• 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 NRGeep
 
How many areas have this and where could this make sense?
Could MBTA commuter rail connect in Old Saybrook Conn or Westerly RI with Metro North? Any others that could work? No doubt Amtrak could have issues with the above idea...
  by electricron
 
NRGeep wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 7:58 am How many areas have this and where could this make sense?
Could MBTA commuter rail connect in Old Saybrook Conn or Westerly RI with Metro North? Any others that could work? No doubt Amtrak could have issues with the above idea...
Anything is possible.
All I ask is why?
Are you so cheap that you wish to nickel and dime Amtrak completely out of existence?

Let's set it up so some cheapskates can ride MBTA from Boston to Old Saybrook, MTA North from Old Saybrook to Grand Central, ride MTA from Grand Central to Pennsylvania Station, ride NJT from Pennsylvania Station to Trenton, ride SEPTA from Trenton to Wilmington, ride MARC from Wilmington to DC., ride VRE from DC to Richmond. Let's ride 7 trains local all stop trains vs 1 limited Amtrak regional stop train along the entire NEC. Golly, by the time you add up all 7 local transit fares you would probably be paying more than the single Amtrak fare for that trip.

Of course, I doubt few could survive making so many train transfers in one single day. Never-the-less, people not going as far wish to have a cheaper option - where they pay by the month less than 20% of the cost to ride local transit vs paying 80-100% of the costs by the trip on an Amtrak regional train.

Stop nickeling and diming public transit and intercity passenger rail.
  by jwhite07
 
I think the OP's point about bridging the commuter gaps is, will doing so open up any number of origin-destination pairs that are presently "no way, I'll take my chances on the highway". What about people who are trying to get from one intermediate station to another which are within commuter territories but not served by Amtrak?

Say I live in Westbrook, Connecticut and work at TF Green Airport in Rhode Island. That's very roughly the same distance as New Haven to New York. Both Westbrook and TF Green are served by commuter railroads, albeit not the same one, and neither is directly served by Amtrak. I really would prefer to take the train versus I-95, but right now it's at minimum a three seat ride involving at least one backtrack move, and with unsynched connections, it takes around four hours to travel the ~70 miles versus an hour to an and a half by car. If, however, SLE was extended to Westerly to meet with MBTA, maybe that could be a more tolerable hour and a half to two hour, two seat ride.

"Nickel and diming Amtrak out of existence" has nothing to do with it. Amtrak will likely never stop at either of those intermediate stations. The number of people even attempting to make a trip like I described and bridge the commuter gap using Amtrak can probably be counted on one hand because it's such a drawn out ugly production. So if that gap was bridged, even once or twice a day, Amtrak is not losing out. They will even determine the schedule slot that such service would operate in, so their own service will not be affected.

The question remains whether the demand warrants it, even if such trips are made more attractive and feasible.
  by jwhite07
 
I'll add that once upon a time I commuter-jumped from Newark, Delaware to New Haven, CT... that is a trip that only a railfan would take. Amtrak has nothing to worry about with their market share there.
  by NRGeep
 
electricron wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 8:36 am
NRGeep wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 7:58 am How many areas have this and where could this make sense?
Could MBTA commuter rail connect in Old Saybrook Conn or Westerly RI with Metro North? Any others that could work? No doubt Amtrak could have issues with the above idea...
Anything is possible.
All I ask is why?
Are you so cheap that you wish to nickel and dime Amtrak completely out of existence?

Let's set it up so some cheapskates can ride MBTA from Boston to Old Saybrook, MTA North from Old Saybrook to Grand Central, ride MTA from Grand Central to Pennsylvania Station, ride NJT from Pennsylvania Station to Trenton, ride SEPTA from Trenton to Wilmington, ride MARC from Wilmington to DC., ride VRE from DC to Richmond. Let's ride 7 trains local all stop trains vs 1 limited Amtrak regional stop train along the entire NEC. Golly, by the time you add up all 7 local transit fares you would probably be paying more than the single Amtrak fare for that trip.

