Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inland

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:47 pm

The MBB's leased to ConnDOT should wind up on this "T" West service, when the Shoreliner cars are released from MN service to GCT.
For the "Demonstration" service to Greenfield,believe Amtrak was providing the equipment.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby asull85 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:04 am

Jeff Smith wrote:Two round trips daily: one a.m. one p.m.

Extended shuttles: any idea which two? I’m thinking 495/490 as 495 still makes Hartford before 8 and 490 is the first NB. 451 is too early. Afternoon I’m thinking 475/476. Thoughts?


The present plan is for 495 and 471 in the morning and 494 and 478 in the evening. The trains going to Greenfield will be changed to a 5## number. I believe 488 is one of the weekend trains planned for Greenfield. MassDOT is also looking into extending service to North Adams depending on how this pilot program goes.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Arlington » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:05 am

asull85 wrote:The present plan is for 495 and 471 in the morning and 494 and 478 in the evening. The trains going to Greenfield will be changed to a 5## number.

Great! So this is a VERY SUPER-COMMUTER "day seeing clients in the big city" or "job interview" kind of schedule

From GFD Southbound
Start today's train 495 at about 5:50am (got to NHV by 9:00a and onward to NYP by 10:30a)
Start today's train 471 at about 7:40am (get to NHV by 10:30 and onward to NYP by 12:30p)
From NHV Northbound
Start today's train 494 at its 7:35pm, arrives GFD at about 10:15pm
Start today's train 478 at its 9:55pm, arrives GFD after midnight (12:35ish?)

How much deadheading from SPG does this involve? All deadheaded? Is there a siding/track on which to park trains overnight? Or even during the day?

MY DREAM: If MA & VT would set up some shore power, and it being 2hrs GFD<-->WRJ, it'd sure be nice to have another 5am-to-Midnight rotation.
WRJ would start 471 at 5:40am and get 478 back at midnight
GFD would start 495 at 5:50am and get 471 back at 12:30p

asull85 wrote:MassDOT is also looking into extending service to North Adams depending on how this pilot program goes.

Hmm. Sounds like a mix of true things that ends up not true?
1) Passenger service to North Adams is definitely a thing, but I'd say only from Adams: MassDOT bought the 5mi-long Adams Branch (Adams to North Adams@PAS) in 2015 and as of the 2018 rail plan is spending 2.5M upgrading it for passenger, but that's for theBerkshire Scenic Ry Museum's RDC joy rides
2) And MassDOT is clearly committed to "further study" about "future service" if the Greenfield pilot goes well (and I think we're all expecting it to go well), so this could be the "looking into" I suppose.
3) And in the same 2018 Rail Plan, MassDOT says it wants both 12r/t daily NHV-SPG and a BerkshireFlyer (modeled on the CapeFlyer's success), so they're definitely hotly pursuing added rail service in western MA.
4) And they're nudging return of the Inlands along.

But somehow I think it will take a future revision of the State Rail Plan before real planning goes into any west-of-SPG (Inlands to Pittsfield) or west-of-GFD (on PanAmSouthern) before we can hope for a study of service west of GFD.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby lordsigma12345 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:33 am

Arlington wrote:How much deadheading from SPG does this involve? All deadheaded? Is there a siding/track on which to park trains overnight? Or even during the day?

It sounds like all deadhead. It would be nice if some of the deadhead trips were sold as options. While ridership would certainly be limited, if they are moving the train anyway what difference would it make. While the very first one for 495 would be pretty useless, the others would not be. I'd take the northbound Vermonter from Springfield to Northampton for a night out and then one of the southbound "deadheads" home if it was offered.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:31 pm

Not a bad start to the new service! One of the biggest advantages is that if you live north of Springfield and work in New Haven and Fairfield Counties, you will be able to commute. It all depends when your job starts and finishes. I can definitely see these new trains doing well with people traveling to NYC on business. Some people might even make a long daytrip to the city. Amtrak will want to do what it can to add cars to those trains as they will probably be packed.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby gprimr1 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:28 am

Extending service to North Adams is a big proposition IMO. Greenfield is easy because the route is under MBTA control. They built it for fast speed, and they will control maintaining it.

The route to North Adams is run by Pan Am Southern, has significant single tracking, and even after NS rebuilt it for them, I remember reading the speeds are back down into the 20MPH zone. I remember riding the Amtrak special and how slow it was, which was cool for a scenic train special run, but I can't say I'd ride a train frequently that couldn't do more than 20 or 30mph.

Now MBTA could dump money into fixing the line, but I feel like the money to restore that line to at least 50MPH (I think the train needs to be comparable to a bus or car speed at least) would be better spent on getting double track from SPG to BOS so MA could connect the two cities.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Ridgefielder » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:31 pm

gprimr1 wrote:Extending service to North Adams is a big proposition IMO. Greenfield is easy because the route is under MBTA control. They built it for fast speed, and they will control maintaining it.

