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Old 05-21-2019, 06:28 PM   #1661
chrisbrat
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

heh.

i was thinking more of a light-rail -- like you'd see in, say, frankfurt (just got back from there) or manchester or any number of other places globally. absolutely possible for above-ground trains to work alongside vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and w/o being separated/blocked off. just b/c much of the green line is a cluster#@%& doesn't mean that the approach HAS to wind up being a mess.

just seems like a comparatively low-cost, low-hassle solution when compared to years and years of subterranean digging and closures etc. honestly i don't see why having a mid-street light rail WOULDN'T work very well in connecting south and north stations. works elsewhere in the world, why is it a non-starter in boston?
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:29 PM   #1662
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Less dis...rupt...ive?



Woo! Badass pics!
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:09 PM   #1663
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Originally Posted by chrisbrat View Post
well, yeah, but my point is that worked as a south station/north station connector (albeit not for passengers) until 1970. instead of figuring out the intricacies of getting a north/south connector underground, why not just revisit this concept?

seems a lot less expensive and disruptive.
If you think about it, they in theory could have built the NSRL on top of the CA/T when doing the Big Dig, once the tunnel was completed.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:03 PM   #1664
Tallguy
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

[quote=ulrichomega;348569]I'm going to have to defer to those that know more about the actual operations at play here. My understanding was that even if we maxed out the tunnels we'd still need the surface platforms to fully feed each of the routes. It's not necessarily a matter simply of TPH but of operational flexibility. E.g. diesels to fill in the schedule gaps that can't be through-routed to the south for whatever reason.


Not really proposing 6 tph on all lines, I was suggesting that that was an upper theoretical limit with present FRA regs(5min pt. I am also understanding that the FRA is considering lowering that to 3minpt, but I figured that as gravy.
I thought that the mantra has been 15 min clockface during rush and 30 otherwise, at least to the major cities, ie Providence, Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, and Salem, and out to somewhere between 128 and 495 for Fitchburg and Franklin/Foxboro, and that it would all be electric
.
That is 16 EMUs an hour in the north, and 16 EMUs in the south. Fairmont taking all of Foxboro and Franklin gives it 8 tph, more than enough to turn it into a defacto HRT line. Lowell and Haverhill already have parallel subway lines, so I don't see a world in which more frequency would be needed, just bigger trains. So, how many additional EMUs will we need? You could make the argument that Riverside, Fitchburg (to 12 and Salem could use more frequent service, although BLX and GL to Chelsea might meet some of that need. How many Amtrak Regionals are going through the tunnel DURING RUSH, the only time access might be restrained? 2? 3? Over 2-3 hrs? If you add two tph on both Salem and Fitchburg, we are up to 21 tph if we can't fit 21 tph in TWO tunnels, then we shouldn't be spending the money.
So while there may be some ability to mix and match on the north end, the Fairmont feeds into one tunnel and Worcester and Providence into the other

From every design I have seen of the North portals, there are two, one fed by Fitchburg, and one by N/R/haverhill and Lowell. So if they do feed both tunnels, then they will have to split somewhere under. So if everything coming down from Anderson is going to the NEC /Worcester portal( I assume an OL conversion of the reading line-8 tph) and 6 tph coming from Fitchburg going to Fairmont and N/R splitting between them, depending on Amtrak needs. No more than two lines merging. Not rocket science.
So what is left for diesels? The DE (6x day), Fitchburg outer (1-2 tph) outer N/R ( 2 tph) and whatever NH throws at us.
What am I missing? Where is all this demand coming from? Where are all the diesels?
This is why I want data! Knowing how much of NS traffic goes down to NS under is key. If 10%, then we need a strong NS. If 90%, then nobody on the 2 diesels ph needs to go past Sullivan (yes, F-Line I know they can't turn around there, but BET is 2 min away) and nobody on Fitchburg needs to go past Porter. That leaves NH and DE (if none of the routes electrify, or we don't reduce the frequency of Lowell and Haverhill to make up for the NH runs.) 2-3tph? 4? 6? How many berths will we need? How many jobs can we fit into the CBD? Say we triple ridership. Still should fit. Quadruple? Still should fit, just bigger trains.

