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 Ridgefielder
New London-Palmer hosted passenger service as recently as the mid-90's. What is the $110mm for? PTC?
  by Jeff Smith
The Montrealer, right? I would have to assume that the track is no longer maintained to passenger standards, much less 79mph. Shared trackage with freight would require PTC as well.
  by The EGE
Yeah, Montrealer from 1989-95. Perhaps I didn't make it too clear when I wrote the article...
  by Jeff Smith
The EGE wrote:Yeah, Montrealer from 1989-95. Perhaps I didn't make it too clear when I wrote the article...
The Norwich Bulletin article?
  by The EGE
The Wikipedia article. Different username, same guy.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Ridgefielder wrote:New London-Palmer hosted passenger service as recently as the mid-90's. What is the $110mm for? PTC?
CDOT's been pouring a lot of money into NECR for 1st-gen double stack clearance and 286K upgrades (http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents ... _GRANT.pdf), and this will be the first line in the state prioritized for upgrade to full 2nd-gen domestic DS. So you'd have to parse with a fine-toothed comb what among that $110M is primarily freight with piggyback passenger benefit and what's the above-and-beyond that's passenger-specific. Right now it's 1st-gen DS south to Willimantic with the restored Willimantic Branch newly open as a high-clearance interchange with P&W. I don't know if Willimantic-New London's got the clearances yet, but if not that would be on the docket to closeout the 1st-gen work and then the whole route south of Palmer gets the bump to 2nd-gen. Obviously NECR is wooing passenger so hard because it's the $$$ source to get their prized clearance route complete, so I would not be surprised if the lion's share of that is for fast-tracking the second phase of all this clearance work and getting it done a lot sooner than they would if it were a long, drawn-out, piecemeal-funded freight-only effort.

Have to read into that 7-figure quote accordingly...it's not really $110M for a passenger line out in low-density areas. It's more like a one-time moneybomb rolling up 10 years' worth of freight upgrades at once spiced up with full passenger rating as gravy. We'll have to see the formal study to see how much the "gravy" costs, but that's the way to frame this proposal. If it's getting some traction in this economy I bet that gravy is looking pretty cost-effective to whoever's been studying it at the planning level. Definitely no question the freight upgrades have a high ROI...only a question about whether there was enough critical mass to accelerate it vs. spreading it out over years and years.

It's Class 3, 59 MPH passenger speed, identical to the rest of NECR. The recent 286K upgrades smoothed out the deferred maintenance spots. Signaling is the same mix of ABS and manual block as elsewhere on the line, so replacing that is going to be the main passenger-frill cost. But it also makes sense for freight because they're getting upgrades Northfield-White River Jct. to CTC, and setting themselves up for years of rolling tack-on appropriations to the Vermonter work to bring that system gradually closer to St. Albans until there's a complete signal system on Amtrak. Once they're on a trajectory where two-thirds of the main is going to be CTC and eventual cabs + ACSES it starts getting a little more inconvenient for them to have the big Deerfield, Palmer, Willimantic, and New London interchanges still on ABS or dark. They've got 1 medium-term prize to shoot for the Palmer-Northfield stretch by trying to woo Amtrak to start some Boston-Montreal service. So find some excuse/any excuse to get passengers on the rest. Even, in this case, making goo-goo eyes at CT and MA to run their own passenger service if that helps plant the seed.

At the very least, you can say they are playing this sales pitch spot-on to get what they need and charting some new territory for how far they're willing to bend over backwards to lower the passenger barrier of entry. Who knows if it'll float, but it's already exceeding expectations if talks are moving into the sorta-serious phase. Interesting test case to watch develop re: public-private partnerships.
  by Noel Weaver
All of this is fine and dandy but other than Amherst there is nothing on this route south of Brattleboro that is a good traffic generator. Provisions will be made to handle traffic in and out of Amherst by bus. Many years ago the Central Vermont ran limited passenger service over this line and it went away very early on because even in the late 40's there was very little demand for passenger service on this line. I do not think it has changed today. The line was upgraded back in the 80's when Amtrak was routed through New London but the line has a lot of curves and never will be anything close to high speed. You can put in all the signals you want but the curves will still be there and the population will not.
Noel Weaver
  by Jeff Smith
The EGE wrote:The Wikipedia article. Different username, same guy.
You did a great job! Lots of resources (and the links won't always work forever), description, maps, etc.

