Cape Cod Rail, Bridges and Highways

Shepard

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http://www.wickedlocal.com/bourne/news/x1107420313/Boston-to-Cape-rail-service-will-include-Buzzards-Bay-stop#axzz2ElOjtFsL

Boston to Cape rail service will include Buzzards Bay stop
MBTA passenger rail service will run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day


BUZZARDS BAY —

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority weekend train service from Boston’s South Station to Hyannis - via a stop in Buzzards Bay - will start May 24 and continue to Labor Day.
Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Thomas Cahir said late Monday afternoon the return of passenger rail service to the Cape – after nearly a 25-year absence - will involve five weekend trips and possibly a sixth return trip to Boston on Monday morning.
Cahir told the Bourne Transportation Advisory Committee that Gov. Deval Patrick has approved passenger rail resumption, and a name for the restored service likely would be selected Wednesday.
Cahir said the service needs 635 weekend riders to prove fiscally viable. He said the trains would include two bicycle cars. The overall idea, however, is tap dollars in the Boston market and attract visitors to Cape Cod as well as others to ride the train and thus avoid traffic backups at the canal bridges.
Passenger rail restoration to the Cape has proved to be an on-again/off-again experience over the past several decades. The last service was the Cape Codder in 1989; it was short-lived.
A weekend round-trip ticket will cost $30. The service will be widely marketed, Cahir said, and the Buzzards Bay stop will be coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers. He said the weekend trains would be coordinated with the dinner trains and regional trash service that rule the rails now.
There will be passenger coordination in Hyannis for riders headed to island ferries and destinations down-Cape.
“This train is exciting,” Cahir said. “But the MBTA is not expanding; it still has deficit concerns. This will be somewhat similar to the Patriots/MBTA train. This is not high-speed commuter rail service. This is five trains a week over the weekends.”
Trains bound for the Cape will depart South Station at 5:10 p.m. on Fridays for stops at Lakeville and Buzzards Bay. The Saturday and Sunday departure times in Boston are set for 8 a.m.
Bourne Administrator Thomas Guerino said the rail service could prove valuable in that it could be marketed in conjunction with the planned 2014 festivities celebrating the Cape Cod Canal centennial observance.
Bourne Police Chief Dennis Woodside said a train could be safely accommodated if the Buzzards Bay stops at Main Street are consigned to three-to-five minute intervals; and not blocking Academy Drive longer than that.
Canal Region Chamber of Commerce Director Marie Oliva said Buzzards Bay parking issues or tangles that evolve near the restored Main Street rail station could easily be resolved. Cahir said he remains convinced visitors and others would embrace travel to the Cape by train if they can be assured it is reliable, dependable and clean; and especially if their need to get around without a vehicle once they reach Hyannis is accommodated.
“This is another option for those who want to come down to the Cape,” he said. “To spend their money without their cars; no congestions at the bridges. And it should bring some economic benefits to the community.”
There will be no MBTA cherry-sheet assessment charged to Bourne for the Buzzards Bay stop, Cahir said.
 

czsz

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

People who weekend at the Cape often go down on Friday night, but Friday service will only be to Buzzards Bay? Why? Especially with no Monday service to help extend the weekend.

And will there be an increase in public transit on the Cape to disperse passengers from Hyannis? Otherwise, this is really only useful if you're staying in that area or taking the ferry to MV/Nantucket, which, given the times the train runs, will not allow for a very long trip.

Maybe this will only be useful for people taking trips of a week long at least.
 

underground

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

And will there be an increase in public transit on the Cape to disperse passengers from Hyannis?
From the article:
There will be passenger coordination in Hyannis for riders headed to island ferries and destinations down-Cape.
 

czsz

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Yeah, but what is "passenger coordination"? Does it just mean synching the schedules of the existing, not so great transit network or actually beefing it up?
 

underground

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

The bus doing the down Cape loop out to P-Town via Chatham actually works pretty well. Shouldn't be too hard to coordinate with the train if there are only a handful of arrivals and departures. They're linking up with the Brockton Line's out to Boston and Providence as is.
 

AmericanFolkLegend

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

the service needs 635 weekend riders to prove fiscally viable
I wonder how they're defining "fiscally viable". Hard to believe you can cover the op costs with just over 100 passengers per train.
 

massmotorist

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

This might be useful if you're going to MV or Nantucket. But $30 for a round trip is going to be too much for any family going on vacation.
 

Semass

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

It may not be for everybody but I can envision plenty of scenarios where it could attract riders.
- Solo travelers meeting friends/family that are already there
- Boston tourists daytripping to see Kennedy stuff without renting a car
- Going to Nantucket - parking for the Steamship Authority is $12-$20/day
Also, an adult round trip on the Plymouth & Brockton Bus from South Station to Hyannis is $34
The T would do well to have free parking at Middleboro/Lakeville from Friday afternoon to Sunday night and put a variable message board on 495 South advertising the service. Some lousy traffic on the Bourne Bridge might divert some users.
 

MBTAddict

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

I travel to Nantucket frequently in the summer to visit family, and I would use this service every single time. No traffic, no parking costs, and the station is a quick walk down to the ferries. Parking is I think the biggest benefit. They can charge at least $20 a calendar day to park, so if you do a long-ish weekend (Friday night to Monday morning) that can be $80 just in parking.

