Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Line)

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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Jehochman » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:17 pm

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that a joint venture of TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts has been selected as the service provider that will operate and manage service on the CTrail Hartford Line


I'll go look for the Hartford Line thread and if there is one, the discussion should continue there.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby jp1822 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:24 pm

When the Vermonter makes the Montreal connection, it would seem that some passengers would be interested in heading to Boston. Course to do so, one has to travel all the way south to New Haven, as opposed to heading to Boston via Palmer Junction or at Springfield. Perhaps a better connection could be established with the Lake Shore Limited at Springfield. That was once in the cards, as was an "Inland" train running between NYC and Boston. An overnight train from Washington to Montreal via Vermont typically worked best; but with Vermont sponsoring the train, they want a day train.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Safetee » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:34 am

the best, quickest, least expensive route with the best boston, cambridge, and maine connections from Montreal would be to jump on pas at Greenfield and head east. Unfortunately, the current "planning" in west mass is to do whatever is possible to get folks to the new casinos in Springfield and that means folks from Boston and Montreal connect by going to Springfield by train directly.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:09 pm

PAS ex-B&M is still slower than CSX ex-B&A. There's a lot more traffic at Springfield & Worcester than there potentially is at Fitchburg & Ayer, and trains via the B&M would have to terminate at BON. Maybe a future possibility - but not now.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Train60 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:54 pm

Safetee wrote:the best, quickest, least expensive route with the best boston, cambridge, and maine connections from Montreal would be to jump on pas at Greenfield and head east. Unfortunately, the current "planning" in west mass is to do whatever is possible to get folks to the new casinos in Springfield and that means folks from Boston and Montreal connect by going to Springfield by train directly.

I don't think the planned new casino in Springfield is the reason for routing passenger trains via Springfield. There were umpteen other reasons that favored Springfield over any other routing to Montreal.
http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/northernnewenglandrail/Documents.aspx
Last edited by Train60 on Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Arlington » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:51 pm

Safetee wrote:the best, quickest, least expensive route with the best boston, cambridge, and maine connections from Montreal would be to jump on pas at Greenfield and head east.

No, the best, quickest, least expensive route Boston-Montreal is to (gently) subsidize bus(es) running express on the highways we already have. Adding trains is about increasing the usefulness of the network we already have, which is more about the towns along the line, rather than the endpoints, and for that, you need to go through the hub, in this case, a hub at Springfield
Safetee wrote:Unfortunately, the current "planning" in west mass is to do whatever is possible to get folks to the new casinos in Springfield and that means folks from Boston and Montreal connect by going to Springfield by train directly.

As linked, the studies favored Springfield because it is a natural hub for intra-regional travel, as both a decent-sized O/D itself, and along naturally-busy lanes of demand, and strong bus connections to all of Western Mass. #1 Rule of Hubbing: don't bypass the hub.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby east point » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:23 pm

Why are there some persons who think a route is only end point destinations. Most routes the passengers are going from intermediate to intermediate points. Of course some from intermediate to end and a few end to end. Believe the capitol has the highest % of end to end.

That is the reason for the stops at population locations and not quickest route. Doing a hub at Springfield just makes another route feeding two others. Who knows maybe even connections from Albany can happen for the LSL and a future another train ? That way 4 routes converging ? Only WASH, LAX and CHI have that 4 route metric.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:37 pm

Ayup, I'd love to see even just a day train from ALB-BOS and connecting to stuff in Springfield would make it even more viable.

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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby leviramsey » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:18 am

east point wrote:Why are there some persons who think a route is only end point destinations. Most routes the passengers are going from intermediate to intermediate points. Of course some from intermediate to end and a few end to end. Believe the capitol has the highest % of end to end.