I've messed around on some of the MNRR pages, but the formatting was already there.
  by Jeff Smith
(Potential?) funding announcement to come within two weeks: High hopes for extending rail service

I think the fact that there's a dual benefit here (freight up to 268k) and passeneger should bode well. Of course, it seems this grant would just start the process. But who would run the passenger service? CDOT/SLE? Amtrak? NECR/Rail America?
Backers of expanded rail service that would connect New London to Storrs and points north are anxiously awaiting approval of a $17 million federal grant that would jump-start the upgrading of tracks in preparation for higher local freight- and passenger-train capacity.


The rail improvements eventually would extend to Brattleboro, Vt., if the money is approved. A previous federal grant led to rail upgrades from Brattleboro to the Canadian border.

The project, as conceived by the Central Corridor Rail Coalition that includes officials in the regions to be served, is expected to cost $125 million to $150 million when complete. About $50 million of the cost would be for track upgrades, with another $15 million to $20 million each for new rail stations and new freight cars, O'Donnell said.

The updated tracks would accommodate freight cars that are up to modern standards, rather than the small-capacity cars currently in use in southeastern Connecticut. This would end the need to re-load cargo that comes or leaves from here because the region's tracks can't accommodate higher-capacity cars.


Stops would run from New London to Mohegan Sun Casino, Norwich, Willimantic, Mansfield, Storrs and Stafford Springs. Other stations along the way would include Palmer, Amherst and Millers Falls in Massachusetts, as well as Brattleboro, Vt.

According to a summary of the project, Palmer, Mass., "is the nexus for all passenger and freight service moving through central New England." Brattleboro "will be the connection for Amtrak service north and serve southern New England skiers and tourists looking to avoid congestion on I-91."
  by Jeff Smith
One more resource, which may already be on here: http://riarp.org/CCLdocuments/CCLproject.pdf
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  by newpylong
As far as passenger service North/South, this is a pipe dream. The "Knowledge Corridor" has already been given the money and is going forward. It is a more direct route and serves a larger population base (but less students). More importantly, it is also straight as an arrow in MA. If they decide to put PTC in eventually the sky is the limit for speeds. The same cannot be said for the old CV.

If they get the money and it helps market the route for NECR, then all the better, but if they are trying to compete with the Conn River for passenger service into Vermont and beyond, that is foolish and a waste of our money at this time (in my opinion.)
  by TomNelligan
Yep, it's only our tax money, so who really cares.

Aside from potential casino traffic to Mohegan Sun, which is already well served by buses from New London, the former Central Vermont Southern Division runs through Connecticut's closest approximation of wilderness. There are no other significant on-line sources of passenger traffic, and that includes UConn students, whose weekend commutes home take them all over the state, not just to places conveniently accessible by rail passenger service. And college kids have cars or know someone who does. There is a reason why, aside from the relatively brief middle-of-the-night visitation by Amtrak's Montrealer, the CV line through eastern Connecticut has been freight-only for more than sixty years. There's no potential for on-line business sufficient to justify the costs.
  by CannaScrews
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote:New London-Palmer hosted passenger service as recently as the mid-90's. What is the $110mm for? PTC?
CDOT's been pouring a lot of money into NECR for 1st-gen double stack clearance and 286K upgrades (http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents ... _GRANT.pdf), and this will be the first line in the state prioritized for upgrade to full 2nd-gen domestic DS.

Old news - that was for the TIGER Grant which was not selected over 2 years ago.
  by Jeff Smith
Norwich "intermodal" center would include pax rail.

http://www.theday.com/article/20120609/ ... 4/1047/nws
The thinking was that in the future, the center will play a role in ferry and rail service. For example, the city has expressed its support for a Central Corridor Rail project that would have a stop at the new center while creating passenger rail service between New London and Brattleboro, Vt.
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