Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:12 pm

atsf sp wrote:They should make it a New Haven-Worcester line including hartford and springfield. This line would connect MN and the MBTA. Stopping at Hartford and Springfield will have only minor connections between those cities but the New Haven Worcester willl connect those area commuters to NYC and Boston rather than Amtrak needing to come into the play.


CSX track capacity issues aside -- the B&A is mostly single track between Springfield and Worcester -- when a bus or car can get from Hartford to Worcester in just over an hour on a direct route via I-84, who but a railfan will take the long, slow way around via Springfield in a commuter train? And would that be the best use of tax money anyway, with respect to the cost versus number of people who would benefit? Plus, Amtrak already connects Metro North with the MBTA with frequent NEC trains for those who need to get from one system to the other. Let's start with what's at least plausible in the current funding climate, some additional service between New Haven and Springfield.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby FRN9 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:16 pm

Tom,

Good point on the lack of ridership between New Haven and Worcester and starting with Springfield-New Haven first.

ATSF,

Maybe the better idea to accomplish your same goal is it think about ways to extend the MBTA from Boston thru to Springfield. I imagine there are a lot more people going from Springfield to Boston than from Hartford/New Haven there and it keeps it clean statewise. But Tom brings up an important point which is the single-tracked nature of the Boston-Albany line west of Worcester. Is connecting these systems via Springfield the best use of dollars?

While there are other issues related to drawbridges and such, what about first connecting New London to Providence? The line between New Haven and Boston is electrified and this should offer and added incentive to provide some kind of commuter service between the two regions. The distance between Boston and New Haven via Providence is 154 miles, but the distance between New London and Providence is only 58 miles (Worcester to Springfield is 48 miles). Given that the line would primarily serve Rhode Island perhaps they could support the service. Operationally, however, it would be best to have a single train running between Boston and New Haven, which would replace the present MBTA Boston to Providence and SLE service to New Haven.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:50 pm

FRN9 wrote: Operationally, however, it would be best to have a single train running between Boston and New Haven, which would replace the present MBTA Boston to Providence and SLE service to New Haven.


But why duplicate Amtrak? There really isn't all that much population-wise between New London and Providence, and what large towns exist (Mystic, Kingston, Westerly) already have Amtrak stations. Plus, the MBTA extension to TF Green on the south side of Providence pretty much gets commuter rail service to the edge of the Providence suburban district. If your goal is better commuter service into Providence it would make more sense to push for MBTA service on the Providence & Worcester main line between those two cities.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:25 pm

You guys want to run trains to Worcester, and they haven't even approved the Springfield-New Haven project yet? Talk about putting the cart ahead of the horse!! Let's please stick to the topic at hand.
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Re: Springfield line news

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:28 am

More news:

New Haven-Springfield Commuter System Getting Serious Look. Hartford Courant. 7.6.09

Five years, $880 million
The state transportation department wants thousands of drivers to join Daniels and Maloney.

Establishing a full-scale commuter train system paralleling I-91 has shot to the top of the Department of Transportation's "to do" list this year, prompted by the hope of landing federal stimulus grants to modernize the existing rail line linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield.

"It's the most important initiative we have," Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie said. "We're going to bring it to the finish line."

The plan would take at least five years, more than $880 million up front and annual subsidies after that. But the DOT says central Connecticut would get a system only a couple of notches below Metro-North's service between New Haven and Manhattan. That line carries about 58,000 riders every weekday — 58,000 people who aren't further jamming I-95 or Route 1, where rush-hour gridlock is a way of life.


I think the interesting part is that they are shooting for full-build (with or without electrification) rather than just an immediate minimum level start-up. I'm happy to see this is starting to get fast-tracked.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:42 am

First Worcester, then the East Wind! :wink:

Back on topic, though. Anyone have any idea what the rush hour peak direction would be on this service? It's an unusual layout for a commuter operation when you think of it, because you have three roughly equal population centers spaced out along the line-- Springfield, Hartford, and New Haven.

In terms of improvements, it seems to me that the most pressing before starting even a minimal SLE-circa-1995-type service is Hartford Union Station. At the least, I'd imagine they'd want to get a second track back in service through the station, not to mention high level platforms.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby CVRA7 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:31 am

Ridgefielder is 100% correct - work is sorely needed at Hartford before much expansion can take place.
Four through tracks once sat on a steel c 1887 viaduct adjacent to the cut stone building. Hartford Union Station and the property under the viaduct was purchased and the station refurbished by the Greater Hartford Transit District in the late 1980s. By 1987 the transportation functions were largeley moved out of the Union Station building and into a new building constructed underneath the viaduct, and there lies the problem: How to repair the viaduct.
Only one track currently remains on the viaduct, but toward the end of the multiple track era around 1991 it had deteriorated to the point that only one train at a time was allowed on it. Although it was strengthened several times over the years, I believe it now needs a substantial rebuilding. And to do this the "transportation building" would most likely need to be removed with the bus and rail ticket offices probably returning to the Union Station building.
Needless to say this would take some time - and I'm sure it would have to be studied for a year or two.
I knew that transportation building was going to be a problem - and I knew it first hand as I was working there from 1974 until 1987. The roof leaked from day one!
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:59 am

They'd either have to move the ticketing functions back into the station or into temporary buildings on the parking lot across Spruce Street. I didn't realize that viaduct was that old and badly deteriorated. Given that there's no way to take it out of service completely while you rebuild (discounting some fantasy detour using the Valley and the Air Line) I'd imagine you'd be looking at a 3-4 year project right there even if construction started the day after tomorrow.
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Re: Springfield line news

Postby AEGUY63 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:24 am

Reading the article, it pretty much shows no interest in utilizing MTA, just high-speed (110mph) trains.
Eagerly awaiting the M8's and M9's :)
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby CannaScrews » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:23 am

Lest we forget....

