Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail (South Coast Rail)

ceo

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
338
Reaction score
167
Attleboro bypass was *violently* opposed by Town of Norton. And Taunton had (way more legit/substantive) major issues with that routing engaging all 15 (!) grade crossings in town on the Middleboro Secondary on a double-barrel commuter schedule...with steep traffic demerits where they cluster one crossing every 2/10ths mile through 2 miles of dead-center downtown.
The grade crossing issue also eliminates the Mansfield bypass route that TransitMatters (I think) was proposing.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,038
Reaction score
2,010
The grade crossing issue also eliminates the Mansfield bypass route that TransitMatters (I think) was proposing.
No...that was Ari O. solo in a blog post. Same difference...A'boro Bypass was a flat power line ROW about 2-1/4 miles north of Attleboro Station addressing the wrong-way direction of Attleboro Jct. (only accessible from the south). Ari's M'field Bypass was the non-landbanked former 1955-abandoned connecting leg of today's Framingham Secondary to Taunton (paved over as Old Colony Rd. in Mansfield from the junction, intact from there to the Taunton Industrial Track as power line ROW). He simply plunked a new NEC junction 1-3/4 miles south of the original that forks off right after the 495 + School St. overpasses to skip the Downtown Mansfield blockage and turns ESE on 495's shoulder to the airport to meet up with the old ROW. They're almost literally the same distance, literally same travel time, literally the same construction cost and relative complications (considerably more wetlands EIS'ing for Attleboro vs. considerably more Norton NIMBY's and grade crossings for Mansfield), literally the same intolerably bad Downtown Taunton grade crossing cluster, and literally the same unanswered questions about NEC capacity south of Canton Jct. being up-to-snuff for running it amid 125-165 MPH Amtrak meets in max-speed territory.

Why Ari presented it as a "new" idea was a head-scratcher given that it re-traced all the well-trodden ground that got rejected in the DEIR for the Attleboro Alt. a decade prior. But he never really kept stanning for it after that one post so you can probably write it off as an idle of-its-moment thinking exercise and no more.

About the only thing Mansfield would've done better than Attleboro is put the Norton stop much nearer to Norton Center @ the 495/MA 123 exit a few blocks away from Wheaton College...better than the Middleboro Secondary which would've slotted it in the middle of nowhere by S. Worcester St. But that's kind of a moot argument because the Norton NIMBY's don't want anything to do with the train to begin with. And given that in-town transit shares are virtually zero and lots of folks on the western parts of the 123 corridor through town closer drives to Attleboro Station and its extremely more frequent service to begin with, most in that tiny town wouldn't opt for the local stop even if given the choice.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,038
Reaction score
2,010
BTW...to show how dizzyingly bad the Taunton crossing clusterfuck would've been, here's the locations in question.

Attleboro Alt. (DEIR studied/rejected) only (west to east, Middleboro Secondary)
  • Harvey St. (minor....1.25 mi. from Woodward St., Norton / 3475 ft. to Crane Ave. S)
  • Crane Ave. S (minor...3475 ft. from Harvey St. / 4800 ft. to Fremont St.)

Mansfield Alt. (spawn-of-Ari O.) only (northwest to southeast, restored ROW + Taunton Industrial Track)

Attleboro Alt. & Mansfield Alt. shared (west to east, Middleboro Secondary)
<<begin Downtown cluster>>
  • Danforth St. (3200 ft. from W. Britannia / 2300 ft. to MA 140)
  • ¹MA 140 (BAD angle!...2300 ft. from Danforth / 840 ft. to Oak St.)
  • ¹Oak St. (840 ft. from MA 140 / 1250 ft. to Porter St.)
  • ¹*Porter St. (1250 ft. from Oak St. / 305 ft. to Cohannet St.)
  • *Cohannet St. (lousy angle...305 ft. from Porter St. / 275 ft. to US 44)
  • ²*US 44/Winthrop St. ("Center of Universe #1" crossing...275 ft. from Cohannet St. / 725 ft. to Harrison Ave.)
  • ²Harrison Ave. (725 ft. from US 44 / 860 ft. to MA 138)
  • ²ªMA 138/Somerset Ave. ("Center of Universe #2" crossing...860 ft. from Harrison Ave. / 400 ft. to Weir St.)
  • ªWeir St. (lousy angle @ intersection...400 ft. to MA 138 / 2415 ft. to Ingell St.)
<<end Downtown cluster>>

