Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby Ridgefielder » Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:02 pm

YamaOfParadise wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote:I'd imagine that if the Providence, Warren & Bristol were still around today there's be some interesting possibilities being discussed for East Bay commuter rail and MBTA service to Fall River via Providence rather than Myricks...


Definitely the former; the latter doesn't seem like it would be operationally efficient to get to Fall River (longer travel time, more time on NEC). And even if the Swansea/Fall River Branch was still around, the Slades Ferry Bridge is long since gone (late 1960's)... even if it wasn't, the rail portion of the bridge was abandoned in 1932 after a ship hit the movable span of the bridge, and when the highway dept. took over ownership, the replacement movable span was only for the road portion. A bridge of that length with a movable span just wouldn't be cheap.

Oh for sure- I was thinking of the PW&B in it's absolute heyday, pre-Depression, when it was electrified and extended to downtown Fall River. No way you'd try to rebuild the Slade's Ferry Bridge today.
Ridgefielder
 
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm
Location: Harlem Division MP 15

Re: And the nominees are . . .

Postby ebtmikado » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:21 pm

CannaScrews wrote:
ebtmikado wrote:
CVRA7 wrote:Ex NYNH&H Canal Line - New Haven-Plainville.

The argument given for the New Haven/Hamden/Cheshire section for a light rail proposal was that the devilish dispicable denizens of New Haven would pay their fare in New Haven, ride up to Cheshire (pronounced "ses-ire" by the people that have been drinking the water in that locale for too long), break into an estate, steal the 36" CRT TV (no flat screens back then), carry it back on the LRV to New Haven where it will be pawned. Yes!

Now the line is a jogging/bike path going behind the big box stores in Hamden and actually quite popular in Cheshire with people parking on the cross streets to use the facility much to the consternation of the same NIMBY's.

Remember, that was during the O'Neill era where the head of state was being pushed to & fro by the politicians, CDOT became the Connecticut Department of Tar, the M-2s had their wheels falling off and the Mianus Bridge collapse was still in the minds of everyone.


interesting in that the local gentry in Tenafly, NJ, are using that same argument against the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail extension: It would bring "undesirables" into their lily-white town.

Lee
ebtmikado
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:55 am
Location: Madison, CT

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby gokeefe » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:29 am

I've been thinking about any possible mileage in Maine that should be included for consideration in this thread. And frankly I am happy to report that I can't imagine a single mile anywhere in Maine that has been lost and which would or should be considered as a vital connection. So many of the Right of Ways in Maine are preserved as snow-mobile trails that mile after mile of old branch lines are still very much intact. I guess I shouldn't be surprised given that this is also the same state where the old Eagle Lake & West Branch Railroad steam engines have been preserved in place deep in the Maine wilderness.

I think there could be some debate about the Union Branch in Portland or the Commerical Street running tracks (if they ever connected with the GT, which I don't think they did). But both of those lines have little justification for any future existence beyond general "pie in the sky" proposals that I think wouldn't be justified at the moment or perhaps ever.

Perhaps the real answer to this question for Maine is the double tracking of the Western Route between Portland and Plaistow/Boston. That was a major loss that is going to be very expensive to rebuild. Furthermore I think it is a virtual certainty that it will be necessary to rebuild all or major portions of it in the future if passenger service to/from Maine continues to expand.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9921
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:55 pm

gokeefe wrote:I've been thinking about any possible mileage in Maine that should be included for consideration in this thread. And frankly I am happy to report that I can't imagine a single mile anywhere in Maine that has been lost and which would or should be considered as a vital connection. So many of the Right of Ways in Maine are preserved as snow-mobile trails that mile after mile of old branch lines are still very much intact. I guess I shouldn't be surprised given that this is also the same state where the old Eagle Lake & West Branch Railroad steam engines have been preserved in place deep in the Maine wilderness.

