Housatonic Railroad Thread (Maybrook, Berkshire, Pittsfield)

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Otto Vondrak »

I'm closing this thread for now... Let's wait and see if there are any real-world developments that come from HRRC's study...
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DutchRailnut
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by DutchRailnut »

here is some news:
http://www.tcextra.com/news/publish/lak ... 2800.shtml
Passenger service may return to Northwest Corner
By KAREN BARTOMIOLI
October, 14, 2010

Canaan Union Station, once at a junction of two lines, has remained in continuous operation for more than 130 years. It has retained its “operating” designation only because Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC) freight trains rumble past it. For many years it was home to businesses, but it has been unused since a fire in 2001 destroyed it. The last time the waiting room saw passengers was 1991, when weekend scenic rides to Cornwall and back were offered. Commuter service has not been available since 1971. Since then, Metro North has established service as far north as Wassaic, N.Y. It has all come sort of full circle with a recent ridership survey that showed interest in a passenger train would be more for weekenders and tourists. But no matter why people want to ride, the results are positive enough: an estimated two million one-way trips per year could be expected, enough to give the green light to a plan by HRRC to bring back daily passenger service. “It’s safe to say within five years,” said Colin Pease, vice president for special projects at HRRC. Five years might seem like a long time to wait for the endeavor, dubbed for now as the Berkshire Line Project, but there is an incredible amount of work to do, including arranging financing, upgrading tracks, re-establishing a string of depots, and acquiring the trains, which would have to operate on both diesel and electricity.
Blah Blah Blah etc etc etc.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Ridgefielder
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Ridgefielder »

DutchRailnut wrote:here is some news:
http://www.tcextra.com/news/publish/lak ... 2800.shtml

Passenger service may return to Northwest Corner
By KAREN BARTOMIOLI
October, 14, 2010

Canaan Union Station, once at a junction of two lines, has remained in continuous operation for more than 130 years. It has retained its “operating” designation only because Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC) freight trains rumble past it. For many years it was home to businesses, but it has been unused since a fire in 2001 destroyed it. The last time the waiting room saw passengers was 1991, when weekend scenic rides to Cornwall and back were offered. Commuter service has not been available since 1971. Since then, Metro North has established service as far north as Wassaic, N.Y. It has all come sort of full circle with a recent ridership survey that showed interest in a passenger train would be more for weekenders and tourists. But no matter why people want to ride, the results are positive enough: an estimated two million one-way trips per year could be expected, enough to give the green light to a plan by HRRC to bring back daily passenger service. “It’s safe to say within five years,” said Colin Pease, vice president for special projects at HRRC. Five years might seem like a long time to wait for the endeavor, dubbed for now as the Berkshire Line Project, but there is an incredible amount of work to do, including arranging financing, upgrading tracks, re-establishing a string of depots, and acquiring the trains, which would have to operate on both diesel and electricity...
They say the expect 2,000,000 one-way trips a year. That works out to 5,479 a day, 365 days a year. I doubt ridership on that line was that high even back in the glory days of the NYNH&H round about 1910. To put it in context, the only town between New Milford and Pittsfield with over 6k residents is Great Barrington, MA. And the article mentions using FL9s... in through service... hauling ex-C&NW bi-levels...

Don't get me wrong- I'd love to see a return of GCT-Pittsfield service. But either the reporter got her facts totally garbled or the folks at the HRRC are borderline delusional.

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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Noel Weaver »

DutchRailnut wrote:here is some news:
http://www.tcextra.com/news/publish/lak ... 2800.shtml

Passenger service may return to Northwest Corner
By KAREN BARTOMIOLI
October, 14, 2010

Blah Blah Blah etc etc etc.
This is a perfect response, I agree.
Noel Weaver

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shadyjay
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by shadyjay »

Here is the correct link to the full story:
http://www.tcextra.com/news/publish/lak ... 2800.shtml

One thing is certain: The goal is to be unique. The schedule will include multiple daily trains. The coaches will likely be a combination of new cars and the 14 cars that HRRC already owns.
The HRRC owns 14 passenger cars? I thought all their passenger equipment went to the Danbury Railway Museum?