Of course, I doubt few could survive making so many train transfers in one single day. Never-the-less, people not going as far wish to have a cheaper option - where they pay by the month less than 20% of the cost to ride local transit vs paying 80-100% of the costs by the trip on an Amtrak regional train.

Stop nickeling and diming public transit and intercity passenger rail.

As jwhite07 states, "nickeling and diming" Amtrak is not germane to my question. I fully support Amtrak and it's expansion when applicable.

As for your theoretical route of a cheapskate, it reminds me of EL Doctorow's account in his epic novel 'Ragtime' of a "down and out" father and son traveling from Worcester to NYC via trolley and transferring in almost every town, which took over a day.
  by The EGE
 
Currently, the only systems that connect are:

Hartford Line, Shore Line East, and MNRR at New Haven
MNRR and LIRR at New York GCT (soon)
LIRR and NJT at New York Penn
NJT and SEPTA at Trenton and Philadelphia
MARC and VRE at Washington DC
Metra and South Shore Line at several stations
Caltrain, ACE, and Capitol Corridor at several stations
Metrolink, Coaster, and Sprinter at Oceanside

(Several additional Amtrak routes including the Downeaster, Keystone Service, and Hiawatha can arguably be considered commuter service.)

The most likely additional connections are:
MBTA (or separate RI service) and SLE at Westerly
SEPTA and MARC at Newark

Other than those, existing systems don't get particularly close, and there aren't additional big cities with likely service nearby.
  by STrRedWolf
 
The EGE wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 11:34 am The most likely additional connections are:
MBTA (or separate RI service) and SLE at Westerly
SEPTA and MARC at Newark
Looking at Newark, DE... and SEPTA's service patterns, it's best MARC go up to Wilmington. There's more infrastructure there and more service on SEPTA's side. I doubt MARC and SEPTA would coordinate well.
  by HenryAlan
 
NRGeep wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 7:58 am How many areas have this and where could this make sense?
Could MBTA commuter rail connect in Old Saybrook Conn or Westerly RI with Metro North? Any others that could work? No doubt Amtrak could have issues with the above idea...
I doubt we'd ever see the MBTA connect with Metro North, but I suspect there will likely be an eventual connection between MBTA and CT-DOT, which would then connect to Metro North in New Haven.
As for your theoretical route of a cheapskate, it reminds me of EL Doctorow's account in his epic novel 'Ragtime' of a "down and out" father and son traveling from Worcester to NYC via trolley and transferring in almost every town, which took over a day
I think about this quite often and do hope to some day travel all the way to DC via various commuter rail systems. Currently that would require either some buses to bridge the two gaps, or possibly bringing a bike for that purpose. But I do hope it's someday possible to do in similar fashion to the Ragtime trolley/interurban trip.
  by NRGeep
 
HenryAlan wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 8:35 am
NRGeep wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 7:58 am How many areas have this and where could this make sense?
Could MBTA commuter rail connect in Old Saybrook Conn or Westerly RI with Metro North? Any others that could work? No doubt Amtrak could have issues with the above idea...
I doubt we'd ever see the MBTA connect with Metro North, but I suspect there will likely be an eventual connection between MBTA and CT-DOT, which would then connect to Metro North in New Haven.
As for your theoretical route of a cheapskate, it reminds me of EL Doctorow's account in his epic novel 'Ragtime' of a "down and out" father and son traveling from Worcester to NYC via trolley and transferring in almost every town, which took over a day
I think about this quite often and do hope to some day travel all the way to DC via various commuter rail systems. Currently that would require either some buses to bridge the two gaps, or possibly bringing a bike for that purpose. But I do hope it's someday possible to do in similar fashion to the Ragtime trolley/interurban trip.
Good point re: CT-DOT potential connections with MBTA .
And best of luck with your 21st century neo 'Ragtime' trip!
  by west point
 
