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

  by hrsn
 
$$$ to be appropriated for a study, no doubt. End result? No electrification (where would the motors and rolling stock, if not EMUs, come from?); possible and needed extension to New Milford, given population trends. But Waterbury branch improvements, along with costs of running SLE and the Hartford Line may so eat up DOT budget that another service expansion could be beyond reach.
  by Train322
 
They already did a study. No need to waste money again. They added a passing siding (or two, not sure) and found electrification cost too much with minimal time savings. What they could do is negotiate with the freight operator and upgrade the two tracks to a proposed Danbury North station near I 84 as a first step. Need to see if land is available for a station and parking however.
  by robelybasis
 
I think they might end up running some more trains with maybe additional passing sidings but electrification isn't the time yet. Maybe in like 10 years when ridership increases, they will re-evaluate the needs of the branch.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I don't think there is any need to reelectrify the Danbury Branch. There will be little time savings of an electric train accelerating as they depart and decelerate when arriving at stations on the branch. The speed limit is only 50 with many curves. I could certainly see a siding or two added. It might even be nice to extend the branch to Danbury North. This would be great for those people who live along 84 east of Danbury who might work in The Norwalks and Stamford. It's not cost effective to reopen the line between Danbury and Brewster just to have revenue trains running from Danbury to Grand Central by way of the Harlem Line. This won't save people time. Plenty of people who live in Danbury can get to either Southeast or Brewster faster than if a train were to run between Brewster, Southeast, and Danbury. CDOT's main rail priorities is getting the New Haven Line up to a better state of repair, ordering brand new equipment for the Hartford Line and Shore Line East operations, part of Ctrail.
  by west point
 
`IMO extending north more important. However getting the New Haven route improved much better spent funds for total number of passengers. Those improvements even will help Danbury passengers as well.
  by MattW
 
Electrification isn't just about speed. Yes, those few minutes saved will be nice, but there are many other benefits:
  • Reduced emissions
  • Reduced noise along the route and at terminals
  • Simpler equipment maintenance
  • Less need for different equipment
  • More potential for direct service to GCT
  by Ridgefielder
 
GirlOnTheTrain wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:35 am Here we go again... /eyeroll
When was the first study produced? 1979 or so? I distinctly remember being told as a very small child that Conrail was looking at restoring the wire and I'm 46 going on 47.

Restoring the wire is more trouble than its worth. The original installation in 1923 was done solely so the New Haven could eliminate the Stamford steam engine terminal and consolidate operations at Danbury. That rationale went away when the FL-9 dual modes arrived on the property in 1959. This is a curvy single-track branch line. The speed constraints are a result of track geometry not acceleration. No amount of 11.5kV wire or MU's is going to change that.
  by hrsn
 
The rationale for the 1923 electrification is interesting, and new to me. Why eliminate the Stamford terminal in favor of Danbury and not, say New Haven (Cedar Hill, even)?
  by west point
 
BTW the MNRR electrification is 12.5 Kv 60 Hz. That is a nominal voltage. Do not know what their voltage allowances but Amtrak uses 10% plus or minus
  by Ridgefielder
 
hrsn wrote: Wed Dec 08, 2021 4:20 pm The rationale for the 1923 electrification is interesting, and new to me. Why eliminate the Stamford terminal in favor of Danbury and not, say New Haven (Cedar Hill, even)?
Danbury was a major engine terminal in steam days. Power working the Maybrook line west over the summit of the Highlands at Poughquag was based there, as were the engines working the Berkshire Division (now the Housatonic) and the Litchfield Branch. In those days the branch from Danbury to Norwalk was not the main show in town. The double-track freight main was.

Once the main line electrification was extended from Stamford to New Haven in 1914 the through passenger trains to Danbury became the only trains changing power from electric to steam at Stamford-- the New Canaan branch had been electrified way back in the 1890's. Wiring the Danbury to consolidate steam services was something of a no-brainer for the NYNH&H.

Unlike on the main line, none of the sidings or small yards on the Danbury were electrified; nor was the little 3.5mi branch up the hill to Ridgefield Center. Freight continued to be worked by steam, which made sense as the locals servicing the line were based out of Danbury.