Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inland

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njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:03 am

It's 91 miles between BOS and SPG and if CSX allowed the State to double track and upgrade the speed limit on parts that can be done between BOS to SPG, then that would help with running any new regional trains between those segments. It wouldn't just be people traveling from BOS to SPG all the way. There might be people who live in and around SPG who work in Worcester and vice versa. If Amtrak were to operate the new service, then it would probably pay to have those as shuttle extensions and lengthen the trainsets.

WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:34 am

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:and if CSX allowed the State to double track and upgrade the speed limit on parts that can be done between BOS to SPG, then that would help with running any new regional trains between those segments.
I'm sure CSX will allow the state to double track the line. That's their cost of entry for new passenger service. The state has to find money to pay for it.

With increased service to Greenfield and a possible Montrealer in the future, Boston should have more connections with Springfield to allow transfers to these services.

Arlington
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Arlington » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:49 pm

So far, very poor payback in passengers per $ spent in CSX territory SPG-WOR compared to projects MassDOT can undertake in it's ownGFD-NHV and MBTA territory WOR-BOS.

There is a lot that State politicians can do to convince Worcester and the Pioneer Valley that they are getting their money's worth at the state level, without ever doing anything on the inland between Springfield and Worcester.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

R36 Combine Coach
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:59 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:It's 91 miles between BOS and SPG and if CSX allowed the State to double track and upgrade the speed limit on parts that can be done between BOS to SPG, then that would help with running any new regional trains between those segments.
91 miles is sufficient for regular MBTA commuter service. MNCR's Port Jervis Line is 95 miles, GCT-Waterbury 88 miles, NYP-Montauk 116 miles. This is the same distance more or less on the Hiawatha between Chicago and Milwaukee or NYP-PHL.
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gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by gokeefe » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:27 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:91 miles is sufficient for regular MBTA commuter service.
Statistically true. Politically unlikely.
gokeefe

jgeary27
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by jgeary27 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:16 pm

Please remember that the 'tier' assignments by MassDOT are, uh, not free of political influence. Consider:

Connect second (WOR) and third (SPG) cities in New England - Tier 2, Benefits 'TBD', Feasibility 'TBD'
(translation: despite NNEIRI we will pretend to not understand this route and continue to study it to death)

Connect second (WOR) and fourth (PVD) cities in New England - Tier 3, Benefits 'MED', Feasibility 'LOW'
(relatively receptive owner plus flat, straight route is... hard?)

And yet South Coast rail is still on there as Tier 1, Benefits 'HIGH', Feasibility 'MED'??!?!!?!?!?? I have nothing against New Bedford, my family's actually from there. But, c'mon, these prioritizations are wacky.

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by gokeefe » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:01 pm

This is what rail policy looks like when you have an administration that is supportive but determined to look beyond the traditional urban centers.

They're building service in places that will never get it when the winds of change blow through.
gokeefe

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by lordsigma12345 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:47 am

It could be different with this study. Having gone to the initial meeting, there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm among the committee members. The majority of the committee members made clear that they want action out of this study and not something that will go sit on a shelf. If after this committee finishes it’s work MassDOT recommends a no build alternative I think there will be an uproar.

Arlington
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Arlington » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:27 am

^ Which committee? Which study? Link/URL?
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

johnpbarlow
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by johnpbarlow » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:12 am

Article in today's Worcester Telegram: "Nonstop bus service launched between Worcester and New York City"

Excerpt:
The trip from Worcester to the Big Apple is estimated to take 3 hours and 15 minutes, which the company said is shorter than other bus service that stops in Hartford between the two cities.

The bus leaves from Franklin Street outside Union Station and arrives at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Gate 21, in New York City. Departure times from Worcester are noon Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. Sundays, according to the website. Departure times from New York City are 6 p.m. weekdays, 12:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays.

Fares between Worcester and New York City cost $15 each way on weekdays and $20 on weekends. Tickets are electronic and can be ordered through an app or online.
https://www.telegram.com/news/20190219/ ... -york-city

Hard to beat the transit time and price! By comparison MBTA charges $11.50 to go 45 miles from Worcester to Boston.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:25 am

gokeefe wrote:
Arlington wrote:Mass is left with the problem of the best way to get "Greater Worcester" to NYC. Choices include bus (which an HOV Pike would help), or driving to PVD or NHV. The Inlands are Tier 2 because CSX (and the Worcester hills) make it hard by train.
You left out the P&W via Groton. :wink:
Joking aside- like I've pointed out before, this *was* a service that was able to last until "A Day" in 1971.

