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 Jondude11
 
Noel Weaver wrote: Don't ever say "never" in regard to the railroad, I learned that when I first
hired out on the NHRR in 1956 and I believe it today. The towns along
Metro-North will have to get over the feeling that prevades today that they
are pristine, the next station to heaven (New Canaan, Ct) and other
attitudes. The Harlem ceased to be a rural railroad in 1984 when the
third rail was completed to Brewster. I'll bet the old time New York
Central people are still turning over in their graves.
What good is good commuter service if they have no place to park their
cars.
It will cost a lot less to build new parking garages than to build a whole
new railroad line on the grade of the old Put.
Noel Weaver
I see what you mean. Hopefully some day in the future they could build (or restore) more commuter rail, and I hope some day more money will be put into it. It's extremely important to the people that have easy access to it. Even just simply being able to take the train on the weekend to see a Broadway show is a great service to have.

And as for extending the Harlem Line north of Wassaic, it'd need to be inspected how much use people would get out of it. I don't know how many people north of Wassaic would commute by train, but more and more today I've been seeing articles on "super commuters" with 2 and a half hour long commutes, so you never know. It'd be nice to have rail up there too just for their transportation, if not for commuting. It seems to me, however, the most valuable extension of any line would be the Danbury Branch to New Milford.

  by Lackawanna484
 
[quote="Jondude11]
And as for extending the Harlem Line north of Wassaic, it'd need to be inspected how much use people would get out of it. I don't know how many people north of Wassaic would commute by train, but more and more today I've been seeing articles on "super commuters" with 2 and a half hour long commutes, so you never know. It'd be nice to have rail up there too just for their transportation, if not for commuting. It seems to me, however, the most valuable extension of any line would be the Danbury Branch to New Milford.[/quote]

There are quite a few cars with MA plates, and a few with VT plates, in the Wassaic parking lot, so I suspect there would be some demand for extending the line farther north. I suspect many of these folks are part time residents upcountry, who commute to the city on Tues and come back up on Thurs, or something similar.

  by JoeG
 
I believe that MN floated a plan to restore service north of Wassaic, but it was opposed by NIMBYs and dropped. A similar plan to extend MN service north of Poughkeepsie on the Hudson line was opposed by NIMBYs and dropped. Seems like anywhere in NY and NJ, when proposals to re-activate lines, or even to increase service on existing lines, are made, NIMBYs come out in force. For example, sidings are supposed to be built on the Pascack Valley line to allow bidirectional service. Several towns along the route are suing to prevent the sidings. (They are to be built on existing RR ROW.) Some people seem to believe that 100 car freights will be run on the line, despite its being a dead end line with only a couple of small customers. Others complain that more service will cause more grade crossing delays. Here is a situation in which towns are being given, at no cost to them, additional train service, and are suing to prevent it!

  by Dieter
 
I've read the reviews on the feasability of the ressurection of the Putnam Division, and I have to say I disagree with the realists.

Overdevelopment is proceeding unchequed at such an unprecedented pace that I believe Putnam tracks have a place in the future. If one was to begin legal proceedings NOW to regain ALL of that property, add for facilities and double tracking, by the time the first bulldozer began, the public would be screaming for the service.

Let's single out the Yorktowners. Now that's a sprawling community stuck in the middle of nowhere with only the Taconic and 35/202 for traffic. Imagine if they had their own railhead, the congestion that would be relieved on those two highways, not to mention the parking freed up in Croton/Harmon alone. A new Putnam Division would alleviate overcrowded trains and parking areas at BOTH neighboring Divisions.

It may sound strange, but 25 years ago when off peak Harlem trains were only two coaches, or ONE RDC and nearly empty, we NEVER imagined that a six car train could be practically filled EVERY HOUR on the off peak schedule.

We have to plan ahead NOW. You all forget that the Putnam Division died because it was allowed to die. I don't think the Putnam ever saw innovative cost saving concepts as RDC service. The Central put it in everyone's mind that the line was going to die, and the brainwashing took and lasts to this day. Has everyone forgotten the inconvenience of the Put that you couldn't get directly into Manhattan, despite the fact that it's rails were linked directly to the Hudson Division? Central Management didn't want that switch thrown, or they would have NEVER been able to shed that line with the State.

