• connecting commuter rail lines

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by electricron
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 7:39 pm Everyone: I second MW's though on offering connecting services to make any ride combination more reasonable. Good connecting rail services can be much more than just end-point to end-point options.
And I thought all along that was Amtrak's regional train's mission, to interconnect all the commuter train agencies along the Northeast Corridor. How much better can connecting services be than connecting all?

All the new proposes I have read to date in this thread have not interconnected all the trains.

They complain about piecemeal solutions then propose more piecemeal solutions as the cure.

Hello, the cure already exists. It's Amtrak!
Outside of train services in Alaska and Hawaii, Amtrak interconnects almost all of the train transit agencies in the lower 48 states. I can name one that Amtrak does not connect with, the Music City Star. Are there others?
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
electricron wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:31 pm Outside of train services in Alaska and Hawaii, Amtrak interconnects almost all of the train transit
agencies in the lower 48 states. I can name one that Amtrak does not connect with, the Music City
Star. Are there others?
Kenosha trolley

Pittsburgh ("T") rail does not connect directly at PGH station

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

Phoenix streetcar
  by MACTRAXX
 
RW: I will add these extra notes for the SEPTA portion of your trip example:

The pre-paid (Key card or NJT-sold "Tunnel" ticket) Anywhere via CCP fare is $9.25 or $10 cash on board.

*If there is sufficient time* riders going to the Trenton Line should transfer at Jefferson (Market East) Station
instead of 30th Street - the current SEPTA WIL/NRK schedule shows these times at the three CCP stations:
(all times are AM)
10:12 - 30th Street
10:16 - Suburban Station
*10:20* - Jefferson Station
Trenton Line train to TRE: (10 minute transfer time up and over at Jefferson Station - A Section)
*10:30* - Jefferson Station
10:35 - Suburban Station
10:39 - 30th Street
There are two main reasons that I will note for this extra ride - making the CCP station waiting time shorter and
most importantly - getting seated in and settled from the first available CCP Trenton Line stop instead of having
to deal with the much larger number of passengers boarding at Suburban and especially 30th Street.

Another factor must be now noted - with SEPTA's Center City stations now fare-controlled with Key turnstiles
the allowed transfer between RRD lines has to stay within the "paid" area. Jefferson Station offers restrooms
within the turnstiles at both the A and B section along with schedule racks offering a large selection of printed
SEPTA timetables for most if not all of the transit routes. Suburban Station offers restrooms in the "paid" area
with the schedule racks outside the turnstiles in the "free" area. There are NO restrooms in the "paid" area at
30th Street Station on the upper level.

The NJT one-way fare of $16.75 is pre-paid - bought on board adds a $5 penalty charge or $21.75 TRE-NYP.

Another route between Center City Philadelphia and Trenton that (surprisingly) no one mentioned is the NJT
River Line from TRE to Camden Walter Rand TC for $1.60 - 50 cents more or $2.10 for a NJT bus transfer WRTC
into Philadelphia - or PATCO into 8/Market; 9/10 Locust; 12/13 Locust and 15/16 Locust in CCP for $1.40.

Using alternate services with transfers is less convenient than the proverbial one-seat ride but the savings
can be substantial for those on a tight budget...MACTRAXX
  by MattW
 
electricron wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:31 pm
MACTRAXX wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 7:39 pm Everyone: I second MW's though on offering connecting services to make any ride combination more reasonable. Good connecting rail services can be much more than just end-point to end-point options.
And I thought all along that was Amtrak's regional train's mission, to interconnect all the commuter train agencies along the Northeast Corridor. How much better can connecting services be than connecting all?

All the new proposes I have read to date in this thread have not interconnected all the trains.

They complain about piecemeal solutions then propose more piecemeal solutions as the cure.

