Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

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jxzz
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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by jxzz » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:13 pm

New Information on this line from recent mini-conference titled “GREEN SIGNALS AHEAD: THE FUTURE OF RAIL EXPANSION IN MASSACHUSETTS.” held in Boston on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 and sponsored by the Rail Users Network (RUN).

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/ma ... als-green/

summary from this conference on this future rail line:
Going west from Boston to Greenfield and Springfield or Pittsfield, there are no green signals yet; it is too early. Those projects may be funded and built, the most likely being a minimal service to Springfield, which could also connect to the new Hartford Line service to New Haven, initiated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) last year. That service connects further to New York City’s Grand Central Terminal via Metro-North.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by jxzz » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:15 pm

That is what is I suspected on the quote in above post from the recent mini-conference:
the most likely being a minimal service to Springfield

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by diburning » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:11 am

ceo wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:41 pm
Then why are they looking at HSR down the I-90 corridor, which will cost a hell of a lot more?
Because they need to put out low and high cost options to justify the cost of the sensible option. "Hey, look how much we COULD spend!"

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by jxzz » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:57 am

There is already an existing thread on Housatonic line connecting Pittsfield to NYC through CT.
https://railroad.net/viewtopic.php?f=126&t=72940

Housatonic line is likely dead as there is no interest in CT nor in NY to support that. The most realistic connection is a bus or rail from Pittsfield to Springfield, and from Springfield pointing south through CTrail and Metro North for commuter rail travels.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by Arborwayfan » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:17 am

ceo wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:41 pm
Then why are they looking at HSR down the I-90 corridor, which will cost a hell of a lot more?
Because lots of non-rail people often ask about a train along the highway. They know the route and they don't know about trains on grades. (I remember a friend who wanted a train down the middle of Rte 3 NW of Boston, or maybe up I-93 in the same general direction. The existence of RRs along both those general corridors hadn't risen to his attention.)

They probably got specific suggestions about it at early intake sessions, or had them in the files of MassDot, or just knew they would come if they didn't include the option. This way, it's dealt with.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by lordsigma12345 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:05 pm

Of the six alternatives, I would say the first two are the most realistic. One of which is the minimalist option of Springfield - Worcester service requiring a connection to existing MBTA service and the second is a full fledged service of Springfield - Boston through trains separate from the existing MBTA service which would be express east of Worcester to Back Bay (which if they went that route could just as likely end up being run by Amtrak as MBTA) but involving more realistic and moderate improvements to the corridor. Both options seem to call for 6 round trips (which I believe includes the existing Lake Shore Limited service - the eastbound lake shore train is problematic due to OTP, but the westbound train could be used as a decent component of any schedule if they went with an Amtrak operation.) Amtrak may end up being a less costly approach as CSX can't completely say no (as long as the state gives them the money) and Amtrak already has a train running now - but that discussion is probably a ways away if the study ends up recommending something other than no build. From what I saw at one of the meetings I went on this, Amtrak definitely seems interested in running this. Alternative two would have the additional benefit of adding some additional express rail service between Worcester and Boston.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by Engineer Spike » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:56 pm

I used to live in Springfield while attending college. Maybe my views are tainted by being a Connecticut native, but the Pioneer Valley does seem to have more of a connection with Connecticut. Who knows what the potential ridership would be. Even the Mass Pike goes to two lanes each direction after the 84 interchange.

Now my abode in in the Albany area. I’m in agreement with the statement about Berkshire County being more aligned with my area. Our newscasts even report news from Berkshire County and even SW Vermont. Add to this the fact that except for W. Springfield, and also Westfield, all the towns between are pretty sparsely populated. Westfield has some potential with the state college.

Recently I had a morning appointment in Boston. I should have tried to hop a train in Worcester, but ended up crawling along to finally catch the green line in Riverside. This trip was due to a possible relocation back to mass. Concurrently this resulted in looking at real estate, which one would observe drops off dramatically past Worcester.

I wonder based on my observation, how many people commute to Boston or the nearer suburbs from past Worcester? Is there yet a need to do anything? It seems like extending service past Worcester incrementally would be most prudent. Possibly the some should be considered for extending service along the B&M.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by jxzz » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:25 am

Neal: East-west rail should be “price” of MBTA investments
https://www.gazettenet.com/Neal-East-we ... x-30166190

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by jbvb » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:16 pm

One of the issues with Springfield - Boston and Springfield - Pittsfield or Albany on the old Boston & Albany is that passenger speed apparently wasn't a priority for the New York Central. Employee's Timetable #7, April 24 1960 shows a mix of speed limits: 65 MPH from Beacon Park to Millbury, then 50 or 55 to E. Brookfield, then 65 to just short of Springfield. West of Springfield, there was a little more 65 MPH track through Westfield, then 45-55 MPH till just west of the State Line tunnels. In 1956, the B&M's route through the Hoosac Tunnel had been basically a 70 MPH railroad, except for the 10 mile grade west of Fitchburg and the 24 miles along the Deerfield river up to Hoosac Tunnel. This is understandable, as shorter timings the B&M might offer were of little importance compared to difficult connections between Troy and NYC through trains at Albany. But it does mean Mass. DOT will have to move a lot of dirt to beat the 1957 'Beeliner' RDC time of 2:15 between Springfield & Boston.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by newpylong » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:51 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:56 pm
I used to live in Springfield while attending college. Maybe my views are tainted by being a Connecticut native, but the Pioneer Valley does seem to have more of a connection with Connecticut. Who knows what the potential ridership would be. Even the Mass Pike goes to two lanes each direction after the 84 interchange.