There is freight traffic via at least 3 railroads which use the Springfield-New Haven Main. You can't put in high level platforms & run freight service due to clearances. Once you factor in gauntlet tracks or shoo-flys like in Old Saybrook, you have some real engineering and $$$$s to contend with.

I gotta love the "open-the-door - head for the woods" speculations.

1. CDOT (rail) is going through a MAJOR personell change at the top. All of the "old railroad heads" have left and are being replaced with true bureaucrats [Comm. Marie notwithstanding - he came from a commuter RR environment I think]. The only decisions they now make is which consulting firm to contract with for a study. If you see how quickly the highways are deteriorating after being "paved" less than 5 years ago, you can get a sense of how that department has gone downhill. Now you are asking them to place an infrastructure which is to last 50-100 years?

2. What havoc is going to be played on the freight railroads with this happening? You need some fancy (and intellegent) dispatching efforts to not constrain CSX, CSO, P&W & CNER(at least in Hartford) - oh yes and PanAM (Southern).

3. The spectre of positive train control is nearing - you will have to design the track with that in mind.

4. The 300 lb gorilla in the Connecticut River bridge in Windsor exists - I think it has a 2 degree list due to its age/design & use.

All this means is time and money - the more money you want to spend, the more time it will take. So everyone cool your jets.

What can be done is start small. There will probably have to be a couple of trainsets purchased to hold down the service, mmmm, maybe 10 million? $1.5-2 per locomotive, 500k per car. Lead time? 2 years. Crew acquisition 3-5 crews depending on service & training.

Amtrak has no spare equipment for this - don't even think about it & they are trying to hire crews for their own service.

It's not that I'm pessimistic, I'm realistic. It'll be 2-3 years before anything happens. The STIMfunds are toast for a project of this scope, besides, it all has to be spend by Feb 2011 or therebouts.

So, gentlemen & germs, put on your thinking caps, spin the propellers on top of your collective beanies & let's see where this project goes.

And Noel, you're right, operationally, but the equipment has to come from somewhere.

OOOO, OOOO, OOOO! Muldoon...* - there are 10 bi-level coaches x-LIRR sitting in Torrington & there are a few FL-9s still lying about somewhere - lets make a deal.... this may be able to come together quicker than I thought.


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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:01 pm

CannaScrews wrote:Lest we forget....
There is freight traffic via at least 3 railroads which use the Springfield-New Haven Main. You can't put in high level platforms & run freight service due to clearances. Once you factor in gauntlet tracks or shoo-flys like in Old Saybrook, you have some real engineering and $$$$s to contend with.


Amtrak is the owner of the ex-NYNH&H Springfield-New Haven mainline http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents ... ils2x3.pdf. I'd imagine that gives them leverage vis-a-vis the freight carriers. Also, are freights and high-level platforms always and without exception mutually exclusive? If so, how does P&W serve the Shoreline main in SLE territory? Or, for that matter, the (albeit occasional) service on the Danbury branch. It's not like we're talking about the Overland Route here: I don't know how often CSX comes down to Cedar Hill but it can't be more than 1-2x a day these days.

Also, if it is that huge an impediment, remember that if push came to shove freight could also access Hartford via a rehabilitated Armory Branch down through East Hartford; you could in theory get all the way to Cedar Hill by way of the Valley and the Air Line though Middletown...
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Postby CannaScrews » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:21 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:
Also, if it is that huge an impediment, remember that if push came to shove freight could also access Hartford via a rehabilitated Armory Branch down through East Hartford; you could in theory get all the way to Cedar Hill by way of the Valley and the Air Line though Middletown...



Don't even THINK about that can of worms.

The right-of-way was sold in Mass. A school has built a parking lot over the ROW.

Only years of litigation and dollars are involved.

Oh, yeah - a private for-profit railroad leases or owns the Armory Branch in Conn. adding to the mix.


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Re: Springfield line news

Postby Swedish Meatball » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:19 pm

Was there any mention of new engines or equipment in the article? Double tracking, new signal system, fixing old bridges and adding 2 new stations and parking. CDOT will never get it done before 2015. Electrifying the corridor would add another 4 years and 500 million.
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Re: Springfield line news

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:10 am

I doubt they'll electrify due to lack of equipment. If they order the option cars on the M-8 order, they can shift SLE equipment.
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Re: Springfield line news

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:16 am

They have 19 ex VRE mafersa cars in storage at Cedar Hill, rebuilt with no place to go, only 14 cars are used in Daily SLE operations.
As for engine's CDOT owned 8 P40's and 6 GP40-2h of which only 4 plus one spare are used for daily SLE trains.
Amtrak is currently running 6 round trips on Springfield line but CDOT wants 9 round trips, It is not hard to understand that CDOT has plenty of equipment to add 3 trains a day.
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