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 njtmnrrbuff
 
Very sad news about the fire in Enfield. Going forward, we have to wonder if the Enfield Station will still be built there and how much parking will be available.
  by daybeers
 
I was at Wallingford yesterday and noticed tons of small shavings about 1-2" long of the yellow plastic mold that's bolted into the concrete on the high-level platform had come off and were cramming into the space between the mold and the platform and on the ballast below. I imagine that's not good for the environment. I'd assume it would be caused by freights since they never use the gauntlet track that cost a fortune to build.

4461 and 4462 were canceled yesterday due to problems with the GP40 I think. CT just needs to put its big pants on and electrify the line so it can use EMUs instead of push-pull diesels slower than they were twenty years ago. Utterly ridiculous they are spending money on a forever refurbishment program for them and the CTDOT P40s. I rode behind a rebuilt P40 a week or so ago and I noticed no difference in performance, acceleration, and it was still loud as all hell. Could easily shave 20-25 minutes off the schedule by electrifying, double tracking, replacing the Connecticut River Bridge, realigning Hartford, and getting rid of speed restrictions in New Haven. The state needs to do this now so the state doesn't fall apart when I-84 is closed through Hartford.
  by gregorygrice
 
daybeers wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 1:03 pm I was at Wallingford yesterday and noticed tons of small shavings about 1-2" long of the yellow plastic mold that's bolted into the concrete on the high-level platform had come off and were cramming into the space between the mold and the platform and on the ballast below. I imagine that's not good for the environment. I'd assume it would be caused by freights since they never use the gauntlet track that cost a fortune to build.

4461 and 4462 were canceled yesterday due to problems with the GP40 I think. CT just needs to put its big pants on and electrify the line so it can use EMUs instead of push-pull diesels slower than they were twenty years ago. Utterly ridiculous they are spending money on a forever refurbishment program for them and the CTDOT P40s. I rode behind a rebuilt P40 a week or so ago and I noticed no difference in performance, acceleration, and it was still loud as all hell. Could easily shave 20-25 minutes off the schedule by electrifying, double tracking, replacing the Connecticut River Bridge, realigning Hartford, and getting rid of speed restrictions in New Haven. The state needs to do this now so the state doesn't fall apart when I-84 is closed through Hartford.
All easier said than done. Though I will say some of the things listed, such as electrifying the line are kind of pointless in this point of time. Also the GP40s have no issue accelerating quickly when working properly, but areas around some of the stations have speed restrictions that must be followed. Wallingford and Meriden are the two big ones.
  by daybeers
 
Why do you say electrification is pointless? Amtrak can't use the Shore Line forever and it's slow and curvy. There used to be a ton of service using the Inland Route.

They're still diesel push-pull trains for 3 cars, which stopped being a thing around the world 30 years ago because they're so inefficient.
  by Train60
 
daybeers wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 1:03 pm I was at Wallingford yesterday and noticed tons of small shavings about 1-2" long of the yellow plastic mold that's bolted into the concrete on the high-level platform had come off and were cramming into the space between the mold and the platform and on the ballast below. I imagine that's not good for the environment. I'd assume it would be caused by freights since they never use the gauntlet track that cost a fortune to build.

4461 and 4462 were canceled yesterday due to problems with the GP40 I think. CT just needs to put its big pants on and electrify the line so it can use EMUs instead of push-pull diesels slower than they were twenty years ago. Utterly ridiculous they are spending money on a forever refurbishment program for them and the CTDOT P40s. I rode behind a rebuilt P40 a week or so ago and I noticed no difference in performance, acceleration, and it was still loud as all hell. Could easily shave 20-25 minutes off the schedule by electrifying, double tracking, replacing the Connecticut River Bridge, realigning Hartford, and getting rid of speed restrictions in New Haven. The state needs to do this now so the state doesn't fall apart when I-84 is closed through Hartford.
About 5 years ago I heard a senior person at CTDOT say that the cost to electrify the Hartford Line route (Amtrak's Springfield Line) was in the neighborhood of $500M. Last year I saw a list floating around that put this price at $1B ($1,000M). I'm not sure how or why the estimated cost doubled.

You made a number of good points. In addition to posting them here I'd suggest that you submit a set of comments to CTDOT through the 2021 CT Rail Plan Update which is now under way.

Info can be found on this link, https://portal.ct.gov/DOT/Publictrans/O ... -Rail-Plan
  by daybeers
 
Well, CTDOT projects cost way more than they should since they're in bed with AECOM all the time which skyrockets costs. I think CTDOT is well aware of my views, but yes I am waiting for the draft to come out.
  by gregorygrice
 
The state is already aware of pretty much everything he stated. None of those ideas are new. Double tracking, Hartford area improvement and Conn River Bridge improvement are all things that have been in the works. Nothing happens overnight.
  by BandA
 
Train60 wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 2:06 pmAbout 5 years ago I heard a senior person at CTDOT say that the cost to electrify the Hartford Line route (Amtrak's Springfield Line) was in the neighborhood of $500M. Last year I saw a list floating around that put this price at $1B ($1,000M). I'm not sure how or why the estimated cost doubled....
Price doubling in 5 years is equivalent to 15% annual inflation.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
There's really no need to electrify the Springfield Line. It's not at the top of Amtrak's list of priorities. The dual powered diesel/catenary locomotives that Amtrak will be buying will be running on the Springfield Line. I am still waiting to hear about the brand new equipment that will replace the MBB cars on Ctrail Hartford Line trains. It would be very nice if CDOT can buy Chargers for the Ctrail operations and run them on Ctrail Hartford Line. While the Geeps might look nice from a railfan perspective, they have been around for a very long time. The P40s have been around for a pretty long time and are slow loaders. Let's keep current with the motive power and get something that can accelerate fine.

