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 F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Connecticut pols have a longstanding fascination for electrification-for-electrification's sake. That makes its way into every study even when it brings absolutely nothing to the table. (See also Springfield Line and talking electrification before elimination of the grade crossing clusters that have the most impact on performance of the line).
  by runningwithscalpels
 
It's not only politicians, I went to another one of those Waterbury service is awful, let's rally meetings last night in Naugatuck and 5 people were screaming for electrification of the branch because they think that because they got charged the fare hike for the M8's, they should get to ride them here - and they think that M8's would solve all the problems....and they think that this should happen before passing sidings OR signalization. I get that their prime concern is "my commute sucks now, the train breaks down, the crews complain about the diesels, so why doesn't the railroad string wires so we can use the shiny new stuff because everyone else gets to use them too." but people in general who have zero idea how a railroad works seem to think that electrification is the cure-all.

Someone did bring up Danbury electrification last night too, I believe either the CDOT or MNRR representative's response (I forget which one gave it) was something to the effect of "You'll see passing sidings on the Waterbury before you see wires in Danbury"
  by runningwithscalpels
 
Ridgefielder wrote:[Extension to New Milford makes sense given the congestion on 7 and 84 at rush hour. Kent, on the other hand, makes no sense whatsoever. Among other things, its about the closest town in all of Connecticut to the Harlem Division- the center of town is probably a 15min drive to Tenmile River.
I went to one of those Housy wants to bring back rail to the Northwest corner kool-aid meetings last winter up in Falls Village. Some politician (selectman perhaps?) from Kent flat out said that he could care less either way if passenger service makes it up to them because he and his constituents all drive to the Harlem line anyway.
  by Backshophoss
 
All the commuters and pols see are the remains of the orignal catenary to Dandury,NONE of the poles,
supports,etc can be reused,they are rusted remains.
To return wire to Danbury is a NEW BUILD from the ground up,requires a rebuild of the signal system,etc,
would be very $$$$ from the get go.
To make it to New Milford,get rid of HRRC 1st
You're right Waterbury will get signals and a passing siding or 2 long before Danbury gets wire.
  by DutchRailnut
 
My estimate for electrification based on re-electrification of New Canaan, was that it would cost in excess of $200 million for Danbury as it is today, not including the extra MU's that would need to be bought at 3.1 million American pesos a car ( at least 35 needed)
  by NH2060
 
There're a lot of things we'll see before the Danbury Branch gets even bases for the cat poles ;-)

Speaking of which why were the original NH poles never removed?
  by DutchRailnut
 
it cost money,so why are poles no longer usable, bases are disintegrating and all support rods are long gone, each pole use to have 1 or 2 guy rods holding pole from tipping.
  by Ridgefielder
 
NH2060 wrote:There're a lot of things we'll see before the Danbury Branch gets even bases for the cat poles ;-)

Speaking of which why were the original NH poles never removed?
Too expensive to cut them out of the concrete bases, I guess. Plus in places- like here, https://goo.gl/maps/PSk1B along the Simpaug Turnpike in Redding- they're used to support a communications line for (I think) AT&T
  by NH2060
 
Extension of passenger service to even beyond New Milford apparently getting serious consideration (with fair use quote):
http://www.newstimes.com/business/artic ... php#page-2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected this week to unveil his new transportation strategy that will call for major infrastructure improvements, and state lawmakers anxious to have expanded passenger service in the region have clamored to offer several bills that would study and move forward such propositions. The proposed legislation calls for passenger service to be expanded to New Milford or farther north to Canaan.

Colin Pease of HRRC's words/claims aside perhaps it isn't that far fetched of an idea to have service go up somewhat farther north (Kent, etc.) after all. But those claims of operating at a profit are just laughable. I'm sure no one at CDOT believes it.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Everything further north of New Milford is a close drive to the Harlem Line for a trip into GCT way faster than the Berkshire Line. Starting at HM Valley-Wingdale station no town on the US 7 corridor in CT from the very elongated northernmost rural section of New Milford through Cornwall and Sharon is more than 10 miles from an Upper Harlem station. If it ever went back to Millerton the same could be said for Salisbury, North Caanan, and all points right up to the MA border. There's no there there for going further north than downtown New Milford and the northern extent of the Route 7 commute of pain.

All the studies have confirmed this, so despite what some exciteable Litchfield County legislators and Colin Pease's stenographers seem to think there's no persuasion to be had with CDOT or Malloy over this. They know the score. That's why none of them met with MA Gov. Patrick in North Caanan when he chartered his MBTA choo-choo to announce his Berkshire Line plan.