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by gokeefe » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:21 am

No joke on my part. :-D
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Ridgefielder
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:52 pm

johnpbarlow wrote:Article in today's Worcester Telegram: "Nonstop bus service launched between Worcester and New York City"

Excerpt:
The trip from Worcester to the Big Apple is estimated to take 3 hours and 15 minutes, which the company said is shorter than other bus service that stops in Hartford between the two cities.

The bus leaves from Franklin Street outside Union Station and arrives at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Gate 21, in New York City. Departure times from Worcester are noon Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. Sundays, according to the website. Departure times from New York City are 6 p.m. weekdays, 12:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays.

Fares between Worcester and New York City cost $15 each way on weekdays and $20 on weekends. Tickets are electronic and can be ordered through an app or online.
https://www.telegram.com/news/20190219/ ... -york-city

Hard to beat the transit time and price! By comparison MBTA charges $11.50 to go 45 miles from Worcester to Boston.
Having lived in or immediately adjacent to NYC for ~20 years, I'll tell you that the 3:15 estimate is basically best-case-scenario for a NYC-Worcester drive.

It could easily take close to an hour for the bus to get off Manhattan Island from the Port Authority. The only two river crossings that point the right direction are the Alexander Hamilton (which carries I-95 over the Harlem River to the Cross Bronx Expressway) and the Triboro Bridge. Getting to either requires traversing 80-100 blocks on surface roads. Buses can't use either the Henry Hudson Parkway, which runs up the West side, or the FDR Drive, which runs up the East.

Once you're off Manhattan it's not much better. Buses can't use any of the New York State parkways in the NYC area- the bridges were (deliberately) built too low. That leaves you with effectively only two roads to the north- I-87 and I-95. Both of those can and do turn into parking lots. Particularly at rush hour.

There's a reason there's little-to-no commuter bus service into Manhattan from Long Island, Westchester or Connecticut.

daybeers
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by daybeers » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:01 pm

I agree that 3:15 is too short of an estimate.

Arlington
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Arlington » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:11 pm

daybeers wrote:I agree that 3:15 is too short of an estimate.
Sure, but what does it matter?
1) Bus passengers are used to times that assume "everything goes perfectly"

BOS-NYC bus times are advertised in the 4:15 range. I've been burned by bus-in-Manhattan traffic every single time I've attempted a train-to-NYC-bus-home (only the "to NYC" leg was time-critical). My resolve never to take the BOS-NYC bus ever again can't be unique and yet doesn't seem to have lessened the overall market-effectiveness of buses.

Current Greyhound WOR-NYC trips are posted at 3:35, which is basically OurBus's "3:15" plus an extra 20 minutes for stopping in Hartford (call it 5 extra minutes on I-84 getting to the Hartford, a scheduled 10-minute dwell in Hartford, and 5 minutes of getting back on I-84). If OurBus also can use a little GPS-style flexibility in how it chooses to bypass Hartford (using I-91 as Waze often suggests), sometimes they'll do it in 3h15 midday or on weekends.

2) Even if the WOR-NYC bus' advertised times had to be "more honest" it'll still beat an Inland
If the bus uses Waze to choose between a 90-84-(87/684) routing and a 90-91-95 routing, it essentially is chosing between two Class 4 Quad-Tracked paths to the threshold of NYC. What's a "totally honest" bus time that the bus can make, say, 90% of the time? Maybe 4 hours?

What's your estimate for a train? Today, a decent estimate for a WOR-NYP train would be 4h50. Yuck.
The LSL takes 1h15 just to do WOR-SPG
The Vermonter takes 3h35 to do SPG-NYP
Double Yuck when you consider that CSX would want tens of millions just to allow that. And then how much would MassDOT have to spend to get that time down to 4 hours??? And then require an operating subsidy?

And what would the justification be, exactly, when a bus can do WOR-NYC nonstops on competitive carriers all day long? And if MassDOT is subsidizing any operations in the name of public benefit, why not just offer some (or all) operators a 5-tickets per bus subsidy?

3) And if MassDOT had $350m to improve WOR-NYC trip making what's rail's "pitch" for being the best value?
My pitch for $350m that could radically improve WOR-NYC? add a 4th lane to the MassPike between Auburn (I-395/I-290) and Sturbridge (I-84). Get me an 8-tracked Class 4 ROW (the MassPike). About 14miles* and, as bonus, much of the payback can be from tolls. The state might be out of pocket only $200m for widening I-90 and still have $100m to, say, expand HOV lanes at key choke points in the road network at SPG, WOR, & BOS.

*MassDOT just widened 13 miles of 128/I-95 for $350m, and for that money had to tangle with many more bridges and exits than the MassPike would.
Last edited by Arlington on Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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