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

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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

Post by Backshophoss » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:10 am

As ACSES goes online,will enforce a following distance between trains in the same direction.
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RearOfSignal
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by RearOfSignal » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:00 pm

No, ACSES will not enforce train separation distances, the cab signal system will continue to do that. The ACSES system employed by MNR will not use satellite signals or GPS to control train movement. Rather this will be done using a data radio and track based transponder system. All signalling devices currently in use will remain.

Some planned changes operationally are how trains operate through work areas, approaching stop signals in close proximity to station platforms and entering/exiting main track from yards at certain locations. While trains will operate at the same track speeds as they do now, there are some scenarios where trains will have to slow down earlier than previously(already happening now with current level of ACSES installed) or come to a complete stop at a particular location where currently not required or enforced by the signal system.

Depending on routing and traffic this could add a few minutes to some trips.
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:25 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
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.

Jim
Back quite a few years ago, there was a topic on speeding up service east of Stamford by making the NH line "three-zone", i.e. a station like SoNo or Bridgeport where trains would run express to Stamford, then to GCT. With CT adding and proposing additional stations "way out east", might be time to reconsider that. I have no idea how operationally difficult that would be to dispatch.
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njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:00 am

At this point, CDOT should consider letting MNR run those three zone expresses. I know on weekends, they run twice an hour to New Haven during many times of the day but I think it might not hurt CDOT to run a few New Haven super express trains throughout the day each day, not just during rush hours. Maybe have the trains make all stops from New Haven to Fairfield, stop at Westport, South Norwalk, Darien, and Stamford. After Stamford, run express to 125th St. If they can't do that, then at least, run trains to New Haven twice an hour, the semi expresses skipping stations such as Noroton Heights, Rowayton, etc. Sitting on a MNR train for a little over two hours between GCT and New Haven is a little much.

Train322
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by Train322 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:42 pm

Metro North already has trains that make all stops N Haven to Fairfield and stopping at the largest stations through Stamford.
What may be possible - depending on the demand - is if one or two of the shopper specials can be expanded to all year.
Those would cover the upper part (Bridgeport to New Haven) to GCT.

Another need is to have an express that starts is say S. Norwalk on weekends so customers in Stamford don't need to stand. (weekends).

Again, it all depends on customer demand, car availability - not sure if some routine maintenance is performed on weekends - and employee availability.

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

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:01 pm

The additions of new trains should also depend on infrastructure improvements. I know in the short term, WALK bridge is going to be replaced. Sooner rather than later, other ones will have to be replaced so this will probably hinder CDOT's ability for MNR to add more trains as well as Amtrak but at least, they can let MNR run half hourly to New Haven during the off peak hours and weekends-adding more of those express trains that skip clusters of stops between STM and NHV. I would love to see those shopper expresses that run during the holidays extended year round. One of the advantages of running three trains an hour from NHV is that folks connecting from Ctrail or Amtrak trains on the SPG Line wouldn't need to wait too long for a MNR train.

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

Post by benboston » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:40 pm

In regards to the curve to the east of Stamford. I think that if the alignment got adjusted to below the highway this would be beneficial for multiple reasons: more land will be available for development, faster speeds because of the straighter curves that occur. Also, the Noroton Heights station would have to be moved to the new ROW.

Blue is New Canaan Branch, Red is NEC/New Haven, Black is tracks that can be destroyed.
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DutchRailnut
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by DutchRailnut » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:47 pm

cool picture management but how will you convince people to sell their property ?? even eminent domain has to pay fair value ?

and who will pay that value ??? metro north ??? AMTRAK ??? state of Connecticut ??? millions for a mere seconds time improvement ?? get real ..
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Train322
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by Train322 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:53 am

Speeding up times can be done with existing infrastructure since money is tight.
This line already has tracks that are express which are used by Amtrak and some limited stop Metro North trains..
No need to spend massive amounts of money to save a few seconds or even minutes.

The New Haven line still has available capacity on the express tracks. If ridership warrants more limited stop service, we would get more service. If Metro North and/or Amtrak needs more equipment for that service, that should be the only expenditure needed.

