• 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 Station Aficionado
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr. Weaver, is the State of Maine, East Wind, Bar Harbor route, namely Worcester to Lowell on the New Haven in any semblance of "intact' today?

Obviously the P&W between its namesake cities is, as is apparently the N&W (I once rode a Camp Special circa 1952 over such).
Forgive my ignorance Mr. Norman, but what's the N&W you refer to (assuming its not the N&W)?
  by jbvb
 
The Norwich & Worcester built between its namesake cities early on. Later the New Haven gobbled it, then the P&W bought it when Conrail didn't want it anymore. It was one of the New Haven - Worcester routes used back in the day, though at the end the State of Maine ran through Providence to Worcester. It was also the scene of one of Dumaine the Elder's passenger service successes - there had been no service for a while after the East Wind ended and the State of Maine moved. The NH decided to try an RDC. It drew enough patrons that it lasted into the 1960s.
  by Noel Weaver
 
jbvb wrote:The Norwich & Worcester built between its namesake cities early on. Later the New Haven gobbled it, then the P&W bought it when Conrail didn't want it anymore. It was one of the New Haven - Worcester routes used back in the day, though at the end the State of Maine ran through Providence to Worcester. It was also the scene of one of Dumaine the Elder's passenger service successes - there had been no service for a while after the East Wind ended and the State of Maine moved. The NH decided to try an RDC. It drew enough patrons that it lasted into the 1960s.
The passenger service between New London and Worcester was resumed by the younger Dumaine, the old man was dead by
this time.
My thinking on the Norwich Branch rather than the old State of Maine route via Providence is simply because it is shorter
and would probably be cheaper to operate as well.
As Tom stated, the line between Worcester and Ayer would need considerable work to get the speed up to a good level.
I don't know just how the rest of that route would be but it might need some work as well. It would still be the best route
between New York and Portland, Maine.
There would be absolutely no possibility of any problems with CSX by running this route either, the P & W goes under the
B & A at Worcester.
Noel Weaver
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
TomNelligan wrote:The B&M Worcester-Ayer-Lowell-Lowell Junction route of the State of Maine is entirely intact, but exists as low speed freight trackage that would need a lot of work to support passenger service.
Ref: the NH-B&M interchange:

Ouch Mr. Nelligan; I should have gotten out a Form 200 before posting rather than relying on my memory. :P
  by Jeff Smith
 
Greg Moore wrote:Think Network folks. Yeah, I doubt the Inland Route will ever see service anything like the current NEC.

And as for ALB-BOS, as much as I'd love to see more trains there, until you can get running time down a LOT (it's almost faster to go to NYC and then up the NEC on the Acela ;-) the most you'd probably see is 1 more train there.

But what I'd like to eventually see is a train or two up the old Housatonic line to Pittsfield. Either tie into a new ALB-BOS train or then hang a left and head towards Albany. But I think you're better off adding two separate trains and basically increasing the network a bit. Any one train by itself only does so much, adding multiple trains that can be linked to each other is a network and is more likely to do more.
There's a good discussion over on the MNRR 67 forum, Greg, about Pittsfield. Also much regret expressed over the lack of connection at Chatham. Both HRRC and CDOT are studying Pittsfield for Pax service. Unfortunately, the services are not envisioned for Amtrak, or we could continue the discussion here, but I'd be violating my own edict. But I did want to respond to the proposal.
  by Station Aficionado
 
FWIW, per the Spring 1991 timetable, Amtrak ran two daily Inland Route trains from Boston to Springfield, along with the LSL. WB, the Inland Route trains were scheduled for 2:21 and 2:17 South Station to Springfield, with the LSL carded for 2:45. EB, all three were scheduled for 2:15 Springfield to South Station. Today, the LSL is scheduled for 2:15 WB and 3:17 EB (I assume the latter includes a lot of schedule padding to help with late arrivals from the west.

Does anyone know, offhand, when CR undertook its single-tracking of the B&A? And how does the volume of freight traffic between Boston and Springfield today compare with 20 years ago? I know there are more commuter trains at the east end of the line.
  by Greg Moore
 
Jeff Smith wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:Think Network folks. Yeah, I doubt the Inland Route will ever see service anything like the current NEC.

And as for ALB-BOS, as much as I'd love to see more trains there, until you can get running time down a LOT (it's almost faster to go to NYC and then up the NEC on the Acela ;-) the most you'd probably see is 1 more train there.

