AMTRAK NEC: Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Valley Flyer

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Ridgefielder
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Ridgefielder »

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:34 pm
I have said this many times but will say it again. West of Springfield is where the trains will slow down considerably. There is plenty of topography and curves that would make travel times by train a lot slower than driving or taking the bus from Renssalaer to Boston.
I feel like there's not enough appreciation out there for just how tough the mountains of western Mass. are from a railroading standpoint. There's a ~1,200' change in elevation between Westfield and the summit of the grade. That's roughly the same as the difference in elevation between Trinidad, CO and the top of the Raton Pass!

There's a reason the New York Central developed a heavy freight locomotive-- the Berkshire-- to deal with that hill. And there's a reason the B&M route farther north uses what's still, after 144 years, the longest railroad tunnel in the US east of the Rockies.

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BandA
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by BandA »

In addition to South Station expansion, they need to set up train storage, restore quad track Framingham-Riverside (i.e. I-95/128), restore double track east of Worcester (basically requiring ADA rebuild of all the Commuter Rail stations) and high platform at Back Bay. There's the tension between Commuter Rail which requires 50% or more operating subsidy from the state and Amtrak trying to cover 100% of operating costs. In order for both services to coexist MBTA needs to improve their "offer".

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Rockingham Racer
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Rockingham Racer »

For some of the attending public, their comments on riding a bus indicated that that proposal was terrible.

daybeers
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by daybeers »

Any updates on the Springfield high-level platform?

A source told me once funding is secured from the state, Amtrak plans to replace the OAKWOOD interlocking at the Oakwood Avenue crossing in West Hartford with one at PARKVILLE in Hartford to add another two miles of double track that is presently only classed for 10 mph freight service. No word on where this stands on the priority list.

daybeers
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by daybeers »

Amtrak posted this alert today:
Track Work Affects Service on some Northeast Regional, Springfield Shuttle and Vermonter Trains
Effective August 17 & 18, 2019


Track work being performed between New Haven and Springfield will affect service at Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks and Springfield on August 17 and 18.

Northeast Regional
Saturday, August 17

Trains 140 and 146, which normally operate between Washington and Springfield, will terminate at New Haven. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Buses 3140 and 3146, for all missed intermediate stops at State Street, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor and Windsor Locks.

Sunday, August 18

Trains 143 and 157, which normally operate between Springfield and Washington, will originate at New Haven. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Buses 3143 and 3157, for all missed intermediate stops at Windsor Locks, Windsor, Hartford, Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford and State Street.

Vermonter

Trains 54 and 57 will operate normally but may encounter 10 to 15 minute delays between Springfield and Windsor Locks.

Springfield Shuttle

Trains will operate normally but may encounter 10 to 15 minute delays between Springfield and Windsor Locks.
Not sure why Amtrak hasn't also posted this alert that the Hartford Line did yesterday:
Posted on 08/06/19 at 12:43 PM ET

Service Alert: August 10 and 11: Construction Affecting Berlin and Meriden Stations

Attention CTrail Hartford Line Customers:

On Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11, 2019, there will be track construction impacting stops at the Meriden and Berlin train stations.

All northbound and southbound Amtrak and CTrail trains will stop at the Track 2 platform ONLY during this time.

Berlin Station: The Track 2 platform is the platform closest to the parking lot.
Meriden Station: The Track 2 platform is the platform closest to State Street and the Meriden Green.

twropr
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by twropr »

I heard from MassDOT that on Aug. 30 two SPG-NHV shuttle round trips will be extended to Greenfield. Crew training runs supposedly begin on the 26th. Also the high level platform at SPG should be placed in service on the 30th.
MassDOT implied that the Greenfield service startup was waiting for the high level platform to be placed in service. Why would this be?
Also is there any track work taking place between SPG and Greenfield in anticipation of the extended service?
Andy

daybeers
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by daybeers »

twropr wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:47 pm
I heard from MassDOT that on Aug. 30 two SPG-NHV shuttle round trips will be extended to Greenfield. Crew training runs supposedly begin on the 26th. Also the high level platform at SPG should be placed in service on the 30th.
MassDOT implied that the Greenfield service startup was waiting for the high level platform to be placed in service. Why would this be?
Also is there any track work taking place between SPG and Greenfield in anticipation of the extended service?
Andy
That's great news, thanks! Why is there only four days of training? Is that normal? I'm not sure why it's taking so long other than it being the U.S., but I imagine they want to have everything exactly right before service launch. Wouldn't want to deter riders due to a bad experience in Springfield. The rest of the stations have high-level platforms.

