• North Adams - Boston Passenger Service Study

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by Safetee
At this time, thinking about North Adams as a starting point is tough. But pondering Greenfield to Boston with connections for the state of Vermont as well as from Northampton, Amherst, Athol/Orange and Gardner is not necessarily crazy. Compared to the six trains a day from Greenfield to Springfield scheduled to start up this May, a train from Greenfield to Boston would border on sheer genius. I would tend to believe that NS would love to play ball with the prospect of track improvements between Greenfield and Wachusetts. Last but not least, the honorable gentleman is a lady.
  by jaymac
Thanks and apologies -- I sit corrected.
  by Hux
I was going to post "take the bus, it is pretty fast and direct." Alas service between Boston t
and North Adams ended early last fall. (Oct. 1) If bus service won't fly, it's a sure bet a train won't either. Better off setting up a Zipcar franchise.
  by Rockingham Racer
Was the discontinued service following the B&M route via Fitchburg, Gardner, etc.? Doing a service of bus service between the two cities, a website I used shows service via Springfield, with a change there.
  by RenegadeMonster
Does the canceled bus service have anything to do with Peter Pan pulling out of Greenfield area as well?

I heard news reports was it last month or the end of last year that Peter Pan pulled out of Greenfield. Wonder if that is related to Bus Service ending in North Adams.

Also makes me wonder, Is bus service outside of major cities/hubs getting less and less feasible these days. It could be related to Uber and Lift bus companies just can compete in rural areas. The same is true with rail for now. But with out congested Boston is and it's only getting worse maybe a few decade in the future if rail is an option and in place society will adapt the use of rail and become less car oriented.
  by Safetee
Peter Pan pulled out of Greenfield for many reasons.
1) Their share of the traffic load of passengers was light usually not more than five.
2) Greyhound still has one bus each way a day service
3) Amtrak has a train each way a day service into greenfield.
4) mass dot is adding a multi train service from greenfield to springfield starting in may.
5)Route 91 carries 99.9 percent of the passengers who own their own cars from the greenfield area going to and from springfield.
6) In the final analysis, not many people in the greenfield area actually go to springfield unless they're going some place else. and hardly anybody in springfield goes to greenfield unless
they're lost.
  by Safetee
well the thinking and hope is that all the extra trains will take trainloads of greenfield residents without cars to springfield to gamble. I wouldnt bet on it.
  by Rockingham Racer
True. And how are these Greenfield people without cars going to get to the station? Is Uber or some such a possibility?
Last edited by CRail on Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
  by Safetee
i believe that mgm has some sort of free shuttle service that i assume will swoop on down to the 75 million dollar bus and train station to pick up all sorts of gamblers.
  by cpf354
There was talk on the B&M of going even as far as Williamstown back in the late 70s after the T purchased Fitchburg to Boston, and at that time weekend excursions to the tunnel and Mechanicville and Rotterdam Jct were common and made decent time.
The floors of many a state legislature in New England have been littered with proposals for passenger train studies the past several years, and nothing has come from it except the Downeaster, which had influential friends in the US Senate.
  by Disney Guy
Who wants to guess how things would work with all North Adams service running express east of Fitchburg, with no more stops than at Littleton/495, Waltham, Porter (and North Station), and not encumbered by freight trains or other commuter rail trains?
  by jaymac
And what will the study/ies show? Even if the FML is rehabbed to the point that 70 becomes the pax MAS and much double track gets restored, there are still 92+ miles between the old North Adams platform and Fitchburg, 92+ miles of heavily graded and curved ROW that will have a 30 MPH restriction for the Hoosac, restrictions between Greenfield and East Deerfield, restrictions at Gardner, restrictions either side of MP 341, restrictions east of MP 335, plus whatever other restrictions wisdom might impose.
With luck and no complications plus whatever minimal amount of local stops might get thrown in to convince state reps and senators of the benefits of the expenditures, there might be a highly optimistic consumption of 130 minutes.
The "express" trip east of Fitchburg would encounter restrictions through East Fitchburg, Ayer, South Acton, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, Porter Square, and the approaches to North Station, 60 minutes being another highly optimistic consumption of time, still a total of more than 3 hours.
Like most other readers, I'd gladly indulge myself in at least a couple of roundtrips. Whether The Great and General Court would be so indulgent as to enable such self-indulgence is highly questionable.
  by Safetee
I have to believe that Greenfield to North Adams as a starting point for northwest passenger rail is going to happen only if and after Greenfield to Boston via Gardner happens. If rail travel from North Adams does actually happen and the Boston connection is via Springfield as someone has mentioned, I would tend to think that it's many many years away and going to be very lightly traveled.

With additional track capacity via high speed sidings, new track and signalling Greenfield to Boston with maybe three stops west of Fitchburg a three hour schedule is definitely possible with 40 to 60 mile an hour speeds. If money is totally no object with 50 on the low end and 70 on top, 2 hours isn't out of the question. How many total stops between Greenfield and Boston obviously would be a major issue.

Right now the very best time during peak commuter travel time, 6-9AM and 4 to 7PM, by automobile from Greenfield to North Station area is 2 hours. As I recall, it's not exactly a fun drive from Greenfield to Templeton or Fitchburg to Cambridge during typical commuter times.

Getting back to the North Adams to Greenfield piece, I dont see that area requiring speeds higher than 40 because if anything that traffic base if any is going to be strictly tourist leisurely oriented. However, back in 1958 with 16 stops on stick rail the travel time between North Adams and Boston was as low as 3.6 hours on 152 miles of track.