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Portland to Conway Ski Trains?

bobbutts

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Conway Daily Sun Article

It might take until 2017 for there to be passenger rail from the valley to Montreal, said Schwanke. Some ski trains, which would tie into the Boston area, may be operational by next fall, said Schwanke.

Seems like many don't believe it will actually happen. I've always thought a ski train would be cool.
 

Edd

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Major skepticism is warranted. I'd love to see it happen.

I've got 2 Downeaster stations within 10 minutes drive of home. The time difference between driving to Boston and taking that train is negligible but, even factoring in parking garage and gas costs, it usually makes more financial sense to drive due to the cost of train tickets.
 

thetrailboss

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Boy I don't know...there is a lot of work to do on the line between Portland and Conway, and then from Crawford's Notch onward. I also don't understand why they think this is viable considering that there is already a very strong and competitive line from Portland to Montreal (the St. Lawrence and Atlantic) that goes through Berlin and Island Pond. Les Otten ran ski trains from Portland to Sunday River for a few years before axing it.

Where are they getting the money? Railroads take a TON to build and maintain.

Schwanke said the cost to repair New Hampshire's tracks is $27 million.
The group is looking at a total investment of $60 million to cover the three states (New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine), and some of that has already been raised.
Schwanke said investors range from individuals to small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.
"This is all private," said Schwanke. "There's not a cent coming out of the state. There's not a cent coming from the town budget. If you guys deem it necessary to kick some in, I'll tell you I won't turn it away. Right now, we're not asking for a penny from anybody."

$60 million is a lot to raise.

That said, there are few east-west routes for traffic in Northern New England. Hell, the roads aren't really that good. And I also read that they are going to build train stations too? Wow...better add a bit more coin to the amount.

Would love to see it but it seems pretty ambitious.
 

bobbutts

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Depends.

How corrupt and financially irresponsible are your local politicians?
Well this Portland to Montreal train wouldn't affect my town personally, but the federal high speed rail corridor from Boston to Montreal does go right through it. I'm not holding my breath in either case. I like to take the view that infrastructure is one of the more financially responsible things a government can do, but of course when we're talking about rail in the USA it's a complicated thing.
 

Razor

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Maybe it's just that I'm cynical, but I wouldn't be surprised if this has nothing to do with passenger service and everything to do with moving Canadian oil from Quebec to Portland.
 

BenedictGomez

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This guy seems to think he can raise the money from private investors. He said that repeatedly in the article. Selling $250 "lifetime" memberships to do it though (plus the S&H) seems a bit of a stretch.

That's a joke.

"We don't have to wait for federal funding and we don't have to wait for state funding," said Schwanke.

Key word = wait.

They'll eventually make a pitch for taxpayer funding.
 

thetrailboss

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Maybe it's just that I'm cynical, but I wouldn't be surprised if this has nothing to do with passenger service and everything to do with moving Canadian oil from Quebec to Portland.

Again, they've got the St. Lawrence and Atlantic to move that. It is in very good shape being a former Canadian National line. If anyone thinks that high speed trains will run through Crawford Notch then they're nuts.
 

Rowsdower

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Best bet is to buy heritage rolling stock and run it over existing ROW. I know nothing about the existing lines up that way which are still in good enough condition to carry passengers.

Now, if we're talking reactivating a line for passenger service only, then that's essentially impossible these days. The cost of improvements to the line, along with operating expenses, were never even really favorable one hundred years ago. Large railroad companies subsidized lightly used branch lines with profits from their freight business and main lines. A seasonal ski train is not going to even bring in the money to stay running, let alone pay to lay track and fix bridges, unless its receiving some kind of subsidy. That doesn't have to be from the government, it could be in the form of freight traffic. That opens a whole new can of worms though. You'd have to try and pull together funding from private sources and government transportation grants to start service, and with already existing routes that would be hard to justify. You already have freight carriers and Amtrak already runs service to Montreal via New York. And honestly, given the remoteness of where this line is going, there doesn't seem to be a justification for passenger service since it serves few population centers. The best line to Montreal is up the Hudson Valley since it has a more direct route, gentler grade, and fewer curves. Amtrak trains can travel much faster. I believe the section between Albany and New York was even upgraded to 110mph service.
 

bigbog

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Figures something like that would be proposed. Routes that are needed for people outside cities to get to jobs in cities are laughed at...all the crap that is proposed and that exists is fluff... Portland to Boston, Boston to New York, New York to Washington.... If anyone can't land a career in Portland or Boston or New York...they have issues....it's all fluff. $.01.
 

deadheadskier

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Figures something like that would be proposed. Routes that are needed for people outside cities to get to jobs in cities are laughed at...all the crap that is proposed and that exists is fluff....

