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Mystic River Dragon

Connecting to CT shuttle

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Oh drat. I should have just kept walking through to the other car....thanks, cpotisch.

You're welcome. At least you'll know for next time! :)

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Mystic, what do you mean about the seats facing each other? My assumption was both cars had half of the seats facing forwards and half facing backwards so the crew could do a quick turnaround if they needed to without having to flip the seats. Also, I believe all Amfleet I cars have been through the "refreshment" program, i.e. LED lighting, new seat cushions, new carpeting, new curtains in the BC cars, redesigned galleys, new bathroom floors, etc. by now, as the target completion date for all 450 cars was this past summer. It is an Amtrak project, though, so who knows... :unsure::giggle::help:

 

Also, thanks for the updates on the service and Windsor! I agree, the CTrail paint looks spiffy! I'm too young to remember the NH days, so I wasn't all that upset when I found out that was going away. I can see how some are nostalgic though.

 

I still haven't gotten around to taking one of the CTrail trains! I've taken the Shuttle numerous times and did one round trip in July, but just on the Shuttle. When I go to the RUN meeting this Saturday (yes, it's confirmed that I'm going!), I won't even take a CTrail train :(

Edited by daybeers

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Amtrak carries 75% of the service north of Hartford and most of the travel times you’d ever want to ride. I’m a frequent rider originating at SPG and I’ve only been on the CTrail trains twice. Part of this is because Amtrak added 3 round trips as part of the program and they operate all theirs to SPG so CTrail only ended up doing 3 round trips to SPG.

 

I’m not complaining- the Amtrak trains are a much nicer ride and its nice to have the added Amtrak NEC connection options in New Haven.

 

Let us all know how the meeting in Springfield goes.

 

The one big thing CTrail has is the late departure out of Springfield so I guess they’d get all the casino goers (and I’m sure they had a decent showing from the Big E fair recently - the earlier Amtrak departure from SPG between 5-6 pm had a ton of passengers those Big E days.)

Edited by lordsigma

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daybeers--

 

There was a special type coach on the Keystones and on the CT shuttle that had a big space in the middle of the car, where the rows of backward and forward facing seats met, and it was the most spacious part of the train because there was so much legroom and open space.

 

lordsigma,

 

Yes, my cousin (who has no interest in trains at all) immediately said that the new commuter rail must be for the casino goers--she saw no other reason for it.

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Yes, my cousin (who has no interest in trains at all) immediately said that the new commuter rail must be for the casino goers--she saw no other reason for it.

I think the late night option is aimed at that - they actually should run it even later on weekends. CTrail does operate five additional round trips between New Haven and Hartford only, so if you are a south of Hartford commuter you are more likely to ride a Ctrail train than a north of Hartford commuter.

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daybeers--

 

There was a special type coach on the Keystones and on the CT shuttle that had a big space in the middle of the car, where the rows of backward and forward facing seats met, and it was the most spacious part of the train because there was so much legroom and open space.

All the Shuttle cars have seats facing both ways because they all operate push-pull. I believe only some of them have that super leg room spot in the middle I saw it on one of my trains today - if Im remembering right some of the cars have the front and rear facing sections facing away from each other rather than towards each other (and as a result no super leg room spot at the transition point.) I think there might be a broken cab car in the Shuttle fleet right now as I've been seeing one of the trainsets operate with a second Genesis loco in front of the cab car a couple times recently including today.

Edited by lordsigma

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daybeers--

 

There was a special type coach on the Keystones and on the CT shuttle that had a big space in the middle of the car, where the rows of backward and forward facing seats met, and it was the most spacious part of the train because there was so much legroom and open space.

All the Shuttle cars have seats facing both ways because they all operate push-pull. I believe only some of them have that super leg room spot in the middle I saw it on one of my trains today - if Im remembering right some of the cars have the front and rear facing sections facing away from each other rather than towards each other (and as a result no super leg room spot at the transition point.) I think there might be a broken cab car in the Shuttle fleet right now as I've been seeing one of the trainsets operate with a second Genesis loco in front of the cab car a couple times recently including today.

