Rumor: Amtrak/MTA/CDOT ownership swap

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by lordsigma, May 22, 2019.

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  1. May 22, 2019 #1

    lordsigma

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    There is a rumor flying around today on another discussion forum about a possible ownership swap that could have major implications for the NEC. The rumor is that there is a massive deal being discussed that is related to Penn Station Access. Essentially what would occur in this rumor is that as part of Metro North gaining Penn Station access, Amtrak would take ownership of the New Haven Line between New Haven and New Rochelle, and CDOT would take ownership of the Springfield line. Additionally the rumor goes on to state that Amtrak would eliminate all of its service on the Springfield Line except for the Vermonter and CDOT would expand its CTrail commuter rail service to replace Amtrak on the Springfield line. Certainly some winners in such a deal, but also some losers. This could help Amtrak provide more reliability for the new Acelas. The big losers: The Amtrak employees on the Springfield line. Amtrak customers on the Springfield line (as we'd lose all single ticket Amtrak service except for the Vermonter.) And all stations north of Hartford on the Springfield line (As CDOT's priority on the line is NHV-HFD - I can see Windsor, Windsor Locks, and Springfield getting screwed without Amtrak's presence as the schedule will be built to maximize service for Hartford.) I personally hope (bias as I am a Springfield line Amtrak customer and this would negatively affect me) that this rumor is hogwash, but I guess we'll see what happens.
     
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  2. May 22, 2019 #2

    Sauve850

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    I hope you are not affected either but just too many rumors lately.
     
  3. May 23, 2019 #3

    lordsigma

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    It seems somewhat out of left field. Don't get me wrong I'm for any changes that can enhance the NEC, but I am not for losing all my local Amtrak service as a cost and I feel badly for all the employees that would lose their jobs. The commuter service is great, but I'm not going to risk hoping on a CTrail train and doing a non guaranteed connection to a higher fare Amtrak train and risk being out the high price ticket if the commuter train is late. If this happens I will likely be done with the SPG line and just drive to New Haven or Stamford to catch Amtrak (and will probably end up just taking the train less with the added inconvenience of doing so.... yes I'm just one person in the grand scheme of things and the SPG line is small potatoes next to the main NEC, but still would be disappointing.)
     
  4. May 23, 2019 #4

    Dutchrailnut

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    bunch of ******** /fake news/claptrap, Connecticut has no say in Port Chester to CP216 and in no way will they give Amtrak billions of $$ in property for a second rate branch line.
     
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  5. May 23, 2019 #5

    JcPinCT

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    1. My understanding of the rumor is that Amtrak would continue to run Regionals to Springfield in addition to the Vermonter.
    2. North of Hartford will be interesting but I still see the new Enfield station being a high priority. Hopefully the second track and CT river bridge will also receive funding to complete double tracking to Springfield. If so, I believe north of Hartford service will be on, or close to, par with south of Hartford service.

    Whether or not this rumor pans out, there is no denying the NHV-SPG route will continue to trend towards more commuter service than regional/long distance.
     
  6. May 23, 2019 #6

    Seaboard92

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    I wouldn’t put much faith in this one. It seams lately that there are a bunch of rumors going around about everything.
     
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  7. May 23, 2019 #7

    lordsigma

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    I am a big supporter of increasing the commuter trains offered. But with keeping the current level of Amtrak service and connections available. I think the current level of Amtrak service offered is enough but I don't support reducing it. I would anticipate the regionals would go as well if Amtrak was going to cut everyone north of New Haven. Springfield has a dedicated mechanical basically just to service those trains and there are shuttles that do better business than the through regionals offered.
     
  8. May 23, 2019 #8

    bratkinson

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    Considering that the 'Knowledge Corridor' is currently planned to use Amtrak shuttles by extending 2 of them to Greenfield, it seems unlikely that Amtrak would 'give away' ownership of the Hartford line, much less force Knowledge Corridor passengers to/from south of Springfield to switch trains, and switch again if going beyond New Haven.

    But, if and when they DO give up Amtrak service on the Hartford line, dumping my one-seat ride on #141 & 148 from NYP and beyond, I will cut up my AGR card AND my BofA Amtrak credit card.
     
  9. May 23, 2019 #9

    lordsigma

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    The more I think about the rumor, the more dubious it sounds...For one...Metro North giving up dispatch control over the New Haven Line in return for CDOT getting the SPG line and penn station access? Just doesn't make sense. Also as far as modifications to the SPG line service...Even if line ownership changes were made that doesn't necessarily mean the Amtrak service would have to change - the ownership of the lines is a separate thing from the agreement between Amtrak, CTDOT, and MassDOT to operate Shuttles and through trains. MassDOT seems to want to keep Amtrak around as going with all CDOT would reduce MassDOT's leverage over the service and would give CDOT free reign to cut trains to Springfield and beyond.
     
  10. May 23, 2019 #10

    KnightRail

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    This rumor was put out due to the inspection trip that occurred today on the MRS Line (Mill River to Springfield, the official AMTRAK name for the line). Seems pretty unbelievable that CT and especially NY would be willing to give up control of the New Haven Line.
     
