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, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

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  by unichris
 
Subject: Harlem Line Extension To Danbury?
Backshophoss wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:33 pm Well there goes the option to move equipment between lines,Thanks HRRC,you made the trail geeks happy. :grimacing:
That doesn't really compute - there's already been trail alongside the Brewster - CT portion for years, and more built over the last year between there and Hopewell Junction.

The only part that MNR owns to abandon which doesn't currently have trail alongside the rail is the Beacon Secondary, but that's not really the part that would be useful for equipment moves, since it would be easier and cheaper to do the occasional move between the Hudson line and Danbury over other railroad's routinely used trackage through MA and CT than to maintain 40-something miles of curvy, hilly non-revenue track for a vague need. They are keeping control of it to protect their fiber.

Building a trail on the Beacon secondary might be nice if it's not going to be used for other transit; it doesn't seem to have any future as heavy rail.

But abandoning CT to Brewster - what would actually cut a potential equipment connection - does next to nothing to enhance rail trails, since that trail is already there. The only way such an abandonment would be a win for trail folks would be if the HRRC subsequently gave up their piece in CT allowing a trail connection from Danbury to the NY trail network - fun in concept, but in reality most users could just drive to the state line to start.
  by Ridgefielder
 
unichris wrote: Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:48 pm Keeping the option of a connection from Danbury to Southeast in some form seems to make sense, but from there through Hopewell probably not since it's too indirect for anything but freight or excursions and as a freight route it only really made sense when the whole Poughkeepsie bridge route was there as competition to the Selkirk one.
For what it's worth, the Maybrook outlasted the Poughkeepsie Bridge by close to 20 years. Conrail ran daily Selkirk-Cedar Hill road freights via Beacon, Hopewell Jct., Brewster and Danbury until they unloaded the Danbury cluster to the HRRC in 1992.
  by unichris
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:34 amFor what it's worth, the Maybrook outlasted the Poughkeepsie Bridge by close to 20 years. Conrail ran daily Selkirk-Cedar Hill road freights via Beacon, Hopewell Jct., Brewster and Danbury until they unloaded the Danbury cluster to the HRRC in 1992.
Which is another way of saying it's been nearly 30 years since anyone has tried to seriously use it.

30 years in which customers have vanished, freight power with signal support for operating on the Hudson line hasn't been purchased, signals have been removed, grade crossings have gone severely out of favor, and the tracks themselves have fallen into disrepair.

I have no problem if they want to keep it, but it seems like from a pure cost of upkeep and cost of actual use, vs tiny benefit compared to just paying to use the maintained alternative, they don't.

It's the part between Southeast and Danbury I find surprising. When I originally read about the equipment rescues I assumed they went over the winding hill route to the Hudson line. Realizing they actually just did the short distance from Danbury to Southeast, keeping that part makes sense, the rest seemingly not.

Anyway the fiber optic line presumably means they'll maintain ownership and not transfer it to parks, even if the later eventually ends up administering the surface.
  by Ridgefielder
 
unichris wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:46 pm
Ridgefielder wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:34 amFor what it's worth, the Maybrook outlasted the Poughkeepsie Bridge by close to 20 years. Conrail ran daily Selkirk-Cedar Hill road freights via Beacon, Hopewell Jct., Brewster and Danbury until they unloaded the Danbury cluster to the HRRC in 1992.
Which is another way of saying it's been nearly 30 years since anyone has tried to seriously use it.

30 years in which customers have vanished, freight power with signal support for operating on the Hudson line hasn't been purchased, signals have been removed, grade crossings have gone severely out of favor, and the tracks themselves have fallen into disrepair.
Yes, of course. Also worth noting that for a large part of the time the line was under Conrail ownership the middle part of the Housy between New Milford and Canaan was completely o/o/s (I have childhood memories of 6" diameter trees growing in the gauge in West Cornwall) so this was the primary freight route into the Danbury area.

Aside from within Beacon itself I think you'd have to go way back into New Haven Railroad days to find any customers at all on the line west of Danbury.

Personally-- if I were making the decisions here I'd hang onto Danbury-Brewster and Beacon-Hopewell Jct. for possible future use. The middle part, over the mountain at Stormville, can go.
  by AMK0123
 
Ridgefielder wrote:Aside from within Beacon itself I think you'd have to go way back into New Haven Railroad days to find any customers at all on the line west of Danbury.

Personally-- if I were making the decisions here I'd hang onto Danbury-Brewster and Beacon-Hopewell Jct. for possible future use. The middle part, over the mountain at Stormville, can go.
As far as customers west of the state line there was a lumber yard that got switched out under the Interstate 84 bridge (now part of Brewster Honda. I believe Texaco in Beacon and maybe IBM (using there lead south across Route 52) were customers under Conrail. I believe there is a thread on this either here or under Conrail....
I also agree that the only areas to keep are Beacon to Hopewell Jct and Danbury to Southeast. As far as the trail goes, its not until CP Dyke (connection to the Harlem line) that there is any trail crossings and then there are several west until you get to Hopewell Jct.
Acouple of things though after talking to the contractors for the trailway... Per MTA they had to replace any old ties at all of the trail cross overs. They also had to cut the rail, once at Pumphouse road in Brewster and once near Hopewell Jct. That was so MTA didn't have to pay to have someone standby, per FRA rules.... Also, MTA did replace the switch on the Beacon line at CP DYKE and about a hundred feet of ties... Lastly in East Fishkill they refused to allow NYS DOT last year to realign the intersection of Route 82 and Palen Rd due to there current grade crossing. Then for the past year MTA has argued against the town and state DOT about replacing the bridge on Route 82 over Hopewell yard with an at grade crossing. However, this month the town has stated that MTA is now not resistant to the idea and is allowing NYS DOT to replace the bridge with an at grade crossing. How in a matter of a few months MTA has changed there mind about the Route 82 bridge and why if they were going to abandon the line did they replace the ties under the trail crossings and the switch at CP DYKE.
I think maybe not now but in the future the Beacon line would be useful as a branch line from Beacon to Hopewell with a station in Fishkill and one in Hopewell and use the old yard as a layover with 2 yard tracks. I also think Danbury to Southeast (more of a current priority) could be useful to be worked into MTA's plan for a new Southeast station. I know there current plan was to expand Brewster yard out into the southern side parking lot and more the station further north along with a parking structure on the eastside. I don't see why they couldn't tie into the Harlem line just north of Tonetta lake road overpass and go directly into the Southeast station. That would also allow them to not have to do a reverse move at CP DYKE and contend with crossing the rail trail...
As far as between Hopewell and Brewster, I think its all but gone....
  by Jeff Smith
 
