Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inland

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

Post by lordsigma12345 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:30 pm

Safetee wrote:Well, I will say that this multi faceted east west study did not waste any time on the other possible east west gateway from Greenfield which offers far better service/connections to cambridge, mass general and the downeaster service.

Beyond that believe me, AMTRAK is a major if not the major driving force behind the springfield gateway. How can I say that? Very Easy. Amtrak management believes in global warming and rising seas. There is real concern that that portion of the track that runs through Rhode Island is going to be perpetually threatened/inundated with tidal waters. Consequently as of right now the Springfield route is their best plan b to insure continued corridor service to and from Boston.
A state legislator did recommend studying the northern corridor also - however if there is a competition between the two, it would seem Springfield is the no brainer. Besides the fact that it can be an alternative to the shore line, the southern route just seems to make more sense with stops in much larger areas - Worcester, Palmer, Springfield, and Pittsfield... While I would be all for them doing both approaches to provide service state wide, when given the choice between the two the Springfield option seems like a no brainer. Not to mention that it will take far less to get the southern route going than it would take to get the northern tier. The idea of this study is to try to get service into under served areas - you are going to get more bang for your buck and get service to far more under served people with the B&A than the B&M...

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

Post by Safetee » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:33 am

There is no question that the Springfield gateway is the political no brainer. With Amtrak, Mass DOT, all the local regional planning agencies, the City of Springfield, and MGM too all in bed together for a Springfield to Boston rail extravaganza, I can't say there is much political capital in even thinking about the Greenfield Gateway.

However, from time, cost, and logistics points of view, the Greenfield Gateway offers a much quicker option for those residents in Western Mass, Southern Vermont, and Southern New Hampshire who seek more direct rail connections to Cambridge as well as the North Station/Downeaster.

The cost to make it happen track and signal wise is certainly in the same ball park from Greenfield to Wachusett as it is for Worcester to Springfield.

The achilles heels for the Springfield routing include heavily constipated CSX operations, the Framingham grade crossings conundrum, and severe capacity issues at South Station. While all of these "issues" can be dealt with by pulling out a very big check book, in my opinion the time, money and politics to pull off the Springfield vision is many many years away from being a slam dunk rail reality.

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Kilo Echo » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:03 am

How much did it cost to extend the Fitchburg Line 4.5 miles from Fitchburg to, um, Fitchburg (Wachusett)? Something like $93.3 million? Has there been a dramatic increase in ridership since the extension? While having northern-tier service may sound grand, the price tag would be prohibitively grand.
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Safetee
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Safetee » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:27 am

The 93 million for 4.5 miles of track rehabilitation and signalling on the Fitchburg included several freight bridge repairs, a station, and a six track layover facility. On a comparative basis, the largely unused Springfield Station rehab cost $94 million which we can swag as the cost for an 1/8th of a mile.

Based on these two imperfect examples, i would have to say that the northern corridor has a decided edge on a cost per mile basis.

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

Post by johnpbarlow » Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:13 am

Kilo Echo wrote:How much did it cost to extend the Fitchburg Line 4.5 miles from Fitchburg to, um, Fitchburg (Wachusett)? Something like $93.3 million? Has there been a dramatic increase in ridership since the extension? While having northern-tier service may sound grand, the price tag would be prohibitively grand.
The MBTA station at Wachusett features 369 parking spaces. By my occasional unscientific weekday eyeball observations, I would guess that no more than half the parking spaces are utilized. Re: a rehab of Pan Am Southern District 3 from Greenfield to Wachusett, getting several passenger trains around the yard at E Deerfield each day may require addition of a passing track/crossovers given how frequently PAS freights are parked on main tracks awaiting admission to the yard. Also, I'm guessing both IETM-S and ACSES II PTC schemes would have to be implemented to support NS and MBTA equipment.

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

Post by lordsigma12345 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:27 pm

As someone who rides out of Springfield, I would not exactly call the Springfield station "unused." Not saying that it's any major transit hub in the realm of New Haven or Eastern Mass, but between intercity bus usage and the rail ridership I think they are happy with the utilization. And rail ridership has improved with the re-institution of 100% train service as well as added trains as part of the Hartford Line. The parking garage does not get as much utilization as it probably could, but many more passengers at Springfield are dropped off/picked up so you can't go completely by the garage.

