Metro-North Line Extension

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ben
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Metro-North Line Extension
Posted by ben on Monday, January 15, 2018 6:40 PM

If New York City's Metro-North were to extend the Danbury Line north to the town of New Milford they could follow the existing infrastructure and open two new stops. One stop could be opened in Brookfield, and the other in New Milford the town of New Milford actually has a station that could be re-opened. New Milford is a big town so this would create decent usership, and it will allow for commuters to go to New York more easily. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 4:55 AM

Send your suggestion to the Governor's office in Connecticut.  Although Metro North provides the service, Conn-Dot provoides the subsidy and controls policy.  Also, determine is there any interest in either Brookfield and/or New Milford for the service?  Have you talked to people living and working there?

Perhaps they enjoy their isolation?   Some rural communities have a majority of people who do!

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 12:46 PM

It appears that this has already been proposed. 

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 3:35 PM

They should extend the tracks right up to Pittsfield. It would take cars off Routes 7 and 22 as well as the Taconic Parkway. The tracks are there, aren't they? 

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 6:13 PM

54light15

They should extend the tracks right up to Pittsfield. It would take cars off Routes 7 and 22 as well as the Taconic Parkway. The tracks are there, aren't they? 

 

This would be great, a few issues. The Metro-North system is electrified as the Park Avenue Tunnels require this ever since the crash that occured in 1902. So, the electrification of tracks up to Pittsfield would be very costly. Also, this region north of New Milford has a very low population density. If Pittsfield were to be added onto the Metro-North system it would make more sense to add it onto the Hudson Line of Metro-North which follows a much more densely populated area. If it were to follow the Hudson Line it would be going towards Albany, and in this case if Albany ever were to create a commuter rail system or get added onto the Metro-North System that would make more sense. It is true though that the tracks are present. The tracks follow the Housatonic railroad all the way from Danbury to Pittsfield so they definitely could be upragraded.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:02 PM

ben
This would be great, a few issues. The Metro-North system is electrified as the Park Avenue Tunnels require this ever since the crash that occured in 1902. So, the electrification of tracks up to Pittsfield would be very costly.

So would electrification of tracks up to Albany on the Hudson Line.  Hint: what works there would probably work for Pittsfield trains as well.

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:32 PM

The difference being that Albany is a very densly populated city, with a large population, which means that the ridership would provide a better Return on Investment. Also, the tracks that continue to Albany have max speeds of 110 MPH so this means that the travel time is less which makes it more appealing to a traveller so this makes the ROI far better. Whereas Pittsfield doesn't have nearly as large of a population as Albany does.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 10:03 PM

ben

 

 
 

This would be great, a few issues. The Metro-North system is electrified as the Park Avenue Tunnels require this ever since the crash that occured in 1902. So, the electrification of tracks up to Pittsfield would be very costly.  ...

 

While the tracks used to be electrified as far north as Danbury, the Danbury line lost electric over 50 years ago.

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Posted by pajrr on Thursday, January 18, 2018 2:16 AM

Trains to Danbury used to be electrified as Midland Mike pointed out. There electrification was taken out I believe after WWII. Also,the Hudson Line is only electrified up to Croton-Harmon, NY, 33 miles from Grand Central Terminal. Metro-North and Amtrak use dual power (diesel electric / 3rd rail shoe) on the Hudson line so no locomotive change is required.

ben
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Posted by ben on Thursday, January 18, 2018 6:02 AM

In that case continuing up to Pittsfield would only require track upgrades, and Albany no upgrades to the track or any electrification would be required.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 18, 2018 11:54 PM

ben
In that case continuing up to Pittsfield would only require track upgrades, and Albany no upgrades to the track or any electrification would be required.

Precisely.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 21, 2018 12:07 AM

Does any reader consider Pittsfield a place where residents commute to and from New York City?

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, January 22, 2018 1:48 PM

Mr. Klepper, my sister and parents used to live in Great Barrington, Mass. It was always a "weekend" town for New Yorkers. We had a ski house near there, built in 1968.  With the extension of the Harlem line to Wassaic, G.B. became a bedroom community for New Yorkers as working in New York and living in Masschusetts became feasible. I don't know if there would be commuter service to Pittsfield, but Great Barrington, Sheffield, Canaan and others on that line would be possible. 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 22, 2018 2:20 PM

But commuer passenger service is not self-supporting.  If Massachusettes does not subsidze decent Springfield - Boston service (let alone Pittsfield - Boston), how would you expect them to subsidize Housatonic River service north of Connecticut?  And all three states have some cash problems at the moment.

