MassDOT Rail: Springfield Hub (East-West, NNERI, Berkshires, CT-Valley-VT-Quebec)

whighlander

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Catenary wire is an extremely simple machine, too.
One moving part: a concrete weight hung on a pulley.
Arlington -- not so simple if say you want to put in a new route through Cambridge from Kendall Sq. to North Station via Lechmere -- just try to get permission to put up those simple poles to carry the necessary wires
 

Arlington

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Arlington -- not so simple if say you want to put in a new route through Cambridge from Kendall Sq. to North Station via Lechmere -- just try to get permission to put up those simple poles to carry the necessary wires
An interesting thought in this BOS-SPG thread to consider how trains can/would get to north station.
Three thoughts:
1)I think abutters would understand that wires are quite normal in the quid pro quo to ensure quieter, no-emission locomotion. Considering they currently get clunky switchers, they should be thrilled get wired.

2) As discussed upthread, Amtrak will likely already be using diesel-and-catenary dual-modes on everything that comes into Boston via Worcester (WOR-SPG is hard-to-electrify, as F-Line explained, due to current CSX-ownership, double-stack freight requirements & low bridges). If the locals don't like wires, Amtrak would fire up the diesel for BU to NS, and the locals can decide how much they like the low throb and diesel emissions, unwired.

3) BU to NS via Cambridge might actually be a legit application of a "limp home" battery that we've discussed as a possible "one accel, one decel" storage, similar to a Prius' (small) battery. Still not a call for hydrogen. Might not even be a call for Lithium (Prius cells are still Nickel Metal Hydride and so might be those tucked into existing diesel-electric locomotives).
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Talk to Nikola Motors

They are moving into rarefied territory [Investor-wise] with respect to Hydrogen powered over-road long-haul trucking -- in its essence the vehicle is not much different than a bus in terms of mechanical matters [mass, power, etc.]

No one is claiming Hydrogen will replace Heavy or Light Rail in transit -- but there is a real opportunity to replace gasoline, diesel or CNG powered buses, battery powered electric buses and even the lower frequency of service overhead wire electric trolley buses

EMUs on rail are even a possibility depending on how frequent the service and how heavy the utilization.

Once again -- the key is not absolute efficiency -- its "system efficiency", "utility" and "acceptability" -- where those broad terms include the ability of the system to adapt to changing demand with minimal capital investments [i.e. no rails to lay and no wires to string]
Jesus Christ...take this discussion →HERE← like you were advised already. On the thread specifically created for talking about that exact technological thing you want to talk about. Train power plants have nothing whatsoever to do with extant Amtrak service proposals in New England.


You wouldn't want to be accused of trying to derail a thread with non-sequitur tangents, would you? :cautious:
 

F-Line to Dudley

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An interesting thought in this BOS-SPG thread to consider how trains can/would get to north station.
Three thoughts:
1)I think abutters would understand that wires are quite normal in the quid pro quo to ensure quieter, no-emission locomotion. Considering they currently get clunky switchers, they should be thrilled get wired.

2) As discussed upthread, Amtrak will likely already be using diesel-and-catenary dual-modes on everything that comes into Boston via Worcester (WOR-SPG is hard-to-electrify, as F-Line explained, due to current CSX-ownership, double-stack freight requirements & low bridges). If the locals don't like wires, Amtrak would fire up the diesel for BU to NS, and the locals can decide how much they like the low throb and diesel emissions, unwired.

3) BU to NS via Cambridge might actually be a legit application of a "limp home" battery that we've discussed as a possible "one accel, one decel" storage, similar to a Prius' (small) battery. Still not a call for hydrogen. Might not even be a call for Lithium (Prius cells are still Nickel Metal Hydride and so might be those tucked into existing diesel-electric locomotives).
The Grand Junction does not have overhead clearance under the Memorial Drive overpass for 25 kV wire to safely clear existing T equipment unless there was an insulated dead section and enough speed over the very slow Charles River bridge to coast through the unpowered length. That's an unfortunate demerit for trying to do the RUR shuttle idea, and also why the T's actual advertisement for EMU's doesn't spec that line as one of the first to be electrified. Kludges are required....eminently doable kludges in the real world, but unfavorable and non-ideal nonetheless.

