QUOTE(BillMagee @ Nov 24 2007, 10:16 PM)
It seems as if Amtrak has selected the least imaginative solution to the problem: do nothing. And to say the reason for doing nothing is because the closure will affect too many people is quite creative logic.
So, why not move four cab cars from Springfield or Harrisburg service and make-up four shuttle trains: two on each side of the closure. Operate service every two hours between New Haven and New London and every two hours between Mystic and Boston. Between New London and Mystic have a fleet of ten buses to cover the closed area (11 miles). Shuttle trains would be capacity controlled to five coaches (400 passengers).
It that an ideal solution? No. It would probably add an hour to the trip time. It would require a through passenger to change seats three times. But 5000 or so passengers who otherwise would have to go elsewhere could get transportation and after four days it would be back to normal. I certainly think it is better than nothing, and Amtrak is planning nothing.
And that's without even offering the alternative of running two or three trains each way on the inland route, something that I can't imagine CSX has denied Amtrak. Heck, take over the LSL's time slot and you could probably squeeze 4 runs each way without causing serious problems for either CSX or the T.
That plus say taking Bill's idea but moving the headways to maybe 3 or 4 hours, rather than 2 hours, would accomodate a fair amount of passengers. But again, it does appear that Amtrak has chosen the "do nothing" path.
I also have to wonder why it's going to take 4 days to do this. That seems excessive if the bridge work is already done. All they really need to do is cut over the two tracks on either side of the river from the old approach to the new approach. That shouldn't take 4 days.
Heck in the recent Trains Mag there was a neat article on how they fixed the Brighton Park Interlocking near Chicago over the course of a weekend. And that involved replacing 10 diamonds on 7 different tracks, owned by three different RR's (so one needs a lot of cooperation and coordination), and going from a manual operation to a computer controlled operation. And since the diamonds now sit 2 feet higher than the old ones, all three companies had to realign their approach tracks and one even had to eliminate a slight curve.
They started work at about 8:00 PM and by Saturday at 9 PM had managed to open one track for a few CSX-UP hotshot intermodel trains, with all tracks open by 10 PM on Sunday night.
So why Amtrak needs 4 days is beyond me. Yes they have the added complexity of moving the overhead catenary, but still their time table seems excessive to me, if CN, CSX, and NS can pull off what they did in one weekend.