Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

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J.D. Lang
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by J.D. Lang »

mtuandrew wrote:When you all say “use the Housatonic”, are you attempting to run this train NYP-Danbury-Pittsfield? And if so, via the MN Danbury Line or the Harlem Line? Trying to get a lay of the land here.
In my case "run on the Housatonic" means running down from Pittsfield thru Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge to Great Barrington. It seems that with the money that Mass. is spending on their line from the CT state line to Pittsfield that somewhere in the cards could be a connection thru Pittsfield. I like the idea of using Berkshire Scenic's Budd.

As Tom N. said the state of CT. DOT is having a hard time funding what they all ready have going and it would take a fortune to upgrade the line from Danbury thru Canaan. That option is a non starter in my opinion.

J. Lang
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mtuandrew
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by mtuandrew »

scoostraw wrote:Just extend existing Danbury service north on the Housy.

Of course this brings into question - who would the operator be? Metro North? Amtrak? Or...??
That’s a big “just” :-)

With the investment CDOT and Amtrak just put into the NHHS project, why aren’t we talking about a NYP-NHV-SPG-Pittsfield-ALB train? You’d need a dedicated P32 or engine change at NHV, and it would involve either fouling the CSX B&A main at SPG or using a cab car SPG-ALB, but none of those are insurmountable (CSX resistance is a given regardless.) It also better serves that western Massachusetts constituency, and deposits a Springfield Regional at the Rensselaer Yard for servicing and connections to Empire Service.

I’m no expert, but it looks like the Housatonic River Valley isn’t particularly heavily settled for the Northeast. Unless the reason is to skirt the inevitable CSX issues, it seems like a lot of work for not a lot of benefit.

EDIT:
J.D. Lang wrote:In my case "run on the Housatonic" means running down from Pittsfield thru Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge to Great Barrington. It seems that with the money that Mass. is spending on their line from the CT state line to Pittsfield that somewhere in the cards could be a connection thru Pittsfield. I like the idea of using Berkshire Scenic's Budd.

As Tom N. said the state of CT. DOT is having a hard time funding what they all ready have going and it would take a fortune to upgrade the line from Danbury thru Canaan. That option is a non starter in my opinion.

J. Lang
That sounds like a beautiful fall train ride, and also a valuable freight connection for southwest Massachusetts to a responsible Class 1 railroad at Pittsfield. It also sounds like much less of a mess (and much cheaper) than trying to run through to New York via Danbury.

scoostraw
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

If CT would extend passenger service to New Milford, that would be a chunk taken care of.

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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

mtuandrew wrote:With the investment CDOT and Amtrak just put into the NHHS project, why aren’t we talking about a NYP-NHV-SPG-Pittsfield-ALB train?
I prefer discussing things that have a remote possibility of happening during my lifetime. :)

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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

TomNelligan wrote:As one who rode the New Haven to Pittsfield back in ancient times, I would love to see a restoration of passenger service along the Housatonic route, but the practical question is how it would be paid for. Massachusetts may be supportive of upgrading the line within the Commonwealth, but south of the state line it's up to Connecticut, a state that is perpetually in financial crisis and having trouble just maintaining existing transportation infrastructure. A big pile of money would be required to restore the Houstonic to something resembling reasonable passenger train speeds before you even start thinking about operational costs, and I doubt that the current financial climate in Connecticut would be warm to that.

As a historical note, even in NH days that was not a very fast railroad due to its challenging topography. In the 1950s the basic speed limit between Danbury and Pittsfield was 50 mph, dropping to 40 mph in the 1960s as the bankrupt NH began cutting back on maintenance. With the higher limit the running time for the NH's "express" train, the Berkshire, was 2 hours 45 minutes Pittsfield-Danbury, and Pittsfield-Grand Central was 4 hours 45 minutes. That sort of timing might be OK these days for a cruise/party train aimed at vacationers, but otherwise I think it would be hard to grab a significant number of riders from the Wassaic alternative with its 2 hour 10 minute through trains from New York.
Tom did the Berkshire Division ever connect to the B&A via a wye at Pittsfield?

njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by njt/mnrrbuff »

Connecticut DOT doesn't have much money so I doubt that restoration of any sort of passenger rail service on the Housy north of Danbury is on the priority list. They have other projects they need to take care of such as rehabilitating the New Haven Line as much as possible as well as the siding improvements to the Waterbury Branch. In many of the towns along the Housy, there is parallel bus service on Peter Pan from NYC. It doesn't run much but it runs daily. I think the bus runs up to Pittsfield and I know that it stops in the larger towns in the Berkshires from Pittsfield to the Ct State line including Lee, Great Barrington.

