Regional Rail (RUR) & North-South Rail Link (NSRL)

Arlington

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Holy schmokes. Dare I hope that this might actually happen?
I suspect that by picking Option 6, what we'll actually get is Option 5½ . Where:

Option 6 = Full electric & 15min headways everywhere
Option 5 = 15 min & electric inside 128 (similar to Vision 2024 DMU plan) with 30 minute service elsewhere

But Option 5½ would get you something better than :30 but not quite :15 (call it :20) service to key stations like Lowell-Anderson & Worcester-Framingham & Fitchburg-Littleton

Rail-Vision-Options-1-thru-6-2019-Oct-23.PNG
 

Equilibria

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I agree and my bias shows in that, as Moderator renaming this thread, could not bring myself to insert the "Urban" into Regional Rail, but still, in the interests of search-and-find, think that people are going to be searching for RUR and NSRL. And the act of renaming (away from Commuter Rail and toward something that evokes an all-day mode), was a pretty big political shift and victory for TransitMatters, even if the actual branding sucks.

ArchBoston, and Railroad.net have used RER as shorthand-brand until now. RER is a French (originally Parisian) acronym Réseau Express Régional (transliterates as Network Express Regional or Regional Express Network), and is not particularly catchy either though transit nerds know *exactly* what is meant by it.

London calls their (rough) equivalent the London Overground to stress that it has subway-like operations, but is surface rail.

If we wanted to Backronym RER to mean Regional Electric Rail, that'd be OK by me.
The easy one is "Regional Express" or REX, since when paired with the agency you get T-REX. I believe that one is already used in Denver, but who cares?

Montreal is building out a system like this and went with "Exo" in the end, though that replaced a not bad REM (it's much easier to say than RUR). This is more about serving the interior than the exterior, but a similar non-acronymic name like "HubLink" could work, as London does with "Overground" and "Crossrail".

And of course, you could still call the whole thing the "Indigo Line".

FWIW, I've never understood how they use "RER" in Paris, since with the French pronunciations of the letters it is a very hard acronym to pronounce: "Airh-UH-Airh". I actually avoid using it in conversation because it's a so painful to say it. However corny-American our pronunciation sounds, "Arr-EE-Arr" is much easier on the mouth.
 
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Arlington

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I hope this does not preclude BLX to Lynn. I think there is still plenty of density and demand for the heavy rail and its ~5 minute headways.
I think think that BLX will be seen as the locally-justified project that it is, particularly when:
1) Suffolk Downs TOD gets loaded on (and isn't easy via RUR)
2) Red-Blue gets connected & MGH & Kendall keep growing (and isn't easy via RUR)
3) Logan Terminal E (or a peoplemover) reaches the Blue Airport doorstep (and isn't easy via RUR)
4) Lynn becomes a clear RUR-bus hub (with fewer buses going onward to Boston)
5) Wonderland makes and interesting-but-too-far to schlep every day RUR-to-BL connection
 
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tangent

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I hope this does not preclude BLX to Lynn. I think there is still plenty of density and demand for the heavy rail and its ~5 minute headways.
It certainly doesn't preclude people talking about Blue Line extension to Lynn for the next 30 years. Either way it isn't happening. And I seriously hope nobody spends money on another "study".
 

tangent

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I suspect that by picking Option 6, what we'll actually get is Option 5½ . Where:

Option 6 = Full electric & 15min headways everywhere
Option 5 = 15 min & electric inside 128 (similar to Vision 2024 DMU plan) with 30 minute service elsewhere

But Option 5½ would get you something better than :30 but not quite :15 (call it :20) service to key stations like Lowell-Anderson & Worcester-Framingham & Fitchburg-Littleton

View attachment 1092

Waiting for electrification seems like another kick the can down the road plan.
 

HenryAlan

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I hope this does not preclude BLX to Lynn. I think there is still plenty of density and demand for the heavy rail and its ~5 minute headways.
Yeah, Lynn doesn't seem like an either/or, as both are needed. Compare that to say, the Needham Line's catchment, which could be well served by either RER or rapid transit extensions.
 

Equilibria

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Yeah, Lynn doesn't seem like an either/or, as both are needed. Compare that to say, the Needham Line's catchment, which could be well served by either RER or rapid transit extensions.
And they may get both. Let this be a lesson to every town in the Boston area: make a lot of noise. Both Somerville and Lynn have had outspoken mayors bulldoze the MBTA's priorities-setting process under the FMCB.
 

Riverside

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“RER” is indeed ridiculous to say aloud in French. However, I really like the idea of backronyming it to “Regional Electric Rail.”

“T-REX” is fun, but 1) is already attached to a vaguely similar plan in NYC and 2) obviously connotes “dinosaur”, which may not be what the T wants to frame a modernization effort as.
 

