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.