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JimSawhill

Commuter service from Stonington?

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Hi all:

I've just read that the MBTA and Rhode Island are looking into expanding the commuter operations of the MBTA to Westerly, RI. I just would like your views on us expanding SLE to Stonington - or maybe to Westerly, RI.

I'd plan the SLE with stops in Lyme, Sound View, Niantic, (at Rocky Neck), Waterford, New London, Groton, Mystic, Noank and Stonington. Of course, the DOT might have to buy new coaches and engines, since I'd like to see more commuter rail in the state. My views of commuter rail -- Waterbury to Hartford to Willimantic, Old Saybrook to Hartford (pulled by an Essex steam loco :) ), Hazzardville to East Hartford, Avon to Plainville along with SLN (Shore Line North - New Haven to Springfield).

Comments?

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I am all for commuter rail. If we could get everyone out of their suburban car orientated lifestyle this could work greatly for our state. I live near Hartford but right now am at school in NYC and take the subway around the city and take the Metro North commuter rail line home. Thousands of people use the commuter rail lines to get to NYC from Long Island, CT, upstate NY and NJ. If we could get people commuting into Waterbury, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Norwich, etc. via train that would be great

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a lot of people commute to new haven via SLE. SLE has it's own problems though... for instance, last i knew, they only ran westbound in the morning and eastbound in the afternoon. i think if they went both directions at both times, we could get more people out of their cars and onto the train. it'd also help new haven if they had service at night for people who go to new haven for the nightlife and it'd help metro north by providing a better rail link for people going to new york. i used to go to new york all the time for weekend trips when i dated a girl at NYU. if i could have, i would've taken the train from branford to new haven (or milford or bridgeport) and then switched to metro north from there. but instead, i had to either take the bus to new haven or park in new haven, which doesn't have much room for parking.

i think currently, the plan in RI is to get MBTA south of providence to the airport and to north kingstown. i don't think there's any plans to go farther than that just yet. but i think there shoudl be commuter rail across RI at least to kingston station by URI and to westerly.

but for CT, i think improving the one commuter rail they have would be a good start... expanded service to new haven, and running out to westerly to connect to a possible rail line through RI. right now it goes to new london... westerly isn't that much farther.

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Jim, thanks for bringing this topic up; it's intriguing.

Here are my comments:

SLE: I would extend across the Thames River to a new station at Groton. I would not extend service further east -- at least right for now -- because I don't think there are enough people to satisfy a critical demand. For the same reason, I would only propose new SLE stations at Old Lyme and East Lyme between the current Old Saybrook and New London stations.

I would also propose new commuter rail service along the NECR freight line between New London and Norwich. Stations would be located at Quaker Hill, Mohegan Sun, and Norwich. I know this is not a new idea, but DOT could market weekend trains between New York, New Haven, and Mohegan Sun. A shuttle bus could take passengers between the station and Foxwoods.

New Haven to Springfield: Absolutely.

Waterbury to Hartford: This is the old NYNHH Highland Line. I would start with commuter rail service between Bristol and Hartford, and Bristol and New Haven via stations at Forestville, Plainville, and New Britain. Just east of New Britain, the Highland Line splits into a north branch and a south branch. The north branch (currently abandoned and the planned alignment of the Hartford-New Britain Busway) would carry Hartford-bound trains and the south branch (currently used by Pan Am Railways) would carry New Haven-bound trains. If there's adequate demand, I would consider extending service west to Waterbury -- but not right away.

Hartford to Old Saybrook; Hartford to Willimantic; East Hartford to Hazardville; and Planville to Avon: I don't think there would be enough demand to support service at this time. In fact, I would like to see the last remaining segment of the Canal Line between Plainville and Avon converted into an extension of the recreational trail currently running between New Haven and Southington.

On a related note, I'm glad to see a renewed interest in freight rail along some of these lines. P&W has opened up the Valley Line between Middletown and Hartford; NECR has opened up the Griffin Line between Hartford and Bloomfield; and NECR has also cleared part of the old Armory Line between East Windsor and Hazardville. Even if commuter rail is not feasible today, some of these alignments promise to remain in operational usage and available for future commuter rail expansion.

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i bet a line from new haven to springfield would help the business climate in both hartford and new haven.