Arlington

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And they may get both. Let this be a lesson to every town in the Boston area: make a lot of noise. Both Somerville and Lynn have had outspoken mayors bulldoze the MBTA's priorities-setting process under the FMCB.
It seems completely appropriate: if you have a voter-dense area that currently uses buses, and in unanimous in favor of rail that they should go to the head of the list, particularly if willing to densify/TOD around stations.

Far better to use Lynn and Somerville as models of "pull" than to re-run the Greenbush "pushback" playbook of having to bribe (with a tunnel) and area to take $500m of rail tha tthey then don't use.
 

jass

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Forget T-Rex.

Call it the Lobster Express.

No one said it had to make sense (see Charlie Card).
 

HenryAlan

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“RER” is indeed ridiculous to say aloud in French. However, I really like the idea of backronyming it to “Regional Electric Rail.”
And just imagine the promotional video, to the tune of electric slide: RER -- it's electric!
 

Equilibria

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It seems completely appropriate: if you have a voter-dense area that currently uses buses, and in unanimous in favor of rail that they should go to the head of the list, particularly if willing to densify/TOD around stations.

Far better to use Lynn and Somerville as models of "pull" than to re-run the Greenbush "pushback" playbook of having to bribe (with a tunnel) and area to take $500m of rail tha tthey then don't use.
That's fine when it's Somerville and Lynn doing it... what if Scituate or Dover (or New Bedford/Fall River) did it next? The discussion has been full of comments from people in Worcester and Providence asking to be first in line for 15-minute service.
 

George_Apley

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I hope this does not preclude BLX to Lynn. I think there is still plenty of density and demand for the heavy rail and its ~5 minute headways.
That's going to be the next big advocacy fight. There's nothing politicians and bureaucrats love more than "either/or" solutions rather than "both/and", and RER+BLX is certainly a BOTH/AND solution to North Shore commute patterns.
 

George_Apley

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That's fine when it's Somerville and Lynn doing it... what if Scituate or Dover (or New Bedford/Fall River) did it next? The discussion has been full of comments from people in Worcester and Providence asking to be first in line for 15-minute service.
They don't have the constituent base that metro-Boston cities do. There's a big difference between Somerville and Lynn pushing the MBTA to *meet service demands* compared to Scituate asking for high levels of service that aren't currently warranted by demand. I know you were just spitballing an example, but the idea of Dover loudly demanding frequent rail service is laughable seeing as they killed off any possible extension Needham Line years ago. Needham btw will never get RER-frequency trips because of NEC traffic loads. If Needham, Dover, etc. aren't careful, their advocacy will get Needham Line split between a GLX and an OLX. More frequent service! Definitely a longer trip for Needham riders through Newton and Back Bay/Fenway though.
 

whighlander

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I agree and my bias shows in that, as Moderator renaming this thread, could not bring myself to insert the "Urban" into Regional Rail, but still, in the interests of search-and-find, think that people are going to be searching for RUR and NSRL. And the act of renaming (away from Commuter Rail and toward something that evokes an all-day mode), was a pretty big political shift and victory for TransitMatters, even if the actual branding sucks.

ArchBoston, and Railroad.net have used RER as shorthand-brand until now. RER is a French (originally Parisian) acronym Réseau Express Régional (transliterates as Network Express Regional or Regional Express Network), and is not particularly catchy either though transit nerds know *exactly* what is meant by it.

London calls their (rough) equivalent the London Overground to stress that it has subway-like operations, but is surface rail.

If we wanted to Backronym RER to mean Regional Electric Rail, that'd be OK by me.
Auf Deutch
S-Bahn though some might expect the Green Line @ BU to be a part of it

But being a bit more serious -- the Urban part is important to the electrification story -- you just can't justify spending the amount of money it takes to electrify the rail network to the NH border and Worcester at this time

Maybe after a decade of experience and understanding of the cost / benefits these boundaries can be extended -- BUT for now we are talking connecting the core to established cities which can serve a extra-room for Boston / Cambridge

even the fiction of reverse commutes is mostly fiction -- there only for political reasons
 

Arlington

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Waiting for electrification seems like another kick the can down the road plan.
How so?

"Down the road" was always going to include BOTH a 20 year fleet-replacement cycle AND a yards-and-shops upgrade AND a level-boarding platforms/clearances project

We can't get to level boarding and single-level EMUs all that quickly, and we can't string wire all that quickly.

Moving "down the road" is going to require a phased implementation. F-Line and FMCB each have their engineering-or-political reasons why they choose the phases they do, but everybody agrees (don't we?) that it is all going to happen about 1-line-at-a-time.