I think Metro North's attitude, and the of ConnDot also, is "Let them drive to Wassaic and we will provide parking."

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Posted by 54light15 on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 4:25 PM

I don't expect them to support it as the line is mostly in Connecticut, and you are right, why would Massachusetts enhance service to New York? But it would be nice, wouldn't it? The Housatonic Railroad did have excursion service on the line south of Canaan many years ago. I do recall the New Haven signs hanging on the end of the platform roof at Stockbridge back in the day. There were RDCs on that line as I recall. 

ben
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Posted by ben on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 7:38 PM

daveklepper

Does any reader consider Pittsfield a place where residents commute to and from New York City?

 

 

 

Not necessarily New York City, but definitely Albany, if an extension to Albany, and eventually a possible extension Eastwards to Pittsfield on Metro-North was put in place like pictured.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 9:30 PM

Suspect that extensive track work would be needed to enable Amtrak to maintain its present schedule times ?  That would probably mean some 3rd track installation ?

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Posted by ben on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 9:52 PM

blue streak 1

Suspect that extensive track work would be needed to enable Amtrak to maintain its present schedule times ?  That would probably mean some 3rd track installation ?

 

 

Which section of track would require this along the Hudson River or from Albany to Pittsfield.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 12:27 AM

Track between Pittsfield and Albany is in reasonably good shape and could support ommuter service.  There is an Amtrak each way each day.  But where would the finanial support come from and how many would use it?  Highway congestion is not a major problem in that area right now.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 7:40 AM

I'm not sure that an extension up to Albany would be legal.  It's moving from suburban to intercity service which runs afoul of the Rail Passenger Service Act and may violate the statute which created the MTA.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 10:54 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
It's moving from suburban to intercity service which runs afoul of the Rail Passenger Service Act and may violate the statute which created the MTA.

How is it really any different from what Metro North already arranges with NJT to service Port Jervis?  You have joint lease of some of the run-through equipment, and perhaps share or pool crews either as run-throughs or to 'take over' at arranged points. 

Yes, I think you'd have to negotiate with Amtrak if there is service by Amtrak on the same route -- isn't that a reason why there has to be a SEPTA/NJT break in ride at Trenton, and I think why the 'hole' between MARC north out of Washington and SEPTA south out of Philadelphia has persisted so long? -- but if the OP is correct there would be ample demand for the 'local' regional service that Amtrak could only fill by making unprofitable operational compromises, assuming the new service goes with a company like Keolis for management rather than letting Amtrak contract for the operation.

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Posted by erikem on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 2:14 PM

FWIW, Metrolink and Coaster provide a sort of competing service to Amtrak's Surfliner. A couple of caveats, the Metrolink and Coaster schedules make it very inconvenient to travel LA to SD (and vice versa) along with Amtrak getting state funding for the Surfliner.

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 7:26 PM

The owner of the Hoosictonic Railroad despretly needs upgrades to tracks that are leased from the states of Mass and Conn in order to haul its bread and butter which is specility minirals from Allyndale Limestone Corp in Cannan CT. The tracks are old to say the least and date nails can be found from the mid-1800s.. One way is to offer passenger service in exchange for upgrades that would be eligible under the Federal Railroad Admintrationa and the Federal Transit Admintration new starts program. see-http://www.hrrc.com/passenger-service/. They antispate summer vactaion traffic to Lenox/Great Barrington MA and as people retire from NY city to buy houses  eventualy year round service as well. 

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 7:49 PM

daveklepper

Track between Pittsfield and Albany is in reasonably good shape and could support ommuter service.  There is an Amtrak each way each day.  But where would the finanial support come from and how many would use it?  Highway congestion is not a major problem in that area right now.

 

 

I agree that it currently isn't a problem, but Pittsfield is a town with 50,000, a declining population, and below average income. This means that it is in the interest of Massachusetts to add this service because it will provide people with cheaper access to Albany instead of needing to take the Lake Shore Limited 1 stop. This will allow for a renewal of the town of Pittsfield and would create jobs for New York in Albany.

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 7:49 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

I'm not sure that an extension up to Albany would be legal.  It's moving from suburban to intercity service which runs afoul of the Rail Passenger Service Act and may violate the statute which created the MTA.

