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 JayMan
The New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail study has released its final report (as of about June 30). http://www.nhhsrail.com/

Proposed is the implementation of peak-hour bi-directional commuter train service between New Haven, CT and Springfield, MA. 18 miles of additional double tracks will be added at key points. Three new stations are to be built, in addition to the existing Amtrak stations along the line – in North Haven, Enfield and Newington (contingent on construction of the proposed Hartford-New Britain Busway). All stations are to have high-level platforms.

Capital costs are estimated in the range of $290 million. Funds are proposed to derived from state money, to avoid reliance on federal grants, and is proposed to be split between CT and MA where applicable.

Equipment is contrasted between standard loco-hauled coaches and DMUs. In general loco/coaches has the advantage of being a proven technology, and cheaper to expand (since additional coaches cost less than MUs). DMUs however have the advantage of being more fuel efficient (for short trains), quieter, better accelerating, cheaper to purchase and operate. Mentions that diesel equipment from SLE may be made availible as SLE maybe electric.

Consideration is given between Amtrak, Metro-North and a private company as an operator of the line. Also proposed is that NH-H-S equipment to be part of a pool with Amtrak's on this line, of course favoring Amtrak as an operator.

A timetable has implementation by 2011, depedant on funding, of course.
Last edited by nomis on Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:49 pm, edited 3 times in total. Reason: edited to split apart the planning from the launch of service

  by DutchRailnut
Nice plan, but without money its just a piece of paper without real value.
So many plans, so few Dollars

  by JayMan
Truthfully that is my thought as well. After following the drafts and noticing that they kept adding more stuff into it, I'm left to wonder where the $$$ is going to come from. Especially since the CT legistlature just approved the $1 billion for new railcars. I just don't see where the money is going to come from for this.

  by Mr rt
The August issue of Railpace features the NH-Springfield line.
  by Patrick A.
Assuming that Amtrak under an SLE type agreement operates future SPG-NHV services, would it make sense to electrify the line? Looking at the number of stops they plan on adding it would seem a prime candidate for Electric service? Perhaps CTDOT can salvage some M-2's before CTDOT/MNR throws them away as an interim equipment?


P.S. I know I just opened a whole new can of worms on this one.
  by Otto Vondrak
Split from the other Springfield Line discussion. I only left it in here because it's related to a possible potential CDOT operation.

My two cents: I do not feel that electrification is a possibility at this point, or even if it is required. Yes, the New Haven considered it back in the 1920s, but abandoned the idea in favor of electrifying to Boston (which they simply ran out of money for). And even if they were to electrify, that upgrade would not be completed for five years or more, depending on the permit and hearing process. You'd want to spend millions on electrification only to use 40 year old EMU's on the new service? That's like taking your already-rebuilt-once 1972 Oldsmobile Toranado out on the Mass Pike hoping you can maintain 75mph the whole way to Boston.

Not practical at this time.

  by shadyjay
Electrifying the Springfield Line is at the end of the list for my "Springfield Line Wish List". First, what needs to happen (after current track projects - there's a mountain of ties at the old Windsor Locks station awaiting installation) is increasing the service - starting up the commuter rail. Addition of new stations in North Haven, Newington Jct, Thompsonville. Adding double track - in sections at first. Perhaps closing some grade crossings. By the time this service even gets rolling, perhaps enough M-8s will be present to convert SLE to an all-electric operation, then utilize existing SLE trainsets in Springfield Line service. I know it was mentioned in one of the reports of the NH/H/S project that Amtrak shuttles would continue to operate. Once the service gets popular, replace the Amtrak shuttles with CDOT trainsets. Then .... electrify. The line could be electrified right up to Springfield, only putting wires over the south end of Springfield station. No impact on B&A tracks. Catenary poles/towers already exist halfway up the line paralleling Cedar Hill, though I'm sure they're about as high quality now as their smaller counterparts which grace the Danbury branch.

