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Old 05-21-2017, 02:32 PM   #101
Arlington
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

If Mass pols want a well-networked high(ish) speed line from Springfield to Boston, the fastest, cheapest (but not cheap), path is

SPG-HFD-PVD-BOS.

The HFD-PVD part is mostly government-owned (unused I-384 alignment...a great place to put HSR and a toll road).

The hills & ridges between SPG and WOR run north-south ish and so cannot be easily crossed without prohibitive amounts of tunnel/viaduct.

Deval Patrick's gas-tax bundle was supposed to see upgrades to CSX's B&A line (passing sidings/double tracking & a bit of curve straightening), but really, real solution for SPG-WOR is buses on the Pike (we're not going to get to 70mph on the rails, and we're already there on the Pike).
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:03 AM   #102
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

The Lake Shore Limited is currently scheduled for 2:28 from Boston to Springfield, and was 2:15 as recently as a couple years ago. Even with the addition of a couple intermediate stops, basic upgrades (90 mph on the Worcester Line, and west of Palmer) should be able to get that under two hours. And that's something that can be implemented much quicker than HSR on any corridor.

Going via Hartford on HSR isn't going to be much faster than that. Neither are buses: Auto time with no traffic is 90 minutes, and that's with zero intermediate stops. You're never going to have a reliable 8:30am bus arrival in Boston that leaves Springfield before 6:30am under any circumstances.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:23 AM   #103
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by The EGE View Post
The Lake Shore Limited is currently scheduled for 2:28 from Boston to Springfield, and was 2:15 as recently as a couple years ago. Even with the addition of a couple intermediate stops, basic upgrades (90 mph on the Worcester Line, and west of Palmer) should be able to get that under two hours. And that's something that can be implemented much quicker than HSR on any corridor.

Going via Hartford on HSR isn't going to be much faster than that. Neither are buses: Auto time with no traffic is 90 minutes, and that's with zero intermediate stops. You're never going to have a reliable 8:30am bus arrival in Boston that leaves Springfield before 6:30am under any circumstances.
I'd see high-freq Bus connection from SPG Amtrak to WOR Union Station.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:13 PM   #104
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Would a commuter rail connection to Amherst ever be feasible? With all the kids from the Boston area going to UMASS (not to mention Amherst and Hampsire), it seems like a no-brainer to connect it to Boston, although the logistics might be complicated (see: the reverse maneuver the old Vermonter had to do to get through there).
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:30 PM   #105
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Wash View Post
Would a commuter rail connection to Amherst ever be feasible? With all the kids from the Boston area going to UMASS (not to mention Amherst and Hampsire), it seems like a no-brainer to connect it to Boston, although the logistics might be complicated (see: the reverse maneuver the old Vermonter had to do to get through there).
Feasible, yes. You could physically do it, and without any reversing maneuver. You just go from where the Framingham/Worcester line terminates at Worcester union station, and keep following the existing freight/lake shore limited line out along RT 9 & RT 20 to the Palmer junction, then up to Amherst. Hell, you could even reactivate the spur at the end of Tilson Farm Rd, that was used for coal deliveries up until my sophmore year, and technically have it stop "on campus".

I just don't think you would be able to generate the ridership to make it work. Yes there are thousands of students from the greater Boston area that could use the service, I just don't think you'd generate the ridership to justify scheduled service. Perhaps you could run special trains on weekends where campus is largely vacated, but even then it might be tough. You have most of the student population lives off campus, and a good chunk of those will stay on campus except for major holidays. The others off campus will largely have their own transportation, which gets them home much faster. So you're really down to the on-campus students of UMass, Hampshire, Amherst, and maybe Smith Students. Mt. Holyoke is closer to Springfield, so it's unlikely that you'd get any ridership out of there. Out of all those on campus students, you could maybe get enough ridership to run a special shuttle on big traveling weekends, but you'd be relying on the majority of students being able to leave at the same time.

Combine all that with the fact that it will likely be more expensive and take longer to get to Boston, and having less flexible departure times than Peter Pan, you'd probably never get more than a handful of students utilizing the train.

It's a cool though though, especially a station on Tilson Farm Road.
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #106
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wash View Post
Would a commuter rail connection to Amherst ever be feasible? With all the kids from the Boston area going to UMASS (not to mention Amherst and Hampsire), it seems like a no-brainer to connect it to Boston, although the logistics might be complicated (see: the reverse maneuver the old Vermonter had to do to get through there).
I don't see a ridership demand for that, although maybe something along the lines of the Cape Flyer would work. It would have to serve not just students but weekend trips from Boston. Even then, probably many weekends that would be a nearly empty train.
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:11 PM   #107
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Transit works best when you "densify" the segments you have (to make frequent, resilient service) rather than "branchify" to every demand point.