While everything electric from the north should fit in the tunnel, the same in not the case for the south. Worcester and Providence will be pumping 9 car EMU crowdswallowers and Acela 2.0 will be filling SS (and OC as well)for a long, long time.
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:43 PM   #1665
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Equipment! You need BET for equipment rotations, crew rotations, adding/shedding cars for shift changes. Logistics don't run themselves. HQ is right there by North Station. It isn't right there by Porter. Therefore, nothing's ever going to terminate at Porter even if 100.00% of passengers were exited by there and 0 were left onboard by North Station.

Nor does truncating Fitchburg service matter at all for GLX-Porter construction. The ROW is ex- quad-track width out to Beacon St. and fits fine with 2 minor bridge mods. Final station approach can be a slip-under @ Beacon where the Fitchburg trackbed rests on the bare top of the shallow Green tunnel roof (variation of Orange/Haverhill Wellington tunnel). Each mode can let be each serving a different audience.
I'm sorry for assuming the group reading this would presume that it would go to BET
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:48 AM   #1666
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Originally Posted by Tallguy View Post
I thought that the mantra has been 15 min clockface during rush and 30 otherwise, at least to the major cities, ie Providence, Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, and Salem, and out to somewhere between 128 and 495 for Fitchburg and Franklin/Foxboro, and that it would all be electric.
That's not the "mantra" at all.

:15 clockface all hours on Urban Rail schedules [inside-128]
:30 clockface all hours on Regional Rail schedules [128-to-495]

The leveling of the frequencies from the pronounced peak/off-peak skew of today to an even churn *is* what makes it real RER. And because the sets will be in constant rotation less equipment will be wasted sitting idle in yards between runs and consists will be put more evenly together (i.e. shorter but running more frequent) making them more portable for route reassignment (e.g. ends the dilemma of a train just in from Providence not being able to be re-badged as a Needham outbound because it's 8 cars instead of 5).

Surge slots can and will be used as gap-filler when there's a crowd-swallower slot needing a monster number of cars, but unlike today where that same 8-car set runs two-thirds empty for half its 3:00-7:00pm peak assignment because of one sardine-packed 5:00 on the schedule...a one-off surge slot only has to waste its seats once in the reverse-commute direction before either getting reassigned or broken up in the yard into a smaller RER consist.

And it does not have to be all-electric. EMU's lower costs considerably, but since electrification will take a long time--especially North--it is implementable with the current diesel push-pull fleet. GO Transit in Toronto is implementing real RER right now with their diesels; it's not waiting for their own electrification effort to kick off. Merely, GO sees its wires as the follow-through for making it financially sustainable rather than any sort of project prerequisite before increasing service levels at all.

Quote:
That is 16 EMUs an hour in the north, and 16 EMUs in the south. Fairmont taking all of Foxboro and Franklin gives it 8 tph, more than enough to turn it into a defacto HRT line. Lowell and Haverhill already have parallel subway lines, so I don't see a world in which more frequency would be needed, just bigger trains. So, how many additional EMUs will we need?
Again, that is not what RER is. Frequency and headway consistency over length at all times except when special slot-specific needs arise.

Quote:
You could make the argument that Riverside, Fitchburg (to 12 and Salem could use more frequent service, although BLX and GL to Chelsea might meet some of that need. How many Amtrak Regionals are going through the tunnel DURING RUSH, the only time access might be restrained? 2? 3? Over 2-3 hrs? If you add two tph on both Salem and Fitchburg, we are up to 21 tph if we can't fit 21 tph in TWO tunnels, then we shouldn't be spending the money.
So while there may be some ability to mix and match on the north end, the Fairmont feeds into one tunnel and Worcester and Providence into the other
Again, "DURING RUSH" is not what RER is about at all. And Amtrak has never been a rush phenomenon because NY-BOS travel times don't neatly correspond to rush to begin with. They run all day.

Please, please look at the Rail Vision FCMB slides or TransitMatters website first for an explanation of what RER is. All of this is explained nice and graphically.

