MBTA Commuter Rail (Operations, Keolis, & Short Term)

F-Line to Dudley

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Presumably if GJ is kept it will be double tracked all the way.
Irrelevant what the mainline track layout is. The crossovers at West allow either northside or southside trains to access any of the platform tracks and switch-off assignments accordingly during any headway gap. All other stations on the line--but especially to Auburndale where the densest service overlap is--are 2 platform tracks max, setting a (very high but finite) service limiter. Anything running thru from the Grand Junction to Auburndale or further slots in with the B&A main's capacity limit set by the 2-platform stations, so traffic separation is not required at West when any one open platform is fair game for joining service flanks there. There are also no HSR considerations where an extremely large speed differential between Amtrak and T equipment would necessitate intercity vs. local platform separation a la the NEC approaches to a fully expanded-out 128 station.

And for a Grand Junction dinky shuttle, platform reverses most of the time will happen sooner than the next headway needs the platform. The only reason Readville on the Fairmount Line needs to be doubled-up with a relocated 2-track platform is so thru-service Franklin/Foxboro trains that are/will be interlining there have an open platform while any shuttle train is reversing. Shuttle train vs. shuttle train won't get in each other's way because the reverse maneuver doesn't overspill the next headway. But that's doubly moot at West because the adjacent yard means reversing shuttle trains don't have to take up platform time at all for the ends change; they can/will pull ahead into the yard turnout to do that, leaving the platform free-and-clear for anyone on the next slot. Even when the T inevitably trades out the rest of the layover in a Harvard land deal, simply keeping a length of turnout track beyond the platform allows the ends-change to happen out of the way exactly the same.


In short, there is not a single regular-service situation you can feed into a train simulator and come up with any scenario where >3 platforms would ever be occupied at once, even if you saturated service levels on BOTH southside and northside flanks to their uppermost limits. The variables simply don't exist to make a 4-way platform meet happen on that track layout, because the availability of those pick-'yer-platform crossovers on the station approach affords too much above-and-beyond capacity. As is, you'll almost never have a real 3-way meet to photo-op at that stop because of the built-in flex for headways to bob-and-weave their platform assignments around each other. And that's before we even get to the elephant in the room of the Grand Junction being such a born capacity gimp (because of its northside, not southside, merge) that traffic modeling is almost certainly going to have to slash back max allowable service. Even if you can fit 15 min. dinky headways by the skin of your teeth, there'd be no capacity leftover for interlining. So why is it being given co-equal platform capacity to the southside flank that can send an enormous layer cake of Riverside short-turns, Framingham locals, Worcester semi-locals, Worcester semi-expresses, Amtrak Inlands, and possible Northborough branch service on 2 Back Bay-Auburndale platform tracks??? That doesn't wash.

Fuck...you're not even taking those superfluous RR platforms off for Urban Ring the way the track layout locks them onto the RR side. You're building the LRT platforms over where the busway is, probably on slack land retained on the side of the incredible shrinking layover yard. This render can't even physically serve as future-proofing design for that.


Take all this, then ask why is this design predicating itself on traffic modeling that does not and cannot exist in the real world? When the modeling above-and-beyond what exists is the sum total of the cost blowout of being forced hell or high water to stack the busway on a deck. The difference between this arbitrary choice of 4-track station and a more compact 3-track station that's already above-and-beyond the capacity of all you can conceivably pass through there is the difference between having to do the cost-blowout stacked decking for the busway vs. having enough additional side room to ramp down a busway to ground level at fraction of the cost. Somebody needs to explain why it...must...be that we're nearly doubling the construction cost with a decking scheme that serves no known service capacity requirement at no known space deficiency vs. what more compact configuration would suit the fully-known service capacity ceiling. I mean, we're not in early prelim design phase here. This shit has been chewed on conceptually for enough years now that basic-ass considerations like "How many platforms?" should've been completely fleshed-out and final by now. Either the contractor took naivety about the world outside the project-area slab and instructions that "this is a showcase station!" to utterly stupid extreme in a total contextual vacuum or this is exactly the kind of cost blowout an Admin. that barely conceals how much it wants to punt this build off past 2040 would love to see manufactured as evidence for the big punt. Stupidity or kabuki dance: take your pick. Either way taxpayers are being played for fools thinking this is what they need to shell out for to have any service at all, much less all the service they could ever hope for.

The planning brainfreeze that's afflicting every cog of the Pike Realignment/Beacon Park Redev is beyond infurating. And it's spreading like wildfire to all the moving cogs just as we're supposed to be locking all final plans down to be shovel-ready. This all is turning into an evolving disaster.
 