I've used the Plymouth and Brockton bus service a lot, but that gets so tangled in traffic that you need to leave well before the work day ends to make sure you catch a ferry.
 

choo

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

I would use this service to get to hyannis-buzzards bay for the weekend. A lot of people (myself being one) often meet people down there that own or are renting a house for a couple days, so its not a transit only weekend. I would jump on with my bike, bike for the day stay the night and head back.

I would be less likely to take it to the island's, however. JetBlue flies to nantucket, each way $75. spend ~40-50 more save 6 hours.
 

Semass

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Just looked up Jet Blue for a Fri. evening to Sun. evening BOS-ACK RT in Mid June. $321. $350 on Cape Air.
 

choo

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

It's normally starts at $75. 6 weeks out you can get that fare. It's obviously subject to the airline pricing criteria. The train will be the way to go for last minute trips.

Any idea on the travel time from Boston-Buzzards-Hyannis. If it only makes a couple stops in the suburbs, should be a pretty quick ride, especially on a friday at 5 compared to the bridges.
 

Semass

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Boston to Middleboro/Lakeville is about an hour. After that, I don't think the tracks are as good. We'll need F-Line to chime in on this one.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Boston to Middleboro/Lakeville is about an hour. After that, I don't think the tracks are as good. We'll need F-Line to chime in on this one.
30 MPH passenger. So only about 5 MPH faster than the Patriots game trains. Every grade crossing between Middleboro and Buzzards Bay, however, does have full crossing gates with the exception of the one at Academy Dr., Bourne directly abutting BB station. And I think nearly all of them on the Cape do too. So not having to protect any substandard crossings was probably the clincher that got the T to bite on this. That and the fact that every single platform en route has well-maintained ADA mini-highs leftover from the Amtrak Cape Codder. The division of BB-turning trains and continuing trains probably has to do with the max number of bridge openings they could fit without having to drag the Army Corps. to the negotiating table. If they want more, they have a better chance of getting cooperation with actual ridership demand in-hand for the BB turns, so Year 1's service helps build that case.

After last summer's Sagamore construction delays, I don't see how this won't be a smashing success. It's not the travel time, it's the stress level of sitting in a traffic jam. People value getting to their R-'n-R spot in a good mood more than the value getting there fastest. I think they'll gladly fork over the $30 for the peace of mind that comes with their vacation day not being pre-ruined on the road.


Figure this:

If Year 1's ridership is a success, they stand an excellent chance of getting some grant money to up speeds from M'boro to BB to an even 40 MPH. $3-5 mil. can probably do that. If that success continues into Year 2, they stand a good chance of getting a similar award to open up 40 MPH stretches on-Cape. If it starts to look like this seasonal thing has real legs, then take the M'boro-BB tracks from 40-60 on nice welded rail...essentially full commuter rail-standard tracks minus the signal system. Then they can decide whether they want to chase bigger fish: a full-time CR extension to BB with signals and 80 MPH speed boost, trying to lure Amtrak and Providence excursions back over the Middleboro Secondary with similar upgrades, etc. Carrot-and-stick, small appropriations, route-prime it in real time, bring the traffic to BB before taking on the Army Corps. about bringing it across the Canal in large numbers, and let the regional MPO's do more of the heavy lifting for their own vested interests instead of this suffocating in the hands of Beacon Hill.

I'm shocked. It's so...sensible...and sustainable...of them it's almost creepy. Who are these body-snatchers?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Buried in the article somewhat, but here's one reason to pony up the $30:

BAR CARS.

The rumors are that in addition to the bike rack coach the T is supplying, Cape Rail's new owners may be furnishing a snack/drinks car from the dinner train fleet for this consist. Supposedly would only open up for business after the train exits Middleboro and MBTA territory (probably less to do with liability or T rules than the slow speeds and wide stop spacing give a lot more time to kill at full speed between starts/stops).


Puritan Massholia would finally have the after-word reverie Metro North riders have enjoyed for generations.
 

massmotorist

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Now you just might have sold me on this.

I've long wondered why the state doesn't open cash bars anywhere residents are forced to interact with it. Serving drinks at the RMV would probably fix the deficit in and of itself.
 

underground

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

Serving drinks at the RMV would probably fix the deficit in and of itself.
Ha ha! Genius. Drinks on the P-Town ferry always seem popular. They even do Bloody Mary's for the morning trips. Can't imagine why it wouldn't also be popular on the train.
 

dirtywater

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

People who weekend at the Cape often go down on Friday night, but Friday service will only be to Buzzards Bay? Why? Especially with no Monday service to help extend the weekend.
The Barnstable Patriot, which apparently broke the story, reported that the Friday night service will extend to Hyannis. See http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/home2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31486&Itemid=152. The Patriot also reported, as does the article above, that Monday morning service is being considered. Given the logic (and likely demand) for Monday morning service, I would expect that it will ultimately be provided.
 

Ron Newman

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Re: Boston to Cape rail

There either has to be Monday morning service, or else there has to be a second return trip on Sunday. If three trains go out, three trains have to come back in.
 

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