Amtrak Hartford Line[1]
Springfield Shuttle at New Haven Union Station, September 2018.JPG
Shuttle train at New Haven Union Station in 2018
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail
StatusOperating
LocaleConnecticut and Massachusetts
Current operator(s)Amtrak in partnership with CTDOT and MassDOT
Annual ridership192,584 (FY21) Decrease −46.9%[2][a]
Route
TerminiSpringfield, Massachusetts
New Haven, Connecticut
Stops9
Distance travelled62 miles (100 km)
Average journey time1 hour, 20-25 minutes[3]
Service frequency14 weekday trips
8 Saturday trips
11 Sunday trips
Train number(s)405, 409, 412, 416, 417, 432, 450, 451, 460, 463-465, 467, 470, 473-476, 479, 490, 497
Technical
Rolling stockGE Genesis locomotives, Amfleet coach cars, and Ex-Metroliner cab cars
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed110 mph (180 km/h)[4]
Track owner(s)Amtrak
Route map
0 mi
0 km
Springfield enlarge…
Hartford Line Springfield Union Station (Massachusetts)#Bus operations
14.6 mi
23.5 km
Windsor Locks
Hartford Line Bradley International Airport
19.1 mi
30.7 km
Windsor
Hartford Line Connecticut Transit Hartford
25.3 mi
40.7 km
Hartford
Hartford Line CTfastrak Hartford Union Station#Buses and shuttles
35.9 mi
57.8 km
Berlin
Hartford Line Connecticut Transit New Britain and Bristol
43.3 mi
69.7 km
Meriden
Hartford Line Meriden Transit Center#Connections
49.0 mi
78.9 km
Wallingford
Hartford Line Northeast Transportation Company#Wallingford
61.4 mi
98.8 km
New Haven
State Street
Shore Line East MTA NYC logo.svg Hartford Line Connecticut Transit New Haven
62 mi
100 km
New Haven
Union Station
Shore Line East MTA NYC logo.svg Hartford Line

The Hartford Line is a train service run by Amtrak primarily between Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, along Amtrak's New Haven–Springfield Line.

Service on the line takes the form of shuttle trains, Valley Flyer trains, or Northeast Regional through trains. The shuttle trains meet Acela and Northeast Regional services at New Haven Union Station where passengers can typically make a cross-platform transfer between trains. Valley Flyer trains also offer the same connecting service at New Haven, but continue past Springfield north to Greenfield, Massachusetts. At least one Northeast Regional round trip operates daily between Washington, D.C. and Springfield, with additional through trains operating on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Prior to the addition of the Valley Flyer and the Northeast Regional thru trains, the service was known as the New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, or simply, the Shuttle. The line was renamed in September 2019. Today the service is a component of and shares its name with the Hartford Line commuter rail service operated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

During fiscal year (FY) 2020, the service carried 271,048 riders, a decrease of 44.8% from FY 2019. The drop in ridership and revenue was primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism.

The service is financially supported by the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

History

A shuttle train of Budd SPV-2000 stock at Windsor Locks in 1980
A shuttle train of Budd SPV-2000 stock at Windsor Locks in 1980

As inherited from Penn Central in 1971, most service on the Springfield Line consisted of unnamed Budd Rail Diesel Car shuttles that connected with Northeast Corridor trains at New Haven, with limited through service to New York City.[5] In 1980, Connecticut invested $12 million to improve service on the line.[6] North Haven station was opened on October 25, 1980, and other stations were renovated.[7] A new fleet of 12 Budd SPV-2000 diesel railcars allowed an increase to 12 daily round trips under the Connecticut Valley Service name (plus two through trips) at that time.[8] However, service was cut in half in 1981 after ridership failed to increase.[6]

