Commuter Rail to New Hampshire?

found5dollar

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I couldn't find a thread for this topic, but heard some intresting news from Plaistow. If there is somewher eelse this is more appropriate please move.

http://www.eagletribune.com/newhamp...ow-leaders-still-have-hopes-for-commuter-rail

Eagle Tribune
November 15, 2011
Plaistow leaders still have hopes for commuter rail

By Cara Hogan chogan@eagletribune.com

PLAISTOW — Town leaders are working on the next steps to bring a commuter rail station to the center of town by 2013.

Timothy Moore, chairman of the Planning Board, created a detailed, step-by-step process to completing the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority project.

"We met with the MBTA a couple of weeks ago and they're still on board," he said. "But a lot of things have to happen before that final agreement is in place."

The list includes three completed items, three in progress and 18 more tasks that have to be completed before the start of commuter rail service in Plaistow.

"It's good to have something on paper," Selectman John Sherman said, after looking at the list. "We've never put together a schedule like this before, to that level of detail."

Right now, the town is working on a letter of interest to send to various consulting firms to do environmental analysis and updated ridership surveys.

"The big one is environmental analysis," Moore said. "That should be done by the end of the year. Then, we choose the top three respondents and send out a Request for Proposals."

Many of the steps require a lot of paperwork and planning from town officials. But some of the biggest obstacles to the project are out of their control.

"If the Massachusetts Legislature doesn't allow the MBTA to operate in New Hampshire, we're not going anywhere," Moore said. "Or if the New Hampshire Legislature doesn't approve our use of (congestion mitigation and air quality) funds, we're stuck."

The town also has to fight against negative opinions from some residents who are concerned about the layover facility, with a planned location on the Plaistow/Atkinson line. In Bradford, Mass., and other towns, the facility created noise and fumes while the diesel trains ran overnight, bothering nearby residents.

But Moore said when he visited the Scituate, Mass., commuter rail station two weeks ago, he saw how a newer station keeps these issues to a minimum.

"That layover facility has the latest technology," he said. "In the evening, when the train is lodged overnight, within five or six minutes, they turn the train off and plug into an electric facility that keeps the diesel engine warm. The engine does not have to run overnight, even in normal winter weather."

Selectman Michelle Curran asked Moore whether there were any times the trains might still be running late at night.

"If it is a really cold evening, would they be inclined to leave the train idling?" she asked.

But Moore said diesel is expensive, so it's in the MBTA's best interest to stop running trains at night. He said to further improve the station, Scituate installed 16-foot sound barriers and there have been no complaints from neighbors.

Selectmen are planning another, unannounced trip to Scituate to see the station early in the morning.

"I think we need to look at the most up-to-date facility," Selectmen's Chairman Daniel Poliquin said.

The board will continue to work on the project over the next couple of years, Sherman said.

"2013 is a possible time frame," he said. "The schedule may change."
 

jass

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The MBTA or Mass have no problem approving it...

As long as NH pays every penny, like RI does.

Considering NH doesnt pay a single cent for the popular Downeaster...
 

F-Line to Dudley

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They have an active grant application for it. Got passed over in the last round in favor of more double-tracking down to Wilmington Junction on the Haverhill, but that means it's top of the list for the next round. It's non-optional for the Haverhill improvements because the main reason Plaistow is proposed at all is for the more spacious layover yard that's going to be next to the station. Bradford layover is way too small to handle any increase in Haverhill schedules, and it's right in the middle of a residential area flagged as an environmental justice target to eliminate noise and fumes. The T worked out the land swap years ago on some long-abandoned factory property for the Plaistow layover. The station is merely a gravy throw-in across the street because the trains will be running right there to the layover. The no-brainiest of no-brainers, and with the grant app cheapskate NH is only on the hook for something like $10M on the build and a few hundred grand in annual operating subsidy for the station and half-mile of in-state track. For what that pocket change buys them they're in universal support even as Concord commuter rail is subject to a Tea Party jihad in the legislature and Manchester Union-Leader editorial pages.

