Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

F-Line to Dudley

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https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/07/29/supporters-north-south-rail-link-rally-testify-city-hall/ea1raJ7rFneAYhkoHe2uNN/story.html
https://www.universalhub.com/2019/south-station-now-bears-mike-dukakiss-name-love

This week's NSRL hearing was not a good one for making tight, relateable talking points to the citizenry on why they should support the project. Dukakis was the featured speaker chosen by meeting sponsor the Sierra Club. As good as the kiss of death from how much the ex-Guv. and the ubiquitous thinktank have mangled their talking points on this before. And mangle them again, they very much did. They let Duke rant on entirely too much about "blah blah blah STUB-END SUCKS" and "blah blah blah ONE END OF BOSTON TO THE OTHER". With lots and lots of ranting about how SSX and intracity train yards need to be killed off in isolation, without making any rationale whatsoever as to how the projects do or don't relate. Just "Thing A is baaaad, says I. Therefore Thing B is a duh!" Followed by a lot of talk on dueling cost estimates, which only confused the issue further on why the speakers had such zeal to kill some projects but not others for what reason because it made them look exactly like what they were accusing Baker of on playing favorites. I can only imagine most of the room was thoroughly confused by that point and had less idea than before what the project was.

Depressingly little mentioned (from what I could gather from spotter reports on the Twitters) about frequencies, which says about all there is to know about what a failure the meeting agenda was.


Seriously...just disinvite Duke from any more hearings, because all this word vomit is doing the project's advocacy a grave disservice. Again. And the Sierra Club?...they don't have any transportation expertise whatsoever, and frequently embarrass themselves when they try to dive into a subject they know next to nothing about. How did they end up running point on this meeting? If we can't just put TransitMatters in charge of drilling this into everyone's heads with, like, 3 simple truths about transformed service that can be repeated like mantra until two-thirds of the voters in the room are ready to take a petition signing by storm...then what are we wasting our time having hearings for?

It bewilders me how we're still after all this time running around shooting ourselves in the foot on what the project's barest, most boiled-down value proposition is. But the wrong mouths keep getting the prime speaking assignments over and over again. And we just end up fiddling in confusion while the advocacy blows another chance to take a leap forward.
 

datadyne007

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https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/07/29/supporters-north-south-rail-link-rally-testify-city-hall/ea1raJ7rFneAYhkoHe2uNN/story.html
https://www.universalhub.com/2019/south-station-now-bears-mike-dukakiss-name-love

This week's NSRL hearing was not a good one for making tight, relateable talking points to the citizenry on why they should support the project. Dukakis was the featured speaker chosen by meeting sponsor the Sierra Club. As good as the kiss of death from how much the ex-Guv. and the ubiquitous thinktank have mangled their talking points on this before. And mangle them again, they very much did. They let Duke rant on entirely too much about "blah blah blah STUB-END SUCKS" and "blah blah blah ONE END OF BOSTON TO THE OTHER". With lots and lots of ranting about how SSX and intracity train yards need to be killed off in isolation, without making any rationale whatsoever as to how the projects do or don't relate. Just "Thing A is baaaad, says I. Therefore Thing B is a duh!" Followed by a lot of talk on dueling cost estimates, which only confused the issue further on why the speakers had such zeal to kill some projects but not others for what reason because it made them look exactly like what they were accusing Baker of on playing favorites. I can only imagine most of the room was thoroughly confused by that point and had less idea than before what the project was.

Depressingly little mentioned (from what I could gather from spotter reports on the Twitters) about frequencies, which says about all there is to know about what a failure the meeting agenda was.


Seriously...just disinvite Duke from any more hearings, because all this word vomit is doing the project's advocacy a grave disservice. Again. And the Sierra Club?...they don't have any transportation expertise whatsoever, and frequently embarrass themselves when they try to dive into a subject they know next to nothing about. How did they end up running point on this meeting? If we can't just put TransitMatters in charge of drilling this into everyone's heads with, like, 3 simple truths about transformed service that can be repeated like mantra until two-thirds of the voters in the room are ready to take a petition signing by storm...then what are we wasting our time having hearings for?

