• New London - Worcester Passenger Service

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by F-line to Dudley via Park
jonnhrr wrote:I was wondering about the possibility of running the train Worcester - New London - New Haven. It solves the problem of where to park the equipment between runs, and provides more choices for patrons of transferring to Metro North for local stops or GCT, or Amtrak for NYP and points South.

Springfield Line then east is still going to be faster because of track speed. The P&W is only Class 3 (59 MPH) on its best stretches with ABS signaling, and that's track class speed not actual speed (much lower on all but the best stretches). Springfield Line and B&A are Class 4 (79 MPH) with cab signals (SPR also getting ACSES with its upgrades), and B&A is a much nearer-term priority to get double-tracking east of Springfield and to iron out the localized speed restrictions.

Now, this may become an option when it's P&W's turn to get state investment for 286K rail weight (Willimantic Branch interchange and NECR appear to have first ups). Then you might come closer to realizing the upper-limit speeds for Class 3 and turn it into a viable full-time passenger route without requiring additional upgrades. But I doubt it'll be Amtrak operating it with them owning the Springfield Line, having passenger rights on and daily use of the B&A, and it not requiring that big a price tag to get the track capacity upped and PTC installed to make the Inland Route a more compelling option.

That said, P&W is an ideal CDOT line for an SLE-like service Worcester-New London with very low barrier for entry on the capital investment side. If the transfers from the shoreline are efficient you could probably swing a two-seat trip from New Haven to Worcester cheaper than an Amtrak one-seat if you're operating on a shoestring budget and can trade longer travel time for lower fare. That corridor's going to give excellent ROI on freight alone for the track upgrades. Passenger potential's almost gravy, so as long as they don't overthink a longer-headway limited service it's got very good chances of punching well above its weight on bang-for-buck.
  by TomNelligan
Springfield Line and B&A are Class 4 (79 MPH) with cab signals
Springfield line yes, but are you sure about that nominal speed limit on the B&A? The Lake Shore certainly plods along at less than that and I was under the impression (perhaps wrong) that CSX's passenger speed limit east of Springfield these days was 60 mph.
  by The EGE
Yet another service that depends on replacing the CT River Bridge. It's such a horrific bottleneck.

I see, in 10 or 15 years when we're not as limited with east-of-New Haven capacity, running a corridor train through WOR-NLC first before getting dedicated service. Maybe a Downeaster extension / new Maine service. Route it through the P&W segment to avoid the WOR-SPG single track, and connect it with a Regional at New Haven.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
TomNelligan wrote:
Springfield Line and B&A are Class 4 (79 MPH) with cab signals
Springfield line yes, but are you sure about that nominal speed limit on the B&A? The Lake Shore certainly plods along at less than that and I was under the impression (perhaps wrong) that CSX's passenger speed limit east of Springfield these days was 60 mph.
When Conrail rebuilt the line 3 decades ago it had faster portions with the Inland Route still running, but it's probably slipped since then with CSX not having a ton of motivation to keep it that high and wanting intercity passenger traffic at a dead minimum. MBTA territory is its own frustration with speeds inside of Route 128 that barely top 45-50 on parts of the generally beat-up infrastructure east of Framingham. They've got renewal work to do when CSX moves out of Beacon Park. Outside of T track it should be relatively easy to uprate when they do double-tracking out to Springfield, with exception of the curvy and/or hilly portions between the Brimfield/Palmer town line and Auburn where the terrain imposes natural constraints. It can be considerably better than it is now for not a whole ton of investment. Nowhere more dramatically than unclogging T territory.

2009 Boston MPO presentation on freight traffic displacement: http://www.ctps.org/bostonmpo/5_meeting ... 9%20r4.pdf

Mostly focused on solutions for the Framingham grade crossings and consolidating the yards, but the "Alternate Rail Routes" section starting on p.18 details plans to peel off additional mainline freight by sending Middleboro Yard locals down the P&W from Worcester to Attleboro and away from mainline passenger traffic. Plus some further-fetched proposals for restoring the Franklin Line connection to the P&W in Blackstone for re-routing Boston-bound traffic and downsizing Framingham a little further. Interesting read because Worcester-Framingham traffic congestion is still a pickle post-Beacon Park.
  by Jeff Smith
Found this interesting article on "A Day" that mentions the Budd service:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Bi ... rail&hl=en

