Danbury Branch Extension Study

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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Pbolo714
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Location: Stamford CT

Post by Pbolo714 » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:25 am

new milford riders will go to stamford norwalk greenwich. Makes sense no? That ride is more bearable than a ride to GCT.

Gilbert B Norman
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Post by Gilbert B Norman » Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:33 pm

Jodi's got TheTimes

Looks like she is a shoo-in; maybe another rail oriented initiative on the way during her first full term?

www.nytimes.com/2006/10/2...3mon2.html

What a breath of fresh air when compared with the TweedleDum Tweedle Dee clowns running out here.

Go Jodi Go

Trainer
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Post by Trainer » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:42 am

I attended this meeting on Tuesday night. A few first-hand observations:

1) The meeting was poorly attended, with only about a dozen people (besides the commission itself). Aside from a few folks from the New Milford Rail Restoration Society (who spoke eloquently in support of the project), I didn't see a whole lot of public support (or public opposition, for that matter) for the expansion. Where were the rail fans? These people count numbers.

2) A fellow who identified himself as a VP of the Housatonic Railroad* spoke in support of expansion to New Milford, citing regional population expansion figures in support as evidence of need. He did express concerns that any new stations that were built need to be constructed so his freights can easily pass by, and that passing sidings need to be designed into the plan. The Hoosey seems very willing to make a deal, and when questioned by a couple of the commissioners, communicated that they were very ready and eager to get the project moving forward ASAP.

3) The head of the Danbury Parking authority, as well as couple other folks (including a MN conductor) spoke in favor of adding more mid-day service on the Danbury branch. Danbury is opening a new garage at Library Place which will free up space at Patriot for more daytime MN customers. The commissioners said they had heard this before, seemed very interested, and asked several questions about potential mid-day ridership.

4) The MN conductor spoke against electrifying the Danbury line, since he said the trains can’t handle the hilly terrain and would slide around in leaves and snow. He did request “engines like they use on Shore Line East”. The commission didn’t seem interested in engaging the electrification or engine issues at all.

5) After the meeting was “officially” over, a fellow from the DOT who was hanging out in the back of the room made a statement that the new centralized traffic control system was a “done deal” and installation would begin in Summer 2007.

We’ll see. A link to a follow-up story is http://www.newstimeslive.com/news/story ... ype=phrase

A link to today's editorial in the News-Times is http://www.newstimeslive.com/opinion/ed ... ype=phrase

*Colin Pease

trainhq
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Post by trainhq » Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:27 pm

Response to Penn Central:

There have been ridership surveys made a few years ago of ridership from New Milford. They show that the proposed service would attract several hundred riders,
certainly enough to justify starting it.

Jeff Smith
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Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:49 pm

Welcome to Connecticut, The Study it to Death State

How many studies has CDOT or local business dev agencies done on this, or other transit projects? If I had 10% of the cost of these studies, I could open up passenger rail service!

Seriously, I'm pro on the extension and electrification of the branch. I lived in both Danbury and Stamford for a spell and there are a lot of commuters taking it to intra-state destinations like Merrit 7, Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich. The study did also indicated a decent passenger count into NYC from Danbury - can't imagine New Milford would add that many for a full distance trip. Although I did it for a few weeks for the sweet love of a voodoo woman named Karen. But I digress - you can grab the study here: http://www.danburybranchstudy.com/#

That said, there are a lot of people commuting into NYC from CT from stations on the Upper Harlem, too (I also lived in Patterson, and remember when it was RDC's to Brewster N, er, Southeast - is that CTC now?). Since Super 7 will never be built, they need to improve the branch to take pressure off of 7, which was a nightmare as far back as 1997. CTC will go a long way to doing that, but they still need to do more.

A lot of folks would like the Maybrook activated as a connection to the Harlem as well. From what I've read in the forums, the line is in terrible shape, with lots of grade xings. I know from Google Earth (some good high-res shots there) that the connection from the Upper Harlem to the Maybrook is northbound only (just above Dykemans/NY Hwy312). Shame, too, because the lines are very close just above downtown Brewster, but I imagine the track curvature would be too tight to run trains from Maybrook West to Harlem South at that point, necessitating a connection further North. I don't think these folks would necessarily commute to NYC, but to White Plains. That would take a lot of cars of 84, 684, and the Taconic and Saw Mill. You might get a substantial passenger count for such a connection if the train ran through to WP.
Last edited by Jeff Smith on Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jeff Smith
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News Article On Service Expansion

Post by Jeff Smith » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:06 am

http://www.newstimes.com/news/column.php?id=1022230
"That's the seventh study," Pease said. "It's time to end the studies. We've got it figured out by now."
Amen, brother. Colin Pease is vice president for special projects for HRRC. He has interesting points, and seems to be on board with expansion. And why not? HRCC gets an upgraded road in exchange for waht are probably negligible service limitations.
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Jeff Smith
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Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:34 am

They have to issue a bond for the final phase of the study? That doesn't bode well.

http://www.newstimeslive.com/news/story.php?id=1029280
DANBURY -- The state is stepping up to the plate to improve commuter rail service into Danbury and perhaps expand it into New Milford.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Monday the State Bond Commission this week plans to consider a $3 million bond for the Danbury Rail Study., the line's final study.