It bewilders me how we're still after all this time running around shooting ourselves in the foot on what the project's barest, most boiled-down value proposition is. But the wrong mouths keep getting the prime speaking assignments over and over again. And we just end up fiddling in confusion while the advocacy blows another chance to take a leap forward.
Our TM COO Jarred emphasized Regional Rail improvements/importance of a frequent modern rail system to run through the tunnel. And thanks for the kind words about us.

Agreed though. The buzzword speeches are tiring and confusing and it seems like the NSRL advocates still don't seem to understand the importance of the actual service that runs through the tunnel. It's just about connecting the dots to them.
 

FK4

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Our TM COO Jarred emphasized Regional Rail improvements/importance of a frequent modern rail system to run through the tunnel. And thanks for the kind words about us.

Agreed though. The buzzword speeches are tiring and confusing and it seems like the NSRL advocates still don't seem to understand the importance of the actual service that runs through the tunnel. It's just about connecting the dots to them.
What about Chris Dempsey? He seems like someone who might be able to compress the actual, important points well. Does Transitmatters do anything with him? (Maybe this is more of an offline sort of question, but I think he's on the right track and seems like he has a role to play in this whole debate).
 

DominusNovus

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https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/07/29/supporters-north-south-rail-link-rally-testify-city-hall/ea1raJ7rFneAYhkoHe2uNN/story.html
https://www.universalhub.com/2019/south-station-now-bears-mike-dukakiss-name-love

This week's NSRL hearing was not a good one for making tight, relateable talking points to the citizenry on why they should support the project. Dukakis was the featured speaker chosen by meeting sponsor the Sierra Club. As good as the kiss of death from how much the ex-Guv. and the ubiquitous thinktank have mangled their talking points on this before. And mangle them again, they very much did. They let Duke rant on entirely too much about "blah blah blah STUB-END SUCKS" and "blah blah blah ONE END OF BOSTON TO THE OTHER". With lots and lots of ranting about how SSX and intracity train yards need to be killed off in isolation, without making any rationale whatsoever as to how the projects do or don't relate. Just "Thing A is baaaad, says I. Therefore Thing B is a duh!" Followed by a lot of talk on dueling cost estimates, which only confused the issue further on why the speakers had such zeal to kill some projects but not others for what reason because it made them look exactly like what they were accusing Baker of on playing favorites. I can only imagine most of the room was thoroughly confused by that point and had less idea than before what the project was.

Depressingly little mentioned (from what I could gather from spotter reports on the Twitters) about frequencies, which says about all there is to know about what a failure the meeting agenda was.


Seriously...just disinvite Duke from any more hearings, because all this word vomit is doing the project's advocacy a grave disservice. Again. And the Sierra Club?...they don't have any transportation expertise whatsoever, and frequently embarrass themselves when they try to dive into a subject they know next to nothing about. How did they end up running point on this meeting? If we can't just put TransitMatters in charge of drilling this into everyone's heads with, like, 3 simple truths about transformed service that can be repeated like mantra until two-thirds of the voters in the room are ready to take a petition signing by storm...then what are we wasting our time having hearings for?

It bewilders me how we're still after all this time running around shooting ourselves in the foot on what the project's barest, most boiled-down value proposition is. But the wrong mouths keep getting the prime speaking assignments over and over again. And we just end up fiddling in confusion while the advocacy blows another chance to take a leap forward.
Agreed so much on Dukakis.

Maybe Transmit Matters should do their own town halls and have you as one of the speakers - or at least draft up some PPT slides.
 

datadyne007

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What about Chris Dempsey? He seems like someone who might be able to compress the actual, important points well. Does Transitmatters do anything with him? (Maybe this is more of an offline sort of question, but I think he's on the right track and seems like he has a role to play in this whole debate).
T4MA and TM are partners. Regional Rail is one of the things we partner with them on. Dempsey of late is just preoccupied with his off peak tolling thing that I've got him to admit on Twitter won't really solve the region's mobility problems.

