- Jun 29, 2013
- Reaction score
I haven't seen any specific plans, but I'm sure they'll skimp out and make it 2-track. Gotta futureproof the income of the engineering firms.
I don't think they can skimp out unless Amtrak skimps out with them. That one got specced for quad-track with 2 center passers back in the NEC Infrastructure Master Plan. Amtrak being the track maintainer would have to co-sign on any changes.I haven't seen any specific plans, but I'm sure they'll skimp out and make it 2-track. Gotta futureproof the income of the engineering firms.
Uhm. Not so sure about that... The MBTA took over maintenance of MA NEC mileage in 2018; it helped the Amtrak infrastructure lines look a fair bit better. I would really hope that the T holds to the master plan though, despite RIDOT skimping on Pawtucket.I don't think they can skimp out unless Amtrak skimps out with them. That one got specced for quad-track with 2 center passers back in the NEC Infrastructure Master Plan. Amtrak being the track maintainer would have to co-sign on any changes.
Now if we could get him to buy PAR.....Tangiental-relation news item. . .
The owner of freight shortline Grafton & Upton RR, John Priscoli, has made an official bid to purchase Cape Rail, Inc., owners of the Cape Cod Central RR passenger carrier (of Cape Dinner Train fame) and Mass Coastal RR freight carrier (Cape Trash Train + shortline operator of Fall River & New Bedford Branches). This is a bankruptcy sale as Cape Rail's current owners, national conglomerate holding company Iowa Pacific, Inc., are liquidating in front of the bankruptcy courts and Cape Rail is one of their most prized and profitable holdings. A "stalking horse" bid was reported to the bankruptcy court a few weeks ago; this is now believed to be that bid. Priscoli made an earlier run at buying a controlling share of Cape Rail about a dozen years ago before Iowa Pacific stepped in, so this is his second bite (this time for the whole enchilada at bankruptcy discount). He's also owner of Edaville Theme Park in South Carver with its world-famous narrow-gauge railway and Thomas The Tank engine. New holding company has been formed for the bid, as G&U and the Cape Lines would have to continue to run separately given the big slice of CSX mileage that stands between them.
G&U is one of the unlikeliest private success stories in freight railroading. When Priscoli bought it they were operating barely a couple days a week on scant half-mile of track in North Grafton serving one customer. In the span of 15 years they've been transformed into a model organization for shortline transloading, reactivating the once-derelict mainline to Hopedale and opening 3 busy new yards along the MA 140 corridor. All self-financed, and self-realizing. Right now they're in the final weeks of mainline restoration to Milford Jct. with 'golden spike' photo-op expected by end of this month, after which they'll be taking over the (recently state-purchased) Milford Branch and Franklin Industrial Track freight rights from CSX and adding their first-ever expansion territory in 146 years of independent operation (the oldest continuously operating chartered RR in the country that's never been merged with another RR). So while Iowa Pacific was neutral-to-good as stewards of Cape Rail (way better than the ruination elsewhere that's driven them to liquidation), Priscoli's hyper-aggressive growth strategizing and willingness to take big calculated risks with his own money (so far handsomely backed up with actual profits) has to be considered a major upgrade. Cape Chamber of Commerce and MassDOT have definite partisan rooting interest in this bid succeeding.
G&U's expansion into Franklin makes some sense in light of this move. While their daily CSX interchange is going to remain at North Grafton with all CSX traffic between Walpole and Milford ceasing after the territory handoff, G&U did gain "rainy-day" overhead trackage rights between Franklin Jct. and Walpole Jct. from the MBTA to hit CSX at Walpole Yard in a contingency. Not expected to ever be used in real practice unless the Worcester Line is disrupted, but now that the same ownership is bidding for Cape Rail Walpole becomes the preferred staging place for passing equipment and loads between G&U and the Cape, since it's en route for CSX's Middleboro daily that interchanges with Mass Coastal. G&U has also mostly retired its antique collection of old freight locos for a couple newer CSX hand-me-downs pre-equipped with cab signals and to-be-equipped with PTC signals for running inbound of Forge Park in MBTA territory. Could be a not-insignificant amount of CSX-assisted interchanging between the RR's happening at Walpole in the future. Which may include passenger excursions on the G&U with the gained access to Cape Rail's nicely flush passenger fleet. Priscoli has always wanted to do more of that given that he got his start buying Edaville, and indeed the very last-ever recorded run of a classic MBTA F40PH "Screamer" loco was pulling a Santa train of loaned-n'-decorated T coaches on a much-publicized North Grafton-Hopedale excursion a few years ago. So probably will end up expanding the Dinner Train's reach, which is good for the general public. And makes MassDOT look good for dumping a fortune's worth of on-Cape upgrades--mainline, Falmouth Branch, and all--into the CIP with another busy construction season now underway.