*6-car train physically blocks all crossings in group at once
¹gate timings block all streets in group at once
²gate timings block all streets in group at once
ª6-car train physically blocks all crossings in group at once


Stoughton Alt. (FEIR-endorsed) only (north to south, Dean St. Industrial Track a.k.a. Stoughton Line)
  • E. Britannia St. (minor...1 mi. from King Phillip St., Raynham / 1575 ft. to Thrasher St.)
  • Thrasher St. (minor...1575 ft. from E. Britannia St. / 2560 ft. to Winter St.)
  • Winter St. (current Mass Coastal end-of-track...2560 ft. from Thrasher St. / 2575 ft. to US 44)
  • US 44/Dean St. (Taunton Depot station stop w/DTMF queue dump...2575 ft. from Winter St. / 1.1 mi. to Ingell St.)

Attleboro Alt./Mansfield Alt. + Stoughton Alt. shared (west to east, Middleboro Secondary)
  • Ingell St. (triple-crossing w/Mass Coastal yard...2730 ft. to Hart St.)
  • Hart St. (2730 ft. from Ingell St. / 2.3 mi. to Cotley St., Berkley)

Middleboro Phase I shit sandwich only (east to west, Middleboro Secondary)
  • Old Colony Ave. (2.7 mi. from N. Precinct St., Lakeville / 3725 ft. to Middleboro Ave.)
  • Middleboro Ave. (3725 ft. from Old Colony Ave. / 4880 ft. to MA 140)
  • MA 140/County St. (BAD, abuts MA 24 interchange...4880 ft. from Middleboro Ave. / 1.6 mi. to Cotley St., Berkley)


TOTALS in Taunton
  1. Mansfield Alt. -- 16 (!) Taunton crossings (bad ones: all 9 Downtown + 1 industrial park): driveway + Myles Standish + Prince Henry + Fremont + W. Britannia + Danforth + 140 + Oak + Porter + Cohannet + 44/Winthrop + Harrison + 138 + Weir + Ingell + Hart
  2. Attleboro Alt. -- 15 (!) Taunton crossings (bad ones: all 9 Downtown): Harvey + Crane S + Fremont + W. Britannia + Danforth + 140 + Oak + Porter + Cohannet + 44/Winthrop + Harrison + 138 + Weir + Ingell + Hart
  3. Stoughton Alt. -- 6 Taunton crossings (bad ones: none): E. Britannia + Thrasher + Winter + 44/Dean + Ingell + Hart
  4. Middleboro Alt. -- 3 Taunton crossings (bad ones: MA 140 @ MA 24): Old Colony + M'boro + 140@24

It's safe to say there has never anywhere in MA been a crossing traffic management quagmire anywhere close to the magnitude of the Attleboro/Mansfield Alts. in Downtown Taunton for crossings simultaneously blocked by passing trains. This is the sort of thing you may see on some LIRR branchlines running short/zippy EMU sets...but never on 6-car long-haul schedules. There were very substantive reasons why the west trajectory through Taunton got turfed so early on in the DEIR evaluations. The Norton NIMBY's got outsized publicity, but are a mere footnote to what kind of carpocalypse Taunton would have to encounter all day/every day running that route. This route is fine for the summer weekender Amtrak Cape Codder revival or maybe some sparse RIDOT Providence-Newport commuter extras running express around the horn, but has completely/totally inappropriate traffic demerits for any form of regular service.

The single bad one on the Middleboro Alt. isn't outsized-bad because of its singularity and the fact that frequencies are and will forever be unusable shit via that trajectory. It's more emblematic of how un-serious the M'boro Alt. is in the first place that uselessly sparse service might leave behind a giant offramp backup a couple times a day as a local 'perk'. Overall the utilization isn't high enough to matter.

