Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Hartford Line’

CTrail Tickets Will No Longer be Accepted on Some Amtrak Trains on Hartford Line

September 11, 2020

Amtrak will no longer accept CTrail Tickets for travel aboard certain trains between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts, effective Sept. 14.

Amtrak said the policy change was a result of the implementation of its RideReserve program that requires holders of multi-ride tickets to confirm their travel.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers wishing to ride Northeast Regional trains between the two cities must have Amtrak ticket.

The intercity passenger carrier said it will continue to accept CTrail tickets on Amtrak Hartford Line and Valley Flyer trains.

Bikes Now Carried on 3 More Amtrak Routes

September 11, 2020

Amtrak has expanded its programs of carrying bicycles to three corridors in the East.

Starting Sept. 8, the passenger carrier began accepting bike aboard Keystone Service and Downeaster trains as well as trains operating on the Hartford Line.

Bikers must pay a $20 fee but reservations are required.

Those booking tickets on the Amtrak website or app should check for an icon that indicates that bike service is available on the train they wish to ride.

If so, the passenger should proceed to the “Add Ons” function to add bikes to a reservation.

Passengers can also make reservations by calling 800-USA-RAIL

In a service advisory, Amtrak said those with bikes should arrive at a station at least 30 minutes before to departure.

All panniers and bags attached to bike must be removed and consolidated before boarding.

Amtrak Pennsylvania Service Suspension Extended

April 21, 2020

The suspension of Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended to May 17.

The trains have been suspended since March 19 due to the pandemic.

The Amtrak website shows that reservations can be made starting May 18 although that it subject to change.

The Pennsylvanian operates between New York and Pittsburgh while Keystone Service operates between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia.

The trains are funded largely by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In a related development, operations of the combined CTrail/Amtrak Hartford line were further reduced on Monday due to a sharp decline in ridership.

The line how has seven weekday round trips in each direction, including four Amtrak Regional trains and three CTrail trains.

There had been 11 round trips, including five Amtrak Regional trains and six CT rail trains.

VIA Makes More Service Cuts

March 31, 2020

VIA Rail Canada said that beginning March 31 it will further cut service on most routes.

The new schedule calls for only one train per day on all routes in the Quebec City-Windsor, Ontario, corridor.

All trains will stop at every station on all routes.

Montreal-Jonquiere, Quebec; Montreal-Senneterre, Que; and Sudbury-White River, Ontario, routes will operate with one round trip per week.

The Winnipeg-Churchill, Manitoba, train is no longer offering Sleeper Plus service.

Other operations, including the Canadian and Ocean, have been suspended through May 1.

VIA said carry-on baggage assistance offered by employees is temporarily suspended on all trains across the network.

However, it said it will continue to offer the same level of assistance to passengers with disabilities and/or limited mobility.

Checked baggage service has been temporarily suspended on all routes except Sudbury-White River and Winnipeg-Churchill.

In the United States, Amtrak and CTrail Hartford Line trains have begun operating on an even more reduced schedule with a combined 11 round trips (six CTrail, five Amtrak) on weekdays and revised weekend schedules on Amtrak’s Hartford line between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts.

New Station to be Built at Windsor Locks

March 3, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $17.4 million grant to Connecticut to be used to build a new station in Windsor Locks on the Hartford Line.

The depot will be built a mile north of the existing station and is part of a larger transit-oriented development project in downtown Windsor Locks.

Windsor Locks also has received more than $321,000 in grant funding from the Connecticut Department of Transportation for pedestrian improvements as part of the project.

The federal grant money will also be used for track and signal work, street-level rail crossings, and Amtrak rail yard work.

The Hartford Line is used by Amtrak and CTrail Line trains.

Valley Flyer Gets Ridership Goal for Continued Funding

February 14, 2020

Preservation of Amtrak’s Valley Flyer will hinge on the experimental service handling 24,000 passengers a year by 2021.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has set that ridership goal that must be met if the state is to continue it funding of the service between Springfield and Greenfield.

The Valley Flyer began operations on Aug. 30, 2019, and also stops in Holyoke and Northhampton.

The line is also used by the Vermonter, which is funded by the state of Vermont.

Massachusetts is paying $1 million a year to support the Valley Flyer.

The ridership goal is double the number of passengers that were being handled by the Vermonter before the Valley Flyer began service.

Dana Roscoe, principal planner with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Springfield, said supporters of the Valley Flyer are trying to determine how ridership has been going.

They have sent staff to station platforms to count the number of passengers boarding and disembarking.

Compiling ridership data is complicated by the fact that Amtrak only publishes that information once a year.

