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 Riverduckexpress
Turns out the CT Commuter Rail Council meeting back in May discussed this.

From that meeting's minutes:
Update of M8’s running east of New Haven: CDOT is continuing to work with Sistra, a consultant. CDOT is looking at the power demand. The project is taking longer than expected. Amtrak believes there may be a power shortage.
The M-8’s would be run by Amtrak. Jeff Maron asked about the possibility of one service provider. Rich Jankovich said the current contract calls for two providers.
Jim Gildea asked if there is enough equipment to run service. Frank Pomes said it would be a stretch now. There are plans for sixty-six (66) new cars this year. There will be 471 M8’s.
Sue Prosi asked what is the best timeline for service, worst case scenario?
Rich said the coaches are scheduled to be replaced in 2022.
Mitch asked how many coaches are designated for the shoreline? Rich said 24. Rich said there is a lot of work to do and there is a power study for service to New London.
  by DutchRailnut
just as good a talk as the bar car story , keep believing :-)
  by njtmnrrbuff
If the M8s enter revenue service on SLE, the question would be how many cars are needed? Shore Line East doesn’t have as high ridership as Metro North’s New Haven Line, especially outside of rush hour in general. I haven’t ridden Shore Line East in a while. The last time I rode it was on Good Friday 2017 from New Haven to Old Saybrook and reverse. The eastbound has many riders. People were returning home early from work. When I took the westbound back to New Haven, there weren’t many people on the train and the train started out in New London. If M8s ever start running on Shore Line East, that will help with acceleration which hopefully can reduce travel times between New Haven and New London. Even if the M8s ever run east of New Haven, people who live east of there in the Shore Line East communities will continue to drive to New Haven to get Metro North.
  by nomis
The quoted 24 cars for SLE fall into line for their current 5 sets of equipment running, plus a protect set.
  by Jeff Smith
Can't run shorter than 4 per our resident RailNut :wink: talking about New Canaan service back in the day with a single 4400 or an M2 pair. You also have to consider that some of the sets will be for NLC - STM service, where they'll pick up a lot more ridership on the line west of New Haven. I could see the M8 Singles in play here, too.

Amtrak operation east of NH, MNRR west of.

Did we discuss whether these would be "pool" units with MNRR? That may play into the consist makeup as well. I could see a NLC - STM run turning into a "Stamford Local, making all stops to Grand Central Terminal" turn.

Not to mention, Amtrak and CtDOT have to work out the power "issue" east of NH.
  by njtmnrrbuff
If the M8s get approved for service east of New Haven, it would be nice to have a few trains in each direction, probably during the rush hours run directly from Grand Central Terminal and New London. This service would do great during the summer.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Yesterday, I visited the Shoreline Trolley Museum and took 3710 from New Haven to get to Branford. 3710 was pretty well patronized as we were departing New Haven Union Station. Not many people boarded it at State Street Station. 3710 seems to be timed pretty well for Metro North connection from the city. While at Branford, I observed Ctrail SLE Train # 3629 do it's station work. At least 10 people boarded that train at Branford. It sounds like if M8s are ever approved to run on the Shoreline, four car sets during most of the hours each day will be fine.
  by Jeff Smith
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:46 pm If the M8s get approved for service east of New Haven, it would be nice to have a few trains in each direction, probably during the rush hours run directly from Grand Central Terminal and New London. This service would do great during the summer.
That's a long time to be on a commuter rail car, especially with the number of stops. Not sure there's a need; Amtrak does just fine although it's Penn. You can always jump off at NRO I suppose. That's not to say that SLE pooled equipment may "turn" at STM and continue on to GCT. If it's non-pooled, it would just run back to NH or NLC (crewed by MNRR and Amtrak at appropriate points).
  by njtmnrrbuff
Yes, it would be a long time to sit in an M8 all the way from GCT to New London. Many people who are heading to and from New London take Amtrak since it is much faster. Plus the seats are more comfortable. I remember when my brother attended Connecticut College between 1997 and 2001, whenever he came home on his own, he always took Amtrak often from New London to Newark. Shoreline East started running to New London, I think, but the it was longer and inconvenient. While the service frequencies today have improved to NLC on SLE, it still takes longer than Amtrak, especially if you are changing at New Haven for Metro North. The MNR ride from New Haven to GCT has gotten painfully longer in the past six years, I think due to more never ending construction work on the New Haven Line. They are always doing something and it seems to be dragging. Many of the river bridges need to be replaced on the New Haven Line sooner rather than later. I know that Walk will be getting its turn very soon. The Mianus River and Housy River are a must. Trains crawl over them when with a more updated bridge, could be going faster. Plus, the majority of New Haven Line trains during the off peak hours and on weekends make every single stop on the schedule between Stamford and New Haven. While doing the MNR to SLE combo to New London might be cheaper than Amtrak, when you are in a rush and want a more comfortable seat, the solution is to take Amtrak.
  by ebtmikado
SHORE LINE IS 2 WORDS, named after the Shore Line Railroad, operating between New Haven and New London for 168 years.
Shoreline is (also known as the beach, is 1 word.
  by dha10001
I rode SLE to New London from NYC with by bicycle a few weeks ago, and I fully support the idea of M8s on the line and the notion of direct service from GCT. Amtrak makes the run and is a fair amount quicker, but at a much greater cost, and with unbearable unreliability. If you are trying to make a ferry connection in New London, you simply cannot count on Amtrak to get you there on time. So what's the point of a slightly faster train, if you have to factor in 1+ hours as a buffer? The one time I took Amtrak to New London, our train ran exactly one hour late (coming from Virginia) and I missed the last ferry of the day by FIVE minutes. It was a terrible, slow, and nerve wracking ride all the way from NYC. And they don't allow bicycles!

