• AMTRAK NEC: Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Valley Flyer

  • 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 Arlington
 
It isn't clear to me why a distanced based fare is called for here. The problem is that seats into NYP from the north are a scarce and valuable commodity. Cost per mile is not where the value of the trip comes from.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I think the ridership potential of east-west rail is equal to or could be greater than that of the current NHHS corridor and the Greenfield service and is a perfect corridor of the kind being proposed by present Amtrak management . While yes it comes with a much bigger cost than the Greenfield service, driving to Boston is miserable as is driving IN Boston and parking in Boston. The shuttles and greenfield train have huge competition from I91. Driving to New Haven and hopping on metro north isn’t that inconvenient and I would feel comfortable saying FAR more people from both western mass and metro Hartford do this over taking Amtrak or CTrail. I don’t and am a big supporter of the corridor BUT that doesn’t change that fact. Yes one could drive to Worcester and take the T but it is a bit out of the way than just driving direct (and you can be contending with Worcester traffic to get to the station.) this corridor has big potential - especially in a state like Massachusetts where people are looking for more sustainable ways to travel.

Plenty of Bus service is available now so the study doesn’t need to waste time looking at that. I don’t think many will be happy if that is the conclusion of the study. The study is including multiple alternatives including 90 minutes or less travel time. This is not simply a matter of reinstating some inland trains. The goal is to establish a service that is enough time to be competitive. While the fastest possibility would be ideal this service does not need to be faster than driving time at optimal times (no traffic times) as many corridors are not.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
There will probably be many people who use the shuttle trains from Greenfield who will be heading into the city for business meetings and there might be some who may use the trains to go sightseeing. There might be parents who will take their soon to be college children to visit schools in NYC as well as in Coastal Fairfield County. These new shuttle trains might attract people who live in the Knowledge Corridor region who might attend a concert or sporting event in either Springfield or Hartford. Of course, many concerts and sporting events start at the earliest in the middle of the day and many start in the early evening. They could take the shuttle train back but going south, they would probably have to either take a bus or the Vermonter.

Yes, people who live along the SPG Line will drive to New Haven to get MNR. As for driving along the Mass Pike to get to the Worcester T, that can be a little tricky with traffic but it is doable. People who live in the Philadelphia area on the PA side of the Delaware and even in Delaware drive to either Trenton or Hamilton to get NJT when they want to head to NYC. I think actually more people drive to Hamilton since just like taking the highways to get to Worcester Station and dealing with traffic, one traffic problem with driving to the Trenton Station from any major highway, whether if it is 95 which the closest that it passes the Trenton Station is Ewing, is that you have to take local roads for a few miles. Plus Trenton is not a safe city and many of the streets that one must take from 95 in Ewing to the Trenton Transit Center are very sketchy. I think people who live in and around Philadelphia will generally drive to Hamilton to get a NJT train since they don't have to travel too far off a highway. In fact, 95 becomes 295 very close to where it goes over the NEC in Hamilton.

Back to the topic of the original thread, I believe that New Haven Station is very close to highways.
  by east point
 
Lost track. Are all the slow orders to Greenfield removed from the line? Seem to remember that at one time several slow sections just north of Springfield?
  by lordsigma12345
 
I am not saying that I don’t think the service will have a decent amount of success, I’m just saying it has major competition with driving to stations to the south that have more train times. I guess I’m trying to make the point that I believe a SPG-BOS train would be a success even though one can drive to Worcester or Framingham, etc. for the same reason the Greenfield corridor makes sense even though it also has people who will still choose to drive further south.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Hopefully the slow orders can be lifted as much as possible between Springfield and Greenfield. I remember riding the Vermonter to NYC from St. Albans in October of 2015 and we were crawling along multiple sections of tracks that looked like could have been capable of faster speeds. If as many of those speed restrictions aren't eliminated, then most likely more people will drive further south for better train service. Even if speeds are improved between Greenfield and Springfield, there will be people who will continue to drive to Springfield for more options or to New Haven for a lot more and cheaper options. The advantage of taking Metro North, in addition to it being a cheaper option, is you arrive into a much nicer station in Midtown Manhattan, although in the short term, the brand new waiting room in the same building of the Farley Post office should be open.
  by daybeers
 
Arlington wrote:It isn't clear to me why a distanced based fare is called for here. The problem is that seats into NYP from the north are a scarce and valuable commodity. Cost per mile is not where the value of the trip comes from.
Seats into NYP are irrelavant here if we're talking about just Shuttles. Passengers will still have to connect in NHV to a NER or a MNR train. NHV-SPG is flat commuter rail buckets, so any train extended to GFD should be treated the same. It's absolutely ridiculous that it costs $12.75 SPG-NHV but on the Vermonter, GFD-NHV can cost anywhere from $26 to $51. If someone wants a one-seat ride, they have to pay the premium for the Vermonter because there are only so many seats on that train.