Hello, the cure already exists. It's Amtrak!
Outside of train services in Alaska and Hawaii, Amtrak interconnects almost all of the train transit agencies in the lower 48 states. I can name one that Amtrak does not connect with, the Music City Star. Are there others?
Amtrak is for moving people long distances. That doesn't mean there isn't a short distance market. I mean if you really want, we can make all NEC service under Amtrak and now you'd have three tiers of service: Local, Regional, and Acela. While yes, some people would like NJT or SEPTA to run the Clockers again, but that's not necessarily needed. I don't see why it's a bad thing to bridge the gaps by simply connecting existing nearby commuter services.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
MattW wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 11:07 pmThree tiers of service: Local, Regional, and Acela.
That was the original concept circa 2001, with Clockers under the "Acela Commuter" service line.
  by electricron
 
MattW wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 11:07 pm
electricron wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:31 pm
MACTRAXX wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 7:39 pm Everyone: I second MW's though on offering connecting services to make any ride combination more reasonable. Good connecting rail services can be much more than just end-point to end-point options.
And I thought all along that was Amtrak's regional train's mission, to interconnect all the commuter train agencies along the Northeast Corridor. How much better can connecting services be than connecting all?

All the new proposes I have read to date in this thread have not interconnected all the trains.

They complain about piecemeal solutions then propose more piecemeal solutions as the cure.

Hello, the cure already exists. It's Amtrak!
Outside of train services in Alaska and Hawaii, Amtrak interconnects almost all of the train transit agencies in the lower 48 states. I can name one that Amtrak does not connect with, the Music City Star. Are there others?
Amtrak is for moving people long distances. That doesn't mean there isn't a short distance market. I mean if you really want, we can make all NEC service under Amtrak and now you'd have three tiers of service: Local, Regional, and Acela. While yes, some people would like NJT or SEPTA to run the Clockers again, but that's not necessarily needed. I don't see why it's a bad thing to bridge the gaps by simply connecting existing nearby commuter services.
  by electricron
 
MattW wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 11:07 pm Amtrak is for moving people long distances. That doesn't mean there isn't a short distance market. I mean if you really want, we can make all NEC service under Amtrak and now you'd have three tiers of service: Local, Regional, and Acela. While yes, some people would like NJT or SEPTA to run the Clockers again, but that's not necessarily needed. I don't see why it's a bad thing to bridge the gaps by simply connecting existing nearby commuter services.
It is not a bad if the existing gaps are really as small as some suggest. But some of these gaps are really quite large.
MBTA southernmost station on the NEC is at Wickford Junction. Platform on spur track connected only to the north.
43 miles
Shore Line East easternmost station is on the NEC at New London. Just three platforms for all 3 tracks.
Shore Line East westernmost station is on the NEC at Stamford.
0 miles
MTA North has a station at Stamford.
MTA North southern most station is not on NEC at Grand Central Station. It does not go to Pennsylvania Station. You have to ride the MTA subway between them. LIRR does go to Pennsylvania Station, but it does not go to any MTA North stations, yet.

So, the only commuter rail transfers available at Pennsylvania Station is between LIRR and NJT.
0 miles.
Southern most station on NEC for NJT is at Trenton
0 miles
Northern most station on the NEC for SEPTA is at Trenton
Southernmost station on NEC for SEPTA is at Newark, 2 platforms for 4 tracks
22 miles
Northern most station on NEC for MARC is at Perryville, 2 platforms for 4 tracks

So, as it is today, there are three large gaps between commuter rail agencies on the NEC.
(A) MBTA to Shore Line East. Who should the State of Rhode Island do business with, MBTA or CDOT? To actually bridge the gap, Rhode Island would have to come to contracture agreements with both transit agencies. Good luck getting that done.
(B) MTA North to NJT. This is the easiest to do as MTA North trains can get to Pennsylvania Station under the catenary. All they need are trains being diverted away from Grand Central or more trains to service Pennsylvania Station, assuming there are platforms and tracks available at the already "at capacity" Pennsylvania Station.
(C) SEPTA to MARC, Who should the State of Delaware do business with, SEPTA or MARC? To actually bridge the gap, Delaware would have to come to contracture agreements with both transit agencies. Good luck getting that done.

