MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:53 pm

amtrakhogger wrote:Uh, why not extend some Amtrak Springfield shuttles to Pittsfield? Wouldn't that be easier? IMO, Pittsfield to GCT is a little ridiculous.


Or chuck in some cheap state sponsoring to reach some otherwise Albany-terminating Empire trains a few miles east, like a low-rent Ethan Allen Express. That will ALWAYS be a faster one-seat to New York than even a like-new rebuild of the Berkshire Line would ever provide.


It's not rational. And I doubt the proposal is serious because the funding figures they were quoting for it were such nonsense. But they had to sell Berkshire County legislators on the transportation bill, so this was their red meat that would quickly get bait-and-switched out. If they wanted real Western MA transit enhancements, continuing commuter rail UP the Conn River to Greenfield or Brattleboro and making use of the spiffy new infrastructure is the duh-obvious way of doing that. But Patrick didn't need to chum of votes in Hampden County because they're getting NHHS in a couple years and the Inland Route restoration was already part of the bill. He needed Berkshire County support...specifically.

It's all moot now. The idiot Speaker and Senate Majority Leader have dictatorial control over their caucuses, and they wanted something big to give Patrick the middle finger on to remind him of the power they wield. Mission accomplished. Now we're going to be underfunded maintaining what we have, and the T's finances are still structurally unfixed.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby boblothrope » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:38 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:And then there's the veto override by the Legislature of Patrick's grand transit funding scheme. The Berkshire was always looking like a total nonstarter on the bill's original project list. Now it is going to be the very first cut.


http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/mas ... vestments/
"$113.8 million will rehabilitate rail from the Berkshires to New York City, including track, signals and structures between Pittsfield and the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line to support future rail service between Pittsfield and New York City. "

Has this proposal officially been cancelled?
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby NH2060 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:41 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
amtrakhogger wrote:Uh, why not extend some Amtrak Springfield shuttles to Pittsfield? Wouldn't that be easier? IMO, Pittsfield to GCT is a little ridiculous.


Or chuck in some cheap state sponsoring to reach some otherwise Albany-terminating Empire trains a few miles east, like a low-rent Ethan Allen Express. That will ALWAYS be a faster one-seat to New York than even a like-new rebuild of the Berkshire Line would ever provide.


It's not rational. And I doubt the proposal is serious because the funding figures they were quoting for it were such nonsense. But they had to sell Berkshire County legislators on the transportation bill, so this was their red meat that would quickly get bait-and-switched out. If they wanted real Western MA transit enhancements, continuing commuter rail UP the Conn River to Greenfield or Brattleboro and making use of the spiffy new infrastructure is the duh-obvious way of doing that. But Patrick didn't need to chum of votes in Hampden County because they're getting NHHS in a couple years and the Inland Route restoration was already part of the bill. He needed Berkshire County support...specifically.

It's all moot now. The idiot Speaker and Senate Majority Leader have dictatorial control over their caucuses, and they wanted something big to give Patrick the middle finger on to remind him of the power they wield. Mission accomplished. Now we're going to be underfunded maintaining what we have, and the T's finances are still structurally unfixed.

Wasn't this also a way to get some fat injected in order to have something to axe to keep the essentials from being taken out of the final budget? Certainly Berkshire County knows how these things work. If not this year the fact that Patrick put the NY-Pittsfield train on the table at all would at least let the proposal be known and therefore allow it to be brought up again next year or however longer they plan to continue this charade.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby Clean Cab » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:11 pm

boblothrope wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:And then there's the veto override by the Legislature of Patrick's grand transit funding scheme. The Berkshire was always looking like a total nonstarter on the bill's original project list. Now it is going to be the very first cut.


http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/mas ... vestments/
"$113.8 million will rehabilitate rail from the Berkshires to New York City, including track, signals and structures between Pittsfield and the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line to support future rail service between Pittsfield and New York City. "

Has this proposal officially been cancelled?


That money would go to waste if CDOT didn't fix/upgrade their portion of the Berkshire Line, and the likelihood of that happening is rather slim. CDOT has been "studying" upgrading the line for over 10 years now and nothing has happened towards making any improvements.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby Dick H » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:45 am

There is a report on the Guilford (PAR) Sightings Group that the MBTA
equipment will deadhead from Worcester to Pittsfield on CSX and down
the HRRC to Canaan CT over the weekend for a Public Relations move
on Monday from MA/CT state line back to Pittsfield and then deadhead
back to Worcester. Thanks to Gary Young for the report.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby Clean Cab » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:38 am

That's a different route from what I had heard. I guess they changed their minds. My sources told me the train left Worcester Wednesday night and was headed to Plainfield, New Haven, South Norwalk and Danbury. MN officials had been notified to expect the move Friday (to) night.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:50 am

Rare sight on the P&W main, that's for sure.