Ultimately that constriction is another reason to ask "What are we waiting for?" re: taking the GJ off the RR network and converting it to light rail. No such electrical clearance problem under Mem. Drive with 600V over a trolley roof. And it's probably worth more revenue to Amtrak and NNEPRA anyway to have a new baseline 6 min.-or-better rapid transit pipe plugging into North Station to boost the Downeaster's fortunes rather than very meager run-thru slots. Which under the actual NNEPRA proposal for a NYC-Portland round-trip would only be once-per-day embedded inside of the daily overchurn of Inlands and Downeasters. Absolutely no one is calling North Station intercity one-seat a critical 'get' when better two-seat performance out of Back Bay transfer via a headway-improved and dwell-tamed Orange Line ultimately punches more new Downeaster tickets than anything else under the sun...and Green Line coattails via Seaport/SS-North Station run-thrus and West-North Station an immediate second on the revenue-padding front.
 
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whighlander

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An interesting thought in this BOS-SPG thread to consider how trains can/would get to north station.
Three thoughts:
1)I think abutters would understand that wires are quite normal in the quid pro quo to ensure quieter, no-emission locomotion. Considering they currently get clunky switchers, they should be thrilled get wired.

2) As discussed upthread, Amtrak will likely already be using diesel-and-catenary dual-modes on everything that comes into Boston via Worcester (WOR-SPG is hard-to-electrify, as F-Line explained, due to current CSX-ownership, double-stack freight requirements & low bridges). If the locals don't like wires, Amtrak would fire up the diesel for BU to NS, and the locals can decide how much they like the low throb and diesel emissions, unwired.

3) BU to NS via Cambridge might actually be a legit application of a "limp home" battery that we've discussed as a possible "one accel, one decel" storage, similar to a Prius' (small) battery. Still not a call for hydrogen. Might not even be a call for Lithium (Prius cells are still Nickel Metal Hydride and so might be those tucked into existing diesel-electric locomotives).
Arlington --
1)I think abutters would understand that wires are quite normal in the quid pro quo to ensure quieter, no-emission locomotion. Considering they currently get clunky switchers, they should be thrilled get wired.
Not necessarily -- there is quite a bit of opposition to ambient magnetic fields from wired transit vehicles [mostly fairly unjustified] -- I've a friend and sometimes business associate who has made a good-business in providing highly reliable and NIST-traceable measurements of EM and static magnetic fields due to trackless transit and rail vehicles
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Arlington --


Not necessarily -- there is quite a bit of opposition to ambient magnetic fields from wired transit vehicles [mostly fairly unjustified] -- I've a friend and sometimes business associate who has made a good-business in providing highly reliable and NIST-traceable measurements of EM and static magnetic fields due to trackless transit and rail vehicles
Still waiting for someone to show the tangential relation of this forced sidebar to the topic of:

"MassDOT Rail: Springfield Hub (East-West, NNERI, Berkshires, CT-Valley-VT-Quebec)"

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
 

Arlington

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Thank you F-Line. I think with your "BU bridge clearance" & Grand Junction LRT answer, along with your other answers on wire (non) clearance on CSX, we've exhausted the propulsion tech relevance for any Amtrak/Springfield/MTR-NHV-etc service in this thread.
 

cubalibre

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This looks like the appropriate thread. The year-long study to estimate costs of an East-West rail link between Boston and Springfield/Pittsfield has been released.
There are six proposals, ranging in cost from $25 billion (HSR with 1 hour 19 minutes from Springfield to Boston, about the cost of the Big Dig), to a $2 billion expanded passenger connection from Worcester to Springfield with under three hours from Springfield to Boston.

 

F-Line to Dudley

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This looks like the appropriate thread. The year-long study to estimate costs of an East-West rail link between Boston and Springfield/Pittsfield has been released.
There are six proposals, ranging in cost from $25 billion (HSR with 1 hour 19 minutes from Springfield to Boston, about the cost of the Big Dig), to a $2 billion expanded passenger connection from Worcester to Springfield with under three hours from Springfield to Boston.

Oh, look, Pollack is already playing the troll. How utterly predictable.

Honestly, I'm not sure what the purpose of East-West as the NNEIRI study for Springfield Hub isn't even 4 years old yet and already narrowed it down to a Preferred Alt. Re-expanding the study field to HSR through the Berkshires when we already knew that was a Big Dig-level cost for pitifully small ridership was a bizarre waste of energy. Pittsfield: yes, someday you will ultimately be worthy of pork, too...but all that has to run through Springfield first so we already know the first investment priority.

