• Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Rockingham Racer
 
Trinnau wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:33 pm MBTA will take the dispatching of their territory, they have a requirement that it stays in-state. As for the rest, it will likely be moved.
Which means Jacksonville. They may bring back the NB dispatcher's desk that was lost in the last few years or so, I guess.
  by MEC407
 
I know at least one Pan Am dispatcher who has already left and taken a dispatching job with Keolis. He might not be the only one. A lot of folks in Billerica have been looking for new jobs for the past several months, knowing that their jobs at PAR would be eliminated if PAR was purchased by another railroad.
  by Backshophoss
 
Believe MBTA would be happier to not deal with PAR Billerica DS as they do now, too many handoffs between PAR and MBTA can become trouble.
MBTA was thrilled to be rid of dealing with CSX DS based too far away in Jax Fla after the MBTA takeorver of the B&A to Worcester..
  by STrRedWolf
 
Backshophoss wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 2:08 pm Believe MBTA would be happier to not deal with PAR Billerica DS as they do now, too many handoffs between PAR and MBTA can become trouble.
MBTA was thrilled to be rid of dealing with CSX DS based too far away in Jax Fla after the MBTA takeorver of the B&A to Worcester..
Maybe. Don't know if they still have a commuter relations desk in Halethorpe, MD or if that got closed out when MARC operations were awarded to Bombardier. It'll probably take a while for CSX to convert the line over to their control, though.
  by Backshophoss
 
That will depend on CTC setup PAR has, Some sections could be quick change overs to CSX Jax or MBTA in Boston,
  by Trinnau
 
Pan Am and MBTA generally have a good relationship, and the immediate proximity of their dispatching centers provides for a much friendlier, local relationship than existed with CSX. The existing dispatching arrangement has been in place for decades. Handoffs are no problem, the problem is the same as when any freight railroad dispatches passenger trains - sometimes they give the freights priority. So in that regard it's always better to control your own operation. CSX was a much different animal at the time MBTA finally took over dispatching as well.

As for the technical side, MBTA can "flip the switch" at any time and take over their territory down in Somerville - except for Pan Am owned Wachusett extension.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Trinnau wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:07 pm Pan Am and MBTA generally have a good relationship, and the immediate proximity of their dispatching centers provides for a much friendlier, local relationship than existed with CSX. The existing dispatching arrangement has been in place for decades. Handoffs are no problem, the problem is the same as when any freight railroad dispatches passenger trains - sometimes they give the freights priority. So in that regard it's always better to control your own operation. CSX was a much different animal at the time MBTA finally took over dispatching as well.

As for the technical side, MBTA can "flip the switch" at any time and take over their territory down in Somerville - except for Pan Am owned Wachusett extension.
Odd thought, but what if CSX asked MBTA to do dispatching for the whole line?

Actually... that may kill PSR in that area... hmmm...
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Any update for when the 5th Downeaster Roundtrip will be restored? In either Spring or Fall of 2021, I might take a vacation to Portland, Maine and would be using the Downeaster a few times on the trip.

I saw the news about the long siding near Wells which will permit for a sixth roundtrip from Wells to Brunswick. It would be nice if that roundtrip would go to Boston instead. I saw the proposal for a new station in Falmouth being added. Being that the station would help close the gap between Portand and Freeport, it would certainly provide passengers who live east of Portland along the DE route with another station option. Plus, it helps that the location is very close to I-95. I hope that sooner rather than later, a plan is made to relocate the Portland Station as that would help reduce travel time off the schedule for those people riding the Downeaster from any station west of Portland to Freeport and Brunswick.
  by markhb
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Fri Dec 25, 2020 11:07 am Any update for when the 5th Downeaster Roundtrip will be restored? In either Spring or Fall of 2021, I might take a vacation to Portland, Maine and would be using the Downeaster a few times on the trip.

I saw the news about the long siding near Wells which will permit for a sixth roundtrip from Wells to Brunswick. It would be nice if that roundtrip would go to Boston instead.
No word that I know of re: restoring the 5th round trip; it wasn't brought up at the November board meeting and I don't believe there was a meeting in December at all (it would have been today). So far as the sixth trip goes, I believe the reason for the short turn is to allow it to serve as an inbound run for Portland commuters from the south; going all the way to Boston would remove that option.

I hope you're able to come to Maine and have an awesome time! Note that there's an existing Downeaster promotion that will give I believe unlimited travel on the route within Maine for a reduced rate, so if you're looking to bounce around between Wells and Brunswick once you get here that might be worth looking at.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I definately plan to use the Downeaster for travel between Wells and Brunswick. I also plan to use any bus routes too. I want to visit the Seashore Trolley Museum without driving. This would probably require an Uber from Saco.
  by daybeers
 
A week late, but I found this alert Amtrak posted:
Downeaster Weekend Service January Schedule Changes
Effective January 2, 2021

Due to track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the Downeaster trains shown below will not stop at Woburn on Saturdays and Sundays, January 2 through 17.

Southbound Trains 690, 692, 694 and 698 and northbound Trains 691, 693, 695 and 699/1689 will detour between Boston North Station and Haverhill and will not stop at Woburn. Alternate transportation will not be provided to or from Woburn.
  by Trinnau
 
Nothing new there, the last 2-3 years between PTC installation and the GLX project the MBTA has been doing a lot on the Lowell Line. In fact, the current Amtrak Downeaster schedule doesn't even list a time for Woburn on the weekend. The schedule was effective Nov. 2nd.

Not even sure why they need a service alert if it's not on the schedule.
  by Backshophoss
 
If and when the CSX takeover happens,expect MBTA to flip that switch to take total control,and not deal with CSX except for handoffs to /from CSX for Amtrak Downeaster services and a few thru freights that cross MBTA territory
  by jonnhrr
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:19 am I definately plan to use the Downeaster for travel between Wells and Brunswick. I also plan to use any bus routes too. I want to visit the Seashore Trolley Museum without driving. This would probably require an Uber from Saco.
There are bus routes radiating from the Saco Transportation Center but they go to Biddeford, OOB, or Portland and none go near the trolley museum, so Uber or taxi is your best bet. Wells might be a closer stop for the museum, not sure. Kennebunk/Port is somewhat of a transit black hole unfortunately.

Be aware Seashore doesn't reopen until May (weekends only initially) and stays open through the end of October. Because of COVID they have been requiring advance registration and ticket purchases and they only ran on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This may change if/when things get better.
  by MaineCoonCat
 
jonnhrr wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:48 am There are bus routes radiating from the Saco Transportation Center but they go to Biddeford, OOB, or Portland and none go near the trolley museum, so Uber or taxi is your best bet. Wells might be a closer stop for the museum, not sure. Kennebunk/Port is somewhat of a transit black hole unfortunately.
I just checked using Google Earth.. Wells Station is 13 km. (8 mi.) by road south of Seashore. Saco is 13 km. (8 mi.) by road north of Seashore. I kid you not! Smack, dab in the middle!
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