Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:38 pm

For many years, there have been ongoing trackwork on the New Haven Line and yes, when the work begins on Walk, do expect delays.

Express trains that take an hour to travel from NHV to GCT with a stop in STM will not be happening. I could see when the bridges are replaced as well as lifted speed restrictions in other spots, maybe like about an hour and a half on the schedule. According to the schedule, one of the fastest super express MNR trains is the Saturday only 6419 which runs between New Haven and GCT with stops in Milford and Bridgeport and 125th St taking an hour and forty-two minutes. With padding, assuming that the train doesn't get delayed anywhere else, I'm sure that the run may take an hour and thirty-seven minutes.

For those people who have to travel between NYC and NHV, if they want to take a super express during all times of the day, then I suggest that they take Amtrak. You might save 15 to 20 minutes over taking a Metro North, but unless if you are in a rush to be on the west side, you aren't saving a whole lot of time. MNR gets the priority on the New Haven Line. If the dispatcher has no other choice but to have Amtrak follow a Metro North local, guess what, Amtrak will have to wait its turn.

Any trips that I do from NYC to anywhere on the New Haven Line, I always take Metro North. It's cheaper than Amtrak although the fares are quite high for a commuter railroad, but MNR is reliable and you go out of a much nicer terminal than Penn Station.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby BandA » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:05 pm

doesn't the end-to-end MN NH line run roughly 21¢/Mile? Seems reasonable unless you are traveling in a group. I don't know much about the farebox recovery ratio...
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby BandA » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:27 pm

So want faster and more capacity. Can't add tracks because ROW. If you dig down you hit water because shoreline. Could build an EL. Could run multi-level coaches. Shorten blocks, run trains closer together (call it "Precision Railroading" :-D ). Doors for every seat like old-time UK equipment. Technology innovation that allows trains to corner at higher speed. Station tracks allowing stations to be bypassed by express.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:05 pm

Couple of things.

First of all, you can't speed up the New Haven Line for the same reason you can't drive 80mph down 42nd Street at 2 in the afternoon on a Wednesday. There is too much traffic. Would adding a 5th or 6th track in places alleviate some of the congestion in order to bring up the average speed a hair? Almost certainly. Could it be done without some major disruption? In places, yes. Between West Haven and Devon there are 3 tracks in service, there's room for 4. Between Port Chester and New Rochelle, there's room for 6 tracks on the ROW because of the long-gone New Haven-controlled New York, Westchester & Boston.

But more importantly, the New Haven line does not exist simply to take people to or from New Haven. The vast majority of New Haven Line passengers aren't picking up the train at Union Station in New Haven; they're boarding in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Westport, Darien, Rye, etc., and de-training in Stamford, Greenwich or NYC. Focusing on how long it takes to get from one end of the line to the other misses the point. What the passengers actually care about is how long it takes to get from Noroton Heights to Grand Central, or from West Haven to Stamford. And, more importantly, that the train itself arrives and departs at the advertised time.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby Erie-Lackawanna » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:01 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Since CDOT started allowing Metro North to make every single stop on the schedule between STM and NHV

Excuse me?

All those stops were added by MNR at the request of CDOT. CDOT makes service decisions in CT, MNR runs what CDOT asks for and is feasible.

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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:47 pm

That’s definitely true about the intermediate stations listed. It’s very far to commute from New Haven to GCT five days a week. Plenty of people commute from one station to another in Connecticut. There are plenty of offices in Stamford near the station; Greenwich too. Darien has plenty of nyc commuters living there.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby Train322 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:08 pm

The other factor is safety.
Better a little slow and safe than fast and not safe.

Times are relatively stable over the long term. We just have more trains as well as trains that stop at more stations. People live in the suburbs so a limited between New Haven and GCT is not realistic.


http://streamlinermemories.info/Eastern/NH55TT.pdf

This is historical and I can't speak for the condition of the main line but
In the 1955 schedule, an express train from GCT to Stamford with the 125th st stop is listed as 46 minutes. Today, it is 49 or 50 minutes and who knows what the on-time performance was back in the old days (63 years ago!).

