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 GirlOnTheTrain
The president of Metro-North made the trip from New York to hear about Connecticut’s latest vision for faster rail. The vice president of Amtrak came from Washington. The governor was the host. But the draw was the “fairy godmother of federal funding.”

That is how Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz introduced U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, a twice-a-week Amtrak rider who is the chair of the House Appropriations Committee at a time when America is poised to spend billions on rail infrastructure.

Read the CT Mirror article quoted above here.

CDOT summary page here.

All 138 pages of the document for your reading pleasure here.
  by J.D. Lang
They splashed it all over the news last night here in CT. I've taken a couple of Amtrak regionals from NH-NYC in the last week and a half. Lots of slow order work zones on the NHL. Seems like they have been trying to catch up for some time now. It looks like this news conference is just a PR move to let Rosa show the public how she is going to open up the federal purse strings to bring more money for MN.
  by cle
That document was quite a dull, defeatist read.

Tiny bit of info on the 100mph running (which I fully support) - more on these crack expresses and random through routings (Keystone to Hartford, NJT to Stamford) - nothing on an incremental program of raising the lowest minimum speeds. For instance, Harlem to New Rochelle is incredibly slow. That would benefit so many trains - and 40 to 60 is way better than 70 to 100, if not sexier. GCT to Stamford has to be the priority - everyone wins.

Also, if Stamford 7 (and 6) happen, what does that actually mean for new trains? How about counter-peak and off-peak frequencies which are just 4tph total on the network. Pitiful for any type of mode shift outside of the trad peaks, which are going to be less important. That in itself would be a ridership strategy. Disappointing.

But, needs NYS and MTA weigh-in too. Appreciate it has a CT focus, especially re the branch lines (super slow, short platforms, too many nothing halts).
  by njtmnrrbuff
On the Harlem Line, New Haven Line trains can probably do 75-80 between Melrose and Fordham as it's straight there. I think through Mt. Vernon, the speed goes down a bit. I would love to see 90 mph brought back from New Rochelle to Harrison. Sadly trains can't go 90 around Greenwich bc of all of the sharp curves. The stretch of the NHL where I could see 90-100 speeds being achievable if the infrastructure like replacing Devon Bridge is replaced is between Peck Draw and New Haven-there is a lot of straight track there.

Many of the MNR trains are scheduled to travel between GCT-NHV for two hours and seventeen minutes but I believe that many of those trains, once they depart West Haven, can do the trip in two hours and thirteen minutes. These are the trains that make every single stop between Stamford and New Haven after running express from 125th Street to Stamford. If these NYG-NHV semi express trains that make every stop between STM-NHV can have a scheduled travel time of much closer to two hours at first, that would be a start. I believe that since 2013, CDOT and MNR decided to have more trains stop at stations like Rowayton, E. Norwalk, Greens Farms, and Southport and that added a few more minutes to the schedule. Around that time, Fairfield Metro and W. Haven Stations opened up and that added even more travel time to the schedule.
  by Fishrrman
Fearless prediction, after having worked as an engineman on the New Haven Line for 32 years:

The trains are going as fast now, as they will ever go in the lifetimes of anyone reading this post in 2021. Indeed, the trains today run slower than they did some years ago, due to PTC/Acses and the additional restrictions imposed by Metro-North (as a result of the Spuyten Duyvil derailment).

You can't make those curves and bridges go away.