BTW, the Berkshire Line study in CT is for a badly needed New Milford extension of the MNRR Danbury Branch. That's been studied very extensively (http://www.danburybranchstudy.com/) and is one of the highest priority commuter rail expansions in the state after NHHS. It's HRCC that's been the one pushing the Berkshire writ-large plan with a lot of PR bait to local newspapers. CT is generally fed up to hell with HRCC's shennanigans and pulled all its stimulus grant apps for the carrier last year because past awards for grade crossings and past donations of surplus stick rail have mysteriously disappeared. They also had to deal with the near-nuclear war between HRCC and P&W over adverse-abandonment of the Maybrook Line from Derby, the shutdown of HRCC's Newtown transload operation in a messy spat with the locals, and HRCC's running feud with Metro North. They want them to go away...go away soon. They very much regret granting the company a very permissive and hard-to-get out of agreement in the 1980's to take over that line after Guilford gave it up. Thankfully, the only portions of their territory in NY and CT that aren't owned by CDOT or MNRR are the Maybrook from the NY border to Derby, and the small Danbury-New Milford part of the Berkshire. So they don't have all that much to buy up to keep the peace between all the sparring parties...and P&W would definitely like to have the Maybrook to Danbury.


MA's interest is baffling. HRCC owns 100% of the in-state track, and because they have no obligations to a public owner it's the MA track that's had all the recent derailments. Plus the shameful attacks on Berkshire Scenic and the state having to bail that non-profit out with a relocation to the Adams Branch of their excursions. It's going to cost them a lot more to buy up the line. I'm baffled they're even risking the liability of running active revenue equipment on such a godawful-dangerous condition line they don't own. But to see what a true sham that funding commitment is, take a look at CDOT's itemized bill of requested improvements in its State Rail Plan: http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents ... -24-12.pdf. p.205 in the document. It is $165M just for basic state-of-repair to keep existing freight stable at Class 1 speed. Then scroll to the adjacent pages and see what every other in-state private carrier's needs are. HRCC has the most expensive to-do list by far...more than P&W, NECR, and Pan Am combined.

Really, $113M is gonna do anything except disappear in HRCC's pockets, disappear in some study consultants' pockets, and deprive the rest of the state of anything? They could start running Knowledge Corridor commuter rail for that sum. Or extend Middleboro full-blown to Buzzards Bay. Or do Foxboro. Or do 1 of the above AND kick some subsidy to mosey an Amtrak Albany short-turn to Pittsfield, Ethan Allan Express-ish style, and get Berkshire County the same promised service TODAY with a much better and faster trip to New York.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:00 pm

This will become a 4 way circus/partership between MBTA,CDOT,MNR,and HRRC,don't believe that will happen.
Trying to pry 2 slots from CSX for Pittsfield-Springfield service might be a lot easier to pull off.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:03 pm

Just read a report that the Xtra, with 010 - 3**-1521 was west on the B&A thru CP 57 around 11:30a per CSX Sightings yahoo group
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby merrick1 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:39 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Or chuck in some cheap state sponsoring to reach some otherwise Albany-terminating Empire trains a few miles east, like a low-rent Ethan Allen Express. That will ALWAYS be a faster one-seat to New York than even a like-new rebuild of the Berkshire Line would ever provide.

I don't think Pittsfield is the prime destination here. Most of the passengers would be to touristy south county towns, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, and Lenox.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:33 pm

merrick1 wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Or chuck in some cheap state sponsoring to reach some otherwise Albany-terminating Empire trains a few miles east, like a low-rent Ethan Allen Express. That will ALWAYS be a faster one-seat to New York than even a like-new rebuild of the Berkshire Line would ever provide.

I don't think Pittsfield is the prime destination here. Most of the passengers would be to touristy south county towns, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, and Lenox.


Pittsfield has nearly 45,000 people living in it. The entirety of Berkshire County south of there is 34,000 people...many of them not particularly close to this line. And they have the least congested roads in the entire state. And they want to spend that kind of fortune giving them a one-seat to Grand Central that takes over 3 hours on the best track money can buy for that line (i.e. $1 billion)???

