Monday, June 15, 2015

Numbers, numbers, numbers; who doesn’t love numbers?

A few days ago, we were looking into a national news story, when in that strange way the internet has of grabbing you by the ears, saying “lookee here,” we have another story to distract you away from your original interest, it did just that.

We aren’t going to tell you what originally set us off on that road, leading to a road not taken (until then.)  Those of you who think deeply and widely might figure it out, though.

At any rate, we eventually ended up here: 

Which provides this info:
Hudson Line
Metro-North logo.svg
Metro-North Hudson Line.jpg

A northbound Hudson Line train going through the Hudson Highlands
Type: Commuter rail line
System: Metro-North
Status: Operating
Locale: New York City, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties
Termini: Grand Central Terminal, Poughkeepsie
Stations: 29

Daily ridership: 38,500 (2012)[1]

Character: Commuter rail
Technical: Track length - 74 mi (118 km)

You got that, rail fans, trainies, and All Aboard Brunswickers?
Nearly 40,000 riders per day!  Or roughly the annual ridership of the Downeaster attributed to the Brunswick extension.


We have no idea what the fare is, but with those ridership levels, they might have a chance of this being a break-even, or heaven forbid, a profit-making route.  Forgive us for that last term; we realize that to the public benefit minded, being self-sustaining or having revenue exceed expenses is a capitalist-pig concept.

We bring this little excursion on the never-will-be axis to you to contrast what the Downeaster and TRNE ‘mass transit’ dreamers think they will become if taxpayers just invest enough money in the idea, and get rid of winter and its challenges for rail service.


Apparently winter doesn’t happen along the Hudson; can you imagine what 38,500 daily riders would do if Metro-North had the same Delay Advisory profile the NNEPRA run Downeaster does?  By the way, in case you've forgotten, today is the day the delays attributed to winter's travails were supposed to come to an end; you know, just in time for the busy summer tourist season.  And before next winter begins in a few months.

We should note an unfortunate anomaly on the run a few years ago:
2013 derailment
Main article: December 2013 Spuyten Duyvil derailment
On December 1, 2013, a southbound train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx. Four people were killed and more than 60 passengers were injured in the crash.[3] Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the train was traveling at 82 miles per hour (132 km/h), a speed nearly three times the maximum allowable speed of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). The train's brakes were apparently operating normally and area tracks in proper condition.[4]
Note that the train was travelling nearly three times allowable speed.  Apparently the engineer hadn’t heard the assurances by the likes of Patsy Quinn and Wayne Davis that such things can’t happen because of laws and rules and experience and well, you know, other intangibles that prohibit such unsafe speeds.  Especially on unsafe track.


Changing tunes slightly, we saw this item in yesterday’s big city paper:
Turnpike traffic approaches record levels
Traffic volume on the Maine Turnpike is on track to exceed its pre-recession peak for the first time, indicating that the upcoming tourism season could be a strong one. Turnpike traffic, which has been increasing slowly since bottoming out in 2009 during the Great Recession, is poised this year to surpass the record set in 2007, according to officials at the Maine Turnpike Authority. From Jan. 1 through May 31 this year, nearly 28.3 million vehicles traveled on the toll road. The increase over the same period in 2007 was relatively tiny – about 57,000 vehicles, or 0.2 percent – but it comes despite the turnpike’s lackluster performance in January and February when a series of heavy snowstorms kept motorists off the state’s highways. Compared with the same period last year, passenger vehicle traffic was up 4.5 percent. The strongest month was May, when passenger vehicle traffic increased nearly 8 percent.
If we’ve got our numbers right, that amounts to an average of about 188,000 vehicles per day.  On one highway.  It’s 300 miles long, but it’s only one of how many other highly traveled roads in Maine, like 295, for example.

We could try to guess how many total ‘riders’ that might be per day, but why bother.  Any way you look at it, it’s surely at least 150 times the ‘ridership’ total of the Downeaster.  Even allowing for ‘a series of heavy snowstorms.’

                       Image result for go sell crazy someplace else we're all

That pretty much sums up our thoughts for those who argue that the Downeaster ‘relieves’ pressure on the interstates in Maine.  Want the live version?  Go here:

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of break-even and, Heaven forbid, profits...

    Have you ever noticed that a train carrying less than 100 passengers a day can be a rousing success while a highway carrying over 100 THOUSAND vehicles a day can be an abject failure? ...even when profits from the latter (CMAQ) support losses by the former (subsidies)?