No. But states can't constitutionally fund projects in other states to begin with. It's only permissible when there's an official cross-state governing authority explicitly created to pool resources for shared-jurisdiction infrastructure...like Port Authority NYNJ for all the bridges and tunnels between NYC/Jersey, or the legacy Penn Station compacts for the Jersey tubes, or the holding authority for the Sarah Long Bridge between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME. Or, in the case of the MBTA's Pilgrim Agreement with RI (templated for NH), the public authority in one state gets treated--via subtle legal trickery--as a private authority on the other side of the state line on 1:1 cost compensation basis to sidestep some of those nasty interstate commerce traps. Commuter rail can fly seamlessly under the T logo on a totally extracurricular Providence-Westerly run via RIDOT cutting 'dem checks for a purely mercenary operator and retaining an ownership stake in the "company" fleet commensurate with what % of equipment duty cycles run south of the border. And conversely the same for CTrail into Springfield or any run-thru ops to Greenfield that may be contracted out to ConnDOT to run.Has Nh or Maine ever been propositioned to help foot some of the nsrl bill since it will directly benefit them to be able to go to dc, nyc, philly, baltimore etc...? Its not just a Boston problem its a new England problem. On top of that, that should make it more elegible for federal funds. Idk I just feel like itll be harder to keep stalling with pressure from other states as well.
By 2022 North Station will be a way better multi-modal hub, and will be "worth it" for about the same reason that service from Rhode Island works to South Station:Not really, It's too far. Esp when factoring in you almost certainly would have to transfer to Subway once you got to North Station.
Providence has one stop to Ruggles (LMA) and Back Bay, not to mention plenty of employers right near South Station. Not really comparable.By 2022 North Station will be a way better multi-modal hub, and will be "worth it" for about the same reason that service from Rhode Island works to South Station:
It isn't, though. The plan is to fork the schedules so the district-serving all-locals terminate at Nashua with 60 min. travel times and the RUR-spec 30-minute all-day frequencies, while the Concord trains run on a separate schedule layer (probably no more than hourly) making all stops in NH but skip-stop Lowell + Anderson only inside MA only at net ~78 min. travel times. You should check the study's charts...CON-BOS was jaw-droppingly fast run that way instead of as a conjoined local. I actually don't see how NH's economy is going to survive without eventually building that; the massive population declines in most of the state's counties mean the Capitol Corridor is going to have to suck that much harder than ever at Greater Boston's paycheck-doling teat to carry the whole state economically on its back. 78 mins utterly slays the present-day car trip. It makes NHDOT seem all the more insane for debt-spending itself straight into a crater on the I-93 add-a-lane megaproject, which involved them raiding the statewide bridge repair fund to bankruptcy to help pay for.Not really, It's too far. Esp when factoring in you almost certainly would have to transfer to Subway once you got to North Station.
No...they're taking up parking spots in Lowell garage. That's fact, not supposition, documented to the nines in the studies. This is why there's such purely selfish, in-district motivation for hitting Nashua and why they need the minimal assist for the cross-border stations to make it happen. In-district mobility is tremendously upgraded diverting those NH plates so MA plates have a shot.If you lived in Nashua, you're probally working in Nashua itself or driving to something like Burlington/Waltham.
Definitely. Also think North Chelmsford is sneaky-underrated if LRTA frequency increases meet RUR frequency increases, because Vinal Sq. is a significant diverging point for Tyngsboro vs. Billerica local routes...exactly the sort of last-mile feeder presence you need to see more of in the outer fringes to make RUR pay off long-term. And while officially-officially still unproposed, a UMass-Lowell intermediate seems like a shoo-in for checking off a lot of statewide boxes for the direct accessibility to another major State U campus. But really, Lowell Line RUR is going to be painfully inefficient to run if you don't get the layover yard situation squared, as all other sites (Billerica, etc.) are ham-fisted at best. At its most boiled-down in-district serving selfish the T needs Nashua to get carried over the finish line by someone north of the border solely for that if nothing else. Which is why City of Nashua's willingness to go it alone if NH State flakes out again is so significant.I think Nashua has better ridership potential than Fitchburg or the South Coast Rail.