• 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 BandA
How busy are the roads along the New-London-WOR route? Is the rail paralleling highway or local roads? Is there a bus service presently? When was the last time passenger service ran? What did the passenger service look like in say 1950 (when there were fewer people but greater use of railroads; sort of a potential "high water mark") What is the likely MAS?
  by BandA
Closing the Commuter Rail gap from New London to Wickford, RI seems like a good idea. Is there enough potential traffic?
  by Scalziand
BandA wrote: Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:39 am How busy are the roads along the New-London-WOR route? Is the rail paralleling highway or local roads?
The route parallels the I395 highway, which is generally regarded as the least congested in the state.
  by The EGE
New London - Worcester makes sense primarily as an intercity connector. Most of the density in eastern CT is right along the corridor, and it gives the Worcester area a faster connection to the NEC than via Boston. You might even get some commuters from Webster and Oxford into Worcester or Boston. But no, you're not going to get commuter traffic in southeastern CT. Hitting Pfizer and EB would require using the old Groton Wharf spur (which hasn't seen passenger service since 1889!) and wouldn't allow those trips to connect to New London.

New London–Worcester service lasted till A-Day, running a single RDC. I-395 was completed from East Lyme to US-6 in 1958, but the remainder north to Worcester wasn't completed until the late 60s and 70s.
1966 service: 2 daily round trips, 2:08 travel time (34 mph average). Intermediate stops at Norwich, Jewett City, Plainfield, Danielson, Putnam, Webster, and Auburn.
1955 service: 3 daily round trips, 1:51 travel time (39 mph average). Same intermediates.
Local passenger service ended in 1928, leaving only the Maine trains with few intermediate stops. Those were rerouted over the P&W in 1946; local service returned in 1952.

P&W maintains the line to 286k, and probably thus a better track class than the New Haven ever did after the Depression. I wouldn't be surprised if modern service could get down to the 1:40 range. A few daily round trips timed for Northeast Regional connections, and it would probably hold its own.
  by BandA
How would WOR-New London-NHV compare to WOR-SPG-HFD-NHV? With I-395 nearby sounds like it's isn't time competitive for short-haul passengers.
  by The EGE
Comparing apples-to-apples using April 1955 timetables (New Haven, NYC):

NHV-SPG: 1:14 to 1:43, typical 1:30
SPG-WOR: 1:02 to 1:50, typical 1:15
Typical through schedules with a transfer at SPG were about 2:45

NHV-NLC: 0:52 to 1:20, typical 1:00
NLC-WOR: 1:51
Typical through schedules with a transfer at NLC were about 2:50

Current typical times are 1:30 NHV-SPG, 1:20 SPG-WOR, and 0:50 (Amtrak) to 1:15 (SLE) NHV-NLC - comparable to the 1955 schedules.

So, it's about a wash on travel times. Going via Springfield will always have better ridership because of the larger cities, but NLC-WOR would probably be a respectable secondary route with decent connections at both ends. The similar travel times would actually be good for connections; for example:

A northbound Regional arrives at NHV at 11:50 and leaves at noon.
An Inland Route train also departs at noon, reaching Springfield at 1:30 and proceeding east.
The Regional reaches at NLC at 12:50 and continues eastward.
A shuttle train departs NLC at 1:00, reaching Worcester at 2:45.
The Inland Route train also reaches Worcester at 2:45. It takes on connecting passengers from the shuttle and continues eastward, reaching Boston before 4:00.