  11. May 23, 2019 #11

    JP1822

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    Doesn't make too much sense for CT and NY to give up what is basically their "priority" on the NEC from New Rochelle to New Haven. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Amtrak looks to negotiate some sort of "out" on the New Haven to Springfield line. It's Amtrak shortest route, competes now directly with commuter service, and the Springfield crew base doesn't come cheap. Keeping the a couple of Regionals and the Vermonter could make sense, but ridding itself of the "Shuttle Service" makes some sense. Course it would be better if CT extends the commuter trains on up to Springfield. If the "Knowledge Corridor" truly gets expanded, then bring back Amtrak to handle that extended service, but perhaps with DMU's or more efficient equipment. Doubt any of this is really much more than just a rumor though!
     
  12. May 23, 2019 #12

    railiner

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    This discussion makes me think about the history of how the NEC was divvied up, from the remains of the Penn Central...Why didn’t Amtrak get the entire line from Conrail?
    Or conversely, why didn’t NJDOT (later NJ Transit) get its portion, as Metro North got theirs?
    I can’t recall the details of how it all happened in 1976 was it?
     
  13. May 23, 2019 #13

    lordsigma

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    The Shuttle service and CTrail trains don't really directly compete even though I'm sure the Amtrak and CTrail employees probably do view each other as competitors. The trains all form a single schedule with a common fare structure. Commuters ride based on the train time they are using and you don't really select the operator and I'm sure it isn't uncommon for someone to ride CTrail one way and Amtrak the other. The Vermonter is the only train which operates exclusively with traditional Amtrak fares. Additionally only the Amtrak operated trains provide guaranteed intercity connections to the Amtrak NEC trains for Amtrak customers so the loss of the Shuttles would be a loss to those who transfer to Amtrak. Amtrak's ridership on the Shuttles has increased as a component of this program and they operate in some of the busiest time slots on the line.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  14. May 23, 2019 #14

    CAQuail

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    NY and CT purchased their portion of the line from Penn Central in 1969 with the deal closing in 1971.
     
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  15. May 23, 2019 #15

    jis

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    Partly in 1976.

    PC sold/transferred segments to various states in the late '60s, 1969 or thereabout. This involved the entirety of what is MNRR New Haven Line, and the segment of NEC in Massachusetts.At that time too. LIRR bought a bunch of slots and operating rights in Penn Station. NJDOT did not acquire anything on the NEC, or for that matter anywhere else at that time. They continued to subsidize PC to operate NJDOT funded services.

    In 1976 with the formation of Conrail, the balance of the NEC property was transferred to Amtrak. At that time or soon thereafter NJT was formed to take over the commuter operations in NJ and the infrastructure used by them in NJ, that was not transferred to Amtrak as part of NEC. Massachusetts at that time contracted with Amtrak to maintain operate the NEC segment in Massachusetts into South Station. Massachusetts still owns that segment.

    In general, the rumor about any trade involving Penn Station operation I believe is utter BS. Don't know about what happens in northern Connecticut between Amtrak and CT. But it is unlikely to have anything to do with any MNRR operation in NY State. The NYP facilities to be used by MNRR is a private deal between MNRR and LIRR and is an MTA internal matter. Only the slots for MNRR use of the NYCRR segment (Hell Gate Line) is an additional deal between NYDOT/MTA/MNRR and Amtrak. That naturally is all AFAIK. :)
     
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  16. May 23, 2019 #16

    MikefromCrete

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    I find it hard to believe that Metro North and CDOT would give up control of the busiest commuter line in the nation in exchange for a relatively low used branch line. Rumors can be fun, but never put any faith in them. Remember all the rumors about the end of Game of Thrones.
     
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  17. May 23, 2019 #17

    Dutchrailnut

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    the source of this trade tidbit is not known for any accurate stuff he ever posted.
     
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  18. May 23, 2019 #18

    lordsigma

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    I am assuming you are also on the same certain facebook group where this rumor was put out...
     
  19. May 23, 2019 #19

    jis

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    Oh no! Unsubstantiated rumor from Facebook! o_O Maybe it was from a Russian Bot! :D
     
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  20. May 24, 2019 #20

    Dutchrailnut

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    he post in several facebook groups and 99% is just instigating with no substance.
     
  21. May 24, 2019 #21

    lordsigma

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    I guess I took the bait! Will have to keep that in mind if he posts stuff in the future. I took it seriously at first as everyone else seemed to. I'm sure I gave him a good laugh as I responded in a disappointed matter at the prospect of a loss of all guaranteed connections.
     
  22. May 26, 2019 #22

    Metra Electric Rider

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    Wouldn't this take all kinds of intergovernmental agreements and public hearings to make happen?
     
  23. May 27, 2019 #23

    Thirdrail7

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    This is likely. Even IF Amtrak were to take over the extremely expensive and congested New Haven line, I don't really see it helping the new Acela or any other operations. The line is to constrained. It would just further drain Amtrak's finances.

    It isn't even a good idea.
     
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