This'll be a good one, for no other reason than it's the last piece of the puzzle for running a whole lot more Haverhill service at long last.
 

whighlander

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They have an active grant application for it. Got passed over in the last round in favor of more double-tracking down to Wilmington Junction on the Haverhill, but that means it's top of the list for the next round. It's non-optional for the Haverhill improvements because the main reason Plaistow is proposed at all is for the more spacious layover yard that's going to be next to the station. Bradford layover is way too small to handle any increase in Haverhill schedules, and it's right in the middle of a residential area flagged as an environmental justice target to eliminate noise and fumes. The T worked out the land swap years ago on some long-abandoned factory property for the Plaistow layover. The station is merely a gravy throw-in across the street because the trains will be running right there to the layover. The no-brainiest of no-brainers, and with the grant app cheapskate NH is only on the hook for something like $10M on the build and a few hundred grand in annual operating subsidy for the station and half-mile of in-state track. For what that pocket change buys them they're in universal support even as Concord commuter rail is subject to a Tea Party jihad in the legislature and Manchester Union-Leader editorial pages.

This'll be a good one, for no other reason than it's the last piece of the puzzle for running a whole lot more Haverhill service at long last.
Whenever the T does some major line rebuild such as double tracking -- the T should be electrifying or preparing to do so -- to eliminate all of the diesel neagatives and also to enable high frequency self-propelled sngle car serviees to smaller destinations - - i.e. he Electic Buddliner
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I'm really disappointed that there isn't a better DMU on the market. Colorado Railcar was a flop, and there's a couple other small ones that look decent but real doubts that the manufacturers have the scale to deliver large orders.

The Budds were almost a perfect design. Nice-looking, very comfy inside, excellent suspension and acceleration for a smooth ride (they were designed to run on awful track), superb crashworthiness, and good soundproofing in the cabin. A lot like the PCC streetcar in that it was designed to be modern and counteract the image of trains as smelly 19th century technology. There's a reason why virtually every single intact Budd in the world has been refurbished and is still in service on dinner trains and even a couple commuter rail systems like VIA Rail in western Canada.

All the design really needs to serve modern standards is diesel-electric rather than old-timey diesel-mechanical engines and better fuel and emissions efficiency (they had 2 engines per car and were guzzlers). Both of those problems are solved on modern locomotives that generate AC power off their diesel engines and can idle more effectively. Have the computer control the engines or shut some off the longer the consist and a modern update of the Budd would still be the best MU on the market. Recast it as the PCC of DMU's. The Green Line runs Type 7's in a new LRV carbody, but underneath it's only modestly evolved PCC guts and closer to the original perfection than the awful Boeings were. Don't fix what ain't broke. Plus all the 1940's patents on the RDC's are long-expired and Budd Co. is 30 years defunct and dismembered. They'd be cheap to build or modify into some new family tree of models from multiple manufacturers because of the open-sourced design. More scale, more manufacturers who can get into the act to further lower the price point, much more reliability than an all-custom vehicle like Colorado Railcar based on unproven design. Every locomotive model on the market is some mixed breed borrowing some combination of off-shelf systems from other locomotives on the market. Why can't DMU's do that same logical thing? There'd be so many more commuter rail agencies starting operation with the lowered barrier of entry.


Re: electrification...unless there's a N-S Link mandating it, I think it takes a couple generations for the northside to get wires. Southside's a different story because the NEC has planted the flag. I could see Fairmount getting it because Amtrak's projected to be critically tapped out of storage and maintenance space within 15 years solely on current NEC traffic growth curve and calls for a new maintenance facility at Readville. They'll need a means of shuttling equipment to/from Southampton Yard and this Readville base. Fairmount's the obvious choice for that since it doesn't foul the NEC downtown. T may buy an electric locomotive fleet for Providence Line at long last if it can pool an order for cost savings with RIDOT when they begin South County Commuter Rail from Providence-Westerly (T or Amtrak are the obvious frontrunners to be the contracted operators for their line). Fairmount then becomes a priority because of electrics' superior performance on high-density lines. And then if the Springfield Line gets electrified Amtrak will be running its dual-mode fleet on the Inland Route service to Boston expected to resume (first on all-diesel) when the Springfield improvements are done. That's impetus for electrifying the Worcester Line, which'll merit it on T traffic alone, if they can speed up that Inland trip by shortening the diesel gap to Springfield-Worcester with electric on each end.

