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Passenger Trains > Article on New Haven Line Infrastructural Improvemements

Date: 11/28/19 08:06
Article on New Haven Line Infrastructural Improvemements
Author: Passfanatic

I came across this article that was constructed the other day about MNR Speed Improvements on the New Haven Line. We all know that the New Haven Line is curvy in many spots, particularly in the Greenwich and Darien area. If the travel times could be reduced to around two hours for all of the MNR trains that run express from 125 St to Stamford and then make all stops between Stamford and New Haven, that would be a step right there, pretty close to bringing back the travel times that were implemented before the FRA restrictions. Two stations were built probably like five or six years ago(Fairfield Metro and W. Haven) so that has added some travel time. On top of trains stopping at Fairfield Metro and W. Haven, more of them now stop at Rowayton, E. Norwalk, Greens Farms, and Southport. When your train stops at six additional stations than before, the travel time will be added fast. Your semi super express trains-ones that stop at 125th St, Stamford, Darien, S. Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, Fairfield Metro, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, W. Haven, and New Haven-these hopefully would at least be able to achieve at least an hour and forty minute running time from GCT to NHV. It would be nice if down the road if CDOT let MNR add more weekend super express trains from New Haven to Grand Central making the travel time closer to an hour and a half. Many of the river bridges have to be replaced sooner rather than later. When they are replaced, not only would the speed increase over them. The speed limit on their approaches would be increased and that would save a lot of travel time. For example, the Housatonic River Bridge, which is way beyond its useful life, needs to be replaced. It is along one of the straightest portions of the New Haven Line which has a lot of potential for a speed increase. When that bridge is replaced, that will not only help the trains gain speed when they cross it but the approach will be fast as well. For every bit of trackage that trains must slow down, that adds time to the schedule. Obviously a lot of the New Haven Line is used by Amtrak trains and I remember that there was a goal to implement three hour running times from NYP-BOS on the Acelas. Well guess what, until the infrastructual improvements happen on the New Haven Line, passengers won't be seeing those travel times. About new equipement orders, I agree that the equipment needs to be replaced on the Ctrail lines as well as the MNR NHV branchlines. The MBB and Mafersa cars are up their in age. The Shoreliners that operate in MNR service are aging. The ones that aren't that old are the noncenter door CDOT owned Shoreliners. I also know that MNR is putting out orders to replace their P32AC-DM engines.

Date: 11/28/19 18:43
Re: Article on New Haven Line Infrastructural Improvemements
Author: twropr

Before being absorbed by Penn Central, intercity passenger trains used to make New Haven-Bridgeport in 17 min, Bridgeport-Stamford in 22 and Stamford-NY/Penn Station in 41.  BOS-WAS train #171, the COLONIAL, was scheduled to make NHV-NYP in 91 min and could make up five min.  In those days there were no speed restrictions over the movable bridges at Devon, Sagatuck and Cos Cob.
If the these running times could be restored on a consistent basis it would be great.
Two more items on the shopping list that are potentially achieveable, but could be expensive, are realigning the 40 MPH curve at Port Chester, NY and the 30 MPH curve just west of Bridgeport station.
Amtrak was able to realign a sharp curve on the Philadelphia-Harrisburg Main Line at Berwyn in 1988, increasing speed from 45 to 50 MPH, and in 2007 increased maximum speed on inside Tracks 2 and 3, between Overbrook and Paoli, from 70 to 80 MPH (this section has Berwyn and a few 60-65 MPH curves).  Further west, speed through reverse curves at Gap was increased from 50 to 55 MPH.  Metro-North has bi-directional running on each of the four New Haven Line tracks, which Amtrak did not when the aforementioned work was accomplished.  Even thou the NH Line has more trains than Main Line, the reverse signalling would make it much easier to take a track (or two) out of service for curve realigment than it was for Amtrak.  If speeds at Port Chester and Bridgeport can be modestly increased within the existing right-of-way (no property acquisition), it would be money well spent.

Date: 11/28/19 19:03
Re: Article on New Haven Line Infrastructural Improvemements
Author: Passfanatic

The Penn Central Days were back then and now, we are taking about a ton of outdated infrastructure on the New Haven Line. Port Chester has a very sharp curve at the east end of the station and I believe the trains slow down quite a bit there. In fact, between Port Chester and Cos Cob, there are a few sharp curves. Between Stamford and S. Norwalk there are plenty of sharp curves. The one curve that is extremely sharp is the Jenkins Curve just south of Bridgeport and I don't think that curve will ever be eliminated because of the baseball stadium. There might be many curves along the New Haven Line but it doesn't mean that many of them can't be upgraded to handle a little faster speeds.

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