Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS (Before Launch of Service)

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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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Springfield line news

Post by Otto Vondrak » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:58 pm

Official site from CDOT: http://www.nhhsrail.com/

Booster Site: http://www.springfieldrail.org/

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bobbarbn
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Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by bobbarbn » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:44 am

Hmmmmmmm....maybe this time it just MAY happen.

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut ... 8733.story
Five years, $880 million
The state transportation department wants thousands of drivers to join Daniels and Maloney. Establishing a full-scale commuter train system paralleling I-91 has shot to the top of the Department of Transportation's "to do" list this year, prompted by the hope of landing federal stimulus grants to modernize the existing rail line linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield. "It's the most important initiative we have," Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie said. "We're going to bring it to the finish line."

The plan would take at least five years, more than $880 million up front and annual subsidies after that. But the DOT says central Connecticut would get a system only a couple of notches below Metro-North's service between New Haven and Manhattan. That line carries about 58,000 riders every weekday — 58,000 people who aren't further jamming I-95 or Route 1, where rush-hour gridlock is a way of life. To transit planners, the New Haven to Springfield line looks like a long-term way to head off even more congestion on the north-south corridor. I-91 from New Haven to Hartford is already the fourth-busiest stretch of highway in Connecticut, and the DOT forecasts the congestion will steadily worsen.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by whatelyrailfan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:40 am

Being from Connecticut originally, I would normally tend to agree with two of the posters negative comments about CDOT and rail, HOWEVER, with Joseph Marie as Transportation Commisioner, I think this project will actually see fruition. Just because the CDOT has been operating with their heads up their asses about rail for years, doesn't mean that they can't (or be forced to) change. I think the time may have finally arrived when rail will be making a HUGE comeback.

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shadyjay
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by shadyjay » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:58 pm

I still think the best way to get this service off the ground quickly is to start the service up similar to how Shore Line East (SLE) started. The service can be started without adding all the new stations, full platforms, double tracking, etc. Some passing sidings can be lengthened, low level platforms added in North Haven and Enfield and some parking lots, and limited service started. When SLE started, intermediate stations had simple wooden single door platforms and modest parking lots. There was only rush hour weekday service (morning inbound, evening outbound). Only 10 years later were new high level platforms and larger parking lots constructed and off-peak and weekend service began.

If they go with the full build option right off the bat, it will take that much longer. The environmental study isn't even complete yet. If the service is "eased into", then it could theoretically get off the ground in a couple of years. Best to do it that way and build the ridership and grow from there. The surplus equipment is sitting in New Haven right now. The track and most of the stations exist.

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by Ridgefielder » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:17 pm

I don't think they'd be able to start as small as w SLE on the stations, simply because you're talking about a much more populous part of the state. You're probably going to have much higher daily ridership at a station in Newington or North Haven on Day One than you did at Madison or Guilford when SLE started.

Why is an elaborate environmental study necessary in this case, though? For the stations? The line itself has had daily service since 1839 and was double-tracked for 100+ years-- doesn't sound like there's any expansion planned that would involve taking land not already part of the ROW.

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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by jaymac » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:56 pm

Environmental studies are a legal necessity to determine what will be needed for protection/mitigation in wetlands. Any place near wetlands will need a baling/fencing protocol established. Some bridges were probably lifted, and new and/or replacement abutments will need to be constructed, which means disturbing waterways and so on and so on. It'may seem like a pain, but consultants and lawyers need to keep their offspring fed.
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CVRA7
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by CVRA7 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:07 pm

I have seen a proposed schedule that includes two additional trains in each direction, using the existing physical plant.
Amtrak has a 403(b) direct subsidy program where the state can purchase additional service - the Adirondack and Vermonter trains are some of the many throughout the country that use this program. As Jay pointed out the CDOT equipment is on hand to cover the runs. This would get at least minimal service off and running instead of subjecting us to more studies - the people want action. I would think this minimal service could be started this fall if there was a will to do it by the powers that be.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by Noel Weaver » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:37 pm

As I have said before, there is ample track capacity under the existing set up for much more train service than is presently
being operated on this line.
Studies are often a waste of money and another study on this line would be a prime example of waste.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:53 am

Noel, I heartily agree, particularly as a former resident of and frequent visitor to a town on the Danbury Branch, a/k/a The Most Studied Branchline in America. Enough with the studies! Once service starts running-- and is as popular as I think it will be-- they'll be plenty of impetus for further improvements.