For those who say it is a long trip on commuter stock, you're not wrong - but people today are making the trip using MNR - SLE. And a train from NYC to Montauk takes over 3 hours - not dissimilar from this service. I've also read that M8s could reduce the NH - NLC travel time to under 1 hour. This could be massively useful by allowing the line to provide hourly service all day with just two trainsets, a huge improvement over current operations. And faster service on SLE and the New Haven Line, like this 20-minute reduction in end-to-end travel time that's been touted as possible by 2020 by addressing drainage issues, will mean that fewer railcars are needed to provide the same level of service, plus we'll have 66 new M8s (!!) added to the mix... could free up lots of railcars for use elsewhere in the state, provided they have enough life left.

Lastly I'll add that on this last trip to NLC, I was looking and it appeared to me that catenary has been strung everywhere on the line, including sidings, with the exception of Track 6 at New London. While I realize my window-peering observations aren't definitive evidence, it does look like one more obstacle to electrification has been dealt with.
  by Backshophoss
Is Amtrak expecting ConnDOT to install a transformer at the substations to cover SLE power use?
Along with the ACSES gear griping! :P
  by Train60
Some news on this topic —

6. What is the status of M8s on Shore Line East?

The Office of Rail Ops staff, MNR, KRC, Amtrak and others continue to finalize all the requirements and logistics to efficiently execute both tests. Some impacts to the schedule have developed as a result of COVID-19, but the team continues their work.

a. Acceptance Testing
Outstanding M-8 EMU testing that will enable MNR to finalize acceptance of the fleet of M-8 rail cars from KRC. The majority of acceptance testing was conducted on NHL. The remaining testing includes pantograph/overhead catenary wire interaction testing, Passenger Information/Automatic Station announcement (ASI/PIS) tests and additionally, Positive Train Control (PTC) on SLE testing.

b. Traction Power Study
Study to verify the computational model of currently running, as well as additional future electric trains, including M-8’s on Amtrak’s N.E. Corridor/SLE territory. This will be accomplished via measurement of Power collection from both the substations on SLE (from New Haven Mill River to New London) and the motive power (Amtrak passenger electric locomotives (ACS64 & Acela) and M-8 EMU rail cars.

c. Current status: Fall 2020 estimated MNR/KRC

1.Acceptance testing (Pantograph, ASI/PIS, PTC):October 2020

2.Traction Power Study Testing: September 2020:

Note:Systra/G-F site visits completed; in process of revising Traction Power Study test plan for Amtrak’s review/approval; PAL (for TPS) executed, with issuance of NTP shortly.

https://ctcommuterrailcouncil.org/wp-co ... stions.pdf
  by daybeers
Woah what!? I thought CTDOT threw the idea of M8s on SLE a long time ago! This is great news, even if it's only for through trains to Stamford or GCT.
  by Traingeek3629
On a note somewhat unrelated to the current subject, is there any video of the full run out to New London back in 2017 or 18? I couldn't find any on YouTube.
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