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 TCurtin
This subject came up on the now-locked wreck thread, more or less as a "wouldn't it be nice if they could do today what the New Haven could have done" comment. Somebody pointed out that they had seen a photo in the NHRHTA Shoreliner of the Boston-Wahington Colonial detouring on the Danbury line. It caught my attention as the author of the story in which that photo appeared. Yes friends, there were things that could be done then that are no longer possible, one of which was detouring of main line passenger trains around various problems on the main line/Shore line. With its extensive branch line network the NH had a lot of ability to detour trains; and in fact they had formal, documented procedures for doing so. The photo taken at Branchville in the summer of 1958 was one such example. The capability even continued into Penn Central --- there's at least one photo of the UA Turbotrain detouring on the Danbury line, which would have to have been in the PC period. I'm sure there are a lot of people, particularly at Amtrak, who wish they could do so right now.

A different kind of procedure was done following the July 1955 wreck which occurred at Jenkins curve about a mile or two east of the corrent wreck site. It didn't involve detouring but rather squeezing past the wreck site on the tracks that were usable. I won't go into the details of how this was done, but if you have the Morning Sun book Trackside New Haven with Thomas J McNamara go to pp 26-27 for some photos and description.

I personally think that the railroaders involved in the present problem will yet think of a way to restore some kind of service pretty soon., They're smart and resourceful prople. Yes, I know tracks 1-3 are OOS --- but but things can get into service amazingly quickly when they need a solution badly enough, such as towing trains through the area behind diesels. When the entire railroad is OOS such as it is right now, that's about as bad as it gets. I wish them well.

Good wishes,
Tom Curtin,
Controller, NHRHTA
  by CTRailfan
That makes sense for the longer distance trains... not so much for 2-hour commuter runs that would turn into 4-hour (or longer?) runs. Hopefully they bridge it with busses. I wonder if the Maybrook line is in good enough shape to handle passenger traffic? Amtrak could switch to a P42 at Sunnyside and do SoNo-Danbury-Waterbury-Devon-NHV. Same for NHV-GCT Maxi-bombs. Not exactly the most efficient way to get to anywhere though unless you're in Waterbury and want to go to GCT, in which case it would be amazing...
  by CTRailfan
You could also pass some trains around Danbury, and then the next place to pass would be Derby Junction before going back to the mainline... And I looked at the map, and so much for Danbury.... I forgot the Maybrook doesn't go to Danbury...
  by runningwithscalpels
Maybrook - handle traffic? Ever look out the window of a Waterbury branch train lately? Using that method to get to New York would work for the interim (if it were possible, which it isn't) if Amtrak was desperate enough, however to insinuate that it's an efficient way to get to New York from Waterbury is laughable. 2:30+ is god awful enough as it is!
  by TCurtin
Folks, the Maybrook is OOS between Derby Jct and Newtown CT. You don't have access to that as a detour route today!!! I wasn't intending to imply in my post that such a thing would be possible today
  by runningwithscalpels
This does make me wonder if it will light a fire under anyone to get it back in service for that purpose (aka taking it away from Housy) though, even if only for emergency moves.
  by BERK44
I remember seeing a photo and reading about the Turbo Train detouring on the Danbury Line. I was wondering if they were still able to do this. Thank you Tcurtin for explaining this. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those injured in this accident.
  by jstolberg
Metro North will not be able to provide bus service for the 15,000 to 20,000 passengers who ride the train along the affected stretch of track on weekdays, Aaron Donovan, the Metro-North spokesman said Sunday morning.
“Moving 15,000 to 20,000 people by buses presents some enormous logistical challenges,” he said.
http://blog.ctnews.com/connecticutposti ... commuters/

The folks over at the Reason foundation seem to always think that buses are preferable to trains. Maybe someone can ask them what their plan is?

Meanwhile in Chicago, the CTA will be trying the same thing, providing shuttle bus service for the 80,000 passengers per day that regularly ride the red line to/from the south side.
  by NH2060
Lets keep in mind everyone that there are a number of very unusual circumstances at hand here. Almost never has MNR had broken rail issue like this 2) Had the other 2 tracks been open the entire line through that area wouldn't have been shut down like it is now 3) derailments of any kind are a once in a blue moon occurrence on the New Haven Line as it is. Plus if, for the sake of argument, the crash occurred in Milford or West Haven and all 3-4 tracks (depending on where in Milford or West Haven of course) were blocked off there'd be no other hypothetical alternative anyway. That is unless you actually fancy going Devon-Waterbury-New Britain-Newington-New Haven aka the REAL scenic route ;-)
  by Ridgefielder
Joking aside, though, I think this shows why while lines like the Beacon Secondary and the Maybrook might be allowed to go o/o/s, the "powers that be" will never allow them to be abandoned outright. Beacon-Danbury-Derby-Waterbury-New Britain-Hartford-Springfield gets you to Boston without using any part of the Shore Line whatsoever.

I don't mean this as some foamer "we should build a TGV on the NY&NE!" statement, by the way; just saying that I think the authorities have probably considered contingency plans should some disaster knock out the line for a very extended period of time.
  by Tommy Meehan
Metro-North has announced as of Monday morning they will be operating a New Haven-Bridgeport shuttle train service. At Bridgeport there will be express bus service to Stamford and local buses serving stations between Bridgeport and Stamford with the exception of Green's Farms and Southport.

Peak NH Line trains will operate on a normal schedule from South Norwalk with limited peak service and regular off-peak service to Westport. Link

In addition, Metro-North announced:
As of about 9 p.m. Saturday night, the National Transportation Safety Board authorized removal of the rail cars from the site, allowing the investigative and cleanup process to proceed. As of 8 a.m. Sunday, thirteen cars had been removed and the remaining three were expected to be removed by the early afternoon.

So things are looking considerably better.
  by Backshophoss
In the past,the Maybrook was CTC controled single track till the bridge fire,then PC let the Maybrook go to "seed".
Now HRRC let the Derby Jct-Newtown track rot away to make P+W detour to S. Norwalk,then run up the Danbury Branch
to reach their customers,it's high time to get ConnDOT to take control of the Maybrook away from HRRC.
  by DutchRailnut
and get a limited signal system and min 45 mph for passenger trains, cause now it takes 3 hours to go Derby to Danbury.
  by CTRailfan
runningwithscalpels wrote:Maybrook - handle traffic? Ever look out the window of a Waterbury branch train lately? Using that method to get to New York would work for the interim (if it were possible, which it isn't) if Amtrak was desperate enough, however to insinuate that it's an efficient way to get to New York from Waterbury is laughable. 2:30+ is god awful enough as it is!
Yeah, I didn't say it would be an efficient route. At all. Once you get up that far, it's probably more efficient to route via SPG to Boston. But it's OOS, so that's not an option. Is Amtrak running any additional trains via ALB to get to BOS? Although that's not really an effective route either.

Maybe this is a lesson not to fully take two tracks out at a time, and work on one, and if needed, just block the second one off for safe work, but be able to put it back into service within a few hours if needed.
  by chrisnewhaven
I believe that the reason two tracks are taken out at a time is because the bridges along the line are built in 2-track pairs. Each location has 2 bridges, each with two tracks. When a bridge has to be worked on, it takes out the two tracks on top of it, leaving the second bridge intact to carry the other two tracks.