Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

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NHV 669
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by NHV 669 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:10 pm

Why in the world are they relying on data from a DECADE ago?
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:42 pm

NHV 669 wrote:Why in the world are they relying on data from a DECADE ago?
Most likely because no one has paid to collect data more recently?
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by newpylong » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:33 am

For the right price It would not take much to put an east leg of the NA Junction wye in. There used to be one going way back.

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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:56 am

That's their longer-range plans.

There's merit to that, but it's arguable if you really want to divert an Albany bound train to Pittsfield. I doubt there's enough traffic at this time to support that.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Rockingham Racer » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:42 pm

Does Amtrak own the Post Road Branch? Seems to me they do. And where was NA Jct.?

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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:59 pm

Yes. They own Boston Post Road. That's just a small part of this route however.

It's really convincing CSX to allow another train on Friday and Sunday over their route.

And of course convincing Amtrak to release the equipment. That I think is easy.

BUT, I would definitely get Chatham NY up and running as a stop.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:01 pm

New York State pays out a huge amount in support of the New York-Albany train service operated by Amtrak. If anybody thinks New York State is going to allow one of the Albany trains to get diverted to Pittsfield I think you are barking up the wrong tree. With the present operation of the Housatonic the cheapest way to provide decent servcie to Pittsfield is to run a connecting bus from Wassaic up NY 22 to serve Millerton and Hillsdale, east on NY23 to Great Barrington and north on US-7 to Pittsfield. You will serve not only Pittsfield but the Berkshires as well and you can provide multiple departures on a daily basis for less cost than one Amtrak train just to Pittsfield. Of course my first choice would be to restore the line to Chatham from Wassaic but that would cost a lot of dollars and would not provide direct service to the intermediate points on the Berkshire either. Trying to provide service to Pittsfield via Albany or the Hudson Line is not a good idea and in fact I would go so far as saying that it would be a huge waste of money. Of course buying out the Housatonic Railroad and throwing out the present management would be ideal but I don't know if there is any hope for this to happen or not.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Rockingham Racer » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:07 pm

The train-bus option following the old railroad route is a decent option. That would be a M-N operation as I'm sure you know, Noel. I wonder if the folks have considered that. The drawback, of course, is that it's not a one-seat ride. And lots of people in this country prefer a one-seat ride. As to New York State not being happy about letting a trainset run to Pittsfield: what do they care, if someone else is paying to run it in to Massachusetts?

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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:58 pm

Noel,
Keep in mind the current plan (as I understand it) is NOT to divert an Empire Service train, it would continue to Pittsfield after Albany.
Now that said, yes, MN->Bus would be cheaper and faster (and I believe there may already be an option) but don't underestimate people's desires for a one-seat ride and for overall 'ease'.

Now, I think restoring the line from Wassaic to Chatham would be a great idea and actually open up a number of options, but that's not going to happen. Too much time under the bridge.

Now you mention buying out the Housatonic, but I'm not sure that would buy you much. I can't see a GCT-Pittsfield train either (though I've certainly argue for it. I think that's actually the best of all options in multiple ways. LOTS of weekenders would take that. (extend one Danbury train on Friday, turn in Pittsfield, run a round trip to the city on Saturday, and the on Sunday bring it back to GCT with all the weekenders.)

But, unless your pension is a LOT more than I suspect it is, or I have a rich uncle I don't know about, it ain't gonna happen. But trust me, I'd LOVE to see the HRCC in new hands and would seriously consider a career change to help make that happen.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by J.D. Lang » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:27 am

Now that said, yes, MN->Bus would be cheaper and faster (and I believe there may already be an option) but don't underestimate people's desires for a one-seat ride and for overall 'ease'.
I think that the bus option was discussed in one of these threads a while back (can't find it) and it was said that the bus connection did exist but it had very low ridership. I agree that a one seat ride is important but I also don't think extending a NY-ALB train to Pittsford is the answer either. Pittsfield in its self is not a good end destination.

OK here is my thought for the future; Please don't skewer me to much on this one. Suppose MN builds a secure enclosed parking garage in Wassaic and charges monthly fees (just to cover operational costs) for people to leave their second car there. There is plenty of room there to do this.This way people could avoid driving up from NY in the traffic for the weekend but still have a car to get to their second home AND have the ability to get to various places and venues in the Berkshires. Just my goofy thought.

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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:18 am

Well many already do something similar like that at Wassaic. i.e. park their cars there during the week and use it on the weekends.
More security would be welcome though.

I do seem to recall a few years ago (maybe decade, memory is hazy) that the parking lot flooded and more than a few weekenders came back to find their car destroyed.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:34 pm

Greg Moore wrote:...BUT, I would definitely get Chatham NY up and running as a stop.
Chatham I'm sure would be part of this.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:36 pm

J.D. Lang wrote:I think that the bus option was discussed in one of these threads a while back (can't find it) and it was said that the bus connection did exist but it had very low ridership. I agree that a one seat ride is important but I also don't think extending a NY-ALB train to Pittsford is the answer either. Pittsfield in its self is not a good end destination.
...J. Lang
That's my recollection, too, discussed in the Housy thread.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:54 am

Berkshire Edge has an article updating progress.
“The gross cost to purchase the train service from Amtrak would be approximately $425,000, but the net cost could be reduced to some $240,000 if revenue projections proved accurate,” the letter to lawmakers said. “Those revenue and cost estimates are based on the service carrying 2,600 passengers over a 20-week season.”
I'm about 2/3rds of the way through the actual study.

Overall I think they did a fairly good job. I have just 1-2 thoughts.
They looked at 2 main options with one split into 2 suboptions
Option 1A-Extend existing trains from Albany-Rensselaer to Pittsfield.
Option 1B-Have a new train via the existing route, but express to Rhinecliff
Option 2-build a wye connecting the CSX Schodack Division to the CSX-Berskhire Sub.

It appears Option 1A wins out. Option 2, the capital costs are very high and the time savings isn't all that great.

I may have missed it, but I think Option 2, while saving time, actually eliminates Albany as sort of a catch basin for folks who simply want to go to the Berkshires.

So my two comments at this time:

1) I think the Friday Service leaves NYC too early. They should look at a later train. I think this would attract more riders.
2) Since they discuss deadheading back to Albany, they might as well try to make that a revenue trip. Say with the existing suggested arrival around 6:10, head back around 11:00 PM. Folks could catch a show in Pittsfield and then head back. Not much traffic, but turns the deadhead into a revenue trip.

They do discuss an eventual wye in Pittsfield for turning the train to cut down on deadheading and the need to add an engine/cab-car (which I didn't see mentioned btw, but I may have missed it) in Albany.

It appears that the plan is to arrive at Albany, discharge passengers, add an engine, wye the train, receive passengers, head to Pittsfield.
Presumably deadhead back to Albany, wye the train and then on Sunday "back" into Pittsfield so that when they leave all seats face forward.
The current plan allows for all passengers to always face forwards.

Personally, for the expect costs, I think Mass should jump on it for a 3 year trial and see what happens. Include bike service and you get a win also.
And NYS should seriously consider a new platform in Chatham, NY to take advantage of this.

But, I'm now of the opinion that I wouldn't be surprised if in the next 5 years we see at the very least a trial program.
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:19 am

Was there ever a connection between the Schodack sub and the eastbound B&A? I'm assuming no since in NYC days they'd have used the B&A branch from Hudson to Chatham but you never know.

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