Build it, and they will use it. Like Arthur Imperatore's Hoboken Ferry. Arthur couldn't believe the number of people who took his little boats over the PATH Trains.

In regards to a rail corridor between Suffern and White Plains, does anyone know the bus ridership between those two points? I would say that THIS as a rail corridor is totally impractical, while Mid Westchester and Mid Putnam access directly into Grand Central is the most attractive concept at this time, for a successful expansion in Metropolitan rail access.

Dieter
  by Noel Weaver
 
JoeG wrote:I believe that MN floated a plan to restore service north of Wassaic, but it was opposed by NIMBYs and dropped. A similar plan to extend MN service north of Poughkeepsie on the Hudson line was opposed by NIMBYs and dropped. Seems like anywhere in NY and NJ, when proposals to re-activate lines, or even to increase service on existing lines, are made, NIMBYs come out in force. For example, sidings are supposed to be built on the Pascack Valley line to allow bidirectional service. Several towns along the route are suing to prevent the sidings. (They are to be built on existing RR ROW.) Some people seem to believe that 100 car freights will be run on the line, despite its being a dead end line with only a couple of small customers. Others complain that more service will cause more grade crossing delays. Here is a situation in which towns are being given, at no cost to them, additional train service, and are suing to prevent it!
I have no problems if that is what the people in the area want, go ahead
and build a Putnam Line between blank and blank. I condition this with the
provision that the people living in the area and who stand to benefit come
up with the funds necessary to build this line. Maybe several thousand
dollars per household. How can you ask the farmer in Otsego County who
is barley making ends meet now, the brass worker in Buffalo who has his/
her own problems or all of the rest of the citizens of New York State to pay
for something as big as this.
Maybe after you find out how much this thing would cost and what it would
do to the tax burden of New Yorkers, you will have second thoughts.
Expanded parking along the existing lines will help a whole lot and at much
less cost.
Noel Weaver

  by Jondude11
 
Dieter wrote:I've read the reviews on the feasability of the ressurection of the Putnam Division, and I have to say I disagree with the realists.

Overdevelopment is proceeding unchequed at such an unprecedented pace that I believe Putnam tracks have a place in the future. If one was to begin legal proceedings NOW to regain ALL of that property, add for facilities and double tracking, by the time the first bulldozer began, the public would be screaming for the service.

Let's single out the Yorktowners. Now that's a sprawling community stuck in the middle of nowhere with only the Taconic and 35/202 for traffic. Imagine if they had their own railhead, the congestion that would be relieved on those two highways, not to mention the parking freed up in Croton/Harmon alone. A new Putnam Division would alleviate overcrowded trains and parking areas at BOTH neighboring Divisions.

It may sound strange, but 25 years ago when off peak Harlem trains were only two coaches, or ONE RDC and nearly empty, we NEVER imagined that a six car train could be practically filled EVERY HOUR on the off peak schedule.

We have to plan ahead NOW. You all forget that the Putnam Division died because it was allowed to die. I don't think the Putnam ever saw innovative cost saving concepts as RDC service. The Central put it in everyone's mind that the line was going to die, and the brainwashing took and lasts to this day. Has everyone forgotten the inconvenience of the Put that you couldn't get directly into Manhattan, despite the fact that it's rails were linked directly to the Hudson Division? Central Management didn't want that switch thrown, or they would have NEVER been able to shed that line with the State.

Build it, and they will use it. Like Arthur Imperatore's Hoboken Ferry. Arthur couldn't believe the number of people who took his little boats over the PATH Trains.

In regards to a rail corridor between Suffern and White Plains, does anyone know the bus ridership between those two points? I would say that THIS as a rail corridor is totally impractical, while Mid Westchester and Mid Putnam access directly into Grand Central is the most attractive concept at this time, for a successful expansion in Metropolitan rail access.

Dieter
As much as a Putnam Line would really benefit everyone, I don't think the MTA will ever have enough money to put it through. But man I wish they would. Even if it were a branch (kind of like the New Haven Line branches) off the Harlem Line, maybe from North White Plains stopping at Elmsford, Briarcliff Manor, Millwood, Yorktown, Mohegan and stopping. But, I just don't see the MTA coughing up the money.

  by Dieter
 
Yes Gentlemen, the money is always the bottom line.