I think you could do it north of Tonetta Lake Road past "Auto Sprint"; it looks like that would provide enough room for an acceptable turning radius. However, it would look like you'd come in either at the end of the current station, or below it. You could theoretically build a platform on the east side below the station, with an overpass to the current station.

If you go any farther, you're on the other side of 84 and you'd have to do the turn above Pumphouse and Castle Park/Tonetta Lake Beach. The two lines already converge north of there, above Pumphouse Rd and Tonetta Lake, with plenty of room.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Not for nothing, up towards Dykemans Rd, there's a plant: https://www.lamothermic.com/about-us

They were founded in 75, relatively small, but has grown quite a bit. Bet they could use freight.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Some other hits:

http://railfan.com/metro-north-files-to ... acon-line/

Brief, fair-use quote:
BEACON, N.Y. — A recent filing with the Surface Transportation Board revealed Metro-North is seeking to abandon 40 miles of the Beacon Line, between Beacon and the Connecticut state line near Brewster, N.Y., which has been out of service for several years after previously being used only for occasional equipment moves and training runs, as well as infrequent freight by Housatonic Railroad.
...
  by Jeff Smith
 
And apparently there was a proposal in 2019: https://www.recordonline.com/news/20190 ... sideration
BEACON – Metro-North Railroad has given Dutchess County exclusive rights to study the feasibility of operating a trolley on a portion of its unused Beacon rail line.

The county, in concert with the City of Beacon, is eyeing about half of the 28-mile line, starting at the waterfront and continuing through the city and into the Town of Fishkill. A trail for bicyclists and pedestrians is also in the mix.

“Creating connections and enhancing walkability continues to be a key priority,″ said County Executive Marc Molinaro in a statement announcing the agreement. “We know the power of trails and greenways to enhance our community, connect neighborhoods, provide recreational opportunity and improve quality of life.”
...
  by Jeff Smith
 
https://i95rock.com/former-danbury-mayo ... he-thinks/

Former Mayor Boughton vs. Jim Cameron
...

Cameron mentions that former Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is a backer of the Mayrbook Line conversion and that the former Mayor believes the Maybrook Line could shave an hour off the commute for some. Cameron believes the Maybrook Line would amount to a savings of ten minutes off the commute and says the $1 million grant awarded to Danbury for the study is a waste of money by the state.

We asked Boughton what he thought of the article when he joined the Ethan and Lou Show Friday. He had this to say:

"You know, I did read that piece by the way and apparently, everybody's an expert, everybody's an engineer, but you know I actually listen to the engineers and the experts who have looked at this and know that it will save. Whether it's 45 minutes or an hour, whatever, a significant time off their commute.

I think that, I'm not really sure, this guy, he's against everything, he just wrote another piece against being against something else. He's just a miserable person and I don't care what he thinks, who cares?

Read More: Mark Boughton Responds to Newspaper Critic: 'I Don't Care' | https://i95rock.com/former-danbury-mayo ... m=referral
...
  by J.D. Lang
 
WoW nasty, nasty. So did Danbury get the 1 mil and is there a study going on?
  by Jeff Smith
 
Unsure. I did comment on this post on their Facebook page about the abandonment, after sending them PM's with no response.
  by NH2060
 
LOL I remember when we all use to roast Jimbo for his antics. 2021 really feels upside down.

He has been making more sense lately so I guess *common sense* got to him eventually.

That the mayor actually went for the jugular... 😅

At the end of the day unless the CT state legislature is willing to repeal the ban on 3rd rails within the state I don’t see the point of doing this. If they’re going to build this they might as well “go electric” since it’s only a short distance from Brewster and using dual modes for such a short distance doesn’t make much sense.

Unless this were to either get coupled with the long planned New Milford extension and/or the equipment needed would be purchased in conjunction with the already planned in-state CT equipment pool acquisition. Therefore having GCT-Brewster-Danbury and GCT-SoNo-Danbury trains share the same pool.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I reached out to Lou Milano at i95 Rock in Danbury and gave him background. He's going to pursue it.

NH2060, I agree with most of your post, particularly New Milford. I'd throw Newtown into the mix as well. Rather than just a short shuttle, you'd have the benefit of taking traffic off 7 as well. And the track connections would work from those point; you'd have to board at the old station before crossing White and Main. You'd get additional stations at NM, Brookfield, and out along the Lake Avenue extension/Mill Plain.

I really don't think 3rd rail would work, though, particularly with the crossings close to the Danbury station. But with a longer route, dual mode makes more sense.
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