Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

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: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:02 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:yes from Beacon to about Holmes NY or about 28 miles it would also involve 16 public crossings and another 12 or so private crossings.
the line has zero freight customers.


Add NIMBYs to this as well. I would love to see some sort of use for these tracks but it would be extremely difficult and expensive at best. At least I had opportunities to run freight trains on this interesting and scenic route.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby expbusop » Sat Oct 08, 2016 8:04 am

Noel makes a very good point about NIMBY's. Also a lot of folks seem to throw out ideas about what can be done with this traffic but seem to not realize cost factors, lack of industry and freight using customers. Scenery and nostalgia are great but you need to take real world factors into context. I live near the line and I used to love watching 4 or 5 Conrail 6 axle engines lug that tonnage into and through Danbury. But as we all know things do change.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby AMK0123 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:49 pm

Dutch, was just curious if you or someone else can fill us in on the legalities of operating just a portion of the Beacon line like what was expressed in the article. Obviously, there is zero freight customers on the line, but in a perfect world, say the GAP distributer in Fishkill had a spur and received cars or Royal carting had a trash transfer in Hopewell Jct. Would there be legalities on interchanging cars at CP58. I remember you or someone else saying it had only happened once with HRRC due to a situation on there line. Also, as operations stand now how would you even conduct a interchange move, I assume CSX would have to drop cars using track 3 at Beacon during the night and then make the cross over or have the B749 come all the way up from Oak point and shove back into the line? Don't really know if CSX would be that interested (however there still making the run to Chelsea periodically) I assume MTA maybe looking for more of a tourist like solution, ie rail bikes or do you think this is just another thing to stir up gossip in the local communities and then keep stringing them along as they know they will not do anything further with the line. Also, as for the fiber from Dykemans to Danbury I was surprised to see that Putnam County went ahead and started paving sections of the rail trail in Brewster. Would have thought MTA would have buried the line and then have them pave over it.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:54 pm

ok forget the GAP warehouse, their stuff arives in containers in port Elizabeth, it would take two days by train, but only 80 minutes by truck.
Garbage transfer is not a nimby friendly business ask people in Croton, I doubt anything like that could be started.
and even if a shortline tried, I doubt they can make a living of say 10 cars a day moved for 11 miles.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:45 pm

HRRC still has freight rights to Dutchess Jct., so they'd have to be bought out for CSX to poke out. And...well, if CSX's interest weren't miniscule before the need to engage HRRC and cut them a check certainly kills it. I honestly can't see Dykemans-Dutchess ever being used for freight again unless NEC FUTURE gets such a bug up its butt about purging every freight slot imaginable from Bronx to Devon that the P&W stone trains and CSX Cedar Hill jobs both get re-routed over the Maybrook and Hudson/Oak Point. With federal fun bux paying for the upgrades. Yeah...not very likely. Even with NEC FUTURE's apparent jones for lighting skycraper-tall stacks of money on fire.

The trail work is killing two birds with one stone by finally refurbing the bridges over Peaceable Hill Rd., US 6, and the worst-of-the-worst over the Croton River. That definitely serves future rail interests, as those were the bridges that would have to have their repairs reckoned with as steep barrier of entry for anything--another emergency move from Danbury, a tourist one-off excursion, whatever--to use the rails. The trail ends up paying the way for nearly everything from the CT state line to across the street from Put Jct. except for the running rails themselves. Only opportunity the MTA has to be looking out for now is enough pennies saved in its 5-year Beacon Line maintenance penny jar to be able to slap a new grade crossing across N. Main and graft a new northbound-facing switch onto the Put Jct./Southeast Yard complex (i.e. pointing opposite direction to the last time the Maybrook had an extant connection to Put Jct.). Then that 900 ft. of new construction can let the MTA expunge the entire 3-mile redundancy to Dykemans with a landbanking to cut their maint burden for keeping all that track intact while not losing any rail functionality. Ultimately Danbury-Southeast is going to be the segment of highest interest being only 10 miles total with just 2 public crossings west of that first thousand feet out of Danbury station. Take the free throws from the trail on one track berth because there's plenty of room, then save up the penny jar for the year when they can finally make the spend-money-to-save-money move of cutting across N. Main and ditching the duplicate route miles. Still no apparent use for Dykemans-Dutchess, but at least ther ends up being something mildly tasty for the future with the new Danbury-Southeast configuration.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:06 am

You have to register on the MTA web-site to see the RFP; not something I've attempted. Some of the articles we've been seeing have had links to the MTA site.

