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 njtmnrrbuff
 
If more trains want to run on the Springfield Line, then more sidings have to be built or double track area. I would double track Hartford. I took a trip to Windsor last Tuesday. During early afternoon, a CSOR freight passed southbound and it affected two Amtrak trains; one that is supposed to have gotten into Windsor at 12:38 and my train home at around five after one. Most of the sidings on the Springfield line aren't meant for freight. The freight sat in Windsor for like 10 minutes. I would say expand the current Amtrak schedule a lot. Then you would have your commuter service. The fares should be low at all times if possible with maybe a little jump at peak hours. Depending on the day of travel, you can get good fares.

  by Otto Vondrak
 
Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Sunday that she will propose a new round of transportation improvement plans that include commuter train service in central Connecticut and improved rail and bus service.
Rell said in a statement that her plan, which she will submit to the General Assembly next month, will build on last year's highway and public transit package to "promote economic development, reduce interstate traffic and offer additional options to workers, shoppers and other travelers."
Her proposal did not come with a price tag. That will be submitted separately with a budget adjustment she will send to the legislature when it convenes Feb. 8.
Rell proposed commuter rail service with eight trains daily each way between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield to supply what she called a "natural job development corridor." Amtrak provides service from New Haven to Springfield, but it is not a commuter line.
It's worth a shot. At least CT has a governor who is actively pursuing these projects. Of course the Springfield line would require a lot of engineering work before additional trains were added.

-otto-

  by AMoreira81
 
Otto Vondrak wrote:
Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Sunday that she will propose a new round of transportation improvement plans that include commuter train service in central Connecticut and improved rail and bus service.
Rell said in a statement that her plan, which she will submit to the General Assembly next month, will build on last year's highway and public transit package to "promote economic development, reduce interstate traffic and offer additional options to workers, shoppers and other travelers."
Her proposal did not come with a price tag. That will be submitted separately with a budget adjustment she will send to the legislature when it convenes Feb. 8.
Rell proposed commuter rail service with eight trains daily each way between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield to supply what she called a "natural job development corridor." Amtrak provides service from New Haven to Springfield, but it is not a commuter line.
It's worth a shot. At least CT has a governor who is actively pursuing these projects. Of course the Springfield line would require a lot of engineering work before additional trains were added.

-otto-
Another issue is that Wallingford and Meriden are heavily built around the area. (Berlin is not-so-heavily built, however.) However, on the PLUS side, both areas would instantly benefit from new people moving in, and especially in Meriden, helping the local economy perhaps.

  by Clean Cab
 
Ding Dong, the witch (John "I hate trains" Rowland) is dead!!! (not literally)

Finally, Connecticut politicians realize that rails have more potential than highways. I would love to see the Springfield line given more money and more rail service. As mentioned above, a single track line would not be able to handle the proposed additional trains plus frieght service. Re-double tracking the line would have to be done. CDOT should never have allowed Amtrak to rip out the second track!!!

  by Noel Weaver
 
I hate to put a damper on a basically good thought but the downtown area
of Hartford is not exactly prosperous and indeed, much of the business
that employes people is no longer anywhere near the present railroad
station in Hartford but is way out of town and not necessarily anywhere
near a railroad line much less the Springfield Line. I have to wonder with
the population of Hartford on a steady decline whether commuter service
amounting to eight trains a day is a good use of funds. It could be that a
slight increase of the number of Amtrak trains would work better in this
area, maybe with an additional station stop or two.
Noel Weaver

  by Stephen B. Carey
 
I for one would love to see more service on the Springfield line. I have been wanting it for years. Personally I'd like something like Shore Line East for the inland route. A cheap alternative for people to get to New Haven and New York without having to drive (or park!!) in New Haven. Though they have been talking about this plan for a long time, I hope they finally do something about it.

  by boston774
 
It's a great idea to expand service, but I'm a little concerned about spreading rail funding too thin. It's been like pulling teeth to get the state to fund substantive improvements, especially with a huge expendture on cars coming up soon.

IMO it makes more sense to put money into significantly improving service on the Waterbury, Danbury, and SLE lines. There are a lot of people who live near both who work in Stamford/NYC, and that's only become more true when RBS opens. Plus, a lot of people live near stations in these areas.

