Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inland

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

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:29 pm

Two quick observations:

1. Big hurdle for 50 TPD is not only Hartford but freight interference. I used to hang out at Hot Tomatoes in HUS and some of those freights were LONG.
2. Perhaps the Vermonter should only stop NHV - HFD - SPG.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby jp1822 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Amtrak needs to do something - and quick - cause this is becoming a BIG problem! If the State of Vermont is to be paying for this train, they better be getting on Amtrak's case because you have passengers getting bumped (one of them being right here), because the New Haven to Springfield section is blocking THROUGH passage between NEC and Vermont.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby gregorygrice » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:50 pm

None of this traffic increase affects the Vermonter though. The Vermonter is usually late before it even hits the MRS Line.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:32 pm

I will be curious to see if the new enhanced service to/from SPG results in a noticeable ridership increase on the Northeast Regional service.

Trains headed to NYP are often close to capacity by the time they reach New Haven. Hard to imagine a lot of inventory available to split between riders originating from SPG south and riders from NHV west.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby lordsigma12345 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:01 am

Vermonter now only stops at Springfield, Windsor Locks, Hartford, Meriden, and New Haven. Berlin and Wallingford were dropped after the CTrail launch. A bigger thing to help out Vermont will be the additional knowledge corridor service north of Springfield coming next year. This will spread out some of the knowledge corridor ridership (Holyoke, Northampton, Greenfield) which currently have just the Vermonter as their only option. This should free up some seats for Vermont folks.

As for inland route I don't think they'd run dedicated trains. They'd either use the current Shuttle method or return to a practice of having a combined train run NHV-WAS and split it for shore/inland routes.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Arlington » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:35 am

For now, a bus hub at SPG (such as Peter Pan already operates) seems like a fine solution for East-West & college travel connecting into NHHS service.
Springfield Union Station:
Gate Assignments:
New York City ….. Gate 18
Hartford / New Haven ….. Gate 18
Boston / Logan Airport ….. Gate 20
Worcester / Framingham ….. Gate 20
Albany / Pittsfield / Lee / Lenox ….. Gate 21
UMass / Amherst / Northampton ….. Gate 22
Holyoke / S. Hadley / Hampshire Col. ….. Gate 22
Providence / Cape Cod ….. Gate 23
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Traingeek3629 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:21 am

lordsigma12345 wrote:
As for inland route I don't think they'd run dedicated trains. They'd either use the current Shuttle method or return to a practice of having a combined train run NHV-WAS and split it for shore/inland routes.


I disagree. It is much easier to dedicate two shuttle sets that just run between Boston and Springfield along with the LSL. New stops should be constructed at East Springfield, Palmer, and West Brookfield. (also serving Warren, Ware, and Brookfield) Although the line runs through Charlton, I think that is just a waste of time to stop at Charlton since that is so close to the regular commuter rail. Ideally the runtime should be reduced to around two hours instead of 2.5 hours. Springfield-Boston is also only a 90 minute drive, still in commuting range.

Here is my proposed schedule:
Springfield-Boston Boston-Springfield
6:20 AM-8:27 AM | 6:45 AM-8:52 AM
11:35 AM-1:42 PM | 12:50 PM-3:01 PM (LSL)
5:33 PM-7:51 PM (LSL) | 5:25 PM-7:32 PM

P.S. Why is that line so loopy after Palmer? If I had built the line it would have gone through Spencer and Leicester instead of Charlton.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby leviramsey » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:38 pm

jp1822 wrote:Amtrak needs to do something - and quick - cause this is becoming a BIG problem! If the State of Vermont is to be paying for this train, they better be getting on Amtrak's case because you have passengers getting bumped (one of them being right here), because the New Haven to Springfield section is blocking THROUGH passage between NEC and Vermont.


CT also pays for the Vermonter:

The Vermonter is financed primarily through funds made available by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.


If Vermont wants the train to drop stops in CT, they'd best be prepared to pay some of the money that CT is paying now.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby leviramsey » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:20 pm

Traingeek3629 wrote:P.S. Why is that line so loopy after Palmer? If I had built the line it would have gone through Spencer and Leicester instead of Charlton.


Have you ever driven through there? From Worcester to the East Brookfield Flats along Route 9, it's basically continuous hills.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:30 am

Here's an excerpt from the Topography discussion in the Wikipedia article "Geography of Massachusetts" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Massachusetts#Topography )

Just to the east of the Pioneer Valley [where the Conn River runs], hills rise steeply toward the divide between the Connecticut River basin and the river basins to the east. This divide runs through central Massachusetts, though the summit of Mount Wachusett [where the B&M mainline runs], the highest point in the state east of the Connecticut River, rising to 2,006 feet (611 meters).