So two 4,250 hp locomotives on a two car train? Life is funny. ^_^

Edited by cpotisch

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I will have a chance to see both ends of the CTrail route. When I take it to the RUN meeting, I'll see it from Windsor to Springfield.

 

Then, when I go to Mystic, I will take it from Windsor to New Haven and switch to Shore Line East, so I will see the southern part of the route.

 

Both days will be on the weekend, though, so might not be truly representative.

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I’m sure you saw the new signs at Windsor station. ( I saw them

Yesterday) when you head to SPG you’ll get on at track 2.

 

Did you notice the high speed 110 mph on your way up on the Shuttle?

 

When you ride your CTrail to SPG you’ll buy from the conductor (no surcharge.) On your way back from Springfield I’m assuming it’s a Shuttle? If so you can either buy from the CTrail kiosk or the Amtrak window (it’ll be the same price either way unless using a CTrail discount.)

Edited by lordsigma

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I rode #141 from WNL this AM and am presently on shuttle #412 coming into Meriden. I didn't check using the GPS on my cell phone, but from looking out the window, I think the fastest we went in either direction is the usual 79mph.

 

But I just now turned on the GPS app on my cell phone 5-6 mins after leaving Meriden. We are now 'flying along' (per my cell phone GPS) at blazing 97mph! For all of 1-2 minutes. It's down to 75 as I am typing this as we're slowing for Berlin. So this route must be like the Acela hitting 150mph...only in a few short stretches..

 

 

***FLASH***

 

Now presently slowing for a slow order 5 mins out of Berlin...my GPS shows highest speed hit since turned on...110MPH!!!! Way to go Amtrak!!!

Edited by bratkinson

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Now presently slowing for a slow order 5 mins out of Berlin...my GPS shows highest speed hit since turned on...110MPH!!!! Way to go Amtrak!!!

Don't think that's a slow order I think that's the Oakwood interlocking where they are shifting you over to the other track. I inquired about this the other day and that appears to be the current limit of the double track before Hartford. The stretch from Berlin to there is the 110 MPH section. Berlin to Meriden they can also hit 100. Meriden to Wallingford and Wallingford to North Haven also have 90 stretches. There are four total segments where there a sections with greater than 79 MPH speeds.

Edited by lordsigma

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Well, we did seem to be going fast--just a few minutes between those small stations! :)

 

Thanks for the ticket advice, and the track 2 advice, lordsigma. I will get the CTrail ticket on the train (senior discount, too! :)). I thought I would get a CTrail ticket from an agent in the station at Springfield--I'm assuming there is one there? Or do they use the Amtrak agent? Then I will have a choice of the CTrail train or the Amtrak shuttle back, depending on when I leave the RUN meeting (probably won't stay til the end, because I don't want to take a chance on the last train not running for some reason).

 

My other cousin who I saw yesterday (she's more into environmental stuff and preservation than her sister) drove me over to the original Windsor Locks station, which they do seem to have started restoring, at least cosmetically--plants outside, along with environmentally correct rainbarrels. Now whether that translates into working on the actual station and keeping it, who knows. :unsure: I took a few pictures of it (on my flip phone--please do not laugh) so I have them to look at or show in person but of course cannot post them.

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Now presently slowing for a slow order 5 mins out of Berlin...my GPS shows highest speed hit since turned on...110MPH!!!! Way to go Amtrak!!!

Don't think that's a slow order I think that's the Oakwood interlocking where they are shifting you over to the other track. I inquired about this the other day and that appears to be the current limit of the double track before Hartford. The stretch from Berlin to there is the 110 MPH section. Berlin to Meriden they can also hit 100. Meriden to Wallingford and Wallingford to North Haven also have 90 stretches. There are four total segments where there a sections with greater than 79 MPH speeds.

