Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS (Before Launch of Service)

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, Jeff Smith, FL9AC

F-line to Dudley via Park
Posts: 7355
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:58 am

YamaOfParadise wrote:
Arlington wrote:Thanks, that's ​the 4-track reassurance I was looking for.

On the i84 site, there was a bewildering array of highway options with alphanumeric designators of the flavor 3W(E2)B that I couldn't tell whether I was looking at a settled highway alignment or a settled rail alignment (or neither)
It can be quite a bit confusing, but at least it's solid evidence the team involved with this is being thorough and serious... it's no NEC Future study.
The common cut actually ended up being cheaper and less convoluted than trying to preserve access to existing Hartford Union with the rail viaduct weaving over a completely changed highway grade. This was always the most straightforward option, so the only circumstances that would force a rebuild of the rail viaduct is if the public really wanted the old building to be the RR station that badly. And since the building isn't going anywhere and would--whether it continues to be the bus depot or gets redeveloped--still serve some public use on a contiguous block where the 2-block difference with the new station is covered over by air rights, few people see any big loss amid the large upside of the project as a whole. And so it was always overwhelmingly likely that the cut option would prevail. Old Hartford Union will still be one of downtown's jewels, and downtown will be better the quicker they can get this show on the road with I-84.

The cut actually does a whole lot of good for realigning the ROW straighter. The project area starts back at the Capitol Ave. overpass where the Sisson Ave. ramps are going to be removed, the small weave the highway makes between Exits 46 & 47 straightened for better geometry, and Capitol Ave.' is due to be daylighted instead of traveling under the rail line and highway. Rail line will stay where it is on that very gentle curve to Flower St. with the highway realigned to match it in a common cut. From Flower to Myrtle St. both get realigned to eliminate their S-curves through Bushnell Park, and Myrtle & Spring St.'s get realigned by the reshaping of the hillside around the cut. End of project area for the rail line is the Griffins Secondary junction, where the missing west leg of the wye is Amtrak property that must be preserved (the parking lot in the middle of the wye is going to get blown up and reshaped by the street grid changes). Highway rebuild continue around the curve to the existing cut @ High St.


To illustrate how this is going to work: go on Google and use the measuring tool. You can draw a 2000 ft. straight line from the corner of the Aetna garage on Flower to the junction with the Griffins Secondary and see for yourself how much straighter it's going to be. Fast approach from both sides...should make station dwells and getting in and out easy as pie, make it fully 'intercity-ready', and allow for easy straight shots to a mid-line layover yard next to the freight yard or Tilcon plant. About 3 buildings on Garden & Spring St.'s would be sacrificed for the mass realignment, but otherwise the station 'bunker' spanning the Asylum-Church blocks is just burrowed under the hillside and capped off with the adjacent highway while Myrtle is reshaped on top. Using the Google measuring tool once more, draw a triangle from that 2000 ft. line...down Spruce and the existing Hartford Union parking lot, then back to the first point on the map where you started drawing the rail realignment. Google now calculates the total area when you connect the dots, and this will show roughly how much surface area is now freed up by sinking the highway and rail line into a cut then gradually covering over. >600,000 sq. ft., less any realigned city streets slicing through the triangle. HUGE amount of land, some of which will generously expand the size of Bushnell Park when the rail viaduct is torn down.

Now shorten the triangle so it's bounded by Asylum, Spruce, and the relocated rail cut. About 300,000+ sq. ft. sitting on top of or adjacent to the new station and spanning the 2 blocks to the old station. This is all the room you have available for a headhouse, waiting room, and connecting development spanning the block. More if the new headhouse is a multi-story building. That's more than enough to build the largest integrated transit center between New York and Boston, and tons and tons of mixed-use real estate. There'd be room in the cut for multiple 1000 ft. (Northeast Regional length) platforms...Albany/Providence-style with 2 two-track islands. Maybe provisions for a third island if they want to 100-year future-proof themselves in case NEC FUTURE gets dragged kicking and screaming through Hartford. And most certainly an PRV-esque unpowered freight passing track with additional clearances since freight traffic on the whole of the Springfield Line is at its daily densest between Hartford Yard and Berlin Jct. (very similar to how P&W runs through the PRV Station passer from a similarly-situated yard just north of that newish cut).


Final makeup obviously contingent on putting together the temp station (i.e. rail line relocated before highway) into design, then sketching out final platform-level configuration and doing that whole decade-long debate about how big they're gonna go on the capped surface re: integrating the buses, new development, yada yada. As of now all we have are the property line allowances from the more or less agreed-upon alignment, and the relative certainty of the partial/temp station build (at minimum one functional two-track island with ADA up/down access while the rest of the neighborhood is a construction warzone for another 10 years. Everything from there can and will be debated to exhaustion, including architectural aesthetics. But it's one hell of a juicy parcel that can handle every transpo function you could ever dream up. I don't think we'll be lamenting the loss of trains stopping at old Hartford Union at all if they do this property right. Once-in-a-lifetime transformative opportunity.

Ridgefielder
Posts: 2683
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm
Location: Harlem Division MP 15

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Ridgefielder » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:50 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Final makeup obviously contingent on putting together the temp station (i.e. rail line relocated before highway) into design, then sketching out final platform-level configuration and doing that whole decade-long debate about how big they're gonna go on the capped surface re: integrating the buses, new development, yada yada. As of now all we have are the property line allowances from the more or less agreed-upon alignment, and the relative certainty of the partial/temp station build (at minimum one functional two-track island with ADA up/down access while the rest of the neighborhood is a construction warzone for another 10 years. Everything from there can and will be debated to exhaustion, including architectural aesthetics. But it's one hell of a juicy parcel that can handle every transpo function you could ever dream up. I don't think we'll be lamenting the loss of trains stopping at old Hartford Union at all if they do this property right. Once-in-a-lifetime transformative opportunity.
It's a lot like what Providence did in the 1980's, isn't it? Right down to getting tracks off the Statehouse lawn.

The difference being that, unlike in Providence, where the new alignment basically rules out any restoration of the East Junction branch, this leaves all route options out of HFD open.

CVRA7
Posts: 695
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Along the Canal Line

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by CVRA7 » Fri May 05, 2017 9:13 am

F-line to Dudley via Park, thank you for the time and thought you put into your review. It is refreshing to see the potential rail capacity with the new alignment - hopefully this will be used. The earlier plans I have seen showed just 2 tracks being planned - very short sighted. I worked in the Hartford Union Station building for many years, and tend to be a traditionalist, but I recognize the need for a new transportation center with greater capacity, and realize that the Union Station building is not a good alternative.
And, as Ridgefielder mentioned, this plan for Hartford does not eliminate any current rail approach as the PVD outcome did.

User avatar
GirlOnTheTrain
Posts: 563
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 7:19 pm

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by GirlOnTheTrain » Wed May 10, 2017 6:05 pm

May issue of Railpace (yeah, I know...) is claiming Metro North was awarded the contract to run NHHS...did I miss the actual announcement of a winner or are they full of it?
"I am no longer just a girl on the train, going back and forth without point or purpose."

Moderator: Amtrak, MTA Metro-North, MTA New York City Subway/PATH/NYC Area Light Rail

Backshophoss
Posts: 6316
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Backshophoss » Wed May 10, 2017 7:17 pm

Back in Feb of this year(pg 43 of this thread) the "reported" winner was ACI,but no source was cited,would take the "railpace"
report with a large dose of doubt salt... :wink:
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

Jenny on a M2
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:33 am
Location: Somewhere along the New Haven Line

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Jenny on a M2 » Thu May 11, 2017 2:37 am

I spent like an hour scouring the net in search of a press release, newspaper article, or some other proof that MNR was awarded the contract but my search was fruitless thus far.

I definitely have my 50 lb sack of doubt salt on hand, but at the same time I'm going to hold out hope that this might actually be true. To be fair, I'm also holding out hope that tomorrow morning I'll go to my garage to find my car replaced with a unicorn that doesn't require food and farts Sephora gift cards. :wink: :-D

In all seriousness, while I would REALLY like to see MNR be chosen because they've definitely got their ops and maintenance down to a science (on most days), and also so that the Hartford Line is more seamlessly integrated into the rest of the New Haven Line, if I were to put money down it would be on Amtrak.

This has me thinking...can MNR even operate into MA under the current operating agreements/rules/laws/etc?

deathtopumpkins
Posts: 1035
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:56 am
Location: Somerville, MA

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by deathtopumpkins » Thu May 11, 2017 7:02 am

Jenny on a M2 wrote:This has me thinking...can MNR even operate into MA under the current operating agreements/rules/laws/etc?
No, but a new agreement could be drafted that would allow it... so long as it's cost-neutral for MNRR. I can't see the MTA agreeing to that otherwise. Probably something similar to the MBTA's various out-of-district agreements, where someone else (CT in this case) assumes all financial risk and reimburses them 1:1, so that the MTA isn't losing any money on service out-of-district.
Call me Connor or DTP

Railfan & Roadgeek from the North Shore of Mass.

DutchRailnut
Posts: 22247
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu May 11, 2017 7:17 am

Biggest problems dovetailing the Amtrak engineers, conductors etc into Metro North seniority rosters , pretty Sure ACRE is not happy with it and neither are its members.
Specially since the Amtrak people are currently in other unions.
MTA was chartered to do Commuter lines in a approximately 75 mile radius of NYC , going beyond New Haven would require a total change.
questions the MTA board would need to consider for example is how Pensions will be applied for Employees that basically work out of district.
And once said employees gain seniority within MTA what prevents them from flowing in or out of District and earn such pensions.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8494
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu May 11, 2017 8:21 am

Cost split is definitely an issue, but as Dutch and other's note, MNRR would want CT to pay 100%. Branch lines are already funded 100% by CT; NH Main line is 67/33.

The question then is, HOW and WHY? How being approval of working outside their existing boundaries. Why is, with no profit motive, WHY? Yeah, I would guess seamlessness of operations as CtDOT may want some trains running down to Stamford as they do on SLE. Now, current SLE equipment can't run into GCT AFAIK, but if CtDOT acquires MNRR's Shoreliners upon their replacement, and they end up in pool service, there are even more efficiencies with turns I would think.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

Patrick A.
Posts: 621
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:52 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Patrick A. » Thu May 11, 2017 8:27 am

I think the logical choice to operate the Hartford line commuter operation is Amtrak by a country mile. For the reasons Dutch mentioned, it would seem quite a complex task to juggle all of the stakeholder approvals and construct the required operating agreements versus just a near 'carbon copy' of the SLE deal. Not going down the Amtrak path would have to provide an order of magnitude cost advantage or other rationale, considering that they not only own the line, but also are the 'incumbent' service provider. Plus we are getting late in the ball game if service is going to start on time in January to have a new operator come in and set up shop.
I have lived to ride on the M8.

Complete Constant Tension on the New Haven Line ETC: Mid-2018

F-line to Dudley via Park
Posts: 7355
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu May 11, 2017 11:59 am

AMTK's also qualified on the Conn River Line, which solves the Massachusetts problem. Knowledge Corridor commuter rail operates best glommed onto the Hartford Line via a "reverse Pilgrim Agreement" modeled on the MBTA's seamless integration with Rhode Island. Northampton is most definitely a Hartford-oriented commuter market with a torturous I-91 commute. That service is much more viable terminating in HFD instead of Springfield.

Springfield-New Haven, Hartford-Bridgeport, and Hartford-Greenfield are all roughly 60 track miles, so those 3 service patterns end up the best mix/matches as primary patterns populating the Springfield Line. Amtrak is the one carrier incumbent-qualified on any of those service patterns. Anybody else has paper barriers to square with multiple parties, so one stands head-and-shoulders above on path of least resistance.

Ridgefielder
Posts: 2683
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm
Location: Harlem Division MP 15

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Ridgefielder » Fri May 12, 2017 11:38 am

Which of course means that since we're talking about our wonderfully-dysfunctional Nutmeg State, they'll go out and hire somebody completely different... :wink:

Jenny on a M2
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:33 am
Location: Somewhere along the New Haven Line

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by Jenny on a M2 » Fri May 12, 2017 12:13 pm

Haha, that's exactly what I'm worried about....that instead of Amtrak or MNR we'll end up with something like Keolis, BBD, or First, which would be a great way to doom the service from the start.

Then again - as it is ConnDOT and anything is possible - we'll all wake up to a press release stating that JR East has been selected to operate the Hartford line. :wink:

No matter who is selected, unless the timetable for the Hartford line is synchronized with the NHL to allow for painless and quick transfers at NHV - for service continuing on to Fairfield County and ultimately GCT - I doubt we will see the ridership levels ConnDOT is hoping for.

Remember, the bulk of the CT economy (and population) arcs from NYC to Hartford so ensuring the flow of human capital along that arc is critical.

User avatar
shadyjay
Posts: 2087
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:08 pm
Location: Conn River Valley

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by shadyjay » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:52 pm

Looks like ConnDOT is shopping for Hartford Line cars:
http://www.biznet.ct.gov/SCP_Documents/ ... une_13.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The State of Connecticut (“State”) Department of Transportation (“CTDOT”) is issuing this
Request for Information for Rail Equipment (“RFI”), Solicitation #17RAILOPS‐1, as it seeks to
lease coaches and control coaches in a ready‐to‐operate condition and compliant with all
applicable requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), to be used
in its CTrail Hartford Line passenger rail service (“CTrail Hartford Line Service”) operating on a
62 mile rail corridor between New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts.  
Now, call me crazy, but I thought there were numerous Mafersa coaches sitting somewhere in New Haven ready to go for this service? And if this service is set to start next year (still January?), then they better get on the ball with this. And maybe think about upgrading their archaic nhhsrail.com web site to something a little more realistic - ie - changing that non-Hartford Line train photo, or at the very least, changing the name of the page from NHHS RAIL PROGRAM (which sounds like a pipe dream project), to NHHS RAIL LINE.

Thoughts?

NH2060
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

Re: Hartford Line CtDOT New Haven-Springfield - NHHS

Post by NH2060 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:27 pm

I can think of two possible reasons:

1) ConnDOT took a look at the MAFERSA cars that we never used when they returned from rebuild 10 years ago and found them to be in bad enough shape (unless they've been in rotation every so often so as to break them in?).

OR

2) The MAFERSAs are still very much useable, but ConnDOT would still prefer to have extra equipment around just in case. Remember NHV-OSB is 33 miles; NHV-NLC is 50. NHV-SPG is 62. That's a lot of distance to cover back and forth -even with a startup schedule and with some trains going only as far as Hartford- with just 4 sets of trains without any spares. And for all we know the plan to use the M8s on SLE could be delayed for any number of reasons (in spite of the seemingly successful test runs to New London) so come January they don't want to be caught off guard.


One thing is for certain, they won't be either the MARC Is or IIs as some of those are going to the LIRR during the summer for the next 2-3 years while still staying put in Maryland during the off season. And MBTA has no coaches to spare. All that's left is NJ Transit if there are any single levels no longer in revenue service that haven't already been marked for scrap.

Return to “MTA Metro-North Railroad and CtDOT Passenger Rail”