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 Gerry6309
 
I can see RI funding MBTA service as far as Kingston to serve URI, and SLE funding service as far as Westerly since that area of Connecticut is growing. The gap in between may be tough to sell, since the bus operators thrive in the Foxwoods market and might lobby against cheap rail service into the area from Boston. Cooperation between RIPTA and the MBTA is well established, and Westerly is a logical terminal for SLE since it's barely across the boundary, and close to the CT market. If things follow their natural progression, only the Kingston-Westerly gap will remain without any changes in management. Now, if SLE were to hire MBCR to run its trains, the gap might close very quickly - a more likely situatiion since MBCR isn't a government agency - but a private contractor.
  by Tadman
 
These threads are like "Dr. Seuss joins Railroad.net"...

Yes all of the above are great ideas and ideas that are needed.

No, anybody who watches the workings of government, especially state government in populous places, knows the government is the least agile entity known. That they would implement such policy and raise such monies is unheard of. Except in times of war, when has a government taken on such great a project? Going to the moon took 25 years after the war ended. Creating the interestates took 25 years. A century elapsed from slave emancipation to LBJ's enactment of certain civil rights acts. It took a decade for Amtrak's bare bones service to replace a national rail system. New Orleans isn't back to full strength yet. We haven't stopped Al Qaeda since 9/11. The middle east turmoil that started around the late 1940's is worse than it's been in a long time. And we're supposed to, in relatively short time, get all voters, pols, labor unions, and bureaucrats in MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, and PA to agree to merge their trains, electrify, and build new lines? New York State cannot come up with an adequate implementation of the idea to merge MNCR and LIRR on a corporate level!
  by Kamen Rider
 
forget the merger, they can't even agree on funding the existing system.
  by SystemsConsciousness
 
The entities should serve the need and the opportunities, rather than vice versa. Structures of entities such as MN/LIRR/NJT/SEPTA/MBTA will eventually have to adapt to regional foci. The politicians have woken up to this and there is a new spirit of regional cooperation. Eventually it will filter down and mechanisms will have to be found to adjust to that reality. This will be a good thing for all.
  by Erie-Lackawanna
 
SystemsConsciousness wrote:The politicians have woken up to this and there is a new spirit of regional cooperation.
Examples, please. Make sure it's an example that (1) shows they've given up turf, and (2) costs lots of money. Billions at least.

Show me the money and I'll buy. Otherwise, it's all words, which in this business, mean nothing.

Jim
  by SystemsConsciousness
 
Don't read too much into what I am saying.

I am referring to Ed Rendell as Mayor of Philadelphia (now Governor of PA) focusing on regional solutions to Philadelphia's issues. Or the truce between NYC and NJ trying to poach eachother's corporations. Bloomberg has spoken about competing as a region rather than city vs. suburb. The region includes NJ. Sen. Schumer has been a big proponent of "THE" tunnel, which had been seen as a NJ centered issue and the Port Authority put money into this.

PATCO wants to pay for expansion of transit in Philadelphia with SEPTA running it. This is another example.

Besides that, Governor Corzine is business minded and understands the synergies of the regional economy.

In short, they all recognize that in a global era, we compete with other regions for jobs and we need to act as one where possible.

But that doesn't mean anything more than what I have said. At least not yet.

sC
  by pnaw10
 
SystemsConsciousness wrote:Structures of entities such as MN/LIRR/NJT/SEPTA/MBTA will eventually have to adapt to regional foci.
In a way, you could say they already have. Before there was Metro-North, there was the New York Central RR and the New York, New Haven and Hartford RR. Over the course of history, the NY Central's Hudson and Harlem Lines merged with the New Haven Line, eventually becoming what we know today as Metro-North. Such a merger makes sense. All three lines converge on Grand Central. All three lines run about the same distance out from Grand Central.

Beyond that, forget it. There's no way Metro-North, SEPTA, MBTA, etc. will ever form a "seamless web" stretching from Philadelphia to Boston. The folks running the trains on the MBTA in Boston shouldn't have to worry about what's going on in Philadelphia. They're hundreds of miles away from each other.