Agreed so much on Dukakis.

Maybe Transmit Matters should do their own town halls and have you as one of the speakers - or at least draft up some PPT slides.
This is actually what we are doing with our Whistlestop Tour series. We've done them in Haverhill & Providence and are planning one or two more this year. The Providence one was a huge success. We've also presented to the town of Newburyport clean energy council.
 

FK4

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T4MA and TM are partners. Regional Rail is one of the things we partner with them on. Dempsey of late is just preoccupied with his off peak tolling thing that I've got him to admit on Twitter won't really solve the region's mobility problems.


This is actually what we are doing with our Whistlestop Tour series. We've done them in Haverhill & Providence and are planning one or two more this year. The Providence one was a huge success. We've also presented to the town of Newburyport clean energy council.
Good to hear. I didn't know of the partnership. I have to say, I'm very heartened by both T4MA and TM, as both groups seems to be gaining attention more and more. Hoping the momentum continues to build.
 

ssresident

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Interesting comments about issues on the Old Colony lines in this article. I hadn't heard that they are looking at stopping Kingston and Greenbush trains in Braintree--was that the reason one of the rail study options showed a large reduction in ridership on those lines? Personally as someone who can easily take a Middleboro or Kingston train, I would go to downtown Brockton all the time if it had a train every 30 minutes.
https://www.enterprisenews.com/news/20190808/fast-track-could-brockton-get-trains-to-boston-every-15-minutes
 

FK4

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Interesting comments about issues on the Old Colony lines in this article. I hadn't heard that they are looking at stopping Kingston and Greenbush trains in Braintree--was that the reason one of the rail study options showed a large reduction in ridership on those lines? Personally as someone who can easily take a Middleboro or Kingston train, I would go to downtown Brockton all the time if it had a train every 30 minutes.
https://www.enterprisenews.com/news/20190808/fast-track-could-brockton-get-trains-to-boston-every-15-minutes
Interesting - but will obviously never happen.

Sad to see it stated that the MBTA has never even studied what it would cost to unjam the bottleneck on Old Colony.
 

BostonBoy

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There is one bold approach that isn't mentioned. If you want Rapid rail service like Metro North has between Stamford and NYC, why not re purpose the Old Colony Right of way to heavy rail and build a major hub station around Savin Hill Where you can transfer to the Red Line? That would enable South Coast rail to use the Middleboro line as well.
 

roy_mustang76

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There is one bold approach that isn't mentioned. If you want Rapid rail service like Metro North has between Stamford and NYC, why not re purpose the Old Colony Right of way to heavy rail and build a major hub station around Savin Hill Where you can transfer to the Red Line? That would enable South Coast rail to use the Middleboro line as well.
Because there's no "there" to Savin Hill - it's almost entirely residential, not even a shred of demand from any of Old Colony to there, and a station location on a relatively quiet side street such that if you shifted the activity from JFK/UMASS there, you would have to re-engineer the entire station area, and enrage the surrounding community for something that doesn't benefit them at all (take a look at their cute little lot on Sydney St, and try to imagine UMASS shuttle buses there, and you'll see the problem).

It's far different from Stamford which has its own genuine bi-directional demand with office space nearby, and commuters coming from all directions. If you did want to cut back OC service to avoid the single track pinch, Braintree (as proposed) or Quincy Center would be less disruptive choices (and at least Quincy Center has something there... hardly a locus of demand but maybe just maybe something might be able to sprout up to take advantage of being the terminus of an OC shuttle?)

Once you do the cutback, converting to heavy rail frankly isn't necessary either, the station spacing isn't likely to change so why spend all that money - you don't need to convert everything over to heavy rail to get rapid service, just have those trains go back the other direction.
 
