• Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Line)

  • 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 Noel Weaver
 
In an ideal situation, there would be enough equipment, track and station
capacity for all of the Springfield Line trains to simply do a power change
at New Haven and continue on at least to NYC and probably either
Philadelphia, Washington or Harrisburg. In an operation like this, the
through Boston - Washington trains could probably omit the stops at
Bridgeport and New Rochelle as well which would save them at least some
time on the Metro-North portion of the trip. I would like to say Stamford
too but it is probably too important to skip.
It would be a bad practice to tie up a through Boston - Washington train
for any time for a late connection coming down from Springfield or
Vermont either for that matter. Once a through train that arrives in New
Haven on time is held for a connection and departs late, it can and most
likely will lose a slot either on Metro-North or somewhere else on its trip
and a whole lot more people will be inconvienced than just the people
traveling south on the Springfield Line. Today's timetables have to be
done with great detail and slots are very important for on time operation.
Noel Weaver

  by Choo Choo Coleman
 
Don't know if this is the right place for questions, but since it has to do with the Vermonter I figured its close enough.

I'm looking to take the train from Burlington, VT to Springfield, MA or Amhearst, MA in a week or so.
Why does it take over 2 hours to get from Amhearst to Springfield by train when by car it takes 30 minutes or so by car?
Is it poor track conditions or a round-about route?

  by CSX Conductor
 
Choo Choo Coleman wrote:Why does it take over 2 hours to get from Amhearst to Springfield by train when by car it takes 30 minutes or so by car?
Is it poor track conditions or a round-about route?
More or less the latter. Additionally the train stops in Palmer to reverse direction onto CSX's B&A Main-Line after coming down from Amherst on the New England Central. :wink:

  by JimBoylan
 
Choo Choo Coleman wrote:Why does it take over 2 hours to get from Amhearst to Springfield by train when by car it takes 30 minutes or so by car? Is it a round-about route?
Yes, via Palmer, Mass., due to very bad track and problems with the owner on the direct route.

  by Choo Choo Coleman
 
Thanks for the response...where is the state and/or the feds to step in and correct both problems for the national train service? There is no reason a train should take over two hours between Amhearst & Springfield. One of the myriad of reasons that people who want to take a train, end up not taking it for shorter and more convenient travel routes.
I can ride my bike between both locations faster! I'm going to have to take the bus...rats!

  by Noel Weaver
 
There is a variance of one hour in the running time from Amherst to
Springfield between the system timetable and the small timetable both of
which were dated October 29, 2007. In my opinion this is not acceptable,
Amtrak should have know when they did the system timetable that the
running time was going to be changed. Speaking of running times, I think
the 2 hours and 21 minutes to go a mere 35 miles is probably the slowest
running time between two intermediate points in the entire system
although I have not checked to verify this.
I know they are getting the business from CSX and the reverse move at
Palmer takes time but this is ridiculous. New England Central track is not
that bad and more time is lost for curves, bridges and grade crossings
than is for track conditions.
Of course the answer to this situation is to fix up the direct line north out
of Springfield to the connection with New England Central at East
Northfield a distance of about 50 miles. In the passenger days of the
Conn River Line the Boston and Maine made the trip between Springfield
and Brattleboro in about an hour and a half and generally this included
stops at Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield in the process.
Improvements could be made but it would take MONEY from Amtrak,
Vermont and especially Massachusetts which would stand to gain the most
from a change in this operation.
I would not hold my breath for anything soon.
Noel Weaver
Last edited by Noel Weaver on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by TomNelligan
 
Noel Weaver wrote:Improvements could be made but it would take MONEY from Amtrak,Vermont and especially Massachusetts which would stand to gain the most from a change in this operation. I would not hold my breath for anything soon.
Mr. Weaver has very nicely summed up the current sad situation. Restoring the slow and lightly-used B&M trackage north of Springfield to its former state will take tens of millions of dollars that none of the potential funding sources has at the moment. Anyone who needs to get from Amherst to Springfield by public transit should probably just check out the fairly frequent bus service.

Regarding that extra time southbound, it's schedule padding to account for delays related to track conditions on the NEC portion of the route.

  by shadyjay
 
Massive work on the Springfield Line I've heard is going on. NECR delays are getting fewer... heard through the 'vine that the slow orders are down to 100 or less, mostly on grade crossings and such... that's down from a near 300 total just a couple months ago. Tonight's arrival of 56 into WAB was at 8:40 --- vs the 8:16 advertised. This is the best arrival time in recent months. In my recent weeks of working at the station, 9:15-9:30 has been the average arrival time, 1 hour or so late, and even some 10-11pm, even 12am arrivals.

I have also read that Amtrak plans to re-issue their timetable after the new year. Not sure how much work they can do (even in Southern New England) with approaching snow / snow on ground. When I rode the Vermonter in early fall this year, we were very slow on the Springfield Line.

Hopefully all can be remedied soon. Then we can get back to pushing for the Conn River line in Mass. But first, let's get back on track to the pre- spring '07 timings.

  by hsr_fan
 
I'm curious, has ridership decreased since the elimination of the baggage car? Certainly makes it less convenient for skiers...

  by shadyjay
 
Skiers still bring their skis/boards as "carry-on" baggage.

In the Vermonter's baggage car era, checked baggage was only available in Vermont at White River, Essex Jct, and St Albans... the popular ski stops (Brattleboro, Waterbury) had no checked baggage since they weren't "staffed", and hadn't been since the days of the Montrealer (pre-4/1/95).
Last edited by shadyjay on Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by jp1822
 
Skiers and bicycle riders used to use the baggage car - and Vermonters seem to sorely miss it. I never used the baggage car when it was offered. But there are some Vermonters out there do miss the baggage car - even for regular baggage. But with unstaffed stations in Vermont and general removal of the baggage car, cutbacks were exercised by Vermont when Amtrak wanted to raise the Vermonter's operating cost. This was a way to cut costs. Not sure how much cost savings were had though, as I still think Vermont had to endure a higher cost to pay Amtrak etc.

  by psct29
 
What about using a Cabbage/Baggage NPCU on the Vermonter like the DE currently uses. The Downeaster takes bicycles in its cabbage car at select stations (Boston, Portland and Wells) it seems like this could work for bikes and skis on the Vermonter too.

  by SimplySam
 
psct29 wrote:What about using a Cabbage/Baggage NPCU on the Vermonter like the DE currently uses. The Downeaster takes bicycles in its cabbage car at select stations (Boston, Portland and Wells) it seems like this could work for bikes and skis on the Vermonter too.
Great theory...until its roof gets sliced off when it passes thru the tunnels in NYC.

FYI the cabbages are ex-F40 locos which do not fit into NYP.

Now when it comes time to "cabbage" some of the P40-P42-P32 Gennies your idea would work.

I have suggested that some of the stored P40s could be cabbaged for select routes into NYP but it was explained on this board (by Dutch, I think) that the units are still "in hock" and the lender will understandably not let Amtrak gut them. (I guess slowly rusting in storage better protects their investment?!)

  by psct29
 
Damn...forgot about those pesky East and North river tunnels... I've been out of NY/NJ too long :-)

  by theozno
 
If or when DMU starts could or would a baggage car work? or is the bellows falls tunnel to small? I really wish I could bring my Bike to VT from Stamford or worse case scenario New Haven since I have bike pass for the train ( metro north) and the vermonter goes through mid day.
OZ
psct29 wrote:Damn...forgot about those pesky East and North river tunnels... I've been out of NY/NJ too long :-)
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