Crazy Transit Pitches

F-Line to Dudley

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And while on the subject of Massachusetts non-commuter rail services:

Cape Codder v2
  • Providence - Taunton - Middleboro - Cape Cod
  • Long distance rail
  • Cross-platform transfer to NE Regional services from New York
Newport Train Supersized
  • Boston - Fall River - Newport
  • Long distance rail
  • Think CapeFlyer
  • Points against: need for mode change or mode mixing since Aquidneck Island is unlikely to be electrified; needs to compete with NE Regional + Bus From Kingston and NE Regional + Ferry From Providence
  • But it looks cool on the map!
Reasonable pitch is to just do the real Cape Codder restoration: a Penn Station-Hyannis May-September weekender train. It was very popular until its schedule was unnecessarily fucked with.

For Newport, absolutely do a T-branded Newport Flyer from Boston once RIDOT rebuilds the bridge. That would probably do pretty well. But I'd also leverage the Cape Codder revival and do an Amtrak Cape Codder/Newporter. One train from New York on one schedule that splits in half in East Taunton Lake Shore Ltd.-style to run a few cars to Hyannis and a few cars to Newport. All you need is a consist from Penn to Taunton that looks like this:

<dual-mode loco>--<Hyannis coach>--<Hyannis coach>--<Hyannis cab car>--<Newport cab car>--<Newport coach>--<dual-mode loco>

. . .with assigned seating by car to Cape or Newport, and an extra engineer on the staff. Newporter half runs loco-forward off the East Taunton platform from the split; Cape Codder runs loco-forward the opposite direction onto the Middleboro Secondary wye to Middleboro. Build in a slight schedule adjustment at East Taunton for fudging the split/recombine, and you're off. NYC-Newport might not be super high-leverage (at least, not like it was 100+ years ago)...but if you hide it inside the margins of the default Cape Codder it should do plenty well.
 

Riverside

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@F-Line to Dudley -- I basically agree with your assessments of the various Central/Western MA crayon ideas, as I was intentionally sketching out the "maximum full build assuming idealest of ideal political and environmental circumstances". And certainly no arguments from me on prioritizing the north-south commutes along the Knowledge Corridor.

I do think it's important to incorporate visions of the future -- layering in one peak Northampton-Springfield-Boston through-run is very much meant to create a market that does not exist right now, and it can be done very parsimoniously with the larger vision of a family of East-West Rail services anyway.

Fun idea for a resurrected Cape Codder with a split to Newport. I was avoiding proposing through-runs because, IIRC, there aren't a lot of surplus dual-modes around right now; I'm also unclear whether a dual-mode would be able to speed-match the full-electrics on the NEC and, if not, what the impact on scheduling would be. (This is also why a dual mode extension to NH via Worcester in the immediate future seemed unlikely to me.)

But, as far as I know, if the T wanted to, they could start running a coordinated transfer with Amtrak at Providence on weekends today. (Fridays might be hard, in terms of set availability.) Forced transfers aren't the best, but it would be an easy one cross-platform. (And it would involve minimal coordination with other agencies.)
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I do think it's important to incorporate visions of the future -- layering in one peak Northampton-Springfield-Boston through-run is very much meant to create a market that does not exist right now, and it can be done very parsimoniously with the larger vision of a family of East-West Rail services anyway.
We need to get our East-West house in order, then. Because the earlier NNEIRI study did do a one-a-day Boston-Montreal direct that hit Northampton, as well as coordinate an Inland Route schedule for a timed transfer with the Vermonter to net a de facto second Boston-Northampton frequency. All of that disappeared when the East-West tankapalooza was substituted by Baker/Pollack.
Fun idea for a resurrected Cape Codder with a split to Newport. I was avoiding proposing through-runs because, IIRC, there aren't a lot of surplus dual-modes around right now; I'm also unclear whether a dual-mode would be able to speed-match the full-electrics on the NEC and, if not, what the impact on scheduling would be. (This is also why a dual mode extension to NH via Worcester in the immediate future seemed unlikely to me.)
Remember, Amtrak's next fleet will have pantograph power "coaches" that supply electricity to the traction motors of a stock Charger diesel. Everything on a Regional is going to be dual-mode in a few years. That makes it the goldenmost opportunity to introduce new dual'ed service patterns, like the Cape Codder redux. Eminently reasonable pitch.
But, as far as I know, if the T wanted to, they could start running a coordinated transfer with Amtrak at Providence on weekends today. (Fridays might be hard, in terms of set availability.) Forced transfers aren't the best, but it would be an easy one cross-platform. (And it would involve minimal coordination with other agencies.)
The problem with that is that forced transfer in Providence is exactly how the old Cape Codder died. They kneecapped it from run-thru to forced PVD transfer in its later years and the ridership evaporated overnight. History has proven that the NYC thru market is a robust one for this service, and without it you probably don't have a realistic shot at making it stick.
 