As for infrastructural improvements on the Hartford Line, yes, more double track would be good. Hartford Station improvements have been needed for a while but sadly, until the highway project in Downtown Hartford begins, construction on the brand new Hartford Station and right of way isn't going anywhere. If only could that second track on the existing viaduct at Hartford Station not have been ripped up. It would be nice to see the Connecticut River bridge replaced or even rehabilitated with a brand new bridge that can allow a little faster speeds.
  by Train60
 
gregorygrice wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 2:38 pm The state is already aware of pretty much everything he stated. None of those ideas are new. Double tracking, Hartford area improvement and Conn River Bridge improvement are all things that have been in the works. Nothing happens overnight.
Its really doesn't matter if the ideas are new or not. What matters is that people (citizens, elected officials, stakeholders, business leaders, etc.) speak up when they want something to change. The chances of something happening increase when people speak up.
  by cle
 
A railway with this frequency and this amount of stops - with more planned - should absolutely be electrified. Diesel should not be running regional commuter rail - especially in a region with adjacent wires at New Haven heading both ways. The journey time improvements would be significant - green credentials too - and release some locos for where they are needed.

It's also absurd for a fancy loco to pull so few cars, get some EMUs, rejoin the rest of the world's best practice - exceptionalism was always BS at the best of times, but we have no special wisdom or truly unique circumstances on anything transport/transit here. Just protected interests, ridiculous cost bases, and resistance to change.
  by daybeers
 
THANK YOU
  by NH2060
 
To paraphrase Forner VP Joe Biden...

For the 100 trillion billionth time THERE IS NO CURRENT NEED TO ELECTRIFY.

The gaps between each station -in miles- are 1, 13, 6, 7, 13, 6, 5, and 16 miles. Over the span of 62 miles from end to end. Even when you throw in all of the confirmed planned infil stations as well as the once proposed Hamden station (south of the North Haven stop) the distance between stations doesn't automatically justify the cost of electrifcation for faster acceleration and deceleration.

The number of trains in each direction (17) while substantial is not enough to justify the expense either. METRA, NJ Transit, Metro-North (the Hudson Line), LIRR (to Patchogue and Port Jefferson), and the MBTA feature diesel commuter rail operations of equal or greater frequency levels and while have been discussed as candidates for electrification have not seen that happen for a reason.

What will truly make the case for electrification are:

-Frequencies of 30 round trips or more
-break even or greater long term energy cost savings with electric power vs. diesel
-significant time savings that can't be achieved with new diesel locomotives and coaches that are rated for speeds up to 125mph (which can be achieved with the Siemens Chargers, Venture coaches, and Bombardier Mulilevels)

Now if some of you wish to pout and cry wolf about how ConnDOT has short-changed you or wronged you in some way, take it up with them. But it won't change a thing and the facts (I know those "hurt" people nowadays...) remain that it's not feasible at this time to spend as much to electrify as it did to rebuild the line in the first place.
  by cle
 
Giving other examples of railways which should be electrified is not an excuse for this, it's not a race to the bottom. The mess of AC and DC and diesel on MetroNorth is not something to emulate. This is much clearer.
You don't mention any environmental concerns either - quieter and greener. That has value.

I don't have much to say on ConnDOT and so forth - and certainly not pouting. But let's look abroad to better places for standards, not other negligent lines and operators which are stuck in the diesel and loco past, and legacy of stupid *unique* FRA regulations on multiple units. This line in a civilised transit country would be electric. As I said, stuck in our own bad delivery and a race to the bottom. The whole of LIRR should be electrified and upgraded. Hudson Line too, of course.

More stations and more frequency (plus more nimble stock) would absolutely move the needle on the accel/deceleration point too. Worth saying that more Amtrak services could utilize the wires too, with bi-modes - or changes at Springfield.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It’s not like all of the stops are a “subway or light rail” distance of each other on the Springfield Line. New Haven Union and State St station may be a little less than a mile a part but once you are on the Springfield Line. Once on the Springfield Line, then the spacing between stations increases. I agree that the Genesis units shouldn’t be used on the MRS Line given their acceleration. At least many of the stations are high level platforms and that with not super close distances between stations on the SPG Line helps. I would love for CDOT to purchase diesel locomotives for Ctrail operations that has stellar acceleration. Don’t count on the SPG Line being electrified anytime soon if at all.
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