Ye gads. Slap Housy to get its track back up to basic state of repair, get Berkshire Scenic back running there, and give them some money to run a Budd dinky to Pittsfield or something if we're getting all touristy. If money absolutely has to be spent on regular passenger rail in Berkshire County it's cheaper to restore the abandoned south half of the Pittsfield & North Adams on a rail-with-trail and tap 3/4 of the county's population instead of dropping this kind of graft on the single least-populated corner of the state...by far. There is no justification for giving those attention-whoring con artists at HRCC attention, or to dishonestly chum for votes with funding five times too low to do anything meaningful out there. And to prioritize this (drifting back on topic) over many badly needed service enhancements to the existing in-state passenger rail.


This is even more cynical than South Coast FAIL.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby NH2060 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:29 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
merrick1 wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Or chuck in some cheap state sponsoring to reach some otherwise Albany-terminating Empire trains a few miles east, like a low-rent Ethan Allen Express. That will ALWAYS be a faster one-seat to New York than even a like-new rebuild of the Berkshire Line would ever provide.

I don't think Pittsfield is the prime destination here. Most of the passengers would be to touristy south county towns, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, and Lenox.


Pittsfield has nearly 45,000 people living in it. The entirety of Berkshire County south of there is 34,000 people...many of them not particularly close to this line. And they have the least congested roads in the entire state. And they want to spend that kind of fortune giving them a one-seat to Grand Central that takes over 3 hours on the best track money can buy for that line (i.e. $1 billion)???

Ye gads. Slap Housy to get its track back up to basic state of repair, get Berkshire Scenic back running there, and give them some money to run a Budd dinky to Pittsfield or something if we're getting all touristy. If money absolutely has to be spent on regular passenger rail in Berkshire County it's cheaper to restore the abandoned south half of the Pittsfield & North Adams on a rail-with-trail and tap 3/4 of the county's population instead of dropping this kind of graft on the single least-populated corner of the state...by far. There is no justification for giving those attention-whoring con artists at HRCC attention, or to dishonestly chum for votes with funding five times too low to do anything meaningful out there. And to prioritize this (drifting back on topic) over many badly needed service enhancements to the existing in-state passenger rail.


This is even more cynical than South Coast FAIL.

And therefore easier to cut/put off each year ;-) I'm seriously starting to think that this indeed a way of always having fat trimmed from the budget each year without affecting what's already in operation. May have even been you yourself who suggested it, if not someone else. I mean it doesn't (or should i say "shouldn't") take much time to realize just how laughable a serious proposal for spending that much on track upgrades for a NY-Pittsfield train would be when even SCR - which also has a $!B price tag- would serve far more passenger and take traffic off of roadways that need some relief. Fall River IIRC is the largest city in the US without regularly scheduled passenger service.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:11 am

NH2060 wrote:Fall River IIRC is the largest city in the US without regularly scheduled passenger service.


I believe that dubious honor goes to Columbus, OH, or Phoenix, AZ [if you don't count Maricopa as Phoenix].

On the topic, I believe someone opined elsewhere that the plan to study this service was to garner politcal support from the good citizens of the Western part of the Commonwealth.

Has this train fallen off the rails yet? :-D
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby piker » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:55 am

I'm as skeptical about this move/idea as anyone and also a little annoyed at the seeming spur of the moment nature of it. So maybe this is a good time to back off and see if there is anything positive about this at all. I think the recent contentious history of the HRRC is skewing our view of the development of this line. With a more cooperative and capable operator is there anything worthwhile in these proposals? I can't see a one seat ride to the city but getting the line upgraded and some passenger service doesn't seem that unreasonable.
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Re: MBTA engine and cars to Danbury Ct?

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:17 am

Rockingham Racer wrote: On the topic, I believe someone opined elsewhere that the plan to study this service was to garner politcal support from the good citizens of the Western part of the Commonwealth.


Mr. F-Line and I have both expressed that opinion, he in detail. Massachusetts politics, as in most other places, is based on an "I gotta get mine" mentality rather than the "greatest benefit for the greatest number" concept that we learned about in grade school civics class a hundred years ago. If you're going to raise taxes statewide primarily to support the MBTA and highway infrastructure east of Worcester, you have to throw a bone to the Berkshire County pols to get their votes. The trains won't show up anytime in the foreseeable future, but the worthy legislators from the hill country can point to what's in the package for their constituents.

South Coast Rail is an even worse example of Massachusetts porking -- endless multi-million dollar "studies" so the South Coast pols can point to action -- but that's a separate topic.
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