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

Brattle Loop

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Is that even possible on a CA/T alignment? The transfers would be absurd (not that they'd be short in any event with how deep the NSRL would be).

Also, unless the surface terminals get completely abandoned, not being able to connect from North Station on the surface to the NSRL without a transfer would be a heck of a kludge (and cue the self-interested outrage from Delaware North in 3...2...1).
 

BosMaineiac

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Is that even possible on a CA/T alignment? The transfers would be absurd (not that they'd be short in any event with how deep the NSRL would be).

Also, unless the surface terminals get completely abandoned, not being able to connect from North Station on the surface to the NSRL without a transfer would be a heck of a kludge (and cue the self-interested outrage from Delaware North in 3...2...1).
I think that two station solution (SS and Haymarket/State) would necessitate the South Congress or Pearl Congress alignment
 

RandomWalk

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That would make sense. Congress can only handle two tracks, right? Or am I confused on that one again?
And here I was thinking you were referring to the legislative body…

I can’t figure how a Congress alignment would work, unless you are running so deep that it surfaces out by JFK/UMass.
 

BosMaineiac

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I can’t figure how a Congress alignment would work, unless you are running so deep that it surfaces out by JFK/UMass.
The thing with a boring machine is that it goes through bedrock so there aren’t any concerns with building foundations. The last study found there’s enough space to get from the Back Bay portal to the Congress alignment, but the CA/T alignment was the only option with a South Bay portal.

The study was sandbagged of course so it’s possible a South Bay portal with a Congress alignment is feasible, but the CA/T alignment is far superior with the ability to have 4 tracks.
 

BeyondRevenue

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The ER tube should go across the harbor to the old E Boston ROW. An EW/NSRL, if you will (and the hate begins in 3...2....1😀
No hate. You mean a NS connector for everything except the Rockport/Newburyport Lines, right?
Those would cut south through Eastie from Revere/Wonderland IIRC from when you proposed this some time ago.
Upside: Quicker to get to SS from the North Shore.
Downside: No in-station transfers to the Green Line or Blue Line and everybody has to hoof it 3/4 mile more North if they work near Central Downtown, NS or beyond.
I'd still opt for the NSRL as proposed.
 

Koopzilla24

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And here I was thinking you were referring to the legislative body…

I can’t figure how a Congress alignment would work, unless you are running so deep that it surfaces out by JFK/UMass.
If my math is correct, at a 3% grade the portal would have to be at least between Cabot Yard and Widett Circle. That’s with a station depth of 135ft. Any deeper of a station and any shallower of a grade and you’re looking at a portal that would be at least at Andrew, so the Fairmount line could not connect.
 

ceo

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An under-harbor tunnel connecting from South Station to the Eastern ROW was actually the original plan, it's why South Station is located where it is. Which doesn't mean it's a good idea now.
 

ceo

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I've seen a proposal (probably here) for a NSRL North Station roughly between the Green/Orange North Station and Haymarket. So you could still connect to North Station proper (albeit with kind of a long walk) but be closer to downtown at the other end.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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If my math is correct, at a 3% grade the portal would have to be at least between Cabot Yard and Widett Circle. That’s with a station depth of 135ft. Any deeper of a station and any shallower of a grade and you’re looking at a portal that would be at least at Andrew, so the Fairmount line could not connect.
2% is the max allowable FRA grade for new construction without a waiver, and NSRL is expected to have between a 1.5-2% grade on the inclines. That puts the portal at Amtrak Southampton Yard a little bit past Widett.
 

WestMedford

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Is that even possible on a CA/T alignment? The transfers would be absurd (not that they'd be short in any event with how deep the NSRL would be).

Also, unless the surface terminals get completely abandoned, not being able to connect from North Station on the surface to the NSRL without a transfer would be a heck of a kludge (and cue the self-interested outrage from Delaware North in 3...2...1).
Under the South/Congress preferred alignment, I don’t think siting the northern NSRL station between Haymarket and State is that big of a kludge. What are the impacts exactly? Your gripe is that there is a need for a CR to CR transfer at North Station … why is this a need?
  • Northside trains will serve both the NSRL station (whether located at Haymarket/State or near NS) and the surface terminal.
  • To avoid an unnecessary transfer, those wanting to get to South Station from a northside train would know to take a train through running via NSRL vs one that stops at the NS surface terminal.
  • Transfers to Green and Orange will still be available for northside trains arriving either to surface NS or Haymarket/State NSRL stations.
  • Downeaster service would presumably run exclusively to South Station via NSRL, eliminating any connectivity concern there.
Under the current setup, the Blue Line has no commuter rail transfer to the Big Three (North Station, South Station, Back Bay). Siting an NSRL station near North Station just because it’s always been there exacerbates the existing BL CR inequity. Besides, the Haymarket / State NSRL station has a much better walkshed and connects to three of four rapid transit lines. The other arguments against the South/Congress alignment (lack of Fairmount/Old Colony portal, two tracks vs four) make sense, but having the northern NSRL station between Haymarket and State is actually an argument FOR this alignment.
 