$2B for the thing we already knew was the sensible thing all along. NNEIRI pegged it at $1.2B for the package deal of Inland Route + Boston-Montreal direct train overlaid with schedule coordination @ SPG...the equivalent of Alt. 2 here. The main difference with East-West's minimum builds were the subsidized bus service for Pittsfield and a whole lot of vagueness about whether Montreal's in the picture or not. So I would be very interested to see where this managed to add $800M in 4 years to the same exact projected travel times.

That's...an awful lot of dough seemingly appearing out of nowhere packed into these cost projections. :cautious:
 

The EGE

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How in the world could you possibly spend $2 billion on fifty-odd miles of active freight track plus 40-odd miles of commuter rail track, and somehow have travel times 45 minutes worse than the Lake Shore Limited currently runs? How could you possibly spend $25 billion on "HSR" and somehow average less than 75 mph? This isn't just intentionally killing a project; this is another level of blatant lying.
 

Arlington

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Options 4 & 5 (upgrading existing CSX with strategically-chosen s
How in the world could you possibly spend $2 billion on fifty-odd miles of active freight track plus 40-odd miles of commuter rail track, and somehow have travel times 45 minutes worse than the Lake Shore Limited currently runs?
I think you're reading that wrong.
Option 2,... $2 billion Option 2 would take just over three-and-a-half hours from Pittsfield to Boston. From Springfield, two hours and 14 minutes.
BOS-SPG on the LSL is
Dp BOS 12:50
Ar SPG 15:18
Dp SPG 15:23
Ar PIT 16:39

Call the LSL
2h30 BOS-SPG
3h50 BOS-PIT

BOS-SPG gets 15 minutes faster (and I assume what you're really paying for is frequency...double tracking)
 

JumboBuc

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I think you're reading that wrong.


BOS-SPG on the LSL is
Dp BOS 12:50
Ar SPG 15:18
Dp SPG 15:23
Ar PIT 16:39

Call the LSL
2h30 BOS-SPG
3h50 BOS-PIT

BOS-SPG gets 15 minutes faster (and I assume what you're really paying for is frequency...double tracking)
Option 2, with no rail transfer at Worcester, costs $2 billion and goes Worcester-Boston in 2:14
Option 1, with a transfer, also costs $2 Billion and goes Worcester-Boston in "a bit under three hours"

From Ari Ofsevit yesterday:
Today the westbound Lake Shore made it BOS-SPG in 2:18. https://tinyurl.com/v93dfat
Yesterday 2:35 https://tinyurl.com/vp2clkv
Day before 2:24 https://preview.tinyurl.com/s5fw2yr
Day before 2:34 https://preview.tinyurl.com/soew6t9
Day before 2:18 https://preview.tinyurl.com/r9o7t4a
Day before 2:19 https://preview.tinyurl.com/v28vyx5 \


On average in the past year, the westbound arrives 4 minutes early, making the trip in 2:26.
10% of days the trip takes 2:18 or less. https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=449&station=spg&date_start=01%2F07%2F2019&date_end=02%2F06%2F2020&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=d_ar&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1…,
and that includes several days the train has left Boston late.
So for $2 billion you either get something just a tiny bit better than what the Lake Shore Limited gives you today (Option 2), or you get something much worse (Option 1).
 

Rover

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Help me out here transit gurus. Springfield's about 100 miles away from Boston. From reading one of the articles the trains can top out between 60-75 mph along the route. That means at worse the train should get to SPG in an hour and a half. What's up with the extra 45-60 minutes? Is it making stops along the way (which I'm not sure I understand why - is there really demand for SPG to WOR)? Also, what's up with the 2 billion bucks? Isn't Amtrak already making the same trip along the same line, so aside from the cost of operating the trains due to the new service what else is included in there?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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How in the world could you possibly spend $2 billion on fifty-odd miles of active freight track plus 40-odd miles of commuter rail track, and somehow have travel times 45 minutes worse than the Lake Shore Limited currently runs? How could you possibly spend $25 billion on "HSR" and somehow average less than 75 mph? This isn't just intentionally killing a project; this is another level of blatant lying.
NNEIRI was a joint MassDOT/VTrans/ConnDOT study. East-West, covering lots of duplicate ground, was strictly a MassDOT joint. That alone is significant, as NNEIRI had built-in avoidance being a consortium job for any one state's Admin. putting its finger on the scale with creative metrics interpretations to affect a preordained outcome. Which has, as we know, become a nasty habit of late with MassDOT solo joints.