If the Capitol has any intermediate demand, that makes it second to the trivially all-end-to-end Auto Train... ;)
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby bdawe » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:05 pm

In addition to missing the hub at Springfield (urban population 621,000) with connections to Albany, New Haven and the NEC, such a route bypasses Worcester (487,000) in exchange for Leonminster-Fitchburg (117,000) and maybe Athol (12,000), a net loss of served urban population of 979,000, along with the increased per-frequency expenses of train-a-day services and the diminished ridership that comes from a limited-frequency schedule.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby TomNelligan » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:21 pm

Additionally, tens of millions of dollars of capital funds would be needed to bring the Wachusett-Greenfield segment of the "Pan Am Southern" up to passenger train standards.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Safetee » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:31 am

well the way i see it, ns would undoubtedly love to have someone to share the cost of rebuilding wachusetts to Gardner. which in turn would make it cheaper for which ever passenger entity has the privilege of putting up the money for this project.

for some reason people think that springfield is a done deal. i tend to think that when the costs of double tracking the b&A from springfield to worcester is figured in which is necessary because of csx volume, and the redoing of the framingham bottleneck which might mean a tunnel plus the fact that south station is already maxed out for capacity, suddenly Montreal to Boston via Greenfield doesnt look quite so crazy. throw in direct connection to maine service, how much is south to north station going to cost, yes then all of a sudden Greenfield is the pareto efficient path.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:24 pm

If we are just talking Boston - Montreal then Fitchburg/Greenfield is shorter and probably faster than Springfield but unfortunately we are not. I think a decent express or semi express bus service using uncrowded Interstate Highways would be sufficient for at least the present time and maybe far in to the future as well. The best rail route WAS via Concord but unfortunately that good route is gone and not likely to return. If folks from the Boston area are absolutely set on the train it is possible but much slower and more expensive. I think most travelers (what there are) probably are not that fussy whether it is a bus or a train. I have lots of doubts whether the market out of Boston would be strong enough to support the expense of fixing up deteriorated tracks and operating costs of trains vs buses on this route.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby gprimr1 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:40 pm

I think as much as we may not want to admit it, with the new Springfield Intermodal station combining Peter Pan and Amtrak into one, if I were Amtrak, I'd be looking at cross ticketing opportunities.
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Re: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Li

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:11 pm

The problem is there are no relatively "uncrowded" interstates emanating from Boston. Not even MA 2 anymore, which gets gunked up at rush between I-495 and Fitchburg in ways it never ever used to. The Mass Pike has never ever been worse than it is right now (even with the tool booths coming down for speed-limit electronic tolling), so the prime E-W corridor for express buses now comes with a big minus of hugely variable travel times depending on time-of-day and which stretch of highway got FUBAR'ed on that day's rush, Friday weekend getaway, or Sunday night return. This is a permanent condition; Greater Worcester is growing too fast for any Boston-centric throttles to put a serious dent in where the worst backups are occurring. So it will never be as free-and-easy a ride as it was when Peter Pan staked its gangbusters 1990's growth to that corridor while Worcester and Springfield were still depopulated hulks. Back then they could ram through some higher-tier fares on a regular bus schedule because the schedule was pretty hour-to-hour reliable. That party's over, profit-wise. The train gets its seat at the table amongst the portfolio of travel options from being able to promise (with the specced NNEIRI upgrades) relative schedule certainty and travel time consistency on any schedule slot of the day, something you will never get again with the express buses. That matters the world for a slice of the market.

The express buses will shape-shift into other segments, and probably carry as many if not more passengers overall despite the train taking a share of their former market. But they won't carrying each and every transit demographic by the same margin as before. For example: the Pike corridor, currently dominated by higher mainline Peter Pan/Greyhound fares and not a whole lot of heavy discounting, may open up to becoming much more competitive for the take-it-or-leave-it Bolt ultra-discount tier like the more cutthroat I-95 corridor is. In similar (if much more muted) way that the I-95 bus market shape-shifted after the NHV-BOS electrification and Shoreline upgrades substantially expanded the NE Regional schedule. You've got exploding college enrollments in Worcester, MetroWest, and Knowledge Corridor; plenty of profits to be had with bottom-discount / take-it-or-leave-it schedules. But strict punctuality...and the highest-tier fares that can command...isn't something the bus carriers will ever be able to guarantee again with the permanent traffic conditions they have to contend with. So the high ground, the audiences that rely most on punctuality, and some of the premium profit-taking that the carriers have been making easy over the years...cede to another mode. That's not a "win" or a "loss"...it's just evolution of the business. I-95 NHV/NYC-BOS didn't stop being a hugely profitable bus corridor when post-2000 Amtrak started getting very convenient...but its makeup changed because of what value proposition the train mode could guarantee to certain audiences vs. what the shape-shifted bus market could. The Pike/NNEIRI corridors + Springfield hub will evolve the same way with plenty of spoils to go around as exploits get more aggressively pursued.
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