On January 12, 1986, Amtrak pulled the unreliable SPVs from the line and replaced them with Amfleet coaches pulled by diesel locomotives.[citation needed] North Haven and Enfield stations were closed on October 25, 1986 due to low ridership.[7] As New Haven was the northern limit of electrification on the Northeast Corridor, New York–Boston trains changed between electric and diesel locomotives at the station. The passenger coaches of Springfield shuttle trains were attached to southbound trains during the engine change, and detached from northbound trains; this eliminated the need for passengers to change trains. The Connecticut Valley Service name was soon dropped, and shuttle trains were named in timetables as sections of their connecting trains.[9] The elimination of the second track on the line beginning in 1990 sharply reduced capacity, limiting frequencies to four daily shuttle round trips plus several through trips.[10][11]

On October 28, 1995, most Northeast Corridor service including the shuttle trains were consolidated under the NortheastDirect brand. Electrification was extended to Boston in 2000, and engine changes were eliminated over the next two years. The cumbersome split/merge procedure was abandoned in favor of dedicated shuttle trains with cross-platform connections to through trains. The shuttle trains began to use Former Metroliner cab cars, which had become available when replaced by new equipment on West Coast routes. This allowed them to operate in push–pull format, eliminating the need to wye or loop the trainsets at New Haven and Springfield. The NortheastDirect name was dropped in September 2001; Northeast Corridor trains became the Acela Regional (later Regional then Northeast Regional), while the shuttle trains became unnamed. They remained unnamed until 2019 when they received the Hartford Line and Valley Flyer names.

Mail service

Mail cars on Shuttle Train 490 at Meriden in 2002
Mail cars on Shuttle Train 490 at Meriden in 2002

Until Amtrak discontinued all mail-hauling operations in 2005, the postal distribution center in Springfield, MA was a significant customer. Up until about the year 2000, Springfield was served by a dedicated mail train which would run overnight up the Inland Route to Springfield. After this train was canceled, mail cars were instead added to the early morning Train 190, to make pickups at large cities along the Northeast Corridor. At New Haven these mail cars would be removed from the rear of Train 190 and added to Shuttle Train 490, sometimes sandwiching the locomotive in the middle of the train.

Hartford Line expansion

Until August 2015, daily service in each direction on the Springfield Line consisted of four Shuttles, the Vermonter, and one or two Northeast Regional trains.[12] Between August 3, 2015 and December 31, 2017, several round trips on weekdays were replaced by buses to accommodate double track construction for the ConnDOT Hartford Line commuter rail service.[13] On June 9, 2018, three additional weekday Shuttle round trips were added as part of the startup of Hartford Line service. This change also added connections with some Amtrak Acela Express service in New Haven.[14]

Hartford Line began on June 16, 2018.[15] Initial Hartford Line service consisted of eight weekday round trips (four New Haven–Hartford and four New Haven–Springfield) and nine weekend round trips (six New Haven–Hartford and three New Haven–Springfield).[16] On September 10, 2018, as part of a schedule change made to Hartford Line trains, all Amtrak Shuttles and Northeast Regionals started stopping at New Haven's State Street station.[17] (The Vermonter makes only limited stops between New Haven and Springfield.)

Amtrak adopted the Hartford Line name for use on the trains it operates on the corridor and retired the Shuttle designation in September 2019.[18] Service was reduced in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic; service levels were restored to pre-COVID frequency on April 25, 2022.[19] Most service will be replaced by buses from July 18 to September 9, 2022, during canopy roof replacement at Hartford Union Station and slope stabilization work in Windsor.[20]

Valley Flyer pilot program

On June 12, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that two daily round trips would be extended to Greenfield in 2019 as a pilot program.[21] By February 2019, the two-year pilot was expected to begin in June 2019; however, by that May it was delayed to later in the year.[22][23] On August 30, 2019, the Valley Flyer program began. Two round trips are offered on weekdays and one on weekends with southbound trains in the morning and northbound in the evening which complement Amtrak's existing daily service on the Vermonter. Additionally a reverse round trip operates between Springfield and Greenfield on weekends only.[24]

Operation

The local Hartford Line trains are numbered in the 400 series, usually denoting by the last two digits which Northeast Regional train the Hartford Line train is connecting with. Trains terminating in Springfield carry the Hartford Line name, while trains terminating in Greenfield carry the Valley Flyer designation.[18] Typical consists run in push-pull configuration with a General Electric P42DC locomotive pulling an Amfleet coach and a 9600-series ex-Metroliner cab car. Normally the ex-Budd Metroliner leads northbound trains, while the GE Genesis usually leads most southbound trains. Crew bases are at Springfield and New Haven, with diesel locomotive servicing taking place at New Haven.