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

Post by Erie-Lackawanna » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:09 pm

Except that existing capacity is significantly reduced by the ongoing infrastructure rebuilding, which has a track continuously out of service in just enough blocks to effectively make it a three track railroad during the AM and PM peaks, and a two track railroad the rest of the time. This situation will not change any time soon, and in fact will get much worse once the WALK Bridge replacement begins. My personal view is that you won’t have a reliably four track railroad in the next 20-30 years.

There is absolutely ZERO capacity for additional service until all that work is done. Many of us would argue the New Haven Line is oversubscribed already.

Jim

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

Post by benboston » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:48 am

DutchRailnut wrote:cool picture management but how will you convince people to sell their property ?? even eminent domain has to pay fair value ?

and who will pay that value ??? metro north ??? AMTRAK ??? state of Connecticut ??? millions for a mere seconds time improvement ?? get real ..
No eminent domain necessary, it is already government land.

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

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:24 am

I think the point’s been made that what would likely be a massive cost would be for a minimal return in time savings. The area is densely developed and any project that would return any reasonable savings would cost many billions with massive disruptions. Amtrak came up with a bunch of pie in the sky ideas for the area too, that went nowhere fast.

As for using the 95 ROW, I think there’d be massive engineering obstacles and of course massive disruption. Again, it would save maybe a minute or two. As for any reclaimed ROW, there’d be massive (MASSIVE! I like that word!) cleanup costs.

A much higher priority are the draw bridges.
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35dtmrs92
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Re: Why no big plans to speed up times on New Haven Line?

Post by 35dtmrs92 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:29 pm

The scary part is that CT is about to spend $150 million on two parking garages, one at Stamford and one at New Haven, that will accommodate under 2000 new cars. The traffic induced at each of those stations would probably increase total travel times for users. $150 million is enough to at least buy a good chunk of the land needed for that Stamford-Darien cutoff. (If you're going to the trouble of a new line, I say you may as well avoid the I-95 S curve and cut straight through the neighborhoods, which would likely simplify construction once the demo is completed.) At least some time would be saved, and the travel time would become more reliable, for tens of thousands of rail travelers.

To be clear, any rational investment plan would prioritize other investments first, but CT isn't even doing those. There is no movement on any of the other drawbridges besides WALK, nothing on Bridgeport platforms, nothing on a Glenbrook flyover, nothing on the Waterbury branch, etc. I'm not denying that any of these aren't significant undertakings, but CT's continued drivers-first mentality is not helping things; it is making rail improvements seem farther out of reach than they really are.

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

Post by TomNelligan » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:29 pm

35dtmrs92 wrote: $150 million is enough to at least buy a good chunk of the land needed for that Stamford-Darien cutoff.
I wonder how far that would really go given Fairfield County real estate prices these days, but there is a bigger issue of where the finite amount of public money should be spent. To me, the problem with all of these schemes to straighten a curve here or there that sound nice to railfans is that the capital cost per minute saved would be insane, even if Connecticut wasn't already in perennial financial trouble. What practical difference would it make if you save five minutes on an hour-long ride but the rest of the infrastructure is collapsing due to lack of investment? Nothing that actually has a prayer of happening will ever turn the New Haven Line into a high speed railroad.

And personally, I wouldn't knock parking garages. They will have an immediate effect on I-95's horribly congested traffic by diverting cars from the road. As one who has occasion to park at the New Haven station several times a year I am quite certain that the current parking shortage there deters some potential Metro North riders. If the goal is to get more people out of cars and onto trains, that, and not minuscule savings in transit time at great cost, is a way to go. (More express service from the major stations between Stamford and New Haven would be nice too, but that will undoubtedly have to wait until all the the current catenary/track/bridge work is done some years from now.)

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

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:22 pm

And then we’re back to capacity issues. You might be able to run a few limited stop “semi-expresses” east of Stamford, and that would no doubt be a benefit to intra-CT commuters. But what happens west of Stamford? More bottlenecks as 7 tracks from NH and Harlem lines merge to 4 at Woodlawn... and then you do it again at MO, ultimately running 10 into 4 with limited headways.

Then there’s the fleet and seat shortage.
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