“We can’t just have an annual number and go with that,” Roscoe said. “At this point I honestly can’t tell you how we’re doing. My sense, completely anecdotal and word-of-mouth and from visiting stations, is that we are probably doing OK but we are absolutely are not where we need to be.”

Officials do know from Amtrak ridership data that patronage of the line between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield has been growing at a rate of 25 percent a year.

The ridership information gleaned from hand counting Valley Flyer passengers will be used as part of a $350,000 marketing and branding campaign seeking to boost business.

In the meantime, the Connecticut Department of Transportation plans to improve stations in that state at Windsor and Windsor Locks.

The work will include installation of platforms on each side of the tracks, sheltered waiting areas, real-time train arrival displays, snow melt systems at ramps and on platforms, parking on both the east and west sides of the tracks, and security cameras and emergency phones.

That work is expected to be completed in 2021.

The work at Windsor Locks station includes a single platform, a multi-use trail with connections to the Canal Trail via Bridge Street, parking, and other amenities.

The 510-foot-long platform will comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with level boarding from every train car.

Other work being undertaken by CTDOT includes adding a second tracks north of Hartford to increase the frequency of service in the region.

A connecting is being built in Windsor Locks to link to Bradley International Airport and digital displays are being installed at stations on the Hartford Line station to provide real-time train arrival and departure times.

6 Hurt When Amtrak Train Hits Truck Near Hartford

January 25, 2020

Six passengers were hurt on Friday after Amtrak Train 470 struck a truck five miles south of Hartford, Connecticut.

Two workers in the truck fled the truck before the impact of the collision and were not harmed.

The train was terminated and the passengers transferred to another train.

The train had originated in New Haven, Connecticut and was bound for Springfield, Massachusetts.

An Amtrak service alert said a later Amtrak train in the corridor was forced to use CTrail equipment.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Fewer Advance Reservations Now Allowed on CT Line

January 18, 2019

In an effort to effort to address crowding aboard its trains operating during afternoon hours on the CTrail Hartford Line, Amtrak is limiting advance ticket sales.

The effect is to allow more seats for travelers with Hartford Line tickets.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation agreed to the change, which effects Train 475 (Hartford to New Haven) and Train 474 (New Haven to Hartford).

CDOT said the limitations on advance reservations for those trains will open up seats for for up to 72 riders with CTrail Hartford Line tickets.

Overcrowding of afternoon Amtrak trains on the route has persisted since last summer in part due to Amtrak agreeing to honor CTrail tickets on its trains on the Hartford Line.

But the overcrowding has resulted in Amtrak personnel sometimes refusing to allow CTrail ticket holders aboard Amtrak trains that are at capacity.

Although then-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called this practice a violation of the state’s agreement with Amtrak, Connecticut Public Radio recently reported that its review of the contract between the state and Amtrak found it does not contain language that makes CTrail and Amtrak tickets equal.

CDOT has maintained since September under the agreement Amtrak conductors can’t ask CTrail and student-ticketed passengers to exit trains that are full on the Hartford line.

But the agreement does not explicitly state that there is a formal “One Ticket, Any Train” agreement between Amtrak and CDOT.

Amtrak trains run with two cars, which is two fewer that CTrail trains have.

“The challenge that we’re faced with is we have more customers wanting to use the service than available seats,” said Rich Andreski, CDOT’s bureau chief of public transportation. “The bottom line is we need to provide more seats for customers.”

CDOT has asked Amtrak to add more cars and even more trains to the route to help meet passenger demand.

In particularly, the agency wants to see Amtrak operate at least one more train during the afternoon hours.

“We understand the frustration of passengers being asked to wait for another train and appreciate their patience until we can resolve this issue,” CDOT spokesman Judd Everhart said.“At the same time, we recognize Amtrak’s position that having passengers standing in the aisles and vestibules can be a safety concern.”

CTrail service began last June between Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, with stops in Windsor Locks, Windsor, Hartford, Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford.

Since September, when Amtrak trains are full conductors have asked CTrail and U-Pass ticketed passengers to either stay on the platform or give up their seats to those holding Amtrak tickets.

Amtrak has been generally honoring CTrail’s “One Ticket, Any Train” desire except when its own trains are full.

Amtrak has said it only leaves CTrail ticket holders behind or ask non-Amtrak passengers to give up their seats during such “unsafe conditions” as passengers have to stand in the vestibule.

Passengers booking travel through Amtrak must have a reservation, but CTrail ticket buyers do not.

However, Connecticut officials acknowledge they are limited in their ability to demand that Amtrak increase capacity of its trains.

The state could request that of Amtrak in writing but acceding to those requests is at Amtrak’s discretion.

One other option that state officials are considering is to establish a system whereby CTrail and Amtrak passengers would essentially purchase the same ticket.