Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Backshophoss
This study or report will wind up buried in some commitee file cabinet in the state capital at Hartford,
to be forgotten,this is just a "feel good" PR move by the critters that live/work at the capital at best.
  by ThirdRail7
I still don't think it is feasible unless New York cooperates (and I doubt they will), but the talk is gathering steam:

Pressure Mounts To Revamp Or Dump Metro-North
January 31, 2014|By DON STACOM, [email protected], The Hartford Courant

Please allow a brief "fair use" quote:

http://articles.courant.com/2014-01-31/ ... ent-keolis" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

When irate Fairfield County legislators suggested earlier this winter that Connecticut should sever its relationship with Metro-North, state political leaders were silent and Transportation Commissioner James Redeker dismissed the idea as impractical.

But officials in Massachusetts had no such reluctance in dumping a rail operator that had dissatisfied them. When their contract with Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail came up for renewal in January, directors of the Massachusetts transportation department voted unanimously to boot the company in favor of a French contractor.

The contractor, Keolis, landed a roughly $2.6 million, eight-year contract to run the 13 commuter lines that serve Boston's two major rail stations, Boston Magazine reported. That switch came after Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail held the contract for 10 years.

Defenders of Metro-North point out major differences between the situations: Connecticut and Metro-North are in the midst of a long-term contract, and the Connecticut rail system is larger and far more complex than Boston's.

But neither argument satisfies Metro-North's critics, who have grown vastly in number — and level of outrage — during the railroad's recent run of back-to-back debacles, scandals and tragedies.

After three horrific accidents in less than a year that killed a veteran track worker and four passengers while injuring scores of people, Metro-North this winter came under scathing criticism from the Connecticut Congressional delegation and unprecedented oversight by the Federal Railroad Administration. The railroad management promised a thorough self-study to fix what was going wrong.

Even so, just six weeks after the most devastating crash in its 30-year history, the railroad managed to strand a train for two hours with no heat on a bitterly cold night, and then send a rescue train with defective heaters in some of its cars.

The following night, the nation's busiest commuter railroad was stopped dead when a technician doing routine maintenance at the control tower at Grand Central Terminal apparently disconnected a power plug, and nobody fixed it for two hours. More than 50 trains were stranded, and the evening commute became a shambles for tens of thousands of riders.

Last week,some legislators simply shook their heads after learning of the latest trouble: A trainee for one of the railroad's high-paid engineer's jobs was arrested after allegedly committing a sex crime against a half-asleep pregnant passenger on a train.

State Rep. Anthony Guerrera, co-chairman of the transportation committee, has called a bipartisan press conference for Feb. 3 to demand that the railroad take stronger measures to regain control of its operations.

State Sen. Toni Boucher, ranking member of the committee, has said that Connecticut should get tougher and treat Metro-North as a poorly performing contractor.

She wants state attorneys to review how and when Connecticut can use renewal clauses in the 60-year contract as a way to solicit other rail operators.
  by Clean Cab
You can't compare the situation in Boston with that of MN. MBTA operates 95% of their service within their own state. MN needs two states to share the expenses. Bringing in an outside contractor would not work due to almost certain opposition from NY. Even if NY allowed it, the right of way fees (which CDOT does not currently pay) would be an added expense. Plus CT would not have access to the MN repair and servicing facilities that is currently makes use of. Not to mention that CDOT or some outside operator would have to spend millions (if not billions) to secure enough equipment for their own use. Plus fares would almost certainly go up and service may be reduced. All that considered (plus a few thousand other fine points) it would be a logistical nightmare.
  by DutchRailnut
Add to that a office staff, track dept, power dept, signal dept, training dept, revenue dept etc etc etc
  by runningwithscalpels
It seems like it's the same handful of blowhards demanding this. Boucher and Cameron spring to mind. I went to the last commuter council meeting for hahas and the commissioner of CDOT himself said that he sees no issue with the arrangement between them and MNR, and nor does he think they need a seat on the board because he can pick up the phone and call Prendergast or Permut himself and get more things done. Nobody had any rebuttal to his comments either, including the state rep who was there sitting right next to him.

This seems like a typical uninformed opinion that "maybe if we give Metro North the heave ho all these issues will go away." Especially now with MBCR being shown the door by the T, they think that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and pandering to the annoyed commuter, giving them false hope that this is actually a feasible course of action.
  by truck6018
It seems like it's the same handful of blowhards demanding this. Boucher and Cameron spring to mind. [/quote]

Cameron is only important in his own mind. As long as he has his own little group of followers he'll be happy. It's funny how he bashes MNR left and right but only a few weeks ago he was quoted saying Metro North is a "good value" for the money.
  by runningwithscalpels
truck6018 wrote: Cameron is only important in his own mind.
You hit the nail on the head.
  by Bill D
If you have seen Mr. Cameron's new website, http://ji503.wix.com/commuteractiongroup, it appears that the majority of complaints posted there have to do with late trains and not safety issues. I would bet that if Metro North were to get the boot (and I don't believe they will), and the state of CT was willing to invest millions more into the system, we would still have the same complaints.

  by Trainer
I don't see what the Feds have to do with the contract, but this seems like part of a coordinated plan...

Conn. lawmakers ask Feds for help with Metro-North

"With a growing legion of increasingly angry Metro-North riders bombarding their elected officials with emails and tweets detailing their frustrations with the railroad's ongoing failures and crises, Republican and Democratic legislators called Monday for help from the federal government."

http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/C ... 201613.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I think MNCR is way overdue for some positive public-relations press. Open house, anyone?
  by dowlingm
Would an earlier arriving Amtrak NER 141 (ex Springfield) relieve some of the pressure arising from MN as "the only commuting option" or would that just undercut the business model for Acela 2151 as the only train from CT/MA arriving before 9.00am?
  by lirr42
I think those that can shell out $1,008 for an Amtrak Monthly Pass from NHV-NYP could likely find some other alternatives than Metro-North.
  by CannaScrews
And what pray would that be?

Depraved minds want to know.....
Helicopter? Private car? Jet? Who knows.

But while you would pay extra for Amtrak, you really not getting much more . You go into Penn Station, but the frequencies are much less. The time isn't really faster (and you're subject to the same delays on Metro-North) and you're not even gaurenteed a seat if you get on a regional with a multi-ride ticket. I don't think that upgrade is a very worthwhile one.
  by Clean Cab
If you're complaining about MN trains being late, do you really think you'll do better on Amtrak trains? Amtrak's on time performance can't get above 80% on their own territory. Good luck!!
  by Tadman
Perhaps it's not the actual consideration of the MNR contract - IE money for moving our trains - but rather the terms that CT wants to reexamine. The terms are the "devil is in the details" part of a contract. For example: You buy a car for $24,000. OK. Do you pay all up front, monthly, per mile, at the end when you give it back... What are the interest rates, is there a mileage cap, are there licensing and insurance requirements, is there a time limit, is there a day/date/month you can/cannot use the car, what kind of warranties are available, where are disputes settled and under what state's laws... The list can go on and on.

I don't think anybody really expects CT to start their own railroad, but they may be very interested in changing some terms of the contract to ensure delivery makes the passengers happier than they are today.