MBTA Construction Projects

F-Line to Dudley

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From a RR.net spotter on an Orange Line train. . .

Yard 21 freight tracks Sullivan-Assembly are still an active work site. Ballasting and tamping going on today.

Assembly runaround, near end of track.



Note retaining wall re-topped with patch.


Track installation still going on near Sullivan. . .
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Gloucester Drawbridge replacement work churning along, with staging work underway for over a year now. Google satellite now shows the temp construction platform with cranes in place on the north side, single-tracking, demolished outbound-track approach on the east side, and freshly-scraped sand on the east bank. Permits apps out for the underwater portion that involves dredging and widening the channel, which is the crucial step before they can actually start the half-and-half construction of the new span as all the utility relocation happens on the post-widened footprint.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The Keolis work extra was parked by the jointed rail pile and tie pile at the end of business yesterday with 5 flatcars to transport more material for Yard 21 Track 2 rail laying south of Sullivan. That is most likely going to be today's work area readily viewable from Orange Line inbound.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Welp...this was apparently unplanned this early in the game, but under-construction Gloucester Draw suffered some major failure forcing Rockport Line service to start short-turning at West Gloucester immediately and indefinitely. Gloucester and Rockport Stations are potentially going to be cut off from the world via shuttle bus for quite awhile, and much sooner than anticipated as regular weekday service was to be maintained until much much deeper into the project. Per a couple posts up from a week ago they just got permitting to start working the underside for channel dredging and utility relocation, so no parts of the new bridge have been poured and the old moving span still had many more months before it was touched by any advancing construction.

I wonder what happened.
 

BeeLine

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The Keolis work extra was parked by the jointed rail pile and tie pile at the end of business yesterday with 5 flatcars to transport more material for Yard 21 Track 2 rail laying south of Sullivan. That is most likely going to be today's work area readily viewable from Orange Line inbound.
Looking South from Sullivan area.
IMG_3489 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr

Looking North towards Sullivan OL station.
IMG_3488 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr

IMG_3340 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr

Lookuing North towards Assembly OL station.
IMG_3492 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr

Looking South fro Assembly OL platform.
IMG_3539 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr

IMG_3540 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Franklin Line Positive Train Control installation wrapped as of Friday.
This would mean that Track 2 Walpole-Norfolk is now in-service, because that was contingent on retirement of the old wayside signals and activation of the new cab signals before the new signal towers controlling the new DT's interlockings went active.

For anyone who rides the Franklin Line, you'll know if cab signals are now running the show if the following signal heads have been bagged, turned away from the ROW, and/or (eventually) outright removed:
That's because with these signal blocks now auto-enforcing train speeds and stops from the engineer's console there's no need to have the redundant wayside signal lights. So just like the Needham Line a few months ago which lost 4 sets of signal lights when its new cab signals turned on, there's a reduction in the amount of field hardware required. Interlockings are still backed up with signal lights so there's an extra safety layer in event of a mis-thrown automatic switch, so the whole cluster of signal heads by Readville + the ones south of the Norwood Central platforms + the ones bookending all sides of Walpole Jct. + the brand new lit-up tower at Norfolk at end of new double-track (to become a regular set of crossovers when DT Phase II to Franklin is complete) + entrance to Franklin layover + Franklin Jct. are still there. As is the always-on signal head abutting Forge Park station indicating the end of Milford Branch signalized territory (similar warning indicators exist at Needham Heights, Stoughton, and Middleboro stations indicating that continuing territory and/or the tail storage before end-of-track resides in dark territory).
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Lookuing North towards Assembly OL station.
IMG_3492 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr
As explainer, this is the "runaround" switch for freight locos to change ends of their train. BO-1 is the Pan Am job that usually handles Everett and Peabody (sometimes there's a supplemental BO-2 if they're particularly busy), originating via the Lowell Line. The train will pull forward on one of these tracks (doesn't matter which one), then de-couple the leading locomotives. The locos will pass through this switch onto the single track, then reverse back over the switch onto the open second track and pass their set-off freight consist. That's called "running around the train". The length of single track from the switch to the Assembly bumper is long enough so a 3-loco lashup can comfortably pry off and reverse in tandem.