My point: get the ball rolling on increasing service... increase that service... then see where we are.
  by Jeff Smith
Amtrak owns this line, I believe. I think they would have a stake in any electrification, and would benefit thereof. The M-2's aren't going away any time soon, and many have been through CSR. They could be held in reserve. Of course, if Danbury gets re-electrified, they could go there as well. It would be cheaper than a new fleet. If your restricting operations in CT (whether Springfield or Danbury), remember, you can keep these trains to AC/Catenary only, and wouldn't need the dual capabilities.
  by Clean Cab
I know that CDOT has given this idea some thought. I was a Conn. Commuter Concil meeting a year or so ago and the subject of running commuter trains on the Springfield Line did come up and one CDOT rep said that among the improvements the line would need was electrification. I support such an idea, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon.
  by TomNelligan
Before thinking about electrification, the first step would be to find money to restore the double track that Amtrak removed about twenty years ago. Right now the single track sections limit Springfield Line capacity to a level well short of the point where stringing catenary would make economic sense.
  by Patrick A.
Just to answer Otto's question, I would say the CTDOT would only run M-2's on the line until more M-8's or another EMU was ordered should the line be electrified. I agree with Jay in progressively improving the line in an order similar to this:
1)Install double tracking for the entire length of the line
2)Repair bridges that have been identified as in need of repair by the CTDOT's initial SPG-NHV line report.
3)Begin construction of new stations (N. Haven, Newington, Suffield, etc.)
4)Scale back Amtrak shuttles and introduce CTDOT backed Commuter trains
5)If demand warrants, electrify and install ACSES or PTC or ATC
I agree that electrification should be the last priority here, however with the new station locations, the distance between stations will decrease and thus making diesel operations less efficient than an EMU. So if the line is successful in terms of increasing ridership once the first few phases of improvements are complete, I think electrification will be in order, granted perhaps not until 2015 or so.

  by DutchRailnut
Stop dreaming, CDOT does not even have money to start service on springfield line.
second electrification runs around 7 million or more per mile
Third no high level stations another few million CDOT does not have
so stop dreaming drink a glass of water.
  by Patrick A.
I think the money problem will be solved soon enough. With the $14.4 billion Amtrak appropriation passing the House and Senate by supermajority status and with local Congressmen (Shays D-CT and Neal D-MA) supporting the creation of the NHV-SPG commuter line in remarks on the House floor, it would seem likely that progress will commence sooner rather than later especially with the Democrats likely to sieze power along with a potential President who is very supportive of Amtrak and Commuter Railroads. Highways are no longer the answer, and I think Capitol Hill and the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW are beginning to see that Railroad investment is warranted.

  by shadyjay
DutchRailnut wrote:Stop dreaming, CDOT does not even have money to start service on springfield line.
second electrification runs around 7 million or more per mile
Third no high level stations another few million CDOT does not have
so stop dreaming drink a glass of water.
Springfield Line commuter rail will happen in a few years - pretty sure of that. Electrification, that I can see as a dream right now. Damn, that water tastes good.
According to the CDOT NH-H-S commuter rail final report http://www.ct.gov/dotinfo/cwp/view.asp? ... 95670&PM=1, all stations would get at least one high level platform, plus new parking lots. Seems a little overkill to me with immediately going with high level platforms when the low level ones are there and in daily use. Granted, the loading/unloading process is slower, but it can be done. SLE has been low from 1990 until a few years ago, and now all but 2 stations are high level.

Perhaps starting service with low level platforms at existing stations would be the way to go, and then increase your service from there. Electrify in 2015-2020 or so :-D
  by Patrick A.
Jay perhaps the High Level platforms are needed for ADA compliance? Maybe the SLE stations were grandfathered in because if memory serves correctly they were constructed in the ealry 90's perhaps before the ADA bill passed Congress? Thus if new stations are to be built then maybe they must have high levels.

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