It's an image of the Toledo Blade; no text to paste.
  by Jeff Smith
We've been talking about the Central Corridor and there's been no movement on this. I'm not sure if this Senator is talking about this line, or another? I haven't seen any suggestions of passenger service on any other line.

http://www.millburysutton.com/news/2012 ... ut_Ra.html
In South Central Massachusetts, we need to improve commuter rail services, perhaps by extending the Franklin Forge Park line over the revitalized Grafton and Upton Railroad to Hopedale, and looking at passenger service on the Providence and Worcester Railroad. We also need to develop bus routes from Southbridge to Worcester.
  by Lentinula
With Worcester making a comeback, and this providing a link to the NEC and access to NYC without backtracking to Boston I wonder if the idea is worth revisiting?

Or maybe in conjunction with increased inland route service. A midway connector.
  by shadyjay
I still think that such a service should operate over the ex-CV trackage and build a connector in Norwich over to the N&W to reach Plainfield and Worcester. You'd eliminate having to go through the sub base (which is most likely troublesome for regular passenger op's) and you could also have a platform at Mohegan Sun. Since the lines on both sides of the river are under common ownership (NECR and P&W both part of G&W), it makes sense, if its feasible to build a connection at Norwich between the two, as one was present back in the day.
  by Engineer Spike
With the popularity of Amtrak Downeaster service, maybe there might not be that much population along the Norwich and Worcester, but could be a precursor to revival of the State of Maine, East Wind.....
  by Lentinula
shadyjay wrote:you could also have a platform at Mohegan Sun.
I could see that generating some weekend service from Worcester certainly.

There are plenty of people in Worcester looking to get to NYC and this would be a great connection avoiding the huge and expensive backtrack to Boston. Since its been firmly decided that sending more than 2 trains a day from Worcester to Springfield is beyond the imaginable limitations of thew universe, this really seems like a golden idea to me. Plus I like New London.
  by Backshophoss
G&W has not committed eithor way on passenger service on it's lines ,"Boston Surface RR" and this plan are now where near ready for
prime time presentations to the G&W,NECR,and P&W board of directors

The better option is to keep pressing CSX to allow the the return of Amtrak's "Inland Route" services via Springfield-Worcester-Boston !
AS it is CSX is retreating from Boston metro area freight service.
  by QB 52.32
Total mis-read of CSX to suggest pressing for return of the Inland Route service. There's no retreat from Boston metro area freight service but instead the biggest and most valuable freight franchise by multiples than the next guy. The problem is that without double-tracking Worcester-Springfield, inland route passenger service interferes with CSX's high-value, service-sensitive trains. That's why the service was suspended back in the early 2000's. As recently as in an 8/18/18 Worcester Telegram article their area government affairs officer made clear new passenger service west of Worcester without capacity improvements is a non-starter.
  by BostonUrbEx
A trip between WOR and NYP via PVD could be as little as 4 riding hours if WOR to PVD runs can be done in 1 hour, while via SPG is at least 4.75 riding hours based on current run times. I imagine being time competitive with those options while routing via New London would be incredibly draining on limited resources best spent elsewhere, I'd think. There's at least commuter markets served by WOR-SPG and WOR-PVD, not just the intercity component. Path of least resistance and best return on investment at this time for improving commuting and intercity options for Worcester right now is establishing a PVD-WOR service, in my opinion.
  by Lentinula
I'd take WOR-PVD in a heartbeat, but a quick check over at the BSRR thread does not inspire optimism...

A triangle of connections between New England's 3 largest cities should be a no brainer... but then again i feel the same way about MA's 3 largest cities...

This is off topic, but could they punch a rail line down the middle of 84 WOR-Hartford? Seems like more work than double tracking the inland route or running via New London but its an idea.
  by Backshophoss
Don't see any REAL progress on the "Boston Surface RR" plans,may have to drive a hard bargain to get G&W(P&W,NECR) to play along.
CSX is still retreating from the Boston metro area,only keeping the linehaul freight/Intermodal,and pitching the local freights to
the area shortlines.
EHH is gone but the hedge funds still rule the corporate HQ in Florida!
CSX just refuses to play nice with ANY passenger operator!