The future of Regional Rail is a 3-legged hub at Springfield (the legs are Northampton-Vermont, Hartford-New Haven and Worcester-Boston) where every route serves any 2 of the 3 legs, and this makes rail service "worth driving to" for everyone who happens not to be on a leg directly
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Old 05-23-2017, 05:33 PM   #108
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Amherst-Northampton PVTA bus service runs frequently, further obviating the need to provide direct rail service to Amherst.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:38 PM   #109
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

There's actually a "proposal" by CDoT called the Central Corridor to open up north/south passenger service to Amherst, but I'm not sure how likely this is or if it's still on the table at all.

Also, I do know that a private shuttle van service, VanGO, operates between Boston and the 5 Colleges, but I think they may have shut down recently.

With the ongoing urban revitalization and rail upgrades to the New Haven/Hartford/Springfield corridor, it makes more sense IMO to try and connect students to job opportunities and growth in that corridor. IME most students aren't willing or able to take transit in that area to go home to Boston/eastern MA. I go to Westfield State which is a 2 hour drive from Boston or my house in Danvers, but it takes me anywhere from 5-8 hours to do the same trip by transit. (1 hour bus ride to Springfield, 2-3 hours bus/train to Boston, 15 minute subway to North Station, 45 minute commuter rail to Beverly, 10 minute drive home) Aside from Back Bay and South Station, the amount of transfers will make it never worthwhile to take transit from Amherst to Boston for work.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:58 AM   #110
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Wow, it's honestly impressive that they could string together that many nowheres on one line.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:37 AM   #111
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by The EGE View Post
The Lake Shore Limited is currently scheduled for 2:28 from Boston to Springfield, and was 2:15 as recently as a couple years ago. Even with the addition of a couple intermediate stops, basic upgrades (90 mph on the Worcester Line, and west of Palmer) should be able to get that under two hours. And that's something that can be implemented much quicker than HSR on any corridor.

Going via Hartford on HSR isn't going to be much faster than that. Neither are buses: Auto time with no traffic is 90 minutes, and that's with zero intermediate stops. You're never going to have a reliable 8:30am bus arrival in Boston that leaves Springfield before 6:30am under any circumstances.
We have a plan and the plan is a fine one. 8 round trips daily to New Haven on the inland route. Appx. two hours to Springfield. Any further discussion of HSR here is silly. Reliability, frequency and predictability will win out over that extra 10 minutes HSR may garner. It can be done efficiently and quickly if we have the will to do it and can keep our eyes off shiny new things.
http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/north...rail/Home.aspx
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:06 AM   #112
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

any mention of tilt technology? on these routes?
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:31 AM   #113
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrett View Post
There's actually a "proposal" by CDoT called the Central Corridor
Quote:
Originally Posted by chmeeee View Post
Wow, it's honestly impressive that they could string together that many nowheres on one line.
If you name the nowheres after their colleges it looks a little bit better:
UConn (enrollment 32,000) is in Mansfield/Storrs
UMass (enrollment 28,600) in in Amherst

In the long, long run, if we're unwilling to build more highways, there will come a time when restoring the Central Corridor makes sense.

In our lifetime, we might see an east-west HSR line from Hartford to Providence, where a local stop @ UConn I-84 would make sense, but other than that the future for UMass is for frequent shuttles from Amherst to 8-per-day service at Northampton
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Last edited by Arlington; 05-24-2017 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:22 AM   #114
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

It's hard to imagine Northampton getting more than the 3-per-day Amtrak service prescribed in the NNEIRI (Vermonter, BOS-MTL, NHV-MTL). It shouldn't be totally unrealistic for MA to work something out with CT after the NHHS initial launch to extend some commuter rail trains north of Springfield to Greenfield.
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:42 AM   #115
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Balerion View Post
It shouldn't be totally unrealistic for MA to work something out with CT after the NHHS initial launch to extend some commuter rail trains north of Springfield to Greenfield.
That's what I'm picturing. Amtrak might win the bid, but it'd be fundamentally a commuter operation, with trains averaging about every 2 ~ 3 hrs
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Old 05-26-2017, 10:39 AM   #116
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Senate approves study of Boston to Springfield high-speed rail

Is this duplicative of the work done in the NNEIRI study or a deeper dive into the Boston-Springfield segment?
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Old 05-26-2017, 11:16 AM   #117
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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

They'll study it, Picknelly will oppose any rail improvements, the study will sit on the shelf, and nothing will happen. Then in another 10 years, they'll study it again. I grew up in Western Mass, and they've been talking about better Springfield to Boston rail since for the 35 years that I've been alive. Much like the Green Line Extension, it's something that everyone agrees is a good idea, but no one seems to be able to actually accomplish.
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