E-W being a whole lot more unfocussed with these already long-rejected HSR alts dredged up once more and Pittsfield being cast as a major driver when it's already well-known that all roads...and all value propositions...chain up at Springfield Hub first also introduces a lot of semi-intentional noise and murk to parse through on any of this study's conclusions. It's a messier study by-design, and born messes are easy places for $800M discrepancies in base builds to grow between the cracks.

I'm not ready to call total BS here because East-West does usefully flesh out some NNEIRI metrics if you were to roll up both studies into an action plan. But to what end? ConnDOT and VTrans aren't going to touch this for any of their SPG Hub moving parts...it's too much fuzzier and fraught with unfocus than NNEIRI. And Pollack was way fast out the gates with her usual concern-trolling, so the political game seems to be given away with even less subtlety than usual.

At any rate we've got a gaping $800M discrepancy now in virtually identical base builds, and that's made a mess out of what was supposed to be a pretty straightforward up/down decision. Preordained or not we've got to now scrutinize and make sense of such huge discrepancy if there's to be any path forward, because up/down is now clear as mud.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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First accusations of books-cooking get lobbed at East-West from Western MA advocates, who have as much a problem with the mysteriously lowered ridership projections as the newly inflated costs.

 

F-Line to Dudley

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Help me out here transit gurus. Springfield's about 100 miles away from Boston. From reading one of the articles the trains can top out between 60-75 mph along the route. That means at worse the train should get to SPG in an hour and a half. What's up with the extra 45-60 minutes? Is it making stops along the way (which I'm not sure I understand why - is there really demand for SPG to WOR)? Also, what's up with the 2 billion bucks? Isn't Amtrak already making the same trip along the same line, so aside from the cost of operating the trains due to the new service what else is included in there?
We don't have the published study yet to make any sense of what metrics they did use, so how they arrived at these big fat conclusions of way-low ridership + longer travel times + $800M cost inflation over the equivalent NNEIRI-studied alt. is a giant mystery. One that is stirring up all the right suspicions of fingers being pressed firmly on the scale to affect a desired outcome.

Right now all we have is the NNEIRI publications to go by. The important differences with that study is that it was based around ConnDOT's and VTrans' involvement with the 8 daily Inland Route BOS-SPG-NHV/etc. round-trips, the existing once daily Vermonter/Montrealer round-trip coordinated with Inland Route slots to provide Worcester/Boston patrons with a timed cross-ticketed transfer for Montreal, and the additional new once daily Boston-Montreal round-trip reciprocally coordinated with an Inland cross-tix transfer for New York/Connecticut patrons. East-West made no assumptions of any involvement from other states, including the 8-per-day Inlands with all their load-bearing Connecticut ridership. That right there is a jarring change affecting the whole game for top-level ridership. No Inland Route schedule coordination means all Connecticut-originating transfer traffic for the Lake Shore Ltd. or Pittsfield traffic is immediately off the table, as well as all ridership between Worcester/Boston and CT city pairs. While we must wait for the published study to get any rationale for that decision, it is baffling on its face to make that exclusion when CT is the most enthusiastic backer of the Inland Route with the most top-line ridership to contribute of any interested partner (and paid for a metric shitload of Springfield Line upgrades in large part because it wants those 8 Inlands slots so bad). Springfield Hub doesn't work on its face without quantifying demand from the south, and the value proposition for linear cross-state service is severely weakened if the Springfield Hub linchpin is severely discounted by the base study metrics. Right there you've got a giant methodology flaw vs. the study that preceded it by barely 4 years, and questions about whether it was an intentional move to tie one hand behind East-West's back by pretending Connecticut isn't a really fucking big driver.

These strange methodology assumptions also have serious impact on bottom-line operating costs, as all NNEIRI services involving CT as a prerequisite would've used Amtrak-New Haven yard + shops as their equipment home base since that is where the Springfield Shuttles are serviced and where the longstanding electric-diesel loco swap lives. Massachusetts has no native AMTK equipment base, as Southampton Yard in Boston is only large enough to be tasked with strict turnaround duties on NE Regional and Acela trains + a crowded overnight shift of storage and next-service-day shop work. For example, Downeaster equipment is all triaged out of Albany Shops and shuffled in/out of New England on the back of the Lake Shore Ltd. because Southampton doesn't have the shop bandwidth for that. Excluding Connecticut means an artificial assumption must be made of completely new homegrown equipment base capacity being built into the capital and operating costs. Which makes no sense on its face when following real-world demand for Springfield Hub bullseyes Connecticut as such a strong gravity well, where New Haven Shops are conveniently already there (with slack capacity to offer because starting 20 years ago engine swaps and NHV-terminating runs were pared enormously back to just the Shuttles, Vermonter, and Springfield Regionals with completion of the Boston electrification and the axe falling on the original Inland schedules).