- J. Albert
  by njtmnrrbuff
Many of those curves aren't going anywhere on the New Haven Line, if any. In fact, many of them are in residential areas of residents who would not appreciate that. Hopefully even with the PTC/ACES, travel times will be brought back down to what they were in the early 2010's and below. I hope that MNR can run trains almost every 30 minutes from NHV-GCT with one of the trains making all of the stops between NHV-STM and then running doors closed to 125th St and GCT while the other one that runs from NHV-GCT doesn't make every stop from NHV-STM. Between STM-NHV, making stops at Darien, S. Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, Fairfield Metro, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, and West Haven cuts down on quite a bit of time. It would also be nice to see a couple of super express trains on the NHL make all stops from NHV-BRP and then run express to Stamford, and then express to 125th St and GCT.
  by Ridgefielder
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:15 pm On the Harlem Line, New Haven Line trains can probably do 75-80 between Melrose and Fordham as it's straight there.
Three things:
1. There's a functional maximum speed possible on the under-running third rail that's dictated by physics. I believe it's in the ~70mph range, I'm sure someone else on this forum knows the exact answer.
2. Melrose to Fordham is all of three miles. Upping the speed from 50mph to 80mph would shave ~75 seconds off the trip.
3. Most importantly-- this is a very congested stretch of railroad. In normal times there are probably something like 300+ trains every 24 hours between MO and the split between the NH and Harlem at Woodlawn. Congestion means slower speeds on the rails just as it does on the highways.
  by russellsal8
If I recall there was an item in one of the capital plans for an additional flyover at Woodlawn junction. It was only a line item, I haven't seen any kind of details for it. I'm not quite sure what purpose that would serve since there already is one there from the NH line that lands between the two SB tracks. The most logical improvement would be to have a flyover originate between the NB tracks, but I cannot see how that would be physically possible. You COULD add another flyover that goes to the west of the current one. That new flyover would be continuously SB only, connecting to the SB local track, with the old one reversible depending on the peak hour. While not a traditional configuration, it would still allow some operational flexibility during the peak hours (should it even return in the pre-pandemic level of train traffic peak intensity). This also ignores where they really SHOULD build a new grade separation, and that would be at Mott Haven. Now THAT location would be impossible, with cross-street bridges blocking a flyover, and the subway under 149th street blocking a potential dive under. Something not likely to happen in any of our lifetimes. Not being able to grade separate at Mott Haven kind of makes adding a flyovers further north at Woodlawn pointless.
  by Ridgefielder
Billion-dollar reconstructions of MO or Woodlawn aren't the answer to lowering travel time from Connecticut to NYC. Nor is a couple miles of higher speed running through The Bronx.

The answer is upping the average speed where possible. To me the lowest-hanging fruit in that respect is the 12-odd miles from New Rochelle to Greenwich. With the exception of the big curve through Port Chester and the one just west of Greenwich station this is mostly straight and flat. And there's room for 6 tracks on the ROW most of the way. At 90mph average speed you'd cover that distance in 8mins. At 100 you'd do it in 7.2.
  by njtmnrrbuff
CDOT is purchasing dual mode locomotives for its pool service with Metro North.

I really don't see the need for any trains running from the New Haven Line points to Harrisburg, PA. There isn't enough room and much of the upgrades on the New Haven Line should really be focused more on getting the line upgraded for MNR trains as well as Amtrak trains using the NEC north of NYC. Plus CDOT and MNR can focus on running express trains from NHV-NYP and then you could connect to Amtrak Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian at NYP.
  by cle
Yep I just don't see the demand, and you are adding complexity and new players.

Up the averages and the minimums, the closer to GCT the better - and benefit the most amount of people.

Frequencies could and should be better on weekends and off peak. New Haven could handle 3 or 4tph instead of the 2. Or have a third mid-distance pattern, enabling New Haven terminating services to be fast.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Plus Amtrak will probably need to use the same cars that run on the Keystones to their other trains. I don't know yet what they will be doing to the Amfleet I replacements but I can imagine that they will be moving around the Northeast and Southeastern routes.

Even before covid times, the MNR weekend service to NHV wasn't always consistent but not poor. I would love to see some more super express trains from NHV-GCT during all times of the day. They don't have to run every hour during off peak hours and weekends but maybe have a few roundtrips in the morning, one during the middle of the day, and two late afternoon and early evening. I hope that CDOT is seriously thinking of replacing Devon Bridge soon.
  by Ridgefielder
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 6:43 amI hope that CDOT is seriously thinking of replacing Devon Bridge soon.
I think COB in Greenwich is next up for replacement, after they finish WALK in South Norwalk.