Sixty FL9s were built in the late 1950s by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. “The state has declared six of them as surplus,” Pease said. “They can be rehabilitated and put back in service, which would be a big savings for us. We’ve asked the state to reserve them for us.”
Hmmmm.... makes sense.

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Otto Vondrak »

shadyjay wrote:The HRRC owns 14 passenger cars? I thought all their passenger equipment went to the Danbury Railway Museum?
As far as I know, the only passenger car they retained was the baggage car in Canaan. The coaches they brought down to DRM are actually CDOT property to begin with.
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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Otto Vondrak »

DutchRailnut wrote:here is some news:
http://www.tcextra.com/news/publish/lak ... 2800.shtml
Passenger service may return to Northwest Corner
By KAREN BARTOMIOLI
October, 14, 2010

Canaan Union Station, once at a junction of two lines, has remained in continuous operation for more than 130 years. It has retained its “operating” designation only because Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC) freight trains rumble past it. For many years it was home to businesses, but it has been unused since a fire in 2001 destroyed it. The last time the waiting room saw passengers was 1991, when weekend scenic rides to Cornwall and back were offered. Commuter service has not been available since 1971. Since then, Metro North has established service as far north as Wassaic, N.Y. It has all come sort of full circle with a recent ridership survey that showed interest in a passenger train would be more for weekenders and tourists. But no matter why people want to ride, the results are positive enough: an estimated two million one-way trips per year could be expected, enough to give the green light to a plan by HRRC to bring back daily passenger service. “It’s safe to say within five years,” said Colin Pease, vice president for special projects at HRRC. Five years might seem like a long time to wait for the endeavor, dubbed for now as the Berkshire Line Project, but there is an incredible amount of work to do, including arranging financing, upgrading tracks, re-establishing a string of depots, and acquiring the trains, which would have to operate on both diesel and electricity.
Blah Blah Blah etc etc etc.
Did anyone tell this reporter that Wassaic is not on the same line as the proposed Berkshire service?

The "diesel-and-electricity" bit is funny, too.

I wonder why CDOT has not commented or responded to this proposal at all?

I'll say it again, HRRC should stop spinning its wheels and work with the existing passenger operator already on its rails.
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Sure be nice to know what kind of 'wacky tabakky' they are smoking up in Litchfield County nowadays. Doesn't everyone just love the railroad industry knowledge shown by the reporter - let alone that of whoever was feeding her this stuff?

I'm really not sure if this Lakeville Journal "piece' is news reporting or is it opinion. I have to wonder what this reporter learned when (presumably) she took Journalism courses in college.

Litchfield County, quite simply, is a transportation wasteland. Interstate highways are limited to CT8 to Winsted and what piece of I-84 near Danbury traverses the County. But where is the Litchfield County International Airport (not advocating such by any means)? Where is I-89 replacing US7? So far as US7 goes, the only infrastructure improvement made in the past eighty years has been the impressive concrete arch bridge at West Cornwall - that was opened during the Depression.

It is really a wonder The Berkshire made it to A-Day.

Sure, I'm really expecting to hop off The Berkshire at Woodrow and trek "up The Hill' for my Firtieth Reunion at South Kent School next June - well in my dreams. Otherwise, I'll be driving up US7, where every twist and turn will be the same as when "Mom and Dad" ferried me up to School (usually only at start and end of School year; otherwise The Berkshire) . While maybe the "camaraderie' will be nice, I have come to accept I best no longer drive at night, I'll have to forgo the Marriott Courtyard in Danbury where I've stayed for the past two Reunions and stay in the barracks. That ought to be "sport" for a 70 year old guy sleeping on a top bunk and using a communal latrine - but it's my "Fiftieth" and there will never be another.

FatNoah
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by FatNoah »

Here's the results of the study (in PowerPoint format):
http://www.berkshireplanning.org/about/ ... 9-2010.ppt

Based on the study, it looks like the extension would roughly quadruple Danbury line traffic.