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jklo

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Somebody needs to explain why it...must...be that we're nearly doubling the construction cost with a decking scheme that serves no known service capacity requirement
Harvard presumably wants subway levels of service from WS to NS. The actual particulars I don't think they care about.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Harvard presumably wants subway levels of service from WS to NS. The actual particulars I don't think they care about.
Good. They should take the marbles out of their mouths and learn how to pronounce "Urban Ring" in proper Queen's English. Then plug that phrase into the end of the sentence where they say "Make it so" while hand-waving in MassDOT's general direction. The 'particulars' of how they get subway-level service gift-wrapped to their doorstep don't need to be spelled out to them in any great detail when Captain Obvious can tell in his sleep you ain't getting any of that through a dinky on the RR mode where the Grand Junction is a born cripple. Harvard should be pulling a "WTF is this over-expensive shit?!?!" at this superflous quad CR platform stack-a-thon render, too, just on gut revulsion.

They want subway-level service? Delete the completely unnecessary Track 4 platform, get the width-pinched busway off the stilts, and bank the bigger space savings at ground level to the side where it's fungible for both BRT/LRT Ring platforms and a local Yellow Line route busway. Scribble in Crimson crayon "SUBWY SRVZ GOS HRE!!" for the suits too busy counting up future-years endowment totals to pay attention. When the alternative is Baker/Pollack telling them "This is too expensive, so we're going to delay it till past-2040 with barely-concealed glee", I think the message has no trouble getting across loud and clear to the very shortest Big U attention spans.
 

Riverside

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Every time I look at the MBTA shuttles page it gets worse. Night and weekend Braintree branch shuttling for most of this spring... https://mbta.com/diversions/red-line

View attachment 3218View attachment 3219
Lifting from another thread. It looks like coming construction work may put the presumably-little-used-by-passenger-rail southeast leg of the wye to Greenbush into temporary service, given that they are running Greenbush trains from Braintree.

Unless they plan to do a reverse move north of the wye... boy I hope not...
 

anthtucker312

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Will phase 2 of the Franklin line double track project include an additional platform at Norfolk?
 

HelloBostonHi

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Will phase 2 of the Franklin line double track project include an additional platform at Norfolk?
Design for the "Norfolk station improvements project" is listed on the MBTA bidding site for September 2020. They really can't build one new platform without rebuilding it all to be ADA compliant.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Will phase 2 of the Franklin line double track project include an additional platform at Norfolk?
Unclear. If the ultimate configuration is going to have Norfolk bookended by leading and trailing crossovers they'd be able to omit the station-proper for now, throw down single-track switches at each new interlocking, and come back to finish the length of rail through the station later on a separate station project to minimize the bureaucracy. If the signal work is all done up-front the missing length of station DT is a trivial add. Zero detail has been provided about the Norfolk Station Improvements Project, and zero mentioned in any of the local papers. The existing mini-high is already 800 ft. and ADA-compliant so if they're targeting parking, wayfinding, info signage, etc.--anything other than the platform--with the upcoming Improvements Project there may be no platform touches whatsoever this time around.

They may also be wary of getting slapped by the Mass Architectural Board for touching fully-ADA Norfolk while the two higher-ridership adjacent stations Walpole and Franklin are still malingering at zero accessibility. Franklin in particular was supposed to be advanced into design years ago and has since disappeared off any priority lists. They may be bound to cueing something up there first, because when Phase III double-tracking Norwood Central to Walpole Tunnel starts they'll be forced to redo Windsor Gardens at ADA 2-track platforms and to finally jettison flag stop Plimptonville from schedules. No action by then on the two highest ridership non-accessible outliers will really get them in trouble, so they have to mind their sequencing.
 

mass88

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Is the plan to have the entire Franklin be double tracked? What other CR lines are completely double tracked?
 

HelloBostonHi

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Is the plan to have the entire Franklin be double tracked? What other CR lines are completely double tracked?
Yes that is the plan in three phases, currently double are Providence, Fairmount, Worcester, Lowell and Fitchburg off the top of my head although I may have missed some.
 
