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

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  by lordsigma12345
 
Posting this on "both" the threads as it crosses the lines into both and affects both Amtrak and CTrail customers. 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.
Last edited by lordsigma12345 on Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Thanks LS.
  by gregorygrice
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:07 pm As CTDOT/Amtrak are able to add additional round trips on the line with some of the infrastructure upgrades I think in time you'll see (just my prediction) some of the Springfield terminating trains making less stops south of Hartford than Hartford terminating trains. Additionally I think most north of Hartford trains (Amtrak and CTrail) would in turn add the new Enfield stop.
I don't see any of the trains skipping stops any time soon. The majority of the ridership on this line relies on being able to go from one midway stop to the other. If anything, it would make some sense for the Valley Flyer to skip stops ONLY if the ridership north of Springfield picked up. As of now that doesn't warrant it. In reality you're only saving 30 seconds to 1 minute by skipping any of these stops. Maybe 2 minutes at Hartford if there's heavy boarding.

lordsigma12345 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:12 pm 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.
It's only 1 train in each direction anyway, but where did you hear this?
  by lordsigma12345
 
It doesn't appear that anything is changing stop wise and fare wise. Looks like all the HL stops will continue to be made and the same HL fares will be in play. The only change is that you can't use CTrail tickets/passes - you have to have an Amtrak ticket (or reservation on multi ride ticket.)
gregorygrice wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:56 pm It's only 1 train in each direction anyway, but where did you hear this?
I heard rumblings about it somewhere, but it appears now confirmed on Amtrak website under Advisories (look under station advisories for SPG and NHV:
CTrail Tickets No Longer Accepted between New Haven and Springfield
Effective September 14, 2020
With the implementation of the RideReserve program, Amtrak will no longer honor CTrail tickets on Northeast Regional Trains operating between New Haven, CT, and Springfield, MA.

Passengers wishing to ride these trains will require an Amtrak ticket to provide a consistent experience on our Northeast Regional service. Amtrak will continue to accept CTrail tickets on Amtrak Hartford Line and Valley Flyer trains.
  by gregorygrice
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:20 pm It doesn't appear that anything is changing stop wise and fare wise. Looks like all the HL stops will continue to be made and the same HL fares will be in play. The only change is that you can't use CTrail tickets/passes - you have to have an Amtrak ticket (or reservation on multi ride ticket.)
gregorygrice wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:56 pm It's only 1 train in each direction anyway, but where did you hear this?
I heard rumblings about it somewhere, but it appears now confirmed on Amtrak website under Advisories (look under station advisories for SPG and NHV:
CTrail Tickets No Longer Accepted between New Haven and Springfield
Effective September 14, 2020
With the implementation of the RideReserve program, Amtrak will no longer honor CTrail tickets on Northeast Regional Trains operating between New Haven, CT, and Springfield, MA.

Passengers wishing to ride these trains will require an Amtrak ticket to provide a consistent experience on our Northeast Regional service. Amtrak will continue to accept CTrail tickets on Amtrak Hartford Line and Valley Flyer trains.
Interesting. I'll have to look into that more.
  by Train322
 
This Amtrak regional tickets not honored starting Sept 14 conflicts with the agreement. It was Vermonter as the exception. Will Ct DOT fight this?

As far as progress with adding the track, station builds and a Windsor high level platform,
1) West Hartford demanded a train station in order to support the busway.
I think that it makes sense to have one station between West Hartford or Newington with use of the Busway to serve locally. That would reduce the expense of building two stations and reduce travel times.
2) Keep Windsor station as it is with high level platforms. No need to waste $'s on a new station 500 feet south. As Windsor already has a parking area, once they get high level platforms, it really is a low cost investment. Windsor needs at least one TVM. It is so stupid that they don't have one.
3) I would have thought with the Covid 19 situation, they would have sped up the double tracking in Enfield/East Windsor as well as in Windsor Locks. Time was definitely wasted when trains could have easily been temporarily replaced by busses. Need to apply for funding now while we have low interest rates and give the economy a construction industry boost.
4) Need to get some type of high level platform and parking in Enfield. Long term, need to replace the commuter bus with trains running frequently during peak.
5) Need to implement a bus connection to the Airport from Windsor Locks as we start to recover. With all the construction at BDL, are they building a transportation center? It would be costly to upgrade the rail line but that should have been a long term plan, It would draw passengers to BDL from New Haven and perhaps upper Fairfield County.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Hopefully the Bradley bus will come. CTDOT has stated it will likely not do a Windsor Locks - Airport bus shuttle at the current station, so I doubt you'll see one until the new station is complete. For folks coming from the south they do offer the Bradley Flyer from Hartford station which right now is the only direct Bradley connection option. Not a perfect arrangement but better than nothing I guess.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Speaking of New Haven and Bradley, New Haven may lose it's lone carrier unless a bailout is forthcoming. That would make a Bradley link crucial.
  by Traingeek3629
 
Now that CTrail tickets are no longer allowed on the Regionals, I think it would make sense to have them skip select stops (Wallingford, Berlin, and Windsor) to allow for a couple minutes improvement on running times.
  by gregorygrice
 