The Valley Flyer trains account for two weekday round trips and one weekend round trip. Southbound Valley Flyer trains require an equipment move from the crew base and equipment layover yard at Springfield Union Station to the Olver Transit Center in Greenfield prior to the Greenfield departure as Amtrak does not have any crew or turnaround facilities in the area. Likewise, equipment and crews on northbound trips must dead head back to Springfield after unloading all Greenfield passengers. For the weekend Valley Flyer, tickets are available for these moves (trains 400 and 499.) On weekdays, these trips are dead head moves and are not open to passengers. Another unique operational aspect of the Valley Flyer is the need for the push pull trains to reverse directions twice at Springfield during the trip due to the station’s location just to the east of the intersection between the Amtrak Springfield Line, MassDOT Connecticut River Line, and CSX Berkshire Subdivision.[citation needed]

The New Haven–Springfield corridor is served by all Northeast Regional trains in the 140 series (except trains 145 and 149) as well as trains 136 and 157. These trains run from Springfield to Washington, D.C. or Virginia without the need to change trains. The corridor is also served by Amtrak's Vermonter.[18]

Fares

The Hartford Line and Valley Flyer service operates as a component of CTDOT's Hartford Line commuter rail program along with CTDOT's own CTrail trains and reduced fixed commuter level fares are offered for local travel on the service between all stations inclusive of and between New Haven Union Station and Springfield Union Station on both the 400 series trains and the Northeast Regional through trains which travel beyond New Haven. CTDOT issued rail passes and CTrail tickets are also accepted on these trains. Intercity rail trips that include travel beyond New Haven are subject to normal Amtrak fares as well as travel along the Valley Flyer extension to Greenfield, MA. Amtrak's Vermonter trains which also travel along the corridor are excluded from the commuter level fares.[25]

Stations

State Milepost (km)[26] Location Station[27] Connections[18][27][28][29]
MA 0 mi (0 km) Springfield Springfield Union Station Amtrak Amtrak: Lake Shore Limited, Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
Bus interchange PVTA Bus: B4, B6, B7, B7S, B12, B17, G1, G2, G2E, G3, P20, P20E, P21, P21E, R10, R14, X92, LOOP
Bus interchange Intercity bus: Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines, Peter Pan Bus Lines
CT 14.6 mi (23.5 km) Windsor Locks Windsor Locks Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 24, 96, 905
19.1 mi (30.7 km) Windsor Windsor Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 24, 32, 34, 36
25.3 mi (40.7 km) Hartford Hartford Union Station Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
CTfastrak CTfastrak: 101 Hartford/New Britain, 102 Hartford/New Britain/Bristol, 128 Hartford/Westfarms-New Britain
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 30, 45X, 62, 64, 66, 72, 74, 82, 83, 84, 901, 902, 903, 904, 905, SC, DASH, PPB
35.9 mi (57.8 km) Berlin Berlin Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 512 Berlin Turnpike
43.3 mi (69.7 km) Meriden Meriden Transit Center Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 215, 561, 563, 564, 565, 950
49.0 mi (78.9 km) Wallingford Wallingford Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 215 New Haven/Wallingford/Meriden, 292 North Colony Road
61.4 mi (98.8 km) New Haven New Haven State Street Amtrak Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line, Shore Line East
MTA NYC logo.svg Metro-North Railroad: New Haven Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 204, 206, 212, 223, 274, 278, 950
62.0 mi (99.8 km) New Haven Union Station Amtrak Amtrak: Acela, Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Valley Flyer
Hartford Line CTrail: Hartford Line, Shore Line East
MTA NYC logo.svg Metro-North Railroad: New Haven Line
Bus interchange CTtransit Bus: 212, 265, 271, 272, 274, 278, 950, USS

