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 MNCRR9000
I have been read that the MNRR wants to install a signal system along the Danbury Branch so that they can increase the frequency of the trains that can go along the branch. Does anyone know whether they have done this yet or when are they supposed to do it. I also read that once the signal system is in place Rail Traffic Controllers down in GCT will be able to see the trains on the branch. What type of control system does the Danbury Branch currently use?[/code]

  by Brakeman1
At this time the Danbury Branch Uses Manual Block. So therfore no CTC At this time.( CTC - Centralized Traffic Control )

Everything is by radio or phone and documented on an M Form. Once they signal the danbury branch it should be equal to the main lines signal system such as when they put a signal system in place from southeast to wassaic.
  by MNCRR9000
Do you know how long it is going to be before they put signals along the branch and what are the chances that they might electrify the line again?

  by Brakeman1
I believe electrification is long aways but I could be wrong..Dutch should have an answer on both shortly so stand by..

  by the missing link
uh oh, break out the fire hose....

  by Clean Cab
CDOT is holding off the installation of the CTC system in order to study if they can make the signal system and the proposed electrification share the same catenary/utility poles. Don't hold your breath for either one to happen anytime soon.
Last edited by Clean Cab on Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by DutchRailnut
Correct the first bids were submitted in october 1987 and were still using form M's and no signals. as for planning thats only thing CDOT does well and studies, but beyond that they run out of money fast.

As for electrification it would only make the branch less dependable, as any one tree or branch would suspend service till a rescue engine can get the trains moving again.
Nobody needs a 200 million $$$ catenary system when service stays the same and time on branch would only improve by 4 minutes max.
That same 200 million figure does not include purchase of 40 or so extra M-8's for the branch, at 2.4 million per car.
Don't think for one minute that the shuttles would become through trains either, you would still need to transfer in South Norwalk.
  by Tom Curtin
For some reason the notion if electrifying to Danbury cannot be absurd enough to die. I don't get it.

And I say this as somebody who remembers the New Haven's previous electrification of that line! I will be the first to tell you it made for an excellent operation---- but that was before you had the kind of flexibility that diesel powered trainsets enjoy today.

  by DutchRailnut
Also during previous electrified life there was a switcher working around Danbury and one at Norwalk that could rescue trains, as soon as they put their freight cars in clear.
Now it would take at least one hour to get a rescue diesel crewed and to South Norwalk, and then the rescues start.
When the power goes off its never one train affected so diesel has to push one train to siding, go to next train put in siding , then tow third train to yard etc etc.
As I said before electrifying won't do a thing other than destry the line in both astetics and operation.
Having these few Diesel trains handy has saved the railroad many a time.
and even if a diesel craps out, the next train could push or tow it out.
With electrics that option does not exist when the power goes out.

  by nick11a
I remember reading MN was looking into electrification, but I think Dutch is right. I really don't see it happening.

Also Dutch, are there plans to automtically interlock passing sidings?

As far as I know, the passing sidings at Wilton and Branchville will be passing sidings controlled by the RTC and Bethel lower siding will be completed as a siding.
  by Tom Curtin
Ah, the return of Bethel Lower . . . Glad to hear that
  by Jeff Smith
Can E Danbury and other long lost stations be far behind????


It's smart to see if catenary and wiring for signals can go on same pole. If you're doing one, why not two for the price of one? It might result in subst cost savings making it possible. I agree with Tom and Dutch, not much benefit, but if they're really going to New Milford, the distance might prove worthwhile.

I don't think you need to order add'l M-8's for the service. Keep the M-2's that have been through CSR. Yeah, they're not pretty, or in the best condition, but if they run and they've been paid for, why not? Haven't some of the M-4's been through rebuild? I know M-8's are replacing M-2's, but what about M-4's? Some of the triplets might be good on branch service (or was that M-6's?).

  by shadyjay
I used to think that electrification of the Danbury was the way to go, but others have talked me out of it. And it all makes sense. I'm sure if you search for Danbury Branch and electrification, you'll turn up a whole slew of discussions.

One downside to electrification that I can see instantly is if service is extended north to "Danbury North" (Federal Road), Brookfield or New Milford, then it would most likely require a change of trains to continue south of Danbury. I doubt it the Housatonic is willing to have its line electrified.

Its funny when you browse through old railroad magazines such as Trains and R/R and read what's in store, and then compare it to how far we've come (or not come) in 10 yrs, 20 yrs, etc. In the April '95 Trains Tower Tribute, there's a story about hooping up orders at Walk Tower. A quote says "The Danbury Branch is scheduled to receive TCS soon, and hooping up orders will end". That was 1995. Today is 12 years later. Are orders still hooped this way at this location?

  by DutchRailnut
If you ran M2/4/6 on Danbury branch they would never make any stations in fall. the cars are old tech and can not be controlled when leafs are down on rail.
And even if you kept cars they would still need replacement in 10 year or so .
besides the railroad nees diesel consist to cover during snowstorms and other emergencies, power outages will only increase in years to come as our electrical infra structure is old and overloaded.
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