Not a Brahmin
- Jan 22, 2012
- Reaction score
Are we doing this in this thread too? Blowing up Boston's transit environment by *getting rid of* North Station is Design a Better Boston fodder.
Who says Jacobs' land is even *mostly* over RR tracks like the 100% stilts job at South Station? Look at the slabs in question on Google, bisected by the cutting Leverett ramps. NS ≠ SS by a million degrees.Building over a railroad tracks is MUCH more expensive than building on open land. That is what held up South Station and the air rights over the Pike. My suggestion of eliminating North Station also eliminates the cost of building over the tracks, and makes the land more valuable .
Tunnel stations would be constructed as such:So North Station surface stays. As for its theoretical future best configuration and how many platforms it requires, I leave that to F-Line and engineers that know a lot more about this than I do. (All of this, BTW, is also why a 4-track tunnel would conceptually be better than a 2-track tunnel ... the latter is inherently brittle even WITH ample short-turn provision on both ends).
Wouldn't work. The grades on 93 are too steep and meandering for rail. Drive it NB and see how right at the bottom of the incline you've got the curve + sudden upslope after the first merge. That's a definite no-go for rail grades.Crazy transit pitch: put I-93 through downtown on a diet, have trains run through that tunnel.
I still think they'd be making their lives easier if they just straight-up recapped the T's RFI responses instead of clinging to abstractia. 6 responses, 3 flats & 3 bi's. 2 of the 3 flats respondants (Rotem and CRRC) are ineligible for federal funding because of either inability to meet Buy America domestic assembly or federal trade sanctions. Ergo, on the procurement process weights with overwhelming odds to a bi-level pick. Bam...nice, clean, and real-world rooted. You don't have any stray tangents open that way (since they cited no dissatisfaction with any of the T's RFI specs as if that would make any other applicable vendors gun-shy about bidding). Therefore a simple "...and this is what the market has said it will bear for the timing" is bulleted right up-front as a major driver of the implementation plan.TransitMatters has released their commentary on the MBTA EMU RFI responses.
Overall, I think it's a nice little explainer piece that could be helpful for laypeople to demystify the procurement process a bit.
I am glad to see more openness to bi-levels in this document. I don't deny that singles are better in many situations, and that it's easy to overlook the impact of dwell times on the rider user experience while being distracted by the larger capacity -- this does tie back to the general mindshift away from "run bigger/longer trains" toward "run more trains a lot more frequently". I'm glad that TM has brought that consideration to the table. But, compared to the other battles that need to be fought, I do not think single-levels are a hill worth dying on.
Right...still utterly incoherent on its face. How is there a "justice" mandate for electric when 100% of the baseline headway -providing schedule is still diesel. If electrics are simply above-and-beyonds to the same-old Rockburyport diesels (which, make no mistake, can make the reference schedule during a bridge era)...then when do we see the share of the pie actually quantified in shares between the :30 Newburyport diesels, :30 Rockport diesels, and ??? Beverly short-turn electrics. The "justice" & priority value proposition is completely and totally contingent on hanging real numbers on those shares. Let's see those numbers at long last before continuing to assume that this is as utmost a Phase I priority as advertised. And then...after showing those electric vs. diesel share numbers...explain how the Beverly mandate triumphs over the more brittle traffic situation they engage by passing up their Salem throttles, engaging the swing bridge with its big seasonal swings in utilization, and fitting a layover yard that last mention said was going to be on the opposite side of all bottlenecks (i.e. south of tunnel portal) requiring re-engaging of all said brittleness on purely deadhead moves.I'm still concerned about the implicit vision for the Eastern Route. This new post reiterates the idea that the route would be electrified to Beverly, with short-turn EMU service terminating there, and diesel push-pull services continuing out to Newburyport and Rockport. And the whole goal of this proposal is to bring 15-minute-or-better headways to communities like Beverly, Salem, and Lynn.
Sooo if electric vs diesel weren't a factor, the easy way to achieve that goal would be to run 30-minute headways on each of the branches, which would combine at Beverly to provide 15-minute headways to the south.
. . .