References

  1. ^ Amtrak. "Northeast Regional Train". Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2021 Ridership" (PDF). Amtrak. September 30, 2021. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  3. ^ "Amtrak Timetable Results". www.amtrak.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  4. ^ "AMTRAK RUNS TEST TRAINS OF UP TO 110 MPH IN PREPARATION FOR THE LAUNCH OF THE HARTFORD LINE ON JUNE 16" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "Nationwide Schedules of Intercity Passenger Service". National Railroad Passenger Corporation. May 1, 1971. p. 9 – via The Museum of Railway Timetables.
  6. ^ a b Madden, Richard L. (October 20, 1982). "SENATOR BAKER APPEARS IN HARTFORD FOR WEICKER AND STATE REPUBLICANS". New York Times.
  7. ^ a b Belletzkie, Bob. "Stations: NI-NO". Tyler City Station.
  8. ^ "Connecticut Valley Schedule". Amtrak. October 28, 1980.
  9. ^ Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. April 27, 1986. p. 13 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  10. ^ "Section 1: Introduction". NEW HAVEN-HARTFORD-SPRINGFIELD LINE HIGH SPEED INTERCITY PASSENGER RAIL PROJECT: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT/ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT EVALUATION (PDF). Federal Railroad Administration. May 2012. p. 1.
  11. ^ Karr, Ronald Dale (2017). The Rail Lines of Southern New England (2 ed.). Branch Line Press. p. 86. ISBN 9780942147124.
  12. ^ "NRPC Form W4–200M–1/12/15: Northeast Corridor Boston / Springfield and Washington, D.C." (PDF). National Railroad Passenger Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 3, 2015.
  13. ^ "Amtrak Begins Substitute Bus Operation to Facilitate Construction on Hartford Line" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. July 31, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "Connecticut DOT gears up for Hartford Line testing". June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  15. ^ Porter, Mikaela; Owens, David (June 17, 2018). "Thousands Take A Free Ride On Hartford Line's Inaugural Run". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  16. ^ "CTrail Hartford Line Schedules: Effective April 14, 2019" (PDF). Hartford Line. April 14, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "CTDOT Announces Hartford Line Service Changes for Weekend of September 7-10, 2018 and a New Schedule Effective September 10, to Accommodate Track Work" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018. Effective September 10, 2018, a new Hartford Line train schedule will take effect through September 30th to accommodate continuing track work. Along with this new schedule, all Hartford Line trains will now stop at New Haven State Street Station.
  18. ^ a b c d "Northeast Corridor Boston/Springfield-Washington Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  19. ^ "Amtrak, CTDOT and MassDOT to Restore Weekday Amtrak Hartford Line Service" (Press release). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. April 25, 2022.
  20. ^ "Safety and Track Improvement Projects on the Hartford Line Result in Two Month Service Changes" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. June 24, 2022.
  21. ^ Tuthill, Paul (June 12, 2018). "Commuter Trains To Run North Of Springfield Starting In 2019". WAMC. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  22. ^ Kinney, Jim (February 1, 2019). "Springfield-Holyoke-Northampton-Greenfield passenger trains a go for summer". Mass Live.
  23. ^ Fritz, Anita (May 2, 2019). "Greenfield to see extended passenger rail service by end of summer". Greenfield Recorder.
  24. ^ "AMTRAK AND MASSDOT ANNOUNCE START OF NEW VALLEY FLYER TRAIN SERVICE IN WESTERN AND NORTHERN MASSACHUSETTS" (Press release). Amtrak. August 27, 2019.
  25. ^ "Hartford Line Fare Schedule" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Executive Summary" (PDF). Connecticut Department of Transportation. p. 4. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Stations". Hartford Line. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  28. ^ "Metro-North New Haven Line Timetable" (PDF). Metro-North Railroad. January 22, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  29. ^ "Shore Line East Rail Service Information" (PDF). Shore Line East. January 22, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.

Notes

  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1st of the prior year to September 30th of the named year.