Central Corridor New London-Brattleboro Passenger Service

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Jeff Smith
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Central Corridor New London-Brattleboro Passenger Service

Post by Jeff Smith »

Interesting idea; not at all the same as the New London - Worcester service studied, dropped, revisited, etc.

http://www.theday.com/article/20101027/ ... 888/-1/NWS
About 65 people met at Union Station Tuesday night to hear from those north of the city who are interested in creating passenger rail service and expanded freight train service from New London to Brattleboro, Vt.

No official studies have been done to see if the idea is feasible, and there's no funding, but a core group of enthusiasts believes that New London's deep water port and the more than 60,000 students who attend colleges along the proposed route create a need.

"It's visionary planning,'' said Barbara Timken, co-owner of New London's Union Station. "It's exciting to think we are at the beginning of something.''

As ferries in the harbor sailed by the windows of the train station, and speakers were silenced by the roar of the Providence-Worcester train passing through, members of the Central Corridor Rail Project pitched their idea.

Trains would travel from New London, on tracks that already exist, with stops in Norwich, Mansfield/Storrs, Palmer, Mass., Amherst, Miller Falls and Brattleboro, and continue on to Canada. Freight rail would also be expanded.
I could see a passenger spur, but a through route? There's some utility for freight I suppose. And perhaps special excurusion service/weekends for college kids.
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NRGeep
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by NRGeep »

If timed right, it would offer connections to the 'Vermonter' in Bratt and in East Northfield! :wink: :wink:

TomNelligan
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by TomNelligan »

Just more unfunded fantasyland stuff, in my opinion. Except for the few years when the Montrealer covered the route in the middle of the night, New London-Brattleboro has been freight only since the late 1940s with no serious previous suggestions for passenger service restoration and no demonstrated market in what is basically a rural part of Connecticut. With respect to potential business from college kids, the already in process restoration of service on the B&M Connecticut River Line north of Springfield takes care of the Pioneer Vally schools. The University of Connecticut is near (although not directly on) the ex-CV/NEC line, but the proposed service to New London would be useless to any students going towards Hartford or Waterbury, and a route via New London would be far out of the way for anyone going to New Haven or southwestern Connecticut towns. I wouldn't hold my breath on this one.

SnoozerZ49
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by SnoozerZ49 »

One item left out of this equation is the casino in Uncasville. There have been questions raised over the years regarding tribal interest in creating a service. In addition with the casino proposals slated for Palmer there may be some interest in this idea.

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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by Ridgefielder »

SnoozerZ49 wrote:One item left out of this equation is the casino in Uncasville. There have been questions raised over the years regarding tribal interest in creating a service. In addition with the casino proposals slated for Palmer there may be some interest in this idea.
Would make much more sense to serve the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville with a New London-Norwich-Worcester train on P&W than with anything on the Central Vermont/New England Central IMHO.

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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by TomNelligan »

Ridgefielder wrote: Would make much more sense to serve the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville with a New London-Norwich-Worcester train on P&W than with anything on the Central Vermont/New England Central IMHO.
Mohegan Sun is on the CV/NEC side of the river (west bank) rather than the P&W side (east bank). However there is already direct bus service between the Amtrak New London station and the Mohegan Sun casino, provided by the local transit authority (Southeast Area Transit Route 1). For some reason this is not listed in Amtrak's system timetable, although the SEAT bus service to Foxwoods is.

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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by Ridgefielder »

TomNelligan wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote: Would make much more sense to serve the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville with a New London-Norwich-Worcester train on P&W than with anything on the Central Vermont/New England Central IMHO.
Mohegan Sun is on the CV/NEC side of the river (west bank) rather than the P&W side (east bank). However there is already direct bus service between the Amtrak New London station and the Mohegan Sun casino, provided by the local transit authority (Southeast Area Transit Route 1). For some reason this is not listed in Amtrak's system timetable, although the SEAT bus service to Foxwoods is.
Oh yes, I know it's on the CV side of the river-- but at least a train on the Norwich Branch could run through from Boston (or Maine) via Worcester.