That'll be it for awhile, but consider that Providence, Worcester, and Fairmount alone are almost half the commuter rail's ridership once Worcester and Fairmount get cranking at max capacity. So that is a whole lot of electric goodness. It'll beg the question of whither Lowell and New Hampshire, but as long as northside's disconnected from southside and the NEC it's a big leap.

DMU's...absolutely, if someone will please make a vehicle widely available and cost-effective. Can you imagine how nice an "Indigo Lines" would be with Fairmount, Needham, Reading, Salem/Peabody, Riverside via Worcester Line with new Allston and Newton Corner stations, and Waltham and Anderson RTC short-turns running on Neo Budds at near rapid-transit levels while the locos stick to 495 Belt service? Put it on its own hybrid fare structure with Charlie sensors at the doors for proof-of-payment and it solves half the problems of rapid-transit to 128 that we haven't been able to build for 60 years. On existing track and stations at only vehicle and operating cost.
 

whighlander

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I'm really disappointed that there isn't a better DMU on the market. Colorado Railcar was a flop, and there's a couple other small ones that look decent but real doubts that the manufacturers have the scale to deliver large orders.

The Budds were almost a perfect design. Nice-looking, very comfy inside, excellent suspension and acceleration for a smooth ride (they were designed to run on awful track), superb crashworthiness, and good soundproofing in the cabin. A lot like the PCC streetcar in that it was designed to be modern and counteract the image of trains as smelly 19th century technology.

All the design really needs to serve modern standards is diesel-electric rather than old-timey diesel-mechanical engines and better fuel and emissions efficiency (they had 2 engines per car and were guzzlers).

Recast it as the PCC of DMU's.

Re: electrification...unless there's a N-S Link mandating it, I think it takes a couple generations for the northside to get wires.

Southside's a different story because the NEC has planted the flag. I could see Fairmount getting it because Amtrak's projected to be critically tapped out of storage and maintenance space within 15 years solely on current NEC traffic growth curve and calls for a new maintenance facility at Readville. They'll need a means of shuttling equipment to/from Southampton Yard and this Readville base. Fairmount's the obvious choice for that since it doesn't foul the NEC downtown.

And then if the Springfield Line gets electrified Amtrak will be running its dual-mode fleet on the Inland Route service to Boston expected to resume (first on all-diesel) when the Springfield improvements are done.

That'll be it for awhile, but consider that Providence, Worcester, and Fairmount alone are almost half the commuter rail's ridership once Worcester and Fairmount get cranking at max capacity. So that is a whole lot of electric goodness. It'll beg the question of whither Lowell and New Hampshire, but as long as northside's disconnected from southside and the NEC it's a big leap.

DMU's...absolutely, if someone will please make a vehicle widely available and cost-effective. Can you imagine how nice an "Indigo Lines" would be with Fairmount, Needham, Reading, Salem/Peabody, Riverside via Worcester Line with new Allston and Newton Corner stations, and Waltham and Anderson RTC short-turns running on Neo Budds at near rapid-transit levels while the locos stick to 495 Belt service? .
F-line excelent post

My only comments -- Diesel electric might be ok for the near-term -- I think trains and buses are the first realistic applications of Fuelcell electric -- which easily can go on the wire/3rd rail if its there and run on whatever fuel the fuelcell is running off when there is no local electricity