Traingeek3629 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:45 pm Now that CTrail tickets are no longer allowed on the Regionals, I think it would make sense to have them skip select stops (Wallingford, Berlin, and Windsor) to allow for a couple minutes improvement on running times.
You'd be losing ridership from those stations, only to save at most a minute from each. Not worth it.
  by daybeers
 
Got an email from CTDOT two hours ago:
Attention CTrail Hartford Line Customers:

Effective Monday, September 14th, Amtrak will be instituting a new reservation policy for its Northeast Regional Trains operating on the CTrail Hartford Line. Customers traveling on the following Northeast Regional trains will be required to purchase an Amtrak ticket in advance:

Weekdays:
Amtrak 141 (Departing Springfield at 5:55 AM)
Amtrak 148 (Departing New Haven at 11:00 PM)

Weekends:
Amtrak 140 (Departing New Haven at 6:26 PM)
Amtrak 143 (Sunday only, departing Springfield at 6:00 AM)
Amtrak 146 (Saturday only, departing New Haven at 9:54 PM)
Amtrak 147 (Saturday only, departing Springfield at 8:35 AM)
Amtrak 157 (Sunday only, departing Springfield at 7:58 AM)

Customers wishing to use the trains listed above must reserve their tickets in advance using the Amtrak app, at Amtrak.com, or through an Amtrak ticket agent. Amtrak ticket agents are available during posted hours at New Haven Union Station, Hartford Union Station, and Springfield Union Station. CTrail Hartford Line tickets will NOT be accepted on these trains. For questions, customers should contact Amtrak at Amtrak.com or 1-800-USA-RAIL (872-7345).

The full CTrail Hartford Line schedule can be viewed here.
This is not good that they sent this email.
  by lordsigma12345
 
gregorygrice wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:52 pm
Traingeek3629 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:45 pm Now that CTrail tickets are no longer allowed on the Regionals, I think it would make sense to have them skip select stops (Wallingford, Berlin, and Windsor) to allow for a couple minutes improvement on running times.
You'd be losing ridership from those stations, only to save at most a minute from each. Not worth it.
Also, as stated above, they will not be increasing fares on these trains - just how you have to buy your tickets - so they will still be an option for commuters. You will still be able to buy tickets at the cheap HL rate and as a result CTDOT is keeping them on the HL schedules with a disclaimer about how you have to get tickets. The biggest inconvenience will be for people who pay cash - as only New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield have Amtrak ticket agents - and currently the agents are not allowed to take cash due to COVID. For people who use the CTrail app or credit cards it just means loading another app on your phone. Yes it's not ideal, but I'd still rather this than them increasing the fares and cutting out the infill stops.
  by Train322
 
I did not know the regionals would have the same pricing. That is good.
Are ticket purchased on line only or if a station has an Amtrak machine, would that work?
  by BandA
 
Can you buy an Amtrak Hartford Line ticket say 5 minutes before the train arrives?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I think it's very important to have both West Hartford and Newington as stations. West Hartford would be situated at a great location-next to the Cttransit Flatbush Bus Stop with a lot of commercial and residential development nearby. In addition, several highways like 84 and 91 would be within easy reach of W. Hartford Station. The W. Hartford Station would be on the border of Hartford. As for Newington, the station would be off of Cedar Street so it wouldn't be directly along the busway.

As for moving WND Station 500 feet south, I agree that it should stay where it presently is. There is enough room to build the high level platforms on the existing low level platforms. It's not like the station building has a narrow platform between its edge and the tracks. If CDOT chooses to relocate the station 500 feet south, then at least, it would still be very close to the downtown area. Downtown Windsor isn't that big anyway. The parking spots where the Windsor Station is is probably owned by the town and not by CDOT so you probably have a mixture of drivers parking in those spots who are using the train as well as just patronizing the downtown area.

I can't wait until WNL Station is moved. The current location isn't too great. It's nice that it's right off of 91 but the access of getting into the station isn't meant for a pedestrian. I think even when you drive to WNL Station, you can only access it from the northbound lanes of South Main St. WNL station is supposed to be moved about a mile north to a spot much closer to the downtown area. The station is going to be located just north of Rt. 140 and I believe next to the site of those new apartments and retail units in the old mill building.

Yes, the double track through Windsor Locks and Enfield is very important. With not every train running to SPG and Vermont during these covid times, this is a great time to bring back the double track. I know that there is enough room to bring back the double track past the current Windsor Amtrak Station but my concern is that would it fit in the space between the canal and existing track? I was in that spot a few times this week and it may be possible but the existing right of way may need to be moved slightly west. The Connecticut River Bridge between WNL and Enfield needs to be replaced eventually. It's not in the best shape but not the worst. It would be great to have a new double track bridge.

I agree that Enfield should get a station. There have been numerous talks about bringing the station back there.

As for a bus connection from WNL to Bradley International Airport, that would be nice. There is a Cttransit bus # 30 that runs from Hartford to Bradley. That's great if you are coming from New Haven or NYC.
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