• Berkshire Flyer: Pittsfield - New York City Service via Albany

  • 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

  by cle
The Limited piece is a nice bit of heritage naming, but shouldn't have a bearing on stopping patterns in 2022. It's insane to me that it misses Hudson, and yet stops at Croton and Yonkers - both are much less important for Amtrak and arguably don't need it at all. Especially as MN connections mean s*it with the lack of integrated ticketing and the hellscape of independent operators we have. In a normal country, Croton at least, would matter as an interchange.
  by daybeers
I bet it merely adopted the stopping pattern of the Empire Service train it used to be. Hudson only has a platform on one track, requiring more track slots and dispatching work. Not defending the sometimes seemingly odd stopping patterns on the Empire Service, but just providing a possible reason.
  by cle
Yep Hudson definitely needs a rebuild of some kind. Tricky as it's very heritage and on a huge curve - but it's very busy and a Rhinecliff build/approach would be fast better.
  by Ridgefielder
cle wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:27 am Chatham is mentioned in the Connect plan, and presumably the Lake Shore could stop there too. Could be a good railhead for the area (isn't that train also the only non-stop at Hudson?) heading in each direction - it's a popular part of the world to visit and for second homes. Covers Southern Berkshires, and other places like Hillsdale, the 'fancy' new Catamount... can see it being well used.
The thing is that, because of the big loop south that the B&A takes in order to gain altitude out of the Hudson Valley, Chatham is actually quite close to Hudson. Its only 13 1/2 miles between the two on a road that's almost dead-straight.

In the old days Chatham was an important stop not because of the local passenger load per se but because it was the junction between the B&A, the Harlem Division south to NYC (which served Hillsdale directly) and the Rutland "Corkscrew" coming down from Lebanon Springs. Not to mention the B&A's own long-abandoned branch between Chatham and Hudson.

I just don't see the case for being that important in the year 2022.
  by cle
Chatham is mentioned in the CONNECT plan as a station though, that's the only reason I'm mentioning it. It's not a fantasy entirely.

You're right, it covers a similar (large, popular, dynamic) catchment to Hudson - but it could potentially have a different purpose, i.e. E/W traffic, Hudson being firmly N/S (although of course it has Buffalo etc trains).

I can't see tons of folks using it on the Flyer itself to get to NYC though - to travel up to A/R and then back down to Hudson - very fair. But to Boston, it might be interesting.
  by Railjunkie
daybeers wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:02 pm I bet it merely adopted the stopping pattern of the Empire Service train it used to be. Hudson only has a platform on one track, requiring more track slots and dispatching work. Not defending the sometimes seemingly odd stopping patterns on the Empire Service, but just providing a possible reason.
The issue with Hudson is not the platform of which there are technically two we can work off both tracks. It is the way trains must be handled. There are two absolute signals on either side of the station CP 114 within the Hudson yard and CP 115 a holding signal north of the station for southbound trains only. At one time when we could get a signal into the station with another train there it was up to the crews or the dispatcher (mostly dispatcher) to work out the protection. Amtrak took that ability away after a few close calls, one of which I happened to be involved in. Nothing happened as the opposing train stopped. We both mentioned it to the MTO at the time who was a ex Hudson line train dispatcher. Soon their after things were changed.
  by cle
https://www.timesunion.com/business/art ... m=referral

This is encouraging. 3tpd each way (assuming one includes the existing Lake Shore) would be a great help to the region, and make rail less of an eccentric choice and a more viable one. Demand creates demand, see the Hartford Line - and those investment dollars will make it quicker.

In time, perhaps they could continue on - a Boston-Montreal (which could connect to a waiting NY-Toronto/Niagara/Buffalo - same platform at Albany - and enable transfers between them all, inc 2tpd NYC-Montreal/more Saratoga)
  by Greg Moore
I have to agree.
Next weekend because of complicated scheduling, we're going to end up driving two cars to the Boston area.
I'd LOVE to take the train, even though it takes longer than driving because it would mean I wouldn't basically be "wasting" a round trip in a car for a single person.

This is looking more and more possible and even likely. I won't hold my breath just yet.
  by Safetee
Well if the berkshire flyer is really sold out I'd have to tip my hat to the folks promoting it like adam hinds and company and say "job well done".

Certainly i dont believe it for a minute, however if it turns out to be true it's my long over due time to be wrong. On the other hand, it doesnt really matter if it's true or not because there's so much political power pushing for boston to albany service right now including both Richie Neal and Steve Gardner. if it comes to pass, it's definitely looking to be the foot in the door for an inland route alternative to the shoreline in case of flooding etc in rhode island.

Yesterday Mr. Gardner rode the train from Boston to Springfield with our beloved soon to depart Governor Baker. So the political action definitely is in to making things happen in this corridor while uncle joe is passing out the buckets of federal rail expansion dollars. No doubt, there will be some synegies from boston to albany service with connections for chicago montreal and nyc.
  by lordsigma12345
I watched the press conference. Based on a couple comments CEO Gardner made that I got the impression that inland service would likely be the most feasible to implement as a first step as he referenced trains currently terminating in Springfield running to Boston when they were asked about what could happen in the near term. Plus - with no offense to Pittsfield - tying Hartford into Boston is likely going to generate more ridership than extension out to Pittsfield. I believe Pittsfield is eventually going to be tied in via Albany service but I think priority one is going to be the line between Springfield and Boston (as its needed for any improvement.) Pittsfield requires an additional investment.
  by Greg Moore
Unless something has changed, the "sold-out" status of the Berkshire Flyer is a bit of a lie.

Wht I've been seeing (and jives with numbers I've seen elsewhere) is that the NYP-ALB segment is sold out, which on a late afternoon Friday makes a lot of sense.
But the ALB-PIT segment is far from sold out. For example, right now I see it's only 20% full for this weekend. (vs 90% for the NYP-ALB segment)
That said, even if that number is true, that number isn't terrible a I believe they're running either 4 or 5 coaches plus the empty cafe car. Assuming it's 4, that's nearly a full car and over 50 passengers. I suspect they're somehow not counting the entire train though.

That said, recently the Empire State Passenger Assoc had a post on FB giving a suggestion for Sunday round trips, to ride out in the morning spend a few hours and then back on the LSL.

Honestly, at $30/trip (including bike charge), I've been giving it some thought to biking to Pittsfield and taking the train back to get in a decent ride and some scenery.

One smart thing they did by the 2nd or 3rd week was open the dead-head ride back to paying passengers.
  by west point
2 more trains RT BOS <> ALB would really open up the berkshires to persons who did not want to drive if last mile transportation can be found. But more impostantly at least one and maybe both will give connections both north and south at Springfield. Persons west of Back Bay can take MBTA to Wocester to connect and all points west.

The problems among others will be equipment availability, necessary restoration of sections or all of 2nd main track, eventual eliminating slow sections one at a time, building / restoring stations, platforms that are ADA compliant, nimbys.
  by lordsigma12345
They would likely double track east of Springfield. I’m addition to the two RTs they’re also talking inland route service - which would add additional trains east of Springfield. I would agree that it may not be necessary west of Springfield.
  • 1
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 36