Existing Southside electrification ofthe NEC and tracks to manintenace yard, etc. should be used to maximum leverage -- highest priority is to elctrify Worcester as that will enable Alston / Brighton
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Should clarify...diesel-electric = diesel. Has nothing to do with electric-electric locomotives. The wheels turn on AC (newer models) or DC (older) power generated by the main engine, and the cars run on AC from an auxiliary generator. Mechanically a lot more modern and reliable than ancient diesels which were hydraulic, but has nothing to do with electrification. Does make it a lot easier to design dual-mode locomotives vs. doing the same with buses; duals have been around for almost 70 years. And, yes, there is such a thing as "Prius" locos. In its infancy and prices haven't come down enough to make it deployable on anyone's commuter rail, but they'll start showing up in 10 years and probably become the norm by the end of the 2020's. Electric-electric's always going to blow any kind of diesel out of the water on braking and acceleration, though, so full electrification will always be the ideal for max-density lines and any kind of 110+ MPH service.
 

whighlander

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F-Line -- not "Prius" locos -- Prius involves both Internat Combustion and batteries

No these should be based on the concept for an electric bus which runs off trolley poles where there are wires and then turns to Fuel Cells when it goes up some remote hillside, etc.

Ballard Power Systems -- A Canadian company has been testing / test marketing fuel cell power for busses for about 5 years -- the Fuel Cell cores are still expensive and the best run off hydrogen -- but progress in the technology is rapid with new materials, tooling and methods of fabrication

http://ballard.com/fuel-cell-applications/bus.aspx
 

HenryAlan

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DMU's...absolutely, if someone will please make a vehicle widely available and cost-effective. Can you imagine how nice an "Indigo Lines" would be with Fairmount, Needham, Reading, Salem/Peabody, Riverside via Worcester Line with new Allston and Newton Corner stations, and Waltham and Anderson RTC short-turns running on Neo Budds at near rapid-transit levels while the locos stick to 495 Belt service? Put it on its own hybrid fare structure with Charlie sensors at the doors for proof-of-payment and it solves half the problems of rapid-transit to 128 that we haven't been able to build for 60 years. On existing track and stations at only vehicle and operating cost.
This is my fervent hope and I think most likely way to bring RT level service to most areas within 128.
 

Shepard

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Do all of these ideal E/DMU corridors have enough tracks to maintain two-way RT level service, plus CR "express" inside 128? For example, how would a CR train from Framingham pass a DMU heading in the same direction between stops at Newton Corner and Allston?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Do all of these ideal E/DMU corridors have enough tracks to maintain two-way RT level service, plus CR "express" inside 128? For example, how would a CR train from Framingham pass a DMU heading in the same direction between stops at Newton Corner and Allston?
Getting a real signal system, for one. Boston-Framingham's the only portion of the southside that doesn't currently have cab signals. Plus getting rid of CSX dispatching next year opens up a whole ton of time slots on the existing line. If service is really heavy, couple passing sidings. The 4-track segment where the Beacon Park leads are is staying T property...that's one. And the entire line Riverside-Framingham where it pulls away from the Pike extension used to be quad-tracked, with triple-track to Westborough thereabouts and again in Worcester-proper. All of the bridges except for the newer 128 overpass are still 4-track width, and you can see on a couple of the stations (Wellesley stretch most noticeable) the tracks spread out at the platforms and there was clearly another one running in between. This line's max physical capacity is equal to the NEC except for the 2 tracks the Pike cannibalized. They can run anything they want, including heavy Amtrak traffic, heavy short-turns, a Framingham-Northborough (or beyond) branch, future HSR if they re-laid third iron 128 to Worcester + passing siding in Allston, eliminated the last 2 pairs of grade crossings in Ashland and Framingham, did some more freight mitigation, electrified, and upped the speeds to something whole lot zippier than the current 60 MPH. Biiiig, big line historically. Today is a far cry from what it can perform.

