The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:06 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:
Lentinula wrote:I do wish It extended to Worcester. Lake shore is useless as a connector.
There's frequent commuter rail service.

There is no commuter rail service between Springfield and Worcester. There IS a move to re-establish service, going back to at least 2014, and it has been part of the MassDOT plan. And as most of us know, the two Amtrak Inland Route trains were dropped years ago.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:59 am

I believe the original complaint was that they're in Worcester and would prefer to transfer at SPG rather than BOS.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Kilo Echo » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:15 am

The deadline is 2 March 2018 to share your thoughts about passenger rail with MassDOT. You can email comments to: Planning@dot.state.ma.us

or mail comments to:

Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Attn: Jennifer Slesinger — State Rail Plan
10 Park Plaza, Ste 4150
Boston, MA 02116

For more information, please visit https://trainsinthevalley.org.

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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:27 pm

GirlOnTheTrain wrote:I believe the original complaint was that they're in Worcester and would prefer to transfer at SPG rather than BOS.


That makes sense. :-)
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Jehochman » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:26 pm

The inland route is destined to return. It’s only 4 miles longer than the shoreline route, has more potential for high speeds and has no swing bridges. Worcester is bigger than Providence and Hartford is much larger than Old Saybrook plus New London. There are more customers on the inland route, and more colleges. Many of us have no desire to drive to or through NYC, which makes the train super attractive.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby bratkinson » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:43 pm

lordsigma12345 wrote:Oh and I think they are dropping Berlin and Wallingford from the Vermonter. New proposed timetable for the line showing both the commuter and Amtrak trains here: http://www.hartfordline.com/

The Vermonter has always (in the past 10 years or so that I've ridden it) skipped a couple of stops on its NEC run to WAS. Most notable of these is New Rochelle, Newark Airport and even BWI. I don't recall seeing many on/offs at Berlin or Wallingford for the Vermonter, so given the increased frequencies on the route as of May, people in those towns wanting to go to beyond New Haven will have to catch a different train and transfer in New Haven to a corridor train. Perhaps there's a reason the train is limited to 5 cars thus limiting the number of passengers it can carry...short platforms from Windsor north could be the main reason, in my opinion.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby lordsigma12345 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:53 am

Given all the additional trains that will be running and making all the stops on the line, I'm surprised they aren't eliminating Meriden and Windsor Locks from the Vermonter too and just having it stop at Springfield and Hartford. Since the Vermonter is considered a separate program in both the state budgets and at Amtrak from the rest of the SPG-NHV trains, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vermonter is excluded from the Hartford Line commuter fares. I would imagine just the Shuttles and Regional through trains that are funded by Mass and Connecticut would have ticket reciprocity with the Hartford line but I guess we'll see. One other thing I noticed on the schedule is Windsor Locks and Windsor seems to be added onto the later southbound through train that they only run on weekends (147 on Sat 157 on Sun) those trains skip Windsor Locks and Windsor currently - makes sense to add those in if the Regional through trains will be part of the Hartford line reciprocity.

In my opinion the joint ticketing reciprocity agreement with Amtrak is going to be the make or break for the Hartford line. I don't think having just the 8 proposed round trips for commuters is enough to attract a decent ridership. When you add in all those Amtrak trains to the schedule, it looks like a pretty decent commuter service.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Train60 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:42 pm

bratkinson wrote:
lordsigma12345 wrote:Oh and I think they are dropping Berlin and Wallingford from the Vermonter. New proposed timetable for the line showing both the commuter and Amtrak trains here: http://www.hartfordline.com/

The Vermonter has always (in the past 10 years or so that I've ridden it) skipped a couple of stops on its NEC run to WAS. Most notable of these is New Rochelle, Newark Airport and even BWI. I don't recall seeing many on/offs at Berlin or Wallingford for the Vermonter, so given the increased frequencies on the route as of May, people in those towns wanting to go to beyond New Haven will have to catch a different train and transfer in New Haven to a corridor train. Perhaps there's a reason the train is limited to 5 cars thus limiting the number of passengers it can carry...short platforms from Windsor north could be the main reason, in my opinion.

Someone once told me that the length of the Vermonter set is limited by one leg of the wye (https://goo.gl/maps/NxDJt9hHZQw) in St Albans.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:00 pm

they could easily put crossing back in , the right of way across is still vacant
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:14 pm

Jehochman wrote:The inland route is destined to return. It’s only 4 miles longer than the shoreline route, has more potential for high speeds and has no swing bridges. Worcester is bigger than Providence and Hartford is much larger than Old Saybrook plus New London. There are more customers on the inland route, and more colleges. Many of us have no desire to drive to or through NYC, which makes the train super attractive.