Quote:
From every design I have seen of the North portals, there are two, one fed by Fitchburg, and one by N/R/haverhill and Lowell. So if they do feed both tunnels, then they will have to split somewhere under. So if everything coming down from Anderson is going to the NEC /Worcester portal( I assume an OL conversion of the reading line-8 tph) and 6 tph coming from Fitchburg going to Fairmont and N/R splitting between them, depending on Amtrak needs. No more than two lines merging. Not rocket science.
They split at fairly shallow level into the portals. Northside's interlockings aren't as constrained as southside's, but since it's a conjoined beast the tunnel capacity limiter ends up the southside interlockings.

No, it's not rocket science. But you're looking 1 mile away from where the real issue is. It's not relevant what TPH you think you can cram into the north portals, because the TPH crammed through the south portals are where total NSRL capacity ends up a wash or slightly worse than the surface terminals and requires you to retain both surface terminals.

Quote:
So what is left for diesels? The DE (6x day), Fitchburg outer (1-2 tph) outer N/R ( 2 tph) and whatever NH throws at us.
What am I missing? Where is all this demand coming from? Where are all the diesels?
It's not about the diesels. The only lines that are going to remain diesel are the Downeaster, some too-far runs like crossing the Cape Cod Canal every couple hours or taking some RIDOT subsidy to run past Fall River to Newport, and the lines whose electrification drags up the rear (Haverhill probably because of freight clearances, Old Colony because it's not worth it until the Dorchester-Quincy pinch is solved, Littleton-Wachusett because mileage = extra substations). But the ones dragging up the rear will eventually get done.


In the meantime, you've got huge new sources of demand to tap which will require fileting sleek EMU's to the surface, too. Nevermind linear expansion of the system. First amongst all sources of traffic growth is further implementation of RER scheduling well beyond the initial rollout being proposed. The most we can do now with near-term systemwide capacity is leveling the schedules through interlining. That's great and all for giving inside-128 :15 frequencies on most lines, and inside-495 :30 frequencies on most lines. But it's not perfect because there's a tradeoff of frequencies + stop density vs. travel time.


So, take the Franklin Line for example. Forge Park/Foxboro have to be interlined via the Fairmount Line because the NEC can't handle that many branch schedules. So :30 Foxboro frequencies + :30 Forge Park frequencies add up to :15 frequencies to Readville. Great! Except Forge Park, which is longish ~62-65 min. schedule, would have to start making all Fairmount stops for the sake of maintaining the Urban Rail frequencies. This adds 12-13 minutes, putting Forge Park in the 75+ minute range. They get lots more frequencies so it's eminently justifiable, but that's a stinky-long trip. And it calls into question the viability of ever extending to Milford or Woonsocket when that's the starting schedule.

There isn't enough extra slack capacity to pound that schedule back out using supplementals with any singular (surface OR tunnel) southside terminal, so Forge Park ends up being one of the quasi-losers of RER by having its schedule tanked in the name of frequencies. It's the better of the alternatives, but still a stark limitation.

How to fix that? If you had the terminal district capacity, you'd divorce Forge Park from feeding the Fairmount :15 schedules and backfill by other means. Foxboro's OK as-is...it's a pretty brisk schedule making all local stops, but it's only :30 frequencies unto itself. But now you go and change Forge Park to a judicious skip-stop schedule that skips all but the highest-demand Fairmount intermediates so end-to-end is doable (still at :30 headway) in 50 minutes. Fantastic! And you go throw more Readville or 128 short-turn trains at Fairmount Urban Rail to square back up to :15 after vacating the local stops from Forge Park trains.

That's a 33% traffic increase right there because you backfilled with locals the slots that turned express, and absolutely none of that traffic increase gets applied to the base inside-128/outside-128 frequencies which are still :30 or :15 same as they ever were. The increase all goes to improving travel times on the longest-haul schedule. Which is now short enough that Franklin ridership sees a new growth spurt from the schedule change, and you can probably hold the Woonsocket and/or Milford builds to an hour.