Yes, track work includes:
Install up to 30,000 new wood crossties
Install 3.5 track miles of new continuous welded rail on the controlled sidings in Northampton and Springfield and on the southbound track in Deerfield
Construct 0.4 miles of new southbound track in Deerfield
Distribute 28,500 tons of track ballast
Surface, align and regulate the ballast along 32 miles of CRML track, including all turnouts that branch off the mainline track
Remove and reconstruct five farm crossings along the line
Remove & dispose of all scrap crossties, timbers, and wood debris
It's called the Valley Flyer
The service will be provided until the fall of 2021 on a pilot basis.

MassDOT has established a goal of 24,000 new annual riders from our region. If the goal is not met MassDOT has said that the service will be discontinued.
On another note, I rode #417 HFD–MDN today, great service as always, but pretty much when we left HFD and got up to a good clip, the ex-Metroliner Cab Car I was in was rattling pretty badly. Reminds me of the post someone made on another forum some time ago about thinking her NEC train was speeding at 125 mph. What was weird was once we got to Silver Lake south of Berlin, it was perfectly smooth like it usually is. This was also when the engineer backed off on the throttle and I think we were just coasting for a while coming into Meriden.

I took #478 back which was smooth as butter the whole way. I notice the dispatchers have been savvy with the northbound trains if there isn't a southbound nearby: they switch the train to track 1 on the 45mph interlocking north of Berlin (that's not what it's called, that's the northern gauntlet track interlocking at the station, could someone help me out?) instead of at the OAKWOOD interlocking so they can cruise at 100+ for much longer. Smart!

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Kilo Echo »

MassLive reports that Valley Flyer service may begin as soon as August 30.

https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/08/e ... -week.html
Mind the gap

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by lordsigma12345 »

twropr wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:47 pm
MassDOT implied that the Greenfield service startup was waiting for the high level platform to be placed in service. Why would this be?
A couple likely reasons. One is that the platform's construction involved closure of some of the tracks in the station at times where the equipment lays over each night. Secondly they likely needed it to be done to make sure they meet ADA regulations since this is a new service. It makes sense to get all the work done that could potentially disrupt service before starting it.

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by gokeefe »

Kilo Echo wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:00 am
MassLive reports that Valley Flyer service may begin as soon as August 30.

https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/08/e ... -week.html
I'm still bowled over by the amount of progress this corridor has seen over the past ten years. It never ceases to amaze ...
gokeefe

Hux
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Hux »

gokeefe wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:15 pm
Kilo Echo wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:00 am
MassLive reports that Valley Flyer service may begin as soon as August 30.

https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/08/e ... -week.html
I'm still bowled over by the amount of progress this corridor has seen over the past ten years. It never ceases to amaze ...
Who knows, maybe with decent ridership we could see extending to Brattleboro at some point in the next decade.

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by gokeefe »

I think the resumption of service on the Inland Route is more likely.
gokeefe

Arlington
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Arlington »

^ Mass is working on Inlands (still in the evalatuion of Alterantive ROW choices), but that doesn't preclude Vermont from extending Mass' extension of the Shuttles.

I think Hux's Brattleboro makes a lot of sense: Looking at the Vermonter's NARP route provile , Brattleboro has 16k passengers per year, (44 per day) making it the second busiest stop in Vermont. Brattleboro much more logical place to terminate compared to Greenfield, which only sees 6500/yr and 18 per day in the NARP table. The "native" demand in Brattleboro is 3x that in Greenfield.

At just 25 miles beyond Greenfield it is such a short trip that it is hard to say that a shuttle bus would be worth it, and easy to say that extending Mass' Valley Flyer one stop northward will be pretty compelling if it is performing well in its upcoming trail.

From Brattleboro, I'd run a bus express to Bellows Falls, downtown Hanover (Dartmouth) and then across I-89 to Montpelier and Burlington.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by gokeefe »

When's the last time anyone did a study on service to St. Johnsbury?
gokeefe

Dick H
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Dick H »

Brattleboro needs more parking. White River Jct. VT might be a good choice. Just 5 miles from Dartmouth College. Nice Station, Fairly large parking lot, but much of it is used by the adjacent court facility.

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