Cape Cod Rail, Bridges and Highways

ErnieAdams

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Well well, what do we have here?

Cape Cod Times - State puts brakes on plan to renumber Route 6 signs

“The new exit signs are needed to replace signs that are showing the signs of old age; they are faded or have some structural issues. We will be having meetings with the Cape’s legislative delegation to discuss what the new signs will look like but can state that they will be in keeping with the scenic nature of the Route 6 corridor and will be as unobtrusive as possible while still doing the job of guiding drivers to the exits," MassDOT communications director Jacquelyn Goddard wrote in an email. "More about the new sign options will be discussed by Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin when he personally meets with officials to start a public process.”
 

F-Line to Dudley

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http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Port..._materials/CapitalInvestmentPlan2017-2021.pdf

MassDOT '17-'21 CIP has a pretty fat menu of Cape rail improvements scheduled. Lots more Middleboro-Hyannis mainline improvements, and Falmouth Branch improvements for the dinner train. As well as a big-$$$ SGR package to thoroughly rebuild the Middleboro Secondary (Attleboro-Middleboro). That one is a freight I.O.U. from the huge CSX deal 8 years ago to allow heavier freights from the South Coast to interchange with CSX. But also has the upshot of increasing passenger speeds on the branch to up to 40 MPH, raising intriguing possibility of trialing a Providence-flank Cape Flyer or coaxing back the Amtrak Cape Codder.

Itemization of the stuff scheduled:

Cape Main (Middleboro-Hyannis)
Cohasset Narrows Bridge replacement (the river crossing on final approach to Buzzards Bay station): $8.2M
Track work: $7M
Yards and "support facilities" upgrades (unclear what % of this is Hyannis/passenger -supporting or Rochester/trash train -supporting): $10.5M
Hyannis Route 28 reconfiguration, rail-related work (Route 28 being reconfigured @ grade crossing next to Hyannis station; this is rail reconfig attached to that MassHighway project): $2.2M
Bridges and culverts: $2.1M
Grade crossing improvements: $1.9M
Siding upgrades (new rail, ties, ballast @ 4 sites): $1.5M
Station fencing & railing installs @ Hyannis + Wareham: $183K
Other: $558K

Falmouth Secondary
Grade crossing improvements (re-doing worn surfaces, poss. crossing gate installations): $1.5M
"Structures" (???): $1.2M
Track improvements: $999K
Bridges and culverts: $135K
Other: $73K

Middleboro Secondary
Track improvements: $12.9M
Grade crossing protection improvements (prob. gating all remaining unprotected crossings): $3.6M
Bridges and culverts: $2.9M
Grade crossing surfaces renewal: $1.8M
Other: $2.6M
 

Arlington

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What is the meaning/implication of $7m for track work on the cape main? Could that be tie replacement to raise speed, or would that work cost more or be named more explicitly?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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What is the meaning/implication of $7m for track work on the cape main? Could that be tie replacement to raise speed, or would that work cost more or be named more explicitly?
Don't know. Can't read from a single budget line item exactly where the track work is going to be spread because "Cape Main" is considered everything Middleboro-Hyannis, including the mainland portion that's already more or less up to the 60 MPH max speed for unsignaled track. We don't know if they're applying this to attack specific slow zones on the Cape and apply most of the $$$ towards speed increases. We don't know if they're going back over areas previously upgraded "good enough" and reinforcing prior work so speed restrictions don't pop back up. Number of allowable bad ties per 6 dozen feet of track is the primary measure of allowable FRA track class, so if they only replaced a threadbare number to achieve the original speed increases there are additional purely-SGR related installments of tie replacement they'd have to do to backstop prior work and make it last at the decade-level. Otherwise you end up with something like last summer's awful Downeaster speed restrictions where NNEPRA tried to coast for too long on their initial 2001 set of upgrades without scheduling follow-through tie replacement, and it bit them in the butt with a multi-month meltdown of late trains and cancellations.


I would reason that $7M worth of track work is going to result in some noticeable speed increases, because $7M is a decent chunk of change. We know that the $12.9M in track work programmed for the Middleboro Secondary is explicitly being spent to raise its track class for freight from Class 1 (10 MPH freight/25 MPH passenger) to Class 2 (25 MPH freight/40 MPH passenger). It's well-established fact that it's significantly less costly to raise Class 2 track to Class 3 (40 MPH freight/60 MPH passenger) because the good vs. bad tie ratio is considerably narrower than it is between Class 1 and Class 2. So you can extrapolate from current speeds that the $7M sum is going to do some very noticeable good. We just don't know where, over how many track miles, or what it entails for schedule savings.
 

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