Stoughton Alt. clearly pegs it. The only heavy-traffic road, Dean St., is the station stop where DTMF signals will time-bomb the gates during station stops for expedited queue dumps making it a non-issue. Pretty much thru-and-thru from Stoughton this one has the most sanely balanced crossing roster of any. Even where they come in clusters, like Downtown Easton, it doesn't *really* cluster because it's mostly hitting quiet side streets on the grid.
 
Last edited:

BostonUrbEx

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
4,324
Reaction score
95
A 5,000' long embankment eliminates 8 downtown Taunton grade crossings. Sounds worthwhile to eliminate so many crossings in such a short distance, especially for 1) better routing, 2) better station placement, and 3) direct GATRA hub transfer.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,038
Reaction score
2,010
A 5,000' long embankment eliminates 8 downtown Taunton grade crossings. Sounds worthwhile to eliminate so many crossings in such a short distance, especially for 1) better routing, 2) better station placement, and 3) direct GATRA hub transfer.
So...introduce more cost bloat on a routing also weighed down by:
  • inferior ridership due to the Norton intermediate's poor draw
  • unsolved traffic management concerns with the south-of-Canton section of NEC that's tied for the highest speed differential in the Western Hemisphere for cleanly staging local vs. intercity meets, likely preventing the co-mingled branch service from ever achieving useful enough frequency threshold
  • still-unballparked EIS costs for the virgin ROW (A'boro or M'field Alts.) because the Alt. was eliminated from consideration so early on that those costs were not tallied. That's miles of wetlands we have not yet done deep analysis on, with high potential for cost blowouts.
  • violent NIMBY opposition from a town that must be engaged on any of the Alts., whose transit shares are so poor that they won't return in utilization what they take in aggravation
You only solved ONE problem with the routing by backing up the money truck for Taunton separation. ^These^ might not be as individually fatal, but collectively? They already caused a project scoring fatality for this Alt. more than a decade ago. Busting your budget on the Taunton separation megaproject doesn't fish it out of the reject pile. And that's assuming Taunton even wants a Chinese wall erected across Downtown for its troubles on this endemically service-poor Alt. They already overwhelmingly back the Stoughton Alt. with station at the traditional Dean St. site over this...so good luck convincing them their crossings *have* to be used enough with the Alts. switch to require all that invasive construction and visual impactors in the first place. Jesus, for all this effort to rehabilitate this Alt. to half-cripple we could friggin' separate Framingham at a world's better good for the money. Perspective!


So why is that an easier planning effort? You could challenge the fraudulent FEIR trestle requirement under a chastened latter-era Army Corps, instantly lop $1B off the Stoughton Alt.'s cost, and bring full double-tracking back to mend that Alt.'s only fatal flaw arbitrarily keeping it from delivering the necessary service. Stoughton is so over-the-moon better for hitting the only service target worth a damn for this whole project that it requires considerable suspension of reality to pretend that pouring more good resources down the bad Attleboro/Mansfield or Middleboro black holes is somehow par-acceptable alternative to just doing it fucking right once and for all. That old FEIR isn't sacrosanct. It's dated enough by this point that Phase II...if it ever gets a serious push by some future Admin...would need a refresh anyway. Which engages the newer politically defanged Army Corps all the same and puts the BS trestle tankapalooza under new evaluation. Just because it's part/parcel of Baker/Pollack's rope-a-dope to let Phase II's future prospects die on the vine of garbage Middleboro-fed service killing all the growth potential doesn't mean we have to nod approvingly with our hands folded. Challenge that flawed piece of FEIR paper like it's the only thing that matters for delivering real service, and force the issue by depriving the tankapaloozers-in-chief of all their excuses for not doing Phase II right.


Are we going to keep pretending that's never ever ever in a billion years substantively revisitable in any way/shape/form while we simultaneously keep pitching with straight face ever more desperate tactical nuclear strikes at the other broken-by-design Alts.? Come-fucking-on...the world doesn't work that way, and this project for damn sure isn't going to net a meaningful service target if we don't take the arbitrary straightjacket off and get real. Hourly service to each Fall River and New Bedford: where is it sourced from? Damn sure not from hitting the already-crippled routings harder in desperation.
 
