MassDOT Rail: Springfield Hub (East-West, NNERI, Berkshires, CT-Valley-VT-Quebec)

Balerion

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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.
 

Arlington

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Re: Amtrak / Regional Rail Discussion Thread

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
 

cden4

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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.
 

whittle

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Not sure where the Springfield commuter topic should go.
Maybe you guys can move it to the right place.....

Crazy transit pitches.

But more seriously I think we've generally kept this thread limited to stuff within commuter range and put intercity stuff like Springfield in the Amtrak thread. We had a discussion on it there earlier this year.
 

tysmith95

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Springfield to Boston does have rail service, once a day.
 

George_Apley

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Right. Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited. There's been a bigger push for a long time for regional service managed by MassDOT.
 

Arlington

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The goal should be SPG-BOS rail travel that is significantly faster than a bus on the Pike (which Amtrak's LSL is not; it is both slower and less punctual than bus alternatives)

In fact, set this as a goal: that a two-seat ride from Pittsfield (PIT) or Amherst (AMM) -- western leg by bus, connection at SPG, and SPG-BOS by rail -- should be faster than and preferred to a single seat bus ride from either city/
 
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whittle

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So I'll say that Springfield should get more and better train service, but it should be targeted at occasional riders. There seems to be a lot of people advocating for train service to Springfield to attract some significant number of daily commuters. That's a pipedream, a boondoggle, or both. It's not even particularly practical as a way reduce carbon emissions since high speed rail only has a notably favorable carbon footprint when comparing to planes (and not to cars which will be primary competition with a Springfield to Boston train)
 

Arlington

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Amtrak Virginia and the Downeaster both seem powered by a mix of supercommuters but more importantly the employee or consult who works from home (or in the field) 3 to 4 days per week but who commutes to HQ 1 or 2 times per week.
 

Norval Elliot

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In fact, set this as a goal: that a two-seat ride from Pittsfield (PIT) or Amherst (AMM) -- western leg by bus, connection at SPG, and SPG-BOS by rail -- should be faster than and preferred to a single seat bus ride from either city/
A rail shuttle between Amherst and Palmer would present a challenge on the single track, the condition of which was already questionable when passenger service thereon ended in 2014. A more practicable two-seat ride from the Five-College area would be from Northampton (NHT).
Amtrak Virginia and the Downeaster both seem powered by a mix of supercommuters but more importantly the employee or consult who works from home (or in the field) 3 to 4 days per week but who commutes to HQ 1 or 2 times per week.
An apropos article from MassLive today: He spends $230 a week to get from Western Mass. to Boston and he’s not alone; meet one of the state’s more than 10,000 ‘super commuters’.
 

George_Apley

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Wait. Are you guys misinterpreting @Arlington's post? I think he's saying that the legs west/north of Springfield should be bus connections. Not rail. Amherst-Springfield by bus and then Springfield to Boston by rail. Same for Pittsfield. That is what he said, correct?
 

Norval Elliot

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Wait. Are you guys misinterpreting @Arlington's post? I think he's saying that the legs west/north of Springfield should be bus connections. Not rail. Amherst-Springfield by bus and then Springfield to Boston by rail. Same for Pittsfield. That is what he said, correct?
There was no mention "north" in "western leg" (singular). Amherst, incidentally, is situated north and east of Springfield. My guess is that Thruway Service between the erstwhile AMM and SPG would be highly unlikely.
 

George_Apley

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There was no mention "north" in "western leg" (singular). Amherst, incidentally, is situated north and east of Springfield. My guess is that Thruway Service between the erstwhile AMM and SPG would be highly unlikely.
Right. I included north because that's where Amherst is. He also says Pittsfield "or" Amherst. Not "and." Again though, no one is discussing rail service between Pittsfield and Springfield, let alone Pittsfield and Amherst or Boston to Amherst. If I'm understanding Arlington's intent, it's to make BOS-SPG Rail + SPG-PIT Bus competitive with BOS-PIT Bus. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point though.
 

Arlington

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I was picturing 2 buses: one to PIT and one to AMM (and a whole bus hub at SPG, with spokes to anyplace else in the Berkshires, and even Albany) feeding into Valley Flyer and SPG-BOS rail. By Western I meant "anyplace out there""
 

whittle

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Amtrak Virginia and the Downeaster both seem powered by a mix of supercommuters but more importantly the employee or consult who works from home (or in the field) 3 to 4 days per week but who commutes to HQ 1 or 2 times per week.
The latter group is among those I meant by "occasional riders" (the contrast with "daily commuters" should have made that clear). My point is that you can't attract any notable amount of of daily commuters (as in more than the niche crowd of supercummters) without turning this into a boondoggle.
 

Tallguy

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So, if you are sending Amherst folk through Springfield they can already take a free bus to Noho, and if schedules get properly coordinated, take trains to Boston or NYC (a lot of UMies are from CT/NY/NJ) Or, save them 30 min and send busses to Palmer to meet the train
 

Arlington

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There should be an infill in Palmer, yes. And yes it probably would support a shuttle to AMM. That wasn't my point.

The goal for SPG-BOS speed and frequency was my point: it should be so fast that a bus-rail two seat ride would dominate single seat bus rides from most anywhere in the western half if the state.

Bus AMM to Noho and by rail to SPG is already a 2 seat ride.
 

Norval Elliot

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If I'm understanding Arlington's intent, it's to make BOS-SPG Rail + SPG-PIT Bus competitive with BOS-PIT Bus. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point though.
Alas, I misunderstood Arlington's intent. Because the PVTA and Peter Pan Bus Lines serve Amherst rather well, I'm uncertain as to why that town would need more bus service. A bus lane between Amherst and Northampton would be helpful, however.
 

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