Amtrak NEC, Downeaster, Acela, & Long Distance

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
But, I mean, that only seems imaginable in some sort of retro-futurist world where passenger rail enjoys a renaissance and resurgence.
...or when the people proposing it aren't a collection of long-in-tooth vulture capital lifers who made their bones (including the mostly-septuagenarian train guys on the Board) dismembering assets to broker them off. You are what you eat, as the whole saying goes. And it's not a coincidence that so many of the fly-by-night groups that come proposing NEC privatization seem to be stacked with folks exactly like this, whether they're biz coalitions or thinktank coalitions from 'tanks staffed with LBO bootlickers. Why does the answer to a *profitable* public franchise always have to be strip-mining the assets?

I kind of gloss over the service proposals...even the ones studied out by other parties like the LIRR-Hudson connection that are genuinely interesting in-concept. Because that's just the skin-deep gloss. They are what they are, and are the companies they eat for a living. Wake me when one of these privatization schemes pops up that ISN'T the handiwork of such transparently usual suspects.
 

Riverside

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
454
Reaction score
138
But, to be fair, Amtrak, NY, & the LIRR have been studying an L-shaped route from Albany-NYC-LIRR for about a year. as one of several possible additions to service at Penn Station that will be possible when some of LIRR is redirected to Grand Central in the East Side Access project.
Can't read the link due to paywall right now -- but very cool! And I suppose I should amend my original statement and say, "...isn't an idea you run across every day if you are not tuned into the NYC railfan sphere!"
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
Can't read the link due to paywall right now -- but very cool! And I suppose I should amend my original statement and say, "...isn't an idea you run across every day if you are not tuned into the NYC railfan sphere!"
One huge caveat: they're "studying" it because Cuomo sensed a liveshot on the Penn platform. The actual capacity math is kind of daunting, with LIRR staunchly disputing the amount of capacity that's truly going to be freed up at Penn by East Side Access. Which is a muddled bit of intra-agency turf warrage, as the New Haven Line does--and should--have the slots for East Bronx service. But also rooted in some degree of reality as ESA is a massive systemwide service increaser more than it a proportionately large Penn service diverter. Hudson Penn Station Access is a decidedly second-tier priority for MNRR because the ridership projections on the West Side are much more meager and a longer-term prospect than the grab-n'-go Bronx ridership. But while Hudson turnbacks aren't a problem because they don't much interface with thru Penn traffic, crossing over on the L-shaped route is a whole other daunting traffic operation. I think it's accurate to say they're jumping the gun a bit on that study, because practicality says they need Gateway built to tame the Penn traffic pressure cooker before crossover traffic is viable on any meaningfully large scale.

It's an intriguing prospect, but Cuomo smelling a liveshot doesn't speed up the practical timetable any. Let's also at least get Albany electrified first before trying to ham-fist a diesel dual-mode running push-pull across all that crossover traffic. Just because an old GE P32 beater can theoretically make the entirety of that trip doesn't mean it's a wise assignment through both ends of that terminal.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684

Bike racks now installed on the Springfield Shuttle/Valley Flyer as a test bed. $10 by reservation, though ConnDOT's trying to get the fee lowered based on early feedback. They tweaked the onboard luggage racks on the interior livery-refreshed Amfleet I's assigned to the route to fit two bikes per rack, and are using the trial on this route only as data collection before rolling the rack retrofits out to other East Coast routes.

 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,657
Reaction score
795
For Amtrak NEC, is it still the case that BOS, BBY, and RTE tickets can each board at the other two?

Specifically I have BBY tickets and want to start at SS.

(I started at BBY with a BOS ticket as recently as Jan 2020)
 

Jahvon09

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
1,648
Reaction score
48

Here's a look at one of the new high-speed trains.
 
