MBTA Construction Projects

Wash

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
80
If they're doing all that, they might as well convert Porter Square to full high-level platforms while they're at it (presumably if the existing high-level segment on a curve doesn't mess with Porter's status as an emergency freight line, neither should anything else?)
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
If they're doing all that, they might as well convert Porter Square to full high-level platforms while they're at it (presumably if the existing high-level segment on a curve doesn't mess with Porter's status as an emergency freight line, neither should anything else?)
Porter wouldn't be a 100% in-situ raising because the rearmost tip underneath the Mass Ave. overhang is on the start of a curve. They'd have to shift about 50 ft. forward towards Beacon and away from the under- Mass Ave. slack to hit a regulation 800 ft. full-high, railing-off some old slack behind the egresses in the process. Then they have to widen the current easterly tip of the island + Beacon extension to 12 ft. wide per M.A.A.B. accessibility regs. Clearing out the derelict old station structures underneath the Somerville Ave. sidewalk actually aids in this future touch, because they'd have to slightly realign the approach tracks for the wider southern platform tip and the remanicured embankment serves up that shifting room.

I doubt cueing that up is going to be anyone's priority, because as long as Belmont + Waverly are deadlocked on designs for their ADA replacements (in large part because of the horrible, senselessly wasteful "switchbacks in the sky" prelim design for Waverly that was roundly rejected on public comment) they don't want to get slapped for over-prioritizing retouches to any already 100% ADA-compliant stations over taming the large backlog of 0%-compliant Fitchburg stations in the renovation queue. Fitchburg Line still being one of the more galling 'land of have-nots' outliers on systemwide non-compliance makes that a legitimate political sore spot. Realistically they've got to recover their fumble on Waverly to get the two Belmont stations cued up, then maybe knock off another easy/prefabbable one like Lincoln before any wiggle room opens up. And even then the M.A.A.B. might have strong preference for tackling 1-out-of-2 of high-ridership non-compliant Concord/West Concord (with legit hard historic buildings to design around) or safety-compromised non-compliant Ayer (because of the track crossings of a busy freight junction) before allowing any pure-enhancement renos to an already compliant stop like Porter.



EDIT: No freight considerations here. The whole reason the old Fitchburg Freight Cutoff existed until the 1980's Red Line construction is because Mass Ave. overpass was too low-clearance for most freight cars, so even back in the day there was virtually nothing passing on the mainline between the old yards at West Cambridge and Northpoint. The Lowell Line got re-cleared as the new perpetual clearance route in 1979 so B&M could sign away the Cutoff for the Red Line extension. The post-1984 replacement Mass Ave. bridge isn't as punitively underheight as before, but is still capped at a tight Plate C dimension (same as a Kawasaki/Rotem bi-level height + turning radius). Right now Inner Fitchburg is designated as Pan Am's #3 route into town after #1 Lowell and #2 Reading (Reading seeing temp burst of freight traffic around GLX construction disruptions). The only specialty it has is a bulletin order directing any overweight cars to go via Inner Fitchburg because Lowell + Reading bridges can't handle any cars heavier than 263,000 lbs...with stipulation that the alt-routed heavyweights be buffered by spacer cars because Inner Fitchburg isn't 100% restriction-free, either. No Boston-area customers take any heavyweight cars whatsoever, so freight through Porter is basically a 2-3x per year event...once per year mandatory so the lone Pan Am crew trained on the Inner Fitchburg can re-up their line qualifications, and any others almost always some special one-off materials order being delivered exclusively to the T's doorstep at BET. Industry standard is now 286,000 lb. railcars, with Lowell-Winchester being a betting-odds fed freight grant recipient in the next 5 years for upgrades of a couple weak small river bridges so the lucrative nightly freight to Tighe Warehouse in Winchester can increase its loading capacity. Winchester Ctr. viaduct is the one weakling limiting the route rest of the way to Boston, so once that interminably slow station reno project wraps the Fitchburg weight bulletin will probably get sunset and redirect over to Lowell.
 
Last edited:

Top