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 njtmnrrbuff
I'm not sure if the Barnum Station is even needed. I think the site is close enough to the existing Bridgeport Station.

From doing my research about studying the routing of the Waterbury Branch on a map in relation to having train service to New Haven, it might not be a bad idea. In fact, building a permanent station at Devon down the road might not be a super bad idea either. First, CDOT should probably focus on fixing the existing Main Line's infrastructure and get going with those sidings on the Waterbury Branch. The State needs to seriously think about having three tiered express service trains, even during off peak hours because the more stations that are added, the more the travel time will slow down.

Many people who live along the Waterbury Branch would use it if the service was more frequent but as a result, they drive to the New Haven Line and I don't blame them. If I was living along a branchline that had trains running every four hours, I would be annoyed and would probably drive extra to get better service.
  by Backshophoss
The other "waste moves" on the Waterbury "mini" sets are the deadhead/layup moves to East Bridgeport yard and back to Bridgeport station.
A rebuilt Devon Transfer station makes more sense, needs 000 parking spaces as a walkup station in the neighborhood.
  by Jeff Smith
Okay, we all agree buses are stupid :wink: .

I had a thread on here some time ago about changing the NH to a three zone setup, starting at either SoNo or Bridgeport. That would speed things up with precision transfers at Bridgeport, SoNo, and Stamford. But you’re never getting 30/30/30.
  by RearOfSignal
I’m sorry, but this is beyond absurd!

Purely a political ploy. The way I see it, 30 minute service between NH and Stamford and Stamford and GCT will not serve enough people. What stops will these trains make? Stamford, Greenwich then H125 and GCT? The more stops you add the more time it takes. Will people in Darien, Old Greenwich, Fairfield, Westport feel left out?

For example, the semi-express trains that operate on the other lines had this exact same problem. The Hudson line semi-express trains would skip Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil but when people noticed this they complained to MNR and had them changed. Same on the Harlem with Semi expresses from Mt. Kisco originally skipping Hartsdale and Scarsdale.

I hardly think this 30 minute travel idea will be sustainable without servicing some of those localities in CT that I already mentioned. And as soon as you add more stops, there goes the 30 minutes.
  by DutchRailnut
A deadhead train traveling from New Haven to GCT non stop, could not make those times, even before the speeds were dropped a few years ago.
  by Backshophoss
Not based on reality,a "think tank" idea gone wild at best.
Repair/replace the moveable bridges needs to be done first.
  by njtmnrrbuff
The SPG Line doesn't need to be electrified. It is good the way that it is with diesel power. It will be even better when more tracks and stations are added.
One of the issues with running super express service is more revenue than you might think might be lost. It's good that MNR runs super express trains but depending on the time of day and the day itself, many people might complain that several of the stations that are missed, especially in the middle and outer zone. I'm not saying turn the super express trains into semi expresses. I'm saying let's only stop at stations where the ridership meets a certain benchmark. I don't know if I would want to skip stations like Darien, S. Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, Fairfield Metro, Bridgeport, Milford, and West Haven at all on weekends. Those stations seem to do very well with riders, not that the other stations do poorly. On weekends, these semi super express trains should be running to New Haven once an hour throughout a lot of the day in addition to the semi locals that make every single stop between Stamford and New Haven. I know that there are people who might ride a Ctrail or Amtrak train on the SPG Line to connect to MNR at New Haven. If they don't want to take MNR, my only solution is just to pay extra and take Amtrak. You might not save that much time by taking Amtrak from NHV to NYP.
The situation with adding Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil as stations to those semi expresses to Croton-Harmon is justified. The majority of people living in those sections would rather extra to use Metro North over taking the subway. It's faster to Midtown on MNR than it is to take the subway. On weekends, MNR used to run a pair of super expresses to Poughkeepsie with Peekskill being the first stop but then the doors were closed until Beacon. A few years ago, MNR added many of the stops between CRT and POU to those trains.
  by dha10001
I think considering the different service patterns is one thing, I'm more interested in evaluating his statements about how much the line can be sped up with incremental upgrades, specifically increasing speeds through curves by up to 22%. Levy has today's New Haven - Grand Central local - express trains making the run in 1:23, which I believe includes big time savings approaching Grand Central as well as rebuilding Shell Interlocking. Whether or not the ridership exists to support super-express MNR trains, the Acela will be running express and 1 hr trip times would be a big improvement.