But what I'd like to eventually see is a train or two up the old Housatonic line to Pittsfield. Either tie into a new ALB-BOS train or then hang a left and head towards Albany. But I think you're better off adding two separate trains and basically increasing the network a bit. Any one train by itself only does so much, adding multiple trains that can be linked to each other is a network and is more likely to do more.
There's a good discussion over on the MNRR 67 forum, Greg, about Pittsfield. Also much regret expressed over the lack of connection at Chatham. Both HRRC and CDOT are studying Pittsfield for Pax service. Unfortunately, the services are not envisioned for Amtrak, or we could continue the discussion here, but I'd be violating my own edict. But I did want to respond to the proposal.
Hmm, thanks for the pointer. I think commuter makes sense, but one a day Amtrak wouldn't hurt (again to build a network). Having said that, I'll pop over there to look further.
  by jp1822
 
It wasn't until Gunn came aboard that the final "Inland Route Train" was dropped. I can recall being on a westbound/southbound "Inland Route Train" around 2001 or 2002 as I took the train to Springfield and then connected to the northbound Vermonter. I can recall that there were a pretty descent amount of "connecting passengers" between this train and the northbound Vermonter. It provided same-day public transportation for those going from Boston to Vermont or even to Montreal (since the bus connection was still in place for the Vermonter at that time). Taking the Lake Shore Limited westbound would have forced people to make a layover in Springfield or Albany to get north to Montreal.
  by NRGeep
 
jp1822 wrote:It wasn't until Gunn came aboard that the final "Inland Route Train" was dropped. I can recall being on a westbound/southbound "Inland Route Train" around 2001 or 2002 as I took the train to Springfield and then connected to the northbound Vermonter. I can recall that there were a pretty descent amount of "connecting passengers" between this train and the northbound Vermonter. It provided same-day public transportation for those going from Boston to Vermont or even to Montreal (since the bus connection was still in place for the Vermonter at that time). Taking the Lake Shore Limited westbound would have forced people to make a layover in Springfield or Albany to get north to Montreal.
The westbound Lake Shore Limited gets into Springfield at around 2:10pm and the Vermonter leaves Springfield at 3:15pm. Not a very brutal layover for same-day Boston Vermont connections if not Montreal.
:(
  by markhb
 
I've got a fairly lengthy post on the idea of an I-495 type routing of service between Worcester and Portland which I will post in the Maine Amtrak thread over in the New England Railfan section, but one thought I had regarding it was that it would be better to take it all the way to NYC via Springfield, which would provide connections to the Vermonter and CT Shuttle and leverage the platform space at the theoretically to-be-restored Springfield station. Going south, might there be a market for a limited-stops run between Springfield and New York, say just Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford? The shuttle, the current Inland Route and the Vermonter all appear to run with stops every 10 miles or so, more like a commuter service, but maybe a limited would attract some new traffic.
  by jgeary27
 
From on the ground in Worcester...

The inland route is not a viable competitor to the shore line. It's much slower, and the intermediate traffic between Framingham/Worcester and Hartford/Meriden/Windsor doesn't justify it.

A second BOS-ALB train would make sense, for two reasons: 448's timekeeping is a deal breaker for many potential customers, and there is a market for better connections to western/northern points at ALB. I will remind everyone again that 448/449 carries a healthy number of passengers despite taking longer than the highway and poor reliability... and they are not all going to Chicago. :wink: There is definitely passenger growth potential there, but it will not happen without "major bucks" from the Commonwealth for double tracking, something which I doubt is forthcoming considering the amount they just had to pay CSX to go away east of Worcester.

As for New London/New Haven - Worcester - Points North, I believe the route to Ayer is currently 10MPH, so that is another "major bucks" project. But NNERPA seems to have support from the feds, so ironically I'd say it's more probable than another B&A train.

I am hearing from my Berkshires connections that the Housatonic service might really happen... but that's for another thread.
  by CSX Conductor
 
NRGeep wrote:The westbound Lake Shore Limited gets into Springfield at around 2:10pm and the Vermonter leaves Springfield at 3:15pm. Not a very brutal layover for same-day Boston Vermont connections if not Montreal.
:(
That's the way to do an inland route trip for any railfans from Bos, lol. The southbound Vermonter leaves around 300pm and gets you to New Haven in time to catch 176 back to Boston.
  by markhb
 
Today, the LSL is scheduled for 2:15 WB and 3:17 EB (I assume the latter includes a lot of schedule padding to help with late arrivals from the west.
I took the LSL this past spring from Albany to Boston, and I can confirm the padding (the train was an hour late arriving in Albany due to a tieup near Buffalo). If you look closely, they have scheduled 90 minutes for the train to go 20 miles from Framingham to Back Bay.
  by R Paul Carey
 
The CR Boston Line was single tracked in 1987-88. The old ABS (current of traffic) signal system was replaced with TCS, permitting traffic flow on signal indication in either direction on all main tracks, "substantially" maintaining line capacity compared to the older double track system. In those areas where a second track was retained, the track was upgraded with CWR and sufficient length was retained to enable rolling meets against opposing traffic.
  by hi55us
 
R Paul Carey wrote:The CR Boston Line was single tracked in 1987-88. The old ABS (current of traffic) signal system was replaced with TCS, permitting traffic flow on signal indication in either direction on all main tracks, "substantially" maintaining line capacity compared to the older double track system. In those areas where a second track was retained, the track was upgraded with CWR and sufficient length was retained to enable rolling meets against opposing traffic.
plus I think they redid the new single track with bi-directional signals ;)
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