A fair comparison is the 10:35am time to Bridgeport (continues to NH) which arrived at 11:55. The 10:34 am today is scheduled for 11:59am with the same stops except it now stops at the new Fairfield Metro station.
It is really the same.
Don't forget that we have more Amtrak trains going into Penn. That would be a better time comparison. We would not be seeing a train like (in 1955), the Yankee Clipper which show non stop from GCT to NH in 1:18.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:22 pm

base line is this : Amtrak got of pot not soon enough, MN bought the line .
MN sets speeds and Amtrak is red headed step child .
possession is more than half the battle, despite what buffs think.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby CRail » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:59 am

ConnDOT owns the line, not Metro North. I'm sure Connecticut understands the economic benefit of interstate commerce enough to no treat Amtrak as a red headed step child especially considering the NEC is Amtrak's only profitable corridor. I'm sure ConnDOT would like to up speeds for both Metro North and Amtrak, but with NHHS service, SLE M8s, Waterbury upgrades, and this nonsense Danbury electrification study, all being in a broke state I'm sure upping New Haven line speeds is low on the list.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:12 am

As stated before, there won't be any substantial speed upgrades on the New Haven Line. It was never that fast, even when the New Haven RR used to run. When and if all of the bridges, but Peck, get replaced which they should-hopefully that will shave time off. I know that there are stretches of the New Haven Line that are three tracks and hopefully, the fourth track will be restored and that may help bring the travel time down a little. The New Haven Line runs so many trains and even with three tracks available in some parts, CDOT has restrictions to enforce MNR and Amtrak.

I don't see the point of reelectrifying the Danbury Branch-I double that it would save much travel time. The line is just as good as it is under diesel power and it's not like everyone who uses it is going to NYC. They are going places like Stamford too.

The Waterbury Branch definately needs attention but for installing those sidings.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:35 am

Here's an idea to slow things down on the New Haven: :P Stop rush hour express trains at New Rochelle, given that there's a transportation center there. Lots of connectivity for lower Westchester County and the Northeast Bronx.

If the East Bronx service gets up and running, New Rochelle might take on more importance if it becomes a transfer point to Penn.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:39 pm

New Rochelle is a large city and it is in a good spot, in relation to lower Westchester County as well as the Northeast Bronx. I don't think people who live in towns east of Stamford would appreciate any express train stopping at New Rochelle, even on weekends. Those New Haven express trains get very crowded, even on weekends. When you take an express train to New Rochelle over a local from the city, you aren't really saving much time anyway.

I'm sure that if service ever runs to the E. Bronx, then many of the trains will continue onto Stamford. People who live along the Hellgate Line and work in communities along the sound in Westchester County as well as Greenwich and Stamford want to be able have a one seat ride.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:57 am

I wasn't clear. Stop a few eastbound expresses in the morning and a few westbound in the evening for people working east of Stamford. Ducking in and out of New Rochelle is an easy thing to do with interlocking plants on either side of the ROW.

I imagine a train could go Track 3 back to Track 1 at Shell or Pelham.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby TCurtin » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:45 pm

I think I wrote this before, years ago, but here it is again. A look at a New Haven RR employees TT on the late 1950s shows the following speeds between Woodlawn and New Haven:

Speed limit 70, except the following restrictions:
SS 20 [Mt Vernon] 0.20 mi west to 0.17 mi east 45 mph
New Rochelle JCt 35
S curve going through Rye 65
Curve east of Port Chester 40
Curve west of Stamford 65
Curve east of S. Norwalk 45
"Jenkins Curve" at Bridheport 30
Curve east of Bridgeport station 45

And those are the only speed restrictions --- far fewer than today. Conspicuously missing are any drawbridge restrictions. And the New Haven's tracks were in nowhere nearly the same shape as today --- almost all stick rail, and probably less superelevation on curves
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:29 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:I wasn't clear. Stop a few eastbound expresses in the morning and a few westbound in the evening for people working east of Stamford. Ducking in and out of New Rochelle is an easy thing to do with interlocking plants on either side of the ROW.

I imagine a train could go Track 3 back to Track 1 at Shell or Pelham.

The problem with crossing over to the local tracks and back is that it costs you two slots: one on each track each time you cross over, and when things are busy it tends to hold up everything behind it on two tracks instead of one.
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