• Provocative Railway Age Article 9/10/20: "Private Sector Investment in NEC Operations?"

  • 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 mtuandrew
 
Greg Moore wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:22 am So far most of you have covered most of my thoughts.
Why Alexandria for example. I can't think of a single reason to do so. Now you're that much further from Ivy City Yard etc.
Alexandria because:
a) you get the important stations of Reagan National Airport & Crystal City (meaning the Pentagon and Amazon HQ2) as well as Old Town, a decent commuter destination, and
b) I’m assuming these guys plan to have newer rolling stock and therefore they think they don’t need a big service facility. Maybe they don’t, if they have manufacturer support. If that’s the case they probably think they could lease NS Van Dorn Yard in part or full. Or maybe they just don’t know what they’d do.
BandA wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:17 pm Their approach is kind of offensive, asking for the keys to the crown jewels to just be handed over to them. Unlike FEC/Brightline, where they actually built something, monetized their real estate, sold the assets, then asked the state for free land to build more.

I've been reading these forums for years now. I should put up a website and draw some maps and mark them "Intellectual Property of Me". What software should I use for drawing maps?
Several states even - MA, NY, NJ, PA, and VA for starts, and the Federal government too. At least when Rick Scott (former governor and current senator from FL) canceled Florida HSR and then personally invested in Brightline, he had the decency to not then ask for the state to build and maintain the rails too.

And I vote either Corel Draw or MS Paint :P
  by Rockingham Racer
 
BandA wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:38 am
Jeff Smith wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:40 pm Some familiar concepts in the article that have been discussed here before, including --snip-- and inland service to BON and beyond via Grand Junction. --snip-- No discussion on modes: catenary; DC (over/under); and diesel. --snip-- I like the inland idea as well, but is there an alternative to Grand Junction?
The alternatives to Grand Junction are:

#1 - going north from Worcester on the P&W / PanAM "Worcester Main" skipping existing Framingham Station, proposed Kendall Square Cambridge (Cambridge-MIT), skipping North Station, connecting at existing Anderson-Woburn Station. Requires upgrades to freight-only track and bypassing Boston, not very good.

#2 - North-South Raillink tunnel between BOS-BON. $3B minimum and will be >20 years in the future as state is not behind this.

Grand Junction - Requires neutralizing wealthy, connected NIMBYS who don't want three busy grade crossings to be blocked for a couple minutes at a time. MIT Acoustic & Vibration Laboratory is supposedly next to the tracks, would have to be relocated. A signal system is needed, crossing upgrades & timing changes. Awkward move or backing move through Boston Engine Terminal / yard, or construction of a Wye or most likely a flyover. BON requires reversing direction therefore a full brake test. Intriguing and desirable for Amtrak & MBTA.

Amtrak Thruway Bus between BOS & BON - that could be done in conjunction with local bus service or existing corporate or casino shuttle services, also been talked about.

All Inland Regionals, Grand Junction, and Downeaster would have to run diesel mode north/east of New Haven. So dual-mode locomotives or old-school engine change at New Haven if thru-running through NYP is important.
#1 above is slightly off. The Worcester Main is owned by Pan Am. [PWRR does have a line going to Gardner for interchange with PAR.] The route would be the old State of Maine Express Route: Worcester, Ayer, Lowell, Lawrence, then east to Maine for the rest of the way. There is no connection at Woburn/Anderson. It's just a stop on the Lowell Line. The proposal has been discussed ad nauseam in another thread here.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I used to serve at Fort Devens; I know Ayer has MBTA service, right? So basically, it's getting from War-Chester (go ahead, say that when you're in the area, Massholes will ignore you LOL) to Ayer and Leo-Minster (aka Lemonminster lol). Does the Ayer line serve BON?
  by rcthompson04
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:13 pm
rcthompson04 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:10 pm The Keystone and SEPTA proposals are a joke. The Harrisburg to Philly only trains do open some other possibilities like running to Dover DE or maybe back to Reading if you are using diesels or dual modes.
Reading, now that would be interesting.
I am sure Norfolk Southern wouldn’t like the idea, but I would suggest running a diesels down the Harrisburg Line making stops at Wyomissing, Reading, Exeter, Pottstown, Royersford, Phoenixville and King of Prussia. I would entice NS to play ball by paying to address all the road at grade crossings on the entire Harrisburg line, which would allow them to increase speeds.
  by jonnhrr
 