The route to North Adams is run by Pan Am Southern, has significant single tracking, and even after NS rebuilt it for them, I remember reading the speeds are back down into the 20MPH zone. I remember riding the Amtrak special and how slow it was, which was cool for a scenic train special run, but I can't say I'd ride a train frequently that couldn't do more than 20 or 30mph.

Now MBTA could dump money into fixing the line, but I feel like the money to restore that line to at least 50MPH (I think the train needs to be comparable to a bus or car speed at least) would be better spent on getting double track from SPG to BOS so MA could connect the two cities.

I flat-out don't see this happening ever. There's basically nobody to serve in the Deerfield River valley; the largest town between Greenfield and the Hoosac Tunnel is Shelburne Falls, pop. 1,700. If Western Mass ever gets more than 1x/day again it's going to be via the B&A or even the Housatonic RR, not the B&M.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:00 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:I flat-out don't see this happening ever. There's basically nobody to serve [from Greenfield]

Yeah, while I'd amit it is "worth a study" I think you've outlined what the study will show.
(1) That the Berkshire-Taconics (everything west of the Connecticut River Valley) wants a "north-south" connection to NYC
(2) That the mountains are mostly empty
(3) The best way to get by rail to population & vacation hubs (Pittsfield & the Barringtons) is an Empire Service or Housy kind of routing
(4) Albany is a better connection point than Greenfield
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:45 pm

I have to agree. I can't see a North Adams happening in either direction.

I mean MAYBE if they extend further trains from Albany and it's a weekend train with connections to Mass MOCA (which I highly recommend checking out btw!)

My guess, we'll see the following evolution over the next 2 decades:

1) NYP-ALB-Pittsfield - The Berkshire Flyer. This I give a 90%+ chance of happening as a seasonal train and eventually becoming a year-round weekend train.
2) Eventually a separate ALB-SPR route with either a transfer to a SPR-BOS train or run through to Boston. Further in the future.
3) We might even see a Inland route from New Haven that heads towards Albany. The goal isn't the end points, but the midpoints and those just happen to be decent end points for servicing, etc.
4) Very unlikely but I wouldn't rule out in 20-30 years, something up the Housatonic to Pittsfield.
5) Bus routes (from locations like North Adams) as feeders to Springfield, Pittsfield, etc.

To make any of this possible is going to require additional hardware and making sure schedules integrate such that transfers are easy to do.
The integration is going to be key.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby gokeefe » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:10 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:If Western Mass ever gets more than 1x/day again it's going to be via the B&A or even the Housatonic RR, not the B&M.


Call me crazy but I've seen this end of Pan Am come up in discussions before. In general it is considered a better option from an administrative standpoint because the railroad is cooperative. Not commenting on North Adams specifically but more Pan Am v. CSX in Western MA.

That's not to say that it is necessarily a good place to terminate trains but merely that the route might have certain advantages for a wide variety of possibilities.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby gokeefe » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:14 pm

Greg Moore wrote:My guess, we'll see the following evolution over the next 2 decades:


I think extension of the Vermonter to Montreal should be #1. That has a lot of implications for Amtrak in Springfield, Worcester and Boston.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby benboston » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:26 am

Seriously hope that Montrealer comes back, and eventually becomes a high-speed train. My family goes to Montréal every year, along with many others from the Boston area.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Ridgefielder » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:21 am

gokeefe wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote:If Western Mass ever gets more than 1x/day again it's going to be via the B&A or even the Housatonic RR, not the B&M.


Call me crazy but I've seen this end of Pan Am come up in discussions before. In general it is considered a better option from an administrative standpoint because the railroad is cooperative. Not commenting on North Adams specifically but more Pan Am v. CSX in Western MA.

That's not to say that it is necessarily a good place to terminate trains but merely that the route might have certain advantages for a wide variety of possibilities.

If you'g going to go all the way through the tunnel to North Adams, then you may as well go further, to Hoosick Jct., North Bennington and on up the Rutland. Reaching the colleges, populations centers and resorts on the west side of the Green Mountains make a lot more sense than a dead end in North Adams. No matter how nice Mass MoCa is.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby benboston » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:37 pm

Greg Moore wrote: 1) NYP-ALB-Pittsfield - The Berkshire Flyer. This I give a 90%+ chance of happening as a seasonal train and eventually becoming a year-round weekend train.


Never really thought about it, but some of the ski mountains could/should make ski train agreements like Mount Wachusett has with the MBTA.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Safetee » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:05 pm

Berkshire East would die and go to heaven if there were ski trains. They're a three minute shuttle away from the Freight Main.
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