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i bet a line from new haven to springfield would help the business climate in both hartford and new haven.

I think it would also have a tremendous impact on smaller cities like Meriden and Thompsonville.

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Westerly and Kingston are included in the Scope of Work for RI Commuter Rail Phase II. It's more likely that they would suggest extending the SLE northward to Kingston than extending the MBTA south past Wickford though.

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I am all for commuter rail. If we could get everyone out of their suburban car orientated lifestyle this could work greatly for our state. I live near Hartford but right now am at school in NYC and take the subway around the city and take the Metro North commuter rail line home. Thousands of people use the commuter rail lines to get to NYC from Long Island, CT, upstate NY and NJ. If we could get people commuting into Waterbury, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Norwich, etc. via train that would be great

This isn't going to make me any friends on this board...but I don't see myself ever taking commuter rail from Hartford to NYC. In fact, I'm not sure if I'll do it from New Haven to NYC. I went to a Mets game on Monday night and thought it would be easier to take Metro North to Grand Central and then take the #7 train to Shea. Now the subway ride was fine. But Metro North.....another story.

First of all...I know a lot of people complain about the age of the rail cars, but frankly, if I was in a brand new car with plush leather seats, my opinion would be the same.

I guess the crux of my complaint is frankly...I don't see the advantage of taking Metro North down to the city, at least from New Haven.

First of all, the ride is tedious. I took a 3:52 train that arrived in NYC at about 5:40....Nearly two hours, when I could drive to Queens in a little over an hour. And this was a train that didn't make any station stops after Stamford. (And really, why exactly does Fairfield need three stops? Couldn't South Norwalk and East Norwalk just be combined to "Norwalk". This is a railroad, not rapid transit.) My understanding is the whole reason to take Metro North is to beat the traffic on I-95. Well, I couldn't help notice that 90 percent of the time, the traffic on 95 is whizzing right past me as I sit in my supposedly more convenient train.

In fact, by the time you get to the Bronx, the train is going so slow, you feel like you're the one that's stuck in traffic. I mean, the train lierally crawls once you enter the NYC limits. (My guess would be because of track congetion.) This is in stark contrast to NJ Transit which literally flies from Newark to the Penn Station (Well, it now has to stop in Secaucus :angry: )

The game ended around 9:40 p..m., I hung around for about 20 minutes afterwards (The Mets clinched the division on Monday. :yahoo: ) and arrived back in New Haven at about 1:15 a.m., putting me back at my home in Manchester at 2 a.m.

Based on my typical driving time from Shea, I figured I would have arrived back in Manchester between midnight and 12:30 a.m. had I drove.

NOw, perhaps you would argue that I saved money on gas by taking the train. Well, I paid $31.00 for a round trip ticket. On a full tank of gas, my round trip from Manchester to Shea leaves me with about a 1/3 of a tank when I arrive home. Using $3 a gallon as a benchmark, it costs me $36.00 to fill my tank from empty. Meaning, I actually spent more to take the train. (Not to mention the $10 parking charge) Plus, if I drive, I get to listen to my own music, roll down my own window...engage in my own anti-social behavior :D j/k

I realize most on this board advocate commuter rail, and to a degree, so do I. But I think there are some inherrent flaws in the current system's design that needs addressing. Granted, if your final destination is Manhanttan, then the train is likely the better choice. But NYC isn't just Manhattan, and if commuter rail is to grow in the state, people need to walk off the train feeling their experience would have been worse and less convenient had they used their car. Sorry, had to vent.

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the trip from new haven to manhattan takes more than "a little over an hour" by car. in fact, that trip is at least an hour and a half with no traffic. the train ride from new haven to grand central is an hour and 45 min generally, unless it doesn't go express after stamford. if you're going with a group of people, it's cheaper to drive than take the train because it does take less time if there's not a lot of traffic and the cost of parking split between 4 people is better than 4 people buying round trip tickets.

if you worked in new york and lived anywhere from right outside NYC to new haven, taking the train is a whole lot better than driving in. my aunt lives in shelton and works in wilton. it can take her 2 hours to make her commute down route 8 and along the merritt. i used to live in branford and i had a job in bridgeport. the morning commute took me anywhere from half an hour (if my day started early enough) to a full hour if my day started at 8:30-9 regardless of whether i took the merritt from milford or stayed on 95 the whole way. normally i started work at 8, so traffic wasn't normally an issue for me.

