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Keeping the drumbeat alive on the Beacon Line

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New rants and thoughts on this brain dead obvious way to drive growth (and therefore lower taxes) in Beacon, as well as prevent Beacon becoming a parking lot for a growing Southern Dutchess: reopen the Beacon Line. Tie it to the T.O.D. issue. Don't let the MTA sit on this engine of growth for our little city and do nothing. Either reopen it, or get out of the way. Doing nothing is no longer acceptable with a suffering Main Street and a high tax load.

Views: 70

Tags: 9D, Beacon Line, T.O.D., parking


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Comment by Ben Royce on November 23, 2010 at 4:29pm
Kevin, I have to say, in all my months of agitating for using the Beacon Line, in two little posts, you have shone more light and more actionable coherent knowledge of the lay of the political, legal, and civil landscape to get the Beacon Line used than anyone or any resource I have come across.

I am going to take this little strategic sketch of yours, and ride it as far as it will go. I am going to make a mark of getting this to the city council, the mayor, the T.O.D. committee, and the county, and anyone else who will listen.

You are single handedly showing the way for the best thing to happen to Beacon since Dia.

I'll be emailing your email on your website if I need any clarification. And you deserve the credit if this actually stirs some interest by the powers that be. I don't know who you are, but right now you're like a civil planning policy wonk superman to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Comment by Kevin Newman on November 23, 2010 at 4:12pm
Ben - as far as 'just' getting MNCRR to run revenue passenger trains on the BD line I don't think that will happen - however the total take over is kind of what I had thought SHOULD be done but even if a big pile of ARRA funded cah is offered - the MTA MNRR 'politburo' will most likely say 'niet' however as perhaps a more feasible option - if enticed with the agreement that a seperate transit entity were to do most of the work (except for the ROW upgrade MNCRR could be 'hired' to do this) and provide the ARRA (and other available special FRA RR funding) funded big bucks to fix and ultimately upgrade the track,buy the new DMUs etc. etc. AND pay them to operate and maybe maintain (or maybe not) said rail vehicles on the reahabilitated and upgraded track - much in the same way the LOOP and the Westchester Bee line buses are operated - the county of Dutchess or Westchester gets the funding for and purchases the vehicles,sets the fares and Liberty Lines manages, maintains, and operates the Bee Line buses - the county pays them a flat fee to do this - and so maybe?? this could be done for the southern Dutchess section of the BD line - Beacon-Fishkill transit or South County Transit District or whatever they would be named would get the big bucks funding to do all imediate repairs on the track,make some simple stations,set the fare,work out the scheduling,etc. etc. etc. - of course a good chunk of the money would go to the MTA MNCRR for use of their track and to operate the trains - one would THINK this would be an offer they could not refuse - the financialy troubled MTA would be, get this... actualy making money from this line - a steady pre agreed upon yearly fee

of course this would make way too much sense
Comment by Kevin Newman on November 22, 2010 at 2:40pm
as I had comented before I am glad I am not alone in this issue - this is not just a 'local' issue IE: the need for rail transit to solve the local hwy. congestion problem and also having an old rail line that could be used for an interurban rail tranist use and said line feeds into a large town or city with the big intercity express trains - this is happening elswhere - like the so. CA NCTD SPRINTER line which goes along a hwy. - RTD in CO is building new rail lines - Orlando FL is building it's first rail commuter line which I think will be using in part an old virtualy abandoned rail line - our problem is the same across America and in other places rail transit being seen as the solution - however our situation is realy kind of bizare we have an old rail line which is owned not by a FREIGHT RR but by a COMMUTER RR who never re-evaluated the economic situation in so. Dutchess after they purchased the line in 1995

as to the actual track - well.. it would need some TLC and some imediate repair - those railfan trips were a while ago and I don't think MNCRR has been maintaining the line as they should - ties would have to be replaced - the welding of the rails will have to be completed (I don't think they did all of the rail welding) - of course eventualy the old ties would be replaced with concrete ties - a gate would have to be put in place at East Main St. - as far as the stations yes there could be simple low platform stations imediately (like in the village of Pawling in the early 1990's before MNCRR built the new HLP just north of the old station)

it should be pointed out that federal funds ARRA etc. to do all this - the town of Lloyd got $3.2M to extend the Hudson Valley RT the city of Poughkeepsie got several million for 2 new Gillig diesel-electric hybrid buses and several other transit related items,UCAT got several million also for transit related items including 5 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses - the money is out there

I had come across a rail transit TDP for Eagle County CO - this document is very relateable to the Beacon-Danbury line - as a matter of fact they refer this proposed passenger rail line as an'inter mountain connection' - the BD line could also be refered to as an inter mountan line - the Hudson Highlands on one end and the Taconic mountains on the other

Comment by Ben Royce on November 22, 2010 at 1:15am
Hey Steven,

two things:

1. They can run a train on the line right now. It is 100% sound, they ran sightseeing excursions on the line, big diesel engines, a couple of times in the last decade. They can use stairs like on the Danbury line, Long Branch line in New Jersey, etc.: no need for platforms. The only thing they would need to purchase is intersection signals. Fishkill could turn that old cement plant on route 9 into a parking lot relative easily and quickly. The idea that this is too expensive is nonsense. We're not building a line from scratch, we're using a perfectly good existing one in perfectly sound shape. The revenue from growth would more than offset the minor costs here.

2. You can get on the train in Fishkill and get off in Grand Central. One seat, no transfer. The train just does a reverse maneuver at Beacon station. Not an issue. And getting on the train in Fishkill, rather than driving to Beacon, dealing with traffic, dealing with finding parking, and walking to the train across the parking lot is more exertion, longer amount of time, and a larger hassle. The ridership is there. Southern Dutchess is growing, we are going to choke on that growth, Beacon especially, for development outside our borders, unless we revive the Beacon Line. I don't want to suffer in Beacon because Fishkill built some development. Traffic on 9D, 52, our waterfront becoming a parking garage, even if we don't build a T.O.D.

There was a study done once. But it was awhile ago and it was rather stultified. For the T.O.D., we can at least get another study.
Comment by Steven on November 22, 2010 at 12:48am
The traffic on 9d is horrible any time of the day (unless you're traveling after say 9pm) including the weekends.

The MTA has to do something about the line. It's basically sitting dead doing nothing year after year. I like the idea of having like a Fishkill, Hopewell Junction branch off the line. The problem is like any sort of public transportation it needs subsidy and lots of it. How many people would take the train from the branch off? People would probably still travel to Beacon because it will always have the much better train schedule and the one seat ride into Manhattan. During the off-peak hours I'd imagine a transfer at Beacon for service to Manhattan, like the Danbury, Waterbury, New Canaan.

has there ever been a ridership study on the Beacon Line? Bus & Ferry shuttle service is cheaper than running another train with crews.

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