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Old 07-09-2014, 07:41 AM   #61
saulblum
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

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I'm surprised that the T can get away without any substitute bus service. This total shutdown is going to strand a lot of people.
Is it really? Every stop inside 128 has alternate bus service (and of course Porter has the Red Line).

An inconvenience for some, yes. But stranding passengers?
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:57 AM   #62
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

It's a rip-the-bandaid-off shutdown, max pain for fewest total days of disruption and soonest benefit to the weekday schedule. If they tried to keep something operating this would take months, if not a year, longer to wrap.

Inside-128 is inoperable for any sort of truncated train shuttle because the signals will be totally offline inbound of Brandeis. Outside-128 they've been using these weekend shutdowns to do more work on new South Acton station, which has to get finished before the weekday schedules can increase. And that's why, in addition to meager ridership, there haven't been any calls for train shuttles. Don't forget as well...heavy construction also ongoing at Wachusett Station, and they can pack more disruptive work on the weekends if the freights have extra schedule padding Ayer-Fitchburg sans passenger traffic to pause longer around construction in Westminster.

That's the reason those places have been OK with the inconvenience. It's what's keeping their new station construction and peak-hour weekday schedule increases on-time for their debuts.


Inside-128 is well-covered by existing bus routes at Belmont (74), Waverley (73), and Waltham (70) that terminate at the Red Line inbound, and Brandeis U. is out-of-session for the summer. No shuttle buses necessary with those options. Outside-128 the ridership is too meager on weekends to justify the expense of running shuttles that far out of the bus district. The towns have been well aware for over a year they just have to suck it up, and haven't complained because the weekend shutdown dates for each construction segment have held firm so far. Ski season is the only time weekend service has any sort of measurable economic effect in places like Leominster and Fitchburg.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:51 AM   #63
cozzyd
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Grad students aren't out for summer, and I suspect they are extremely transit dependent.

I guess the 70 doesn't stop too far...
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:10 AM   #64
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

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Originally Posted by cozzyd View Post
Grad students aren't out for summer, and I suspect they are extremely transit dependent.

I guess the 70 doesn't stop too far...
The 553 operates on Saturdays.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:18 AM   #65
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

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Originally Posted by cozzyd View Post
Grad students aren't out for summer, and I suspect they are extremely transit dependent.

I guess the 70 doesn't stop too far...
The numbers are in no way comparable to Fall semester, though. That's the rip-the-bandaid-off aspect. If they get this work done now while student population is at its smallest Fall won't be impacted.

It is the weekend in warm weather, after all. And they do have bus options. Bump the 553 and 70 frequencies a little bit and try running the 553 on Sundays at sparse headways and they get equivalent service. Don't forget...it's barely a train every 2 hours, and any train-replacement shuttle buses would run on a similar schedule. The Yellow Line is orders of magnitude more frequent on Sat./Sun. to begin with.
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:45 AM   #66
Ron Newman
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

This shutdown goes through Thanksgiving, well into the Brandeis fall term.

Concord tourism (including Walden Pond to some extent) will suffer from this.

The 553 doesn't strike me as being a useful bus on Saturdays, since it doesn't connect to any other T service. (It ends in Newton Corner.)
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:14 AM   #67
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Brandeis isn't without plenty of campus shuttles hitting the 70 in Waltham, plus service to Harvard Sq. and BU every 90 minutes: http://www.brandeis.edu/publicsafety.../schedule.html. Nobody is going to pay a Zone 2 fare on a Sunday for a train that only runs every 2-1/2 hours when the campus shuttle to Waltham Ctr. departs every 30 minutes and the 70 runs every 20 minutes.


What's the alternative? Keep the trains running but have the construction project drag into NEXT fall so 2 dozen people spread over 2 days can visit Walden Pond? The comparison point there is the self-parody of neverending, years-late Haverhill disruptions. These towns don't get usefully increased and reliably on-time service when they need it most until this job is finished.

Concord, Waltham, Brandeis, et al.: they have no problem whatsoever biting this bullet. It makes their weekday commutes stop sucking within months instead of years, and raises possibility of them getting meaningful off-peak and weekend service increases sooner rather than later. The only complaints I have seen anywhere about this are wholly theoretical spitballing by a couple posters on the respective ArchBoston and RR.net threads. Not from the local papers, not from official comment by the affected towns.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:11 AM   #68
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

I wasn't suggesting that the railroad project stretch out to accommodate weekend service. I was just questioning the lack of substitute bus service.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:31 AM   #69
saulblum
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

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Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
I wasn't suggesting that the railroad project stretch out to accommodate weekend service. I was just questioning the lack of substitute bus service.
As has been pointed out, every stop within 128 has more frequent weekend bus service.

