Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

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njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:02 pm

I agree that the fares for travel from the current SPG Line stations to the stations between Holyoke and Greenfield are a bit high. It doesn't make much sense to make the portion of the Valley Flyer service north of Springfield reserve either.

The Ctrail Hartford Line service to Springfield is poor to begin with. At least, there are more Amtrak shuttle trains as well as the few through trains. Depending on when people arrive at Springfield Station to head south and west to whichever destination will determine which train they might take. It's great that the fares between Springfield and New Haven are the same on any of the Amtrak 400 series and the Northeast Regionals over Ctrail.

I don't know what the ridership figures are on the Valley Flyer yet. We must give MassDot and Amtrak time. I can say this-even though it might not be ideal for many people to get up at 5 or 6 am to catch a train to a city that is several hours away, especially for business, it doesn't mean that many people don't do it. Those Acela and Northeast Regional trains that depart DC between the 5:00 and 6:00 hour have so many riders on them, but mainly during the week. Hopefully within a year, the ridership for the Valley Flyer trains will be fine enough to continue to have the service operate permanently. Just like anything else, let's give it time.

jxzz
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by jxzz » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:23 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:02 pm

I don't know what the ridership figures are on the Valley Flyer yet. We must give MassDot and Amtrak time. I can say this-even though it might not be ideal for many people to get up at 5 or 6 am to catch a train to a city that is several hours away, especially for business, it doesn't mean that many people don't do it. Those Acela and Northeast Regional trains that depart DC between the 5:00 and 6:00 hour have so many riders on them, but mainly during the week. Hopefully within a year, the ridership for the Valley Flyer trains will be fine enough to continue to have the service operate permanently. Just like anything else, let's give it time.
I hope you are right and this Valley Flyer can be permanent beyond pilot. CTrail Hartford line got 600k per year ridership on the first year, this line only need 24k. Maybe it turns out fine.

gregorygrice
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by gregorygrice » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:04 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:02 pm
The Ctrail Hartford Line service to Springfield is poor to begin with. At least, there are more Amtrak shuttle trains as well as the few through trains.
That is simply a result of MassDOT not contributing any funding towards CTrail trains. The 3 round trips a day that go to Springfield are pretty much "gifted" to them. The CTrail trains are solely funded by ConnDOT.

daybeers
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by daybeers » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:02 pm

CHTT1 wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:42 pm
Boy, there's an awful of handwringing about this relatively minor service that's only run for a couple of months.
It's a two-year pilot program which should be an important connection for Western Massachusetts residents and employers, but the shortsighted decisions made by MassDOT we are discussing here are setting it up to fail.

Is the goal 24k per year or over the two years?

jxzz
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by jxzz » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:20 pm

daybeers wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:02 pm
CHTT1 wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:42 pm
Boy, there's an awful of handwringing about this relatively minor service that's only run for a couple of months.
It's a two-year pilot program which should be an important connection for Western Massachusetts residents and employers, but the shortsighted decisions made by MassDOT we are discussing here are setting it up to fail.

Is the goal 24k per year or over the two years?
24k goal is probably meant for final or peak number, probably any period in two years. I am in favor of public transportation across whole New England area. It would be sad to shut this down after two years.

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by lordsigma12345 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:23 pm

It should be also noted the CTrail trains are not meant to to replace the Amtrak trains or be an independent service , only complement them and make a more complete schedule. CTDOT presented the times they wanted run and offered Amtrak the first choice of which time slots to run in, some were the same times that the previous Amtrak 400 trains ran before, some trains were moved and some were added. The CTrail trains were then assigned the remaining timeslots. The service is meant to be a combined schedule of the Amtrak and CTrail trains operating together which is why the fares match. As Gregory mentioned, MassDOT has yet to expand the layover capabilities in Springfield which would be required to run all the trains to SPG - some CTDOT equipment would need to start the day in Springfield. I would imagine CTDOT would also like to see Massachusetts contribute to the final phase of the double track work and possibly even the CT river bridge as these assets primarily serve Massachusetts riders before they’d extend the full service to Springfield or further.

gregorygrice
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by gregorygrice » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:52 pm

Layover capabilities in Springfield aren't an issue especially with 3 open tracks up there. If MassDOT paid for more CTrail round trips to SPG they'd be provided. Getting a trainset up there in the AM isn't an issue as it used to be done with 4400.

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by lordsigma12345 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:31 am

gregorygrice wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:52 pm
Layover capabilities in Springfield aren't an issue especially with 3 open tracks up there. If MassDOT paid for more CTrail round trips to SPG they'd be provided. Getting a trainset up there in the AM isn't an issue as it used to be done with 4400.
That’s right I forgot about 4400. However an expanded layover facility would eventually be needed to meet CTDOT’s long term vision of the service with increased frequencies. There were 3 options proposed for a layover facility - in the station itself as it is now, down by the Sweeney mail building and a site on Armory Street with the latter being the preferred but it never materialized (and they went with the current setup instead). And I would imagine it is true that they would probably like to see Mass help with funding the work north of Windsor Locks station. Obviously getting that segment up to double track benefits everyone on the line as it reduces potential choke points but I think it would have a better chance of getting done if Mass coughed up some money.