Interesting aside-- assuming they would use the same or similar CDOT equipment to that used on the Shoreline, this means that equipment painted in NYNH&H colors would be in daily service between its namesake cities: New York, New Haven and Hartford.

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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by FRN9 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:28 am

This sounds promising. Given their promise to "do it right from the beginning," and the desire to have 110 MPH "high speed rail," they should add electrification to the raised platforms, double tracking, etc.

Why is electrification so important?

First, it would allow existing Metronorth trains to travel as far as Springfield. This doesn't mean they would have to go as far as Springfield or that every train would need to, but why not have a train or two at each end of rush hour traveling to Hartford (or even as far as Springfield)?

In addition, and more importantly for the goal of removing regional airtraffic, Amtrak could upgrade its service substantially and remote the shuttle and extend its trains to Springfield with the same engines and good service without the painful delay in New Haven.

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by Otto Vondrak » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:31 am

FRN9 wrote:Why is electrification so important?

First, it would allow existing Metronorth trains to travel as far as Springfield.
The line will not be electrified and Metro-North will not go to Springfield.

http://springfieldrail.org/

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Noel Weaver
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:26 am

FRN9 wrote:This sounds promising. Given their promise to "do it right from the beginning," and the desire to have 110 MPH "high speed rail," they should add electrification to the raised platforms, double tracking, etc.

Why is electrification so important?

First, it would allow existing Metronorth trains to travel as far as Springfield. This doesn't mean they would have to go as far as Springfield or that every train would need to, but why not have a train or two at each end of rush hour traveling to Hartford (or even as far as Springfield)?

In addition, and more importantly for the goal of removing regional airtraffic, Amtrak could upgrade its service substantially and remote the shuttle and extend its trains to Springfield with the same engines and good service without the painful delay in New Haven.
This is exactly what they don't need. Too many curves and crossings for high speed operation, double track maybe
sometime in the future if traffic requires but I doubt it, Metro-North territory - no, simply change trains in New Haven.
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:50 am

FRN9 wrote: First, it would allow existing Metronorth trains to travel as far as Springfield. This doesn't mean they would have to go as far as Springfield or that every train would need to, but why not have a train or two at each end of rush hour traveling to Hartford (or even as far as Springfield)?
Because (leaving contractural considerations to one side) Metro-North equipment is not designed for long-distance service. Hartford to New York City is approximately 120 miles. If you use MNRR's current schedule as a guideline (~1hr45mins on a rush-hour express to do the 72 miles between GCT and New Haven) that gives you a travel time of ca. 3 hours. That's a LOOOONG time to be sitting in one of those small plastic seats on an M2.

Also, remember, this is not a NY-centric service. I've been thinking about it and I really don't know what the prevailing direction would be at rush hour. There are a lot of people who live south of Hartford and work downtown at the big insurance companies. Could actually be one justification for double-tracking at an earlier date than would first seem necessary: although I agree with other commentators on this site in saying that service should be started first with existing infrastructure and equipment.

FRN9
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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by FRN9 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:49 pm

I'm with you on it being a long distance and most trains being from Springfield to New Haven, but how long is the Scranton to Hoboken service that is envisioned?

Also, good idea to start it now with existing equipment. Also, if M2s are so uncomfortable, then two hours is a lot to spend in one (from New Haven to GCT), and perhaps their seating should be upgraded?

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Re: Hartford-Springfield Commuter trains

Post by atsf sp » Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:22 pm

They should make it a New Haven-Worcester line including hartford and springfield. This line would connect MN and the MBTA. Stopping at Hartford and Springfield will have only minor connections between those cities but the New Haven Worcester willl connect those area commuters to NYC and Boston rather than Amtrak needing to come into the play. They can run more trains between Springfield and Hartford bt still have trains between the other two.
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