Amtrak / Intercity Rail Discussion Thread

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Also, the Amfleet passenger cars are getting spiffed up with a luscious new makeover!


https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/09/15/amtrak-trains-get-new-interiors/
Old news. The date on that article is 9/15/2017.


Most Amfleet I's have already been equipped with the new interiors, which will last them until final retirement in 7 years when the new order just RFP'd for replacement East Coast corridor coaches arrives and displaces the last Am1's from reserve duty.
 

Jahvon09

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

It's probably in the other Amtrak thread, but I couldn't find it. Probably was deleted.

They should order more Viewliner coach & business class cars. I like those cars & the shape of them! :cool:
 

HelloBostonHi

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

So this has picked back up again with the East-West Passenger Rail Study ongoing currently.

massDOT Presentation from this month

massDOT meeting boards

They are "exploring all options" from Maglevs to no build. I must say, the weirdest proposal was massDOT suggesting we do BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) all the way from Boston to Pittsfield which is a disaster of a proposal before you even explain it to me. They are considering an i90 aligned rail corridor too but its the highest cost option. They also proposed a "upgraded track plus bus hybrid" which I can only assume means upgrade the track to probably Springfield then ditch everyone on a bus.



more deets https://www.mass.gov/east-west-passenger-rail-study
 

Coyote137

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I mean...obviously something is off there. Nobody would suggest BRT over such a distance. Some kind of frequent bus service, yes, but not what we know as bus rapid transit.
 

HenryAlan

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I'm thinking about how you can already take a bus from Boston to Springfield, and wondering why the bus proposal isn't considered a no build option.
 

Equilibria

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I mean...obviously something is off there. Nobody would suggest BRT over such a distance. Some kind of frequent bus service, yes, but not what we know as bus rapid transit.
I assume they mean stops in the median of I-90 with park-and-ride. Probably not anything like urban BRT.
 

choo

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

True high speed rail would be a gamechanger here. It’s costly but frequent, semi-express service (and electrification) I think it should be looked at for all gateway cities (worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Brockton, Haverhill). But the investment should be directly tied to development upcoming for the 2 miles around the stations. No parking minimums no height restrictions for the half mile radius and getting tighter after.

If you want to address infrastructure modernization, regional housing prices and climate goals things need to be holistic. If the state wants a return on a 2 billion investment in on a 45 min Boston Springfield train, that larger will be made in building up the Springfield end. Springfield needs to have a lot of people that can walk to the train every day and companies that can have day trip satellite offices. One doesn’t happen without the other.
 

Jahvon09

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

True high speed rail would be a gamechanger here. It’s costly but frequent, semi-express service (and electrification) I think it should be looked at for all gateway cities (worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Brockton, Haverhill). But the investment should be directly tied to development upcoming for the 2 miles around the stations. No parking minimums no height restrictions for the half mile radius and getting tighter after.

If you want to address infrastructure modernization, regional housing prices and climate goals things need to be holistic. If the state wants a return on a 2 billion investment in on a 45 min Boston Springfield train, that larger will be made in building up the Springfield end. Springfield needs to have a lot of people that can walk to the train every day and companies that can have day trip satellite offices. One doesn’t happen without the other.

That says very little for the new high-speed Acela Trains that are due to go into production soon. Since they are going to be using existing rail along the NEC, their speeds will be limited just like the existing Acela trains are now.

With the newer tracks, the trains could take advantage of being able to run at about 165mph all the way. :rolleyes:
 

DominusNovus

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I just took a look at the current ROW out to Pittsfield and man is that ugly for any high speed options. Lots of relatively tight turns.
 

whittle

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

If the state wants a return on a 2 billion investment in on a 45 min Boston Springfield train, that larger will be made in building up the Springfield end.
If we can't get even SCR for $2billion, a 45 min train to Springfield would cost WAY more than $2billion.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I just took a look at the current ROW out to Pittsfield and man is that ugly for any high speed options. Lots of relatively tight turns.
CSX has to attach a pair of extra helper locomotives from Chester to Hinsdale to get its massive intermodal trains over the summit of Middlefield Hill. It's curvy AND steep where it follows the topography here. Don't forget...this is the same general area where the Pike has all those runaway truck ramps on every hill, so the Berkshire terrain isn't all that kind to any mode of travel. The Pan Am Patriot Corridor does have the Hoosac Tunnel blasted straight through the mountainside to North Adams, but even if it were up to acceptable state-of-repair (it's not) it's an even curvier mess everywhere else being shaped by the Millers, Deerfield, and Hoosic Rivers on pretty much the entirety from Wachusett to the state line. The B&A has always beaten the Fitchburg Main on trip times to the Berkshires.

I don't know why there's such a rush to get Boston-Pittsfield...hardly a top-tier pairing...a train now. They already studied Worcester-Springfield in the NNEIRI study and found rock-solid ground for the Inland Route and the L-shaped Boston-VT/Montreal route out of a Springfield hub. The B&A from Springfield to Palmer is straight and flat, capable of 90 MPH speeds if they chose to signal it for that. The Worcester Hills are a grin-and-bear-it proposition, but since the ROW isn't all that closely abutted they ID'd some places where curve straightening would take the edge off speed restrictions. And if they did any similar work to increase geometric speeds in MBTA territory (especially Millbury-Ashland and Framingham-Downtown Wellesley) the Worcester County slog would be effectively counterbalanced.