Connecting commuter RRs will increase operating costs without increasing revenues of any significant amount. Very bad idea. Why run a 12 car train with 10 connecting passengers ? Better use that operating cost to provide more service to many potential passengers.
  by HenryAlan
 
west point wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 12:22 pm Connecting commuter RRs will increase operating costs without increasing revenues of any significant amount. Very bad idea. Why run a 12 car train with 10 connecting passengers ? Better use that operating cost to provide more service to many potential passengers.
It would need to be studied. If a CR type train from Boston to New Haven only had a dozen people ride from Boston to New Haven, and no other additional passengers, then it would certainly not be a good idea. But I think the assumption behind such proposals is that new riders would board in places like Providence that are currently not going to take many/any new riders. That's what would need to be studied. How many trips are not made due to the gap? If the numbers are high enough, filling the gap might be worthwhile.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Looks like I need to run a hypothetical DC to Boston trip *again*... (Amtrak? 8h 4m for $187, 4:45am run)

So I'm going to assume that everything connects together at major stations or close stations, and estimate time and cost. Lets begin.
  • MARC: 6:15a run, 1h51m to Perryville + (32.25 miles at average 90 mph, or 21.5 minutes) = 2h 13m, 8:28a, $13 + $2 extra= $15
  • SEPTA: 9:24a to Center City, 10:12a xfer at 30th street, 10:39a to Trenton at 11:31a, $9.25 (through pricing, cash)
  • NJ Transit: 11:58a, arrive NY Penn Station 1:22p, $16.75
  • NY MTA Subway transfer, 10m, $2.75
  • NY MTA Metro-North to New Haven, 2:02p to 4:17p, $19.75... but...
  • Shore Line East, New Haven to New London, 4:28p to 5:40p, combined with Metro North $33.75.
  • ...the gap of 43 miles to Wickford Junction, but if SLE covers it, it's roughly another $10.75 for another 30m ... 6:10p
  • MBTA Wickford Junction to Boston South Station, 7:40p by 9:28p, $13.25
That's... nearly 15h15m for... $101.50.

So for a little more than half of an Amtrak Regional, and nearly twice the time to travel, and only a restroom, you too can arrive in Boston ready for some late-night chowdar. Or you can take the Regional and have a decent lunch.
  by rcthompson04
 
I think a better idea would be trying to time the Amtrak regional trains (NE Regional, Keystone, Empire Service, and Hartford Line) with local trains at important points to ensure proper feeder and distributor service.
  by MattW
 
Obviously the point isn't a customer running the full end to end Fredericksburg, VA to Haverhill, MA. The idea is someone in Torresdale, PA can get to Hamilton, NJ, or to use one of the "gaps," someone can get from Marcus Hook, PA to Edgewood, MD. Having the latter connect like the former opens up odd pairs like that that Amtrak can't, and shouldn't, try to serve. Sure, a few folks will go the whole way, but that'll mostly be railfans and cheapskates and while I certainly fit into both categories, even I'd only do it once or twice just to say I've done it.
  by MACTRAXX
 
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.

Back in my early days here (mid 2000s) a reporter from the Philadelphia City Paper wrote about a trip using an
interesting combination of trains and buses to travel on a weekday between Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
(The Philadelphia City Paper was an "alternative weekly" that has been defunct since October 2015)
* SEPTA RRD to Newark, Delaware
* Cecil County, Maryland Transit - two bus routes with a transfer at Elkton, MD:
Route 4 Newark-Elkton and then Route 2 from Elkton to Perryville
* MARC Penn Line train from Perryville to Washington
The actual transportation costs were mentioned in this adventure - which was to seek out
a low-price alternative to Amtrak (and other modes) between PHL and WAS.
There may be a discussion on this someplace in the RR.Net post archives.

The "weak link" was the two CCT buses between Newark and Perryville - CCT's website:
https://ccgov.org/government/community- ... il-transit

The elapsed time for each portion of this trip was mentioned in the article.
This trip is something that only an adventurous traveler would even try to attempt...MACTRAXX