Amtrak Springfield Line in CT incl. poss. Greenfield ext.

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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby lordsigma12345 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:24 pm

That document also seems to indicate that the schedule will be made for the services to complement rather than compete with each other to maximize the amount of service along the line. Given how much this program is going to rely on the Amtrak service, in order for them to really make this program successful as a commuter service they should somehow negotiate a deal to integrate the services somewhat so that long term rail passes for CTrail would also work on the NHV-SPG Amtrak rail service to maximize the times available for commuters while maintaining separate ticketing for single rides on each service. Not sure if such an arrangement would be possible, but given the way this corridor is going to be structured it seems like the right move.
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby bratkinson » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:26 pm

I'm stunned to read that Amtrak will continue to stop at Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford for all their trains. I understand the merits of the through trains such as 141/55/56/148 stopping at those stations, but shuttles too? I can only guess there is sufficient (expected) traffic on the shuttles connecting to Amtrak NEC trains to warrant the extra stops. Maybe they're expecting ridership miracles once the shuttle replacement buses are forever banished.
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:14 am

Figure on ConnDOT having a "few" startup problems along with the contractor involved as NHV -Hatford commuter service.
also figure on a major traffic restriction as the I-84 rebuild/trench build ramps up near Hartford station.
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby BandA » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:16 pm

What are they going to do about the fact that Amtrak presently charges $24 SPG-NHV while the upcoming ConnDOT NNHS CR will be charging $12.75.
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby electricron » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:50 pm

Probably nothing, it’s not unusual for Amtrak to charge higher fares than commuter rail agencies for the same destinations.
For example, TRE charges $5 (each direction) between downtowns Dallas and Fort Worth, Amtrak charges $8 for the same trip (each direction).
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby LM Train » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:51 am

lordsigma12345 wrote:That document also seems to indicate that the schedule will be made for the services to complement rather than compete with each other to maximize the amount of service along the line. Given how much this program is going to rely on the Amtrak service, in order for them to really make this program successful as a commuter service they should somehow negotiate a deal to integrate the services somewhat so that long term rail passes for CTrail would also work on the NHV-SPG Amtrak rail service to maximize the times available for commuters while maintaining separate ticketing for single rides on each service. Not sure if such an arrangement would be possible, but given the way this corridor is going to be structured it seems like the right move.


Is CTrail going to run on weekends? Because I cannot imagine Amtrak would be happy about that.

Although my home station is NY Penn, I actually started my trip to Orlando from Hartford because I attended a concert the day before, coming up from NYP. (And I was originally booked on the rail shuttle on that Saturday before it was bus-stituted.) That southbound shuttle train, #401 on Sunday, was the first time I ever saw a 1-car train. There were some passengers before Hartford but more came from that station. The trip was slow due to single-tracking operations. The shuttle was late coming into New Haven and we had to do a painful non-cross-platform transfer which I'm sure confused a party of two who were traveling to the South due to personnel not initially guiding them to the correct platform.

I also noted an incident where a passenger from Hartford wanted to ride to New Haven using some sort of pass. The conductor told him passes would not be accepted until next year and he was to be let go at the following stop if he didn't want to pay the Amtrak fare. (This should not be read as Amtrak will accept those passes; I'm just recounting what I heard.) He got off at that stop.

I make no claims on the typical ridership of this route, but this is not a positive sign. Competing bus service is also a consideration. I don't say a one-car train should not be run, but I surmise Amtrak would rather look for better opportunities for its fleet.

bratkinson wrote:I'm stunned to read that Amtrak will continue to stop at Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford for all their trains. I understand the merits of the through trains such as 141/55/56/148 stopping at those stations, but shuttles too? I can only guess there is sufficient (expected) traffic on the shuttles connecting to Amtrak NEC trains to warrant the extra stops. Maybe they're expecting ridership miracles once the shuttle replacement buses are forever banished.


I am not sure that my train even made a stop at Wallingford. (Obviously the conductor had to make sure no one was boarding or detraining to make that decision.) The train was late anyway.
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby NH2060 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:51 am

LM Train wrote:Is CTrail going to run on weekends? Because I cannot imagine Amtrak would be happy about that.

Um... what?????

Shore Line East runs on weekends on Amtrak owned rails using Amtrak crews. SLE, like the Hartford Line, is a ConnDOT service that the state of CT funds, provides the equipment for, and sets the fare structure. Why on earth would Amtrak be unhappy about Hartford Line weekend service?
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby ebtmikado » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:57 am

The Amtrak Springfield Line trains are scheduled to connect with NEC trains at New Haven. Most tickets will have through fares, and Amtrak passengers will not pay such a high amount to connect to other Amtrak trains.
Hartford Line is where most of the local passengers, and those connecting with Metro-North will likely ride.