On the other lines:

Reading doesn't really matter because Haverhill trains can use the Wildcat Branch via Wilmington and clear the line for more short-turns. Lowell Line is former 4-track to Wilmington; that's how they're doing the Green Line. Eliminate that West Medford pair of grade crossings, likewise get a real signal system, and get it up to 79 MPH from its current pokey state and it can handle a lot more. Probably without need for a new track. Fitchburg is former 4-track to Beaver Brook in Waltham (again, why the Green Line is possible). There's a 1-mile long freight siding at Alewife that's in a lot of disrepair...fix that up. Maybe throw down another short siding before Waltham Ctr. when the line starts narrowing...done. Needham would need double-tracking from Forest Hills to Needham Jct or it can't handle anything more than it does currently. And Eastern Route's another former 4-tracker south of the Salem tunnel. Salem tunnel would have to be augmented with a 2nd tunnel to get 2-track so that's a big constraint. Not big enough to prevent that Peabody stub in the North Shore Transit Improvements from being built beforehand, but wouldn't be able to run <20 minute frequency without it (also ain't going to Portsmouth in the future and supporting Peabody at the same time without a tunnel fix). Fairmount's ready now if they do that 2-track Readville platform that's on-alignment to 128 and restore the 3rd NEC track.

Chintzy stuff that can be accumulated piecemeal to shrink the headways for the DMU'sa little more each year (with exception of the Salem tunnel bottleneck, but that's a no-pain/no-gain fix for the whole North Shore they don't have a choice but to do at some point).
 

HenryAlan

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F-Line, 2 questions:
  1. Regarding Needham, I know the track isn't there, but is the ROW wide enough for double tracking? It appears to me that it is, at least as far as West Roxbury and a bit past there, but I'm less familiar with the Dedham and Needham sections.
  2. it seems too easy when I think about it and when I read your descriptions. Is there something I'm missing, or is the MBTA missing a golden opportunity to cheaply make a significant system improvement?
 

Shepard

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Reading and Needham (at least through West Rox) would ideally be orange line extensions. Fairmount would, I think, be ideally a red line branch.


I can see the D/EMU rapid trasit really being a winner along
1) the Worcester line to Riverside (with infill stations),
2) Fitchburg line to a new "Cedarwood" stop at 128, and
3) Salem via Lynn - if it's a real RT option this could even be the same result as the BLX on the cheap while adding service to Chelsea
4) Grand Junction through Cambridge (Riverside to N Station via Kendall)

As Henry has asked - wouldn't this be a great opportunity and low hanging fruit?
 

Equilibria

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I'm still not convinced that the Framingham line inside 128 can accommodate mass transit level headways and rush hour commuter rail traffic with only 2 tracks, but I'm no expert on rail scheduling. Might it be possible to run the DMUs only during peak hour, with non-Amtrak trains from Worcester terminating at Riverside with a timed transfer? The other issue with that DMU plan, as someone who grew up near Riverside, is that the Framingham tracks actually aren't that close to the current station. For those who don't know the history, the Green Line there runs on the B&A Circuit ROW, and as part of its construction Riverside Station was moved 1/2 mile or so down the Circuit Line from the actual junction of the lines (currently under the Pike) to it's current location.

Thus, a Riverside commuter rail station would need to either involve running trains down the still functional side track to the current GL station, which would prohibit through service, or building a new station either adjacent to the Charles River with a new bridge access or one adjacent to Liberty Mutual/Recreation Road on the other side of the river (Google Maps showed this location as "under construction" for a long time, actually). Both options would require some significant capital costs to make transfer feasible.

Either plan would be far easier to implement as part of the redevelopment of the Riverside site currently in progress, but that will probably be newly built out when any of this happens, making integration disruptive and unappealing.

Also, I believe Fairmount is too important to the T as a CR track to be a Red Line Branch (the same reason Grand Junction can't become Light Rail).
 

Equilibria

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Solution: Gondolas.
I'm not sure if that was directed at my comment, but if it was: someone has actually proposed that to connect Riverside and the Polaroid site with some intermediate stops. It was a comment at a neighborhood meeting...
 