Brattle Loop

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  • Northside trains will serve both the NSRL station (whether located at Haymarket/State or near NS) and the surface terminal.
  • To avoid an unnecessary transfer, those wanting to get to South Station from a northside train would know to take a train through running via NSRL vs one that stops at the NS surface terminal.
If every line has trains serving both NS-surface and NSRL, it's less of a problem. Pair-matching through the tunnel (which I imagine would be harder with two tracks rather than four, and two is all you get on Congress) means some services are going to have priority for the tunnel and some...aren't. If, say, Reading and Needham don't get any tunnel slots, that transfer becomes a kludge, and the same is true where any lines have no, or insufficient, tunnel service.

Under the current setup, the Blue Line has no commuter rail transfer to the Big Three (North Station, South Station, Back Bay). Siting an NSRL station near North Station just because it’s always been there exacerbates the existing BL CR inequity. Besides, the Haymarket / State NSRL station has a much better walkshed and connects to three of four rapid transit lines. The other arguments against the South/Congress alignment (lack of Fairmount/Old Colony portal, two tracks vs four) make sense, but having the northern NSRL station between Haymarket and State is actually an argument FOR this alignment.
And, while a valid point, it brings up the question of which is better for the system. Because if you're talking about siting the station with no North Station connection, you are trading that connection for the Blue Line connection. That may, on balance, work out to be better overall, I don't know, I don't think it's ever been properly studied. But since it's chained to a two-track Congress alignment, it also has to consider whether the volume of extra transfers the surface terminals and the subway lines will have to absorb (because of lower tunnel capacity meaning more surface-terminating CR trains) is worth the benefit to the Blue Line. It's absolutely a valid question to ask, but I don't think it's a slam dunk by any means, especially because it's only really possible with a distinctly-subpar tunnel alignment.
 

JeffDowntown

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If every line has trains serving both NS-surface and NSRL, it's less of a problem. Pair-matching through the tunnel (which I imagine would be harder with two tracks rather than four, and two is all you get on Congress) means some services are going to have priority for the tunnel and some...aren't. If, say, Reading and Needham don't get any tunnel slots, that transfer becomes a kludge, and the same is true where any lines have no, or insufficient, tunnel service.



And, while a valid point, it brings up the question of which is better for the system. Because if you're talking about siting the station with no North Station connection, you are trading that connection for the Blue Line connection. That may, on balance, work out to be better overall, I don't know, I don't think it's ever been properly studied. But since it's chained to a two-track Congress alignment, it also has to consider whether the volume of extra transfers the surface terminals and the subway lines will have to absorb (because of lower tunnel capacity meaning more surface-terminating CR trains) is worth the benefit to the Blue Line. It's absolutely a valid question to ask, but I don't think it's a slam dunk by any means, especially because it's only really possible with a distinctly-subpar tunnel alignment.
In the 4-track CAT alignment, the Blue Line inequity is the purpose of Central Station -- if it gets built.
 

Brattle Loop

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In the 4-track CAT alignment, the Blue Line inequity is the purpose of Central Station -- if it gets built.
Kind of feel like that one won't survive a cost-benefit analysis (though I would be happy to be wrong on that), hence why the discussion of the alternative being the State/Haymarket transfer (I wasn't clear enough that that part is what's chained to the Congress alignment, not any Blue connection).
 

Tallguy

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No hate. You mean a NS connector for everything except the Rockport/Newburyport Lines, right?
Those would cut south through Eastie from Revere/Wonderland IIRC from when you proposed this some time ago.
Upside: Quicker to get to SS from the North Shore.
Downside: No in-station transfers to the Green Line or Blue Line and everybody has to hoof it 3/4 mile more North if they work near Central Downtown, NS or beyond.
I'd still opt for the NSRL as proposed.
I presume a GL Seaport and BL at Airport. And no hoofing, transfer at either Airport to BL or to OL in Revere(the old ER ROW) from the east, or BB or SS from the west.
Way more cost for a tunnel which leaves out 4/6 Northside lines
Way more cost based on ?
And not instead of a NS tunnel, additional to it
 

Brattle Loop

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Way more cost based on ?
And not instead of a NS tunnel, additional to it
Going under the harbor, possibly?

Somewhere earlier in this thread (and/or in Crazy Transit Pitches) there was a discussion of a similar proposal. It hamstrings the entire works because now three Northside lines (well, four if you count Reading and Haverhill separately, but Reading has its own issues that make it a messy fit for NSRL pair-matching) have to feed off of one (two-track) tunnel. Maybe that problem can be mitigated (especially if the Eastern Route can take service equivalent to half a 4-track NSRL), but if the pair-matching isn't perfect it'd introduce a complication of having a subset of some Southside services not hitting the transfer nodes (or, at least, not doing it at the same place).

I presume a GL Seaport and BL at Airport. And no hoofing, transfer at either Airport to BL or to OL in Revere(the old ER ROW) from the east, or BB or SS from the west.
The OL doesn't go to Revere. I assume you're adding that as a prerequisite along with a Blue transfer station at Airport (probably feasible) and a Green Line connection to South Station (probably feasible, but expensive). It's a lot of prerequisites to solve the problems with a proposal that...solves a problem that doesn't exist. (If the Eastern Route couldn't be solved with a 4-track CA/T NSRL as has regularly been proposed, that would be one thing, but separating out the Eastern Route just because needs to actually justify itself beyond the cruddy crossings in Chelsea, because blowing all of those to smithereens would cost way less than another cross-harbor tunnel.)
 

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