Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

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NH2060
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by NH2060 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:48 am

Noel Weaver wrote:Welcome to "Fantasyland XXXXX". Nothing is impossible but this comes very close.
Some of us just must have our whims and grails ;-)

Let's put it this way, if restoring the Maybrook is as hard as it appears, by the time the line has any chance of being part of the MNR/ConnDOT system, Amtrak will probably have began construction of their NextGen HSR route through Danbury and Waterbury; and that won't be until 2030-2040-ish if that says anything. So if anyone wants any real alternative to I-84 traffic anywhere (at least between Danbury, Waterbury, and Hartford where supposedly traffic can get really bad, especially between the latter two cities) that'll be your best bet.

theozno
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by theozno » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:58 am

news times has a great article about how the Danbury Fair Mall revenue for the state has gone up 130 million this year alone. That alone would pay for the Maybrook line which in fact, goes right next to the mall hugging it.
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DutchRailnut
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by DutchRailnut » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:19 am

give it up, the mall revenue is not state revenue, and not even close to paying for even a partial rebuild of HRRC trackage.
.
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7express
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by 7express » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:09 pm

There's too many turns anyways, so even if they did revive it (will never happen, at least in my lifetime and probably my kids lifetime), it won't save much time.

As for 84: It's 1 of the better highways in the state. I'd rather live off 84 then off of 95 which becomes a parking lot in the summer.

runningwithscalpels
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by runningwithscalpels » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:28 pm

7express wrote: As for 84: It's 1 of the better highways in the state. I'd rather live off 84 then off of 95 which becomes a parking lot in the summer.
Having just moved to the shoreline, I can safely say I will never whine about driving 84 ever again.
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MetroNorthRider098
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by MetroNorthRider098 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:44 am

Part of the problem with the traffic in this section of I-84 (Southbury to NY state line) is that people just drive *WAY* too slowly (~10 under speed limit in left lane). One car going slowly in the left lane -- which always seems to happen, due to left-hand exit to Rt. 7 -- could cause bad traffic and make you lose 15-20 minutes. Can't go around them, because there are trucks in middle and left lanes. Railroad would be nice, but people just have to learn how to drive. This doesn't happen anywhere else in the state (that I've seen anywhere), but seems to be inevitable in the stretch from Middlebury to the state line.

runningwithscalpels
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by runningwithscalpels » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:39 pm

It happens Waterbury to Hartford too.

But people not knowing how to drive is a whole other animal that can be argued elsewhere :)
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theozno
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by theozno » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:27 am

I just love how Connecticut can spend $500 million on a busway to nowhere (new Britian-Hartford) but we can't spend 5 (low estimate) to 50 (reality estimate) million a shuttle rail line from Brewster-Newtown to start with connecting busses. This would still be 10-100 times cheaper
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NH2060
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by NH2060 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:21 am

I think the $50M figure would be the unrealistically low estimate. In between the structural integrity of some (if not all) of the bridges, the condition of the trackage itself throughout the entire route, and the fact that there is no direct connection to the Harlem Line at either Brewster or Southeast there would have to be a LOT of money spent for it to be used by passenger trains. Which is one big reason why such a service has no chance of making it past the study stage until the demand (if it ever exists in the future) is literally there in plain sight akin to the demand for a New Milford extension.

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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by DutchRailnut » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:14 pm

and core problem still remains, the Housatonic railroad would not entertain passenger traffic on their track.
and from NY stateline to Derby and from Berk Jct to New Milford is their track, not Connecticuts track.
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:20 pm

