• COMPASS RAIL: Pittsfield / Springfield / Boston East-West Passenger Rail

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

  by lordsigma12345
I predict the first trains that will come online will be inland route through trains New Haven - Hartford - Springfield - Worcester - Boston. The rolling stock will likely be intercity - something more similar to what Amtrak is ordering for the NEC - and I wouldn't be surprised if they cooperate with CTDOT who also wants to order new equipment to replace the MBB/Mafersa cars.
  by lordsigma12345
I'd like to clarify an earlier comment - I am not opposed to studying northern tier passenger rail on the B&M (which they are doing), but in my opinion passenger rail on the B&A should be the priority. I think an extension of commuter rail west to Gardner could improve options for the northern tier and is probably the most feasible shorter term option. Further west than that it would be hard to justify more than a single frequency per day and the condition of the B&M and all the curves on the line would take quite an investment to make it not be super slow.
  by BandA
I agree with Lord Sigma and amplify that passenger rail on the B&A - at least east of Springfield - should be the priority. Think of all the stuff they should / could do: reduce terminal congestion to BOS by giving the B&A line it's own midday layover facilities, pilot a rush hour shuttle from Boston Landing to Mass Ave or Kendall, two ADA platforms through Newton, "indigo" service to Riverside, fare equity between Rapid Transit and zone 1 & 2 in Newton and Waltham, layover facilities for the "indigo service" at Riverside or between Liberty Mutual and Recreation Drive in Weston.

All the consideration so far is for Springfield and beyond. Not many folks will be commuting from Pittsfield to Boston or Chester to Framingham. Nobody else has mentioned Commuter Rail for folks between Worcester and Springfield, which are about an hour travel time apart.
  by lordsigma12345
There is $250 million set aside in the upcoming state infrastructure spending bill to get the east-west project going. The intention is for this to be used towards competing for federal funds in the IIJA. Also includes language to setup a commission to figure out establishing an authority to get this going.
  by Arborwayfan
Maybe if Pittsfield started with an N this service would be there already. When Bill Weld first ran for governor in 1990, he said in a speech that people should be able to take a train "from New Bedford to Newburyport".

Of course, with or without an N, the T's routes also expanded back to Worcester in 1994, so it's not like the Weld administration ignored the B&A, but I'm still not joking about wondering if South Coast rail partly happened because of alliteration.
  by newpylong
BandA wrote: Tue Jul 12, 2022 2:47 am Upgrading service between Springfield and Boston makes more sense than the Southcoast Rail project.
Not really.

Population of New Bedford and Fall River is ~200K. Springfield is ~150K

Expand that out to Bristol County (NB/FR) and the population is ~580K, Hampden (SP) is ~466K.

Southcoast rail is astronomically more expensive to implement than expanded service to Springfield, but the ridership will be much higher.
  by QB 52.32
Big part of this will be about (re-)establishing a Northeast Inland Route Corridor.

So in terms of ridership potential in comparison add:

Population of East/West/Hartford ~236K
Population of other stations Amtrak Hartford Line ~251K
Population of New Haven (new rail service to Worcester) ~134K
Population of Worcester (new rail service to Northeast Corridor) ~207K

Hartford County ~900K
New Haven County (new rail service to Worcester) ~900K
Worcester County (new rail service to Northeast Corridor) ~827K
Last edited by CRail on Sun Jul 17, 2022 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary nesting quotes removed. Do not use the "Quote" button as a "Reply" button.
  by QB 52.32
There's solid support in MA, CT and at Amtrak for re-establishing an Inland Corridor with a big jump in forecast ridership demand created by combining E-W and Hartford Line service into a 1-seat ride in addition to connecting New England's 2nd largest and growing city with the Northeast Corridor. And, you'd never bucket the ~900K Hartford County and a portion of the ~ +1M New Haven/Middlesex Counties populations onto the Northeast Corridor but instead to an Inland Corridor or 2- seat Hartford Line/East-West connecting service through Springfield. In total with Hampden County that's more than double the population of Bristol County.
  by BandA
Hartford viaduct replacement + station relocation + highway relocation/reconstruction is going to be a monkeywrench for inland, vermonter & greenfield services; Probably about the time the inlands get going!!
  by Arborwayfan
You can't bucket Hartford onto the NEC for going to Boston. Hartford-Boston takes about 4.5 hours with a change at New Haven; I bet not many people ever make that trip. Inland Route trains did Hartford-Boston in just under 3 hours in the 90s. For going to Boston, bucket Hartford with the Inland Route.
  by lordsigma12345
MassDOT is currently in talks with Amtrak and CSX about adding a small amount of expanded east-west service on the B&A on top of the Lake Shore Limited as an intermediate step/pilot prior to a larger infrastructure buildout. Whether this would be from Connecticut along the inland route or along the whole route form Albany - Boston as some kind of west-ward extension of the Empire Services or some combination of both is yet to be announced. They are looking at "incremental" improvements - adding some service soon on essentially the existing condition of the line with perhaps some minor work required by CSX and then incrementally advancing projects to build out a better and faster service down the road.
  by Train60
They'll have to fix the ADA issue in Springfield before they can roll additional trains east and west. 448 and 449 can't access Platform C on both ends and its doubtful the FRA would allow new trains to board on the low-level off the main line in Springfield.
Last edited by Train60 on Wed Jul 20, 2022 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Train60
And don't forget PIT. No chance CSX is going to allow additional trains to gum up their main line tracks at that location. The BerkshireFlyer was an exception that only happened because they were desperate to close the Pan Am deal.
  • 1
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 26