I'd love to see someone figure out how to offer a local light rail service in my area on the NH seacoast. We've got a decent bus system servicing the region, but it's underutilized. I think part of the reason it is, is because people are impatient. The timing of the stops varies by 15 minutes or so based upon traffic in the few times I've used it.

However, we've got rails connecting Dover, Durham, Newmarket (no currently operating station in town) Exeter and Portsmouth. All of these towns have high population density downtown districts. Those rails sit vacant most of the day except for the 10 times a day the Downeaster rolls through; 5 times going southbound and 5 return trips back north. There's occasional freight on the line as well, but it's even less frequent.

If someone could come up with some sort of local trolley type train (basically a bus capacity train car) that runs when the track is not being used for the Downeaster or freight, thus connecting the 5 towns, I'd be all for it. If I could pay $5 one way to grab a train to head from Newmarket to Portsmouth or Dover, I'd do it in a heartbeat over driving to those locations. I bet such a service would help UNH grow their enrollment as well. Newmarket and Dover are the bedroom communities for upper classmen at the school. Most of the students live in the downtown areas of these towns within walking distance of the rail.

I know in Maine, there's talk of similar local rail service connecting Gorham to Portland someday.
 

Rowsdower

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I'd love to see someone figure out how to offer a local light rail service in my area on the NH seacoast. We've got a decent bus system servicing the region, but it's underutilized. I think part of the reason it is, is because people are impatient. The timing of the stops varies by 15 minutes or so based upon traffic in the few times I've used it.

However, we've got rails connecting Dover, Durham, Newmarket (no currently operating station in town) Exeter and Portsmouth. All of these towns have high population density downtown districts. Those rails sit vacant most of the day except for the 10 times a day the Downeaster rolls through; 5 times going southbound and 5 return trips back north. There's occasional freight on the line as well, but it's even less frequent.

If someone could come up with some sort of local trolley type train (basically a bus capacity train car) that runs when the track is not being used for the Downeaster or freight, thus connecting the 5 towns, I'd be all for it. If I could pay $5 one way to grab a train to head from Newmarket to Portsmouth or Dover, I'd do it in a heartbeat over driving to those locations. I bet such a service would help UNH grow their enrollment as well. Newmarket and Dover are the bedroom communities for upper classmen at the school. Most of the students live in the downtown areas of these towns within walking distance of the rail.

I know in Maine, there's talk of similar local rail service connecting Gorham to Portland someday.

NJT already does this with their RiverLine service connecting Trenton and Camden. The problem is that you can't mix light and heavy rail on the same tracks. The only way NJT got it past the FRA was by implementing temporal separation. CSX who own the tracks have to run freight after 9:00pm and before 6:00am while passenger service occupies the tracks. Mixing Amtrak service and light rail wouldn't work for that reason, since the Downeaster has regularly scheduled runs throughout the day.
 
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I'd love to see someone figure out how to offer a local light rail service in my area on the NH seacoast. We've got a decent bus system servicing the region, but it's underutilized. I think part of the reason it is, is because people are impatient. The timing of the stops varies by 15 minutes or so based upon traffic in the few times I've used it.

However, we've got rails connecting Dover, Durham, Newmarket (no currently operating station in town) Exeter and Portsmouth. All of these towns have high population density downtown districts. Those rails sit vacant most of the day except for the 10 times a day the Downeaster rolls through; 5 times going southbound and 5 return trips back north. There's occasional freight on the line as well, but it's even less frequent.

If someone could come up with some sort of local trolley type train (basically a bus capacity train car) that runs when the track is not being used for the Downeaster or freight, thus connecting the 5 towns, I'd be all for it. If I could pay $5 one way to grab a train to head from Newmarket to Portsmouth or Dover, I'd do it in a heartbeat over driving to those locations. I bet such a service would help UNH grow their enrollment as well. Newmarket and Dover are the bedroom communities for upper classmen at the school. Most of the students live in the downtown areas of these towns within walking distance of the rail.

I know in Maine, there's talk of similar local rail service connecting Gorham to Portland someday.

an RDC would be the cheap easy, efficient way to go in this scenario:

 
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