Last edited:

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,657
Reaction score
795
For Amtrak NEC, is it still the case that BOS, BBY, and RTE tickets can each board at the other two?
Specifically I have BBY tickets and want to start at SS.
Yes: BBY and BOS tix are interchangeable for boarding. Answering my own question (with the help of 1-800-USA-RAIL) Didn't ask about RTE
 
Last edited:

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,430
Reaction score
461
Yes: BBY and BOS tix are interchangeable for boarding. Answering my own question (with the help of 1-800-USA-RAIL) Didn't ask about RTE
RTE is also interchangeable, or was as recently as January, when I last took the train to New York. I had RTE tickets and boarded at South Station.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,657
Reaction score
795
The Downeaster's sponsor, NNEPRA has a Portland Transportation Center page that says that the study of new sites was "Phase Two of Study Complete" in September 2020. I can't find a link, nor a reference in the September NNEPRA board meeting. Did I miss it somewhere?
 

DBM

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
826
Reaction score
128
Spent the weekend in downtown Westerly, RI. Perennially overshadowed by the WASPish glamour and seaside delights of Watch Hill, downtown is nevertheless a gem in its own right--beautifully compact, a splendid park, and some exquisite examples of Victorian mercantile architecture. Grey Sail Brewery and the Tapped Apple wine/cider bar are among the boozing highlights.

The AMTRAK station is charming and also perfectly sited--just a 2-minute walk into downtown, but far enough away from downtown to not have its (the station's) traffic cause congestion.

I saw two signs at the station marking it as "141.44," without any other clarification--just the numerals. My first guess was that that was the mileage from the Westerly station to South Station (but in fact that distance is considerably shorter).

Then I checked on Mapquest the distance from Westerly to Penn Station (which of course Mapquest calculates via I-95). Mapquest said 138 miles... so, I'm thinking 141.44 is the mileage, via the tracks, from Westerly to Penn Station?
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
Yes - the northern half of the NEC is measured from Penn Station. South Station is at 228.9.
Function of until 1969 Penn to South Station was a NYNH&H line while Washington-Penn was a Pennsylvania RR line. The 'modern' unified NEC was created during the Penn Central merger. Prior to that you had to switch trains a lot of the time at Penn with only select few (usually premium-tier) trains on the schedule being run-thru and cross-ticketed on both RR's, because of the crew change required @ Penn.

This is one area where the Amtrak-era NEC is light years ahead of its century's worth of 'peak train' predecessors. New York City used to be a huge bottleneck for how hard it was to get from one side to the other.
 

DBM

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
826
Reaction score
128
Function of until 1969 Penn to South Station was a NYNH&H line while Washington-Penn was a Pennsylvania RR line.
Speaking of... this. I'm sure many ABers see it all the time as they're entering/exiting the Back Bay station complex. As carved inscriptions go, it has a kind of austere beauty and stark presence. But I'm always perplexed that whichever authority was responsible for it, never deigned to enlighten us rubes who stroll by with a supplemental descriptive plaque giving additional historical context... otherwise, what percentage of pedestrians who pass by know how to interpret "N.Y.N.H.&H.R.R" correctly? Very very very few, I suspect...
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
Speaking of... this. I'm sure many ABers see it all the time as they're entering/exiting the Back Bay station complex. As carved inscriptions go, it has a kind of austere beauty and stark presence. But I'm always perplexed that whichever authority was responsible for it, never deigned to enlighten us rubes who stroll by with a supplemental descriptive plaque giving additional historical context... otherwise, what percentage of pedestrians who pass by know how to interpret "N.Y.N.H.&H.R.R" correctly? Very very very few, I suspect...
The carving was saved from the 1929 station when it was demolished in the 80's and encased in new brick. There's only an obscure few elements from the old station that were salvaged.
  • The NYNH&H sign. Used to be identical ones on each side of the old building, but this was the only one of the 4 that was salvaged.
  • Metalwork on the two commuter rail headhouse canopies flanking the NYNH&H sign. Think this came from ex- south side busway.
  • Metalwork on the Orange Line exit-only headhouse. Think this came from ex- south side busway.
  • Ornament in shape of steam locomotive hung on Clarendon St. vent stack. Used to be over old Clarendon St. entrance.
  • These decorative thingies on the retaining wall fronting the Cazenove St. and St. Charles St. dead-ends. Salvaged from old Clarendon St. entrance, where they were right below the NYNH&H sign. Odd choice to relocate them from such prominent view to such extremely obscure view on the residential dead-ends.
^All^ of them in non-original locations embedded in modern '85-87 construction. The original station (1979 photo album) was overall brick and utilitarian, but on close squint had lots of neat subtle detail to it...far too little of which ended up being preserved. The building was only 55 years old upon demolition and still in good condition (though the track level was kind of a claustrophobic dump), so despite the necessity of its demo for reconfig of the tracks below and addition of the Orange Line they could've done way more architectural salvage than they attempted. The current charmless station's concourse level in particular ended up being a very inferior substitute.
 