SPG-BOS service may be worth the cost if the travel time/taxpayer money ratio is acceptable, which, let's face it, will not be the case. Intercity buses are doing just fine for right now HFD-BOS and SPG-BOS. I do agree that business travelers generally don't take the bus, however, so I'm hoping the study will answer where people are driving to and from along the corridor. BOS-SPG-ALB service is certainly NOT feasible. Incredibly silly to spend whatever ridiculous amount of money to somewhat ease some curves SPG-ALB but even then, it won't be competitive with bus or driving.

I do think the Greenfield service will be successful, but of course those slow orders need to be lifted.

Why doesn't Amtrak just make NHV-SPG unreserved like the Keystones? That way any Amtrak ticket could be used on any Amtrak train. Instead, an Amtrak ticket can be used on only that Amtrak train but is accepted on board any CTrail train. CTrail tickets are accepted aboard any train period, but the senior/disabled and child fares are lower than Amtrak's. What?!?
  by Arlington
 
As I read the article, legislators were complaining about high fares on the Vermonter to NYP and were seconding in those complaints from Greenfield to NYP
  by lordsigma12345
 
Officially the study is looking at Pittsfield-Springfield-Boston and not Albany. The representative from Amtrak made the suggestion about considering having it terminate in Albany if its decided to make it an Amtrak service due to the yard facilities and potential to connect to other service. At this point that was just a suggestion - the corridor of study is PIT-SPG-BOS. I will say there seems to be a decent amount of support for at LEAST SPG-BOS. We'll see how the public meeting goes but the committee meeting had a decent amount of spectators and there is HUGE enthusiasm among the advisory committee members . The alternatives will be based around SPG-BOS travel times. I got the impression that SPG-BOS is where the majority of infrastructure investment would take place maybe they are figuring PIT-SPG would remain largely as it is now at present speeds. This probably makes sense as the current LSL travel time PIT-SPG is not terrible given that Pittsfield does not have direct freeway access. The current PIT-SPG travel time might be good enough if the SPG-BOS segment is a decent speed. The MassDOT head pointed out that just because the train may take a bit longer than NOMINAL driving time that people won't take it and that much of the time it will be less when traffic is congested.
  by lordsigma12345
 
daybeers wrote: Why doesn't Amtrak just make NHV-SPG unreserved like the Keystones? That way any Amtrak ticket could be used on any Amtrak train. Instead, an Amtrak ticket can be used on only that Amtrak train but is accepted on board any CTrail train. CTrail tickets are accepted aboard any train period, but the senior/disabled and child fares are lower than Amtrak's. What?!?
Even if they did go unreserved, they'd probably have to keep Amtrak transfers reserved - they can't afford to have northbound Amtrak passengers connecting in from Regionals or Acelas at NHV denied a seat on the Shuttle (also like the Keystone - The keystone service is reserved if you are connecting into the Keystone corridor from a reserved train such as taking it all the way in from NEC stops north of Philly.)
  by charlesriverbranch
 
Arlington wrote:A forum called Railroad.net is not going to get a representative sample of mode choice, so "I'm not going to ride the bus" while true, is not actually useful in route planning.
BUS: Without looking (I'll put the answer below) how many annual intercity bus passengers are there compared to how many intercity train (Amtrak) passengers? NOTE: the answer is not "nobody rides the bus" Rather it is that bus is the far larger, nationwide solution, providing both "essential" service to flyover Red State nothingburgs AND serving dense corridors.
That's only because there are more buses running than trains.

Have you ridden 400 miles on a bus lately? It's an extremely unpleasant experience.
  by Arlington
 
More buses run because customers like them and the market supports them, and as a system they are profitable. Being profitable has funded a continent's worth of network coverage and twice the patronage.

What share of any CT/Pioneer Valley trips (this thread's topic) are 400 miles? I suspect 150 to 250 mile trips VASTLY predominate.

Further, from CT&PV, trips of 400 miles probably mean having to cross mountains where the train is never going to keep up.

Please propose appropriate modes for the demands of the trip. Where we have Class 4+ rails, awesome, let's use 'em, but it undercuts the political case for any mode when they get too far beyond their business case.
  by Arlington
 
Rail can win running straight, flat, & fast. Let's find more where rail wins!
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