How they managed to take the same B&A ROW topography and come up with slower travel times than NNEIRI at twice the cost in track work is equally a mystery, as NNEIRI performed an entire Tier 1 EIS for on-the-ground touches like curve-easings and whatnot for its Preferred Alt. Keep in mind that NNEIRI's $1.2B top price tag for its Preferred Alt. also included ALL track upgrades on the Conn River Line and Central Vermont Mainline for the Montreal legs of Springfield Hub as part of its total package. B&A-solo upgrades for just the Inland Route were only 60% of that total, and fully factored as a scaled-back Alternative that omitted Springfield-Greenfield + Vermont for now. And despite that cheaper option being fully factored, it did not get endorsed because the full Preferred Alt. that treated the north leg of SPG Hub was deemed high-enough upside to go for. East-West somehow arrived at an $800M higher price tag with absolute zero consideration for the 245 track miles between Springfield and St. Albans, VT...but still managed to find nearly $1-1/2 billion in cost increases on the B&A alone. On a slower BOS-SPG trip.

To say that makes no sense would be the understatement of the year. Either they uncovered some absolutely collossal fuck-up in the NNEIRI Tier 1 EIS's methodology on track speeds through the Worcester Hills, or East-West's methodology is total junk and packed with overspend constituencies that don't jibe with actual recent spent similar projects like AMTK/ConnDOT's Springfield Line upgrades. Whopper doesn't begin to describe the discrepancy they need to explain away in the final E-W publication.

Furthermore, the NNEIRI Preferred Alt. was also served up in terms of some track upgrades that did not make the cut for service starts--like Class 5/90 MPH track between Palmer and Springfield (seen as surplus-to-requirement for getting the thing initially seeded)--being able to be accommodated as future on-the-fly adds once service was established and actual demand was on more solid ground for weighing above-and-beyond investments. East-West, by necessity of having to reach way back to revisit long-rejected and impractical reaches like the full-on $25B Pittsfield HSR nonstarter, chunked out its Alts. more monolithically by nature. While we need to see the full text of it to be sure, it does not appear from the PowerPoints that it's served up with the kind of flexibility to factor costs of going back in Year 8-12 of exploding Inland ridership growth and doing the additional 90 MPH upgrade layer. Value proposition gets negatively impacted by a presentation of less flexibility to pay-as-you-go or crank up the scale as future demand warrants. Now keep in mind NNEIRI still projects faster than East-West despite intentionally leaving some slack on the table like that 90 MPH trans-Wilbraham stretch to backfill later...and E-W is not saying much of anything about what is possible to chunk out on the installment plan if this strangely inflated $2B baseline is too big an initial swallow. Take all that with the omission of Connecticut demand, cost-reducing partnerships with the two neighboring states off SPG Hub, and so on. Inflexibility seems to be an end to itself.


Again...we have to allow some wiggle room for the full published study to explain itself before totally rejecting it as an intentionally crippled waste of taxpayer money seemingly designed to do nothing except troll the very comprehensive and even-handed study that preceded it (which SHOULD, if our Legislative leadership gave a flying fuck, be more than enough to get Pollack hauled in to be grilled in hearings for wasting MassDOT money on score-settling). But it'll have to be one hell of a good and comprehensive explanation to cover what gigantic whoppers scream out here in the initial conclusions. Odds are overwhelming that the study premise is not going to wash with any plausible honesty.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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BTW...if you want some light weekend reading, here's the complete document dump for NNEIRI. It's fascinatingly comprehensive, and the Executive Summary is a nicely concise Cliffs Notes read for bottom-lining the value proposition of BOS-SPG feeding an enriched Springfield Hub of Inlands and northern hook-ins. Though Pittsfield and Albany are not specifically treated, it's also self-evident where the western plug-ins to SPG Hub like the extant Lake Shore Ltd. get a major strength-in-numbers boost of their value propositions from all that ties into the Springfield nerve center.