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by lordsigma12345 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:53 am

I do think Springfield and Mass folks should take notice of some of the work included in the Windsor Locks station project. Some of the work seems to be designed to make Windsor Locks a possible northern terminus for the service. If Massachusetts continues not not provide any funding and CTrail ends up using Windsor Locks as the main northern terminus of the service that could seriously undermine the viability of Springfield station and make it irrelevant as well as the Valley Flyer stations, which could end up leading to further truncation of service to Windsor Locks and Windsor Locks becoming the primary station for the Western Mass area which would undermine investments made by the city of Springfield. Connecticut could decide that the cost of repairing the river bridge isn’t worth it and the Vermonter could return to the NECR route from New London. I think Springfield area leaders should take note that it at least appears that CTDOT seems to be setting it up so they don’t need Springfield as a turnover facility for trains north of Hartford. No one should be under any allusions that this scenario isn’t possible if Massachusetts doesn’t show more interest in working with CTDOT.

gregorygrice
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by gregorygrice » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:15 am

lordsigma12345 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:31 am
gregorygrice wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:52 pm
Layover capabilities in Springfield aren't an issue especially with 3 open tracks up there. If MassDOT paid for more CTrail round trips to SPG they'd be provided. Getting a trainset up there in the AM isn't an issue as it used to be done with 4400.
That’s right I forgot about 4400. However an expanded layover facility would eventually be needed to meet CTDOT’s long term vision of the service with increased frequencies. There were 3 options proposed for a layover facility - in the station itself as it is now, down by the Sweeney mail building and a site on Armory Street with the latter being the preferred but it never materialized (and they went with the current setup instead). And I would imagine it is true that they would probably like to see Mass help with funding the work north of Windsor Locks station. Obviously getting that segment up to double track benefits everyone on the line as it reduces potential choke points but I think it would have a better chance of getting done if Mass coughed up some money.
A layover facility is not needed. Out of the 4 open tracks at Springfield, only 2-3 are in use for laying over the shuttles and one regional at night. That leaves a full track for CTrail trains if needed, but as I said before, as long as MassDOT isn't contributing to the extra CTrail trains you won't say anything laying over up there anyway. Even with all of that said, if there were and earlier train to Springfield it would just run early like 4400 did, or a deadhead would be ran. The early southbound slots are already taken care of by Amtrak anyway.

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JcPinCT
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by JcPinCT » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:48 pm

lordsigma12345 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:53 am
I do think Springfield and Mass folks should take notice of some of the work included in the Windsor Locks station project. Some of the work seems to be designed to make Windsor Locks a possible northern terminus for the service.
From a political standpoint, I doubt that Windsor Locks would be the northern terminus as an Enfield station is planned and local officials have recently been vocal about supporting the station - even to the effect of providing funding for a temporary platform. I highly doubt the temporary platform would happen, but I'm sure that Enfield officials made that offer to let the state know that they are holding them to the promise of a Hartford Line stop.

jxzz
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by jxzz » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:00 pm

JcPinCT wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:48 pm
lordsigma12345 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:53 am
I do think Springfield and Mass folks should take notice of some of the work included in the Windsor Locks station project. Some of the work seems to be designed to make Windsor Locks a possible northern terminus for the service.
From a political standpoint, I doubt that Windsor Locks would be the northern terminus as an Enfield station is planned and local officials have recently been vocal about supporting the station - even to the effect of providing funding for a temporary platform. I highly doubt the temporary platform would happen, but I'm sure that Enfield officials made that offer to let the state know that they are holding them to the promise of a Hartford Line stop.
That is right read on CT. There is no way to cut off Enfield from this line. If it goes to Enfield, it is almost there in Springfield.

The most possible case is, if MA does not cough up for funding on this, or any related project such as Springfield East West rail to Boston, CT is going to leave the line north of Hartford as it is, a gift only as it is, but not going to invest that much more.
Last edited by jxzz on Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Backshophoss
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by Backshophoss » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:42 pm

MassDOT/MBTA have yet to state their intentions on "T" West,based in Springfield.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by lordsigma12345 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:00 pm

Backshophoss wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:42 pm
MassDOT/MBTA have yet to state their intentions on "T" West,based in Springfield.
It isn't even known if It would be T west. If it went forward I'd imagine they'd probably go to both Amtrak and Keolis and figure out who could run It most efficiently. There Is an argument it may make more sense for it to be an Amtrak intercity train that only stops at the current LSL stops plus Palmer. Having to make all the T stops on the Worcester line would make this a much longer trip than driving. It should be noted the bare bones alternative that has minimal investment is simply a Springfield - Worcester shuttle with a Palmer stop that would require connecting to the MBTA service there. But with all other alternatives it would be some type of express service. Amtrak definitely has an interest in being considered for this as they have a representative on the advisory committee and they have pitched an interest in this connecting to Albany if they ran it. But right now the study is just looking at different levels of investment and broad service strategies. Operational decisions would come later on once they decide if they're going to do it.

lordsigma12345
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Re: Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

Post by lordsigma12345 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:09 pm

gregorygrice wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:15 am
Well you would know better than me for sure. I was just going off information that was in NHHS documents. This is the document I referred to. It states this layover facility/light maintenance facility would be needed if/when they get to the desired train frequency for the 2030 timeframe.
https://www.nhhsrail.com/info_center/ea/3_0.aspx

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