the reason there are stops in south norwalk, east norwalk, southport, bridgeport, fairfield, noroton heights, etc. is because there's a TON of people who do commute everyday to NYC from those stops. there wouldn't be enough parking if they combined any of them and the train would be sitting at the stop for 20 min while everyone got on. and it keeps more people off 95, which is the whole point of the commuter rail to begin with. why have a commuter rail if people have to get on the highway to get to their train station?

and finally, for the record, i don't think it was ever proposed that people will really take the commuter line from hartford to new haven so they could go to NYC. rather, it's important that there's a commuter line from new haven to hartford that will allow people to get off 91 and take the train. it'd be much easier. the commuter train isn't necessarily about speed (although the train to new york and back during rush hour is faster than driving) but more about convenience. it allows you to take a nap, read the paper, get some work done, etc rather than have to drive to work.

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the trip from new haven to manhattan takes more than "a little over an hour" by car. in fact, that trip is at least an hour and a half with no traffic.

When I was growing up, my family could get from our home in Meriden to the Shea Stadium parking lot in roughly 1 hr and 20 min. no traffic I've gotten from Meriden to the Geo Wash Bridge in 1hr 15 without traffic

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SLE has expressed an interest in extending service to T.F. Green airport, but there are no actual studies being done at this point and certainly no funding yet.

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When I was growing up, my family could get from our home in Meriden to the Shea Stadium parking lot in roughly 1 hr and 20 min. no traffic I've gotten from Meriden to the Geo Wash Bridge in 1hr 15 without traffic

i generally follow the law and don't do much more than the speed limit...

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Im a student at Manhattan College in the Bronx and so I cant have a car on campus...this year at least. So to get home I take the the 1 train into Times Square, take the shuttle over to Grand Central, Metro North to New Haven and then drive home from there.

One thing I have heard from other students who take trains to other areas is that Metro North (both lines-the upstate one and the new haven one) are quite slow comapred to other area commuter rail lines. With this I do agree that Metro North can be a pain. When I am home and want to simply go into the city for the day ..meaning Manhattan its not bad but other then that it can be a pain.

NYC's subway though is great...for the most part. There obviously are flaws in the system such as you do not want to know how long it takes me to get from the bronx to Shea stadium via public transportation. But the NYC transit system is cheap and is used frequently. I have riden the train at all hours of the night and have, more then once seen it packed.

Of course though there was news yesterday that the MTA may be cutting service, raising rates and causing longer wait times for travelers

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i generally follow the law and don't do much more than the speed limit...

I generally follow the law too and don't do more than the speed limit either.

Getting back, to the earlier discussion....I'm not necessarily sure it would be easier to use commuter rail along the 91 corridor. For instance, if I lived in Wallingford or Meriden, and worked at Travelers in downtown, I'm not sure if taking the train would make my life easier. For one thing, the ride on the train would surely be longer because of the station stops, as well as the fact that the rail takes a more meandering route to Hartford than 91. Combine that with walking from Union Station to the Travelers compex in downtown..plus the cost of parking at the local train station...cost of a ticket....

I lived in NJ for a few years and loved their rail system, and I've always blindly said that CT should adopt a similar system. But the more I rack my head about it, the more doubts I have about its success. Granted, maybe the state's transportation culture will change over time, I just hope that people (and the taxpayer watchdogs) have the patience to stick with the program if the trains are largely empty during the early years.

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the MTA has serious money issues, which i simply cannot understand given that they have some of the highest ridership rates of any public transit authority.

metro north has problems with speed as well as with cramped trains, but they can't go double decker because the tunnel ceilings are too low.

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the MTA has serious money issues, which i simply cannot understand given that they have some of the highest ridership rates of any public transit authority.

metro north has problems with speed as well as with cramped trains, but they can't go double decker because the tunnel ceilings are too low.

The MetroNorth upstate line (the Harlem) is pretty pokey. It can take me between 75-90 minutes from the Brewster NY station to Grand Central. You can drive to the city from the danbury/ny line to the city for in about 65 minutes.

