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 Traingeek3629
I don't go out that way too much, but in my experience there's never much traffic on 95 once you get past 395. It's that stretch through East Lyme that can be really brutal even without an accident. Yes Groton is a big town, but from what I can tell the proposed stations won't be near any of the major job sites. Stonington will be well-served by a rebuilt Mystic station.

I like the idea of running trains up to Norwich, with maybe some summer trains that end in Mystic. You could put a station right across from the bus terminal (even better, terminate trains up by the 395/Rt. 2 interchange), with stops at Mohegan Sun (huge market) and Uncasville/Quaker Hill.
  by Jeff Smith
https://www.ctpost.com/politics/article ... 895076.php
That vision includes a return to full, pre-pandemic service along eastern Connecticut’s Shore Line East route, which has been plagued by low-ridership figures, and a hefty state subsidy that Lamont has sought to cut.
Shore Line East, for example, is only operating at two-thirds the level it did before the pandemic, while the more popular New Haven and Hartford lines have returned to full service. In his proposed budget for the next two fiscal years, Lamont has proposed cutting Shore Line East service even further to 44 percent of pre-pandemic levels. (The governor’s budget also proposed cutting New Haven line service to 86 percent of its pre-2020 level to reflect a slower-than-expected return of riders).
Restoring service along the Shore Line East route alone would cost at least $25 million a year over Lamont’s proposed budget, according to a fiscal impact report prepared by legislative staff. In an attempt to trim costs, the bill would also allow the Department of Transportation to conduct a competitive bidding process to find a lower-cost operator for Shore Line East, an idea supported by Eucalitto.
A preliminary report from that study, released in January, detailed significant challenges to expanding rail service beyond New London, including capacity limits caused by movable bridges and the need to spend between $350 and $400 million to retrofit the aging freight lines along the Thames River to accommodate passenger trains.
  by NH2060
I hate to say it but unless there’s some kind of robust promotional campaign on the part of the CT shoreline communities along SLE to get people from NYC, etc. to move to that part of the state (very little to no crime, lower taxes, better schools, beaches, scenery, etc.)… there will be NO rebound in SLE ridership to pre-COVID19 numbers; people just aren’t riding the trains as much anymore. I hate to see the schedule reduced to a skeleton timetable, but if not enough people are riding the trains it doesn’t justify the high subsidy. Though considering the amount of $$$ spent on the new/expanded stations over the years I don’t think SLE will be eliminated altogether. The optics alone would not bode well politically.
Traingeek3629 wrote:Keolis? :-D

Alternatively...I wonder if it could be run by MNR crews.
I think such a proposal would bring about too many engineer, conductor, etc. union conflicts. I think that was one reason why MNR never placed a bid for the Hartford Line operations contract (aside from that fact that it was beyond MNR territory).

If MNR crews could run SLE trains then those trains would be part of the Metro-North system (branding, timetables, etc.) The SLE stations themselves still have the same MTA style directional signage as on MNR and NYC subway stations (though that is being phased out in favor of the CTrail style signage).
  by BandA
Why would there be union or personnel conflicts if CTDOT chose a different operator for SLE other than Amtrak? Some SLE employees might decide stay with Amtrak, leading to personnel shortages
  by RandallW
I understood the comments about potential union issues to be specific to MNR and its employment contracts, not between any other potential contractor and that contractor's employees though I couldn't tell you why there might be issues with MNR unless the questions about how any SLE employee's seniority gets handled by the MNR are touchy.
  by daybeers
I bet they'd just stay with Amtrak. More options for different routes and seniority.

Don't quite understand why they'd want to do that, though, considering Amtrak's high fees for track and catenary usage. They're paying a lot to them for the CTrail trains that run on the Hartford Line when they could've just had them operate it, too, making the service much less confusing.
  by Jeff Smith
Extensions: CT Examiner
Big Ideas, Big Cuts for Commuter Rail Across Eastern Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Transportation has planned public meetings on Sept. 19 and 20 to present ideas for extending Shore Line East to the border of Rhode Island at an estimated cost of $245 million, and to Norwich for as much as $635 million – while also planning to cut Shore Line East service to just 44 percent of pre-COVID levels.
The legislature budgeted $2.3 million dollars for the ongoing Eastern Connecticut Corridor Rail and Transit Feasibility Study to consider service to Rhode Island, to Norwich, building new train stations in Groton and Stonington Borough, and “extending other ground transportation systems in the eastern region of the state and providing interconnection between such systems and rail lines.”

“The draft report is available online and includes short- and long-term strategies to expand public transportation and improve mobility in the region. The study is a preliminary assessment of the region’s viability of expanding transit services. This is a first step, as more analysis would be needed before any projects move forward, requiring detailed planning and significant capital investments for several years,” explained department spokesman Josh Morgan, in an email to CT Examiner.

According to a study fact sheet, estimated capital costs for extending Shore Line East to Westerly, Rhode Island could run to $245 million, and the costs for the train line to Norwich are estimated as high as $635 million.
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