"What the next study will do is reduce the number of options to one. It will finish the environmental study and it will make sure the next step is improving the line. This will put planning behind us," said Carmine Trotta, assistant planning director for intermodal planning with the state Department of Transportation.
Not much new in the article, but things are progressing.
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Patrick A.
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Post by Patrick A. » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:39 am

I heard through a friend at MNRR, that they will be installing signals on the Danbury line this spring/summer. Is this true, or just rumors?

Patrick
I have lived to ride on the M8.

Complete Constant Tension on the New Haven Line ETC: Mid-2018

Jeff Smith
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Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:55 pm

Well, they do have to study it for another year or seven :wink: !

Sound of Otto's joke/jab going over my head

Seriously, I think this has a shot. I spent some amount of time up there, both as a resident and a member of an Army Reserve unit, and the traffic can be pretty brutal. I think New Milford is likely to happen, albeit at a lower price tag (i.e. not full build).

As for the current service, outside of CTC/Signal, it's anyone's guess what they'll do, if anything. I would seriously doubt electrification, cost per passenger doesn't yield that great a benefit. Some combination of extended passing sidings, track realignment, and maybe skip-stop.

By the way, the Super 7 is dead - did you see that article, too? Someone introduced a bill for that. If they can find the money for that, and for a Georgetown station (universally reviled here, it seems), then they can invest in this branch.
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theozno
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Post by theozno » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:53 am

otto
when might super 7 be completed?

DutchRailnut
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Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:32 am

Super 7 north of Brookfield has been apropriated by Gov Rell and construction will start in spring.

With Conndots study project keeping the useless employed don't expect any service to soon or improvements, with the Bill for M-8's Conndot will have to do with a real small allowance.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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theozno
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Post by theozno » Thu May 22, 2008 10:08 pm

last time we talk about this gas was $2.25 to $2.50 a gallon..
Gas prices are now ridiculous getting towards $5 a gallon and train service is cheap. Rider-ship is way up as well. Have there been any news in the last couple of months on having expansion to New Milford
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DutchRailnut
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Post by DutchRailnut » Fri May 23, 2008 6:32 am

no and they have been studying it since fuel was $0.49 per gallon.
and people were bitching about fuel price then.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Port Jervis
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Re: New Milford

Post by Port Jervis » Sat May 24, 2008 11:55 am

Tom Curtin wrote:
Let's face it, New Milford is NOT a NYC commuter town. As it stands, the best time on the Danbury commute to mid-town Manhattan would be house-to-work at least two hours. Work on Wall St. and add another half hour to the commute. Then add the New Milford run, and we're talking another half-hour minimum. Do that twice a day, and the 6 hours spent commuting is unreasonable.
Is the state serious? Te better idea would be to make the Danbury to New Milford run a Rails-to-Trails path
The foregoing is evidently some kind of blog post written in response to the NT article. The writer of the blog is evidently rather unschooled in the demographics of the territory. I don't know how many people commute New Milford-NY but I bet there are plenty. And commuters are going a good bit farther into the hinterlands than that too --- the success of The Harlem Line service to Wassaic speaks for itself (to give some Connecticut context to Wassaic, it is on a latitude roughly 5 mies north of Kent, CT!!) In addition, there are even more intrastate commuters from New Milford, i.e., going to places like Stamford, who are part of a market for rail service.
New Milford to NYC commuters already use the Upper Harlem line. The parking lots at Wassaic and Tenmile River are packed with CT license plates. I don't think this would really serve an unserved commuter base, it'd just be Metro-North competing with itself.
Hoboken rules, Midtown Direct drools!

Noel Weaver
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Re: New Milford

Post by Noel Weaver » Sat May 24, 2008 4:48 pm

Metro-North would not be competing with itself, it is in business to provide transportation in New York State and under contract with Connecticut. New Milford is about opposite Pawling on the Harlem Line but the problem is that there is not a good road between the two points or west to the Harlem Line for that matter.

New Milford might get commuter trains someday but a much better route 7 south to Danbury would accomplish much more at this point. I drove that road last summer and it was the "pits". A good connecting bus between New Milford, Brookfield and the Danbury station would do the job for the time being.
Noel Weaver

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