 

 

How is Boston to Worcester on the MBTA not illegal then?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:07 PM

Overmod

 

 
CSSHEGEWISCH
It's moving from suburban to intercity service which runs afoul of the Rail Passenger Service Act and may violate the statute which created the MTA.

 

How is it really any different from what Metro North already arranges with NJT to service Port Jervis?  You have joint lease of some of the run-through equipment, and perhaps share or pool crews either as run-throughs or to 'take over' at arranged points. 

Yes, I think you'd have to negotiate with Amtrak if there is service by Amtrak on the same route -- isn't that a reason why there has to be a SEPTA/NJT break in ride at Trenton, and I think why the 'hole' between MARC north out of Washington and SEPTA south out of Philadelphia has persisted so long? -- but if the OP is correct there would be ample demand for the 'local' regional service that Amtrak could only fill by making unprofitable operational compromises, assuming the new service goes with a company like Keolis for management rather than letting Amtrak contract for the operation.

 

Port Jervis is just under 90 miles from NY.  There was at lest a nominal 100 mile cut off point between inter-city and commuter.  Albany-Poughkeepsie service could be a seperate service centered out of Albany.  Kind of like Shoreline East service is seperate from Metro-North, even though there is some overlap.

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:20 PM

MidlandMike

 

 
Overmod

 

 
CSSHEGEWISCH
It's moving from suburban to intercity service which runs afoul of the Rail Passenger Service Act and may violate the statute which created the MTA.

 

How is it really any different from what Metro North already arranges with NJT to service Port Jervis?  You have joint lease of some of the run-through equipment, and perhaps share or pool crews either as run-throughs or to 'take over' at arranged points. 

Yes, I think you'd have to negotiate with Amtrak if there is service by Amtrak on the same route -- isn't that a reason why there has to be a SEPTA/NJT break in ride at Trenton, and I think why the 'hole' between MARC north out of Washington and SEPTA south out of Philadelphia has persisted so long? -- but if the OP is correct there would be ample demand for the 'local' regional service that Amtrak could only fill by making unprofitable operational compromises, assuming the new service goes with a company like Keolis for management rather than letting Amtrak contract for the operation.

 

 

 

Port Jervis is just under 90 miles from NY.  There was at lest a nominal 100 mile cut off point between inter-city and commuter.  Albany-Poughkeepsie service could be a seperate service centered out of Albany.  Kind of like Shoreline East service is seperate from Metro-North, even though there is some overlap.

 

 

If thats the case should I re-create the map that I had for a different commuter rail service out of Albany which meets Metro-North in Poughkeepsie?

ben
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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:22 PM

Also, is Boston to Wickford Junction less than 100 miles?

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 11:11 PM

ben
If that's the case should I re-create the map that I had for a different commuter rail service out of Albany which meets Metro-North in Poughkeepsie?

The problem is that you'd need a complete commuter rail service organization based out of Albany (or at least contracting operations out of Albany) to make sense with that.  I don't know if there would be enough 'commuter' demand purely from Poughkeepsie north to justify such an arrangement, as you now don't have the excuse of crossing a state boundary to involve a second operating agency.

On the other hand, if any city in New York State had the inside track on passing selective legislation "legalizing" such a thing, I'd suspect it would be Albany.  But I suspect you'd have to do some careful but intensive lobbying to get the idea established, and it involves some local spending and risk that isn't the same for Empire Service.

Is Poughkeepsie the logical place to terminate Metro-North commuter runs (as it was for some NYC trains back in the Hudson days) or has the effective 'suburb of New York' line moved north since then?  One thing to be considered for the future might be a connection across the new Tappan Zee to link up with the Graham Line at the 'fourth airport' Stewart site; that might give you a logical excuse to run some of the Metro-North service west at that point and have the "Albany" trains pick up a share of the east-shore traffic north of there, and terminate for connection.

Worthless T schedule for Stoughton Line no longer has mileage, even in the PDF.  It's about 70 miles by road to the North Kingston location; I'd expect the rail distance to be a bit less.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, January 25, 2018 8:34 AM

Mileage displays in suburban timetables are increasingly rare, that hardly makes it worthless.

Extension of a suburban route isn't easy, even if the tracks are already in place.  It took a few years and a lot of negotiation to get C&NW West Line service extended from Geneva to Elburn and establish the North Central Service to Antioch on the former Soo.  There is also the issue of the definition of the service area provided in the enabling statute of the transit agency involved.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

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