Meanwhile, Amtrak already bridges all those gaps with two faster train services, both Acela and Regional.
  by Literalman
 
The NEC Future proposal included a Metropolitan hourly service making all current Amtrak stops plus transfer points to commuter rail, such as Rahway and Secaucus. I would use that. I have family and friends in NJ and use those two transfer points.

I don't agree that bridging the commuter rail gaps would hurt Amtrak's revenues, even by nickels and dimes. A few years ago I was on an NEC train and talking with two people who had traveled as far as they could on commuter rail, and it cost more than the cheapest Amtrak coach tickets.

There are places where commuter rail does offer a cheaper intercity service: Baltimore-Washington, Philadelphia-New York, and Boston-Providence, for example. But I'm not sure Amtrak even wants to fill its NEC seats with passengers going less than a hundred miles. Or even farther. My wife and I wanted to go from Alexandria to Philadelphia for a day, but the cheapest fare for two seniors on a Saturday was about $320 round trip. We didn't go.

Price matters, but the benefit of bridging commuter rail gaps is not to provide cheaper duplicate service but to open up new rail travel opportunities.
  by electricron
 
Literalman wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:29 am I don't agree that bridging the commuter rail gaps would hurt Amtrak's revenues, even by nickels and dimes. A few years ago I was on an NEC train and talking with two people who had traveled as far as they could on commuter rail, and it cost more than the cheapest Amtrak coach tickets.

But I'm not sure Amtrak even wants to fill its NEC seats with passengers going less than a hundred miles. Or even farther. My wife and I wanted to go from Alexandria to Philadelphia for a day, but the cheapest fare for two seniors on a Saturday was about $320 round trip. We didn't go.

Price matters, but the benefit of bridging commuter rail gaps is not to provide cheaper duplicate service but to open up new rail travel opportunities.
In many locales commuter rail agencies do interconnect along the NEC. In the three areas they do not two situations are present that has prevented them so far. (1) A third intermediate State without their own commuter rail agency that relies on and contracts with the "closest" city commuter rail agency for rail services and (2) where the different commuter rail trains terminate in different train stations on different railroad line as in New York City.

Commuter rail agencies are funded by local governments to provide a rail service to commuters going to and from work from relatively large downtowns. They determine how far out into the suburbs they want to run their trains. They are politically under pressure to provide ever greater services within the cities than the suburbs, often criticized for extending trains out too far. They usually only provide services to communities actively funding them. When they cross state lines a funding mechanism - in addition to ticket fares - is contracted between the various local governments to subsidize the trains. It is difficult enough to make contractual agreements between two governmental agencies, extremely more difficult to do so between three - if not impossible. That's why the Rhode Island and Delaware gaps exist. Besides, if you lived in Rhode Island and Delaware, where would you more likely be commuting to; Boston or New Haven, or Philadelphia or Baltimore?

If the local agencies do not wish to bridge the commuter rail gaps, the gaps will not be bridged.

As for the commuter rail gap in New York City, where do you wish to build the brand new train station so huge that all the NJT, LIRR, MTA North, and Amtrak trains can go? There are reasons why both Grand Central and Pennsylvania Stations exist.

Finally, the commuter rail gaps that exist on the NEC are self inflected by the commuter rail agencies meeting their own goals for the services they wish to provide, the gaps are not forced upon them. If they really wanted to bridge the gaps, they could. But they don't wish to. Never-the-less, they don't have to bridge these gaps because these gaps have rail services provided by Amtrak, with two different level of services because Amtrak wishes to.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
electricron wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 1:01 am (C) SEPTA to MARC, Who should the State of Delaware do business with, SEPTA or MARC? To bridge
the gap, Delaware would have to come to contract agreements with both transit agencies.
The gap was once covered with a Arrow II train known as Chesapeake.
  by electricron
 
R36 Combine Coach wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:06 pm The gap was once covered with a Arrow II train known as Chesapeake.
Wiki article on the Chesapeake train
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesapeake_(train)
"On January 1, 1983, Conrail was relieved of its obligation to run commuter service. Commuter service in Pennsylvania was merged into SEPTA Regional Rail, and MDOT contracted with Amtrak to run other Washington-Baltimore commuter trips. The Chesapeake was discontinued on October 30, 1983. Commuter rail service is now provided over the former route of the Chesapeake – excepting the segment between Perryville and Newark – by the SEPTA Wilmington/Newark Line and MARC Penn Line."

