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 checkmatechamp13
 
I noticed that the Hartford Line isn't on Google Transit. I emailed them, and they said that they are in the process of putting the schedules in the appropriate format, but they're not sure when it'll be up and running.
  by The EGE
 
That's nothing but laziness. It takes all of a few hours to manually create a GTFS file for a simple schedule like theirs, and if they use any kind of scheduling software it should do so automatically.
  by ebtmikado
 
Or just go to the Hartford Line website and get it directly from the service provider.
  by The EGE
 
For clarification: the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) is a standardized way of publishing schedule data in a computer-readable format. It's relatively easy to create (and most scheduling software has the ability to automatically output it). Once you release the file, anyone can use it - Google Maps, Apple Maps, apps designed for your city, your agency's own trip planner - which makes it incredibly useful.

Most large transit agencies in the US, and some smaller agencies, put out GTFS files. (Amtrak is an embarrassing exception - they provide the file to Google but do not release it publicly, for reasons they have refused to provide.) Tools like Google Maps can take data from multiple agencies and combine it into a single trip suggestion, which is very useful for things like making local bus connections from the Hartford Line.

Some agencies also release a second feed, the GTFS-realtime, which provides real-time updates to the nominal schedule. It's what allows Google Maps to tell you that your bus is six minute late, or that your MBTA train is on time. GTFS-realtime is awesome to have, but it has to be automatically updated ever few minutes and thus needs a dedicated software program to create it.
  by Traingeek3629
 
I got my first look at the service (not counting opening weekend) tonight up in Wallingford. I was there yesterday evening, and saw a bunch of trains. I'll also give the ridership.

1. CTrail 4463, 6:15 PM- Wasn't at the station for this one, so I'm not sure what the ridership was.
2. CTrail 4414, 6:43 PM-This train had 3 cars open, and although only 8 people got off, the train was about 80% full, probably because it was going to Springfield so commuters from 3 more towns were onboard.
3. Amtrak 417, 6:46 PM-I think more people ride to New Haven via CTrail(connections) , but Hartford has more commuters. Over a dozen people got off here, and the train was still quarter-full.
4: CTrail 4466, 7:18 PM-This train had only 3 people get off, and only two cars were open. Those two cars were about 40% full.
5: Amtrak 494, 7:50 PM-I saw this one from my car.
6: Amtrak 479, 8:33 PM-I just missed this one, the crossing gates went down while I was at a red light.
7: Amtrak 412, 9:03 PM-This train was about half-full, and 1 person got off.
8: CTrail 4467, 9:10 PM-This train had 2 cars open and the cars that were open were about 20% full.
And that is it. Clearly ridership could be higher, and they need to improve service for people commuting to Hartford/Springfield, but the south of Hartford stations are nice. Ridership will only grow from here.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It will probably take a few years until service north of Hartford can be improved, given the lack of double track and even sidings. I know that in the Windsor area, there is a big siding that is being built which hopefully should help. It seems that double track for the entire route north of Hartford won't happen for a while and it's a shame. I can't wait until the plan is approved to relocate the Hartford Station and build a whole new double track right of way there.

It sounds like those ridership numbers starting out are lagging. It will take time for ridership to build but eventually it will happen. There are so many commercial, educational, residential, and tourist opportunities along the Springfield Line. I know that I have said this many times but I am not a fan of those refurbished MBTA MBB cars. It seems like they are beyond repair and upgrades and would have been better off being replaced by brand new equipment. Of course, CDOT was supposed to have had the M8s running on SLE by now enabling the entire Ctrail service to have been Mafersa sets temporarily. I'd much rather ride in a Mafersa car than one of those rebuilt MBB cars. Any trips that I plan to take on the SPG Line while the MBB cars are still in service-I think I will try to take one of Amtrak's 400 series trains or one of the new Northeast Regional trains.
  by lordsigma12345
 
According to at least one news article I saw over the last couple weeks that quote CTDOT officials, ridership is on track with their hopes/expectations and exceeding it on some days and that they expect it to take a few years for the line to reach its full potential. If I find the url to the specific article I swill post it. They are defining the Hartford Line's ridership by combining Amtrak's ridership on the line with CTrail ticket sales and do not separate them for statistical reporting. They are considering it a success if the combined intercity and commuter ridership reaches a certain threshold.

OTP continues to be a challenge at times particularly because of the choke points on the line and because northbound Amtrak shuttles often have to hold in New Haven for delayed Northeast Regional (or Acela in the case of trains 412 and 416) connecting trains. At certain points of the day, southbound Shuttles can also be delayed waiting for the northbound equipment to arrive in Springfield. Whether a Shuttle waits for a delayed NEC train or not is decided on a case by case basis and is dependent on how late the NEC train is and how many connecting passengers are on the affected train and how many passengers are on later Shuttles. I've been on a couple Shuttles nearly full because it had connecting passengers from two Regionals.
  by DutchRailnut
 
Keep in mind CDOT has professional liars , the Busway still only shows assumed numbers and not actual verified riders .
  by Train60
 
lordsigma12345 wrote:According to at least one news article I saw over the last couple weeks that quote CTDOT officials, ridership is on track with their hopes/expectations and exceeding it on some days and that they expect it to take a few years for the line to reach its full potential. If I find the url to the specific article I swill post it. They are defining the Hartford Line's ridership by combining Amtrak's ridership on the line with CTrail ticket sales and do not separate them for statistical reporting. They are considering it a success if the combined intercity and commuter ridership reaches a certain threshold.
There is no way that ConnDOT (or Amtrak) has any idea what the actual ridership is on the Amtrak Hartford Line trains at the moment. Amtrak conductors, last I heard, are simply ripping CTrail tickets in half rather than scanning the QR code on the ticket. I recall someone saying that the Amtrak hand-held device "has trouble" scanning with the QR codes on the CTrail tickets. Maybe someone with more info can share further details on this.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Yes that is true I have witnessed this. They are having trouble scanning the qr codes - on the first train I rode they were scanning and then ripping the ticket and clearly having trouble. Now Amtrak conductors are always just ripping the tickets while CTrail conductors use a puncher. They aren’t determining ridership on each train just a grand total. I believe they are counting ridership on the line by combining Amtrak ticketed ridership with CTrail ticket sales numbers.
  by GojiMet86
 
Does someone know all, or have the roster of, the MBB Coaches?

I can attest to seeing:


501
505
509
516
522
527

1509
1520
  by DutchRailnut
 
no bearing on CDOT, but the MARC cab cars used for GCT service are no longer needed, due to Egress hatch install on at least 11 of Amtrak P32acdm's .
The cars are being returned to MARC.
  by Stephen B. Carey
 
Why were the cars in Wallingford, CT? Seems a little off the path to bring them back to DC. Sorry if off topic,
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