Most freight locos--but especially the ones assigned to local jobs--are double-ended and can run either in the cab-forward position like a passenger train or in reverse "nose forward" (a.k.a. "butt forward"). In reverse there's a rear-facing engineer control stand and rear windows on either side of the narrowed engine room enclosure for visibility...with 2nd crewmember stationed at the opposite window to help out with the primary engineer's slightly compromised binocular vision. Example from a Pan Am GP40. . .

Cab forward (normal running):


Same unit, "butt forward" (note rear-facing window on crew door and outdoor catwalk so 2nd crewmember can go outside for closer look and walkie-talkie w/engineer at other rear window)


(The T's GP40MC's, owing to their previous lives as freight power, were built exactly the same as this pictured PAR GP40-2 unit...only the rear control stands were deactivated when they were converted to passenger power in the mid-90's.) So after running around and passing their train the freed locos, running "butt-forward", will go about doing any other misc. business while they're in-town...often blocking or prying off some more cars from the other side of the freight car lash-up with shoving moves from the Charlestown end. And if they have to change facing directions to run cab-forward for the next job they'll make a trip around the wye behind BET (limited-visibility "butt forward" entails speed restrictions on mainline track and thus isn't great for running longish distances, so they will wye back to cab-forward at earliest possible convenience). When it's time to pick up their parked freight train and leave they'll back onto the tracks, couple at the opposite (Charlestown) end that they came in, and pull the train forward to get out.

How Pan Am directionally manages Yard 21 setoffs depends on which legs of the round-trip (inbound/outbound 495-Somerville, inbound/outbound Everett/Peabody-Somerville...and combinations therein) they're using it most often as a parking spot. The single "Valley Track" wrap-around off the Lowell Line around the backside of BET--which will be disconnected/reconnected several times during GLX construction but ultimately retained when all is said and done--is long enough to temp-park a 90+ car freight car consist between passenger congestion. So if PAR is running on-time they should be able to scoot back out to 495-land grabbing the next opportune slot without needing to can their freight train overnight at Yard 21 or park it 6+ hours between crew shifts (where they'd need to get off the Valley Track so T/Amtrak have enough maneuvering room behind BET). The problem is that PAR never bloody runs on-time because "slop ops" is a way of life for their adorably half-assed corporate culture, so on current schedule margins (or lackthereof) they're going to need Yard 21 a real lot now that GLX has torn out all the Yard 8 tracks that used to split off the Valley Track on the west side of BET.


What's surprising is that I don't see any hand-throw crossovers going in at midpoint intervals on Yard 21. If they were doing switching activity (breaking apart/combining strings of freight cars onsite in addition to just parking) like they did in Yard 8 the long linear double-track with single runaround switch at Assembly isn't nearly enough capacity for them to work with. One track would have to be kept clear 100% of the time for running around the locos, which hamstrings their storage capacity bigtime. Breaking up the track length at third- or quarter-points with crossovers would give them multiple points for running around or accessing freight cars for switching, and allow them to chunk out portions of the 2nd track for straight-up storage instead of having to keep it always clear. I'm guessing (because it doesn't take a lot of guesswork with PAR) that they just forgot to put in the request for midpoint switches when the T gave them the up/down vote on the track schematic and they're just going to pull a giant "Oops!" when they start using it and find out the capacity of this layout is way lower than what they need. No biggie...they can splice in a switch on their own time for a few grand in one afternoon. But nothing would be more quintessentially Pan Am than totally spazzing on this consideration until after all the freebie work they were gifted was already finished. :rolleyes:
 

ceo

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Some mainline railroads (Norfolk Southern was one, I think) used to run long hood forward (I like "butt-forward better) on mainline track by default, I think for crew safety in collisions. For that matter, a lot of early diesel locomotives had a full-height short hood, which I never understood... huh, Wikipedia claims it was to avoid union conflicts, by requiring two crewmen for visibility.
 

