Seaport Transportation

bostoneophyte

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A new rail link utilizing DMUs will connect the Seaport District with Back Bay Station: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/09/05/state-begin-innovative-rail-service-between-seaport-district-and-back-bay/oHUinYj30lzOV6KNCQUMEJ/story.html


The state, with no fanfare, has set aside tens of millions of dollars to launch an innovative train service on a dormant rail line between a pair of the city’s most vital neighborhoods: the Seaport District and the Back Bay.

The service should be ready to go in just two years, the planning done without any of the drawn-out permitting processes or neighborhood histrionics that impede so much progress in Boston.

The solution comes in the form of a skinny stretch of barren rail that runs from the South Bay Rail Yard into the South Boston Waterfront, known as Track 61. The project has been quietly placed on a fast track because the state already owns the track after buying a bunch of rail lines from the freight operator CSX in 2009. Manufacturers, meanwhile, are rolling out a more affordable rail car, known as a diesel multiple unit, or DMU, that cities across the country are eager to try.
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Poor Track 61 hasn’t mattered much to anyone for a few decades. Its real heyday was nearly a century ago. Back then, the line was humming with freight cars carrying goods to and from the cargo ships that docked in the Port of Boston. But after World War II, the port began to shrink, and freight lines fell dormant as companies shipped by truck.

The state is activating one section of Track 61, between the convention center and the South Bay Rail Yard off the Southeast Expressway.

The plans require the state to build a 300-foot stretch of rail connecting Track 61 to the existing system, so passengers will have a seamless ride to Back Bay Station. Eventually, the state can also run a separate route from Track 61 into South Station.
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Secretary Davey said the fare on the new, yet-to-be-named MBTA-operated rail line would probably be similar to that for a T ride, about $2.
 

Smartiro

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Great news!
Call it Gold line and charge double for a ride.
 

JohnAKeith

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

I can't find the post where I asked what this rail was ... not that it matters.

But, screw the "double price" idea. If people get to ride on the Fairmont for just a couple bucks, it should cost me the same. Or, less.
 

Cojapo

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Forgive my naiveness, but how does this run uninterupted from Back Bay? Does it go under/over Fort Point Channel?
 

novitiate

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

I'm curious how this 300 feet of new track will work without screwing up the Old Colony- the waits to get into South Station are already long enough, and I'm not sure the already existing bridges would allow a flyover? (Plus it would seem to move the project outside of the cheap range)
 

KentXie

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

This is amazing. I can't wait.
 

HenryAlan

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Forgive my naiveness, but how does this run uninterupted from Back Bay? Does it go under/over Fort Point Channel?
No, the line will run from the convention center southward to the bottom of Fort Point channel (parallels the SB Haul Road), then turn northwest, crossing the rail yard to a track that bypasses South Station and connects to the Back Bay trunk lines somewhere near the South Bay interchange. It will be a superior option to what is available now, but is still not exactly direct.

What's more interesting to me is that it opens up some other routing options, such as Fairmont to BCEC, Worcester to BCEC, etc. It isn't hard to envision a future in which a full fledged DMU system overlays portions of the MBCR network with a few bridge tracks for flexibility. The key point of excitement is that the 'T is committing to a DMU service. The article also mentions DMU cars for Fairmont. The genie is finally out of the box!
 

palindrome

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Service in 2 years? I assume they are buying DMU's off the shelf. Anyone know any likely candidates?
 

Semass

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Also interesting - Track 61 continues on to drydock ave and could connect to the Black Falcon terminal for cruise ship visits when many people need to be moved in a relatively short time frame.
 

FenwayResident

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

So if I'm reading this correctly, it's basically a no-stop direct shot from Back Bay to BCEC? Similar to the S train in NYC? If so, that's a great idea.

My only conern is that the picture in the article only shows one track... can anyone confirm that there is only one track for the whole stretch? If that were the case there would be one train departing every 25 minutes (assuming a 10 minute journey one-way and 2-3 minutes for passengers to get on and off). Once every 25 minutes doesn't seem to be enough during high capacity times such as rush hour.
 

stellarfun

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

From the Globe, graphic of the route.

 

George_Apley

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

They better be working with Amtrak on dispatch, because otherwise it's going to take them forever to cross the leads to Widett.
 

MBTAddict

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Too bad there isn't more space on either side of I-90. It would be so much more direct if they could follow the Pike a little bit longer and cut across the channel further north.
 

Smartiro

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

I wonder if they can put a stop near former Herald development - that would give it a pretty good boost, I imagine.
 

Nexis4jersey

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Honestly this seems rather silly , why not expand the Silver Line bus or branch off the Red Line?
 

JohnAKeith

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Yes, this is just two maps side by side but the Google Map gives a bit more detail for anyone without full knowledge of the area.

The advantage of the new route would be that it is fast - one shot, no stops.

But ... what if they did put stops in at Herald Square and at Newmarket (linking with Fairmont?).

I know, why bungle a simple solution.

 

George_Apley

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Yes, this is just two maps side by side but the Google Map gives a bit more detail for anyone without full knowledge of the area.

The advantage of the new route would be that it is fast - one shot, no stops.

But ... what if they did put stops in at Herald Square and at Newmarket (linking with Fairmont?).

Unfortunately it won't be fast. Not as fast as it seems from the map. For one there's VERY slow speed limits on trains between BBY and SS. Also crossing the tracks to the yard and the circle deals with Amtrak's dispatch control, and the T will be hard pressed to get priority for this DMU stub. It's a useful one-seat ride to seaport from BBY, but it's not going to be a flying ride. Someday they'll get Green to connect BBY to BCEC, but this could be a useful stopgap.

I don't think Herald or Newmarket can get stops on this routing. Too crowded on the NEC to put a station on the RoW, and Newmarket would be on Widett Circle, which is a turn-back for the system. It doesn't seem like it will come too close to where Newmarket will be anyway. Commuters to Seaport from the Fairmount line would just stay on to SS and Silver Line to WTC.

Funnily enough, We were just talking about track 61 yesterday in Crazy Transit thread about how it's NOT likely to host passenger rail. F-Line also detailed some of the problems with this plan as he sees it in the Customer Service thread.
 
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vanshnookenraggen

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Re: Track 61 (Seaport - Back Bay DMU)

Honestly this seems rather silly , why not expand the Silver Line bus or branch off the Red Line?
Or a branch off the Green Line using the Post Office Sq provisions. Seriously, that should have been the first option back when they built the Silver Line.
 

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