That said, Brookfield + New Milford is about as dead-obvious an extension as it gets. Easily the #2 priority in the state after NHHS. That was never really in question. But north of there is what it is...the Upper Harlem is going to be a faster commute 10 times out of 10 even if you live near one of these prospective Berkshire Line stations.
  by NH2060
 
True, but that leaves out SE Westchester, Greenwich-Stamford-Norwalk, Danbury, etc. I think it's fair to suggest that a good number of Danbury Branch riders are NOT going as far as GCT. So an extension wouldn't be necessarily attracting potential GCT riders, but those going to/from again Greenwich-Stamford-Norwalk-Route 7 corridor and maybe even just Danbury.

If Millerton ever became a reality no doubt that would attract a fair number of would-be GCT riders from those parts and they would take the Harlem Line regardless. I would do so myself. But once again that still leaves the SE Westchester/Fairfield County demographic which is not a niche market by any means so if there's enough of a market for non-GCT, intra-CT ridership that's enough of a reason to take it as far north as reasonably possible. Canaan is indeed a stretch though, even for a CapeFLYER-type summer only train.
  by The EGE
 
After the state inevitably kicks HRRC off or buys them out, Kent might be worthwhile for a very small number of trains (perhaps even one morning and one afternoon round trip). The line is going to need trackwork to make it freight-worthy anyway; might as well make up to Kent viable for minimum passenger service. Kent itself doesn't have a good route to the Harlem Line, and even minimum service would go a long way to make the politicians there happy with MNRR.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
But what's the total patronage going to be? Really...those are some small, small villages. North Caanan the largest by a longshot at slightly over 3000 people. Nevermind Westchester...Dutchess County is comparably a lot denser than Litchfield County. Even New Milford is a weird case because it's so geographically large and hyper-extended in a north-south direction and the population density so concentrated to the extreme-south downtown; the whole northern extent up to the Kent town line is vast empty space. And it's diluted destination points. Some rural residents work rural and commute east-west on empty roads (US 44, CT 63, CT 4, etc.). And then the ones that do need a New York commute can/do and will-forever drive to the far faster and more frequent Harlem Line stations because each downtown pocket along US 7 has those east-west crossroads with a relatively easy shot to an Upper Harlem station.

And it's a long, long schedule for those who do need the north-south commute. Danbury-Stamford is already an hour on the schedule for 9 stops and 30 miles on mostly slow track. New Milford is +2 stops (maybe +3 if public sentiment makes up its mind and swings back in favor of a North Danbury spacer) on +13 track miles. But at least it's a relatively straight track and wide station spacing that'll approach 60 MPH track speed between stops. New Milford-Kent is +12 more track miles for 1 station on the curviest-by-far portion of the Berkshire Line in CT. At the point where both it and the Upper Harlem converge closest to the state line. That schedule's going to be excruciating. You could probably meet or beat time into Stamford from New Britain via commuter rail on the Highland + an upgraded Waterbury Branch than you could from Kent via the Danbury Branch. And if there's any substantial station parking to be had in New Milford, then you're going to get lots of people simply driving down the uncongested parts of US 7 and US 202 to board there where car + train time is a wash, there's more to do/eat around the station, and likely a whole lot more New Milford-terminating trains to choose from than would be poking north into the sticks. It's fighting to a draw at best, and this is why CDOT already knows the score.


I just don't know how north of New Milford is going to collectively generate more than a couple hundred total riders per day who need the north-south orientation above all else and are willing to put up with the schedule compromises when the 'fighting to a draw' options like a drive to downtown New Milford or the Upper Harlem are taken into account. You are already dividing the very small pie to begin with targeting Litchfield County north of the US 7/US 202 split. The piece of the demand pie this would serve probably doesn't even make up a plurality of the total demand when the 'good enough' trade-offs of longer park-and-ride drive for better schedule options are taken into account.



It's too bad Wassaic-Millerton has no funding conduit that takes into account the likely CT patronage. It would settle up nearly all the demand worth settling up on the US 7 corridor, and if it weren't for the matter of only one state being able to pay for it that probably would've been enough to make it happen by now.
  by Steamboat Willie
 
I was told that making a station near the old Brookfield station was not fesible due to the parking lot arrangement. It would make sense to have some sort of station where the Berkshire Corperate offices are on White Turkey Rd just off the Federal Rd exit on Route 7. You have all major connecting roads near by (Federal Rd, Rte 7, Candlewood Lake Rd.)
  by DutchRailnut
 
the only place in brookfield were a station and parking could be arranged id opposite fire dept and near post office.
But again don't hold your breath as cast is a lot higher than people say including several bridges that would need to be totally redone.
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