Conrail does not own the NEC anymore. Conrail does not run passenger trains anymore. Commuter rail services were assumed by SEPTA and MARC almost 40 years ago. As I suggested before, blame SEPTA and MARC for this particular break in commuter rail services on the NEC. They are more interested servicing commuters traveling to and from downtown Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC. If they really wanted to provide services to the rural middle of nowhere, they would be begging the FRA for funds to do so. They are not - even after almost 40 years. Meanwhile, Amtrak provides two different types of intercity rail services over this gap in rural Delaware and Maryland.
.
  by eolesen
 
electricron wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:31 pm Outside of train services in Alaska and Hawaii, Amtrak interconnects almost all of the train transit agencies in the lower 48 states. I can name one that Amtrak does not connect with, the Music City Star. Are there others?
Train is only a factor in a number of cities. Here are just a handful of disconnects I found:

No connection with Houston's light rail network.
No connection with San Antonio's light rail network.
No connection with Austin's light rail network.

These are the 4th, 7th, and 10th largest cities in the US... And all three have Amtrak service connecting to at least one of the others. Austin and San Antonio are also connected to Dallas (9th largest city).

Dallas, Austin and San Antonio's networks *are* connected to their airports...
  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Tue Aug 17, 2021 3:08 am
electricron wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:31 pm Outside of train services in Alaska and Hawaii, Amtrak interconnects almost all of the train transit agencies in the lower 48 states. I can name one that Amtrak does not connect with, the Music City Star. Are there others?
Train is only a factor in a number of cities. Here are just a handful of disconnects I found:

No connection with Houston's light rail network.
No connection with San Antonio's light rail network.
No connection with Austin's light rail network.

These are the 4th, 7th, and 10th largest cities in the US... And all three have Amtrak service connecting to at least one of the others. Austin and San Antonio are also connected to Dallas (9th largest city).

Dallas, Austin and San Antonio's networks *are* connected to their airports...
Light rail vehicles are more akin to streetcars than larger commuter trains. Light rail vehicles can not use the same tracks that Amtrak's intercity trains can use, but commuter trains can. Maybe I was wrong to assume the title of this thread was limiting the discussion of trains to commuter trains?

The same can also be said for the Kenosha trolley, Pittsburgh ("T") rail, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and Phoenix streetcar mentioned earlier. They are not commuter trains.

But the Music City Star I included specifically in my earlier response is a commuter train.

Additionally, San Antonio does not have commuter trains nor light rail vehicles for Amtrak to interconnect with. Are you confusing Fort Worth with San Antonio? TexRail and Trinity Railway Express trains interconnect with Amtrak trains at Fort Worth's Central Station.
  by HenryAlan
 
electricron wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 1:01 am So, as it is today, there are three large gaps between commuter rail agencies on the NEC.
(A) MBTA to Shore Line East. Who should the State of Rhode Island do business with, MBTA or CDOT? To actually bridge the gap, Rhode Island would have to come to contracture agreements with both transit agencies. Good luck getting that done.
I agree that this seems fairly challenging. In the case of bridging the gap between MBTA and CT-DOT trains, a more likely approach might be extending the Worcester line to Springfield. There is a lot of noise being made right now in the MA legislature about establishing Boston to Springfield service, though it might end up branded as MassDOT, rather than MBTA. There's already a CT-DOT train between Springfield and New Haven, where a connection exists to Metro-North.
  by eolesen
 

electricron wrote: Are you confusing Fort Worth with San Antonio? TexRail and Trinity Railway Express trains interconnect with Amtrak
Nope, fully aware you were trying to look at heavy commuter rail, but that hasn't been the growth area over the last 20 years. Light rail has. And the failure or reluctance of local transit agencies planning light rail to integrate with Amtrak says to me that they don't see Amtrak providing a whole lot of value for multi-modal travel.

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