Here's a Progressive article: Metro-North seeks proposals to revitalize unused rail line

"Perhaps there are ways that the line could be put to use for the benefit of the public that are outside of our mandate as a public transportation agency," said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti in a press release. "We want to find out how much interest there is in this real estate and what ideas folks may have that could lead to the revitalization of the line."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Metro-North's parent agency, has issued a formal request for expressions of interest regarding the line.

The MTA is looking for ideas that would help preserve the line for current or future rail operation, limit Metro-North's ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs of the line, support economic development and public use, and generate revenue for the railroad
.


Emphasis added. I can't imagine the "upkeep" costs are very much for an OOS line.

There have been various ideas floated (which I've organized and retitled into other threads; see links upstream) but never anything official. As much as I foam about this line, I don't see anything happening in the near future. It's nice to talk about shuttle service, etc., or even a Hudson to Harlem bypass (foam: POU to White Plains direct service?) but the demand wouldn't justify the investment necessary to reactivate the line. The only part of the Beacon that I could see ever used is the HRRC portion from Danbury to Brewster North and that's an HRRC pipe dream.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:37 pm

I went ahead and created a log in, and downloaded the PDF. Some questions:

Metro-North seeks Expressions of Interest for the economic utilization of all or part of the 27.6 mile route of the Beacon Rail Line from the City of Beacon to the Dutchess/Putnam County border (the “Line”). Further, at its sole discretion, Metro-North may also include a segment in Putnam County (from Milepost 27.62 to Milepost 33.10), which may entail sharing right-of-way with a trailway project already under development.


Where exactly is the county line? If I'm reading the Google Map right, it looks to be around Holmes. The rest of the 6 miles must be in Putnam County. I'm not familiar with the mileposts along the line. Most of the line is in Dutchess, so you'd reach the trailway before Putnam in any case. The Beacon Line Wiki doesn't show Mileposts.

Why just limit it to Dutchess?

Portions of the Line are constrained by existing legal agreements and operational requirements
(beyond the existence of the fiber optic line):

 Existing trackage agreement with the Housatonic Railroad. While there is currently no freight service on the Beacon Line, under certain conditions, the Housatonic Railroad may have the right to provide such service.
 Existing Metro-North facilities, including but not limited to a training facility near Hopewell Junction (though this facility does not need to link directly with any
other line including the Hudson and Harlem lines), and a headquarters for a maintenance of way drainage crew, also near Hopewell Junction.
 Any existing bike path agreement(s) along the Line.
 All Federal and State laws and regulations, including but not limited to environment regulations.


Don't think HRRC is a concern :wink:

This is ominous:

Notwithstanding the issuance of this RFEI, Metro-North reserves the right at any time to seek abandonment or railbanking of all or part of the Beacon Line with the Surface Transportation Board.


This kind of goes in line with other proposals:

2. A brief description of the use proposed for the Line; e.g., tourist railroad or trolley line, rail trail, etc., including a description of facilities and right-of-way
improvements that would be necessary to support such proposed use.
Attachments
Beacon Line RFEI_092716.pdf
RFP
(1.51 MiB) Downloaded 36 times
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:47 pm

F-line seem to understate amount of public crossings between Danbury station and Dykemans.
5 are HRRC : White street, Balmforth ave, Maple ave, Main street, Seeger street.
4 on Metro north: Joe's hill rd, Crosby ave, Pumphouse Rd, Tonetta lake Beach crossing.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby AMK0123 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:58 pm

Jeff, The mileposts for the Beacon Line start out at 0 at the connection with the Hudson line and continue until division post (state line) at milepost 41. From there it reverts to old mileposts, ie 72 Mill Plain to 77 around Danbury branch. The exact milepost would be around 27.6 to the Putnam County line. Just for reference it is about half way (12.5) to the Hopewell Depot (between state routes 376 and route 82 overpass).
I do agree with F-line about the section from Southeast to Danbury being most likely if anything to see future rail use, even though with all the work done by the trail people I don't see them being to happy with having there trail dissected by the rail line crossing over. I did hear from people who work for the town of Southeast that MTA was looking to replace there o/s bridge that runs over Prospect Hill Road starting in the next 1-2 years and that they had plans of extending there yard into the south parking lot of the station and trying to put up a parking structure on the east side of the tracks (just north of the station were the old road crossing was). If that happens maybe in the next 10 years and the upper harlem sees increased traffic, then maybe they'd think about connecting the lines and making Southeast a bigger hub...
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:21 am

DutchRailnut wrote:F-line seem to understate amount of public crossings between Danbury station and Dykemans.
5 are HRRC : White street, Balmforth ave, Maple ave, Main street, Seeger street.
4 on Metro north: Joe's hill rd, Crosby ave, Pumphouse Rd, Tonetta lake Beach crossing.


