• 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 njtmnrrbuff
 
Honestly, it should be a give a way that the Berkshires are considered Western Massachusetts. Springfield and the Pioneer Valley could probably go either way, although I would lean a little more toward that city and region being in Western Mass. The Pioneer Valley is close enough to the central part of Massachusetts.

In terms of service expansions to Central and Western Mass, I think it's best to just look at Boston to Springfield. This could go either way-daily MBTA service. There could even also be all Amtrak service, even with some of those trains continuing down the SPG Line and ending at New Haven(passengers continuing to other cities on the NEC could switch to other Amtrak trains). Palmer would be a logical town to have a stop between Springfield and Worcester.

Btw, I know that the Valley Flyer just started a few months ago, but I read a story from somebody on a different page who did a roundtrip on the Valley Flyer between Springfield and Greenfield on a weekend day. He mentioned that the ridership was dismal north of Springfield. Even on the only weekend southbound Valley Flyer train, not many people boarded at stations between Greenfield and Holyoke. I'm not sure how the overall ridership on those Valley Flyers for anyone boarding and detraining at stations north of Springfield but I can tell you one thing-the times are not convenient for those people heading to classes or those who are employed at any of the universities north of Springfield.
  by lordsigma12345
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:42 am Honestly, it should be a give a way that the Berkshires are considered Western Massachusetts. Springfield and the Pioneer Valley could probably go either way, although I would lean a little more toward that city and region being in Western Mass. The Pioneer Valley is close enough to the central part of Massachusetts.

In terms of service expansions to Central and Western Mass, I think it's best to just look at Boston to Springfield. This could go either way-daily MBTA service. There could even also be all Amtrak service, even with some of those trains continuing down the SPG Line and ending at New Haven(passengers continuing to other cities on the NEC could switch to other Amtrak trains). Palmer would be a logical town to have a stop between Springfield and Worcester.

Btw, I know that the Valley Flyer just started a few months ago, but I read a story from somebody on a different page who did a roundtrip on the Valley Flyer between Springfield and Greenfield on a weekend day. He mentioned that the ridership was dismal north of Springfield. Even on the only weekend southbound Valley Flyer train, not many people boarded at stations between Greenfield and Holyoke. I'm not sure how the overall ridership on those Valley Flyers for anyone boarding and detraining at stations north of Springfield but I can tell you one thing-the times are not convenient for those people heading to classes or those who are employed at any of the universities north of Springfield.
One other thing about the valley Flyer is that the scheduled times are meant to allow day trips and super commutes to NYC, however the weekend Valley Flyer does not allow for day trips. But for those traveling overnight the popular time seems to remain the Vermonter.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Yes, the weekday schedule of the Valley Flyer does allow for daytrips to NYC from the Knowledge Corridor region but you still have to get up very early and come back very late. Plus many people who are heading to NYC from Franklin County probably want to spend nights in the city as there is so much to see. I'm sure that there are many people who live in and around the Knowledge Corridor towns north of Springfield who attend business meetings in NYC. I'm sure that many people still use the Vermonter from Greenfield, Northampton, and Holyoke especially those who don't want to get up early as well as spend the night in NYC.

You cannot take trains from Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield to make daytrips to NYC on weekends. If you wanted to kill a few hours in Stamford, then you probably could. If you wanted to go to Hartford, then you would have several hours in Hartford between trains. I think a lot of the area around downtown Hartford is fine, at least during the daytime.
  by lordsigma12345
 
However using a ride share service or a bus to or from Springfield you could use the VF one way and a Springfield terminating train for the other direction (utilizing the bus or ride share for the other direction.)
Last edited by GirlOnTheTrain on Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Don't quote the post right before yours.
  by jxzz
 
That is novel idea. Not very convenient and costly if one drive and park in a station, say Northampton, then return on Springfield and ridesharing to the parking lot.

Valley Flyer north of Springfield is troublesome on schedule, but still could be useful though.
Last edited by GirlOnTheTrain on Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Don't quote the post right before yours.
  by Safetee
 
as far as western Massachusetts is concerned, from Bostons perspective, western mass is everything west of rte 495. For people who actually live in western mass and sometimes wish they lived in Vermont, it's an area generally west of rte 202.

