• 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: CRail, sery2831

  by BandA
 
EDIT - it was mentioned twice under Amtrak threads. post1605230.html#p1605230....jaunt to Springfield Tuesday by the governator, congressman, officials, and Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. Here is a link to the news conference https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/ha ... west-rail/Here is another similar report based on Statehouse News Service reporting https://www.wwlp.com/news/massachusetts ... ersection/
BOSTON (SHNS) – Federal and state officials agreed Tuesday that Springfield can play an important role in the revitalization of passenger rail service in America, and Gov. Charlie Baker pledged to use his remaining time in office to put the long-discussed East-West Rail expansion project in position to benefit from the new federal infrastructure law.
  by mbrproductions
 
I'm surprised this hasn't been moved to the Amtrak forum yet.
  by BandA
 
This all started with a proposal to extend MBTA Commuter Rail west to SPG. The fact that the state wants to avoid paying for Commuter Rail service and have Amtrak operate everything is interesting. But the overall topic includes MassDOT/MBTA projects.
  by lordsigma12345
 
BandA wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:16 pm This all started with a proposal to extend MBTA Commuter Rail west to SPG. The fact that the state wants to avoid paying for Commuter Rail service and have Amtrak operate everything is interesting. But the overall topic includes MassDOT/MBTA projects.
It’s not about the state not wanting to pay for any type of service. It’s that this corridor isn’t going to qualify for federal transit funding from the FTA which is what the MBTA writes grants for. It’s not going to be able to get the funding you need for commuter rail projects. MassDOT also wants to keep the MBTA focused on Metro Boston transit and doesn’t want to expand its mission into intercity rail in the western part of the state - it wants a setup more in line with the Downeaster. Intercity rail and Amtrak is the most feasible way we’re going to get rail service on this corridor especially now given the opportunities in the IIJA. The MBTA really has never had anything to do with the studies at any point. I think it was placed here just because people assumed it would because they run service to Worcester. Even the previous NNEIRI study was intercity rail oriented. If there was a proposal to extend the T west it wasn’t recent.
  by The EGE
 
Any service west of Worcester was inevitably going to end up being Amtrak, just by the nature of the service. Amtrak has existing rights to run on the B&A west of Worcester, MBTA does not. Amtrak has existing agreements to use the stations at Springfield, Pittsfield, and Albany; MBTA does not. Amtrak uses intercity coaches designed for routes of several routes; MBTA has coaches designed for routes not much over an hour. Amtrak can run anywhere as long as it's funded; MBTA can only serve in-district communities (plus Rhode Island per the Pilgrim Partnership.) Amtrak can through-route Inland Route trains to New Haven; MBTA could not.

None of that is to insult the MBTA - it simply was never created to be an intercity agency and has no need to be.
  by west point
 
Hartford to Wocester / BOS is a real possibility. In the past had to work in Hartford. Needed to go to BOS often but the train back to New Haven then BOS a real pain with always a ::30 to 2:00 connection at New Haven.
  by BandA
 
I'm assuming the difference between an intercity rail coach and a Commuter Rail coach is 2+2 seating vs 2+3 seating, and better seat pitch. And more power outlets. To convert to intercity you just dust off some old comfy Budd or Bombardier seats and wire more 110V outlets.

From CSX's perspective, they are required to negotiate with Amtrak and can tell any state agencies to "talk to the hand". Also, Amtrak blanket liability agreement is an advantage that the T probably doesn't provide. But they just assured the STB as part of their merger that they would play nice with passenger services, so going back on that would be actionable, and unfair.

MBTA can't provide service outside their district (at least without being reimbursed). New Bedford and Fall River are not in their district. Oops!

There is nothing inevitable about choosing Amtrak over MBTA. SPG station is owned by Springfield (although I don't know who owns the platform). Amtrak owns RTE which is used by the T, the T owns BOS & BBY & BON which Amtrak uses. "Hey Pittsfield, can we provide train service to your station?" "No, we only allow Amtrak" ALB is owned by the local transit authority, not by Amtrak.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Not really - the primary difference between commuter rail and intercity rail is how it’s funded. Amtrak is funded by grants from the FRA. Commuter rail networks receive funding from the FTA - which has different requirements to qualify. The CTrail service between Springfield and new haven is called commuter rail by most because it uses commuter rail rolling but is in fact intercity service - due to how it was funded. You can have as many frequencies as you want or as low fares as you want with intercity rail - it’s all about how much you want to pay. It was a decision by MassDOT - they don’t want the MBTA involved with this they said it out right in their governing paper on the subject. They want to keep MBTA focused on Metro Boston and outlying areas / they feel the western part of the state does not qualify. Ultimately behind the scenes it’s likely about the money. The infrastructure and jobs act has billions for intercity rail projects - so that is likely a major factor in their decision making. Commuter rail out to Worcester is already a long haul - it would be too long. Intercity express service with less stops makes more sense here.
Last edited by CRail on Sat Aug 27, 2022 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed. Do not use the "Quote" button as a "Reply" button.
  by Robert Paniagua
 
Yes, thats right, lordsigma12345. I'd prefer riding in a comfortable Amtrak Amfleet II coach or even a sleeping car booth to travel to Springfield or Albany rather than ab MBTA Commuter coach for that long trip
  by HenryAlan
 
I think the limit for commuter rail type seating is about 90 minutes. Worcester, Fitchburg, Wickford Junction, those are all destinations that are right at the limit for comfortable riding on CR seats. Anywhere further, and some other equipment needs to be the standard.
  • 1
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20