Now my abode in in the Albany area. I’m in agreement with the statement about Berkshire County being more aligned with my area. Our newscasts even report news from Berkshire County and even SW Vermont. Add to this the fact that except for W. Springfield, and also Westfield, all the towns between are pretty sparsely populated. Westfield has some potential with the state college.

Recently I had a morning appointment in Boston. I should have tried to hop a train in Worcester, but ended up crawling along to finally catch the green line in Riverside. This trip was due to a possible relocation back to mass. Concurrently this resulted in looking at real estate, which one would observe drops off dramatically past Worcester.

I wonder based on my observation, how many people commute to Boston or the nearer suburbs from past Worcester? Is there yet a need to do anything? It seems like extending service past Worcester incrementally would be most prudent. Possibly the some should be considered for extending service along the B&M.
I am in 100% agreement. After living in the Berkshires, we more closely were aligned with the Albany metro region than Boston. Our news was from Albany, we got the Yankees before the Sox, everyone went that way to shop, etc. Also having traveled to work for the RR in the Pioneer Valley, those folks more closely aligned themselves with CT, and even Southern VT, not Boston. To Boston, everything west of Worcester really does not exist - and vice versa.

When I travel back home a couple times a year, and meet and talk to the folks that are visiting the various sites (MASS MoCA overwhelmingly being the biggest attraction) - most are from New York, not Massachusetts.

I can't see how a North Adams to Boston, or Springfield to Boston service makes any sense - they are too geographically, and demographically disparate.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by Rockingham Racer » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:05 pm

Beware of endpoint mentality, however. Don't you suppose a person from Warren would like to get on the train there, change at Ayer, and go to Andover on a future Worcester to Haverhill train? :-D

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:37 pm

For starters, the existing Framingham/Worcester Line needs to be improved. It would be great to have a third track wherever possible in order to accommodate more express trains heading to the outlying Metro West Suburbs and Worcester and Springfield if service ever gets the approval to be extended west or Worcester. Platforms on both sides of the right of way should be added at the Newton Stations. Newton is a huge community and depending on where you live and where you are heading to, the commuter rail may be the best option, especially if you live in Auburndale, West Newton, and Newtonville and you want to travel quickly to Downtown Boston. MBTA is thinking that once people get to Newton, they will all decide to take the Green Line into town from Riverside. That's not the case. While the D branch of the Green Line may be cheaper than the commuter rail, the D branch makes too many stops but that's light rail. From Riverside to Park St Station, it is 48 minutes on the light rail. Riverside Light Rail station is very close to the Auburndale Commuter Rail station. From Auburndale to South Station, the commuter rail takes 28 minutes. It's 22 minutes from Auburndale to Back Bay Station. It would be nice to have more frequent rail service running from Boston to Springfield. Between Springfield and Pittsfield, there are so many curves which would probably be a challenge to make the train time competitive with driving or taking the bus.

I don't know if running regular train service from Boston to N. Adam would be viable as there are so many sharp curves along the existing right of way. I saw on a map that the route that continues from Wachusset to N. Adams isn't just curvy, I think at some point, freight trains that are continuing to Hoosic Tunnel must use part of the tracks that are used by Amtrak's Valley Flyers and the Vermonter. I think around Deerfield, the line to N. Adams continues westward.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by The EGE » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:50 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:37 pm
I saw on a map that the route that continues from Wachusset to N. Adams isn't just curvy, I think at some point, freight trains that are continuing to Hoosic Tunnel must use part of the tracks that are used by Amtrak's Valley Flyers and the Vermonter. I think around Deerfield, the line to N. Adams continues westward.
The Connecticut River Line (used by the Vermonter and Valley Flyer) and the PAS Freight Main Line do cross at Greenfield, but they never share tracks. The FML crosses under the CRL south of town, and they run parallel to downtown.

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by jxzz » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:24 pm

A Boston Business group is calling for $5 billion out of $50 billion to be invested on this line.

https://www.newsdirectory3.com/momentum ... l-service/

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Re: Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail Discussion

Post by Rockingham Racer » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:47 am

What a poorly written article. Some snippets:

"Charlie Baker spent the brakes once, crossing a legislation once...."

"West-West service."

And there are more. I was so taken with the malaprops that I couldn't get into the message. :-D :-D
Last edited by Rockingham Racer on Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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