How are we supposed to focus on those things when we gotta give Pittsfield a study cookie because Deval Patrick was an idiot who promised them the moon with his billion(s)-dollar Berkshire Line-to-New York folly? Nothing's going to make the trip over the mountains exponentially faster...but we can make the Lake Shore Limited and some future Boston-Albany train TBD a lot more tolerable on the schedule by focusing on the Inland Route portion instead of diluting attention.

Diluting attention seems to be the whole point of this.
 

DominusNovus

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

CSX has to attach a pair of extra helper locomotives from Chester to Hinsdale to get its massive intermodal trains over the summit of Middlefield Hill. It's curvy AND steep where it follows the topography here. Don't forget...this is the same general area where the Pike has all those runaway truck ramps on every hill, so the Berkshire terrain isn't all that kind to any mode of travel. The Pan Am Patriot Corridor does have the Hoosac Tunnel blasted straight through the mountainside to North Adams, but even if it were up to acceptable state-of-repair (it's not) it's an even curvier mess everywhere else being shaped by the Millers, Deerfield, and Hoosic Rivers on pretty much the entirety from Wachusett to the state line. The B&A has always beaten the Fitchburg Main on trip times to the Berkshires.

I don't know why there's such a rush to get Boston-Pittsfield...hardly a top-tier pairing...a train now. They already studied Worcester-Springfield in the NNEIRI study and found rock-solid ground for the Inland Route and the L-shaped Boston-VT/Montreal route out of a Springfield hub. The B&A from Springfield to Palmer is straight and flat, capable of 90 MPH speeds if they chose to signal it for that. The Worcester Hills are a grin-and-bear-it proposition, but since the ROW isn't all that closely abutted they ID'd some places where curve straightening would take the edge off speed restrictions. And if they did any similar work to increase geometric speeds in MBTA territory (especially Millbury-Ashland and Framingham-Downtown Wellesley) the Worcester County slog would be effectively counterbalanced.

How are we supposed to focus on those things when we gotta give Pittsfield a study cookie because Deval Patrick was an idiot who promised them the moon with his billion(s)-dollar Berkshire Line-to-New York folly? Nothing's going to make the trip over the mountains exponentially faster...but we can make the Lake Shore Limited and some future Boston-Albany train TBD a lot more tolerable on the schedule by focusing on the Inland Route portion instead of diluting attention.

Diluting attention seems to be the whole point of this.
Agreed, with one caveat: there’s only one runaway truck ramp on that part of the Pike.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I have always longed for a Boston-Montreal rail connection.
Same... As for Boston - Pittsfield I suspect a train to Springfield and a bus the rest of the way will be the only sensible option to come out of this study.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

I have always longed for a Boston-Montreal rail connection.
And the tragic thing--from diluted attention to Pittsfield perspective--is that BOS-MTL is silly-easy to implement as part of the bread-and-butter Inland Route build. Do the New Haven-Springfield-Boston schedules as NNEIRI envisions, and set up timed transfers at Springfield Union Station. Like so:

  • The regular Vermonter/(future Montrealer) hits Springfield on its regular D.C. to St. Albans round trip same as always. Time a BOS-NHV (and vice versa) Inland to meet at Springfield, set up cross-platform transfer and cross-ticketing. Boston gains a fresh VT/Montreal round-trip off the existing train.
  • Add one daily BOS-SPR-MTL round-trip on the L-shaped routing. Time a Springfield-terminating NE Regional out of D.C. or New York to offer cross-platform/cross-tix transfer at Springfield. CT/NY and points south gain a second bog-standard Vermonter slot via transfer, just as Boston gains its second bog-standard daily VT/Montreal slot through finagling the transfer with the existing Vermonter.
  • Rotate these two trains at opposite high-demand ends of the day, so everyone has 2 well-spaced Montreal round-trips: 1 direct, and 1 via transfer.
The only deviations from existing ops and planned Inland ops are the addition of 1 Springfield-St.Albans/Montreal round-trip. Everything else is just schedule mix-and-match on the highest-leverage ridership portion of the route, but the careful mix-and-match is what gives every audience two-cracks-and-back per day to Montreal. The scalability is excellent, and a much better use of money than Pittsfield...which can always have buses waiting at Springfield for any regular Inland schedule.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

Any opinions on "Boston Surface Railroad Company"'s plan to get Worcester to Providence rail privately funded? Seems like a long shot for some random guy to do solo... https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/article/21077811/boston-surface-railroad-has-a-transport-solution-for-the-northeasts-underserved-metropolitan-regions
Check the RR.net thread, New England Railfan subforum, on it. It's 3 years of humor at BSRC's expense as they drift from one grift to another.

They have good PR people with all the coverage they've gotten from third-rate local rags in MetroWest and Southern NH that can't be bothered to do basic fact-checking. So...they've got that going for them, even with the trains not going for them.
 

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