Executive Summary (final, 2016): https://www.mass.gov/doc/summary-document/download
Inland Route Service Development Plan (final, 2016): https://web.archive.org/web/20161210060938/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/NNEIRI_InlandRoute_SDP_Accessible.pdf
Boston-Montreal Service Development Plan (final, 2016): https://web.archive.org/web/20160728121002/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/NNEIRI_BostontoMontrealRoute_SDP.pdf

Tier 1 EIS full text report (final, 2016): https://web.archive.org/web/20160728121217/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/NNEIRI_TIER1_EA_6-13-16.pdf
Tier 1 EIS Appendices, pt. 2 (final, 2016; 170 pages...maps/diagrams and technical memorandums): https://www.mass.gov/doc/nneiri-nepa-appendix-vol-01/download
Tier 1 EIS Appendices, pt. 2 (final, 2016; 53 pages...property evaluations): https://www.mass.gov/doc/nneiri-nepa-appendix-vol-02/download

Initial Scope of Work, pt. 1 (kick-off plan, 2013): https://web.archive.org/web/20151210065440/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/ProjectWorkPlan(NNEIRI)_June_21_2013.pdf
Initial Scope of Work, pt. 2 (stakeholder involvement plan, 2013): https://web.archive.org/web/20150928095022/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/AgencyandStakeholderInvolvementPlan10-31-13-FINAL.pdf
Existing Conditions Assessment (2014): https://web.archive.org/web/20151210065925/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/2014_Jan_ExistingConditionsAssessmentReport.pdf
Station Site Assessment (existing station evals + Palmer infill materials, 2014): https://web.archive.org/web/20151210065940/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/2014April 29_StationAssessment.pdf
Performance Evaluation (initial service Alts. screening, ridership & schedule, 2014): https://web.archive.org/web/20170105085026/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/39/Docs/ServiceLeveland_April 22_2014_small.pdf

Archived Project Page (incl. all MA public meeting slides, 2013-16): https://web.archive.org/web/20170106024324/http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/northernnewenglandrail/Documents.aspx


Strangely, MassDOT has taken everything except the Exec. Summary and EIS appendices down from its site. The rest is mirrored with ConnDOT, VTrans, the Feds, and various MPO websites in the study area but you've got to Wayback Machine it to get MassDOT's once very comprehensive project page. Lame.
 

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Not sure whether to put this here or in the Crazy Transit Pitches thread, but there is an unofficial "Alternative 7" being promoted by somebody.


Essentially they argue for a mostly tunneled ROW, using boring technology (is this backed by Elon Musk?). There point is that it provides a level grade and fairly straight route without expensive land acquisition (the tunnels would be under the Pike and Route 9 for the most part). Clearly tunneling is much more expensive than laying track on virgin land, but we don't have any free land, especially not free and useful land. I'm curious how much that savings could mitigate against the direct tunneling costs. Still, though, probably a crazy pitch.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Not sure whether to put this here or in the Crazy Transit Pitches thread, but there is an unofficial "Alternative 7" being promoted by somebody.


Essentially they argue for a mostly tunneled ROW, using boring technology (is this backed by Elon Musk?). There point is that it provides a level grade and fairly straight route without expensive land acquisition (the tunnels would be under the Pike and Route 9 for the most part). Clearly tunneling is much more expensive than laying track on virgin land, but we don't have any free land, especially not free and useful land. I'm curious how much that savings could mitigate against the direct tunneling costs. Still, though, probably a crazy pitch.
I give the guy credit for having nice HTML skillz with that website's design, because otherwise that's the crackpottiest crock I've ever heard. There is no "new" Jetsons Shit tunneling tech. Even St. Elon's vaporware cure-all that tops out at sedan dimensions is just a rented old beater TBM machine he picked up from some foreign water project. There is nothing fucking new there, and you are still bound by geology on whether your "hammer" of a TBM has enough nails to pound in the available terrain. Twin 40-mile bores in a glacial rubble field of Worcester Hills and the downslope end of the Berkshires? For cheaper??? Sure, dude, whatever.

If web design tracked 1:1 with the strength of the content this would be a GeoCities page encoded in all- blink tags.
 

Semass

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Regarding the route and ridership of the East West. Why wouldn't they include a station stop in Westfield, a city of over 40,000 people? It looks like almost an hour by bus but it only 10 miles away.
 

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