Riverside

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We need to get our East-West house in order, then. Because the earlier NNEIRI study did do a one-a-day Boston-Montreal direct that hit Northampton, as well as coordinate an Inland Route schedule for a timed transfer with the Vermonter to net a de facto second Boston-Northampton frequency. All of that disappeared when the East-West tankapalooza was substituted by Baker/Pollack.
Fully agree.

As for the coming dual mode: oh dang that's right! Yeah, that truly will be a game changer, and would be super exciting to see.
 

Tallguy

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Do anyone know if an EMU under wire could fit in a 21ft ID tunnel?
 

Brattle Loop

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Not looking for DS clearance, a KISS at 15ft 10 in, for example
This would be an EMU only tunnel
Ah, I don't know what route I thought you were asking about (I probably interpreted "ID" in "21ft ID tunnel" as "intermodal"), sorry about the confusion.

Per F-Line it's 2.5 feet clearance needed between 25 kV overhead and an unshielded car roof. I don't know if EMUs count as unshielded, but it's kind of a moot point for your question because you'd need 18'4" for a KISS-plus-2.5'-clearance, which would certainly fit in a 21' tunnel. (Not sure where we'd be building an EMU-only tunnel apart from the NSRL, but that's neither here nor there...just as long as it doesn't come with the mangled California KISSes with their ludicrous double sets of doors.)

EDIT: See updated clearance posted by F-Line below.
 
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Tallguy

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So...15'1" for the shortest KISS + 31.5 for clearance and 7" for the rail..so 18'3.5" leaves 2'8.5" for both the ties(or an alternative attachment method) and the height above the floor to get to standard gauge width(4'8")
Anyone know what is the minimum height of any attachment method?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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So...15'1" for the shortest KISS + 31.5 for clearance and 7" for the rail..so 18'3.5" leaves 2'8.5" for both the ties(or an alternative attachment method) and the height above the floor to get to standard gauge width(4'8")
Anyone know what is the minimum height of any attachment method?
Sleepers anchored to the floor might shave some height over typical ballasted trackbed. But it really depends on the application. Anywhere near the core of Boston you'd have to give some consideration for drainage channels, and if it's in the city core those channels might have to be pretty substantial to work with active pumping. Also, some trackbed types work better than others on portal inclines...so you might be using a different setup on inclines vs. level flooring.


The smallest KISS fits AAR Plate B loading gauge on its dimensions. The minimum clearance for MBTA territory (and anywhere in Massachusetts) is Plate C, which conforms exactly to the size of a Kawasaki or Rotem bi-level (15'6").

Dimensions would likely need to conform to the nearest generic loading gauge Plate rather than a specific vehicle make, so the most common railcars in that territory can pass through if need be. For example, even in an EMU'd tunnel in MBTA territory you'd want/need the option to dead-tow some push-pull coaches in an equipment rescue. And you'd want to be able to use standardized work cars when performing maintenance, instead of having to custom-order them like New York always has to for the sub- Plate B Penn, GCT, and (very sub- Plate B) ESA tunnels.
 

Riverside

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I'm organizing my bookmarks and have been reminded of the 1971 Central Area Systems Study -- to which I'm drawing the attention of the thread for what I'd argue to be its claim to the "original" Crazy Transit Pitches. In particular, the report focused at length on potential ways to combine the Blue Line and Green Line -- obviously a frequent topic in our discussions here.
 

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