Jersey swamp and East Junction, Attleboro to Sharon also hit 150 (rated 165 track and A1 equipment, but extra +15 won't be practiced until the Aveilas). Kingston seems to be the heads-above photo vantage point, however.Neither here nor there but I’ve always found it vaguely amusing that Rhode Island is “America’s smallest state and home to America’s fastest trains”. (Quite literally “America” in the broadest sense — I believe that stretch in South County has trains going faster than they do anywhere else in North and South America. For a couple of minutes at a time, anyway...)
As I've mentioned before, try being on the platform at Mansfield and not realizing the approaching headlight is an Acela and not your commuter rail train until just before it goes ripping past at 150, two feet from you. (Do they go 165 on that stretch?) Nearly knocked me over with its wake.Needless to say, it's quite startling, if your driving schedule happens to coincide perfectly with the timetable of an ACELA, to see a train burst out of the puckerbrush at 165 mph at a distance of 20 feet or so and barrel past you... it's happened to me once this year.
Acela was non-revenue tested at 165 MPH several years ago for the track class uprating in Jersey and RI/MA, and the A1 sets have been rated for that speed since Day 1. There's lots of gnarly YouTube video of the 165 MPH tests up close and personal, along with unofficial amateur radar gun reports of seeing real 170 MPH in the wild. But as of now it's still timetable 150 MPH on all revenue service until the Aveila fleet comes online. Not that you can really notice the difference as a stationary observer at those warp speeds; 150 vs. 165 is pretty much the difference between a bone-rattling pressure wave and a BONE-rattling pressure wave.As I've mentioned before, try being on the platform at Mansfield and not realizing the approaching headlight is an Acela and not your commuter rail train until just before it goes ripping past at 150, two feet from you. (Do they go 165 on that stretch?) Nearly knocked me over with its wake.
I have a vague notion that hitting 150 is more common in South County than Attleboro-Mansfield, but I don't really know where I got that idea.Jersey swamp and East Junction, Attleboro to Sharon also hit 150 (rated 165 track and A1 equipment, but extra +15 won't be practiced until the Aveilas). Kingston seems to be the heads-above photo vantage point, however.
165 is Top 5 in the world. So it's not that we aren't fast...we just don't have enough consecutive miles of fast.
They're both good long stretches of 150. Only difference might be they're coasting more often at Mansfield because of the low platforms.I have a vague notion that hitting 150 is more common in South County than Attleboro-Mansfield, but I don't really know where I got that idea.
There's a lot to recommend for that neck of the woods, in general. Upper URI campus is spectacularly lovely [even if the lower campus is a monotonous sea of parking lots], you can cruise the bike path from the Kingston station nearly all the way to 'Gansett Beach, and envision what it was like when that was a spur line of the NY New Haven line, built just so the rich Yankees could flock from the summer swelter of Hartford, Providence, etc., to the elegant grand Victorian summer resorts at 'Gansett--the resorts must have looked like Bretton Woods, but on a colossally larger footprint.They're both good long stretches of 150. Only difference might be they're coasting more often at Mansfield because of the low platforms.
Random sample of NERail photos sez that the railfans choose Kingston hands-down as the top Acela photo-op of choice. But that could break along superior sightlines, lighting...or just cheaper parking.
Here's what my (2007-dated) speed map of CT/RI says:There's a lot to recommend for that neck of the woods, in general. Upper URI campus is spectacularly lovely [even if the lower campus is a monotonous sea of parking lots], you can cruise the bike path from the Kingston station nearly all the way to 'Gansett Beach, and envision what it was like when that was a spur line of the NY New Haven line, built just so the rich Yankees could flock from the summer swelter of Hartford, Providence, etc., to the elegant grand Victorian summer resorts at 'Gansett--the resorts must have looked like Bretton Woods, but on a colossally larger footprint.
[tl; dr: because its little Rhody, even though you're in the central interior of the state there, you're also only 5-10 miles from the entire southeast coastline]
On a more somber note, the Great Swamp Fight memorial is also down there, testimony to when the Puritans acted with particularly barbaric and genocidal ferocity vs. the Narragansetts during King Phillips War--a real ethnic cleansing.
Also, there's the skybridge spanning the tracks there at the station, it's pretty lofty, and with no other structures nearly as close to it in height anywhere nearby, the panorama of the tracks is probably second to none, if you're taking photos?
P.S. I'm seeing two stretches that look like the parts authorized for 165 mph: just south of downtown East Greenwich, it's a dead-straight alignment for exactly 5 miles to Wickford Junction, and still dead-straight for another 5 miles until the track starts bending just 2 miles ahead of the Kingston station.
Then, just past Kingston, there's another 4 mile stretch that's completely straight...
Shit, even track speed commuter rail can pack a surprising wallop.As I've mentioned before, try being on the platform at Mansfield and not realizing the approaching headlight is an Acela and not your commuter rail train until just before it goes ripping past at 150, two feet from you. (Do they go 165 on that stretch?) Nearly knocked me over with its wake.
