Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Greg Moore
Posts: 5441
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am
Location: IT Consultant

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

Post by Greg Moore » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:45 am

As far as I can tell, no.
I thought I had looked once before and saw a trace, but based on the report and the current satellite view, it appears no, there never was.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.

User avatar
Wayside
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:00 am
Location: The First State

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

Post by Wayside » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:51 am

Ridgefielder wrote: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.
Never one that knew of.
We don't know what we don't know.

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8592
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: If it's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium

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

Post by Jeff Smith » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:55 am

Looks like a "pilot" is in the works, and will be run by Amtrak. I will cross-thread over to Amtrak.

I can't get the original source to load (theberkshireedge.com), so I'm providing a link to the Trains in the Valley FB page: https://www.facebook.com/trainsinthevalley/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
NEWS LINK — "Berkshire Flyer pilot rail service funded for 2020; passenger rail on Housatonic line remains a question mark" | Berkshire Edge

This article provides an excellent overview of the many efforts underway to expand passenger rail service in the Berkshires — a region that today is only served by a single long distance train.

Note in particular the focus on "last mile" travel options in Pittsfield for people using the Berkshire Flyer service, which is to start in the summer of 2020.
Note: when I was able to view the original source a few days ago, it specified Amtrak operation via "Rensselaer ".
Next stop, Willoughby
~el Jefe ("Jeff Smith Rules") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

Greg Moore
Posts: 5441
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am
Location: IT Consultant

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

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:37 am

I can't find it online, but the Albany Times Union had an article on this the other day also.

Looks to take place in 2020.
It'll only be seasonal, but it's a start.

There's also a TU article in the last day or two arguing for more trains north of Rensselaer to Saratoga.
https://www.timesunion.com/business/art ... 352183.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It seems to me, with a little money, Albany could become an even bigger hub than it is now!
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.

east point
Posts: 1362
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

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

Post by east point » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:29 pm

Only if Amtrak can get more locos and cars !

Greg Moore
Posts: 5441
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am
Location: IT Consultant

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

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:18 pm

That's one of the issues I think Amtrak is going to face more and more.

Right now, I think Amtrak can pull these off, but it'll tight.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.

User avatar
shadyjay
Posts: 2094
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:08 pm
Location: Conn River Valley

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

Post by shadyjay » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:38 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:Looks like a "pilot" is in the works, and will be run by Amtrak. I will cross-thread over to Amtrak.

I can't get the original source to load (theberkshireedge.com), so I'm providing a link to the Trains in the Valley FB page: https://www.facebook.com/trainsinthevalley/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
NEWS LINK — "Berkshire Flyer pilot rail service funded for 2020; passenger rail on Housatonic line remains a question mark" | Berkshire Edge

This article provides an excellent overview of the many efforts underway to expand passenger rail service in the Berkshires — a region that today is only served by a single long distance train.

Note in particular the focus on "last mile" travel options in Pittsfield for people using the Berkshire Flyer service, which is to start in the summer of 2020.
Note: when I was able to view the original source a few days ago, it specified Amtrak operation via "Rensselaer ".

This IS the link you're looking for, for those not FB-savvy:
Berkshire Flyer pilot rail service funded for 2020; passenger rail on Housatonic line remains a question mark
https://theberkshireedge.com/berkshire- ... O-RTIsOEmE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by shadyjay on Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Station Aficionado
Posts: 1782
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: Virginia

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

Post by Station Aficionado » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:54 pm

Umm, about that right turn at Albany ....

Greg Moore
Posts: 5441
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am
Location: IT Consultant

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

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:58 pm

Station Aficionado wrote:Umm, about that right turn at Albany ....
What about it?

They've taken it into account in the planning, though I can't recall if they'd end up doing cab car or adding a 2nd locomotive at Albany.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.

Station Aficionado
Posts: 1782
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: Virginia

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

Post by Station Aficionado » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:24 pm

I sort of assumed that they would resurrect the Palmer shuffle and move it west, but was too lazy to read the study. I kind of doubt having that as part of the experience will be a big ridership boost. But, will be interesting to see how many riders they get.

I found it amusing that the article Jeff linked announcing the Albany service then spent the bulk of its space on the still going nowhere service on the Housatanic.

Arlington
Posts: 4153
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

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

Post by Arlington » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:58 am

As with the Cape Flyer, the genius of these operations is that they use equipment at the ends/margins of their "weekday commuter" service day, squeezing extra revenue-hours out of equipment that is both "free" in the schedule sense and therefore "nearly free" in the economic sense.

Before later switching to a dedicated trainset operating semi-express, The Cape Flyer started as a pure extension of an MBTA train that would have just gone to the yards at its "outer" end, and the Berkshire Flyer cloned this concept for its Option 1A in the Study such that it doesn't actually require new equipment, so much as it just runs Albany trains for a few extra hours:
2.2.1 Option 1A- Empire Corridor Extension
The contemplated service would function as an extension of existing
Amtrak Empire Service between New York Penn Station and
Albany/Rensselaer using equipment that would be headed to storage at
the end of the day
to provide the trip to Pittsfield for the Berkshire
Flyer service. This service would use the existing tracks between
Pittsfield and New York Penn Station via Albany/ Rensselaer.

