NaugyRR wrote: ↑Tue Apr 18, 2023 11:10 am
I was just looking at the state rail map and it looks like the state owns the line, they must lease it to P&W. I wonder what kind of upgrades/modifications could be made to accommodate passenger traffic on the line?
https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DOT/docum ... 013pdf.pdf
If anything materialized from this it would be cool if the state could rehab the remainder of the VRR route so the steam trains could connect with CT Rail trains, I think that would be a huge boost for ridership to both groups (as well as opening up another north-south corridor through the state).
You'd be looking at a total rebuild from Middletown to Hartford. When P&W reopened the line several years ago, I don't think they ever got the old Conrail Express agreements flushed out. There was one customer from Portland that P&W was shipping up to Hartford, but when that business closed, that was essentially it. I believe now there's a customer at Rocky Hill (7D?) but outside of that, I don't think anything runs between Rocky Hill and the market area of Hartford (Brainard area). So you'd need a major major tie replacement, new rail, ballasting/ditching/etc, all crossings upgraded (only 1 has any sort of protection and that's Route 3), and stations.
So where do the stations go? Intermediates would be Cromwell, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, and presumably, somehow, something in Hartford's south end (perhaps near the Colt building?). And to get to Union, I'm not sure if there's a connecting track from Valley NB->Hartford SB, or if it just feeds straight into Hartford yard. Finding a spot in Middletown to put a station would be tough... if you want some sort of parking, it would have to be along Route 9/deKoven Drive (perhaps you could get Middletown to go in with riverfront development and close a portion of deKoven Drive just south of Washington St where there is a good sized city lot and an existing "transportation center" of sorts). The Union Station site lacks any parking and access... you'd have to cross over a leg of the diamond to get to it.
As far as connecting at Middletown with the VRR, that's a ways off... there's still 10 miles of unrestored VRR track and then another 5 miles of ConnDOT-owned/P&W leased track that needs even more of a complete rebuild than north of Middletown. The last train on that track was sometime in the early CCCL days (1990?) and some of it is completely overgrown.
I used to think the end of Aircraft Rd in Middletown (by the "other" P&W) would be a good spot for a park & ride station for those coming up Route 9. But its 5 miles to the end of Aircraft Rd, which ends at a security checkpoint. Then its 5 miles by rail from there to Middletown proper. The traffic on Route 9 isn't THAT bad to warrant a 10 mile detour to get on a train, and an act of congress to get to the lost city of Maromas.