Danbury Branch Signalization

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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Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:38 am

Practically speaking, you're 100% right. I didn't consider the leaf issue, either, and we know how the route 7 corridor loves their trees. So it's M-8's or bust.

I think there's intangible benefits to electrification though. Although not on the same scale as the Harlem north of Virginia Rd, I think it would attract serious ridership. Just the perception of something new, even if it only shaves off 5 minutes. There's still plenty of work for diesel consists to go around, whether Upper Harlem and Hudson, W'Bury, or proposed services to Springfield, Worcester, etc. (yeah, proposed and planning studies being the operative terms!).

I really go back and forth on this one. In it's present incarnation, electrification makes zero economic sense, better to improve curvature and sidings.

Jay, as for HRRC, keep in mind service extension provides benefits to them in improved infrastructure and maintenance agreements. Also, CDOT owns quite a stretch of track heading up to Pittsfield, don't they? North of Kent? I'm not sure what type of traffic they run, but I don't think it's double stacks, so would clearance be an issue for electrification?
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Post by Clean Cab » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:23 am

I sat in on a recent Connecticut Commuter Rail Council meeting where they briefly discussed the Springfield Line. CDOT officials mentioned that they would consider electrifying that line to. This would meet the goals of the NHRR's plans to electrify the line from NH to Springfield. But that was back in 1910!!!

I feel that electrifying the Danbury Branch is a good idea. Using the M8s is of course the only option. I just can't see an M2 equipped train coming southbound into Branchville in leaf season. By the time the train would stop sliding, it'd be in Cannondale, maybe Wilton!!!
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Post by ajp » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:17 am

merrit 7 next stop.....

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Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:34 pm

again new or not CDOT does not own enough right of way to do serious brush and tree clearing , and only one small branch in wire will render the branch useless for hours.
I think its bad Idea, and so did the NYNH&HRR, they were more than willing to shut the power off end let the catenary go away.
Its only CDOT that is the champs of dumb idea's new Georgtown station, electrification of Danbury, a signalling project still not done after 20 years etc etc etc.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Post by Clean Cab » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:24 pm

Don't start trimming those trees just yet!! I think we'll all see a full time base on the moon before any of this ever happens!!!
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Post by Erie-Lackawanna » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:25 pm

On second thought, after this morning's fiasco, yeah...go ahead and start trimming those trees....

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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:58 pm

$2.5 million approved for design of CTC. Design? I thought the work had already been started and stopped?

Stamford Advocate
The State Bond Commission has approved $2.5 million to complete the design of an automatic switching system for Metro-North Railroad's single track between Danbury and South Norwalk.

The new system would clear the way for more trains on the track.

The $75 million signal project will include other improvements and expand service by allowing trains to travel in both directions on the track. Engineers will receive on-board "cab signaling" about whether it was safe to proceed, said Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Trains running between Danbury and South Norwalk, where they join the New Haven Line, now use a manual switch system that requires one train to stop for another. Train crew members must throw a series of switches to resume travel, Nursick said.

State Rep. Antonietta "Toni" Boucher, R-Wilton, who sought release of the funds, said she expected the project to be completed by the end of 2011.
I think I saw in a recent issue of Classic Trains that the Maybrook had CTC, and before that, automatic signalling, a long time ago (I don't know what the current state of it is east of Danbury down to Derby). Interesting that the NH upgraded that branch way back in the day long before Danbury.
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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Erie-Lackawanna » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:13 pm

Sarge wrote:$2.5 million approved for design of CTC. Design? I thought the work had already been started and stopped?
I can't even think of something pithy to say about the sad state of affairs in regards to this project....
Sarge wrote:I think I saw in a recent issue of Classic Trains that the Maybrook had CTC, and before that, automatic signalling, a long time ago (I don't know what the current state of it is east of Danbury down to Derby). Interesting that the NH upgraded that branch way back in the day long before Danbury.
Maybrook was a money-maker for the New Haven - big-time freight volume. Danbury Branch was not. The TCS on the Maybrook came out in the Penn Central days, I believe.

Jim

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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:23 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
Sarge wrote:$2.5 million approved for design of CTC. Design? I thought the work had already been started and stopped?
I can't even think of something pithy to say about the sad state of affairs in regards to this project....

Jim
Sad indeed. I thought I remembered reading at one point a few years ago the bids for the project as spec'd all came in far above estimates, and the project was sent back to the drawing boards. I think this project has far more potential for increasing branch capacity/ridership than any of the other current proposals. Am I correct in assuming that any proposed northward expansion to New Milford would remain manual block under HRRC dispatch?

Is this the only remaining manual block stretch in MNRR territory? I remember years ago commuting from Patterson (1991), the RDC conductor used a platform telephone to get orders at Southeast.
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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by MNCRR9000 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:23 pm

Well thats a step in the right direction by approving the money.

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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Patrick A. » Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:36 pm

Sarge wrote: Is this the only remaining manual block stretch in MNRR territory? I remember years ago commuting from Patterson (1991), the RDC conductor used a platform telephone to get orders at Southeast.
Waterbury is still manual block.
I have lived to ride on the M8.

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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Otto Vondrak » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:11 pm

Patrick A. wrote:Waterbury is still manual block.
Who are we kidding? Waterbury is still telegraph.
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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Noel Weaver » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:12 am

At one time the Waterbury was a better railroad than the Danbury was. Even though the Danbury had the wires the
Waterbury was fully double track until 1950 and double track as far as Ansonia or rather a point somewhat east (railroad
direction at the time) of Ansonia. This part of the second track came out between Ansonia and Derby Junction as a result of
the August 19, 1955 floods. The CTC on the Maybrook Line was removed by Conrail sometime in 1979. I have the B/O on
this somewhere here but it is not handy right now. Even after the second track was pulled up, they had decent sidings at
Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and Seymour for the purpose of making meets. Again, I would have to get into old timetables to
determine just when these old sidings came out but I suspect it was either Conrail or Metro-North that removed them.
Another thing about the Waterbury Line is the relatively few road crossings that exist. One in Waterbury, the next one
between Ansonia and Derby and two or three between Derby Junction and Devon. There is more than this on the Danbury
Branch just in Norwalk alone.
Back in the 1940's there was a lot of railroading on the Naugy (Waterbury Branch to most of you).
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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by Otto Vondrak » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:07 am

All true and no disrespect meant towards the Waterbury Branch. I'm actually not looking forward to the day when they decide to replace all the stations and the line becomes another sterile transit extension...
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Re: Danbury Branch signals and electrification

Post by BiggAW » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:50 am

Electrifying anything is a terrible idea until we get M-8's on the SLE. Whether or not MN could take over the SLE or made it an extension of the New Haven line to have through trains, we have diesels under the wire now. Until there are no diesels running under the wire here, the state shouldn't be talking about electrifying anything else.

The cost for electrification is just too much, considering that diesel technology is plenty for the branches. Now, signaling to speed things up and increase capacity, and track geometry and siding improvements, if they can be shown to provide a real-world improvement in service, would be a worthwhile use of taxpayer money from CDOT.

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