• AMTRAK NEC: Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Valley Flyer/Inland Routing

  • 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 daybeers
 
Eversource is installing large transmission poles for a new line along the east side of the Amtrak ROW between downtown Hartford and Newington Junction as part of their Greater Hartford/Central Connecticut Reliability Project. Here's the link to the Eversource project page. Quote below. It doesn't seem like the construction is putting any speed restrictions on the line, at least not yet. They started in Hartford and are working their way south. They were doing the Flatbush Avenue/Oakwood Avenue/Elmwood area last week.
Eversource is constructing a new 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line in the Greater Hartford and central Connecticut area. These improvements will strengthen our system and enhance our ability to reliably serve electrical demand, in keeping with national and regional reliability standards.

At Eversource, we're always working to serve you better. The 3.7-mile, hybrid overhead and underground line will be constructed between our Newington Substation in Newington, Connecticut, and our Southwest Hartford Substation in Hartford, passing through portions of Newington, West Hartford and Hartford.
The new line will be located within Eversource's existing transmission and distribution line rights of way (power line corridors), under town streets and along the existing overhead Amtrak rights of way.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Posting this on "both" the threads as it crosses the lines into both. Amtrak will no longer accept CTrail tickets aboard the Springfield-terminating Regionals beginning September 14th due to Amtrak's new RideReserve program for all NEC trains which requires reservations for all multi-ride ticket/pass holders. Hartford Line state subsidized commuter level fares will continue to be offered by Amtrak for local travel on those trains but unreserved travel will no longer be permitted - an Amtrak reservation/ticket will be required.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I’m up in Springfield right now and have been from 9/5-9/12. I rode 147 from SPG to WNL on Sunday and just booked a regular Amtrak ticket. There will probably be confusion on which company’s ticket to use. If a shuttle train gets severely delayed or cancelled but a Northeast Regional follows an hour later, that would be interesting to see whether the crew would honor those Ctrail tickets on the NERs or not. On 9/12, I was supposed to have taken 488 from NHV to SPG after having gotten off of 88 from NWK. 488 was severely late out of NHV due to a mechanical difficulty. At first the station announcer said it was minor and 488 would leave NHV 15 minutes late. The delay only grew: Just close to an hour after when 488 was supposed to depart, we were all put on 140. Passengers continuing north of Springfield were put in taxi cabs. Let me add that during my time in SPG, I have been noticing many three car Amfleet consists on the shuttles.
  by lordsigma12345
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:50 pm I’m up in Springfield right now and have been from 9/5-9/12. I rode 147 from SPG to WNL on Sunday and just booked a regular Amtrak ticket. There will probably be confusion on which company’s ticket to use. If a shuttle train gets severely delayed or cancelled but a Northeast Regional follows an hour later, that would be interesting to see whether the crew would honor those Ctrail tickets on the NERs or not. On 9/12, I was supposed to have taken 488 from NHV to SPG after having gotten off of 88 from NWK. 488 was severely late out of NHV due to a mechanical difficulty. At first the station announcer said it was minor and 488 would leave NHV 15 minutes late. The delay only grew: Just close to an hour after when 488 was supposed to depart, we were all put on 140. Passengers continuing north of Springfield were put in taxi cabs. Let me add that during my time in SPG, I have been noticing many three car Amfleet consists on the shuttles.
Yeah the Amtrak Hartford Line/Valley Flyer/Shuttle consists have all been made 3 cars recently. Hopefully they will stay that way. It will be interesting to see if this policy on the Regionals regarding reservations/no ctrail tickets is permanent or ends after the pandemic.

I live in Holyoke, MA and use SPG for all my travel so I'm just up the road from you.
  by daybeers
 
I think the RideReserve restrictions are ridiculous. Yes they need to ensure distancing but there's no way they would even get to capacity on those Regionals. I'll be emailing CTDOT about this.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I’m only on vacation in SPG from 9/5-9/12. I’m heading back home to NJ on 147 Saturday morning. I have an Amtrak ticket for this train, given the fact that I’m continuing beyond NHV. People are going to get confused with this RideReserve program. I guess that the question to ask yourself is does your Amtrak train that you board at any station between Springfield and Wallingford continue beyond New Haven to New York City and Washington, DC?

I agree that if you live in Holyoke, then you might as well use Springfield. The train frequency north of Springfield is almost nothing. Plus travel time from Holyoke to Springfield is painfully slow. A new northeast wye track from Springfield Station onto the line to Holyoke and points north is needed. The current wye track setup for the Vermonter and Valley Flyer adds to the travel time. It’s not like CSX runs hundreds of trains through Springfield.
  by shadyjay
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:23 am I agree that if you live in Holyoke, then you might as well use Springfield. The train frequency north of Springfield is almost nothing. Plus travel time from Holyoke to Springfield is painfully slow. A new northeast wye track from Springfield Station onto the line to Holyoke and points north is needed. The current wye track setup for the Vermonter and Valley Flyer adds to the travel time. It’s not like CSX runs hundreds of trains through Springfield.
Yes, I agree that a train from the south of SPG heading to the north should enter on the existing southeast wye and depart on the northeast wye, but its not that simple. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Springfield stations platforms are unique in that the northern 3 are owned by CSX, while the southern (4,6,8) are Amtrak's. Amtrak can stop at the northern platforms but there is no connection between the CSX ones and the Amtrak ones, not without a reverse move back towards the SE leg of the wye. In a perfect world, there would be 2+ additional high levels at Springfield, and a train on Track 6 or 8 would be able to depart for the north and get to the NE leg of the wye, but that's just not possible today.

It would also be nice if a new northernmost platform was built and the NB Vermonter could cross the diamond then back into SPG, since there's usually padding for the train arriving into SPG anyway. But that would require a new track and platform and connection to the subway beneath. Some of this track was in place as a bypass during subway waterproofing but its no longer connected. This new "Track 3" could also serve Lake Shore WB traffic, allowing a station stop off the main.

Hopefully the Valley Flyer continues on and is expanded in the future. The "Knowledge Corridor" is a very nice piece of railroad and has come a long way in recent years, and its definitely worthy of having more than one daily roundtrip.
Last edited by shadyjay on Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I only use Holyoke station when going north because other than that Springfield is far more convenient and doesn't take me much more time to get to as I am literally seconds from the I-91 on ramp near the Holyoke Soldiers Home - I also like boarding at the full service station as there are restrooms/food and beverages available and shelter from the elements if needed.

The Amtrak platforms at Springfield connect to CSX only on the east side of the station. The northern wye connection from CSX track 2 to the Connecticut River line is only used when they wye the daily regionals (and sometimes the Vermonter if it gets truncated at SPG.) They'd need a new switch connection on the west side to make what you are describing possible - another benefit would be allowing 449/448 to use the high level platform. However that wouldn't really be that feasible either because 449 tends to pass through at the busiest time a day when sometimes both Vermonters are at the platform - which would mean no room for 449 to pull through. Would only really be useful for the Valley Flyers because the Vermonter would have to make a reverse move no matter what track it uses. Until they know that service is permanent I doubt they want to spend any money on this.

If we get the East-West rail service that's probably the only world in which we get another high level platform and they'd probably redo the platform between 2 and 2A since I believe Amtrak owns the platform (while CSX owns the tracks.) The track 8 platform could also see a high level someday if increased HL service requires more use of track 8 for boardings.
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