What are you expecting, one-seat service from Ronkonkoma alternating every half-hour to Poughkeepsie, Boston and Philadelphia? Ain't gonna happen, buster. Why would you want trains making local stops all the way from GCT to Rhode Island? There's a reason why very few New Haven Line trains make every single stop from GCT to New Haven. Look at train #1502, the very last northbound train on weeknights. It leaves GCT at 1:30am, and it arrives in New Haven at 3:40am. It takes more than two hours to travel only 73 miles. Even in the rare event traffic on I-95 is heavy that late at night, driving would still be faster than this train. You want the train to continue with local stops to Rhode Island? That's another 113 miles. Nobody wants to sit on a train for almost 5 hours each way, stopping at every single city and suburb along the way.

So what's next? Ahhh... express trains. Since sitting through nearly 5 hours of local stops from Rhode Island to New York isn't really going to attract any riders, why not skip some of the stops so the trains go faster? Maybe they can just make the bigger stops... like Providence, New London, New Haven, Stamford, and then right into New York City. It could be done with special high-speed trains that make the trip in just under 3 hours. Oh wait... that's what Amtrak's Acela already does! WOW!

The commuter railroads handle local service in their territories. Amtrak handles the regional/long-distance service. That's how it works now, and that's how it will continue to work. We'll probably see the polar ice caps melt enough to put Manhattan underwater before we ever see these commuter railroads unite under a common operation.

These discussions remind me of an old computer game called SimTower. From the outset, it looked like you were just building a skyscraper. But the real key to winning the game was in how you set up the elevators. If the "Sim People" couldn't get from the ground level to their destinations quickly, they would get upset and leave, resulting in your failure. In order to keep things moving fast, you had to provide local elevators (which stop at every floor) and express elevators (which only stop every 15 floors). The idea is to set them up so people take the express elevator to the nearest stop to their destination, then switch to the local. You could apply the same logic to Amtrak vs. your idea of regional commuter railroads. There's no reason for one train to make every local stop from NYP to Boston just so you can get a one-seat ride to Attleboro. Take Amtrak to Providence, then take MBTA to Attleboro. Yes, you have to change, but is it really that much of a hassle, especially considering you'll get there much quicker?
  by SystemsConsciousness
 
Plenty of MetroNorth trains run express to New Haven not making all the stops. Shouldn't these, based on your logic, become Amtrak trains instead? What about on NJT, Trenton express trains, should those be not allowed either?

Obviously, there is a spot in between. Amtrak makes all kinds of local stops north of New Haven because of the fact that there is not commuter rail there. Perhaps this should be stopped because it is the function of commuter rail to make these kinds of stops, no?

Express to New Haven, local to Westerly? Or even Express to New Haven, Local to New London to replace SLE service.

Based on your logic, not having a commuter rail road covering this stretch puts Amtrak's mission of providing intercity travel in jeopardy because they have to make stops such as westerly and kingston that they would not otherwise make--not to mention all those CT stops.

Now to the real point. Not everyone goes from the beginning of a commuter line to the end. This used to be more the case but as we know 51% of people on MNR are not starting out or ending at GCT now. So someone in New London may commute to a job in Stamford. Or someone in Westerly, RI may commute to New Haven. Plus of course stops in between. You get the idea.

How do we contain sprawl and encourage density? Providing adequate rail is a great incentive for development along the rail lines rather than along highways. This is a good enough reason alone to subsidize the commuter rail operation more strongly than ever.

sC
  by RearOfSignal
 
SystemsConsciousness wrote:Now to the real point. Not everyone goes from the beginning of a commuter line to the end. This used to be more the case but as we know 51% of people on MNR are not starting out or ending at GCT now. So someone in New London may commute to a job in Stamford. Or someone in Westerly, RI may commute to New Haven. Plus of course stops in between. You get the idea.
This service already exists, what do you plan on adding to it? Just change it over to MNR? Do you think if you stick a MNR logo on the side of the train, more people will use the service? No matter how much you argue it MNR is not involved in service to east of New Haven or Rhode Island. CDOT & RIDOT will have to make those changes.

Have you ever thought that perhaps the reason there is limited service on the SLE is because of limited ridership?

You next question would be: 'But if we increased service more people would use it.'

Well let them start using the service there is now before we increase it.
  by Nester
 
SystemsConsciousness wrote:Now to the real point. Not everyone goes from the beginning of a commuter line to the end. This used to be more the case but as we know 51% of people on MNR are not starting out or ending at GCT now. So someone in New London may commute to a job in Stamford. Or someone in Westerly, RI may commute to New Haven. Plus of course stops in between. You get the idea.
51% percent of the passenger trips are not starting/ending in GCT during peak hours in the "traditionally time-appropriate" direction. While I understand your point, I want to make sure you're correctly citing the statistic.
  by Harlem Line to Southeast
 
To build off what Nester correctly stated, the precise and correct explanation of that 51% figure can be found at http://mta.info/mnr/html/aboutmnr.htm.