As ^above^ example illustrates, frequency and time no longer have to direct-compete with each other under a tight capacity cap like this initial RER rollout. New capacity can get assigned to the benefit of any pressing need, instead of having to be an exercise in canceling out sacrifices. That's why this RER push is 'initial' and why advocates like TransitMatters preach how getting the ops practices in place practically DEMANDS we build the NSRL build as a second act. It's the ability to double-barrel service that allows the system in the future to tackle the frequency vs. timeliness argument without both needing to compete with each other. Thus, the biggest source of traffic increases is not going to be the popular misconception of: blowing out frequencies bigger than Eastern MA's population actually is. It's going to be applied to things like this which live inside the default frequencies but fortify a given line's layer cake of service for the needs of specific audiences...rather than pitting audiences against each other. It's mostly a flexibility thing, but between the lines are a fuckload more trains you have to fit somewhere.


If you saw some of the less-appetizing skip-stop schemes in the FCMB Rail Vision slides, it's palpable just how much those factors are head-to-head with each other on the current system.

There are insane number of examples across the system where service increases can be applied to achieve best of both worlds on frequency/density vs. travel time. North, let's take the Eastern Route. Rockburyport's not bad for schedules. But if Urban Rail goes to Salem we're really going to need that Lynnport public reboot of River Works. We're really going to need that Salem State U. infill stop. You can even make a solid argument for an East Lynn revival spanning Lynn and Swampscott. But can you do all of those beneficial Urban Rail infills without stringing out the Regional Rail schedules on the branches if they're the ones contributing half-and-half to the :15 frequencies. How are we going to run this line if Portsmouth ever comes back? That actually wasn't a bad schedule on the clock when it got re-studied a dozen years ago, and a little stop-skipping on the main might put the Seacoast in 1:10 of Boston. If the terminal district cap were lifted, you could assign more trains strictly with the purpose of bringing Boston closer in time without worrying about upsetting the apple cart on frequencies.

Quote:
This is why I want data! Knowing how much of NS traffic goes down to NS under is key. If 10%, then we need a strong NS. If 90%, then nobody on the 2 diesels ph needs to go past Sullivan (yes, F-Line I know they can't turn around there, but BET is 2 min away) and nobody on Fitchburg needs to go past Porter. That leaves NH and DE (if none of the routes electrify, or we don't reduce the frequency of Lowell and Haverhill to make up for the NH runs.) 2-3tph? 4? 6? How many berths will we need? How many jobs can we fit into the CBD? Say we triple ridership. Still should fit. Quadruple? Still should fit, just bigger trains.
You don't get it. It COSTS more to turn outside an ops base. Let's say, since we're trading in way-spurious examples, that you're jealously guarding that penny jar you want to raid from drawbridge SGR to pay for Urban Ring bridges because all money is one big slush fund and blah blah blah (bear with me, everyone else). Well...you're emptying that jar a penny at a time with every :15 and :30 frequency train you cut out at Porter instead of going to the integrated terminal with the staff + cash rooms in the NS building and all of Keolis World Headquarters right there at BET. BTW...that crew room in North Station: those folks can and will run downstairs just as easily when the tunnel is open to stage a crew turnover. All-day, every day...take-a-penny with each Porter-turning train. How efficient an operation are you running doing it this way here...and Sullivan, and elsewhere. Drip, drip, drip.

And this is a universal railroading problem, not T specific. Amtrak's long-distance trains are such cromulent money-losers in part because the routes that don't have big Amtrak facilities at the end of the line cost so damn much more in between-run chores, staff expenses, and ground transportation when a train (e.g. an LD that only runs a few times per week) has to get remotely re-crewed. Freight carriers have to religiously monitor crew shifts for federal hours-of-service limits because if they 'can' the train in the middle of nowhere far from finishing their runs they're bleeding money on taxi fare. Pan Am on the northside is an industry-wide joke for canning its trains so much they lose up to a couple million dollars in unnecessary cab/Uber/Lyft fare per year because they're too lazy to staff up their trains properly enough to finish on time.

It doesn't have to be because of slop-ops that they're losing money. All of the time a crew is out-of-service because you cut them at Porter instead of cycling them along is money wasted. All of the time you're carrying extra cars instead of being able to swap sets in the yard within the turnaround time of a :15 Waltham set is money wasted.


