Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Line)

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby amtrakhogger » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:22 pm

What is MAS on that segment?
"I will stop at St. Avold."
User avatar
amtrakhogger
 
Posts: 1838
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:16 am
Location: "F" on the Camden and Amboy

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby east point » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:34 pm

What has been the best time between the 2 stations ?. A review of late trains might give us an idea ?
east point
 
Posts: 694
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby bratkinson » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:13 pm

travelrobb wrote:Yes -- the timetable indicates an average speed of 30 mph for ten miles of what seemed to be relatively straight track between Springfield and Holyoke, and 44 mph form Holyoke to Northampton. But that strikes me as slow.


Relatively straight? Once south of the now-closed Mt Tom generating station south of Northampton, the tracks follow every twist and turn of the Connecticut River. Throw in multiple bridges in Holyoke over water and highways, all of which are rather 'old looking' and thus have speed restrictions, I think the train goes about as fast as possible over the route. Having ridden south from Brattleboro NH a couple of times, I doubt the train went much over 45 for much of the route until south New Haven! Between Springfield and New Haven, before and after the speed restricted approaches and crossing the Connecticut River, there simply isn't enough straight running between stops to accelerate over 45 or so and still be able to stop accurately at the next station.
bratkinson
 
Posts: 364
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:38 pm
Location: QB 100

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby Jehochman » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:09 am

I once missed a train in Berlin by 30 seconds. Driving, I was not able to catch the train, until I found it stopped in New Haven. I made my connection in New Haven, barely. This train is not slow between New Haven and Springfield, unless there’re construction induced delays.

There is a mountain range between Holyoke and Northampton. Of course the train can’t go so fast through the pass. There is no choice but to follow the river.
Jehochman
 
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:39 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:35 am

The Vermonter's route between Springfield and Greenfield is newly reconstructed track that is significantly faster than it was in the past (when it went through Palmer and Amherst instead), but there are still numerous speed restrictions for curves, crossings, bridges, etc. from south of Holyoke to north of Northampton.

North of there up to Greenfield though the track is good for 79.

Unfortunately Amtrak seems to have used most of the reduction in travel time as padding, rather than tightening the schedule.
Call me Connor or DTP

Railfan & Roadgeek from the North Shore of Mass.
deathtopumpkins
 
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:56 am
Location: Somerville, MA

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:42 am

Aren't there still a couple bridge speed restrictions on the Conn River still due to get closeout work before being lifted? As of last year that was still the case, and I know PAS is still doing siding renewal construction work along the line. The big finish on the project was really only a 95% completion mark with some malingering closeout work yet to come for the sake of relaxing the funding onto later fiscal years. That was doable because the schedule can't reach its final iteration until all the Springfield Line work is done.

Northampton-South Deerfield is by far the zippiest part of the Conn River. The NNEIRI study said that was one of the only parts of the Springfield-north and Springfield-east routes (along with Springfield-Palmer on the B&A) that could conceivably be pushed up to Class 5 and >80 MPH MAS if they went for the whole-hog build plan. That didn't get recommended by the study, which said that uniform Class 4 was plenty good enough, so it's not terribly consequential for overall Vermonter travel times. Don't forget...it's all about the Montrealer now, so the completed track work VTrans quietly funded a couple years ago from St. Albans to the Canadian border ends up making the biggest bang-for-buck on travel times to where the route is imminently going to go. The rest is whether Quebec and the Trudeau Admin. are going to make good on any of their overtures to improve speeds on the other side of the border.

Yes...you do have a bunch of twists and turns along the riverbank and the highlands around Mt. Tom to contend with in-between the major straightaways in Central MA and (a little bit) in NH. But it's Northern New England geography; there never was a canvas to begin with that could make this or the Central VT any straighter than they already are so we're pretty damn close to idealized conditions. It's mainly Quebec upgrades and signaling WRJ to StA that's going to add any minor additional zip. Everything was always predicated on running up the score south of Springfield on a Class 5/6 Springfield Line and getting the NEC to fuller state-of-repair in terms of shedding time. Thankfully there's still a couple gears left to reach down there where it matters most.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7184
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:53 am

Vermonter speed over the high bridge over the Deerfield River at Cheapside a mile or two south of Greenfield is at a tip-toe rate (enabling photography from the rte 5 bridge below). I think public $ are available to spend to upgrade a 2nd track from the interlocking with PAS south of the bridge to CPF-385 at Greenfield.
Attachments
Amtrak 57 Deerfield River bridge 090917.jpg
johnpbarlow
 
Posts: 1643
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby travelrobb » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:36 pm

I'm returning south on the Vermonter now approaching Springfield, and the last three miles in (from just south of MP S3) is a crawl on what appears to be straight-as-an-arrow track. You could literally jog past us as we're going over the CSX crossing at Springfield, but those last three miles easily took us 10 minutes. What specifically is the hold-up between Holyoke and Springfield?
travelrobb
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:39 am

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby bratkinson » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:47 pm