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BostonBoy

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My point was to convert the Braintree section of the Red Line back to heavy rail, but electrified. It would enable rapid service between Boston Quincy and Brockton and not be as expensive because it could use existing Red Line stations and right of way. The idea of a hub at Savin Hill could better be described as a way to connect Dorchester with the heavy rail service. I think it would most certainly improve service on the original Red Line
 

George_Apley

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My point was to convert the Braintree section of the Red Line back to heavy rail, but electrified. It would enable rapid service between Boston Quincy and Brockton and not be as expensive because it could use existing Red Line stations and right of way. The idea of a hub at Savin Hill could better be described as a way to connect Dorchester with the heavy rail service. I think it would most certainly improve service on the original Red Line
Remove the Braintree branch altogether? In favor of urban-rail on 15-20 min headways? Why not just fix the Red Line and Old Colony pinch to have your cake and eat it too? This seems like reinventing the wheel when all it needs is some new spokes...
 

BostonBoy

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Because it connects Brockton to Quincy and Boston. It will improve the remaining service on the Red Line, and increases capacity to include South Coast service in that corridor. and It can be done without widening the current right of way where the Old Colony is single track.
 

BostonBoy

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Call me crazy but I would also re locate the T Maintenance facility in Southie down to Savin Hill. And I would put the heavy rail on the existing bridge which goes over the old cut section where the Haul road is. The property there could make the T a lot of money (assuming the T actually owns it)
 

FK4

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Took the train to Gloucester yesterday and rode around Gloucester and Rockport and caught the last train (Rockport, 10pm) home. Living in Roslindale, it's a real pity (and a pain in the ass) that I couldn't catch another CR home. There might have been enough time (doubtful) to get off at NS at 11:10 and catch the last train to Roz (11:21) from SS... but, the Rockport Line train was delayed by 15 minutes, and with the OL closed due to construction from Ruggles to FH, just biked home from NS. Overall, taking those NS trains up north is a great day's outing, though. We have a pretty good system but the NSRL would just make it infinitely better. I hope someday the politicians realize this and put some real money toward the project.
 

George_Apley

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Took the train to Gloucester yesterday and rode around Gloucester and Rockport and caught the last train (Rockport, 10pm) home. Living in Roslindale, it's a real pity (and a pain in the ass) that I couldn't catch another CR home. There might have been enough time (doubtful) to get off at NS at 11:10 and catch the last train to Roz (11:21) from SS... but, the Rockport Line train was delayed by 15 minutes, and with the OL closed due to construction from Ruggles to FH, just biked home from NS. Overall, taking those NS trains up north is a great day's outing, though. We have a pretty good system but the NSRL would just make it infinitely better. I hope someday the politicians realize this and put some real money toward the project.
Absolutely. That said the Needham Line is gonna be the one that gets pinched out by the NSRL, so they also need to plan for OLX to WestRox and GLX to Needham ¯_(ツ)_/¯
 

sneijder

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Understand that none of this is groundbreaking or new info but:

I rode train 834 inbound from Canton (9pm) on a weekday evening last week. A full 8-car set of bi-levels on the run, with only the last car open with something like 6 or 7 riders in total. Understand that this was likely repositioning equipment for the next morning, but I can't help think what wonders a HSP hauling two bi-levels would do for acceleration and trip times. It'd help keep up with the Amtrak expresses and schedule a consistent 2tph, making off-peak CR that much more useful..
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Understand that none of this is groundbreaking or new info but:

I rode train 834 inbound from Canton (9pm) on a weekday evening last week. A full 8-car set of bi-levels on the run, with only the last car open with something like 6 or 7 riders in total. Understand that this was likely repositioning equipment for the next morning, but I can't help think what wonders a HSP hauling two bi-levels would do for acceleration and trip times. It'd help keep up with the Amtrak expresses and schedule a consistent 2tph, making off-peak CR that much more useful..
The minimum set you can run systemwide is 4 cars given the way the signal interface in locos/cabs are configured. You can go shorter (Metro North shuttles do) with a reprogramming, but 4 is an efficient enough catch-all.

FWIW car count isn't a huge weight factor on the propulsion...
human weight is. Those Sun. night positioning runs of Mon. morning rush hour sets are effortless to haul and use very little fuel. The same 8-pack when it's filled to the brim with passengers will strain even a very powerful engine.

(Yes, same thing happens to lesser degree with empty vs. full EMU's.)
 

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