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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Jeff Smith
I could not find any reference within to where trails will go (and they're already pretty much along the entire ROW).

Other salient points in the first 13 pages:

-Metro-North has found that commuter service on the Beacon Line is not feasible

Certainly not on the portion between Hopewell Junction and Dykeman's into Southeast. But what of other portions, i.e. the much-talked about Danbury to Southeast portion? Lesser talk of other type service from Fishkill into Beacon as well.

-Rehab costs are $75.5 million per MNRR's estimates.

That's the whole line; for the short portion to Dykeman's it would be a fraction of the cost.

That's the gist of it.

Assuming MNRR
  by Jeff Smith
Further reads of some of the appendices:

Page 108: "Metro-North has no plans to salvage the existing track at this time"
Page 109: "...The rest of the Line, from Beacon, New York to Hopewell Junction, New York, ,is suitable for recreational trail use"

Clearly, they just want to be relieved of maintenance obligations, and are looking to allow the conversion of the Beacon secondary as a trail.

Page 119: an email from the EPA that unless demolition is to occur, "no comment at this time".

Some interesting maps starting at page 175.

That's pretty much it for the filing.
  by Jeff Smith

1. Looks like HRRC was, yes, holding out for a payoff to cooperate. They don't use the track, have no plans to do so, have never done so (perhaps one exception being a freight car from Millerton?). They wanted money for railroad crossings IN CONNECTICUT.
2. CtDOT has no intention of getting in the middle of this. They have to work with MNRR. If it ever comes to pass that they want to run service to Southeast, I'm sure they can buy the ROW in NY necessary to do so. CtDOT did NOT respond to my question on their opinion of the abandonment.
3. ^This is providing HRRC cooperates with CtDOT for their portion of the trackage in CT along the Maybrook.
4. If any passenger service is going to come to pass, HRRC will want to be paid for same, whether it's over the Maybrook or the Berkshire. And they may want to run it, which will not be welcomed by MNRR, who has the contract with CtDOT for branch and main line operations for trains connecting to New York.
5. The bad blood continues between HRRC and MNRR. We'll see how this impacts their relationship with CtDOT.
  by J.D. Lang
Thanks for keeping us posted on the filings. If MNRR wants to abandon but keep the rails in place from at least Dykeman's to the state line than CTDOT may still have a chance to buy it if they ever wanted to entertain service to SE. As far as HRRC is concerned if they want to try and extort money from CTDOT over a purchase they had better be careful about that. The state still owns the Berkshire from Boardman's Bridge to the state line in Canaan which I'm sure that HRRC pays little or no rent to the state to use that line. The state may want to take a hard look at that arrangement if HRRC wants money for a state purchase of that portion of the Maybrook.

Another reason the state missed a golden opportunity to buy the Danbury cluster when Conrail put it on the block.
  by Jeff Smith
I do think there's some horse trading to do here. I don't see HRRC wanting to sell their mileage on the Berkshire, and I don't blame them. I've posited on the HRRC thread that they may want to consider interchanging at the southern end for that trackage, either with P&W in Danbury, or soon, G&W at Derby (Derby would be expensive as they'd need to upgrade OOS portion).

The portion west, though, is of little to no use except as real estate. But they're not going to get a lot for it; they'll have to be realistic. Prying money out of MNNR's hands for overhead rights they don't use is one thing; they don't need to have a good relationship with MNRR, and MNRR has clearly given up on keeping any of the line for positioning moves. But with CtDOT, they need to maintain a working relationship, even if it's not friendly.
  by Jeff Smith
Nothing has happened since last post. However, there are other developments:

https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/new ... eral-grant
CT: Danbury's 'long shot' fast track to NYC now 'more of a reality' with hope of $2M federal grant

Jun. 2—DANBURY — News that U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., has requested a $2 million grant to take the city's idea for a fast track to Grand Central station to the next step energized City Hall, which considers the project a key component in the downtown's revitalization.

"Once considered a long shot, a direct passenger rail line to New York City via the MTA Harlem line is becoming more and more of a reality because of the tremendous support seen across our city," Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito said in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

Esposito is referring to a plan floated by former Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to provide faster rail service from Danbury to New York City by reviving the old Maybrook line to Southeast, N.Y., where commuters could catch Metro-North's Harlem line.
  by jamoldover
Some additional filings by HRRC in the past week, including information on a number of instances over the past 20 years where there were opportunities to provide freight service to customers on the line that were made impossible by MNCR's failure to maintain the line in operable condition (which HRRC states was a requirement of the sale of the line to MNCR by HRRC).

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 304989.pdf
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 305000.pdf

Assuming the interpretation put forward by the Housatonic is correct, it sounds like MNCR let the line fall apart because they didn't want to spend money on it, ripped up parts of it to build a trail they didn't have permission to build, and now want to get rid of the whole thing because it hasn't been used as a rail line and can't be without a lot of money being spent on restoring things that MNCR should have kept in operating condition all along. That's pretty damming.

  by Jeff Smith
I just pulled the same PDF. Yeah, they've been caught red-handed. The PDF also included a study of passenger rail. Some of the ideas were non-starters, but the DMU idea is the one I'd go with. Add double-track and a new turnout just above Southeast and you're good to go.

They don't need a new bridge, or platform. That's silly.
  by Jeff Smith
Well, looks like this will be settled: https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 305928.pdf
STB Docket No. AB 1311, Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company—Adverse
Discontinuance of Trackage Rights—Housatonic Railroad Company

Dear Ms. Brown:
This is to advise the Board, as required by its order in this proceeding dated September 29, 2022, holding this proceeding in abeyance, that the parties have completed settlement negotiations that address the issues raised in this proceeding. We will be filing pleadings and other required documents that reflect the terms of that settlement within the coming month.

Please note that Edward Rodriguez, counsel to the Housatonic Railroad Company, has authorized us to state that his client concurs with this request.
  by Jeff Smith
https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/ ... 670287.php
DANBURY — Efforts to create a fast track to New York City will move to the environmental review phase in 2023 with a federally funded study to assess the impacts of running commuter trains along the old Maybrook rail line to Brewster.

“The project is continuing to move forward,” says Shay Nagarsheth, Danbury’s director of economic development and business advocacy. “The money has been allocated for the environmental study with the help” of U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes. “We are waiting on the federal transit funds to be allocated in early 2023.”

The fast-track concept, floated by former Mayor Mark Boughton during the final years of his administration, is to reopen the 14 miles of the Maybrook line between Danbury and Southeast, N.Y., where Manhattan-bound commuters would connect with Metro-North’s Harlem Line to Grand Central Terminal.

During talks between Boughton, Metro-North President Cathy Rinaldi and state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti in 2019, Boughton said there was widespread political will and popular will for the project.
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