Here's another article with some great quotes:
http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/H ... 668570.php
New Milford's Bob Rush, a member of the Rail Service Restoration Society, has been lobbying for more than 15 years for the Danbury line to extend to New Milford.

"I don't know how they got such a large (ridership) number but how can you argue with it?" he asked. "There is certainly a demand for the service."

Ridgefielder
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Ridgefielder »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Litchfield County, quite simply, is a transportation wasteland. Interstate highways are limited to CT8 to Winsted and what piece of I-84 near Danbury traverses the County. But where is the Litchfield County International Airport (not advocating such by any means)? Where is I-89 replacing US7? So far as US7 goes, the only infrastructure improvement made in the past eighty years has been the impressive concrete arch bridge at West Cornwall - that was opened during the Depression.

It is really a wonder The Berkshire made it to A-Day.
Not to be overly picky, but actually I-84 completely misses Litchfield County-- Newtown is in Fairfield County, and Southbury and Middlebury in New Haven County. And in terms of improvements on 7, not sure what the last time was you were up there, but there have been substantial changes south of the US 202 intersection in New Milford: the 7 Expressway now continues all the way around Brookfield to the west, and between the end of the Expressway and New Milford the road is four lanes, part of it divided by a rather nicely landscaped median. This is all new within the last three years.

Bigger picture though the story from the Lakeville Journal makes no sense. Seems to me that best case scenario the line north of New Milford could perhaps support 2-a-day each way-- with a supplemental Friday evening outbound/Sunday evening inbound in summer. That was essentially the service pattern in the post-WW2 years of New Haven operation, no? South of New Milford is a different story-- but only if you can run through to S. Norwalk or Stamford, so that you capture the commuter traffic heading down to jobs in lower Fairfield County.

We shall see, I guess.

As an aside, part of me wonders if the "reporter" is perhaps an aspiring journalist now in attendance at Salisbury or Hotchkiss... :wink:

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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Mr. Ridgefield, the last time I was "up that way' was for my 45th @ SKS during '06.

And the woman "reporter"? It was shocking enough to go to Hotchkiss' site and find they are now Co-ED!!!!!

Salisbury hasn't gone there yet; and for that matter neither has SKS!!!! (God help 'em if they do; but who asks Ol 'Lums? They just 'break out the checkbook' every year :P :P )

NH2060
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by NH2060 »

Regarding the 14 passenger cars the Housatonic claims they own, wouldn't they have to be retrofitted/upgraded (in order to be allowed on Metro-North rails should the trains go into GCT)? Unless the cars are ex-Heritage fleet coaches (or something similar) I don't see how they'll be able to use their own equipment without some sort of MAJOR upgrade.

DutchRailnut
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by DutchRailnut »

The Cars HHRC owns are Bi-level gallery cars , they won't fit on MNCR, Danbury branch and Beacon line (maybrook) clearance is 15'6", mainline is even tighter as low as 15" south of CP112.
Also these cars are low platform only and can not travel on MNCR, it would be to easy to crush a passenger between car and platform as cars do not have automatic doors.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Otto Vondrak »

I forgot about the bi-levels! Thanks, Dutch.

Still, no response from CDOT or Massachusetts on this proposal.

-otto-
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Re: Proposed Danbury-Pittsfield service?

Post by Ridgefielder »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:And the woman "reporter"? It was shocking enough to go to Hotchkiss' site and find they are now Co-ED!!!!!

Salisbury hasn't gone there yet; and for that matter neither has SKS!!!! (God help 'em if they do; but who asks Ol 'Lums? They just 'break out the checkbook' every year :P :P )
Mr. Norman- even Deerfield has succumbed, believe it or not...
DutchRailnut wrote: The Cars HRRC owns are Bi-level gallery cars , they won't fit on MNCR, Danbury branch and Beacon line (maybrook) clearance is 15'6", mainline is even tighter as low as 15" south of CP112.
Why in the world did the Hoosie buy a bunch of used bi-levels that can't even operate through to South Norwalk, let alone into GCT?

Dutch- O/T but I thought the Maybrook was the New Haven's large dimension freight route-- didn't they use it for auto racks, amongst other things? Or have the clearances changed over the years?

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