Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:23 pm

Actually ORB has done something very interesting ... It has picked up very substantial ridership from families staying in town who want to travel to Boston for the day. Many of them are from Quebec and appear to be very accustomed to using transit. This is *not* a small market during the summer season and is very much an unanticipated development.

The trend has materialized over a period of years but has become increasingly obvious in the past five or so. In theory the stop was originally meant to attract more tourists from Boston, which it clearly accomplishes. However, perhaps more importantly, it has also made OOB more appealing as a destination for the existing core market of Canadians. The station is in essence an amenity of the destination and it greatly enhances the quality of the vacation by making Boston so accessible.

Kennebunk could reasonably be expected to do the same thing but obviously in much lower volume. Wells in many respects falls somewhat short in this regard. It has become a very strong commuter station but does not appear to support the tourist population to the extent that ORB does.

Protecting the core tourist market for OOB was definitely an intended outcome but I think many people did not realize that the outcome would be to support travel for people already in town. Having these longer distance (and get generally more lucrative) tourists become even more loyal and even more likely to return to OOB is a very happy outcome indeed.

The long term consequence is that the station is supporting continued development of the tourist industry and in particular making new investments possible. Hard to ask for more ...
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby dowlingm » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:48 am

I realise in a 518 page thread this has been probably discussed about 20 times and if so I apologise in advance:

Looking at the schedule it takes a long time for the first northbound train of the day to arrive in Portland (or points in between). Is there any measurable interest in a business (MA)/commuter (ME) service leaving Boston at 6.30am or so once there is enough signalling and track to legally and logistically support additional service?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:01 am

dowlingm wrote:I realise in a 518 page thread this has been probably discussed about 20 times and if so I apologise in advance:

Looking at the schedule it takes a long time for the first northbound train of the day to arrive in Portland (or points in between). Is there any measurable interest in a business (MA)/commuter (ME) service leaving Boston at 6.30am or so once there is enough signalling and track to legally and logistically support additional service?


More will be needed than just north bound slots in the corridor. The number one issue would be logistics, i.e. where to lay up a train overnight in Boston, I doubt using a platform at Boston North or using MBTA’s maintenance facilities would be acceptable to the MBTA. There are many reasons why the Downeaster trains spend their nights in Maine. As long as they do, it will be difficult to have an early north bound train.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby dowlingm » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:23 pm

electricron wrote:More will be needed than just north bound slots in the corridor. The number one issue would be logistics, i.e. where to lay up a train overnight in Boston, I doubt using a platform at Boston North or using MBTA’s maintenance facilities would be acceptable to the MBTA. There are many reasons why the Downeaster trains spend their nights in Maine. As long as they do, it will be difficult to have an early north bound train.
Oh - never considered that MBTA would take that attitude.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:05 pm

dowlingm wrote:
electricron wrote:More will be needed than just north bound slots in the corridor. The number one issue would be logistics, i.e. where to lay up a train overnight in Boston, I doubt using a platform at Boston North or using MBTA’s maintenance facilities would be acceptable to the MBTA. There are many reasons why the Downeaster trains spend their nights in Maine. As long as they do, it will be difficult to have an early north bound train.
Oh - never considered that MBTA would take that attitude.

Why would they not? Do they share maintenance facilities at no charge on the south side of Boston?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby east point » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:03 pm

Please clarify BON yard facilities. Doesn't both MBTA and Amtrak send equipment there from BOS.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:09 pm

What if one set and crew is based out of Southampton? On duty Southampton at 5:00am, 1h 30m to get ready and bring equipment to BON, depart BON at 6:30am, POR time of 9:05am, arrive BRK at 9:50am, turn out of BRK at about 11:00am (basically on 684's current schedule, bumping that crew to depart BRK at 12:30pm instead), that places them back at BON at 2:20pm, giving the crew up to about 2h 40m to get back to Southampton and off-duty. The 6:30am BON departure gives plenty of time for connections from start of subway service, and even some time for connections from the first North Side Commuter Rail arrivals.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby dowlingm » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:10 pm

electricron wrote:Why would they not? Do they share maintenance facilities at no charge on the south side of Boston?
I understand reluctance to share a yard but saying "we won't even give you a platform to sit on" seems a bit chippy.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:52 pm

There are major considerations to basing a crew and trainset out of Boston. They both involve significant increases in cost to NNEPRA ultimately. Neither idea is viable for a whole host of reasons other than just operational considerations.

Probably the best one could hope for would be a 3:00am departure from Portland turning for a 6:00am out of Boston. It sounds awful but it could actually be very well patronized especially in NH. You would hit the morning commute twice. Once southbound and the second time northbound into Portland.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:43 pm

east point wrote:Please clarify BON yard facilities. Doesn't both MBTA and Amtrak send equipment there from BOS.


There are no Amtrak service facilities at North Station and never have been. The north side yard/service complex is strictly an MBTA facility, including the MBTA's diesel shop. All Amtrak servicing in Boston is handled at the Southampton Street yard in South Boston and Downeaster equipment deadheads across town via the Grand Junction branch as necessary. Conversely, the MBTA bases its south side equipment in South Boston but does no heavy maintenance there; equipment deadheads to the former B&M side of town as required.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby BandA » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:22 am

Gee, why can't Keolis work on an occasional Amtrak train? Or allow Amtrak mechanics inside the building to work on Amtrak locos. Or contract with the "T" to provide the locomotives for the Downeaster.

The "T" and Amtrak might want to create some more storage space for the northside system & downeaster.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:12 am

There might an Emergency repair deal with Keolis,otherwise it's the side trip to Grand Jct and the Amtrak Shop at Boston South Station.
2 different Union Locals, No Amtrak personal allowed in the MBTA shop!
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:24 am

George wrote

Probably the best one could hope for would be a 3:00am departure from Portland turning for a 6:00am out of Boston. It sounds awful but it could actually be very well patronized especially in NH. You would hit the morning commute twice. Once southbound and the second time northbound into Portland.e:


I would get that first train to Boston so it could turn and head back north at 7:00. I don't think there's enough demand for a reverse commute up to Maine, but I could be wrong. There is probably enough double track in place now that the train would be able to run against the Boston-bound rush. Of course, the whole MBTA portion should be double track, but...
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Hamhock » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:18 am

My past suggestion for this idea would be to send Amtrak Regional 66 over the Grand Junction to North Station - it already has a diesel engine, and it results in a direct Northeast Corridor train to Maine from DC and New York.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:25 pm

The Diesel comes off at DC,ACS-64 DC to South Station. Sorry no sale.not possible! :P
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