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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby johndmuller » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:19 pm

So, does this mean that to get the best fare, passengers continuing beyond New Haven on Amtrak should take Amtrak trains and those continuing beyond New Haven on Metro North should take CTRail trains?
Or are the trains all the same and you can pay the New Haven portion of your trip with whichever kind of ticket works for you?
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Re: Springfield Line in CT incl. possible Greenfield extensi

Postby gprimr1 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:19 am

I would expect it will work like it always has.

You can buy a ticket on Amtrak from your destination to an Amtrak served destination on the line and the price includes the NHV North part. In exchange, you get the timed, cross the platform transfer.

Or

You can buy a ticket to NHV and switch to CTRail on your own.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line in CT incl. poss. Greenfield ext

Postby johndmuller » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:01 pm

I guess I didn't ask that right.

I take it that there will be several types of trains: Amtrak operated Amtrak LD trains, i.e. the Vermonter; Amtrak operated (on behalf of the State of Connecticut) Springfield-New Haven shuttles; and the new service CTRail/ConnDOT whomever operated (on behalf of the State of Connecticut) Hartford line service between Springfield and New Haven. Each of these three categories is a different operation, right(?), with different, but some overlapping station-stops, and different fare structures?

So if I were at some intermediate point in Connecticut, say Berlin or Hartford, and wanted to go to NY City, I could buy a ticket using any of these trains, but depending on whose train it was and whether I wanted to go to Penn Station or Grand Central, there would possibly (probably) need to be a separate ticket for the New Haven to New York portion and the fares are going to be different. If all three of these services have different pricing/ticketing policies, aren't trips like this going to have a confusing variety of prices, the more so if you are going to someplace common to Amtrak and Metro North, like Stamford instead of NY City.

If the Springfield Shuttles and the new Hartford line service have different fare structures, isn't the State of Connecticut essentially competing with themselves? Assuming that the various trains are evenly spaced, rather than competing head to head, this will mean that a trip to Stamford or NYC will cost arbitrarily different amounts depending on when you take it and could require different kinds of tickets.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line in CT incl. poss. Greenfield ext

Postby CVRA7 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:18 pm

Amtrak's "reservations required" policy will make it difficult to mesh Amtrak and CTrail Hartford Line services. If Amtrak doesn't sell the Hartford Line tickets as they do Shore Line East, I'll be surprised if the few remaining ticket agents will offer any information on the new service.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line in CT incl. poss. Greenfield ext

Postby bratkinson » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:27 pm

For those riding to NY Penn from Springfield, my experience has been that the coach ticket price on all trains is the same price, regardless of whether a shuttle train (or bus) is used or a single through train like train 141 is used (subject to availability pricing, buckets, etc). However, the Vermonter is often more expensive due to less seat availability.

One could easily opt to ride CTRail to save some money going to NHV. Using CTRail also opens up better connections to Amtrak trains such as the Acela or any of the no-connection-to-SPG trains to/from Boston. And for someone going to Grand Central or any of the Metro North stations, switching from one commuter train to another is normal...just like the folks in Waterbury, Danbury, and New Canaan have been doing for years!
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line in CT incl. poss. Greenfield ext

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:47 am

If I need to ride to any station along the line, I will generally use MNR and CTRail since I live very close to NYC.

This spring, after the service begins, I am toying with the idea of spending a few nights at a hotel in a town along the SPG Line, just to railfan the traffic. One way from NYC, I’ll use the new service. I’ll use it to travel between stations on the line. I might take Amtrak heading back.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line in CT incl. poss. Greenfield ext

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:39 am

johndmuller wrote:If the Springfield Shuttles and the new Hartford line service have different fare structures, isn't the State of Connecticut essentially competing with themselves? Assuming that the various trains are evenly spaced, rather than competing head to head, this will mean that a trip to Stamford or NYC will cost arbitrarily different amounts depending on when you take it and could require different kinds of tickets.


How is this any different than taking Amtrak NHV-NYP vs. Metro-North to Grand Central? (Or Amtrak from NLC-NHV vs. SLE between the two) You want the quicker/more expensive ride, then show up and ride Amtrak. If you want the cheaper commuter ride, show up and ride the NHHS train. I suspect the same announcements you hear Amtrak conductors making at Stamford will be commonly heard on the Hartford line "This is Amtrak - make sure your ticket is right otherwise you'll be paying $60 to New York."

It seems like Amtrak is not going to be encouraging connections to the Hartford line, just like they don't encourage connections to Metro North now...so if you look up Amtrak schedules it's not going to show you commuter rail options and vice versa - it's doubtful MN/Hartford Line is going to give you Amtrak connection options. If you want to complicate the process by taking Amtrak then transferring to Metro North or the Hartford line instead of staying on an Amtrak train, then that's on you.
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