Last edited:

GP40MC

New member
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
61
Reaction score
14
Just a FYI - About 35 cars worth of rail came into Framingham this past weekend in two groups. All billed to Assonet, Ma. I suspect this is rail for the under construction layover yard at Weaver's Cove in Fall River. As for being billed to Assonet, the cars will probably be stored/staged at the former Weyerhauser site near between High Street and Copicut Road.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,038
Reaction score
2,010
Just a FYI - About 35 cars worth of rail came into Framingham this past weekend in two groups. All billed to Assonet, Ma. I suspect this is rail for the under construction layover yard at Weaver's Cove in Fall River. As for being billed to Assonet, the cars will probably be stored/staged at the former Weyerhauser site near between High Street and Copicut Road.

^Info on Weaver's Cove layover. It's the bulldozed blocks abutting North Main, opposite the gas tank farm on the riverbank.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
910
Reaction score
1,078
Work on Fall River Secondary Main Line

Delivery of Railroad Ties to Campanelli Drive in Freetown

Over the duration of this project the contractor will be installing new track along the South Coast Rail corridor. Construction of this track involves the delivery of new railroad ties to the project construction lay-down yard on Campanelli Drive in Freetown. These ties, commonly used throughout the nation’s entire rail system, can produce an odor, and the contractor will be taking steps to mitigate any impacts to the community.

Deliveries are expected to begin this week and will continue every few weeks until early 2021.

General Activities

This week and next, the contractor will continue with hydrant line installations, access road construction, tree clearing, erosion control, delivery and moving of materials, equipment mobilization, and survey work occurring along the Fall River Secondary Line right-of-way.

Stating next week, the contractor will receive (via rail cars) sections of rail to be utilized along the Fall River Secondary Line right-of-way. Deliveries are scheduled to commence next Tuesday, December 15 in the Adams Lane area of Berkley and advance south to Fall River through the end of the year.

Location of Work:
Freetown Station site, 161 South Main Street, Assonet
Fall River Depot site, 825 Davol Street, Fall River
Fall River Secondary Line railroad right-of-way between Adams Lane in Berkley and Fall River Depot
Dates/Hours of Work:
Current week: Monday, December 7 through Friday, December 11, 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Next week: Monday, December 14 through Friday, December 18, 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Retaining Wall Construction

The contractor will continue the installation of steel sheeting for retaining walls in the railroad right-of-way south of Adams Lane in Berkley to the Assonet River in Lakeville.

Dates/Hours of Work:
Current week: Monday, December 7 through Saturday, December 12, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Next week: Monday, December 14 through Saturday, December 18, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,038
Reaction score
2,010
FWIW...Weaver's Cove tank farm was the proposed site of an LNG unloading facility bankrolled by Hess. Violently opposed by the locals and carpet-bombed by local ordinance blockers, until Hess withdrew the proposal about 8 years ago. That LNG saga was basically 'the' local story in the City for the balance of the 2000's decade. Hess has since floated a couple lesser fuel transload proposals for the site in the years since that have similarly gotten shouted down at the talk stage. The near 20-year duration of these various sagas explains in large part why the layover yard parcel abutting North Main has not been redevved for any other purpose, including simple infill of housing on the barren west side of the street to match the east side's residential density and heal the curious gaps spanning the few lonely homes that do occupy that bombed-out 3 blocks spanning Haskell & Sidney Streets. That was all "Hiroshimaville" during the LNG saga.

Going back on Historic Aerials it doesn't look like anything has ever been on that side of the road in the last 80 years, which is a head-scratcher since the tank farm never got all the way to the road and nothing else explains the conspicuousness of the cavity vs. its across-street surroundings. At any rate, pretty ripe place for idling trains as a result. The lead tracks into the yard may serendipitously jump-start a new attempt at industrial redev (fuel or otherwise) for the tank farm, since the loading dock there is gigantic and could serve as a breeder for all kinds of ship-to-rail Port functions. This--and New Bedford's layover inside the existing underutilized Mass Coastal freight yard in Downtown--are arguably a couple of the project-related developments that could be said to have some multimodal efficiencies given the easy-layup freight coattails at both yard sites.
 

Top