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Metro North from New Haven to NYC is definitely the way to go, especially if it's Manhattan. Finding parking, dealing with traffic, etc etc is annoying. I hope for the day when I can really get around CT without having to use my car....

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Metro North from New Haven to NYC is definitely the way to go, especially if it's Manhattan. Finding parking, dealing with traffic, etc etc is annoying. I hope for the day when I can really get around CT without having to use my car....

It is the way to go especially during rush hour. Trying to get from CT via the Merritt or (i dont use I-95) to the Hutchinson Parkway South to the Cross County to the Saw Mill which become the west side highway can be a nightmare...and you dont even use I-95. Also dont forget that you have to pay for parking in Manhattan

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When I was growing up, my family could get from our home in Meriden to the Shea Stadium parking lot in roughly 1 hr and 20 min. no traffic I've gotten from Meriden to the Geo Wash Bridge in 1hr 15 without traffic

So you are saying a 110 mile trip from downtown Meridan to the Washington Bridge is 80 minutes? A trip to Shea is probably 10 miles short of that. Even going the speed limit, 50-65 mph, makes that trip to the GWB 100 minutes, going 75? makes it 90 minutes. Maybe time travels differently in Connecticut? Thanks for contributing to the highest in the country insurance rates New Englanders pay!

Mark in Rhode Island, where we pay and pay for bad driving habits that insurance companies are very aware of!!

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So you are saying a 110 mile trip from downtown Meridan to the Washington Bridge is 80 minutes? A trip to Shea is probably 10 miles short of that. Even going the speed limit, 50-65 mph, makes that trip to the GWB 100 minutes, going 75? makes it 90 minutes. Maybe time travels differently in Connecticut? Thanks for contributing to the highest in the country insurance rates New Englanders pay!

Mark in Rhode Island, where we pay and pay for bad driving habits that insurance companies are very aware of!!

i do that drive fairly regularly now... there's no way he did it in just over an hour. hell... stamford is 50 min from new haven with no traffic doing 65 mph the whole way.

i've gotten to the jersey border from branford in 90 min taking 95 to 287 to the tappan zee, but i was most definitely speeding and there was absolutely no traffic whatsoever.

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I've gotten to the Tappan Zee in about 1:20, but I sped like a mofo....

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I just have one question. When is there no traffic on 95 between New Haven and the Bronx?

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I just have one question. When is there no traffic on 95 between New Haven and the Bronx?

i can answer that... i've done the providence to philly drive leaving providence around 10-10:30 pm (back when i worked nights) on a thursday night. i think i hit new haven between 11:30 and 12, which put me on the GW around 1:30. that was the quickest trip to philly i ever made. i was at the fiancee's apartment in 5 hours (got there around 3:30). outside of the middle of the night, there's always traffic between new haven and the bronx on 95. and with construction, there might even be some in the middle of the night (random lane changes and even the 10 people on the road don't know how to merge properly into a single lane, causing about a mile or 2 of backup... not that i've ever had to deal with that between bridgeport and new haven).

i used to live in southern CT. i dated a girl that went to NYU with her hometown in bridgeport. i've done all sorts of drives between new haven and the bronx at all times of the day and night on every day of the week. i'd consider myself an expert in the traffic patterns of 95 through new haven and fairfield counties. i even know which lanes end up slower than the others during new haven rush hour on 95 north (it's not the lanes you'd think it'd be).

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I personally dont know why you are taking 95 to begin with when you can take the Merritt to the Hutchinson to the Cross County to the Saw Mill.

This is what I take to get to my college in the bronx and into Manhattan.

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I personally dont know why you are taking 95 to begin with when you can take the Merritt to the Hutchinson to the Cross County to the Saw Mill.

This is what I take to get to my college in the bronx and into Manhattan.

it depends on where you go in manhattan... it's easier, many times, to just take 95.

i rarely, if ever, drove to manhattan. when i went to manhattan, i took the smart way... the train. but i've driven to the bronx and long island a few times. but more recently, it's to philly, which i almost always take 95 to 287 to the garden state because the 95 through the bronx sucks. it's a longer route, but it's shorter time because you don't get the bronx traffic and the GW traffic.

i'm also not a fan of the merritt because it's more narrow than 95 and has a lot more curves. i enjoy the 3 lanes of 95. it allows for somewhat faster speeds and more room to breathe.

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