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

jklo

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I mostly disagree with the premise of this article. What GBA needs is more good quality, dense housing in the Core; and Anti-NIMBY laws to go with it, to ensure they actually get built. I'd like to see Red-Blue get done and some electrifciation (with something Indigoish), but some of the ideas were just silly.

BLX for instance, I don't think is necessary with the CR being there already. Could use electrification to Salem.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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BLX for instance, I don't think is necessary with the CR being there already. Could use electrification to Salem.
This could not be further from the truth.

1. Primary ridership demand driving BLX is distributed amongst trips between North Shore buses, Lynn, Revere, and Eastie...not to Chelsea and North Station at the exclusion of the others. Commuter rail doesn't and never has gone where these folks need to go, so the BLX mobility problem is not solved by improvements to commuter rail. That's a separate audience.

2. The North Shore bus system out of Lynn terminal is completely broken by the absence of a rapid transit transfer and the need to send all Lynn-terminating buses on super-extended runs to Wonderland or downtown at Haymarket and South Station. This deprives Lynn terminal of bus equipment and gaps out the headways of the entire North Shore because of the equipment imbalance it creates...a problem which is worsening with traffic on the only 2 roads loading south out of Lynn. Even the routes that just loop at Wonderland are getting bogged down on 1A/107 trying to get there. Last-mile transit on the North Shore is going to suffer until the terminal can start acting like a real terminal re-feeding completed runs right back out as new local frequencies. Simply building better or relocated facilities won't do it, because a one-way drain is a one-way drain. Increased commuter rail frequencies are not going to solve this problem because the bus siphon to Wonderland will still be in effect, Blue being where most North Shore residents need to go as per #1. This will keep getting worse with time, even if some of the Haymarket/SS thru-runs end up getting trimmed from the impossibility of dealing any further with tunnel traffic.

3. RER to Salem is going to be capped on growth if you can't unbottle the local bus frequencies from their equipment drain. Salem itself is a mini-hub in its own right, but because it's dependent on Lynn and Lynn is stripped of its equipment cycling by the broken transfers the frequencies are pathetic up there. RER creates new dependencies on better last-mile transit, and Salem hub is one of the areas that'll have to deliver that. So it is critical for Urban Rail's growth that you build BLX and take the handicap off North Shore buses, otherwise you're depriving that region of the missing piece that lets their commutes go car-free.


Everyone has tried to come up with excuses for substituting BLX with tarted-up commuter rail over the years. None of those--more Purple Line service, build a CR station across the street from Wonderland, nip/tuck some more around the bus problem--have proven anywhere near adequate to begin to address the demand skew of the region or the multimodal considerations of covering the last mile. Even top-level pols aren't as pretending as much as they used to that this one can be substituted by any other half-measures that would have any chance at successfully getting people out of their cars. You have to have a fully-functioning Yellow Line for that to happen...and the only way for that to happen is to bring Blue up to the place where Yellow diverges across the North Shore. Northside RER is held back too if it doesn't happen, so "go big or go home" absolutely does have to start with BLX as a key plank.
 

Arlington

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I think Red-Blue connector and Suffolk Downs emerging as a employment center will make it even clearer that BLX is needed.

Also where do Airport employees live these days? As inner places go upscale, Lynn would be a good place for Airport employees to live
 

Vagabond

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Aloisi and Rosenberg urge "go big or go home" on RER, Red-Blue, and Amtrak Inland service...poke holes in Baker/Pollack's stalling-by-incrementalism.

Its rare for that website to get so many comments - even Aloisi chimed back in. Their resident troll Dr Ed is riling everybody up.

Going back to the environmental benefits of a Regional Rail system... you should play with the data tool that they NYT just put up. The emissions rates from buildings and electricity generation are dropping out the bottom, but transportation emissions are still growing and getting attention especially around urban metros that regional rail systems would help alleviate. There is likely to be a focused effort, starting at the city+state level, and then likely the federal level to address this.
 
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tysmith95

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I know the green line would present difficulties, but Government Center/City Hall would be a perfect spot for a Central Station headhouse.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I know the green line would present difficulties, but Government Center/City Hall would be a perfect spot for a Central Station headhouse.
The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket.
The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket.
The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket.
The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket.
The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket.
The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket.

Rinse/repeat however long it takes for that to sink in. We do NOT need a high-concept terminal redesign. City Hall, multi-line transfers, bus terminals...it's already provisioned if you build the best-studied, highest-capacity, least-compromised NSRL alignment. The *only* thing Central Station has going for it is a (vertically-constrained) Blue Line connection if that is deemed a must-have for the price. But if it is not must-have at the price. . .

The North Station headhouse on the CA/T alignment is 1 block from Haymarket. Forever and ever. . .
 

