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

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  by GirlOnTheTrain
 
Who on God's green earth is coming from NYC to use BDL? As much as I love BDL being born and raised in the northwest corner, I am not piling onto Metro-North or Amtrak and CTRail, followed by a bus to get a flight when there are about 5 closer airports. (JFK, LGA, EWR, plus HPN, Stewart and even Islip)

A lot of people in New Haven are going to eschew the hassle too and just take MNRR in and grab the subway/Airtrain to JFK, or the M60 to LaGuardia, not to mention going to EWR via NYP.
  by Train322
 
I think the right of way in Windsor Locks is as it was when it was two tracks. They may need to redo the grade crossing.
From a cost approach, it would be a lot less costly to just add the Windsor hi level platform where the current ones are located and be done with that station. The parking area is not that far a walk.
They definitely missed an opportunity to restore at least some of the second track (east side of CT river) while travel was curtailed. I think the Waterbury (and Danbury) line has/is having work done.
Not sure if upper Harlem line is having work done. They are shut on weekends.
  by lordsigma12345
 
BandA wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:31 am Can you buy an Amtrak Hartford Line ticket say 5 minutes before the train arrives?
Yes or if you're at Springfield while the train is still boarding. I have bought from the ticket office at Springfield minutes before the train is leaving several times. I only ever buy CTrail tickets when I'm actually taking a CTrail train as I'm an AGR rewards member and that's rare since I board in Springfield and most of the useful times for me are Amtrak operated. If I'm going locally on the line I just buy at the ticket office usually right before boarding since the local HR fares are fixed and dont have fare buckets.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Note that a Facebook post by the Hartford Line indicated that they are working with Amtrak on a special code so that the special CTrail discounts can be used when buying through Amtrak so that will solve that issue with the Regionals.
  by shadyjay
 
Train322 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:02 pm They definitely missed an opportunity to restore at least some of the second track (east side of CT river) while travel was curtailed.
Its not that simple for the Hartford Line. First, the funding is not in place yet for the 2nd track, nor is it budgeted yet. As far as the design phase goes, not sure if that's even complete. To those "trackside", it seems easy: throw down some ties, new rail, tamp it, and you're done, but there's more to it than that. There's grade crossings to deal with, some of them also with ped gates. There's additional signals to put in. There are interlockings to design/construct/install. And then there's the question of what to do on either side of the Conn River Bridge... switches from double to single track back to double? It would be nice to at least add a couple miles of track to get the double-track up to the west end of the bridge, as double-track exists presently up to just shy of the present Windsor Locks station.

The MTA lines were having previously scheduled work done on them... PTC, signals, etc, and it made sense to take that opportunity to just bustitute the line instead and enable (up to a) 24/7 work window. But again, those projects were ready to go, unlike the Hartford Line.
  by BandA
 
I was really impressed with the construction photos on their website during the rebuild (couple years ago?). It seems like tie replacement, ballast, rail replacement have highly automated options, but signal systems are still fairly labor-intensive.
  by west point
 
BandA wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:02 am I was really impressed with the construction photos on their website during the rebuild (couple years ago?). It seems like tie replacement, ballast, rail replacement have highly automated options, but signal systems are still fairly labor-intensive.
The building of the signal bungalows off site in a factory is much quicker but not done enough. Then all the construction crews need to do is plant the signal masts, wire same and and switches and run cable to bungalow pad.
Bring in bungalow , connect all wiring and then test same and trouble shoot any problems that arise.
  by Backshophoss
 
Believe Amtrak does the original fit out in controlled conditions,then does the install on site,Most of the ESA Signal work is now plug/test/play
  by lordsigma12345
 