Also I think that electrification of the Hartford line offers too many benefits to be dismissed. There are plenty of investments to make before it's time to hang wires, sure, but there's no better way to serve those additional stations and connect central CT to jobs in Stamford than with direct service through New Haven on M8s. That's what 30-30-30 is about, networking our cities and towns more closely together.
  by njtmnrrbuff
The present New Haven Line's infrastructure isn't in the best shape. Several bridges will need to be replaced down the road. I know that Walk is the next one. There are many curves on the New Haven Line that would prevent trains from going at high speeds too. There are segments of the New Haven Line that aren't a four track railroad-the east end of the line through Milford.

In the not happening department will be 1 hour trip times on the Acela between NHV-NYP. That is very optimistic given the fact that the New Haven Line has a million curves with the tracks being very close to each other. Plus, MNR get's the priority.
  by daybeers
Okay so first off, there are quite a few statements in that study that are downright laughable. I'm not sure when it was written, but the Springfield Line is not in a poor state of repair; I'd actually argue it's in the best shape it has ever been. The DOT engineers have squeezed every bit of speed out of the curves on that mainly straight line. Only Windsor and Windsor Locks have low-level platforms on the Springfield Line, and they're both north of Hartford, so it's irrelevant to the 30/30/30 plan.

I certainly think the NHV-HFD segment is the most plausible to get to 30 minutes. I believe the shortest Amtrak Shuttle trip takes 41 minutes, and the Vermonter takes 38 but skips WFD and BER. A lot of speed improvements will appear after the I-84 Hartford Project is finished, which includes the relocation of Union Station and the tracks through Hartford. I also don't think the Springfield Line needs electrification. If it was $350 million then for sure, but there is no way it would only cost that much. That's just not what infrastructure projects cost these days. For the right price, however, it would be very nice to have run-through M8s, especially considering the connection times at NHV.

I would agree that Metro-North needs a better maintenance schedule, but I don't know enough about New Haven Line operations to say for sure. I'm not sure that along with bridge replacements and raising speed limits on curves would rocket a train GCT-NHV in 60 minutes. What's the story of Acela tilting on the line? I know it's been disabled from the start, but is there any way to be a little more liberal with the rules and make it work, or are the tracks really just that close together? Are the speed limits in the GCT bumper tracks really 10 mph?

I think a more realistic plan would be, from north to south, 30/40/40.
  by RearOfSignal
GCT to NHV (73 miles) in 60 minutes means average speed of 73 MPH for entire trip.

GCT to Stamford (33 miles) in 30 minutes means average speed of 66 MPH for entire trip.

Stamford to NHV (40 miles) in 30 minutes means average speed of 80 MPH for entire trip.

Is the MAS really going to be raised so much that these average speeds will be possible including at least a few intermediate station stops? That seems like very wishful thinking.
  by Train322
Traingeek - you are right.
the 30/30/30 not likely.
Its 10 mph up to 59th street.
Perhaps 40 min to 59th street and another 5 to total 45, Stamford to GCT.
Not for nothing but some trains arrive early if they don't have any problems (traffic from other lines, work crews, etc...).
I think they recently raised the speed limit in the Bronx anyway. All is fine as is.

Other impediments that are can't be changed:
Bridgeport curve.
Meriden and Wallingford stations and grade crossing.
Stamford yard.

A few minutes means nothing anyway. If it takes 10 minutes to find a place to park and 5 minutes to get out of the train just to get to the station - who cares.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Jenkins Curve in Bridgeport will probably never get eliminated. That will always cause the trains to snail around it and through the Bridgeport Station. Even if you skip BRP, you aren’t saving much time at all. In fact, Bridgeport is one of the busiest stops on the New Haven Line and plenty of people use the train to and from there not just from NYC but the other cities along the route.