How much in today's money do you think it would cost to begin such an ambitious project, say running trackage from the Hudson Division along the old Putnam ROW as far as a large Park & Ride facility at Elmsford, just off of I-287, The Saw Mill Parkway and Route 9A? If it took, expansion up to say Yorktown might be next, or even restoration of the entire line. But again, how much do you think it might cost?

That said, where would you rather see your tax money spent? On expanding the commuter rail system to relieve congestion and serve the public, OR a STADIUM on the West Side of Manhattan that doesn't make any profit benefitting the rest of us?

Dieter.
  by Noel Weaver
 
The Central did not want the Putnam Division because it cost a fortune to
operate the thing. They were also paying a huge amount of taxes on the
line, property and buildings. I rode it several times before it came off and
the ridership at that time was fair but not to the extant that it could not be
absorbed by existing service on both the Harlem to the east and Hudson
to the west.
Nobody in authority at that time supported any help for the Central to
continue the operation so it WENT AWAY and never shall it return. If the
people of Yorktown Heights want to ride passenger trains to work or to
the big city, they can go east or west to do it. Ten miles east to Katonah
or seven miles west to Peekskill.
Not every backyard can have a commuter train. Probably NIMBY issues
involved here too.
Noel Weaver
  by roee
 
Noel Weaver wrote: Probably NIMBY issues
involved here too.
Right, no one in that are is going to want the nice railtrail ripped up for a commuter rail line. I've rollerbladed on that trail several times. It's a great little trail (If I'm thinking of the right section, along the saw mill down by Yonkers?).

  by Jondude11
 
Yes, I suppose, but can people from Yorktown Heights get commuter passes in Peekskill or Katonah? They're both pretty full stations, and I know that in Chappaqua, only people from the Town of New Castle can get commuter passes. There's a section of Chappaqua that's the Chappaqua hamlet but part of Mount Pleasant, and they can't even get commuter passes at Chappaqua, and Chappaqua has 1,100 spaces (both more than Katonah or Peekskill). If this is the case, people from Yorktown or Katonah either need to find rides or find some other way of parking. I know Croton-Harmon has 1,900 spaces, maybe they allow people from out of town?
  by Noel Weaver
 
Those of you who have interest in the former New York Central Putnam
Division might like to know about a magazine that was put out by the
National Association of Timetable Collectors called "The Timetable
Collector". The issue in question is the current one no. 107, Fall 2004
which has an article about the Putnam Division outlining the reasons for
its demise and have reproductions of various timetable pages.
This magazine is put out four times a year by the National Association of
Timetable Collectors. Membership dues are $20.00 per year and the
organization is primarily for timetable collectors.
For information: Mr. George Fletcher, Post Office Box 217, Bethpage, NY,
11714-0217.
Their publications do not have much in pictures but have some very
interesting reproductions of old timetable pages.
Noel Weaver

  by harmon44
 
Many parts of the old Put have been used for roads and other uses. Westchester is still trying to connect the south part because many business used the area and there are now enviromental clean up issues. On the lower end there is not enough property for parking. Probably best to get you bike and remember what was.

  by Jondude11
 
I suppose, I mean, which station do you think most Yorktown commuters use? Chappaqua, Mount Kisco, Bedford Hills, Katonah, Ossining, Croton-Harmon, and Cortlandt are all fairly close, but aren't most of their parking spots for use of residents of the town only? I guess Croton-Harmon has the biggest lot, but Yorktown always struck me as the first place on the Old Put line that could really benefit today, because that's where the distance between the Harlem Line and the Hudson Line grows. To go from Chappaqua to Scarborough or Ossining is no big deal, but from Katonah to Peekskill or Cortlandt, that's a much longer distance.

  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Yorktown has many square miles. It all depends where you like. I think if you live near the mercy branch there, you might be near a couple of places. It is right off the Taconic.

Put

  by Tom Curtin
 
The Putnam ROW has been encroached on and altered so much (e.g.: between Elmsford and Worthington; crossing the SMP at Eastview; at Briarcliff; and where it crossed under the Taconic Pkwy just south of Millwood --- perhaps other spots also that do not come so quickly to mind) that restoring the tracks would be a very non-trivial job today.

And it's very hard to say with any confidence what the ridership would be
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