• Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Line)

  • 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

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  by shadyjay
 
CVRA7 wrote:The routing should be changed to the Conn River Line, plain and simple. This routing is far more direct, and Pan Am maintains the line to Portland in good shape because they are compensated. The NECR certainly does not maintain their trackage to the standards of predecessor CV, it seems every year I hear of service suspensions due to track problems on the NECR. Sorry Mr Weaver, routing the train to New London via the NECR would just add to the annual slow downs.
While Pan-Am today may maintain the Portland line in good shape, it took some 10-15+ years of fighting to get that problem solved. Then Guilford was complaining about every little thing, from the thickness of the ballast, to the speeds, to the rail weight, etc. It was only when the Downeasters finally started running when Pan-Am got their act together. Now this line sees the best on-time performance anywhere on the Amtrak system, with the fastest growing ridership.

Unless someone steps in, I don't see a quick "Conn River Line" reroute or upgrade. Last I heard in Rumourpace, Pan-Am wants to discontinue signals, and that speeds are down to 5-10 mph. There's a lot of work to do on the line, something which I don't see Pan-Am doing quickly. Now if the line were to be seized and given to a different operator....maybe. Too bad Amtrak didn't also seize the line back in 1988 and sell it to then-CV like they did to the line in VT & NH.

I still think the best interim solution would be to go down the NECR the entire way to New London. While there may be a few slow orders, you'd be moving at least, off CSX, no more backup move, and only one diesel required (so no complaining over using 2 units). Don't know for sure what the conditions of tracks are down there south of Palmer but I don't think they're in horrible shape.


Regarding the northern terminus of the Vermonter, when I boarded at ESX, there were but a handful of passengers on board from SAB. I see no point in running up there... NECR would have to rehab the Burlington Branch - doesn't even have to be up to 59 MPH but 40 would be ok for the few miles. To solve the bus to Montreal problem, have the Vermont Transit buses make a stop at Union Station (their main depot is about a mile south of there anyway) and there you go - they can stop at SAB and Montreal. As for servicing, I'm sure Amtrak can strike a deal to service the train in the VTR yard at Burlington just south of Union Station. VTR already services the Ethan Allen I'm assuming further to the south.

If you could bring the Vermonter right into Burlington, restore the bus connection, and somehow up the speeds and reduce trip time in Mass, then this train would have a booming ridership. Oh yeah, and PROMOTE IT!
  by amtrakhogger
 
I thought that PAR had shut off the signal system on the Conn River
line north of Springfield.

  by gprimr1
 
I don't think PAR should get a free ride on fixing the line at all. Why try to fight them?

What I propose doing is seizing the Conn River line, continuing the Vermonter on it's current route, and sending the Springfield shuttles to Northampton MA. 2 shuttles will meet the Vermonter at Brattleboro, and allow passengers to transfer for Northampton.

  by Dick H
 
In order to seize a line, Amtrak has to be actually running a train on that line, such as was done in Vermont, where Amtrak siezed the Guilford line from East Northfield MA to Winsor VT and then sold it to the Central Vermont.

Since there is no Amtrak train running on the Conn River Guilford line between Springfield and East Northfield, I do not think the seizure law would apply.

About ten years ago, when the discussions had begun to get serious on running the Downeaster service, a speaker at a NARP meeting surmised that Guilford;s main opposition to the Downeaster was not that it would interfere with their freight trains, but that once the Downeasters starting running, the line would be subject to seizure, if it was not maintained for passenger standards. So far, Guilford has maintained the track pretty well, with some occasional slow orders, which most are repaired fairly quickly. In fact, last fall, there was an outside contractor brought in to do welding and other needed work, some of which had languised for a while and Guilford did some extensive tamping between the MA/NH state line and Portland.

Dick H

  by NaDspr
 
Brian -
One small correction....Federal law requires cab signals for speeds greater than 79 mph.
  by R3toNEC
 
I am thinking about taking the Vermonter from Washington to Philly or Wilmington. I know from coming from NY, the Vermonter is generally late. But does it generally depart WAS on time and arrive at PHL on time?

  by acela 2036
 
If your going from Washington, then why would you take just that train? You can easily hop on an acela or a regional train.

  by R3toNEC
 
I like the arrival time in Philly (that is, provided the train makes that arrival time), which is why I have posed the question.

  by gprimr1
 
Since it is beginning it's journey in Amtrak territory and never leaving Amtrak territory, it should be pretty much on time unless there is an issue with the consist.

  by R3toNEC
 
That's what I figured, I was just wondering if anyone knew historically whether or not there are consist issues which preclude the train from leaving on time.

  by gprimr1
 
I'm sure there have been. Law of Averages says it's bound to happen but I think you have good odds of getting underway on time.

www.amtrakdelays.com allows you to track on time stats for any Amtrak train over a period of days.

  by MudLake
 
When was the Connecticut River Line last used for Amtrak service and why was service moved to the NECR? Thanks.

  by CNJ
 
MudLake wrote:When was the Connecticut River Line last used for Amtrak service and why was service moved to the NECR? Thanks.
I don't remember the exact date, but I know its been a while.

I had thought originally there was a move underway to have the line (purchased after being condemned) from Guilford and it would then become an Amtrak owned route.

  by shadyjay
 
MudLake wrote:When was the Connecticut River Line last used for Amtrak service and why was service moved to the NECR? Thanks.
IIRC it was 1986 or 1987. The Montrealer was cancelled and not reinstated until 1989. Poor track conditions on B&M between Springfield MAand Windsor VT were to blame, with the entire route a 10mph slow order. Amtrak seized the line from B&M parent Guilford between the MA/VT border and Windsor and sold it to the CV, which then upgraded the line. Guilford fought this in court (surprise) that their line was given to their competitor. In 1989, the Montrealer was reinstated but on an all-CV route from New London CT north to Vermont and Montreal.

I did not know this, but in the book by Solomon/MBI called "Amtrak", it shows that the Montrealer for a time was using the reverse-route via Springfield and Palmer shortly before the train was cancelled altogether, and later reinstated.

As far as Amtrak seizing and acquiring the Conn River Line in Mass today, I can't see that happening. The circumstances are different today. It's not like it was in the 1980s with Amtrak service already running on the route. I don't think Amtrak has the finances to seize a route they don't even run on, even though they'd like to run on it. However, if they sold it to NECR, I'm sure they might be interested in it, so that they can connect with the CSO. Maybe then P&W would want the NECR in Mass & CT. If Amtrak or the feds gave NECR the money to upgrade the line to pax train speeds, then perhaps.

  by CNJ
 
shadyjay wrote:As far as Amtrak seizing and acquiring the Conn River Line in Mass today, I can't see that happening. The circumstances are different today. It's not like it was in the 1980s with Amtrak service already running on the route. I don't think Amtrak has the finances to seize a route they don't even run on, even though they'd like to run on it. However, if they sold it to NECR, I'm sure they might be interested in it, so that they can connect with the CSO. Maybe then P&W would want the NECR in Mass & CT. If Amtrak or the feds gave NECR the money to upgrade the line to pax train speeds, then perhaps.
Perhaps an arrangement could be done in conjunction with the States of Massachusetts and Vermont to make this happen.
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