AMTRAK NEC: Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Valley Flyer

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Kilo Echo » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:31 am

MassDOT has posted its slides from the March 12 public meeting in Springfield. As expected, most of them are content-free.

https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/20 ... Pres_0.pdf
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BandA
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by BandA » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:54 am

There's some pretty & pretty useful maps in this East-West proposal document - MAS of existing line, MAS of the proposed, where it's single tracked, where wetlands <500 ft, comparison with the Ma$$ Turnpike route...

What struck me is going from WOR to SPG will double the length of the Worcester Line, with much fewer passengers. The thing that makes this viable is the network effect connections at SPG to NHHS Line & Montreal/Vermonter/Greenfield, and "synergy" with the Lake Shore Limited, if you can get that from a one-a-day. I love that they mentioned maglev as a possibility! The buses seems like a non-starter unless they add HOV lanes to the Pike. This is an Amtrak forum, for this project to work it needs support from Amtrak but the bulk of the passengers will be in-state Commuter Rail type operation.

Safetee
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Safetee » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:02 am

Well, I will say that this multi faceted east west study did not waste any time on the other possible east west gateway from Greenfield which offers far better service/connections to cambridge, mass general and the downeaster service.

Beyond that believe me, AMTRAK is a major if not the major driving force behind the springfield gateway. How can I say that? Very Easy. Amtrak management believes in global warming and rising seas. There is real concern that that portion of the track that runs through Rhode Island is going to be perpetually threatened/inundated with tidal waters. Consequently as of right now the Springfield route is their best plan b to insure continued corridor service to and from Boston.

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BandA
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by BandA » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:19 pm

The Inland Route provides useful redundancy for Amtrak that could be used if there is a strong storm or hurricane, or construction or if the Shore Line is over capacity. Is the Shore Line capacity-constrained between NHV & PVD? There might be some capacity relief vs. PVD-BOS CR operations, although the Worcester Line will become more capacity-constrained in the future.

Amtrak can easily raise the Shore Line to compensate for routine sea level rise, so that's not going to be the focus for the next 50 years.

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Suburban Station » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:49 pm

BandA wrote:The Inland Route provides useful redundancy for Amtrak that could be used if there is a strong storm or hurricane, or construction or if the Shore Line is over capacity. Is the Shore Line capacity-constrained between NHV & PVD? There might be some capacity relief vs. PVD-BOS CR operations, although the Worcester Line will become more capacity-constrained in the future.

Amtrak can easily raise the Shore Line to compensate for routine sea level rise, so that's not going to be the focus for the next 50 years.
The number of trains to boston is definitely constrained and the Inland route is a sizable market in it's own right.

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Kilo Echo » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:09 am

BandA wrote:Amtrak can easily raise the Shore Line to compensate for routine sea level rise, …
After all the wealthy NIMBYs have been flooded out of their homes?
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NRGeep
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by NRGeep » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:35 am

Kilo Echo wrote:
BandA wrote:Amtrak can easily raise the Shore Line to compensate for routine sea level rise, …
After all the wealthy NIMBYs have been flooded out of their homes?
FAKE FLOODS!
:wink:

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by daybeers » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:38 pm

NEC North, especially NHV to Westerly, RI, is very capacity constrained due to the very old bridges and terrible curves in Connecticut. Between Amtrak and Shore Line East, I believe it's currently running at full capacity.
BandA wrote:Amtrak can easily raise the Shore Line to compensate for routine sea level rise, so that's not going to be the focus for the next 50 years.
What?!? Please explain. The tracks are as close to the water as the Pacific Surfliner route in some places, and it's electrified. Here is a very interesting article on sea level rise along the Northeast Corridor. TL;DR: A large portion of the trackage is in danger.

