Beacon Line Service Proposals or Ideas

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Beacon Line Service Proposals or Ideas

Postby rhallock » Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:52 pm

I was over at Beacon today looking at the branch. As expected it was very rusty. But I spoke with a man who was working at a nearby factory and he told me that Metro North had it "in the works" to run one car trains (RDC or SPV?) on the branch "for tourists". This might just be BS, but I am passing it along just in case anyone knows anything about it.
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Postby Tom Curtin » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:33 am

I believe [for a variety of reasons] you are experiencing a communications phenomenon common among railfans, in which

"Wouldn't it be nice to see . . . "

becomes

"You know, I heard a crazy rumor that . . . "

becomes

"A train crewman I know gave me some inside skinny that . . . "

becomes

"I think I read an article in the paper that the railroad in considering . . ."

becomes

"The railroad's issuing a formal press release of this great new service is imminent --- any day now . . . "

The above process, or an approximation of it, has been around for decades. The big difference between the 50s and today is the lightning speed of global communication. Whereas the above process would previously take weeks or months," it now takes hours.
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Postby Nester » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:32 am

Someone (I think it was Dutchess County) did a study that concluded that it was cheaper to add parking to existing stations in the county (Beacon, New Hamburg, Poughkeepsie, Pawling, Wingdale, Wassiac, etc.) to draw additional riders that it would be to re-activate service along the branch.

I don't know if you've ever walked or rode the branch, but it would require some serious reconstruction to accomodate passenger service. In the past few years they've removed many of the crossing arms, which would probably need to be replaced if you planned on running service with any degree of frequency. I don't know what the signalling system is like, but I would imagine that it would also require an upgrade.

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Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:54 am

The part from Hopewell to Beacon would be most likely NOT to see service due to amount of curves ans crossings some of them private.
A study was done a few years back to run trains from Hopewell to Brewster and on to GCT.
MTA claimed not enough riders were available.
The Beacon line has no signal system, its manual block.
The crossing systems were removed since they were turned off anyway.
For a crossing to work you need at least two round trips a week to keep the rails shiny
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Postby Nester » Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:07 am

DutchRailnut wrote: A study was done a few years back to run trains from Hopewell to Brewster and on to GCT.


If that was the plan, that won't happen either. The fastest diesel pull from GCT to Southeast will run about 1h 15m or thereabouts, and at least another 20 minutes (at best, I don't know what the track speed is) or so to Hopewell Jct. For all that effort, a commuter from Hopewell could drive the 20 minutes or so to Beacon or Southeast and get on a train. Without considerable track and signal improvements, that's worse than trying to activate the line from Hopewell to Beacon (which cannot provide service into or out of Beacon without a reverse move or a new station.)

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Postby mkm4 » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:55 pm

Nester wrote:
DutchRailnut wrote: A study was done a few years back to run trains from Hopewell to Brewster and on to GCT.


If that was the plan, that won't happen either. The fastest diesel pull from GCT to Southeast will run about 1h 15m or thereabouts, and at least another 20 minutes (at best, I don't know what the track speed is) or so to Hopewell Jct. For all that effort, a commuter from Hopewell could drive the 20 minutes or so to Beacon or Southeast and get on a train.
Nester


I live in Hopewell Jct. I make the trip to Southeast every day. (It's a few minutes shorter trip to Beacon, but there is better service and less hassles out of Southeast.) Even if they did open a Hopewell Jct Station, I would still leave from Southeast. Why? It would take me almost as long to get to the station as it already takes me to get to Southeast.
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etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:46 pm

In my opinion, New York State errored badly when the Harlem beyond
Wassaic was abandoned and torn up. There is a huge potential in the
area of Dutchess/Columbia north of Wassaic and it would be very
difficult and expensive to extend the Harlem north of Wassaic.
The state did not want to make the same mistake regarding the Beacon-
Brewster-Danbury section so they bought it and it is essentially rail-
banked although it is occasionaly used for one thing or another.
I don't really see the status of this line changing anytime soon but at least
it is still in place. It would take a lot of work and dollars to up-grade this
line for regular passenger service but not as much nor as difficult as the
area north of Wassaic.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:57 pm

Noel you remember how in 1984 MNCR tried to cut back to Brewster North.
I had bosses that tried to prohibit me from making repairs on RDC's so they would not be atractive to Passengers.
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Postby Lackawanna484 » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:00 pm

I guess the next logical endpoint for the Harlem Line would be Millerton, 12 miles or so upline.

The extension from Dover Plains to (new) Wassaic got a huge parking lot, layover yard, and pulled a lot of traffic out of the old village. I'm not sure what would be accomplished for the current commuters from northwest CT, far northern Dutchess and southern Columbia counties other than saving them 15 minutes of driving, and substituting 15 minutes of train.
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Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:03 pm

It might not be a bad idea for service on the Harlem to go as far as Millerton. The question is where. I haven't done too much research on how many people are moving up there. Wassaic is a big parking lot and it attracts many people from all over where NY, Ct, and MA overlap. Aslo, what good would it do to institute MN service on the ex-NH Berkshire Line. I heard that might go to New Milford.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:22 pm

No service is contemplated on Berkshire line as HRRC will not let CDOT/MNCR on their line.
As far as going further north of Wassaic MNCR's job is to take care of commuter in New York. its CDOT's respoinibility to take care of Connecticut commuters.
If MNCR were to go futher north are Columbia county residents willing to pay taxes to get CT/MA commuters to work ???
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Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:33 pm

Dutch, I was working a job out of GCT to Brewster and return in the
evening during a good part of 1984. I recall how horrible the Budd Cars
were at the time, they were running a bus often to Dover Plains at the
time.
As for the situation today, I agree that the people in Columbia County
might well be reluctant to subsidize commuters and other passengers who
would cross the state line from Connecticut and Massachusetts,
As for the Berkshire, I think the Housatonic would end up cooperating with
the state but I do not see the state (Connecticut) coming up with the
funds need to restore service on any part of the Berkshire, not even to
New Milford.
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Postby RedSoxSuck » Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:43 am

Dutch can probably comment on this, but it seems, at least to me, that the most usefull aspect of the Beacon line as it exist today is the fact that it allows equipment movements between the northern points of 3 lines. In most circumstances, it would probably be quicker to run down to NYC and back up, but if, for whatever reason, a line is wiped out north of NYC, the railroad still has the ability to move equipment in and out. Specifically, if something happens that forces all of the Harlem's tracks to be closed north of Woodlawn, the Beacon line is the ONLY track connection to the outside world north of there, and in such a situation, could come in very handy.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:31 am

What is the current status of the Beacon Line? Does MN still use it for training and equipment moves?

When I was 8, an MN conductor swore to me that MN was going to start running the Hudson Line as far as Albany... by 1987.

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Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:08 am

MNCR has a track equipment operator school at Hopewell Jct.
there are pieces of different track and third rail on yard track .
Currently only inspection train traverses the Beacon line ones or twice a year.
The DRM has not organized any fan trips or there would be more moves.
Trackspeed is 25 mph passenger and 10 mph freight.
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