MBTAddict

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I've been out of the loop on this for a while. The current proposal is about changes to the existing system to make it operate better - is there anyone discussing expansions to the commuter rail/regional rail system? Or is the hope that electrification/more trains/better headways get at most of the need? I'm really thinking about being able to move around the periphery of the metro area - to be able to do on a train what 95/128 do via car.
 

ulrichomega

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I've been out of the loop on this for a while. The current proposal is about changes to the existing system to make it operate better - is there anyone discussing expansions to the commuter rail/regional rail system? Or is the hope that electrification/more trains/better headways get at most of the need? I'm really thinking about being able to move around the periphery of the metro area - to be able to do on a train what 95/128 do via car.
The only real expansion on the table right now (other than the Foxboro pilot) is South Coast Rail, and maybe whispered rumors of a Haverhill extension to something near Rosemont. The various proposals for the vision plan have either accomplishing Phase 1 (via Middleboro) or Phase 2 (via Stoughton) as requirements. I don't think anyone, anywhere, has talked about a circular rail route similar to 128. The hope is that increased frequencies mean that travel between different lines becomes far simpler, and therefore you can move between different areas more easily.

So, yes, the plan is to spend billions of dollars to optimize and transform an existing system, not make it meaningfully bigger. And it's absolutely worth it. Except maybe some implementation details of which major infrastructure projects to do.
 

bigeman312

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It's also important to note that Alternative 6 includes the North-South Rail Link which is an expansion, in a way, and would accomplish some of what MBTAddict suggests.

While suburb-to-suburb travel isn't the primary goal of a N-S Rail Link, it would provide a one-seat ride between communities that previously lacked such a connection.

Alternative 6 would certainly make rail travel between places outside of 128 much more competitive with driving than it is today. Trips like those between Beverly and Framingham, Salem and Worcester, Norwood and Lowell, Woburn and Providence, and others of that sort will become much improved with a N-S Rail Link.
 

datadyne007

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I've been out of the loop on this for a while. The current proposal is about changes to the existing system to make it operate better - is there anyone discussing expansions to the commuter rail/regional rail system? Or is the hope that electrification/more trains/better headways get at most of the need? I'm really thinking about being able to move around the periphery of the metro area - to be able to do on a train what 95/128 do via car.
Not officially from the State. It's been hard enough just to get them to electrification and better frequencies. The key to our Regional Rail concept is a phased approach and doing what is feasible now, in the midterm and future.

Our original Regional Rail report had a throwaway image in the back on page 35 which had a potential expanded network with extensions (dotted) and infill (blue circle) but it was totally unexplained, done by one of our technical committee members and put there (by me) to fill a blank page:

In our line-by-line appendices, we are also explaining infill and expansions. We'll be rolling out those as a package probably early next year.

Both reports are available here: https://transitmatters.org/regional-rail
1572359497768.png
 

tysmith95

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Not officially from the State. It's been hard enough just to get them to electrification and better frequencies. The key to our Regional Rail concept is a phased approach and doing what is feasible now, in the midterm and future.

Our original Regional Rail report had a throwaway image in the back on page 35 which had a potential expanded network with extensions (dotted) and infill (blue circle) but it was totally unexplained, done by one of our technical committee members and put there (by me) to fill a blank page:

In our line-by-line appendices, we are also explaining infill and expansions. We'll be rolling out those as a package probably early next year.

Both reports are available here: https://transitmatters.org/regional-rail
View attachment 953
Where it says to Exeter and Maine, that's already served by Amtrak.

Also where it says to Kingston, Westerly, and Connecticut is served by the Northeast Corridor. It makes no sense to expand the MBTA further that way, as Kingston is already too far for large quantities of ridership.
 

sneijder

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I don't think anyone, anywhere, has talked about a circular rail route similar to 128.
It's been mentioned on this thread a while back.. I believe the main issue is density around the 128 ring which is dominated by office parks and parking lots. Most riders would have last-mile problems on both ends of the trip.
 

jass

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I think the only "new" track that makes sense is restoring service to Woburn and having that been the terminus for rapid inner area service.

Expanding service a bit west of Worcester could make sense as a mini-Worcester commuter rail network to spur investment. IE, like those trains that run exclusively in RI to serve Providence.

Lexington Line should be reactivated, but as a subway, as originally planned as a Red Line extension
 

bigeman312

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I think the only "new" track that makes sense is restoring service to Woburn and having that been the terminus for rapid inner area service.
By that same token, wouldn't restoring service to Riverside and having that be the terminus for rapid inner area service similarly make sense?
 

tysmith95

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Lexington Line should be reactivated, but as a subway, as originally planned as a Red Line extension
I don't see this happening, that bike path is way too popular.

I think the Lowell should be extended to Nashua, but those tracks already exist as freight tracks.
 

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