 

 

I do recall taking a crossover somewhere on the shuttle last night, and it may well have been Oakwood. Frankly, I'm surprised they could do it. This past spring and into the summer, even the new track felt rough, most likely from frost heave. That's why I've been skeptical of hitting 110...that speed and higher on the NEC south of Philly will have you shaking, rattling, and rolling in an Amfleet car, especially business class at the end of the train. Over the past 2 months or so, I did make a mental that things have smoothed down on that route, perhaps they ran a 'final' surfacing/leveling sometime in August or September. About 2 months ago, I did see a Sperry car parked in Springfield near the former bulk mail to train transfer building. But they're only looking for rail defects, not 'bounce', I think.

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Well, we did seem to be going fast--just a few minutes between those small stations! :)

 

Thanks for the ticket advice, and the track 2 advice, lordsigma. I will get the CTrail ticket on the train (senior discount, too! :)). I thought I would get a CTrail ticket from an agent in the station at Springfield--I'm assuming there is one there? Or do they use the Amtrak agent? Then I will have a choice of the CTrail train or the Amtrak shuttle back, depending on when I leave the RUN meeting (probably won't stay til the end, because I don't want to take a chance on the last train not running for some reason).

 

My other cousin who I saw yesterday (she's more into environmental stuff and preservation than her sister) drove me over to the original Windsor Locks station, which they do seem to have started restoring, at least cosmetically--plants outside, along with environmentally correct rainbarrels. Now whether that translates into working on the actual station and keeping it, who knows. :unsure: I took a few pictures of it (on my flip phone--please do not laugh) so I have them to look at or show in person but of course cannot post them.

 

A bit over a month ago, I had a couple hours to kill in the Springfield station having arrived on shuttle 470 and waiting for 449 to Chicago. I park at WNL because it's free, and only a mile or so further than the Springfield station from my house.

 

It's much more interesting to kill time in the newly refurbished station area. Lots of people walking by, etc. I vaguely recall seeing 2 CTRail ticket machines along the west wall at the beginning of the tunnel, just past what will become the Amtrak ticket window. I suspect Amtrak doesn't want to have those machines in the existing Amshack station as it will soon be vacated. But then, I've been hearing/reading that for about a year already.

 

Edit: I almost forgot...Amtrak will honor CTRail tickets on all trains except the Vermonter. I think CTRail honors Amtrak tix between SPG & NHV as well. I know Amtrak dropped their ticket prices to match CTRail prices. So, in all likelihood, Connecticut makes up the difference between the $5 or $10 ticket price and the 'regular' Amtrak cost when necessary.

Edited by bratkinson

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Edit: I almost forgot...Amtrak will honor CTRail tickets on all trains except the Vermonter. I think CTRail honors Amtrak tix between SPG & NHV as well. I know Amtrak dropped their ticket prices to match CTRail prices. So, in all likelihood, Connecticut makes up the difference between the $5 or $10 ticket price and the 'regular' Amtrak cost when necessary.

Yep. CTRail tickets can be used on the Springfield Shuttle and Regionals, and any Amtrak ticket (for travel between New Haven and Springfield, of course) can be used on CTRail.

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Well, we did seem to be going fast--just a few minutes between those small stations! :)

 

Thanks for the ticket advice, and the track 2 advice, lordsigma. I will get the CTrail ticket on the train (senior discount, too! :)). I thought I would get a CTrail ticket from an agent in the station at Springfield--I'm assuming there is one there? Or do they use the Amtrak agent? Then I will have a choice of the CTrail train or the Amtrak shuttle back, depending on when I leave the RUN meeting (probably won't stay til the end, because I don't want to take a chance on the last train not running for some reason).

 

My other cousin who I saw yesterday (she's more into environmental stuff and preservation than her sister) drove me over to the original Windsor Locks station, which they do seem to have started restoring, at least cosmetically--plants outside, along with environmentally correct rainbarrels. Now whether that translates into working on the actual station and keeping it, who knows. :unsure: I took a few pictures of it (on my flip phone--please do not laugh) so I have them to look at or show in person but of course cannot post them.

 

A bit over a month ago, I had a couple hours to kill in the Springfield station having arrived on shuttle 470 and waiting for 449 to Chicago. I park at WNL because it's free, and only a mile or so further than the Springfield station from my house.

