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

F-Line to Dudley

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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.
There's no need to. The Walpole Jct. northbound wye switch for freights is barely 1500 ft. south of tunnel, which itself is less than 200 ft. long. Diverging traffic is sorting itself in this span, so a gauntlet is 2 interlockings too many for such a very short stretch and would serve nothing but to slow everything down. No traffic whatsoever will ever be inconvenienced by such an incredibly short length of single.

Is that an old '60's GP38?

Widen that bleeping bridge/tunnel relic. Jesus Christ/

It's historic...oldest RR tunnel in Massachusetts, dating to original 1848 Norfolk County RR construction and last modified after the Civil War. Probably the second-oldest surviving in-use RR structure in the state period after Canton Viaduct. No way are you touching that, and (as ^above^) there's zero reason to. As long as the freights stay centered under the arch this one is probably also OK as-is for electrification, too.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Although it would certainly be a complicated and expensive project, has there been any progress at all regarding rebuilding Walpole station?
No...nothing started at so much as the conceptual level because it's such a high-difficulty one, and because Town of Walpole tends to be very hostile to deal with on any sort of community input process so it figures to be slow/painful going anyway. Franklin Station was first on the list of priority ADA jobs on the Franklin Line, as knocking out commuter rail's #3 highest-ridership non-ADA stop (Walpole being #2 and to-be-ADA'd Natick #1) would take some pressure off.

Unfortunately there are very few possibilities that would keep the historic old station depot building in-use. The current platform pinned in by the Foxboro wye is only 4 cars long, the depot is massed up against the tracks preventing a full-high interface with the building, and mini-highs at either end wouldn't work because of building interference or interference with the wye track's clearance envelope. So the only ways to ADA it in place end up shortening the platform to 3 cars by either backing away from the building or the wye. Plus the current location cannot serve both Forge Park and Foxboro directions at once, with the depot parking lot grade crossing making any offset Foxboro platforms just as hopelessly short.

The only way to effectively do this is move the whole station away from the depot and re-center it over Elm St. Widen the double-track bridges over Elm and the Neponset River to quad-track equivalents by eating the side path to the depot building. The widening, which just eats a couple trees between the main station parking lot, allows for a full-high island platform bookending 2 mainline tracks and the northbound freight wye turnout running extra to the side. As a full-regulation 800-footer the platform would run approximately from the corner of the International Paper Building (about where the "T" sign is on the side path in Street View) to a point about 6 parking spaces back from the rear corner of the main lot. Primary egress would be under the Elm bridge on a widened sidewalk, with secondary up-and-over egress possible from the back of the main lot and/or the back of the CVS plaza on the corner of East & Main. Trailing crossover tied into the Foxboro wye switch would allow access to/from Foxboro from either side of the island. And the single-track switch coming out of the downtown tunnel south portal would divide into 3 for turning out Framingham freights on the northbound wye ahead of the station as well as let passenger trains pick either side of the island.

That's probably the most service-robust way to do it, and other than some fairly trivial EIS'ing at the Neponset crossing adjacent to Elm it affects basically nothing with the surroundings. It's a highish price tag relative to other station accessibility projects because the bridge mods are significant and the ADA entrance at Elm may need to include an elevator if ramp interface ends up being difficult (though you should have ample room for a switchback sticking off the southerly tip of the platform). But given that the stop does nearly 1000 daily boardings and would explode in a big way with RUR service levels and new bus routes feeding it from the north out of Medfield/Millis the budget is right in-line with what you'd expect for a showcase-ridership stop. However, any which way expect Town of Walpole to be utterly infuriating to work with and reject nearly anything presented to them on first look...even the stuff that's unequivocally good for them. It'll be howls of bloody murder that the depot building can't continue being 'the' train station, even with that being more or less physically impossible. They own it and have no shortage of re-use opportunities with it being a stone's throw away from the new stop...but the T is almost going to have to outwait their demands of the physically impossible before they calm down enough to bargain on anything. I wouldn't call it NIMBY per se since they're pro-transit, but local attitudes trend to shrill irrationality in a very NIMBY-like way so that's the primary impediment to getting something done.
 
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anthtucker312

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Franklin Station was first on the list of priority ADA jobs on the Franklin Line, as knocking out commuter rail's #3 highest-ridership non-ADA stop (Walpole being #2 and to-be-ADA'd Natick #1) would take some pressure off.
How would the historic building at Franklin/Dean affect the layout of the station if it were to be upgraded to ADA standards?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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How would the historic building at Franklin/Dean affect the layout of the station if it were to be upgraded to ADA standards?
Probably not because it's set way back from the platform. Platform was extended to >12 ft. width over former Track 2, and the original southbound platform was wide to begin with. You could graft a ramp-down interface to the depot from a full-high without much trouble.



At Walpole the platform is under the literal depot overhang instead of well in front of it, so there's no such space allowances for playing around.


Note that Norfolk thru Forge Park are not a freight clearance route, so no passing tricks are needed down there. The CSX Plate F high-and-wide exemption runs from Walpole Jct. northbound wye switch to Readville Yard switch, through the Fairmount Line Readville platform (but not the Forge Park/NEC-turnout Readville platform). Walpole's rebuild would seek to avoid engaging the clearance route by having the freight wye track turn out ahead of the platform on a short stretch of paralleling third track. The Readville Fairmount Line platform will eventually be relocated off the single-track Fairmount-Franklin connector and the clearance route by moving ~200 ft. north behind the "Readville Upper" interlocking switches, where freights would turn out onto the yard lead ahead of an occupied platform and switches would be aligned so Fairmount trains can access either the Franklin Line or NEC from its new platform position.

So it's Endicott, Dedham Corporate, Islington, Norwood Depot, Norwood Central, and Windsor Gardens that would eventually need the bag of freight passer tricks to go full-high, or else they'd be subject to Mass Architectural Board mini-high exemptions like Andover and Ballardvale are getting for their second platforms. Though CSX very rarely brings any high-and-wide loads to Readville, the Worcester Line/Beacon Park bundle of deals guarantees them a perpetual Plate F clearance route from Framingham to Readville in perpetuity, so they will demand the fullest protection from the T if/when those stations are touched (i.e. real passing infrastructure, not just automatic stop-and-protect + 10 MPH speed restriction to crawl the rare high-and-wide load through).
 

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