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anthtucker312

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Yes that is the plan in three phases, currently double are Providence, Fairmount, Worcester, Haverhill, Lowell and Fitchburg off the top of my head although I may have missed some.
The entire Franklin line won't be double tracked, the end of the line between Franklin/Dean and Forge Park will remain single tracked.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Haverhill has tons of single track.
Looking at satellite imagery of the whole line there's only a few very short sections of it being single track that I see but maybe I'm missing something... It's almost all double...
 

stefal

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Looking at satellite imagery of the whole line there's only a few very short sections of it being single track that I see but maybe I'm missing something... It's almost all double...
A very large portion is single track. As you depart Boston, much of that is single track, I believe, and then the stretch between Reading and Ballardvale is entirely single track. After Ballardvale a huge portion of what you may be seeing as two tracks via satellite imagery is actually single, most of the other track is dead/inactive.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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A very large portion is single track. As you depart Boston, much of that is single track, I believe, and then the stretch between Reading and Ballardvale is entirely single track. After Ballardvale a huge portion of what you may be seeing as two tracks via satellite imagery is actually single, most of the other track is dead/inactive.
In maintenance parlance the Reading Line south of Wilmington Jct. (half-and-half double) is considered separate from the outer half (mostly double) because of presence vs. non-presence of Downeaster and freight co-tenants and past + future-RUR precedent of Reading and Haverhill being indeed separate schedules.
 

tysmith95

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Andover and Lawrence do have 2 tracks but only one platform, making it a de facto single track for commuter rail ops.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Andover and Lawrence do have 2 tracks but only one platform, making it a de facto single track for commuter rail ops.
Andover is getting its second platform as soon as the town DPW yard next door completes its planned relocation. Much-delayed at town level so no construction timetable, but agreements have been signed. It will be a matching 800 ft. low platform w/ADA mini-high under Mass Architectural Board exemption, as there's no room for passing tracks and position abutting a grade crossing prevents installation of any freight gauntlet track.

Ballardvale currently has single-track switches at each end, as minor strip of land acqusition is required to double it up. Town is supposed to be helping with those negotiations, but unlike Andover which has locked-and-loaded plans Ballardvale is open-ended and lower priority. It likewise has a MAB exemption in-hand for matching mini-high because of same space crunch + abutting grade crossing factors that prevent doing Andover as full-high.

Lawrence is a least concern for now because only the T uses the platform track with Amtrak and freights passing on the other 2 tracks. No T stops get in the way of any adjacent headways or figure to through some considerable degree of schedule increases, and the completion of Andover's second platform takes some pressure off. If they ever need to there's room for pouring an opposite side platform.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The entire Franklin line won't be double tracked, the end of the line between Franklin/Dean and Forge Park will remain single tracked.
There will also be a short permanent stretch of single in Walpole through the downtown tunnel under 1A just north of the station. The mid-1870's construction tunnel has to stay single in order to center 17 ft. tall freight cars under its roof arch, because the sides of the arch are too low-clearance. The north portal traces the project limits of Phase III. Doubling up south portal through Walpole Station + Walpole Jct. is a wholly separate project contained in Walpole Station ADA rebuild and moving that platform a few feet north so it can be DT and accessible to both Forge Park and Foxboro service.


EDIT: Hard to believe they ever fit double-track through there to begin with, as it wasn't changed to single until WWII. Anyway, it's such a short length that it won't affect any schedule straight through to the hyper-densest RUR service imaginable...but obviously a necessary concession since it's just a wee too tight inside that 144-year-old tunnel.

 
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anthtucker312

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Doubling up south portal through Walpole Station + Walpole Jct. is a wholly separate project contained in Walpole Station ADA rebuild and moving that platform a few feet north so it can be DT and accessible to both Forge Park and Foxboro service.
Although it would certainly be a complicated and expensive project, has there been any progress at all regarding rebuilding Walpole station?
 

BostonBoy

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There will also be a short permanent stretch of single in Walpole through the downtown tunnel under 1A just north of the station. The mid-1870's construction tunnel has to stay single in order to center 17 ft. tall freight cars under its roof arch, because the sides of the arch are too low-clearance. The north portal traces the project limits of Phase III. Doubling up south portal through Walpole Station + Walpole Jct. is a wholly separate project contained in Walpole Station ADA rebuild and moving that platform a few feet north so it can be DT and accessible to both Forge Park and Foxboro service.


EDIT: Hard to believe they ever fit double-track through there to begin with, as it wasn't changed to single until WWII. Anyway, it's such a short length that it won't affect any schedule straight through to the hyper-densest RUR service imaginable...but obviously a necessary concession since it's just a wee too tight inside that 144-year-old tunnel.

I'm not sure of the dimensions but if Passenger equipment could clear that tunnel with two tracks you could build a gauntlet track through it to give freight trains clearance.
 

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