Train322 wrote:Before they talk 50 million for Waterbury to Plainville, on a line with curves and grade crossings where I wonder how fast a train can run versus a connecting bus in I 84, (with completed three lanes, although no storm drains that lead anywhere) - let them spend money on passing tracks between Devon and Waterbury so they can, given reliable equipment, run trains on two hour headways.
Once that is done, they can look for connecting bus lines in Waterbury or, I can't imagine how slow it would be on a rail line that does not run direct, extending rail to Plainville/New Britain.
Have you ever driven I-84 at rush hour between Hartford and Waterbury? A train will beat car or bus by 1 or 1-1/2 hours at peak travel, easily. It is one of the most painful commutes in the state, and severely isolates Bristol and Waterbury from the Hartford job market.
This was the NYNE mainline; it used to be a full double-track major intercity route, and service was well-patronized right to the end in the 50's. The 1-mile downtown Bristol hairpin is residue from when the New Departure plant was historically on North Main St., but the rest of the line is very straight and suitable to good speeds. Even the hills out in Plymouth and the long curve where it turns south to Waterbury are graded very well for it. The flank from the top of the Bristol hairpin to when it turns back east is the downtown station approach, so it mitigates what's obviously a very slow zone with a major station stop where the trains would be slowing anyway. The sharp curves and grade crossings are not much of an added travel time penalty because of that.
Noel Weaver wrote:Folks using the train in the Naugatuck Valley are headed for Bridgeport, Stamford and New York and not Hartford. Item- Hartford is shinking as a city, commuter destination and jobs location. The busway is a huge waste of money, commuter rail to Hartford likewise is a waste of money although I favor much more service between New Haven and Springfield that could function as commuter rail service along that line. Connecticut has enough irons in the fire trying to keep going what they already support without trying to do the impossible. As much as I like passenger trains and believe me, I like them, in some places buses simply do a better job and Hartford generally fits this mold.
Would agree to a certain point about commute patterns. There is bleed-through right around Waterbury where a fair amount of traffic is challenged by getting around the horn 84-to-8. It's not a sharp demarcation, more a continuum that after a couple stops south few are commuting east and after a couple stops east few are commuting south. For peak hours, definitely most services would be best off terminating in Waterbury for each end. Off-peak, it's operationally easiest to just have end-to-end runs sweeping through the whole line at hours when not a whole lot of equipment needs to run. It'll ultimately net better service levels and serve those bleed-through riders better. There is also the matter that a lot of people in the mid-Naugutuck Valley have extremely poor airport access, further isolating them from options they need. In a pick-your-poison situation, Seymour or Ansonia is probably the dividing line where NYC over Bradley decisively stops being a dilemma, and Nagutuck or Beacon Falls where Bradley looks a better drive depending on time of day. For that reason a subset of run-thrus would be a whole lot better than a brick wall at Waterbury station dividing the two routes and blocking those bleed-thru audience options.
Still no way to make this a viable bus route. 84 is just too awful, and there are no other bypass highways after 40 years of the impossible Route 72 saga. I simply don't think there's any other mode that'll work for de-isolating this area from the job market. They flat-out can't get from A to B with a tolerable commute, and the areas suffer the economic consequences accordingly.
At any rate, the meeting point at Waterbury terminal opens up a ton of service options. I won't pretend to know the best way to slice and dice it until a survey crunches some hard data on where everyone's going. That hasn't been done in a long time, and demographic patterns have definitely changed in the last 20 years making any previous studies on the books pretty far obsolete.