To quote the crucial part: "The remaining 51% of its customers are reverse commuting out of New York to suburban employment centers, traveling during off-peak hours, or taking day trips in the region without ever setting foot in Grand Central Terminal."

So while intermediate ridership has increased in recent years, it is not up to 51%. A good portion (though certainly not all) of that 51% does still indeed set foot in GCT at some point in the day. I'd be interested in seeing a more precise breakdown of that 51%, though I would imagine from my own experience as a regular rider that at least half of that group does travel through GCT.
  by Port Jervis
 
SystemsConsciousness wrote:Does anyone know why it does not make sense for Metronorth extend on the Northeast Corridor to Rhode Island, removing Amtrak from being responsible for Shoreline east and improving the service?

I realize this is not what MetroNorth was created for, but I would imagine that the subsidies that are presently supporting Amtrak could be given to MN and the railroad would probably run better.
It would make zero sense. It's a stretch to commute to NY from SLE served areas, though some do it. I could see SLE being extended to Mystic, or even to the state border, but that'd be a Connecticut only project. To Providence would be a joke. Might as well ask SEPTA to extend the R5 from Thorndale to Pittsburgh.

I'd be happy for them to just get the proposed service on the Springfield, MA Amtrak branch, to at least Hartford, up and running.
  by RailBus63
 
sC, I think you're doing the right thing by trying to think outside of the box but you're hung up on Metro North as the perfect operator. I admire M-N greatly but they are what they are - a NYC-oriented commuter rail provider. We should let them continue to do what they do while focusing on how present and future commuter rail operators should interact to set up a seamless riding experience for passengers.
  by workextra
 
The beauty of being an American Is the freedom of expression and the bold imagination of many of the great people in this nation. The Lackawanna Cutoff was made 100 years ago by a private enterprise by visionaries of that day who dreamed "what IF we had this straight line to go from point A to Point B to cut X amount of time from the run" It was a DREAM and WHAT IF of the day. It got done, more so because it was private, but its was still a "dream" and someones "what if" that thought of it. Just the same way it's a DREAM and a WHAT IF the Lackawanna Cutoff is rebuilt.

There seems to be a huge resentment to any modern day visionaries on this forum and in many places in American other then some corrupted political office. I hate to rain on anyone's parade here but the current Grand Central Terminal was once a vision by a man named William Willkiss (The spelling may be off). This man was not a college graduate or anything fancy, but he had a vision a dream in his day of running trains through todays MNCR park ave tunnel my means of electric and he had a vision of building a 1st class station with out stairs to slow down movement. His dream, vision, fantasy; was in fact what we know today as Grand Central Terminal. Yes built by a private enterprise but was forced by political leaders forcing bans on steam locomotives in Manhattan.

SystemsConsciousness is a modern day visionary, someone who believes that anything is possible with the right cooperation and coordination, it is unfortunate that political agencies have to run our nations passenger trains but there is nothing impossible about the state if CT and eventually RI to pay the state of NY and MNCR to operate the commuter service in their state.

I found this in another topic about the new MNCR president.
Dutch Rail Nut:
A native New Yorker, Permut has been at the forefront of Metro-North's vision to expand service, ridership and revenue – both East and West of the Hudson River. Under his leadership, programs were developed to improve and expand train scheduling, market and advertise current and new services and create innovative strategies to increase train station access via parking spaces and multi-modal connecting services.
The moral if this quote is that it is some ones (lets hold hands and say it together). VISION or perhaps DREAM.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
workextra wrote:The beauty of being an American Is the freedom of expression and the bold imagination of many of the great people in this nation.

SystemsConsciousness is a modern day visionary, someone who believes that anything is possible with the right cooperation and coordination, it is unfortunate that political agencies have to run our nations passenger trains but there is nothing impossible about the state if CT and eventually RI to pay the state of NY and MNCR to operate the commuter service in their state.
Then we can all wake up and say, "It was just a dream! And YOU were there... and YOU were there... and YOU were there!"

Dreamer, visionary, whatever. You still have to work with the tools and realities provided in 2008.

-otto-
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