I think there could be some debate about the Union Branch in Portland or the Commerical Street running tracks (if they ever connected with the GT, which I don't think they did). But both of those lines have little justification for any future existence beyond general "pie in the sky" proposals that I think wouldn't be justified at the moment or perhaps ever.

Perhaps the real answer to this question for Maine is the double tracking of the Western Route between Portland and Plaistow/Boston. That was a major loss that is going to be very expensive to rebuild. Furthermore I think it is a virtual certainty that it will be necessary to rebuild all or major portions of it in the future if passenger service to/from Maine continues to expand.


Any Union Branch proposals would only recycle the first 3000 ft. from the junction that still has tracks in the ground. Any time it's been talked up recently it's been in tandem with that I-295 add-a-lane project, where they'd simply grab the rail line off its alignment at Exit 6A and bolt it to the side of the widened highway the rest of the way and slip it around every to-be-widened bridge. With none of the rest of the old alignment used at all. Then shiv in a junction by the sewage plant to connect to the waterfront trackage severed by the burnt-out swing bridge, cross Back Cove still bolted to 295 on its widened bridge as replacement for the swing, then hook onto the Baked Beans tracks out to Yarmouth Jct. Can't really consider that an "abandonment/restoration" since an entire 1.2 miles of it is new ROW created out of thin air and paid for by that big honking highway project they periodically salivate about doing. And its probability is 0.0% until MEDOT rustles up the will to do put design-build into motion on that Interstate widening megaproject. Then *maybe* the bolt-on has enough economy of scale for "why not both?", since the 295 nuke/rebuild of bridge and ramp structures more or less serves up the potential ROW if the space provision is baked into the highway design.

Quite the long list of prerequisites, if's, and but's...but yes, if they get hot to widen 295 it enters the conversation and gets a due diligence study.


Other than that...no, very few essentials. Probably because of all the bonkers route duplication around Portland, Lewiston, and Augusta, and most of the branchlines being non-connecting stubs to long-gone mills. Maybe the missing center section of that 'loop' branch around western Portland between the Mountain Industrial @ Sappi/Westbrook and Deering Jct. that was severed by I-95 in the Exit 48 vicinity makes for a decent pingback for a local or means of avoiding all the mainline grade crossings during a particularly ugly rush hour. But that seems like a dead-bottom priority luxury and surplus-to-requirement nobody's asking for.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7233
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby gokeefe » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:12 pm

I have to say that all the future development I can see leads towards the current freight corridor returning to double track and seeing some pretty heavy usage, both freight and passenger. That is going to be a somewhat drastic change to the current situation in Portland where the railroad crossings see relatively light use.

No matter how much I may want to see a restoration of the Union Branch and the use of the SLR/GT right of way etc it just doesn't seem to make economic sense when any passenger trains to Lewiston/Auburn can make use of the Pan Am Freight Main Line via Royal Junction or a rebuilt switch track at Yarmouth Junction (and still serve Yarmouth!).

The only other Right of Way consideration may be for intermodal connectivity for the SLR to the International Marine Terminal. In that case if Pan Am really wanted to be difficult they could force MDOT to rebuild the entire right of way around the peninsula and all the way down Commercial Street, but as others I'm sure will point out there simply isn't or will there ever be sufficient traffic from that port to justify such extravagant expenditures. I simply can't imagine a scenario where this would make any sense.

All that being said, double track on the Western Route remains the one key piece of railroad infrastructure which I think never should have been "abandoned". Even then at least we are fortunate enough to be in a position to rebuild as much of it as we may need.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9921
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:44 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
The painful losses of the public ownership era, in my opinion and in no particular order, are:

-- Armory Branch in MA (and MA's failure to buy it after Guilford's abandonment). Needed as a freight bypass of Springfield Line going forward, easiest high-and-wide candidate into Hartford. Bad MassDOT brain fart.


