that the roads are subsidized by city people's taxes.

It was actually President Reagan who agreed to spend 10% of gas taxes on rail & transit in urban areas as a way of correcting the pro-rural bias of gas taxes only being spent on roads (which cities, for the most part have stopped building and often maintain from property taxes)
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby BandA » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:42 pm

I don't have data for NH, but MA state budget for transportation is <2%!! I think it was 7% like 5-6 years ago. Whereas health & human services is 55% and education 18%. Health & human services was 50% 5-6 years ago!!!

Rural areas don't generate the revenue, but in MA the spending goes disproportionately to big, urban, poor areas which are concentrated in Eastern MA. Also the cities and towns rely on property tax revenue (NH even more due to no personal income tax). Proposition 2 1/2 limits property tax increases in MA to 2.5% unless there is an override or more development or commercial equipment. Transportation cost inflation is > 2.5%. ALMOST ALL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT IN MA IS OCCURRING IN BOSTON AND CAMBRIDGE (AND ADJACENT CITIES LIKE EVERETT, SOMERVILLE, ETC).

So all of the rural and suburban areas are being inexorably being squeezed by the urban areas which are the beneficiaries of public transportation spending, as anemic as that spending is!!! I can't tell you if things are as unfair in NH as they are in MA, but certainly the desirable development is skewed to the "sexy" areas of southern NH & seacoast area.
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