 

It's much more interesting to kill time in the newly refurbished station area. Lots of people walking by, etc. I vaguely recall seeing 2 CTRail ticket machines along the west wall at the beginning of the tunnel, just past what will become the Amtrak ticket window. I suspect Amtrak doesn't want to have those machines in the existing Amshack station as it will soon be vacated. But then, I've been hearing/reading that for about a year already.

 

Edit: I almost forgot...Amtrak will honor CTRail tickets on all trains except the Vermonter. I think CTRail honors Amtrak tix between SPG & NHV as well. I know Amtrak dropped their ticket prices to match CTRail prices. So, in all likelihood, Connecticut makes up the difference between the $5 or $10 ticket price and the 'regular' Amtrak cost when necessary.

 

I would suspect the Amtrak move will be tied to the opening of the high level platform. An Amtrak VP was quoted in 2016 on that they would move when that platform opens - makes sense as the current setup is easier for the agents to help with the low level platforms.

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Thanks for the ticket advice, and the track 2 advice, lordsigma. I will get the CTrail ticket on the train (senior discount, too! :)). I thought I would get a CTrail ticket from an agent in the station at Springfield--I'm assuming there is one there? Or do they use the Amtrak agent? Then I will have a choice of the CTrail train or the Amtrak shuttle back, depending on when I leave the RUN meeting (probably won't stay til the end, because I don't want to take a chance on the last train not running for some reason).

Springfield has Amtrak agents only that can sell only Amtrak tickets (as I said the price is the same but only the Amtrak discounts apply not CTrail.) CTrail does have a superior senior discount so you'll want to use the CTrail machines on the lower level.

 

CTrail uses only kiosks for ticketing. The only station they staff is New Haven Union and I don't know if the CTrail staff there sell tickets or if its just information/boarding help. The CTrail counter is in the same room as the Amtrak information desk.

 

Hartford and Springfield are staffed by Amtrak.

Edited by lordsigma

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Can I use cash in the kiosks?

 

Also, for Shore Line East, can I get a ticket from New Haven to New London from a ticket agent, or do I have to use a kiosk again?

 

Sorry to switch the topic to Shore Line East, but I don't want to be stuck in New Haven without a way to get a ticket north!

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Can I use cash in the kiosks?

 

Also, for Shore Line East, can I get a ticket from New Haven to New London from a ticket agent, or do I have to use a kiosk again?

 

Sorry to switch the topic to Shore Line East, but I don't want to be stuck in New Haven without a way to get a ticket north!

I think you can. if you ever couldn't Amtrak agent is the other option for cash. Given its commuter prices on the line the price difference due to the differing senior discounts is going to be tiny if you end up wanting to buy from the Amtrak agent.

Edited by lordsigma

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Oh drat, I have messed up this Saturday completely. You are all absolutely right--there's practically nothing going north to Springfield. I can't take the Amtrak shuttle (the best choice) because I can't get into my email on the hotel computers so can't buy a ticket online, which leaves me just with a ridiculously early CTrail that gets there around 9:45. Then I can buy a ticket back on the Amtrak shuttle, but the only decent one is at 5:20.

 

I was hoping to just run up there for a few hours and sneak away again, but with that schedule, it looks like I will be there all day!

 

I am a bit concerned about being in Springfield on a weekend morning for a couple of hours before the meeting. Is it safe? Is there anywhere to get breakfast (I see a gazillion Dunkin Donuts on the map, but is there anything else?)

 

There's another possibility--get CTrail going south from Windsor to Hartford around 10:30, then buy a ticket for the northbound Amtrak shuttle, which gets to Springfield around 12:20, which would be perfect--I wouldn't have to hang around Springfield. However, Hartford is not great, either, and I don't know if it would be easy to find where the shuttle goes from--I don't want to be stuck in Hartford because I can't find the right track! What do you guys think? I don't really want to miss the meeting, not after promising everyone I would go and let them know what it's like!

 

Southbound in the evening, I don't see any choice except the 5:20.