F-Line to Dudley

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F-Line, 2 questions:
  1. Regarding Needham, I know the track isn't there, but is the ROW wide enough for double tracking? It appears to me that it is, at least as far as West Roxbury and a bit past there, but I'm less familiar with the Dedham and Needham sections.
  2. it seems too easy when I think about it and when I read your descriptions. Is there something I'm missing, or is the MBTA missing a golden opportunity to cheaply make a significant system improvement?
When the NEC was shutdown from '79-87 and diverted over the Fairmount for constructing the Southwest Corridor, Needham Line got totally rebuilt from the ground up. They made the stupid decision when replacing all of the bridge decks to make them all single-track and rip out the old double-track decks. So to double-up Rozzie to Needham Jct., which needs it badly, requires dropping in 2nd decks on a whole bunch of bridges. They're built for it because the abutments are still their old double-width (except 128 bridge...that's single-only), but new steel is more expensive than rehabbing old steel. Unfortunately Needham's behind the Beverly-Rowley segment of the Newburyport Line and Norwood-Walpole segment of the Franklin Line on double-tracking pecking order, so I don't think they're going to have a chance till end of decade to do anything. They also don't have any deferred maintenance impetus to get moving because all the line infrastructure is only 24 years old and in almost perfect shape.

The 128 widening project, BTW, is replacing the bridge on the extremely seldom-used freight-only portion of the line with a new double-track bridge. Future-proofing for the Green Line from Newton Highlands to Needham Jct. That one's a long way from happening (first of all because the GL needs a next-gen signal system before Kenmore can handle more traffic), but Needham has community meetings on it twice a year or so they want it so badly for Highland Ave. relief. It is the cheapest rapid-transit extension available because of the existing above-ground ROW and limited amount of new infrastructure needed (all the CR stations are at GL platform height, Newton Upper Falls has a historic station still standing, and only all-new one would be at 128). Although Red-Blue and Blue-Lynn are way higher priority. They're determined to at least get organized enough in their advocacy to get it on a radar screen. Would be low-hanging fruit when the GL's 19th century human-controlled signal system gets replaced with actual computers.

In the meantime, I don't see why they don't shoot for a 3/4-mile, one-station infill to 128. TV Place has ample parking land they can expand for commuter space, it would take a load off Riverside parking with all the new development going on there, help the Highland Ave. situation and parking overfill at the other Needham stations, and fill in a 128 park-and-ride gap between Riverside and Dedham Corporate. What would that cost...$2M for track and grade crossing replacement, $6M for platform, $12M for parking lots? Just do it; that whole area's getting lots of redevelopment crying for a TOD angle. And that means if/when they ever want to Green Line it to Needham Jct. they don't have to build a single station.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I'm still not convinced that the Framingham line inside 128 can accommodate mass transit level headways and rush hour commuter rail traffic with only 2 tracks, but I'm no expert on rail scheduling. Might it be possible to run the DMUs only during peak hour, with non-Amtrak trains from Worcester terminating at Riverside with a timed transfer? The other issue with that DMU plan, as someone who grew up near Riverside, is that the Framingham tracks actually aren't that close to the current station. For those who don't know the history, the Green Line there runs on the B&A Circuit ROW, and as part of its construction Riverside Station was moved 1/2 mile or so down the Circuit Line from the actual junction of the lines (currently under the Pike) to it's current location.

Thus, a Riverside commuter rail station would need to either involve running trains down the still functional side track to the current GL station, which would prohibit through service, or building a new station either adjacent to the Charles River with a new bridge access or one adjacent to Liberty Mutual/Recreation Road on the other side of the river (Google Maps showed this location as "under construction" for a long time, actually). Both options would require some significant capital costs to make transfer feasible.

Either plan would be far easier to implement as part of the redevelopment of the Riverside site currently in progress, but that will probably be newly built out when any of this happens, making integration disruptive and unappealing.

