• Taking Amtrak to the Berkshires (and an alternative)

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Greg Moore
 
I suspect you highly overestimate the fans.
On the inaugural run (which is when I'd expect the most fans) my family and I represented 50% of the 6 folks who boarded at Rensselaer (and we spoke with the 4th who I believe was from the Empire State Passenger Rail group and 2 others may have been reporters for the inaugural run).

So I suspect most of the 50 are folks actually going to the Berkshires.
  by cle
 
Chatham is mentioned in the Connect plan, and presumably the Lake Shore could stop there too. Could be a good railhead for the area (isn't that train also the only non-stop at Hudson?) heading in each direction - it's a popular part of the world to visit and for second homes. Covers Southern Berkshires, and other places like Hillsdale, the 'fancy' new Catamount... can see it being well used.
  by markhb
 
cle wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:27 am Chatham is mentioned in the Connect plan, and presumably the Lake Shore could stop there too. Could be a good railhead for the area (isn't that train also the only non-stop at Hudson?) heading in each direction - it's a popular part of the world to visit and for second homes. Covers Southern Berkshires, and other places like Hillsdale, the 'fancy' new Catamount... can see it being well used.
It is the Lake Shore Limited, after all. Personally I've wondered why it stops at Schenectady outside of the school year since ALB is only 20 miles away and on the same local bus service.
  by STrRedWolf
 
markhb wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 2:46 pm It is the Lake Shore Limited, after all. Personally I've wondered why it stops at Schenectady outside of the school year since ALB is only 20 miles away and on the same local bus service.
Compare bus vs train times. To go from Schenectady station to Albany central is 50 minutes by a "BRT" bus which probably has traffic, and you wait up to 40 minutes for it... or you grab the train, 24 minutes later you're on the other side of the Hudson and can grab one of two buses to get back into Albany proper, which only adds 10 minutes (with the down side of waiting for the train).

Or, put it another way, if you're going to NYC you have to wait up to 40 minutes for a "BRT" bus and connect with one of two other buses to get to ALB from SDY... and takes you about 1h11m according to Google. Or jump on a NYC bound train and save 40-ish minutes.
  by scratchyX1
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 5:39 pm
markhb wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 2:46 pm It is the Lake Shore Limited, after all. Personally I've wondered why it stops at Schenectady outside of the school year since ALB is only 20 miles away and on the same local bus service.
Compare bus vs train times. To go from Schenectady station to Albany central is 50 minutes by a "BRT" bus which probably has traffic, and you wait up to 40 minutes for it... or you grab the train, 24 minutes later you're on the other side of the Hudson and can grab one of two buses to get back into Albany proper, which only adds 10 minutes (with the down side of waiting for the train).

Or, put it another way, if you're going to NYC you have to wait up to 40 minutes for a "BRT" bus and connect with one of two other buses to get to ALB from SDY... and takes you about 1h11m according to Google. Or jump on a NYC bound train and save 40-ish minutes.
Oh, not even bronze BRT,it's like the Montgomery County Flash bus.
  by Arborwayfan
 
I assume the Lake Shore stops at Schenectady not mostly to get people from Schenectady to Albany-Rennselaer but to get people from Schenectady to New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Chicago, and intermediates. If, what, four or five more minutes tops added to a schedule of 18 hours or so can get passengers on board at Schenectady instead of making them ride 50 minutes on a city bus with their suitcases, that stop probably raises passengers counts and is worthwhile.

Limited is a historical holdover from the days when the Lake Shore Ltd was the fastest NY-Chicago train on the NYC. Now there are planes for people in a hurry between the endpoints, and it's the only train that goes the whole way, so it's more important to serve a few more intermediates than it is to go as fast as possible.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 7:36 am Limited is a historical holdover from the days when the Lake Shore Ltd was the fastest NY-Chicago train on the NYC. Now there are planes for people in a hurry between the endpoints, and it's the only train that goes the whole way, so it's more important to serve a few more intermediates than it is to go as fast as possible.
In 1954, the Lake Shore Limited was train #19. It left Grand Central at 5:15 PM, arriving in Chicago the next day at 11:00 AM. This was not a particularly fast schedule; the Commodore Vanderbilt, train #67, left Grand Central at 4:30 PM, but was scheduled to get to Chicago at 7:30 the next morning. The Tentieth Century Limited, train #25, was even faster, leaving Grand Central at 5 PM and arriving in Chicago at 7:45 AM. None of the three served Boston or the Berkshires in 1954; they were strictly NYC - Chicago trains.