I agree with you on Brattleboro-New London service: it's pointless. The line goes through the middle of perhaps the most sparsely-populated countryside in all of Southern New England.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by Noel Weaver »

Call it fantasy, call it hot air, call it anything but it isn't going anywhere. Even during the period that the Central Vermont operated two trains each way a day it existed most for mail and express business with passengers definately an afterthought.
I favor rail passenger service where it is worthwhile but in this case decent bus service will do a better job and some of it already exists.
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by jaymac »

NECR and parent -- original and rebranded -- have done well north of Palmer thanks to AMTK. Mebbe they thought they could do the same south of Palmer. But whaddabout the approved-and-in-the-works Knowledge Corridor project and unfavorable demographics in southern NECR Land? The cost on a full-scale rehab would provide an overwhelming amount of casino shuttle-bus service from intermodal terminals to be named.
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by CVRA7 »

I was surprised to see that Willimantic wasn't listed as a stop on the proposed service!
But not to worry - unless the casinos back this up with cash, the possibility to see this service is very remote at best, for reasons given by others. When I was a kid back in the 50s and 60s, there was some kind of minimal bus service - think it was The Blue Line - that ran from Springfield maybe over to Monson (or Stafford Springs) and then down route 32 parallel to the CV to New London. Even that disappeared long, long ago.

SnoozerZ49
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by SnoozerZ49 »

Jeff:
Thanks for posting this interesting link. AFTER READING IT, I was suprised to see that the New England Central RR was involved in the meeting. Mr. Hunter from Rail America is a well recognized former GM of the NECR and currently serves as Rail America's Director of Government Relations.

I am speculating that this is a concept that would be interesting to communities that are currently overlooked by "The Vermonter" or face a loss of service after it is rerouted back onto the former B&M route to Springfield. Palmer has been trying to develop its railroad crossroads concept and the hoped for casino project would add credibility to its desire for service. Let's hope some "outside the box" thinking can prevail, who knows maybe some interesting concepts could be brought forth.

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Cosmo
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by Cosmo »

There is a good point there in that the "B&M Relocation" will deprive people of service where it already exists. The questions are:
1)How close to that area now served will the relocation be?
2)Are there any plans for connecting bus service to those towns after the relocation?
3)What are the commuting situations like in those areas? Will people be willing to take a train to someplace with [better] jobs? Ie: Monson to Uncasville (Casino)?
4) Is there enough demand for connections to the VTR from New London or via NL from other towns?
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TomNelligan
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by TomNelligan »

Cosmo wrote:There is a good point there in that the "B&M Relocation" will deprive people of service where it already exists.
The only current station that will loose service is Amherst, replaced by Northampton. The two cities are only a few miles apart, are part of the same Pioneer Valley mini-metropolis, and are currently linked by frequent bus service.

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Cosmo
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by Cosmo »

Well that about answers that! :wink:
Thanks Tom.
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Re: Proposed New London - Brattleboro service

Post by Ridgefielder »

I've said this before, but-- at least in Connecticut, I think the only viable passenger routes are those that a) still have most track and row intact and b) retained daily service through the late 1950's: so, the current network, plus Waterbury-New Britain-Hartford, New London-Norwich-Worcester, Danbury-Pittsfield, and *maybe* Hartford-Manchester on the old Midland. I just don't see how any service on the NECR f/k/a Central Vermont would justify its expense. The problem with the CV is now and always has been that it manages to miss pretty much every major population center in Southern New England. The two largest online cities-- Norwich, CT, pop. 36k, and Amherst, MA, pop. 34k-- aren't much even by the standards of New England.

Seems like if people in eastern Connecticut are looking to get north-south service they'd be better off pressing for a return of the New London-Worcester run that survived until A-day.

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