 

Any and all advice will be welcome--thanks! :)

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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If you call in, you may be able to explain the situation to the conductor on board, and they could manually lift your ticket. I know sometimes they'll do that at quiet stations already (when I took the shuttle to New Haven from Wallingford, the conductor didn't even look at our ticket, just checked us off on her phone.) If you have ID, they should be able to look up your reservation on their phone even without a ticket (though if there's any way to get access to your email to print, that would be best.)

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I believe you can buy tickets for Shuttle trains from the CTrail ticket machines.

 

I'm taking the Shuttle #450 HFD–SPG 9:35–10:13 AM so I can get a look at the renovated Springfield station. I haven't been up there in about two years actually! I was originally going to take Shuttle #460, but that gets in at 12:18 PM, so I thought might as well be on time to the meeting and get to check out the station. I can't speak to the amenities or safety in and around SPG, but as far as HFD goes, it'll be during the day, so you should be fine. If you go down into the station or outside, there might be a couple people who ask for money, but that's really it. That may not even happen considering it would be a weekend morning.

 

It's pretty difficult to get on the wrong platform considering there is only one track and one platform in service. :giggle: However, has anyone noticed that at HFD the stairs to the old track 2 platform (now chained off so someone can't walk onto the viaduct) are still open? On the south end of the station next to Asylum Avenue, it looks like they were even renovated with a coat of paint and new LED lighting!?! But all the stairs do is take you to the wrong track, so you have to go back down, into the station, and back up the stairs on the other side to get to the track 1 platform.

 

I'm also taking #467 back to HFD.

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Oh drat, I have messed up this Saturday completely. You are all absolutely right--there's practically nothing going north to Springfield. I can't take the Amtrak shuttle (the best choice) because I can't get into my email on the hotel computers so can't buy a ticket online, which leaves me just with a ridiculously early CTrail that gets there around 9:45. Then I can buy a ticket back on the Amtrak shuttle, but the only decent one is at 5:20.

 

I was hoping to just run up there for a few hours and sneak away again, but with that schedule, it looks like I will be there all day!

 

I am a bit concerned about being in Springfield on a weekend morning for a couple of hours before the meeting. Is it safe? Is there anywhere to get breakfast (I see a gazillion Dunkin Donuts on the map, but is there anything else?)

 

There's another possibility--get CTrail going south from Windsor to Hartford around 10:30, then buy a ticket for the northbound Amtrak shuttle, which gets to Springfield around 12:20, which would be perfect--I wouldn't have to hang around Springfield. However, Hartford is not great, either, and I don't know if it would be easy to find where the shuttle goes from--I don't want to be stuck in Hartford because I can't find the right track! What do you guys think? I don't really want to miss the meeting, not after promising everyone I would go and let them know what it's like!

 

Southbound in the evening, I don't see any choice except the 5:20.

 

Any and all advice will be welcome--thanks! :)

Either call Amtrak or book online and then just have the conductor look you up if you can't get to your email - I've seen this done several times. If all else fails and you can't pre-book it dont bother going back to Hartford or take a crazy early train just board the one you want in Windsor and buy from the Amtrak conductor. While it will be a little bit higher fare, Windsor to Springfield is normally only $4.75 so it shouldn't be bad. If you ever did want to spend the day in Springfield there is the new casino where you can kill time and some good restaurants.

 

Some excellent pretty well known choices:

- Red Rose Pizzeria (Italian)

- Theodore's Tavern (BBQ/Pub)

- Chef Wayne' Big Mamou (Cajun)

- Student Prince (German)

 

Additionally the casino has some choices as well. The casino also has a movie theatre that would also help with killing time.

Edited by lordsigma

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I believe you can buy tickets for Shuttle trains from the CTrail ticket machines.

You can but Windsor/Windsor Locks still don't have the machines which I'm guessing is the root of her problem. The procedure there is you buy on the train if its CTrail (no penalty) and you prebuy using online or phone for Amtrak (or buy on board for a surcharge.)

Edited by lordsigma

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