Why is the Armory needed for a freight bypass when you're talking about 4 freight trains a day, a lack of PAS rights to use CSX to access the branch, no need for high-and-wides or doublestack to Hartford that can't be accomodated by the short distance to CSX's Boston Line, and, long-term movement of freight distribution activity out of this corridor?
QB 52.32
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:05 am

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:12 pm

QB 52.32 wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
The painful losses of the public ownership era, in my opinion and in no particular order, are:

-- Armory Branch in MA (and MA's failure to buy it after Guilford's abandonment). Needed as a freight bypass of Springfield Line going forward, easiest high-and-wide candidate into Hartford. Bad MassDOT brain fart.


Why is the Armory needed for a freight bypass when you're talking about 4 freight trains a day, a lack of PAS rights to use CSX to access the branch, no need for high-and-wides or doublestack to Hartford that can't be accomodated by the short distance to CSX's Boston Line, and, long-term movement of freight distribution activity out of this corridor?


Ask CDOT; they're the ones who put it in their duly FRA-filed State Rail Plan (pages 97 and 201): http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents ... -24-12.pdf
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7233
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:12 pm

Enough with arguing the branches like the M&L. How about main lines? The Northern might not be the straightest, but is pretty direct for Boston to Montreal.

The NY&NE would be beneficial. P&W traffic from NECR to Rhode Island must run to Willlimantic, Plainfield, Worcester, Providence. The other section east of Manchester would be handy for G&W and P&W. The Hartford to New Britain section would be most direct if commuter rail is ever reestablished. The dogleg via Berlin might attract some passengers, but if I was commuting from Bristol, or Terryville, the extra several miles wouldn't be welcome on this longer trip.

I'll ignore the thousand page thread about the Mountain Div., which is on the B&M/MEC page. That only stayed because Spencer Miller could connect to the Canadian roads, and keep B&M honest, plus get a better linehaul. This is moot with B&M and MEC under the same ownership.
"Welcome all ye who enter; the show that never ends. Tingfield Sperminal Railway." (Graffiti on the entry to Mohawk Yard Office)
Engineer Spike
 
Posts: 1662
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:24 pm

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:42 pm

About the only line in New England that I could really see as useful today would be the Armory Branch between Springfield and Hartford and maybe not even that. The one thing here was that you could run a freight train direct from Selkirk to New Haven or Hartford without the pain in the neck reverse move or runaround at Springfield which consumes a lot of time. The line had a few issues but could have been upgraded to handle reliably long freight trains and for the number of trains involved it would not have had to been signaled. It would have needed ties, ballast and probably rail and crossing upgrades but this could have paid for itself in savings over a period of time. Unfortunately the rail freight business in Connecticut in this day and age is of such slim pickins that maybe it is no longer needed anyway.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby SemperFidelis » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:01 pm

Old Erie main from Chicago east. Never seen it but heard it was an excellent piece of railroad with high and wide clearances that bit the dust just before double stacks were becoming the thing to ship.

If it were still under the control of one railroad and wouldn't require too many interchanges, then I'd say the old Southern Division of the CNJ in Jersey.

Poughkeepsie Bridge route.

And not to start anything, but maybe that first thousand feet of the Catskill Mountain Railroad which connected to the River Line. If that were still in place the CMRR would be under federal jurisdiction and not at the whims of a few county politicians.
SemperFidelis
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:49 pm
Location: Stupid Voterland

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:43 pm

SemperFidelis wrote:Old Erie main from Chicago east. Never seen it but heard it was an excellent piece of railroad with high and wide clearances that bit the dust just before double stacks were becoming the thing to ship.

If it were still under the control of one railroad and wouldn't require too many interchanges, then I'd say the old Southern Division of the CNJ in Jersey.

Poughkeepsie Bridge route.

And not to start anything, but maybe that first thousand feet of the Catskill Mountain Railroad which connected to the River Line. If that were still in place the CMRR would be under federal jurisdiction and not at the whims of a few county politicians.