Also..."nobody on Fitchburg needs to go past Porter." WHAAAAA??? That may be news to everyone coming in who has to use this contraption called the Orange Line. Assloads of people take Orange every day, and it does not run through Porter. You can direct-transfer to it at North Station. It's an exercise in torture to reach on Red. I personally lived in North Cambridge and used Porter for commuting for 9 years. Any morning I had to find my way to Orange I'd try to time it for the Fitchburg freebie instead of fighting my way to DTX. There was always a crowd on the platform.

Green isn't going to substitute it. For one, the Union Branch (E) sees exactly 1/3 the headways of North Station (C+D+E), so the notion you can just shove everybody on there like they'd get fooled by the Foldgers Crystals switch is patently false. As in last post, Harvard + North Cambridge destinations and the 77 are big drivers for GLX reaching Porter. The Fitchburg Line is not and never was a driver for Porter because NS has and always will have minimum 3x the trolley frequencies + Orange. Sullivan CR and Sullivan GL are driven by the humongous bus terminal. It's the same Orange Line there, and NS will always have multiple times the Green frequencies.

Quote:
While everything electric from the north should fit in the tunnel, the same in not the case for the south. Worcester and Providence will be pumping 9 car EMU crowdswallowers and Acela 2.0 will be filling SS (and OC as well)for a long, long time.
No. Nothing about a "crowdswallower" vehicle makes it unsuitable for the tunnel. The tunnel as-designed will be able to take a max length push-pull set of Kawasaki bi-levels if hauled by a locomotive that's in electric mode (straight electric or dual-mode).

As before, RER practices mean even-keeled frequencies and keeping as much equipment in rotation as possible. So a lot of rush-hour will be satiated by the higher frequencies. However, in the absence of a traditional peak/off-peak divide and the limitation of running all-local on a lot of routes...there will be need for surge slots. A surge slot can be a super-size crowd-swallower. But it can also be an express extra since staging expresses is a little harder with the headway requirements. It can be a headway-corrector when there's a service disruption, as it'll be more important to maintain the default headway than follow the paper schedule. And it can be a throttle-up/throttle-down headway corrector on one of the mercifully few lines (Haverhill in particular) that has to swim upstream against freight interference. Any of those surges are easier to stage from the surface terminal, because attempting to pair-match on-the-fly with an instant tunnel slot causes more problems than it solves. And they're easier being able to grab-and-go a trainset on-demand from BET...to NS, not Porter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallguy View Post
I'm sorry for assuming the group reading this would presume that it would go to BET
As am I for assuming it was self-evident a much traffic-heavier system needed to pay basic mind to ops and cost efficiency and not go out of its way to make things harder for itself.

What is driving this crusade for service cuts at Porter, anyway...since money, logistics, transfer destinations, and rapid transit frequencies apparently have zero to do with it?
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:37 AM   #1667
HenryAlan
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisbrat View Post
anyone have any insight into why having the above-ground union freight railroad (atlantic ave and commercial street) connect south and north stations worked fine for years co-existing with automotive and human traffic, but we can't simply do the same thing (but with a focus on passengers rather than freight) now?

i mean, 1970 (when UFRR ceased this route) is a while back at this point, but it's not like this was a thing in the 19th century and of course it wouldn't work today etc.
I had thought those freight trains only ran at night, although F-Line's pictures indicate otherwise. I don't see it for regional/urban rail, but I agree that an LRT line could probably be built there. I'm just not sure how necessary that would be, though, as there is already a decent HRT option connecting North Station with four of the Southside lines. Sure, a direct LRT line would improve that type of connection, but it wouldn't do as much for the overall network capacity as a proper FRA compliant tunnel.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:36 AM   #1668
Tallguy
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

[quote=F-Line to Dudley;348638]That's not the "mantra" at all.

