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 nomis
 
CT: OPINION: Lawmakers suggest new train system for eastern Connecticut
https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/ne ... onnecticut
New legislation co-sponsored by Democrats from the eastern Connecticut delegation to the General Assembly proposes that the state Department of Transportation study the concept of two new passenger rail systems centered in the region.

One would simply extend the commuter rail system now operated as Shoreline East beyond New London to the Rhode Island border, where it could connect with existing Rhode Island commuter rail.

New passenger stations could be added in Groton and Stonington Borough.

The two lines come together in Groton, where there could also be a station connection for transfers.
For now, The P&W centric service is in another thread.
  by shadyjay
 
You could [relatively] simply extend SLE to Westerly. There is space in the yard there for a layover facility. You do have some fairly significant ADA issues to overcome... Westerly has an old subway that connects the two tracks, built long before ADA. Present setup is lifts, but you'd have a total of 3 to get from one platform to another, and all at an unstaffed station. There is parking adjacent to both platforms, however, but not good for the solo driver. There is space for expanded parking at Westerly as well. Mystic, again another low platform station with a grade crossing used to cross the tracks, and very limited parking. Groton, not sure where you'd put the station. Maybe you could do a "drop-and-ride" adjacent to the tower, and have shuttles to EB, Pfizer, sub base, etc meet there. Not really a lot of room for public parking.

And of course the sticking point is the drawbridges.... how many additional closures are permitted? Too many over Thames and Mystic and you're getting into USN/USCG/"Fairfield Navy" territory.

Is there a demand for commuter service from New London to Westerly? I-95 isn't too bad in this area (yet....) and honestly is a lot more straight-shot than the railroad. Let's hold off there until RIDOT decides it wants to go to Westerly as well, then they can foot the bill for the layover and SLE can piggyback on it.

I say let's get what we got now in good shape and go from there. Hartford Line still needs to be finished (double track Windsor Locks-Enfield) and the stations north of HFD and the infills built. SLE is almost there, but Madison still needs to be expanded and the M-8s testing finished. Not to mention various bridge projects which are bound to affect service for years to come (Conn-Saybrook, Conn-Enfield, Walk, others).

(edited to remove P&W line comments)
  by Ridgefielder
 
shadyjay wrote: Tue Mar 02, 2021 4:27 pm You could [relatively] simply extend SLE to Westerly. There is space in the yard there for a layover facility. You do have some fairly significant ADA issues to overcome... Westerly has an old subway that connects the two tracks, built long before ADA.
The ADA fix for Westerly would be to build a separate platform and track for SLE originating/terminating trains. There's plenty of room for it-- there's room for 4 tracks on the ROW through here, not sure if two were removed or if this was more NYNH&H future-proofing like the abutments and piers on the Conn River bridge. Would also avoid tying up the Amtrak mains with a local waiting for passengers.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Surprised there's no mention of Mystic; or would they consider that Stonington?
  by Ridgefielder
 
I assume a Groton station would be in the vicinity of the Tilcon facility that occupies part of the location of the old NYNH&H Midway Yard. In Stonington Borough the only sensible location would be where Alpha Ave. crosses the tracks on a viaduct. Not much room for parking there, though. And I could see The Borough squawking at the idea of people flooding in by rail...
  by The EGE
 
Groton's station was historically at the wye with the line to Worcester; it was dropped in the 1930s, though the stairs to the station are still there. A Groton station was served for three months in 1978 by the Clamdigger; the location of that stop isn't clear. A second stop at Poquonnock (Midway) at Depot Road primarily served the shops there and was closed around 1926.

I think your most likely Groton locations would be either off Bridge Street, or off Poquonnock Road. Bridge Street would be walkable from Groton city and nearby apartment complexes, and close to 95 and 12. Poquonnock Road would be closer to the modern commercial center. Both would have plenty of room for parking, and would be convenient for shuttles to EB.
  by conductorchris
 
While Westerly was not four tracked, it did have 3 tracks or more at the station, the remnant of the previous mainline before a line relocation. I imagine the relocation is the reason there is room for 4 tracks.
Christopher
  by Arlington
 
A new Groton station should prefer to be near Electric Boat and Pfizer, which favors a new site closer to the river and New London

I could make a commuter case for an additional stop near the historic Tilcon/Arport site

I assume they’d call on Mystic, and then Stonington would be the last stop before Westerly RI
  by Arlington
 
The EGE wrote: Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:07 pm Groton's station
I think your most likely Groton locations would be either off Bridge Street, or off Poquonnock Road. Bridge Street would be walkable from Groton city and nearby apartment complexes, and close to 95 and 12. Poquonnock Road would be closer to the modern commercial center. Both would have plenty of room for parking, and would be convenient for shuttles to EB.
I say both. Bridge St for the big employers, Poquinnock for the airport and as a prime TOD site (given the Big Y)
  by ElectricTraction
 
Is there a demand for commuter service from New London to Westerly? I-95 isn't too bad in this area (yet....) and honestly is a lot more straight-shot than the railroad. Let's hold off there until RIDOT decides it wants to go to Westerly as well, then they can foot the bill for the layover and SLE can piggyback on it.
How practical is the RIDOT service to Westerly? Does the line through Kingston have any capacity left? It has the least traffic of anywhere on the NEC, but having 160mph trains highballing it through a station mixed with 125mph trains stopping already eats up a LOT of capacity, even if the T were electrified, they would still be gumming up that whole area. Princeton Junction has 4 tracks, so they don't have to worry about NJT plodding along while Acela blasts through the express tracks.
I say let's get what we got now in good shape and go from there. Hartford Line still needs to be finished (double track Windsor Locks-Enfield) and the stations north of HFD and the infills built. SLE is almost there, but Madison still needs to be expanded and the M-8s testing finished. Not to mention various bridge projects which are bound to affect service for years to come (Conn-Saybrook, Conn-Enfield, Walk, others).
I think it's worthwhile getting to Westerly, but I would agree that there are a lot of other projects. They still need to figure out the whole M-8 thing, as they don't work on low-level platforms, so they can't really go beyond Old Saybrook. SLE is missing half of Madison, and two stations somewhere in the East Lyme-Waterford or Old Lyme-Niantic area. Extending to Westerly would require a Groton station. Hartford is missing Enfield, West Hartford, Newington, and North Haven. New Haven is missing Orange, Devon Transfer, and Barnum.
A new Groton station should prefer to be near Electric Boat and Pfizer, which favors a new site closer to the river and New London
There are several decent sites for a Groton station, none that really stand out as excellent. However, I don't think this extension would serve any commuter traffic into Groton, maybe some partially remote, partially in-person to New Haven, Stamford, or even New York. Pfizer has downsized significantly and EB's employees live mostly in East Lyme and points north and east deep into RI. There is a lot of regional rail type of traffic, especially in the summer, and I think it would be quite successful without inbound commuter traffic at all.

If I had to choose, probably one around Bridge St, and one around Poquonnock. Noank and Black Point (existing SLE route) could generate some summer traffic, but I don't know if it would be worth it to stop and slow the train down more than necessary for those locations. Old Lyme/Niantic are tough for station locations, Waterford should be able to find room for one somewhere around Miner Ln or Great Neck Rd.