Getting back to the Valley Flyer, there are a number of reasons why readership is low between Greenfield . But the number one reason in my not totally deranged mind is that people who live in the pioneer valley area really don't want to go to new haven that much and if they do want to go, they will usually drive..

Which leads me to my key corollary. If mass dot is willing throw money out the window running trains where people don't want to go, why not spend some money and run trains where the people do want to go, ie from Greenfield to Boston?? I'm willing to bet that it would additionally pick up a variety of folks from south eastern Vt and south western NH as well.
  by mtuandrew
 
Also, it’s a better & faster railroad between Greenfield and Springfield than between Greenfield and Wachusett (end of the Fitchburg Line.) That doesn’t mean there isn’t a future for Greenfield-Boston direct, just that it isn’t low-hanging fruit.
  by Safetee
 
If mass dot would make rte 2 a four lane federal standard highway from greenfield to templeton and then figure a way to eliminate all the road jams east of fitchburg, almost nobody would even mention wanting a rail service solution. but mass dot doesnt even want to talk about route 2 because after all, it's west of 495. obviously some transport wizards seemed to think that the people in Greenfield want and need to go south instead of east. and the reason is, they just spent tons of mostly federal money on the conn river and now they want to get more action out of that investment. well, if just the vermonter couldn't justify the cost, maybe they should have left it running through amherst to palmer.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Yes, as mentioned before, if you are heading to and from Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield from the Northeast Corridor, if you think the Valley Flyer's schedule doesn't work for you, then get on or off in Springfield. If you live in and around Holyoke, you might as well just go to Springfield since you are probably within a ten minute drive from the Springfield Station. What also kills the time of the train ride north of Springfield is having to back into Springfield to make the station stop. There are absolutely no plans for that reverse move to go away. What helps is that the shuttles use push pull consists. It's possible that when the Amfleets are retired, Amtrak will purchase trainsets that are push pull.

New Haven is a hit or miss destination. The downtown area is fine for the most part during the daytime. I'm sure that there are a lot of events at Yale for the general public to attend. There are a few art museums on the campus at Yale. There is some nice shoreline in New Haven. Yes, the crime rate is very high but unfortunately, in many of the smaller cities in Connecticut, that's a rampant issue.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:34 pm Also, it’s a better & faster railroad between Greenfield and Springfield than between Greenfield and Wachusett (end of the Fitchburg Line.) That doesn’t mean there isn’t a future for Greenfield-Boston direct, just that it isn’t low-hanging fruit.
There are two "Boston-Greenfield direct options":

via Springfield using MBTA-CSX-PAR out of South Station
via Fitchburg using MBTA-PAS out of North Station.
  by lordsigma12345
 
They are studying both options. The Springfield option is being studied first. But I can promise you, if MassDOT delivers a "no build" recommendation for the Springfield study, there is absolutely no chance the Greenfield option will get anything other than a "no build." Given the large amount of interest and lobbying by Springfield area politicians for this (as well as a lot of lobbying by Palmer folks wanting a station) I think it will be quite controversial if MassDOT/the governors office return "no build" as the result of the study. Springfield area politicians want it, our federal representatives want it, the only problem is the governor's office and administration. It is known that the governor is friendly with Peter Picknelly, head of Peter Pan Bus Lines who lobbied for the governor to veto the study the first go around. The fact that Picknelly is fighting it shows that he feels such a service could be competitive with buses. After intense pressure, the governor let it go through this time, but if he really wants to block it less directly he could order the secretary of transportation to make sure the study comes back with a negative result. Holding out hope that it doesn't happen.
  by Lentinula
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:28 pm New Haven is a hit or miss destination. The downtown area is fine for the most part during the daytime. I'm sure that there are a lot of events at Yale for the general public to attend. There are a few art museums on the campus at Yale. There is some nice shoreline in New Haven. Yes, the crime rate is very high but unfortunately, in many of the smaller cities in Connecticut, that's a rampant issue.
I figured the idea of going to New Haven was mostly to transfer to the ample Metro North service

I know when I go to NYC (frequently) I drive from Worcester to Hartford and jump the CTrail to New Haven where i transfer to Metro North to Harlem.

Its the easiest way until we get some useful rail service in Worcester or I give up and move to New Haven or something.
  by Traingeek3629
 
More crowding on the Hartford Line today. Suddenly the extra CTrails immediately following Amtrak trains seem like a great idea.
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