Maybe more indicative of they're now struggling with whether the bold initial "mandate" statement on the Eastern is implementable in the real-world as a first priority. But as I noted with the very academic non-citation of market forces on the vehicle purchase, maybe also an internal struggle to let go of the reference-whitepaper world and acknowledge that we are to some nascent degree already real-world underway here where adjusting to outside realities IS the only "world practice" that matters. Let's face it...it's way easier to write a convincing manifesto than it is to implement one. So what happens when somebody takes your new world order and says "Sure, I'll buy that...now show me how it's done." You're not living amongst the safety of "theory" anymore, that's for damn sure.I'm not trying to be negative here. I recognize the benefits of folding Beverly into a string of North Shore gateway cities alongside Lynn (and Salem). And in general, the Eastern Route hits all of the remaining gateway cities in within 128 that lack rapid rail transit: Everett, Chelsea, Lynn, Salem (and potentially Peabody), so there are good reasons to target it for electrification.
But the vision here is unclear and I worry that exposes it to stonewalling.
As above, I think they've mostly got this answer in reach (though way moreso on the vehicular realities than their northside priority picks)...but there's some apparent hesitancy to give up the safety of the abstract for the game of adjustments that is real implementation. Not necessarily worrisome as this is a maximally stressful point in time for TM needing to multitask while recovering from self-inflicted stumbles on what has--frankly--been a 2020 chock full of unforced errors and inadequate self-checking by their 'manifesto'-writing arm. What we're seeing now is pretty much the definition of learning how to swim for-real by getting chucked in the deep end.And -- not for nothing -- but this question is not a trivial one. By TM's own admission, bi-levels would indeed be effective on the Providence/Stoughton, Lowell, and Framingham/Worcester Lines. The only two cases they specify as better fits are the Fairmount... and the Eastern Route. But if the Eastern Route is going to be saddled with 50% diesel push-pulls, then that's going to put a definite limit on the impact that single-levels would have -- you're simply not going to get that near-rapid-transit experience. So, if that means the only place where singles are better is Fairmount, then it's probably better off to just go with the bi-levels for now.
As I say -- I think that single-levels are not the hill worth dying on.
I wonder if it has something to do with them not wanting to back or advocate for BLX-Lynn. I got into it with Ari on Twitter about BLX vs Urban Rail. He's very dug into the "UR makes BLX moot" position.This is second 'official' statement on the Eastern's über priority. This substantive proving can't still be left to "That Be Dragons" imagination. We're being told this is a higher priority than other options that do have their build/ops details nailed down with certitude. Certitude's now required here. Fill in the detail...now.
if both branches of Rockport/newburyport are electrified, and a line to Peabody is electrified splitting off Salem tunnel, will the inner portions of this line ever see less-than-15-minute headways? Assuming the grade crossings in Chelsea/Everett are eliminated, would it be realistic to get 10 or 7.5 min headways at Chelsea station, for example?
Correct and correct. Tri-branch line would be :30 + :30 + :30 layered on top (regardless of power source), though in that case you would probably see *some* skip-stoppage by the long-haul schedules for the sake of incentivizing better end-to-end travel times to 495-land. So, for example, Riverworks (or Lynnport, per that apartment developer's public-private scheme to redev it) probably is only going to be featured on 2 of 3 schedules...and Salem State U. only featured on 2 of 3 schedules. And any other infills like a reanimated East Lynn stop, or even Swampscott because it's of considerably less importance than the flagship Chelsea-Lynn-Salem trio. So you may see genuine sub-:15 headways as the Big 3 monster stops with all the bus transfers...but a looser :30 + :30 = straight-:15 at the other inner intermediates.^ In short, yes, you could make that kind of thing happen, but that pre-supposes electrifying Rockport and Newburyport all the way out to the boonies, which is explicitly not on the table for the TransitMatters proposal.
Whelp, that explains "Zombie Wonderland's" inclusion. Good God...what bullheaded stubborness. Even the pols are getting wise to the fact that they serve DIVERGENTLY different travel patterns.I wonder if it has something to do with them not wanting to back or advocate for BLX-Lynn. I got into it with Ari on Twitter about BLX vs Urban Rail. He's very dug into the "UR makes BLX moot" position.
I'm convinced that BLX would just be NIMBY'd, even if you somehow got the EPA to approve of laying new track in a marsh. Not to mention it would be extremely expensive. EMUs is more realistic and would be a nice win.I wonder if it has something to do with them not wanting to back or advocate for BLX-Lynn. I got into it with Ari on Twitter about BLX vs Urban Rail. He's very dug into the "UR makes BLX moot" position.