Also, I believe Fairmount is too important to the T as a CR track to be a Red Line Branch (the same reason Grand Junction can't become Light Rail).
It can. By a lot. Current schedules are in no way indicative of what the Worcester Line can do right this second because CSX, not the T, controls dispatching and freights to Beacon Park rule over all passenger trains. Once the T wrests control of that in the Beacon Park closure, the freights inside Framingham are gone, and the very very crappy old unidirectional signal system to Framingham gets replaced by cab signals they can run 2x the trains with not a single penny's other improvement. More if they spiffed up the track to run 79 MPH instead of the pokey 59 it is now. South Station capacity is by far the bigger constraint to running more trains out there after CSX hands it over. If they make good on that expansion they can handle 2.5-3x the trains. Also figure that those shitty single-track non-ADA stations in Newton are a big bottleneck that will go away whenever they Yawkey them with 2nd platforms (probably full-highs) and make them accessible. They have to sink some money this decade into the stations because there's not a single ADA-compliant one between West Natick and Yawkey, the biggest and highest-ridership bloc of non-compliant ones on the whole system.

Also, it once was a 4-track line to Framingham and 3-track Framingham to Worcester. Pike took most of that width in the city, but there's still 4 mainline tracks now used for yard leads stretching from underneath the Pike viaduct to Market St. They have room to stick in an Allston station and still have a 3rd passing track if need be. Plus capacity to triple the whole stretch 128 to Framingham with no major station impacts. And CSX actually bugged them when restoring service to Worcester in '94 and building all the outer stations to triple-track Framingham-Westborough. MBTA haggled them off the ledge, but they left it at an "if traffic levels merit, we'll talk" thing. I don't think it's needed with CSX moving out to Worcester because that chops the freight interference to a minimum, but if the Amtrak inland traffic spikes up enough post-South Station expansion they might want a couple passing sidings and some very long term plan to add tripled infill so they can grab some substantial schedule slots. Wouldn't be any harder to engineer than the restoring of former triple on the NEC they're doing right this second in RI for T.F. Green/Wickford Jct. and will be doing in little chunks in MA as early as couple years from now from Readville-128 and siding through Sharon station when that gets ADA'd. Cheaper here, too, because of no overhead wiring to Worcester.


I tend to agree about Fairmount needing to stay a RR. There's no other way for freights to reach the port, and when Amtrak builds its new maintenance facility at Readville so it can run more trains to expanded SS, it'll need the Fairmount runaround to shuttle equipment to/from its Southampton facility. Only rapid-transit I could ever see--and not till mid-century--is Red Line replacing the Mattapan trolleys, and a cutover either in a short River St. subway or along the Neponset reservation to the Fairmount. Line is former 4-track from River St. south from all the freight sidings and a historically much longer Readville Yard, so there's room to do dual CR/rapid-transit stations at Fairmount and Readville, then extend all the way to 128 where Westwood has space on the side for 2 more platforms. Plus moving Ashmont and Mattapan yards to Readville and redeveloping all that space, and whacking Hyde Park CR station for better NEC throughput with Fairmount a few blocks away getting 5-minute headways.

Ain't needed and definitely not feasible till there's some super-duper investment on the NEC (N-S Link and 2x+ the HSR traffic blowing through there or something) that makes Readville and Westwood/128 mega-critical transfer stations that Fairmount CR can't nearly satisfy, but 2040...yeah, that starts looking logical. Who bloody knows what our transit system's going to look like in 2040, though. That's almost out of date range of fantasy maps.
 

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That's interesting to read there is pressure from folks in Needham for a GL branch. I was under the impression that Needham opposition was the only reason it hadn't already been done. Didn't they push for commuter rail, thereby killing both the GL branch and the OL extension? If they are indeed interested in light rail, what happens to the rest of the ROW? That would then have to become an Orange Line extension as far as West Roxbury, wouldn't it?

I think this would result in better transit for Needham, West Roxbury, and especially Roslindale. It would also free up some capacity at South Station. It would be a huge win in so many ways to make the conversion, but I suspect it will be a few decades at least, given the way things work around here.
 

whighlander

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Those are interesting speculations for as F-Line has said toward the middle of the 21st Century

In the mean time there is a real opportunity to reconnect with Southern NH:
First Plaistow from Haverhill
then Nasuah from Lowell
then Manchester and Manchester / Boston Airport
 

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