I obliquely mentioned the 4 right adjacent to Danbury Station, but maybe should've been clearer about that. And I didn't say Dykemans...I said Southeast if they opt to save their pennies to cut the redundant 2 miles to Dykemans by tying in to Southeast Yard. Which is duly acknowledged to be an "IF" proposal that MNRR may not be interested in ever pursuing.


IF they slash the redundant Dykemans route miles with a Southeast cut-over then the MTA-control part of the line between the Harlem and the CT state line has two crossings to maintain: Joes Hill Rd., Brewster near the state line, and N. Main St. on the TBD cutover to the Harlem. That's it for them. The rest will be CDOT-control whenever HRRC inevitably becomes hard-up on cash to sell out: Segar St., Danbury; and then the quartet on 4 consecutive blocks adjacent to Danbury Station (CT 53, Maple Ave. one-way, Balmforth Ave. one-way, White St.). Also one gravel driveway private crossing out near the state line to Express Windsor Films, Inc. if you want to count that.

8 public crossings + 1 limited-liability private crossing in 10 miles spread across 2 states and 2 funding sources vs. 10 CDOT public crossings + 1 private crossing on 8 miles of New Caanan Line. With only the Danbury Station quartet and N. Main, Brewster being anything of moderate-or-better traffic volume. That really isn't a lot of maintenance by any empirical measure if they want to keep future considerations perpetually open on this Southeast-Danbury segment.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:05 pm

there use to be loop in Brewster itself, but grade and curvature were a problem for diesels so the dykemans location was chosen .
no one at MTA would want trains from CTDOT running on already saturated Harlem line, so I don't know were your going with that.
adding the 25 minutes (at higher speeds) to Harlem time for Brewster to GCT would no longer make that route competitive with Danbury/mainline routing.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:00 pm

Plenty of people who live in the immediate area of Danbury have cars and drive to Brewster or Southeast for faster and more direct service. There is absolutely no way running a train to Danbury by way of the Harlem and Beacon Line would compete with driving.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:28 pm

Beacon, Brewster and Danbury are 50 plus miles from New York City and all have decent rail service to and from the city. It doesn't make any sense at all to me to try to link these three localities by rail passenger service especially when you can run a bus between all three of them in a fraction of the time it would take a passenger train to do the same and a a fraction of the cost. If the line was still privately owned in New York State then MAYBE it would have some sort of a rail future but being owned by the State of New York and with politics as they are, the NUMBYs and locals would make such a stink if noisy trains were to return to this line that I could smell it all the way down here in South Florida. I remember going from Oak Point to Beacon and Selkirk with the new (at the time) GP-38-2's and those horns were really loud. East Main Street and Churchill Street in Beacon were right in the heart of the upper town and boy would they attract attention, probably in a wrong way. I used to enjoy my rides in the country on a freight train and getting paid for it as well but today they are gone. At least I have a lot of memories plus a tape of a head end ride over the entire line between Shelton and Beacon. How about a tourist train? I don't think it is a good location for one, too many lousy neighbors (NIMBYs, vandals and not enough consistent business and costly to operate. I can only imagine how much rail and tie work alone would be necessary even for a lowly tourist train to run at 10 MPH. There was talk a while ago about restoring the incline up Mt. Beacon and I think the powers to be decided it would not work out, this would be a far better idea than a tourist train in the area. The Mount Beacon Incline was truly a great ride, too bad it is not with us today.
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:58 pm

Firgured that the Beacon line was to become a "feeder" to Harlem line at B north(Southeast)running a "shuttle" service from
Hopewell Jct,Stormville, "Pawling West", Holmes,and maybe Towners,crossing over at CP Dyke to connecting service at B North(Southeast)
to GCT.
Consider the NY/CT line to Danbury a lost cause as the ROW as reverted to "SWAMP LAND" thru the Mill Plain- CP Fair Grounds area. :(
That could change IF ConnDOT finally Boots HRRC off the tracks and out of the state.
Then DRM could run a limited run "tourist" type service to Hopewell Jct, or at least to the state line. :wink:
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Re: Beacon Line Maintenance / Current Status / Background

Postby truck6018 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:30 am

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Plenty of people who live in the immediate area of Danbury have cars and drive to Brewster or Southeast for faster and more direct service. There is absolutely no way running a train to Danbury by way of the Harlem and Beacon Line would compete with driving.


People don't only drive from the Danbury area to Southeast, but also from points north (such as Patterson, Pawling, etc) to Southeast as the frequency of service is significantly greater than the Wassaic trains.
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