Sounds like decision was reversed and the regionals will take CTrail tickets and CTDOT passes again.
  by daybeers
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:34 pm Sounds like decision was reversed and the regionals will take CTrail tickets and CTDOT passes again.
Where'd you see that? I did email both CTDOT and Amtrak expressing my disappointment and the fact that Amtrak is violating the service contract.
  by lordsigma12345
 
daybeers wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:56 pm
lordsigma12345 wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:34 pm Sounds like decision was reversed and the regionals will take CTrail tickets and CTDOT passes again.
Where'd you see that? I did email both CTDOT and Amtrak expressing my disappointment and the fact that Amtrak is violating the service contract.
It's now on Hartford Line's website. The regionals are taking CTrail again (I saw someone use a CTrail ticket on 146 last week.) Amtrak will have the following blackout dates on the Regionals as reported on the website:
Thanksgiving: Friday, Nov 20 - Monday, November 30th
Christmas: Dates to be determined
  by Train322
 
This is good news.
What was strange was Amtrak was charging the same price for tickets as CT Rail.
When taking a commuter train, people just arrive and go, it is not a long distance trip with reservations and such.
Also, in normal times - Thanksgiving and Christmas - CT Rail ran redundant service to cover the crowds. This year, Amtrak is asking for reservations on the Regionals. I guess in normal times, CT Rail would add extra trains.

Also - they finally added a ticket machine in Windsor.
I have not seen any construction regarding adding a high level platform yet (I did see a drawing).
They did close half of the parking area for some reason. Not sure why.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I think they always intended on keeping the same current prices for local - I think this was more an attempt to get these trains to all reservations as it makes things easier for Amtrak during COVID. However these are state supported trains (for the portion north of New Haven) so they should do as the state wishes. Yes CTDOT did run some extras last year right behind certain sold out Amtrak trains that are also popular with commuters as Amtrak tends to get a rush of intercity passengers for the holiday which makes it tougher for them to accommodate commuters during that period.
  by daybeers
 
I was thinking about the current U-Pass setup and if it could be improved. If you don't know, any currently enrolled undergraduate CT state university student taking at least one class in person (some require full-time) is entitled to a U-Pass that allows unlimited travel on CTtransit local and express buses, CTfastrak, Hartford Line, Shore Line East, Metro-North to Greenwich, and all the smaller public bus systems around the state for $20 per student per semester, no opt-out. Fantastic deal for both sides in my opinion: DOT gets the revenue no matter what along with increased ridership and students get an incredible deal. However, since many students are graduating and enrolling each semester rather than academic year, each U-Pass card is only valid for January 1-July 30 and August 1-December 31. Problem is, due to CT's and especially its university system's car-centric nature, not many students go back to get a new card from the student ID center each semester: about 1,000 students per semester at CCSU. Currently, they are magnetic swipe cards that must be swiped when boarding a CTtransit bus or shown to a CTfastrak or Hartford Line/SLE/Metro-North fare inspector/conductor. Students must get a Riders are automatically counted on the CTtransit buses, but every other mode involves manual documentation, which I believe aside from bikes is the only fare class that must be recorded this way on trains & buses. New York's OMNY system has completed rollout to all NYC transit buses & subways, as well as the Staten Island Railway. Paratransit, LIRR, & Metro-North will be this year into next. I assume the New Haven Line will be included in this. Rather than having a different system for the CT branches, Hartford Line, & SLE, could those services potentially use OMNY as well? I imagine the railroads will just be a QR code like the current MTA eTix and CTrail eTix apps, so it could be used on CTtransit as well as they have QR scanners on the fareboxes . I realize this would be a big undertaking and CT would lose the money they've spent on the Trapeze system, but the biggest plus would be not requiring students to get a new card every semester, thereby increasing usage and having a single fare system for the NYC & CT region. For non-smartphone access, the forthcoming OMNY cards would need to work on the current CTtransit GO CT Card system, or be a static QR code that is just activated or deactivated in the database. The smaller bus systems could use card readers, but a static QR code would work for those.
  by gregorygrice
 
The reason for requiring a new card each semester is to prevent fraud, which would be an issue if they didn't change the color every semester. The Upass system is extremely cheap and having to go pick it up (or have it mailed to you) is a small "inconvenience" for such a huge benefit. The system works well, there's really no need to change it.
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