Looking at the Boston - Albany timetable, the fastest train was actually #691, the Beeliner, which left Boston at 6:00 AM and arrived at Albany at 10:15. The more famous New England States, #27, did not stop at Albany, but it did stop at Pittsfield, as did the Beeliner. Interestingly, the Beeliner was faster Boston - Pittsfield (3 hours 8 minutes) than the States (3 hours 25 minutes) even though it made one more stop (Palmer) along the way..
  by BandA
 
The Beeliner utilized Budd RDC cars (aka DMU), taking advantage of their faster acceleration than push-pull trains. The branding was brilliant and would be excellent to mark fast express or limited service.
  by ExCon90
 
Not only that, I believe the Beeliners had only one or two cars and thus got out of a restrictive curve almost as soon as they got into it and could immediately resume track speed; given the number of restrictive curves on the B&A that time saving must have really added up. (I lived in Boston 1956-58, and 27 and 28 were nice long trains, but the longer the train the longer it takes to get all of it around the curve.)
  by cle
 
The Limited piece is a nice bit of heritage naming, but shouldn't have a bearing on stopping patterns in 2022. It's insane to me that it misses Hudson, and yet stops at Croton and Yonkers - both are much less important for Amtrak and arguably don't need it at all. Especially as MN connections mean s*it with the lack of integrated ticketing and the hellscape of independent operators we have. In a normal country, Croton at least, would matter as an interchange.
  by daybeers
 
I bet it merely adopted the stopping pattern of the Empire Service train it used to be. Hudson only has a platform on one track, requiring more track slots and dispatching work. Not defending the sometimes seemingly odd stopping patterns on the Empire Service, but just providing a possible reason.
  by cle
 
Yep Hudson definitely needs a rebuild of some kind. Tricky as it's very heritage and on a huge curve - but it's very busy and a Rhinecliff build/approach would be fast better.
  by Ridgefielder
 
cle wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:27 am Chatham is mentioned in the Connect plan, and presumably the Lake Shore could stop there too. Could be a good railhead for the area (isn't that train also the only non-stop at Hudson?) heading in each direction - it's a popular part of the world to visit and for second homes. Covers Southern Berkshires, and other places like Hillsdale, the 'fancy' new Catamount... can see it being well used.
The thing is that, because of the big loop south that the B&A takes in order to gain altitude out of the Hudson Valley, Chatham is actually quite close to Hudson. Its only 13 1/2 miles between the two on a road that's almost dead-straight.

In the old days Chatham was an important stop not because of the local passenger load per se but because it was the junction between the B&A, the Harlem Division south to NYC (which served Hillsdale directly) and the Rutland "Corkscrew" coming down from Lebanon Springs. Not to mention the B&A's own long-abandoned branch between Chatham and Hudson.

I just don't see the case for being that important in the year 2022.
  by cle
 
Chatham is mentioned in the CONNECT plan as a station though, that's the only reason I'm mentioning it. It's not a fantasy entirely.

You're right, it covers a similar (large, popular, dynamic) catchment to Hudson - but it could potentially have a different purpose, i.e. E/W traffic, Hudson being firmly N/S (although of course it has Buffalo etc trains).

I can't see tons of folks using it on the Flyer itself to get to NYC though - to travel up to A/R and then back down to Hudson - very fair. But to Boston, it might be interesting.
  by Railjunkie
 
daybeers wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:02 pm I bet it merely adopted the stopping pattern of the Empire Service train it used to be. Hudson only has a platform on one track, requiring more track slots and dispatching work. Not defending the sometimes seemingly odd stopping patterns on the Empire Service, but just providing a possible reason.
The issue with Hudson is not the platform of which there are technically two we can work off both tracks. It is the way trains must be handled. There are two absolute signals on either side of the station CP 114 within the Hudson yard and CP 115 a holding signal north of the station for southbound trains only. At one time when we could get a signal into the station with another train there it was up to the crews or the dispatcher (mostly dispatcher) to work out the protection. Amtrak took that ability away after a few close calls, one of which I happened to be involved in. Nothing happened as the opposing train stopped. We both mentioned it to the MTO at the time who was a ex Hudson line train dispatcher. Soon their after things were changed.
  • 1
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8