None of the above, the old Erie was nowhere as near modern in any respect as the old New York Central and it did not serve too much territory that wasn't adequately served by other east west railroads as well. The biggest traffic sources were on the old Pennsylvania and New York Central and these survived. The sections of the Erie that linked "nowhere and nowhere else" got torn up.
The Maybrook Line did not survive because the big traffic sources and destinations in Connecticut and southern New England in general no longer generated enough business to keep it open and Penn Central and later Conrail had better routes to serve the same territory. I worked this line from time to time and I am truly sorry it did not survive but being realistic it could not survive giving the conditions that existed at that time or ever since in that matter.
Federal permission was obtained before the Catskill Mountain Branch was finally abandoned and it was only after that that the switch at Kingston was finally removed. That the state/county chose to purchase this abandoned trackage many years back still did not justify restoration of the missing switch which connected it with the River Line.
Railroads today have a good and bright future but they will NEVER return to what they used to be whether you mean the 1950's or some period between 1950 and 2016.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby FLRailFan1 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:24 pm

Two lines in Florida....

1) The Perry Cut Off...from Thomaston, GA to Brooksville, FL.

2)Haines City to Lake Wales...
FLRailFan1
 
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:39 am

WN&P freight route?

Postby p42thedowneaster » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:50 pm

With Downeaster and MBTA traffic adding difficulty for East/West thru-freight operations, one wonders what could have been if the old WN&P had been left in tact from Ayer, MA to Epping, NH. Just a quick connection from Epping to Rockingham Jct. on the old P&C would allow "Western Route" freights to avoid all the traffic of Lowell and Lawrence/Haverhill.

Yes, I know the WN&P was a bit of a coaster, but with modern signalling and some grade work, perhaps it could have been nice option to have now.
User avatar
p42thedowneaster
 
Posts: 773
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 9:17 pm

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:11 pm

At issue here and maybe this should be re-titled to lines that should never have been built in the first place. Both the New Haven and the Boston and Maine and their predecessors over-built in both Southern New England and in Northern New England. If you have public timetables from the New Haven or the Boston and Maine from lets say the 1920's or so, take a look at the maps in them. Back in those days many places that had not much more than an outhouse were connected by a rail line that went from nowhere to nowhere via nowhere. Other lines were started but never finished or were built and nearly finished but never moved a car of revenue freight. Many of these lines were gone before WW-II. At one time the Boston and Maine had 5 different lines that connected Boston to the Conn. River, only one remains (via East Deerfield). Much of the old Central New England should never have been built, it carried little freight even in the 1920's. I suspect that other parts of the country had the same situation as New England once had but I know more about New England than about the great beyond.
I think today we need to be grateful for what we still have.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Lines that never should have been abandoned?

Postby B&M 1227 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:19 am

Not necessarily a line, nor even in New England by a few miles, but the Mechanicville Hump Yard would be pretty valuable today...

I imagine the Cheshire could have had a fighting chance had it lasted a few years beyond 1970. Look at the favorable P&W/VTR relationship today, and the G&W acquisition of P&W... P&W picked up the Gardner Branch in 74, and had the Cheshire existed at this time, it's possible they would have expressed interest in it. Yes, very little online traffic, but the Gardner Branch was pretty barren at the time as well, serving only as an interchange point. A few miles of trackage rights from Gardner to Ashburnham, and today PW-VTR interchange could flow directly between the two without Pan Am or NECR as a middleman. Ethanol trains could run right over the mountain without the PAS hand off Bellows Falls-Gardner. Auto's to Davisville could see competition between NS and CP as well, and with the recent acquisition of P&W by G&W, CN/CP traffic to Southern New England could fan out from Bellows Falls to virtually every freight customer in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Did we ever hear a music sweeter than the one that thrills, as it floats along the Deerfield, as it echoes o'er the hills.
How we watch that little engine as it stalks across the plain; was there ever music sweeter, was there ever sight completer, than the coming of the train?
-E. A. Fitch
User avatar
B&M 1227
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:43 pm
Location: on the ground

PreviousNext

Return to New England Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests