Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

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Arlington
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Arlington » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:43 pm

North Station has easier options for growth: its drawbridges will be upgraded from 4 tracks (2x2) to 6 (likely 3 double) and Tracks 11& 12 will get activated, and with straighter tracks across the draws, platforms can get lengthened. Funded & in design, done by 2026. Boston Globe

The problem is Cambridgeport locals along the Grand Junction who killed the proposal for WOR-BON commuter service. You'll have to tell them what's different from 2010~2011 Cambridge Day op-ed it's possible that there's been enough generational turnover, or will be by 2026
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Backshophoss
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Backshophoss » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:38 am

Believe North Station is more space restricted than South Station,and will be rebuilding the Drawbridges in the station throat.
Access to the Grand Jct trackage will be effected by the GLX build and there's no agreement to allow Amtrak equipment to be serviced
at BET.
Worcester Main is split between PAR/PAS and P&W ownership wise,also not in great shape for passenger service only used as a detour when
Grand JCT trackage is out of service/blocked access

Inland route traffic was always to/from South station,and CSX still rules the roost,Springfield-Worcester,and doesn't play nice with Amtrak. :(
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east point
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by east point » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:04 am

Any idea how many opening per day for each month of the year?

UNHAlumInCT
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by UNHAlumInCT » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:05 pm

east point wrote:
lordsigma12345 wrote:They are looking at 6 different alternatives including a "90 minutes or less" alternative between SPG and BOS.

Unfortunately that is still 4 hours inland BOS - New Haven as compared to 2 - 1/2 hours for the coast line. However with enough crews qualified on both routes any shut down for either route will allow service to continue NYP <> BOS ?
Using the Amtrak website, the quickest Amtrak option from Hartford to Boston (with a connection in New Haven) was over four hours and I saw one option at over 6.5 hours. There is an early morning option then nothing until the afternoon. An inland route no matter how slow is looking like a great option, especially with a one seat ride. I think the idea behind having inland route options is to provide one seat rides from Worcester, Springfield and Hartford to both Boston and New York. That's pretty much all new business for Amtrak except for riders of the two car shuttles. The one seat ride thing must be important because virtually everyone I know that takes the train into New York drives to New Haven and takes Metro North despite it not being as comfortable. Cheaper and more frequent service appears to win out.

Hartford to Boston should be a viable train option. Sure I can drive into Boston in 1:30-1:45 at certain times of the day, but unless I have a known reasonably priced parking option, I usually drive to Riverside or Alewife then take the T into the city. Even a 2.5-3 hour train from Hartford would be competitive.

Arlington
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Arlington » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:21 pm

UNHAlumInCT wrote:Even a 2.5-3 hour train from Hartford [to Boston] would be competitive.
Buses offer competitive service at very very little taxpayer cost. How would the public ever earn its money back by spending 300M to 1BILLION on a service that was merely "competitive"?

Greyhound runs 8x daily taking 1h50m off-peak to 2h20m peak.
Peter pan runs 4x daily scheduling 2h20 off-peak to 2h30m peak
GoBuses run 1x daily (midday at 1h45m)

Roughly at
1AM
6AM
9AM
NOON
3PM
6PM
9PM

The justification for rail in these 1hr to 4hr trips has to be that it is FASTER and MORE RELIABLE and ROUGHLY AS OFTEN, or else the bus is going to crush rail on price and frequency.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

east point
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by east point » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:07 pm

A very unscientific survey got this response around here. No way unless absolutely no other way I hate a bus for SD and LD especially even if have to pay 10 times as much! Take an Uber if had to.

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by nomis » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:34 pm

Lets follow the all-mighty Lynchburger model and take the Regionals that currently are laying over in Springfield for the evening and make them extended from SPG-WOR-BOS.

Make those idle wheels keep on turnin' and collect revenue while otherwise sitting still and use the Inland route to get past 39 trains per day on the NYP-BOS. :-)
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Jehochman » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:35 pm

Buses offer competitive service at very very little taxpayer cost. How would the public ever earn its money back by spending 300M to 1BILLION on a service that was merely "competitive"?
Buses use existing highways. If there's a traffic jam, they sit, same as a car. The money for the train buys extra transportation capacity, and it' cheaper than building more highway lanes.

As a business traveler, I have zero interest in riding a bus. The environment is not conducive to working on the move. I just did a quick trip into NYC last night, and back this morning -- three hours each way, with computer open and plugged in. Had my only choices been driving or bus, I would not have gone, and that economic opportunity would have been lost.

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:14 am

In general, I would rather not ride a bus, especially for three hours.

People driving from Hartford to New Haven to catch a Metro North train the rest of the way to the city is just like people who live in Philadelphia who drive to Trenton or Hamilton to catch a NJT train to the city. Unless if people are in a super rush, they would not want to pay the extremely high Amtrak fares to travel to NYC or even have to rely on a late running Septa train which has caused people to wait a very long time for the next NJT train at Trenton. Well, it probably has happened where there have been Ctrail trains that have been so late that people connecting to Metro North trains end up missing their connections.

If Amtrak ever brought back its inland trains, they would do very well with passengers traveling to Boston from intermediate points along the Springfield Line, especially Hartford. I don't think many people would want to backtrack from Hartford to New Haven to pick up any trains heading to Boston. The closer you get to Hartford, then you might as well just head inland toward Springfield and Boston. It would be nice if the state let CSX add a third track along the stretch of their right of way between Boston and Worcester.

South Station is definately at or above capacity and when MBTA starts running trains to New Bedford if that ever happens, then capacity will have to be added at South Station.

east point
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by east point » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:13 am

My business used to take me flying to Windsor Locks often on Fridays. Then often a trip to BOS visiting relatives necessitating going to New Haven and then to BOS What a bummer. LSL would get me back on Sundays.

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by dowlingm » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:04 am

Backshophoss wrote:there's no agreement to allow Amtrak equipment to be serviced at BET.
This is also an impediment to overnighting Downeaster at BON. But maybe combined with Inland Route services, there is enough "there" to bother figuring out what it would take to get it done, benefiting both services?

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by scoostraw » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:45 am

[Frailey] Should the Northeast Corridor be paved over? [O'Toole] No. But be aware that the next technological revolution is not going to be high-speed rail, but driverless cars. Driverless cars are going to do a lot to relieve congestion, in the early stages by 25 percent or more. Eventually, they may double, triple or quadruple highway capacities.
I think driverless cars could end up being the thing that kills the LD trains, especially outside of the northeast.

Arlington
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by Arlington » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:03 am

A forum called Railroad.net is not going to get a representative sample of mode choice, so "I'm not going to ride the bus" while true, is not actually useful in route planning.

BUS: Without looking (I'll put the answer below) how many annual intercity bus passengers are there compared to how many intercity train (Amtrak) passengers? NOTE: the answer is not "nobody rides the bus" Rather it is that bus is the far larger, nationwide solution, providing both "essential" service to flyover Red State nothingburgs AND serving dense corridors.

CAR (AVs/Autonomous Vehicles) Relevant in this thread: the NY, CT, & MA markets are all the kind where AVs are going to make traffic worse. CT, with no toll roads, is particularly doomed to see AVs "take as long as they need" to use the "free" roads. I-91/I-84/I-95 (and the CT-15 Wilbur Cross+Merritt) are going to get profoundly sucky, since there are a lot of would-be supercommuters lurking in the leafy burbs.

BUT on the Inland-competitive MassPike, MassPike has the option of dynamic tolling to suppress congestion on the inner Pike (and toll-funded add-a-lane from Worcester-Auburn to Sturbridge). The MassPike will remain a fierce (and politically more popular) competitor to trains, and the SPG-WOR-BOS Bus can go along for the ride for just the price of a 3-axle toll.

AVs are like cheap gas: they'll promote trips "for fun" (this will be deadly to the LDs where thin demand means that the interstates can handle the fun-stimulated trips). I am definitely going to finally do that BOS-CHI-DEN-LA-SF-SEA-MSP-STL-ATL-WAS-BOS trip across America if it means me & the mishpucha can plan a 10-hour drive each night were we sleep in the back of our 2025 Sienna.

In cities and their exurbs within a 2hr drive, It will CRUSH rush hour traffic as people choose longer commutes and more trips because they'll tell themselves "I'll just work / nap / recreate" on the trip (probably a serious competitive threat for commuter rail, too).

This does create clear window for more corridor trains like the Greenfielder and Shuttles, and Brightline and like what Anderson is proposing. Call that 2020 to 2035, the AV-apocalypse overlaps nicely with the I-84 rebuild in Hartford. Where the competition is an un-tolled New England corridor, the train can be faster than the bus for most of the day.

But vs the MassPike, I don't see the train being "worth it" unless it runs at 110mph at least some of the time.


* 2018 was a record year for Amtrak, but also a record year for Bus.
Amtrak 31.7, of which 12M was NEC, 15M was SS, and LD was 4.5M, Meanwhile, Intercity Bus was double that at 60M ~ 65M (source DePaul U) So while the mode choice on RR.net is about 5-to-1 in favor of rail, in the rest of the USA, it is 2-to-1 in favor of bus. We're about 10x more bus-hostile here than the rest of America and it is good to remember that a "choose rail" consensus for the Inlands is unlikely to be borne out in actual route performance.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:59 am

I can tell you one part of the Boston Line where I don't see any corridor train option being worth it is between Springfield and Albany. The stretch of the Boston & Albany west of Springfield is very curvy in many areas, causing too many speed restrictions. 448 and 449's traveling time is not even close to driving or taking the bus. Yes, I know that Amtrak will be start running a seasonal service from NYC Penn Station up to Pittsfield by way of ALB. Amtrak trains do make good speeds once they are on the Post Road Line, but that only helps a fraction. In order for there to be more passenger trains running from Boston to Albany, there would have to be a whole new right of way. The passenger corridor would have to be separated from the freight in many spots. CSX doesn't play very well with Amtrak or any other passenger trains. Even though capacity was recently expanded at ALB, if more passenger trains were to run from Boston to Rensselaer by way of the Boston Line and Post Road, probably another track would have to be added at ALB, unless if the trains were continuing across Upstate NY which actually isn't a bad idea.

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Re: Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inla

Post by gokeefe » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:36 pm

dowlingm wrote:
Backshophoss wrote:there's no agreement to allow Amtrak equipment to be serviced at BET.
This is also an impediment to overnighting Downeaster at BON. But maybe combined with Inland Route services, there is enough "there" to bother figuring out what it would take to get it done, benefiting both services?
Extremely unlikely due to the required agreements with labor units involved.
gokeefe

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