I'm guessing since that's NEC it's the full 79 MPH. Now swap out that 3000 horsepower F40 loco for a 4600 HP HSP-46 and purge the single-levels in that set for all bi-levels and you'd be able to add +11 MPH to that instantly. The MPI locos, Rotem bi's, and rebuilt Kawasaki bi's are all rated for 93 MPH (90 in signaling practice), meaning if you just have enough bodies to practically gerrymander the Providence assignments away from anything older/slower taking up a rotation the whole daily PVD schedule can be refactored for 90 MPH max running. Stop spacing is wide enough Hyde Park-128 and Canton-S. Attleboro that it will make a tangibly tighter schedule on existing diesel equipment, and afford net-gain additional slots on the rush hour schedule from being able to tighter-space the slots (both T vs. T and T vs. Amtrak).Shit track speed mbta can pack a surprising wallop
Nashua poke, in conjunction with the last fed grant...and that's about it. Last time they were thinking maybe possibly as far as Manchester, but that wasn't all that realistic with the soft commitment. So I'm guessing Nashua.So NH apparently approved their 10 year transportation plan a couple of days ago; apparently programmed into it is ~1.5 million for "Design, Environmental Review, and Financial Plan for Commuter Rail Extension From MA to NH." Subject, of course, to covid related budget adjustments.
That's... Not a lot of money for all that, given the original 2014 report was ~3.9m. How far can this 1.5m actually advance Capitol Corridor, or is it a token investment in paper to defer actual consideration for another 5+ years?
It's hard to overstate how discouraging and depressing it is that NH can't get its act together on this. Inertia + Provincialism/self-defeating Yankee cheapness + perhaps unknown quantity of racism/xenophobia [*roving bands of Cambodian youths coming up from Lowell to rampage through our pristine districts*] = recipe for long-term economic decline, as you note.But Concord to Boston running as super-express on the MA side of the border was studied out to 78 minutes on the schedule, and I don't see how NH's economy is going to survive the economic stagnation if it can't tap into that by 2030. They're going to be more dependent than ever on paychecks from Greater Boston by that point.
Most of the riverfront the whole way up is conservation land, so that's probably going to be the state's bag for erosion control. For the most part the rail ROW is set back enough that it isn't affected by flood stages and whatnot. There aren't a lot of hastily-fixed washouts up to Concord (the only kind of fix PAR would ever do), so that isn't an issue. PAR only sinks a dime into Chelmsford-Nashua where there's multiple scheduled yard feeder trains per day...they haven't given a shit about Nashua-north in decades with the biz decline up there. So if the railbed up by Merrimack is in good shape it's because there's been no riverfront erosion for 41 years since the last big State of Repair blitz.On an anecdotal level, many years back I had friends with young kids living in Merrimack, NH, with their backyard abutting right up against the river. On a pleasant spring morning, knowing the river was there, I took their kids on an excursion through their backyard, finessed our way through the bramble... and stumbled up against the tracks [which I didn't know were there], which sit on top of a pretty steeply-inclined berm at that juncture. We scrambled over the berm, peered over the opposite flank to check out the river, and returned home. Which makes me wonder, on the increasingly-unlikely chance that the Capitol Corridor does get developed:
1.) who is responsible for erecting fencing in all of those residential backyards that abut right up against the right-of-way/trackage, from Concord all the way south to the state line, to help deter kids (or anyone else) from scrambling onto the tracks? There are surely dozens and dozens of residential properties where this is an issue.
2.) the riverbank side of the berm was substantially eroded, with tree roots exposed/hollowed-out, etc. Assuming the Merrimack continuously undermines those banks in all years--and does so catastrophically during massive rain events--who is responsible for shoring-up the riverbank?
Source: NH 2021-2030 TYP Approved (PDF Warning)Thanks as always, F-Line, for your customarily colorful & comprehensive overview above re: my observations/queries. Assuming Stlin's statement above is accurate, and just $1.5 million was earmarked for Capitol Corridor--that's such an astonishing pittance, the only way it makes sense to me is if the opposition forces orchestrated the funding, in an act of supreme cynicism, as a giant Eff You to the advocates. I mean, really, what else can explain it?
Fed fun bux...note the FTA name-check of the $2.7M tally. There was a grant...which the People's Legislature populously rejected during one of its wild rightward election swings...then the obligatory "Should we not have spat on free money? Should we not have done that?" self-reflection...then the "Yoo-hoo! Mr. Secretary...about that grant we rejected. . ." pivot in the other direction. They ended up getting most but not all of it of it back for belated-start study work.Source: NH 2021-2030 TYP Approved (PDF Warning)
This is project 40818; Page 135 of the PDF, 117 of the document as numbered.
I mean... Its a 10 year plan that updates every two years. If this lays enough groundwork, the next plan can always continue the progress made. That said, I am *very* curious where they got 3.5m for previous funding; doing more research into the finances, the final approved 2019-2028 TYP showed the then $0 Prev./Proposed $4m project line item completely removed. (Snips attached)
The only place I can even find the right amount of money is that in 2019-2020 the FTA5307_NHDOT Grant program that this project belongs to; that funneled in ~3.6m annually. Ammendment 4, STIP. By the 19-28 TYP, while some amount of that funding was committed to other projects in 19&20, it appears that about $2.7m annually remained(s) available under the incredibly non specific title of of "PROGRAM (STATEWIDE PROGRAMMATIC) (FTA5307) BOSTON URBANIZED AREA (UZA) FTA SECTION 5307 APPORTIONED FUNDS FOR NHDOT TRANSIT PROJECTS."
If $3.5m has already been quietly spent to advance this, or otherwise set aside, I think an additional $1.5m is probably actually more reasonable than I previously thought.
Two wholly subjective/impressionistic anecdotes to illustrate just how bad the situation is for those NH-based car-bound commuters slogging up-and-down 93 each day:No way in hell you beat train schedules like that driving 93 or 3; it instantly becomes the undisputed best commute mode. And that's probably enough to keep them afloat on MA's teat by making the commute so much less commitment-intensive for a wider swath of the Cap Corridor.