It would be good though if there were more Amtrak trains running from Boston to Albany that that probably won't happen anytime soon. The B&A west of Springfield in many spots is very curvy. I wouldn't count on any Amtrak train running to Albany by way of New Haven, Springfield, and Pittsfield either.

There have been multiple proposals to extend Metro North to New Milford. I think one of the issues with that is when the trains depart Danbury Station, they have to travel 180 degrees past the MNR Yard and DRM Museum yard before they can operate on a more direct route.

Since New Milford is huge, depending on where you live depends on which train station you would use to some extent. I think the majority of people who live there use Southeast.

scoostraw
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:There have been multiple proposals to extend Metro North to New Milford. I think one of the issues with that is when the trains depart Danbury Station, they have to travel 180 degrees past the MNR Yard and DRM Museum yard before they can operate on a more direct route.
That is not really am impediment though is it?

It has always been that way right?

TomNelligan
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by TomNelligan »

scoostraw wrote:Tom did the Berkshire Division ever connect to the B&A via a wye at Pittsfield?
No, the current Housatonic/CSX connection that runs northbound to eastbound is basically what's always been there, minus a few former yard tracks. NH passenger trains used it to run into Pittsfield Union Station (basically on the site of the current Amtrak station) up until 1960, at which point the NH switched its trains to a minimal facility in its freight house just south of the B&A. That lasted until the end of passenger service on 4/30/71.

benboston
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by benboston »

I know people who live in New Milford. People there use Southeast for the most part, but it's the biggest town in the state by area so I assume many in the south use Danbury. It is very lacking as far as public transportation goes, and I think that it has the correct demographics to support commuter service and even Berkshire Flyer. The problem is that the people in New Milford don't like the weekend folk who travel up there every weekend from New York City. They tend to be rude people, not representative of the general population of New York City. This could lead to some opposition I suppose, but on the other hand, there is a very large customer base.

mtuandrew
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by mtuandrew »

scoostraw wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:With the investment CDOT and Amtrak just put into the NHHS project, why aren’t we talking about a NYP-NHV-SPG-Pittsfield-ALB train?
I prefer discussing things that have a remote possibility of happening during my lifetime. :)
Restoring a rickety, hostile railroad that hasn’t seen passenger service in 40+ years will be easier than running over a freshly-rebuilt route with existing service over every inch? I prefer discussing possibilities for my lifetime too :P

scoostraw
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

TomNelligan wrote:
scoostraw wrote:Tom did the Berkshire Division ever connect to the B&A via a wye at Pittsfield?
No, the current Housatonic/CSX connection that runs northbound to eastbound is basically what's always been there, minus a few former yard tracks. NH passenger trains used it to run into Pittsfield Union Station (basically on the site of the current Amtrak station) up until 1960, at which point the NH switched its trains to a minimal facility in its freight house just south of the B&A. That lasted until the end of passenger service on 4/30/71.
The New haven must have had a turntable near that freight house I'm guessing?

scoostraw
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

How did they get the power around the train for the return trip?
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Greg Moore
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore »

Hand pushed the turntable.

Three years ago, I was able to attend a talk in Falls Village by a former engineer on the route who talked about the final days (including THE last trip up to Lakeville).
He had slides too which were great.
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scoostraw
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw »

Greg Moore wrote:Hand pushed the turntable.

Three years ago, I was able to attend a talk in Falls Village by a former engineer on the route who talked about the final days (including THE last trip up to Lakeville).
He had slides too which were great.
Do you recall the engineer's name?

DutchRailnut
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by DutchRailnut »

probably Pete McLaughlin ?
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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