And the Danbury line really needs it - the pressure on route 7 is intense, and anything that gets cars off that will hugely benefit that area.

  by Trainer
 
I wonder if the old Springfield - Shaker Pines - Hazardvile - Broad Brook - East Windsor, etc. line would come in handy for any expansion as an alternate freight or even a new commuter route, since it pretty much parallels the Hartford-Springfield line Amtrak uses currently. The line was abandoned in 1976 and (according to some US DOT reports I dug up) C-DOT owns the tracks. While Central New England Railroad filed to operate on a section of this line in 1995, I don't know if they ever actually ended up using it. The grade crossing are paved over, but the signals & gates are there (installed brand-new just before Penn Central abandoned the line) and the track seems viable. Because of the out-of-the-way route it takes, new stations and parking might be a whole lot more commuter-friendly to design and build than around the urban sprawl on the existing Amtrak line.

I guess I'm kind of partial to seeing this line re-used because the first trains I ever saw (in about 1966 at 4 years old) were in Enfield on this track. Freights on the line used to service Milton-Bradley, Fox Fertilizer, Pilch Chicken, and a big envelope factory in the area. I don't know much about the history of it beyond my own experience. Does anyone know more, or why it should or shouldn't be considered for future use?

  by DutchRailnut
 
Ok we are talking about the Springfield line here for Gov. Rell's project, the railfans however give them a finger and here goes entire two hands.
nobody ands absolutly nobody is sugesting any other branches are considered.
ps the Govenors transportation plan 2 is costing somewhere from 500 to 700 million $$$$

  by Trainer
 
"...give them a finger and here goes entire two hands."

Well, my suggestion was in response to previous comments about the need to add a double track to the Springfield line to accomodate existing (even increasing) freight and Amtrak service while adding commuting commuting service. Why go to the expense and trouble of doubletracking (the existing ROW on the Springfield line won't easily accomodate another track in many places without widening and reinforcing bridges and moving the existing track at the same time) when there's already a useable parallel track available for almost free? I might be wrong, but it seems to me that it might save some money in the short and the long haul while adding flexibility all around. It's at least worth a look to see if the numbers and the service make sense.

It's too bad that nobody but nobody would consider Connecticut's rail issues from a big-picture perspective of what we've got vs. what we need. If railfans refuse to look the opportunity of reducing increasing rail conjestion from the perspective of considering the most efficient use of existing resources - including renovating usable abandoned lines - then who will?

  by njtmnrrbuff
 
If some more Amtrak trains are added, but first more sidings, that's good commuter service right there.

  by shadyjay
 
Why go to the expense and trouble of doubletracking (the existing ROW on the Springfield line won't easily accomodate another track in many places without widening and reinforcing bridges and moving the existing track at the same time) when there's already a useable parallel track available for almost free? I might be wrong, but it seems to me that it might save some money in the short and the long haul while adding flexibility all around. It's at least worth a look to see if the numbers and the service make sense.
In my travels on and along the Springfield Line, in just about all cases I can think of (except at Wallingford Sta perhaps), the ROW is still wide enough to accomodate 2 tracks, along with all bridges, etc. Only some tweeking of trackage around stations, including the rebuilt Berlin platform, would be required.

The "Armory Branch" (HFD-SPG via East Windsor) is not in anywhere near the condition to be running passenger trains at this time. I don't know how far Central N.E. has gotten with restoring the line but in Mass, I believe its abandoned and maybe the tracks removed. With the Springfield Line at least, the ROW is there along with 1 existing track.
I'm sure ConnDOT could persuade Amtrak to add the second track, with a little bit of $$$ of course.

-JH

  by Clean Cab
 
I'm under the assumption that CDOT would take over ownership of the Springfield line. I know Amtrak has thought of dropping it.

There is still more than enough room on 90% on the right away to restore the second track. Running extra commuter trains on a single track branch with moderate frieght would be quite a tall order to handle.

  by Nasadowsk
 
Why on earth Amtrak ever pulled the 2nd track is beyond me - they could seldom get single track with passing sidings to work right - you almost always got hung up somewhere...

In any case, if they wanted to single track, just take one OOS and leave it in place...