NH2060 wrote:
theozno wrote:I just love how Connecticut can spend $500 million on a busway to nowhere (new Britian-Hartford) but we can't spend 5 (low estimate) to 50 (reality estimate) million a shuttle rail line from Brewster-Newtown to start with connecting busses. This would still be 10-100 times cheaper
I think the $50M figure would be the unrealistically low estimate. In between the structural integrity of some (if not all) of the bridges, the condition of the trackage itself throughout the entire route, and the fact that there is no direct connection to the Harlem Line at either Brewster or Southeast there would have to be a LOT of money spent for it to be used by passenger trains. Which is one big reason why such a service has no chance of making it past the study stage until the demand (if it ever exists in the future) is literally there in plain sight akin to the demand for a New Milford extension.
Yeah. Anything bouncing between Brewster and Danbury is so cosmically far below New Milford on the priorities list that it isn't worth consideration. New Milford is quite possibly the top-demand service extension in the whole state after NHHS. The recent study bore that out. US 7 is so awful north of I-84 that commuter rail with stops in Brookfield and New Milford is pretty much a must within 10 years or the chokepoints on the unimprovable roads will start limiting the economic viability of those areas.

Danbury-New Milford is the only part of the Berkshire Line in CT that HRCC owns. The rest to the state line was bought by CDOT years ago. It is quite likely that the state already has a game plan to pounce on a buy-low opportunity for that line, and for the Maybrook where P&W quite badly wants a functioning, aggravation-free Derby-Danbury jaunt for the Danbury stone train instead of having to swim against MNRR traffic. This is a scenario where when HRCC stops asking too much, CDOT money will magically appear to secure public ownership of the NM commuter rail ROW and P&W's preferred freight route. Those both meet the standard of key assets. If that happens the Danbury-state line portion of the Maybrook will probably get thrown into the sale, since it's by far the least valuable of HRCC's private holdings. That opens up no new passenger opportunities for the foreseeable future, but it does allow for MNRR to dispatch their own emergency moves if that's inserted as a contingency in the deal. Which is useful enough for their current needs.

I suspect HRCC is still asking for a laughably high price, but who knows if they're even solvent so that can change at a moment's notice. It's a good bet though that those privately-owned route miles will be under public control within a few years even if the carrier itself is still malingering along. CDOT wants the assets. And having the assets is leverage to make HRCC behave better (esp. with P&W, who nearly got lawsuit-y with them over Maybrook track conditions) for as long as all parties are stuck with them.

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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by NHAirLine » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:09 pm

runningwithscalpels wrote:
7express wrote: As for 84: It's 1 of the better highways in the state. I'd rather live off 84 then off of 95 which becomes a parking lot in the summer.
Having just moved to the shoreline, I can safely say I will never whine about driving 84 ever again.
I'd have to agree with that, although I drive on 95 a lot, so I'm kind of biased. 84 just seems like a nightmare. Maybe Amtrak could triple-track parts of the new NEC with CT's help to run some commuter trains on it...
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:I suspect HRCC is still asking for a laughably high price, but who knows if they're even solvent so that can change at a moment's notice. It's a good bet though that those privately-owned route miles will be under public control within a few years even if the carrier itself is still malingering along. CDOT wants the assets. And having the assets is leverage to make HRCC behave better (esp. with P&W, who nearly got lawsuit-y with them over Maybrook track conditions) for as long as all parties are stuck with them.
Although far more likely to happen through private dealings, if it came down to it, couldn't the state use eminent domain to get either property or an operating easement (i.e. trackage rights) over a railroad? If it was in the public interest, it would meet the intended use (i.e. not the mess in NL) of eminent domain. It seems the whole country is scared of eminent domain after NL, but isn't that still an option if need be? Or at least to use as a threat to get leverage, and then end up paying less with the railroad getting more (since the lawyers in eminent domain would eat up so much $$$).

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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:58 pm

Ah, my favorite topic: the Maybrook. As Dutch has explained before, there'd be a time-consuming changing of ends at Dykeman's, sans rebuilding the connection F-Line and NH2060 mention at Put Junction, or finding a costly loop or wye around Dykeman's. From what I understand, the Dykeman's connection was never even there before, but added when MNRR bought the Beacon line.