There is a 'dance' of 3 Amtrak trains have to perform at Springfield between 2:45 and 3:30 PM, give or take, when 55,56, and 449 are on time...or close to it. Throw in a CSX or G&W freight crossing the diamonds about the same time, and it becomes a game of chess between 3 railroad dispatchers controlling traffic to and from the diamonds. I think CSX is the 'owner' and thus has the final say so. If there aren't any freights coming through, what is supposed to happen is that the southbound Vermonter (on Guilford trackage) goes straight across the diamonds and stops about 150 yards beyond, contacts the Amtrak dispatcher (Conn River Line south of SPG is owned and dispatched by Amtrak) who then lines up the reverse move to take the train into the SPG station on the south-most track, closest to the Amtrak Station (have they moved yet to the newly refurbed station? As of 2+ months ago, it hadn't happened yet). Depending on how on time the northbound Vermonter is, they run him directly into the station on the next track over. And if they are REALLY lucky...448 from Boston will come through and stop on the mainline to discharge and load its passengers. As the southbound Vermonter was backed in, once the Amtrak dispatcher clears the route and gives them the signal, they leave in the forward direction and keep going. The Amtrak dispatcher has to arrange for the northbound Vermonter to back out and down the Conn River Line to clear the switches to go north. Then the CSX dispatcher has to give permission once again to cross the diamonds, and the Guilford dispatcher set up to 'receive' the train.

So, why is the southbound run so slow into Springfield? I'm guessing they passed a usually yellow signal on the north side of Springfield indicating the lack of authority to cross the diamonds ahead. As the diamonds are on a slight curve for north/south trains, it's probably limited to 'restricting' speed. It could also be related to where the northbound Vermonter is at that point in time...it could be backing out onto the second track on the Conn River Line and will have to wait until the southbound clears the single north/south track across the 2 CSX main tracks. Fortunately, there's 15-20 minutes worth of padding for both Vermonters at SPG, so a slightly late or slow approach to SPG will still get an on-time departure.
bratkinson
 
Posts: 364
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:38 pm
Location: QB 100

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby east point » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:58 am

What is sad is with 449 at Springfield there could be connections between it and the Vermonters. That is not bookable as of now. But that would require a much more reliable OTP by all three trains Probably about 95% ?
east point
 
Posts: 694
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby Train60 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:43 am

travelrobb wrote:I'm returning south on the Vermonter now approaching Springfield, and the last three miles in (from just south of MP S3) is a crawl on what appears to be straight-as-an-arrow track. You could literally jog past us as we're going over the CSX crossing at Springfield, but those last three miles easily took us 10 minutes. What specifically is the hold-up between Holyoke and Springfield?

Pan Am issued a new timetable for the Conn River Line on 12/28/2014 - the day before the Vermonter started service on this line. In this timetable the MAS between MP S2.41 (Plainfield St in Springfield) and MP S0.38 (CPR 1) is 20 mph. From MP S0.38 to the CSX diamond the MAS is 10 MPH. As far as I am aware this speed is still in effect. Why, I do not know. Some people have suggested that its because of the two public schools on the west side of the tracks in this part of the city. Maybe someone on this forum can fill us in.
Last edited by Train60 on Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Train60
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:31 pm
Location: New England

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby Train60 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:52 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Aren't there still a couple bridge speed restrictions on the Conn River still due to get closeout work before being lifted? As of last year that was still the case, and I know PAS is still doing siding renewal construction work along the line.

Yes. There are still, after almost three years since Vermonter Day 1, 15 mph speed restrictions on the bridge over the Deerfield River and the bridge over the Connecticut River. The Pan Am Timetable issued on 12/28/2014 lists the MAS (passenger) speed on these two bridges as 35 mph. So its safe to say that MassDOT still has some closeout work to do.
Last edited by Train60 on Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Train60
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:31 pm
Location: New England

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby travelrobb » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:05 am

Yes, 449 pulled in to Springfield as northbound 54 waited for southbound 57 to cross. It arrived and departed before we left -- turns out the CSX dispatcher held 57 north of diamond to let 449 cross. 449 was five minutes early; I'm sure Amtrak would have preferred to hold it and let 57 (which as noted earlier was an hour late) cross. (Among other reasons, the engineer on 57 turns around and returns to Brattleboro on 54.) None of it makes any sense, frankly.
travelrobb
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:39 am

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby travelrobb » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:07 am

Train60 wrote:Yes. There are still, after almost three years since Vermonter Day 1, 15 mph speed restrictions on the bridge over the Deerfield River and the bridge over the Connecticut River. The Pan Am Timetable issued on 12/28/2014 lists the MAS (passenger) speed on these two bridges as 35 mph. So its safe to say that MassDOT still has closeout work to do on these bridges.

I would love to see scans of the Pan Am timetable for this line, or a listing of the MAX and speed restrictions by milepost, if you're able to make those available. Thanks in advance...

-Robb
travelrobb
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:39 am

Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Postby BenH » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:19 pm

For interested parties in the Springfield, Ma. area --

Knowledge Corridor Transportation Conference
Springfield Union Station
We. October 18, 2017 | 7:30 am – 11:40 am | Free

Meeting Agenda (PDF)
http://www.pvpc.org/sites/default/files/files/2017%20SOTR%20agenda(1).pdf

Eventbrite | registration link
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-state-of-the-region-conference-registration-37396382587
BenH
 
Posts: 471
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:47 pm
Location: Massachusetts

PreviousNext

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Greg Moore and 15 guests