GP40MC

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Some corrections here: The Valley Track has changed locations twice over the last forty years. When I started, the Valley Track was located behind the old Boston Engine Terminal between Third Ave and old Tower H. When the old BET was demolished and replaced, a new through track (from FX/3rd Ave to Tower A) was built and renamed the Valley Track ( and it still is today). This is not a freight track although you will see PAR's local power spotted at the 3rd Avenue due to the track work related to Yard 21 & FX Interlocking.

I suspect the so-called "wrap-around track" you are thinking of is the former Willey Track which started up at Washington St, went down through old Yard 8, down behind BET to Third Ave/FX. The Willey is now
gone and is never coming back. Recent trackwork at Third Ave due to the Yard 21/GLX MW facility work has eliminated that connection. Track was severed last year. The remaining freight/MBTA tracks between
BET and the new GLX facility are down to three...the two "Conrail" west/east tracks and the 4th Iron, which are through tracks between Third Ave and Swift (Grand Jct/Fitchburg mainline).

As far as crossovers go, there is still a handthrow crossover down at the start of the Yard 21 tracks - a former power crossover part of FX. PAR freights coming down the New Hampshire Route mainline will either
come into Tower A or go done the newly rebuilt Yard 10 lead from Washington Street down to the top of wye at Innerbelt Road. Kind of messy considering it has two grade crossings smack in the middle.


[/QUOTE]
 

Arlington

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^ Are any of these "GLX" or is this a "all except GLX" list?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Not sure how RL floating slab schedule could get tanked by COVID...that isn't even an outside-contractor job, and work windows have never been more flexible. Unless supply chain for delivery of the slabs themselves is screwed up???


And if "single-level coaches" are on-time, that's one snail's-walk of a schedule they're on. 20 MBB coaches in-storage being minimally refreshed for service to span a scant 3 more years until the full order of Rotem supplemental bi-levels arrive, and only the South Coast Rail adwrap car--which went back in-service 2 months ago--has yet come back from the program. I mean, they did a real nice job on returnee #520; those trailers were heavily vandalized and had major signs of rodent infestation from nearly 5 years parked in Rochester via a ghastly 'before' pics tour circulated last Fall. But they didn't even re-apolster the shot seatbacks, so minimalist band-aid is the name of the game. Kawasaki's been sustaining far brisker pace on the full-on 20-year life extension overhauls of the 700-series bi-levels than MBB reactivation contractor Kinki-Sharyo has been doing with the duct tape rolls and fresh paint on these pieces of junk. Unless this was such a lowballed contract that terms are literally "last in priority line over all other contracted work" this is a pace that'll barely get all the reactivations done before the first Rotem flex-order pilots start immediately retiring them for-good in about 22 months.
 

millerm277

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Not sure how RL floating slab schedule could get tanked by COVID...that isn't even an outside-contractor job, and work windows have never been more flexible. Unless supply chain for delivery of the slabs themselves is screwed up???
Tight workspace making work much slower if they're trying to maintain some sort of social distancing/limiting number of people working in close proximity to each other in a semi-indoor environment?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Tight workspace making work much slower if they're trying to maintain some sort of social distancing/limiting number of people working in close proximity to each other in a semi-indoor environment?
I doubt it. All manner of night trackwork would be falling way behind if that were the case. Specialized machinery does most of the individual slab work with most assigned crew being watchers on the perimeter who then take turns on individual close looks checking their assigned fittings. It's slow because they physically jack the welded rail off the ground and suspend it midair while working individual slab by individual slab, but it's not particularly hands-on in nature because of the machinery involved.
 

Jahvon09

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From NErail today...pilings poured (in various states of progress) for the new Chelsea CR high platforms. I guess the old box factory is literally going to frame the inbound-side platform barrier.

Is Pan Am a train service now?! Hah!!
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Is Pan Am a train service now?! Hah!!
Yes. Their owner bought the old airline's logo and IP in the early-00's. The RR's name, Guilford Rail System, was so toxic in industry rep that he changed it to Pan Am in 2006 to cover up 25 years of bad publicity. I think the irony of the great Pan Am name being appropriated for a backwards-run railroad was totally lost on them.

He also briefly tried to fly a luxury regional luxury airliner under that name very unsuccessfully for a couple of years (after the RR was renamed) before scuttling it.
 

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