2.2.1.1 Operational Route Description
On Friday, northbound passengers would board train #255, departing
from New York Penn Station at approximately 2:20 PM; arriving at
Albany/Rensselaer at 4:50 PM. Passengers would then continue on to
Pittsfield aboard the same train, arriving at about 6:10 PM.
On Sunday, southbound passengers would board a train in Pittsfield at
approximately 2:45 PM for the trip to Albany/Rensselaer and then
would continue on to New York Penn Station as train #244 departing
Albany/Rensselaer at 4:10 PM and arriving at New York Penn Station
at 6:45 PM.

Train Layover
It is assumed that the contemplated service would be based out of Albany/Rensselaer and would
be operated by providing either deadhead or revenue trips between Pittsfield and
Albany/Rensselaer to position trains appropriately. It is assumed that the service would not
require any additional capital infrastructure in Albany/Rensselaer or Pittsfield for train layover or
crew accommodations.
2.2.1.4 Rolling Stock Assumptions
Because the service is an extension of existing Amtrak services during non-peak periods, it is
assumed that the service could be provided by Amtrak using the existing fleet.
It is understood
that modifications to train consists providing the service would require an additional locomotive
to operate along the segment between Albany/Rensselaer and Pittsfield to compensate for the
lack of train-turning capabilities in the Pittsfield area
(see Appendix B for a wye-track concept
that could be considered in the future to improve operations). If the service sells out on a regular
basis an additional coach could be added to the train set to accommodate the demand.
(bolding mine)

Option 1B proposed a "Long(er) Weekend" semi-express (stopping at Croton-Harmon, Hudson, Albany & Pit only) that left NYP at 12:30pm and got to Pittfield at 4:20pm (Fridays) and then a Sunday return at 5:40pm into Penn at 9:30pm. Equipment availability was said to be there, but it had several strikes against it:
1) NYSDOT would not support a new train that failed to make all stops
2) (In my view) the Friday Outbound was too early.

Option 2 contemplated a new connecting track and the use of CSX's Schodack Subdivision. But because this physically-shorter route would be slow (40mph) it only saved 4 minutes vs being able to go via ALB at 110mph.

So I think the pilot is going to be an Option 1A (I'm not sure why they don't propose a Sat-Sat r/t such as the Cape Flyer has)
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

User avatar
Rockingham Racer
Posts: 3653
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

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

Post by Rockingham Racer » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:46 pm

I did not read the study document either, but there is no harm in stopping in Chatham. And it's in 2MT territory as well.

Greg Moore
Posts: 5441
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am
Location: IT Consultant

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

Post by Greg Moore » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:42 pm

Arlington, correct, the current plans don't require any more hardware. The comment about more hardware was in response to thoughts about additional trains beyond this one (such as to Saratoga and the like).

The current plan is a good use existing equipment and I'll be curious to see how well it works.
Yes, the "detour" via Albany does take time, but for some, that may be worth the extra benefit of Amtrak all the way vs. Metro-North to Wassiac and a bus. (And as much as I've advocated a route up the Housatonic for years, it's not happening.)

As for adding Chatham, I think this is an absolute no brainer, but it depends on NYS getting motivated.
I suspect after the first year of this experiment, if it's continued, folks in the Chatham area are going to ask "what about us?"

I also agree a Saturday run makes perfect sense.

It's good to see this finally happening.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3583
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

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

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:51 am

It will be interesting to see if this seasonal Amtrak service to Pittsfield does happen. Pittsfield is not only the largest city in the Berkshires but it is within easy reach of many of the towns including Lenox and Williamstown.

As for service on the Houstatonic, don't count on it. The ride would take forever, even if the tracks ever get replaced.

Even if this seasonal train starts running, people will still travel the way that they have been doing to the Berkshires for a while-driving and taking the bus. In terms of getting to the Berkshires by train even if that Amtrak Empire Service gets extended, people will still get off the train at ALB, Hudson, or even take Metro North to Wassaic. It depends on where your destination is in the Berkshires. If you are going to Great Barrington, especially anywhere closer to the Downtown and any of the towns south of there to the Connecticut border, you might as well just take Metro North. It would be nice if that bus was brought back from Wassaic. You could also take Amtrak to Hudson and that station is not far away from the southwestern reaches of the Berkshires.

newpylong
Posts: 4302
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:32 pm
Location: NH

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

Post by newpylong » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:03 pm

The operational advantages of going via Albany likely would sway the vote but I highly question that going via the Schodack Sub is only 4 minutes faster. The Schodack route and a new short east leg wye, then a few more miles until the Post Road comes in is going to be drastically faster even if only 40 mph.

Return to “Amtrak”