And a replacement bus that hits every stop from Fitchburg to Waltham would inevitably trace a circuitous route and take longer than the train would.

Will some residents and potential visitors to Concord's attractions be inconvenienced? Sure. But how many people are walking the two miles on sidewalk-less roads from Concord station to the pond?
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:50 AM   #70
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

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I wasn't suggesting that the railroad project stretch out to accommodate weekend service. I was just questioning the lack of substitute bus service.
MART (the local transit operator in Fitchburg) did consider operating their own weekend replacement bus service from Fitchburg/North Leominster to Alewife or Boston. They surveyed weekend riders last year before the first weekend shut-downs began and got a very lukewarm response. The costs would have been considerable for them (they don't normally operate any local Sunday service, and only operate from 9 AM to 6 PM on Saturday) and they decided not to pursue it.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:01 PM   #71
matredsoxfan
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Waltham has just been notified that J.F White/L.M Heavy will be working to replace the Clematis Brook Culvert this weekend. Work will begin a 1AM Saturday through 5AM Monday Morning. Work will also continue next weekend as the culvert will take 2 weekends to replace.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:26 AM   #72
Finn
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Rumors are flying around a number of places, including RR.net, that the afternoon and evening train schedules are changing as soon as August 4th, meaning many riders would have less than a week's notice. Possibly includes the flipping of the turnaround from South Acton to Littleton.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:49 AM   #73
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Yep. South Acton short-turns are going away forever and everything gets extended to Littleton where the platform and crossovers are now configured to handle short-turns more smoothly than SA could. Will necessitate some recalibration of arrival/departure schedules by a few minutes, but not any major changes overall.

No idea why it's so short-notice. Perhaps something went last-minute with the South Acton construction and they couldn't announce it earlier.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:54 PM   #74
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

New schedule is up here:

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/Do.../Fitchburg.pdf

Nobody's going to be shedding any tears over the new turnaround but in my opinion this is a substantial schedule change. Instead of a 10 minute window between the express and local (4:40PM and 4:50PM) you've now got a 35 minute window (4:30PM and 5:05PM).

That's a big difference, especially if you're relying on the timeliness of the orange or red line to deliver you to North Station/Porter Square. With the old schedule, missing your express to South Acton because of some goofball red line hitch set you back 25 minutes. Now you're set back 50 minutes.

I'm guessing there will be further changes at the conclusion of the project once they have all the track upgraded and can increase the speed of the train(s). I'm a little surprised they didn't combine those changes but my opinion on the matter's not a particularly educated one.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:22 PM   #75
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Grade Crossing Construction this weekend in Waltham https://www.facebook.com/WalthamMAPo...type=1&theater
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:29 AM   #76
guitarguynboston
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

State OKs $19M to complete West Fitchburg rail extension
http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com...rail-extension
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:39 AM   #77
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Yeah. Turns out there was a September 30, 2016 deadline for the start of service, mandated by the federal TIGER grant awarded on February 17, 2010. The MBTA and MART have had 6 and a half years to get this project done. And then two months before the hard deadline (if they don't make it, they have to give $59.2 million back to the feds) they suddenly realize that they have to do night and weekend work to make it in time.

There were some hard-to-control issues, true. The contractor went out of business in 2014 with no warning, a lot of the bridges along the route were in less good shape than Pan Am claimed (big surprise), and the Fitchburg Line and Haverhill Line double tracking projects required a lot of the work crews.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:01 AM   #78
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

Did the grant cover the bridges and double tracking in addition the extension and new station?

If so, that seems like a good deal for some big transit with the double track and infrastructure with the new bridges. If this was just for a 5 miles extension to Wachusett, it seems absurd.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:25 AM   #79
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

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Did the grant cover the bridges and double tracking in addition the extension and new station?

If so, that seems like a good deal for some big transit with the double track and infrastructure with the new bridges. If this was just for a 5 miles extension to Wachusett, it seems absurd.
The layover yard was key for getting increased service, just as it is the gating issue for Lowell/Nashua and Haverhill/Plaistow.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:58 AM   #80
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Re: Fitchburg Line Improvement Project

I figured there was some larger service implication.

The T for all it's faults does need to sell its own infrastructure work to the public. People look for faults and seeing a $20 million overrun on a $70 mill project that only mentions 1 new station and 5 miles of track is ridiculous. They need to be public facing in saying what infrastructure they are building and what else that supports. For example, a 5 mile extension that allows them to run 2 more sets Waltham to Boston at rush hour is a very real service impact on many more users!
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