Electrification starts with the north Providence yard and EMU rolling stock for the Providence Line, and immediately frees up a whole bunch of Krotems.

Hopefully the pace will represent enough new capacity that the Krotems can be redeployed into (Northside) lines and yards that are ready for more-frequent but not-quite-EMU-endgame frequency.
 

Java King

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“RER” is indeed ridiculous to say aloud in French. However, I really like the idea of backronyming it to “Regional Electric Rail.”

“T-REX” is fun, but 1) is already attached to a vaguely similar plan in NYC and 2) obviously connotes “dinosaur”, which may not be what the T wants to frame a modernization effort as.
I like the Melbourne terminology of Metro Rail for close to the city and Regional Rail for further out.
https://regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au/

RRR is nice with "Regional Rail Revival" message.
 

Java King

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The single-tracked sections of the Old Colony Lines through Dorchester and Quincy are likely to blame.
I don't doubt this at all, and I'm sure that's the pinch point. However, I don't like when the current report states that Old Colony service is 30 minutes peak and 60 minutes off-peak and no changes would be made. To me, that's just dead wrong. We don't have 60 minute off-peak service by a LONG shot.
 

Tallguy

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Arlington -- some won't like this but here's the bottom line as I see this:

Suffolk Downs [formerly Amazonia] -- which while it has issues -- really has amazing potential for development along the Blue Line -- it could be more with better interface to the other lines

As for the rest of the near-by undeveloped or under developed areas:
Lynn, Chelsea and Everett are primed for reconquesta [in a good way]
These places are close to the core, have been cities for a long time and so have city like features [including a lot of nice old houses] some nice parks and Lynn even has its own harbor and shoreline [plus Nahant as a State run beach]
They have fallen from being industrial hotspots of the late 19th through mid 20th C and now are underutilized -- none of them will ever be Kendall's or even Seaports -- but they could very well become Alewife's or Assembly's -- and become heavy on middle income home owners
What they lack is what an EMU-based rail can deliver -- prompt, easy connectivity to the core -- and importantly easy access to Logan if the Blue to RER easy connection [i.e. moving sidewalk] is made at Wonderland - the connectivity to Kendall and the Seaport can be really enhanced through either a DTX HUB or Red-Blue @ Charles / MGH

This kind of investment in transportation will enable another couple of decades of Boston / Cambridge core growth because the folks to populate the next gen of Amazon's , Googles, Akamai's , etc., will be able to find reasonably affordable housing with good access and relatively short reliable commutes

As for Salem and Newburyport -- that's a vestige of the era when the Finance People all lived on the North Shore and commuted via North Station to State Street -- I don't see future Googlers hanging out with the Gov.

Worcester is still too far to support 15 minute frequencies. Plymouth has a lot of land -- but it lacks any infrastructure and has a small town vibe

However -- Framingham as a newly minted and developable city [with huge growth potential being both on the Turnpike and ideally located on Rt-9 between Rt-128 and I-495 is on the fringe of the critical distance -- perhaps circa 2035

The other one that could benefit from EMU high frequency service is of course Waltham -- but there are issues with where the business and people are located and where the stations are located

I think the rest is just feel good stuff from Aiello and probably Pollack

The one really key essential link is from MIT-ish to Lechmere and ultimately North Station [west station on the other end eventually] -- whether via a reborn Grand Junction or something else along that general right of way -- it should be implemented by a dedicated bus now and later converted to something more robust
So, I think that the North Station mantra is shorthand for GL/OL access and CR. Fitch burg Line access for Kendall is of course, Porter, with the possibility of squeezing some kind of multmodal station at Twin City. OL/CR northbound access happens with GL to Sullivan cheap UR extension through the GL yard. GJ GL to Lechmere gives you OL southbound @NS or Haymarket. GJ by CR is just too difficult. You can't depress it, you can't raise it.(except at Mass Ave)
Putting railway gates at Main and Binney is a serious non-starter. GL leaves a MUCH smaller footprint on the area.
 

Tallguy

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They don't have the constituent base that metro-Boston cities do. There's a big difference between Somerville and Lynn pushing the MBTA to *meet service demands* compared to Scituate asking for high levels of service that aren't currently warranted by demand. I know you were just spitballing an example, but the idea of Dover loudly demanding frequent rail service is laughable seeing as they killed off any possible extension Needham Line years ago. Needham btw will never get RER-frequency trips because of NEC traffic loads. If Needham, Dover, etc. aren't careful, their advocacy will get Needham Line split between a GLX and an OLX. More frequent service! Definitely a longer trip for Needham riders through Newton and Back Bay/Fenway though.
Needham GL with Type 10s should make it to Park in the same time from Needham Center, less time than CR from Heights
 

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