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

Post by lordsigma12345 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:28 pm

Beginning on Monday 4/22 they will be installing the new Platform C at Springfield station. The precast concrete modules have been staged under the I-91 viaduct near Sweeney Interlocking. Details: https://www.springfield-ma.gov/dpw/inde ... fic_alerts" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

Post by BandA » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:40 pm

Remind me, if you fully upgraded Greenfield-Fitchburg or Greenfield-BON, how would speed compare to SPG-BOS? I.e. curviness & grade. Are there lots of grade crossings?

Also, MassDOT might get more bang-for-their-buck upgrading MA-2 highway than Greenfield-Fitchburg, and building massive park & ride garages somewhere near Littleton 495 or Acton, and focus on improving Fitchburg-BON. Although the Feddybucks of an Amtrak upgrade would be a nice balm for the MBTA.

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Kilo Echo
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Kilo Echo » Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:42 am

lordsigma12345 wrote:Beginning on Monday 4/22 they will be installing the new Platform C at Springfield station.
Any word as to when Amtrak's ticketing operations will move down to the renovated concourse?
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Ridgefielder » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:10 pm

Way I see it, it boils down to numbers.

There are 154,000 people in Springfield and 185,000 people in Worcester.

There are 17,000 people in Greenfield and 40,000 people in Fitchburg.

Restoring corridor service on the B&A links the third and second largest cities in the Commonwealth.

Instating corridor service on the B&M links the county seat of the least-populous county on the MA mainland to the third largest city in Worcester County.

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

Post by lordsigma12345 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:49 pm

Kilo Echo wrote:
lordsigma12345 wrote:Beginning on Monday 4/22 they will be installing the new Platform C at Springfield station.
Any word as to when Amtrak's ticketing operations will move down to the renovated concourse?
I do not know, however they have begun the process of tying the Amtrak data into the screens in the new station, so it could be happening soon maybe? They have integrated the feed - it is displaying on the screen behind Amtrak's new counter, but the data has not been appended to the other screens yet (nor is it tied to the speakers) only Ctrail trains showing on the other screens.

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

Post by jonnhrr » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:22 pm

BandA wrote:Remind me, if you fully upgraded Greenfield-Fitchburg or Greenfield-BON, how would speed compare to SPG-BOS? I.e. curviness & grade. Are there lots of grade crossings?
That segment of Pan Am is very curvy and has grades. One of the reasons the trial MBTA service to Gardner never panned out due to how slow that section is, with the line looping up to south Ashburnham before coming southwest to hit Gardner. Not that the B&A line is arrow straight either but it is somewhat better.
BandA wrote: Also, MassDOT might get more bang-for-their-buck upgrading MA-2 highway than Greenfield-Fitchburg, and building massive park & ride garages somewhere near Littleton 495 or Acton, and focus on improving Fitchburg-BON. Although the Feddybucks of an Amtrak upgrade would be a nice balm for the MBTA.
Agreed, Route 2 still has traffic lights in West Fitchburg. Speeding up that section would help. Outside of the hills and curves in the Fitchburg area, it is a lot more direct than the railroad.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:39 am

Platform C lifted into place and other news: MassLive.com

Fair-use snips:
SPRINGFIELD — Cranes this week are lifting sections of precast concrete walkway onto the upper portions of Springfield Union Station for the new handicapped-accessible Platform C.
...
The new platform will open in June or July, said Kevin Kennedy, chief development officer for the city. “The platform is really beginning to take shape and obviously we are very excited about that,” he said.
...
Included in the $8.2 million project is reopening stairways and building an elevator to Platform C. The train tracks are overhead at Union Station. Passengers move from the grand concourse to a tunnel under the track to get to their trains or exit to Lyman Street.
...
The new platform nears completion as the state, along with Amtrak, plans this summer’s launch of expanded commuter rail service north of Springfield to Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield. Massachusetts authorities announced the two-year pilot program one year ago.

Meanwhile, the state continues to study options that could bring more train service from Boston to Springfield or as far west as Pittsfield. Neal said Gov. Charlie Baker and state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack have been working hard on both expansion efforts.
...
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by asull85 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:28 pm

The launch of the shuttle extensions to Greenfield has been pushed back to late Summer/early Fall. Some work needs to be done before the trains can start.

Palmer5RR
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Palmer5RR » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:23 pm

asull85 wrote:The launch of the shuttle extensions to Greenfield has been pushed back to late Summer/early Fall. Some work needs to be done before the trains can start.
So if the start date gets pushed to October the test period will shrink from 30 months to 26 months? Normally with Commonwealth funding if you don't spend appropriated money in the fiscal year you lose it.

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