Nonsense, the Shore Line is far superior in nearly all respects. The top speed anywhere on the B & A for a passenger train is around 60 MPH, on the Shore Line you can go double that speed in places. Hartford might be larger at present that Old Saybrook and New London but that does not necessarily mead high ridership, Hartford today is not what Hartford was back when they had really good service on the New Haven. The Springfield Line is infested with grade crossings and they are accidents waiting to happen in many cases. College folks and military personnel are big riders of trains, always have been, and there is at least as much on the Shore Line as there is via Springfield. I remember taking the train one weekday many years ago from New York to Boston and I took the one train that operated via the Inland Route. We had a four car train while the Shore Line trains were running with seven or eight cars and doing the trip over an hour faster as well. Now with electric operation the Shore Line is even better than it was back then. It might make sense to run one or two additional trains between New York and Boston using the Inland Route but moving anything from the Shore Line to the Inland Route makes absolutely no sense at all. As for Springfield - Boston Peter Pan runs frequent bus service using the Mass Pike and does it a lot faster than any passenger train could ever do on the B & A. The B & A has too many restricting curves to ever be anything resembling a high speed railroad or even a higher speed railroad.
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Last edited by Noel Weaver on Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby BandA » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:38 pm

Point of note, the Midland route is not the same as the Inland route.http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=126&t=162627&start=0
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:04 am

I hope that someday, Amtrak Inland Route Service would be revived again. Of course, it is up to the State of MA and of course CSX. Noel made very good points. Just remember that the old Boston & Albany route isn't meant for a high speed operation. I believe that MBTA is supposed to run at 70 mph over their stretch, but there are a lot of curves-even in MBTA turf. On the SPG Line, there are a lot of grade crossings, especially where the stations are. I believe that there will be speed increases along the SPG to 110 in some spots that that won't reduce too much time off of the schedule. If the Inland Route is ever revived again, don't count on having too many Amtrak trains.

What might be a good idea is maybe run a Thruway Bus Service from BOS to SPG as the bus is much faster than the train between those cities. The Thruway bus could maybe connect to 55 and/or one or two of the shuttles. At the end of the day, it will be faster to travel by train to BOS the route of the Shoreline.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby Jehochman » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:31 am

The Shoreline is capacity constrained because of the swing bridges that open for marine traffic. Moreover, from Westerly to New Haven it’s all curves. From New Haven to Springfield it’s flat with hardly any curves. Even today trains go 79mph, and faster is possible. Springfield to Palmer is mostly straight. From there you have to cross the same hills as you do along the shoreline. East-west travel in New England is hard no matter how you slice it because the ridges run north-south form the coast to the border of Canada.

The Inland Route is where Amtrak can expand their profitable NEC service. Hartford-Springfield is more than a million people. Worcester is the second largest city in New England. An inland train would primarily carry passengers from Worcester, Springfield and Hartford.

Bus service on the Pike is a joke. During rush hours that road is a parking lot near Boston, Auburn and Sturbridge. Relaxing on a train at 40 - 60 mph would be much better than crawling at 15 mph in bumper to bumper traffic.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 am

Yes between New Haven and Westerly, there are a lot of curves but there are some stretches of straightaway separated by curves. For example, in Guilford, when you look east from the SLE platform, it is quite straight. Between Old Saybrook and New London, you have several curves.

On the SPG Line, yes, there aren't many curves. Just north of Mill River Interlocking, the SPG Line is very straight for quite a few miles and the trains really move through there. There are some slight curves. The major curves are in Hartford and then on both sides of the Connecticut River crossing and of course, just west of SPG Station. Another spot where there is continuous miles of straight track is between Berlin and the curve just west of Hartford station.
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Re: The Springfield Shuttle - What's the Deal?

Postby BandA » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:59 pm

Other than in CT, they are not going to build a dedicated busway between New Haven and Boston, although buses have advantages on hills & curves they are limited to a MAS of 65 for the foreseeable future.

The B&A line is presently very underutilized east of Worcester at least. I know it needs signal upgrades to unlock it's potential, so what is that upside potential for the Springfield Line & the Inland Route? What was the historic peak speeds?
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