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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

New Route for Amtrak


Trains will now stop in Greenfield and Northampton instead of Amherst. This project replaces the Palmer backup move and combined with already completed work in Vermont and work in Connecticut to be completed by 2016, will take an hour and a half off the schedule.

The faster running times are not yet evident.  Seven separate slow orders remain on the new line as construction is finished up.  Rather than try to run the new schedule while it's not yet achievable, Amtrak has kept the running times in Vermont the same for the time being and will introduce the new schedule in the spring.  Trains will leave Vermont points about half an hour later than they do now and arrive about half an hour earlier in the evening.  Top speed in Massachusetts will be 79 mph.

In Vermont, the state worked in partnership with the New England Central on the upgrades, relying on the expertise of the railroad while keeping an oversight role.  In Massachusetts, a different approach was taken: the state purchased the tracks from Pan-Am (successor to the Boston & Maine). The state of Massachusetts did more of the project management itself.

Discussions are underway in Massachusetts regarding adding more than one train a day from Greenfield to
Springfield.  Some of these trains could be run from Brattleboro or White River Junction if Vermont contributed to the costs of their operation. (Hint, hint – talk to your legislators. )

Upgrades on the Vermonter route were paid for by federal stimulus funds.  Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut were able to snag funding because the states worked together and had a history of supporting intercity passenger service, especially Vermont.

 

Thanks for the information to Christopher Parker of the  Vermont Rail Action Network

»

Comments | 9

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 #

DO you have any information

DO you have any information as to whether we will not be able to connect to the Boston train heading east to Albany? That's always been a big schedule snafu in my book as it seems logical that the Vermonter would connect with the Boston heading to Chicago. I'm really hoping this cuts enough time out to do that.

 
 #

Curious too...

Connections to Albany and Boston from Greenfield would be idea. Also, completed roughly when in 2016 would be good to know.

 
 #

An hour and a half off the schedule, from where to where ?

Thanks for this excellent news.

" This project replaces the Palmer backup move and combined with already completed work in Vermont and work in Connecticut to be completed by 2016, will take an hour and a half off the schedule."

Does this mean it will take an hour and a half less to get to New York from Brattleboro? Excuse me if I am being dense on this, but I did not understand.

 
 #

Good question...

... and exactly what I asked out loud when I read it. The Vermonter travels from Washington DC to St Albans, Vt, so I'm going to guess that the person who originated that comment meant ON THAT WHOLE ROUTE. Anyone guessing otherwise based on their own piece of the trip (did it cut 1.5 hours off the trip from Brattleboro to Springfield, Mass, for example? Or from St. Albans to Bratt? would be assuming that one's own version of the trip is the official one.) When I very first read that I thought, wow, it will cut an hour & a half off the trip (the one most of us probably take on this line) from Bratt to NYC. THAT would make it competitive, finally, with the time by automobile. But I assume it's off the run from terminus to terminus.

 
 #

Improvements

Amtrak has been regularly upgrading sub-standard sections of track. They completed this in Vermont north of Brattleboro some time ago. I believe current schedules already take this into consideration. The new Palmer bypass will cut off about an hour. Upgrades are currently in progress between Springfield and New Haven.
From New Haven to DC, the line is all first class, high speed electrified tracks. I doubt they can be improved at all.
It seems to me that the saved hour and a half happens between Bratt and New Haven.
Lakeshore Limited (Boston to Chicago)Vermonter (St.Albans to WDC)

Connections at Springfield Mass.

Westbound – Arrives 2:10 PM Southbound – Arrives 2:35 PM
Departs – 2:15 PM Departs – 2:50 PM

Eastbound – Arrives 5:48 PM Northbound – Arrives 2:58 PM
Departs – 5:53 PM Departs – 3:15 PM

As you can see, it could be possible to massage the schedules such that a southbound Vermonter would connect with a westbound Lakeshore, especially now with the Palmer reroute.

Coming North or East, a connection would be impossible.
You would be able to get to Albany, but you can’t get back.

 
 #

Incomplete

This is not the finished product. It is incomplete and confusing. See "Improvements" below for corrected version. I tried to delete it, but couldn't figure out how.

 
 #

Improvements

Amtrak has been regularly upgrading sub-standard sections of track. They completed this in Vermont north of Brattleboro some time ago. I believe current schedules already take this into consideration. The new Palmer bypass will cut off about an hour. Upgrades are currently in progress between Springfield MA and New Haven.
From New Haven to DC, the line is all first class, high speed electrified tracks. I doubt they can be improved at all.
It seems to me that the saved hour and a half happens between Bratt and New Haven.

Connections at Springfield Mass.

Lakeshore Limited (Boston to Chicago)
Westbound – Arrives 2:10 PM
Departs – 2:15 PM
----------------------------------------------------------
Eastbound – Arrives 5:48 PM
Departs – 5:53 PM
-----------------------------------------------------------
Vermonter (St.Albans to WDC)
Southbound – Arrives 2:35 PM
Departs – 2:50 PM
-----------------------------------------------------------
Northbound – Arrives 2:58 PM
Departs – 3:15 PM

As you can see, it could be possible to massage the schedules such that a southbound Vermonter would connect with a westbound Lakeshore, especially now with the Palmer reroute.

Coming North or East, a connection would be impossible.
You would be able to get to Albany, but you can’t get back.

 
 #

Amherst not on track

It's too bad for Amherst. The train station there was probably useful to a lot of college kids in the area.

 
 #

On the other hand...

... now, though, the train stops in Northampton, so fair treatment for Smith College students. Admittedly, there are more students closer to the Amherst station, what with U Mass, Amherst College & to some extent Mt Holyoke & Hampshire, tho for a MH student it might be a wash. But Northampton is still an easy jaunt for any area student, & there is, I believe, & I think it may even be free, a five-collee shuttle bus system that goes from one college to the other. And, hey, now Greenfield gets included!

 

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