• Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

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  by lordsigma12345
 
BandA wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:33 pm Why would you want an Amtrak station in Chester? Apparently it's about half-way between Pittsfield and Springfield. Looks relatively inexpensive to set up, and since there are few people in the area only a small parking area would be required. The train has to slow down for the curve and steep grade anyway, so might as well stop, right? It's in the middle of the Berkshires, also half way between Lee and Westfield interchanges, accessible basically by US-20 only, unless you built a new Blandford interchange. Chester has the only original 1840's Western Railroad wooden station, but it has been moved away from the tracks & turned into a museum. It is quite large as it was also a dinner stop.
Chester is being studied because the squeaky wheel got the grease. The Chester station museum folks were very vocal spoke loudly during the study meeting and successfully got a stop added in. Amazingly Westfield is not included even though it would probably be a halfway decent infill stop particularly with a university in town.
  by lordsigma12345
 
BandA wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:34 am Why would CTDOT (presumably with the help of MassDOT) run and subsidize Inland Regionals? Let Amtrak pick up the deficit.

Of course passengers prefer coaches that are more comfortable, better & roomier seats.
They are subsidizing it now to Springfield. Would assume that an inland extension to Boston would be looked at like the Virginia services as a state extension off the northeast corridor (regardless of the fact that it goes to Boston and inland trains ran in the past.) Whether you'd ever see trains traveling the full New York to Boston inland route is anyone's guess. I think a more realistic first start would be extending some 400 series trains to Boston. The inland route isn't part of the Northeast Corridor so I have to imagine any service would be considered section 209 service.
  by BandA
 
Springfield is ~~5 miles north of the state line, Windsor Locks is ~~8 miles south of state line, road distance is 15 miles. CT wants the Hartford Line more than MA does. Besides Springfield providing union station, is MA contributing anything to the effort? Are ticket prices adjusted to reduce the subsidy to MA? I've read MA still needs to provide some layover upgrades? And perhaps double track upgrades?
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Chester could easily be a stop, I suppose, but make it an "F" stop. I, too, am surprised that Westfield is not in the mix to get a future station stop.
  by Safetee
 
the "thinking" is If everbody in westfield got on, there wouldn't be any room left for the people they really want to board in springfield. which is exactly why chester is such an ideal stop because even at xmas time they'll never board more than three in any direction. And two of those will be squirrels.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Don't you think that the "thinking" should be that anyone who would like to use the service should be able to do so? I do. Some of the people who would board in Westfield would probably have to board in Springfield anyway if there were no stop in Westfield. Bottom line: make the train all reserved, and the problem is solved.
  by lordsigma12345
 
BandA wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:31 amAnd perhaps double track upgrades?
It's fully double tracked north of the state line except, technically, the final short section of track that connects between Sweeney Interlocking and Spring interlocking. I would suspect CT may want some help from MA for some of the remaining double tracking work north of WNL and possibly help with whatever long term project is done to improve/replace the Connectiuct River bridge. That work all lies in Connecticut, but largely benefits Springfield.
  by BandA
 
MassDOT isn't going to pay for infrastructure in CT, especially on a ROW owned by Amtrak. Probably roundup the congress-critters from both states to get a grant, the remainder however Amtrak normally handles capital expenses on partially state-supported routes. I read somewhere on these forums that MA was supposed to provide some layover facilities that hasn't happened yet, so fewer trains run to Springfield. Don't know if these facilities would be used for East-West trains also, but that would make sense.
  by Red Wing
 
Westfield makes sense to me for a stop, Chester no. I feel something halfway between Chester and Pittsfield should be used. Chester is close enough to Westfield and there is no exit off the Pike between Westfield and Lee.
  by Train60
 
Red Wing wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:35 pm Westfield makes sense to me for a stop, Chester no. I feel something halfway between Chester and Pittsfield should be used. Chester is close enough to Westfield and there is no exit off the Pike between Westfield and Lee.
The folks from Chester (and Palmer) showed up at every single meeting of MassDOT's East-West Rail meeting. No one from Westfield ever showed up. The city even has a seat on the Advisory Committee and when someone did show up, once or twice, they never said a word in support of a stop in Westfield.

This shows why vocal public support for passenger rail is critical. Just taking talking about it on Facebook and forums like this doesn't move the needle at all.

If East-West Rail moves forward in all likelihood Westfield will be added as an infill station at some stage, because of course it makes total sense. Its absurd that MassDOT didn't even consider it, but that just goes to show how interested MassDOT is/was in pulling off a truly objective study.
Last edited by Train60 on Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I watched an advisory committee on this project study last week which revealed some information. MassDOT mentioned that this service will absolutely have nothing to do with the MBTA as the service ventures outside the service area jurisdiction of the T and this corridor is too long to look at it as a commuter rail system. This will be developed as a state supported intercity rail corridor either through Amtrak or with a state subcontracted operator - it's possible Keolis could be an option as an operator but this will absolutely not be under the auspices of the T.
  by NH2060
 
I'd imagine it would be through Amtrak since they already serve the region via the Lake Shore Limited and -barring any equipment and crew constraints- have the resources to make it happen. They are certainly the de facto operator of any New Haven-Springfield-Boston "Inland Corridor" service.

But the prospect of another operator begs the question of could we see more "MassDOT" blue and white equipment... :wink:
Last edited by NH2060 on Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by CRail
 
The logo at the bottom of this print kind of blows the whole “out of district” argument. I bet this whole thing is largely to stifle the Berkshire’s favorite gripe that they have to pay for the T which doesn’t go anywhere near them.

There has to be SOME reason all of the T’s old equipment is getting MassDOT branded and mothballed, and MassDOT has already signaled to ConnDOT they want the MBBs back.

The T and all the RTAs are divisions of MassDOT anyways so it really doesn’t make any difference. So operating expenses west of Wachusett come from a different expense account and the station signs turn blue all of a sudden... it’s no different than the CCRTA (again, still MassDOT) paying for purple trains to Hyannis.
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