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Kilo Echo » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:16 am

WWLP reports on the progress of the NHT platform extension: Expansion project for Northampton's train platform begins.
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BandA
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by BandA » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:28 pm

daybeers wrote:NEC North, especially NHV to Westerly, RI, is very capacity constrained due to the very old bridges and terrible curves in Connecticut. Between Amtrak and Shore Line East, I believe it's currently running at full capacity.
BandA wrote:Amtrak can easily raise the Shore Line to compensate for routine sea level rise, so that's not going to be the focus for the next 50 years.
What?!? Please explain. The tracks are as close to the water as the Pacific Surfliner route in some places, and it's electrified. Here is a very interesting article on sea level rise along the Northeast Corridor. TL;DR: A large portion of the trackage is in danger.
So we are talking about roughly a two-foot sea level rise by ~2069, on top of the 5"-8" rise since 1900, although this is really a guestimate. The linked Bloomberg article talks about $78M, which is not much over 50 years plus the track will have to be renewed anyway during that time. Imagine if they add six inches of ballast every 10 years, and need new seawalls in some areas, and have to add 2-4 feet of dirt/ballast to all their coastal yards. Interestingly, sea level is 400 feet higher than the last glacial maximum in 14000 BC. Biggest problem will be damage from 1 to 3 major hurricanes.

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by ebtmikado » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:29 am

There are several areas in and east of New Haven, on the Shore Line which already flood quite often during heavy storms.
It can only get worse.
Lee

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by lordsigma12345 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:30 pm

Safetee wrote:Well, I will say that this multi faceted east west study did not waste any time on the other possible east west gateway from Greenfield which offers far better service/connections to cambridge, mass general and the downeaster service.

Beyond that believe me, AMTRAK is a major if not the major driving force behind the springfield gateway. How can I say that? Very Easy. Amtrak management believes in global warming and rising seas. There is real concern that that portion of the track that runs through Rhode Island is going to be perpetually threatened/inundated with tidal waters. Consequently as of right now the Springfield route is their best plan b to insure continued corridor service to and from Boston.
A state legislator did recommend studying the northern corridor also - however if there is a competition between the two, it would seem Springfield is the no brainer. Besides the fact that it can be an alternative to the shore line, the southern route just seems to make more sense with stops in much larger areas - Worcester, Palmer, Springfield, and Pittsfield... While I would be all for them doing both approaches to provide service state wide, when given the choice between the two the Springfield option seems like a no brainer. Not to mention that it will take far less to get the southern route going than it would take to get the northern tier. The idea of this study is to try to get service into under served areas - you are going to get more bang for your buck and get service to far more under served people with the B&A than the B&M...

Safetee
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Safetee » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:33 am

There is no question that the Springfield gateway is the political no brainer. With Amtrak, Mass DOT, all the local regional planning agencies, the City of Springfield, and MGM too all in bed together for a Springfield to Boston rail extravaganza, I can't say there is much political capital in even thinking about the Greenfield Gateway.

However, from time, cost, and logistics points of view, the Greenfield Gateway offers a much quicker option for those residents in Western Mass, Southern Vermont, and Southern New Hampshire who seek more direct rail connections to Cambridge as well as the North Station/Downeaster.

The cost to make it happen track and signal wise is certainly in the same ball park from Greenfield to Wachusett as it is for Worcester to Springfield.

The achilles heels for the Springfield routing include heavily constipated CSX operations, the Framingham grade crossings conundrum, and severe capacity issues at South Station. While all of these "issues" can be dealt with by pulling out a very big check book, in my opinion the time, money and politics to pull off the Springfield vision is many many years away from being a slam dunk rail reality.

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Kilo Echo » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:03 am

How much did it cost to extend the Fitchburg Line 4.5 miles from Fitchburg to, um, Fitchburg (Wachusett)? Something like $93.3 million? Has there been a dramatic increase in ridership since the extension? While having northern-tier service may sound grand, the price tag would be prohibitively grand.
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Safetee
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Safetee » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:27 am

The 93 million for 4.5 miles of track rehabilitation and signalling on the Fitchburg included several freight bridge repairs, a station, and a six track layover facility. On a comparative basis, the largely unused Springfield Station rehab cost $94 million which we can swag as the cost for an 1/8th of a mile.

Based on these two imperfect examples, i would have to say that the northern corridor has a decided edge on a cost per mile basis.

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