Last edited:

DBM

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
826
Reaction score
128
The carving was saved from the 1929 station when it was demolished in the 80's and encased in new brick. There's only an obscure few elements from the old station that were salvaged.
  • The NYNH&H sign. Used to be identical ones on each side of the old building, but this was the only one of the 4 that was salvaged.
  • Metalwork on the two commuter rail headhouse canopies flanking the NYNH&H sign. Think this came from ex- south side busway.
  • Metalwork on the Orange Line exit-only headhouse. Think this came from ex- south side busway.
  • Ornament in shape of steam locomotive hung on Clarendon St. vent stack. Used to be over old Clarendon St. entrance.
  • These decorative thingies on the retaining wall fronting the Cazenove St. and St. Charles St. dead-ends. Salvaged from old Clarendon St. entrance, where they were right below the NYNH&H sign. Odd choice to relocate them from such prominent view to such extremely obscure view on the residential dead-ends.
^All^ of them in non-original locations embedded in modern '85-87 construction. The original station (1979 photo album) was overall brick and utilitarian, but on close squint had lots of neat subtle detail to it...far too little of which ended up being preserved. The building was only 55 years old upon demolition and still in good condition (though the track level was kind of a claustrophobic dump), so despite the necessity of its demo for reconfig of the tracks below and addition of the Orange Line they could've done way more architectural salvage than they attempted. The current charmless station's concourse level in particular ended up being a very inferior substitute.
Very helpful--you should've been hired to provide proper curatorial embellishment! And agreed re: your opinion at the end...
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
I've wondered if any of the light-colored stones were, themselves, reused from the 1899 station that burned in 1929.
I doubt it. The BPL photo archives of the "Million-Dollar Firefight" of April 1928 show the 1899 station (built in tandem with South Station to similar architectural prominence after major grade separation work downtown united the separate Boston & Providence and Boston & Albany BBY depots into a union station) thoroughly obliterated by the fire. The other two sides of the building's stonework opposite that linkied photo had collapsed, with the top stories flat-out gone. I'm sure all the stone that could be salvaged from the rubble was reused elsewhere in many other buildings, but they didn't exactly have time to be choosy with the more decorative materials with only a 15-month span between demolishing the burnt-out hulk and wholesale erecting + opening the new station. It was too lightining-fast a job...and the station it was replacing was only 28 years old so hadn't exactly left its mark on the city (not as much nostalgia accrued as the earlier depots it replaced). If any of the decorative elements got re-used at all it was elsewhere after the stone had been parted out in some offsite salvage yard way after the fact.

The rush job on the rebuild is why the '29 station was uniformly boxy brick and the ornamentation so muted. They were probably adding the ornamentation very late in the game from the base construction. Though since it got done pre-Crash they still managed to put appropriate care & resources into that subtle detail, which is why the waiting area (even in the decay era of '79 when the building was down to its last months of operation) still looked really classy with the marble and art deco-ish tix booths.

Those are the elements that should've gotten more salvage effort in the '81 demo to make its brutalist replacement less intensely alienating. Track level is way less claustrophobic now (though still way too fumy) vs. then with the much-widened platforms...but the waiting area is just so all-around repulsive to be in. Those '79 pics actually had people waiting at the benches like they were pleased to be waiting there...sort of like a significantly quieter version of the current inviting SS concourse. I can't fathom that scene happening at the current wait-repellant BBY. It made me envious to look at how much nicer the digs were in those 41-year-old photos.
 

Top