Amtrak NEC, Downeaster, Acela, & Long Distance

F-Line to Dudley

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Woonsocket is already a potential extension to the Franklin Line, so it's definitely possible. RI would have to pay for it.
RIDOT's most recent State Rail Plan revision has a bucket list item for a new joint study with MassDOT by 2025 for Boston-Woonsocket via Franklin-Blackstone. To be done as follow-on to the '07 study which had no MA participation and some routing assumptions gerrymandered around that MA non-participation which were flawed and now need an acknowledged correction in a fresh look. MassDOT hasn't responded with whether they'll partner-up (still early yet), but since official state rail plans are the decade-level planning docs of record for the Feds used for indexing grants there's no chance RI stuck that item in there without Stephanie Pollack's foreknowledge and at minimum a "We'll talk."

Providence-Woonsocket as a service blending of trunkline RI intrastate service is already well-studied and a "when" not "if" whose timetable is only dependent on how slowly it takes to first fund-design-build their remaining NEC intrastate intermediates. Providence-Worcester, a deeper-future study wishlist, is the only one I'd say is extremely far-fetched to be seeing pre-2040. The other two with Woonsocket as a major multimodal hub are both reasonably-priced and tasty-looking on leverage to either state.


It is zero coincidence that BSRC scammer magically appeared from the shadows of an Arlington Center law firm's P.O. Box when the Draft RI Rail Plan was first circulated for public comment. Though it looks like his latest reincorporation scheme in NH has been torpedoed by securities fraud, so he's probably done-done this time.
 

whighlander

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The 10,000 number you refer to includes part time commuters.
Some of these are people who use their car for work -- i.e. Sales Reps and some Field Service people -- these you are not going to get to abandon driving no matter what

Then there are people who do a couple trips a week to a couple trips a month --

I was in that category for a while when I was teaching some graduate seminars at UNH and also was a key member of a lab there. For the Seminar -- unless there was some extraordinary event which could not be accommodated by the heavily in-bound AM Schedule -- I would take the Downeast out of Anderson directly to the edge of the UNH Campus in Durham in the morning and return that evening

The good the bad and the ugly of it:
  • Good:
    • Wifi on-board,​
    • AM usually fairly empty so there was plenty of room to spread-out my work
      • an opportunity to get a nice new coffee when most needed in the AM.​
    • In the PM usually somewhat more crowded [people going to Celtics and Bruins, etc] so less working space --
      • Big advantage -- grab and beer and relax on the way home​
  • Bad:
    • the AM schedule was heavily tuned toward in-bound commuters,
      • The earliest train from Boston to Durham was just on the edge of acceptability for a Graduate Seminar -- would not work when I was teaching undergrads.​
    • Delays of half and hour were common-enough that when something important such as student presentations was on the calendar I had to drive.​
    • Sometimes I had to drive because I was delivering or retrieving equipment that was not easy to schlep across the campus​
  • Ugly:
    • a few instances of hardware failures in Anderson Station [train and parking ticket printing] which screwed-up a couple of commutes and forced last minute reversion to the car -- loss of fee for parking. etc.​
    • a couple of times when the parking system went awry and I had to pay a fine for parking legally​
    • When I was very spread-out -- doing last minute "homework"
      • I couldn't get off in time -- had to go on to the next stop, etc.​
      • A couple of times when work or winter clothing got left on the train​
 

odurandina

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i drove US6/89 in Utah today covering along side:
i arrived in Green River for gas a couple of hours after dark,
and took a little coffee & Hannity break behind the Love's truck stop....
Happy enough to have beaten the storm over the Wasatch passes--
but, what passed by, but the California Zephyr heading west. :)
i had my camera in hand, but i was being lazy.
I've caught the Southwest Chief sneaking through the passes near Flagstaff
a few times--but this was an extra cool treat!
 
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jklo

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I was in that category for a while when I was teaching some graduate seminars at UNH and also was a key member of a lab there. For the Seminar -- unless there was some extraordinary event which could not be accommodated by the heavily in-bound AM Schedule -- I would take the Downeast out of Anderson directly to the edge of the UNH Campus in Durham in the morning and return that evening
Seems like that would be rather pricey... looks like at least $20 each way. Of course driving would be pretty expensive to do that every day too, it's like 60 miles.
 

Arlington

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Seems like that would be rather pricey... looks like at least $20 each way. Of course driving would be pretty expensive to do that every day too, it's like 60 miles.
But getting back the hours of productivity is worth it if you can work on the train
 

HenryAlan

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But getting back the hours of productivity is worth it if you can work on the train
I'd argue that for many, it's worth it even if they do no work at all during travel, just to avoid the stress and hassle of driving. But in all cases, people should certainly consider cost and benefit. The train is the best fit for some, less so for others.
 

Arlington

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I'd argue that for many, it's worth it even if they do no work at all during travel, just to avoid the stress and hassle of driving. But in all cases, people should certainly consider cost and benefit. The train is the best fit for some, less so for others.
It is complex, and anybody planning intercity trains for New England is going to have to try to model first order effects
-AVs will do a great job of making SPG-BOS less painful by car
-AVs will compete with the train as a "I can work and rest because somebody else is driving"

And the second order effects:
- AVs will induce demand on the pike and either mean traffic jams or higher tolls (to fend off jams)
- If trips are easy, east-west "deals" will be more common

AVs will, at various times be an alternative, or a supplement. But more mobility east-west has got to be good for the Commonwealth.
 

FK4

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This is really a commuter rail question, but what how much does the final stretch of the Worcester line — all the curves and loops — affect train speeds? And as a follow up, is there any chance at all that there would ever be a project within Worcester and Grafton to straighten out the line in order to achiever faster service to Boston?
 

Arlington

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The highway grading is so much steeper than FRA-permissible RR grading
We talk about the NSRL having very steep grades--achievable only with electrification, and yet that's an FRA railroad, right? (as opposed to FTA transit)

How are the grades that the pike requires different from the grades that the NSRL would be permitted to have?

Is there some "passenger only" grade waiver that a Pike alignment could apply for?
 

jklo

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It is complex, and anybody planning intercity trains for New England is going to have to try to model first order effects
-AVs will do a great job of making SPG-BOS less painful by car
-AVs will compete with the train as a "I can work and rest because somebody else is driving"
Totally off topic, but AV's getting to that level is super bad for Boston and the area because it greatly mitigates Boston's advantage of mass transit. Plus liability wise it might be tough for an people mover AV in snow.
 

Arlington

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^ The "informality of the grill" == coat & tie but no tablecloth
 
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Norval Elliot

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… New Haven's until 1985.
Though I'm aware that Union Station was rehabilitated that year, I hadn't realized its platforms were low till then. (IIRC, platforms at the other stations along the New Haven line were raised in the early 1970s.)
 

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