While I think a Danbury/Southeast connection would have some utility (not so much for NYC but for White Plains or other lower Westchester destinations), it is way down the chain below improved Danbury branch service and the extension to New Milford.

HRRC from what I understand has zero customers west of Danbury, so they'd likely love to sell it. Right now, it's a game of we have track you need, you have track I need, and so on. You'll find more discussion of this in the HRRC forum (Class III sub-heading). They keep talking up their own passenger service, but it's all a ploy for free equipment and track upgrades while most of the line south or west of Danbury deteriorates and trains derail.

As for #buswayboondoggle, theozno, you're preaching to the choir.

If there were any use for the Maybrook/Beacon, I'd go with Hopewell Jct down to Brewster first (even a Poughkeepsie/White Plains connection since the Hudson connection is Southbound) or Newtown down to Derby/Bridgeport/New Haven. Again, that's years and years off, if ever.
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Noel Weaver
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:55 am

In April, 1976 when Conrail was formed the USRA made it plain that Wassaic - Chatham was not going to be part of Conrail so the connection was put in at Dykemans at that time in order that freight could be moved from the Maybrook Line to the Harlem Line. This connection remained in active use until the time that Conrail sold the Maybrook Line between Beacon/Hopewell Junction and Derby Junction to the Housatonic Railroad back in the 1990's, I have the exact date here somewhere but it doesn't matter for this discussion. Later the State of New York bought the New York State portion of this line from Housatonic to insure its survival. I have never really figured out just why they thought they needed this line as it was nothing more than a shortcut to move equipment between outlaying terminals without going to Mott Haven first. After a few years it was not even valuable for that use so today it remains basically useless. I can see them keeping the line between Dykemans and Danbury for emergency moves of equipment but the rest of this line in New York State is more or less a waste. It is still 55 miles to Grand Central Terminal from Dykemans and it is 21 miles from Hopewell Junction to Dykemans so what good is this? A much better and more effective train connection would be an express bus from one or two park and ride lots to either Beacon or Southeast whichever is closer. I have a lot of good memories of running freight trains on this scenic line as well as riding it many times too but its time has past. There is no local business and no prospects for local business on it either so what's the sense keeping it. I well remember the shiny iron on this line but it is history today. I will miss it but it has little or no hope for the future.
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Re: Danbury CT: I-84 traffic can Maybrook be reactivated?

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:29 am

One of the official publicized reasons for buying it was so that Metro North could trench communications fiber along the ROW. A dirt-cheap stretch of linear land that happens to hit 3 of their lines makes perfect sense for back-end support and redundancy of signal links and other RR-related communications plant. I believe the Hudson-Harlem stretch is already wired up in parts and installations are very slowly proceeding. For that justification they definitely are getting their money's worth out of it because it's much cheaper to string cable on rent-free land than pay some telecom company for space in their trenches or poles--with annual rent--or to arduously string it up from miles south up the gut of each active rail line.

The rail use preservation is pretty much just that...bonus preservation. Landbanking or just letting it rust. I definitely can't see the Beacon-Dykemans section ever being used again. The Danbury leg at least has immediate emergency moves utility, with the Danbury Branch-severing floods of '11 and Sandy being painful reminders of how necessary those provisions are. Maintaining the bridges and eventually throwing back down a wye at Southeast is probably worth the protection upside next time the Beacon gets a small, regularly scheduled allotment of minimal-maint money (which it does get as an itty-bitty rounding error in the MTA budget). That would allow expunging of the redundant Southeast-Dykemans mileage to tidy up the emergency route by a few miles. And as I said a few posts up, if CDOT pounces on a buy opportunity for the Danbury-New Milford ROW as a commuter rail hold and the Derby-Danbury ROW to clean up the P&W vs. HRCC riff-raff, the segment to the state line will get thrown in allowing MNRR to dispatch its own emergency moves for a change. These aren't priorities on anyone's front-burner...but, Sandy. You never know when the next rescue move is needed on a moment's notice.

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