If you zoom in on the relief map exhibit in the article, you can clearly see this north-south running divide as the brownish area east of the Conn River valley.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Massachusetts#/media/File:Massachusetts_Relief_1.jpg

Going east from Springfield, the B&A strives to be as "water level" as possible following the Chicopee River upstream to North Wilbraham where it then follows Caulkins Brook to just west of Palmer and then the Quaboag River valley to its headwaters near East Brookfield. The ridge is encountered just southwest of Spencer where the eastward grade stiffens to attain the summit at Charlton and the winds downhill to Rochdale and Worcester.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:49 am

The Vermonter will never ever drop stops in Connecticut. First, once it gets to New Haven, it is considered part of the NEC so as long as if Amtrak gets permission from Metro North to stop the Vermonter at NHV, that's for the passengers benefit. I believe that New Haven is an Amtrak crew change point. New Haven is one of Connecticut's large cities. On the SPG Line, CDOT tells Amtrak what to do and I doubt that no stops will be dropped on the SPG Line. Meridan is considered a small city and there are multiple highways that overlap in the city. Hartford will never go anywhere as it is Connecticut's capitol city and people need to use the Vermonter to get there, especially those traveling from a distance. You aren't saving much travel time by skipping Hartford anyway.

If any Amtrak shuttles were to ever get extended from NHV to BOS, they would have to be lengthened-probably like five or six cars since the trains would be making more stops-definately Worcester, Framingham, and the two stations in Downtown BOS. Palmer should definately get a stop for whatever train service is augmented west of Worcester to Springfield. I don't know much about the smaller towns along the Boston Line but it sounds like E. Springfield and somewhere closer to Brookfield would be good for a stop. A general rule of thunb-lets say if a person lives in a town on a passenger rail route that might have a train station but not many trains stopping there while more trains stop in a largre town on that same line very close by-those people will drive to the larger town for more train service. The line could be dead straight between the station in a smaller and larger town and people will still drive to the larger town. Look at Windsor Ct-there are people who live there who are heading to NYC and when they take the train, they will probably drive instead to Hartford for more service. Even after all of the double track is restored, not every Ctrail train will continue north of Hartford. Now for any Amtrak service running to Greenfield, it might seem like a straightshot but the speeds are slow in many areas along the Knowledge Corridor. I rode the Vermonter three years ago over the Knowledge Corridor and we were crawling in many spots. Hopefully, there will be more speed restrictions lifted along there. I think one of the slowest stretches is between Holyoke and Springfield. If you live around Holyoke, you are probably better off getting the train in SPG. Back to the example of the distance from Charlton to Worcester, it's 15 miles between both cities and probably many people will drive to Worcester to get MBTA when heading to Boston.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Arlington » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:01 am

I'd say that having dropped Berlin and Wallingford, the Vermonter is unlikely to drop any net additional cities in CT, but I think there's a small chance that they'd eventually drop Meriden too.
Isn't it fair to guess that temporary drop of Berlin and Wallingford (from June 9, 2018) becomes permanent?

Looking at Amtrak Virginia (the other significant state-sponsored extension of NEC trains) we see station spacings in the 40 ~ 50 miles range. If the analogy holds, that's what could make dropping Meriden "a thing".
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:36 pm

Meriden Station is very close to several busy highways-91 and 691 as well as business highways. It's not very far from Middletown, Ct, home of Wesleyan University. Meriden is in the heart of Central Connecticut close to many other towns in the Central part of the state. I'm not sure if it's a huge loss for the Vermonters not stopping in Wallingford and Berlin. While Wallingford might be huge, it's not like there it's considered a city. Berlin isn't that large. The Vermonter is like Amtrak's premium train of the SPG Line-meant for people who are either heading from larger towns along the SPG Line to other destinations along the NEC and vice versa.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby Arlington » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:55 pm

I think in the long run you will see that areas directly between Hartford and New Haven will be served by a CT train, and areas a little bit further off that axis will end up getting a bus that makes connections easy by doing a crescent shaped route, HFD-xxx-NHV.

Meridan could be the "Burke VA" (closely spaced, highway accessible, suburban station) worthy of an NER, or it could be like a lot of other well-connected Connecticut towns but still end up being skipped.
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Postby gokeefe » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:12 pm

While the "ho-hum" "business as usual" nature of the CTRail startup along with the resulting tidal wave of ridership may seem to many a completely "routine" development I remain astounded. It's worth recalling that this corridor has had varying levels of service over the years including more than one attempt at running the "Inland Regional" trains. Even the Greenfield extension is on an active service corridor that has had the Vermonter and/or its predecessors.

Amtrak and the legacy carriers (PC, NH, BM, NYC/B&A) tried over and over again to make this corridor work. Why it has worked this time isn't entirely certain beyond what seems to be demographic pressure as the result of population growth and accompanying traffic congestion on the highways. If true then these factors have some significant implications for other potential rail corridors as well.
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