I guess I don't understand the purpose of the diversion in Philly via the ex RDG/SEPTA West Trenton Line and CSX. If I was going to do it at all it would be to add one suburban station stop in the north of Philadelphia suburbs such as either Langhorne or Jenkintown. The other stops e.g. the other of Langhorne/Jenkintown or Wayne Jct. are not worth slowing down your intercity service for. Is it really worth all that trouble just to avoid someone having to do a relatively easy transfer from SEPTA to Amtrak at 30th St.?
  by conductorchris
 
A lot of these ideas for new stops represent a philosophy of making the train station more local to population (ie, the 100,000 or so people in Alexandria) or employment/business destinations (ie, Amazon in Crystal City). This stands in contrast to Amtrak's approach of letting a station serve a region with people traveling some distance (by car, generally) to get to the station.

So far as I know, there is no real data on the ridership value of a more local approach. Amtrak says it costs $75 per stop (that's each time a train stops, not the cost over a year) in terms of extra fuel use and crewtime. Not sure if they include revenue NOT earned due to slower train time or the cost of assets sitting at the train station. Obviously that means a train stop needs to at least earn the cost of it's impact, but that isn't hard. The harder question is if the train station brings NEW riders or just DISPLACES riders from nearby stops. I tend to think Amtrak has got it wrong and these guys have it right, but we're just playing theoretical games given the lack of hard data.

Christopher
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:45 am I used to serve at Fort Devens; I know Ayer has MBTA service, right? So basically, it's getting from War-Chester (go ahead, say that when you're in the area, Massholes will ignore you LOL) to Ayer and Leo-Minster (aka Lemonminster lol). Does the Ayer line serve BON?
Yes. Going with that alternative, you probably know that a change of directions willl be necessary at BON.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:45 am I used to serve at Fort Devens; I know Ayer has MBTA service, right? So basically, it's getting from War-Chester (go ahead, say that when you're in the area, Massholes will ignore you LOL) to Ayer and Leo-Minster (aka Lemonminster lol). Does the Ayer line serve BON?
Per a friendly "Masshole" to a "Baltimoron" it's "Wooster" and "Lemon-ster". :-D
  by Jeff Smith
 
Oh I learned EXACTLY how they're pronounced! Wooster, Lemonster, but Dor-chester, not "Dooster".

but

  by ExCon90
 
Another disadvantage of the SEPTA routing is that--at least pre-pandemic--30th St. to Jenkintown is chockablock with commuter trains in peak hours (with only two tracks east of Wayne Jct.), which would require a stop at Temple U as an alternative to creeping along on a Stop-and-Proceed while the train ahead slows down and makes that stop. No doubt passengers from Jenkintown and Langhorne would use a one-seat service to NYP, but it would certainly be an annoyance to someone trying to get from Harrisburg or Lancaster to New York quickly. There's also the expense of getting back onto the NEC west of Morrisville (I suppose the alignment which enabled the Reading to serve U. S. Steel's Fairless Works would be available), but hey, that's pocket change compared to the cost of the other stuff they're suggesting.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
I can't imagine that one or two trains a day via the Grand Junction to BON wouldn't be tolerable to the people of Cambridge, especially if they don't stop on the GJ. They wouldn't block auto traffic even as long as the traffic lights in Central Square do. A NYP - SPG - WOR - FRA - BON - WOB - HHL - POR routing ought to be easily done.
  by STrRedWolf
 
andegold wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:55 pm Wouldn't the point of the SEPTA route around Philly be to avoid a change of direction on the Keystones? Elimination of cab cars?
True but it flies in the face of pre-pandemic rail traffic. If it was that busy, it's going to be that busy again in a few years time. You don't have the room then, so why try now?

Well... that plus where track/platform layout may not be conductive to a lengthy stop, swapping out crew, and that the terminals they're proposing need major beefing up for the role...
  by jonnhrr
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:16 pm Oh I learned EXACTLY how they're pronounced! Wooster, Lemonster, but Dor-chester, not "Dooster".
From what I remember when I lived there it's more like "Dot-chistah".

As for the Keystone reroute via Jenkintown, it also doesn't make sense to stop at 2 stations in Center City. You have to stop at 30th street but both Suburban and Jefferson? Although as noted above you would be stuck behind SEPTA locals making those stops anyway so you might as well.