Well...Reading electrification starts begging the questions "why not Orange"? Granted...I think the self-containedness of the infrastructure running a solo :15 service while thru Haverhill runs are booted back to the NH Main justifies the wire-up now because there really isn't much in the way of other upgrading to square. The "whither Orange" debate, which TM is definitely clued in on, looms larger when NSRL enters the picture more seriously and you have to start hashing out a map where the inner Western Route does a very poor/systemwide-gimp job at absorbing a pair matching without lots more upgrading.I wonder if TransitMatters sees coalition-building benefits to a Phase 1B to Beverly. The original proposal for electrification several months ago only ran to Lynn. Operationally, that still would have encountered a number of similar issues to the present proposal -- you still ultimately will have 4 diesel trains per hour going into the Boston. But, given that a Lynn-Chelsea-North Station-Chelsea-Lynn round trip can be completed in 1 hour (with turning time), it would only take four EMU sets to bolster those frequencies from Lynn into actual rapid transit frequencies. So, depending on the size of the EMU order, it may be that much easier to get to "Mission Accomplished" of some sort with Lynn.
But like I mentioned earlier, that whole corridor is very attractive. Maybe there are non-trivial inside-baseball benefits to getting Salem and Beverly onboard too.
I don't know. Purely from an ops perspective (and an armchair ops perspective at that), it would seem to me to make the most sense to electrify Reading first: reroute the Haverhills over the Wildcat, which can then give you 15-minutes-or-better within 128 on the Lowell Line; use EMUs for the short-turn service to Reading, which is an ideal target for EMUs given the shockingly close stop spacing; and redistribute the Reading diesel sets onto the Fitchburg and Eastern Routes to bulk up frequencies, especially on short-turn service within 128. As F-Line mentioned, it is possible to get 15-minute headways between Beverly and Boston on diesel rolling stock, no question about it.
But... compared to the Eastern Route, the Reading Line serves smaller sleepy suburbs which are generally more affluent. Hell, Lynn alone has more residents than Melrose, Wakefield and Reading combined. Justifying to the public and politicians alike why Reading is a better candidate for electrification is a tall order, especially if we are leaning into the heuristic that "electrification = better service in all cases".
Yes. The only viable application for commuter dual-modes is an unventilated tunnel. Meaning: NJT, Metro North, and LIRR...no one else. And Exo Montreal is no longer a member of that club anymore since the Mt. Royal Tunnel was (somewhat biz-dubiously) sold to that private firm for LRT conversion with electric service now officially ended on their CR network. Absent the tunnel prereq where duals are still the most practical means to an end despite the premiums they are overweight/inefficient pigs by design, and the need to deal with compromised prime movers to work full-capability diesel mode in one frame usually means the fuel and emissions efficiency sucks pales compared to a conventional diesel. NJT's ALP-45DP's are pretty slick bastards in E-mode, but their dual gensets guzzle fuel like drunken sailors in diesel mode. NJT's very heavy investment in equal-mode capable duals like that thus immediately begs the question: when are they going to electrify more of the North Jersey Coast Line and Morris & Essex Lines to tame those $$$-suck diesel miles? Half-and-half territory is really inefficient for them without any plans on the books to plug some more unwired gaps on those lines. And their ops practices have been extra-super sloppy with the duals being equal-opportunity Hoboken vs. Penn assignees when a straight-diesel would literally cost less than a half-wire schedule beginning/ending outdoors @ Hoboken. While duals are more numerous in Europe and especially in the U.K., they aren't exactly "smart" practice there either sans the unventilated tunnel prereq. In the UK they're kind of the hacky political solution for the diesel branches still being the third-class have-nots of Network Rail, not an application born of much ops efficiency.TransitMatters tosses cold water on the idea of dual-mode locomotives by comparing the cost of individual locomotives to the cost of electrifying north of Beverly. But if we need to go with an incremental approach to northside electrification, then I think it's not so obvious.
By who? I don't think a couple blocks of Revere homeowners have that kind of political clout and there's certainly no one with a reason to oppose it on the Lynn side.I'm convinced that BLX would just be NIMBY'd, even if you somehow got the EPA to approve of laying new track in a marsh. Not to mention it would be extremely expensive. EMUs is more realistic and would be a nice win.
Won't take a gander at the NIMBY question, because until there's a study where you're actually interfacing with Revere community for fresh input that's but a wild guess. It's been a pretty long time since their opinion was last half-seriously sampled on the matter.I'm convinced that BLX would just be NIMBY'd, even if you somehow got the EPA to approve of laying new track in a marsh. Not to mention it would be extremely expensive. EMUs is more realistic and would be a nice win.