:15 clockface all hours on Urban Rail schedules [inside-128]
:30 clockface all hours on Regional Rail schedules [128-to-495]

The leveling of the frequencies from the pronounced peak/off-peak skew of today to an even churn *is* what makes it real RER. And because the sets will be in constant rotation less equipment will be wasted sitting idle in yards between runs and consists will be put more evenly together (i.e. shorter but running more frequent) making them more portable for route reassignment (e.g. ends the dilemma of a train just in from Providence not being able to be re-badged as a Needham outbound because it's 8 cars instead of 5).

Surge slots can and will be used as gap-filler when there's a crowd-swallower slot needing a monster number of cars, but unlike today where that same 8-car set runs two-thirds empty for half its 3:00-7:00pm peak assignment because of one sardine-packed 5:00 on the schedule...a one-off surge slot only has to waste its seats once in the reverse-commute direction before either getting reassigned or broken up in the yard into a smaller RER consist.

And it does not have to be all-electric. EMU's lower costs considerably, but since electrification will take a long time--especially North--it is implementable with the current diesel push-pull fleet. GO Transit in Toronto is implementing real RER right now with their diesels; it's not waiting for their own electrification effort to kick off. Merely, GO sees its wires as the follow-through for making it financially sustainable rather than any sort of project prerequisite before increasing service levels at all.

Again, that is not what RER is. Frequency and headway consistency over length at all times except when special slot-specific needs arise.

Again, "DURING RUSH" is not what RER is about at all. And Amtrak has never been a rush phenomenon because NY-BOS travel times don't neatly correspond to rush to begin with. They run all day.

Please, please look at the Rail Vision FCMB slides or TransitMatters website first for an explanation of what RER is. All of this is explained nice and graphically.

They split at fairly shallow level into the portals. Northside's interlockings aren't as constrained as southside's, but since it's a conjoined beast the tunnel capacity limiter ends up the southside interlockings.

No, it's not rocket science. But you're looking 1 mile away from where the real issue is. It's not relevant what TPH you think you can cram into the north portals, because the TPH crammed through the south portals are where total NSRL capacity ends up a wash or slightly worse than the surface terminals and requires you to retain both surface terminals.

It's not about the diesels. The only lines that are going to remain diesel are the Downeaster, some too-far runs like crossing the Cape Cod Canal every couple hours or taking some RIDOT subsidy to run past Fall River to Newport, and the lines whose electrification drags up the rear (Haverhill probably because of freight clearances, Old Colony because it's not worth it until the Dorchester-Quincy pinch is solved, Littleton-Wachusett because mileage = extra substations). But the ones dragging up the rear will eventually get done.


In the meantime, you've got huge new sources of demand to tap which will require fileting sleek EMU's to the surface, too. Nevermind linear expansion of the system. First amongst all sources of traffic growth is further implementation of RER scheduling well beyond the initial rollout being proposed. The most we can do now with near-term systemwide capacity is leveling the schedules through interlining. That's great and all for giving inside-128 :15 frequencies on most lines, and inside-495 :30 frequencies on most lines. But it's not perfect because there's a tradeoff of frequencies + stop density vs. travel time.


So, take the Franklin Line for example. Forge Park/Foxboro have to be interlined via the Fairmount Line because the NEC can't handle that many branch schedules. So :30 Foxboro frequencies + :30 Forge Park frequencies add up to :15 frequencies to Readville. Great! Except Forge Park, which is longish ~62-65 min. schedule, would have to start making all Fairmount stops for the sake of maintaining the Urban Rail frequencies. This adds 12-13 minutes, putting Forge Park in the 75+ minute range. They get lots more frequencies so it's eminently justifiable, but that's a stinky-long trip. And it calls into question the viability of ever extending to Milford or Woonsocket when that's the starting schedule.

There isn't enough extra slack capacity to pound that schedule back out using supplementals with any singular (surface OR tunnel) southside terminal, so Forge Park ends up being one of the quasi-losers of RER by having its schedule tanked in the name of frequencies. It's the better of the alternatives, but still a stark limitation.

How to fix that? If you had the terminal district capacity, you'd divorce Forge Park from feeding the Fairmount :15 schedules and backfill by other means. Foxboro's OK as-is...it's a pretty brisk schedule making all local stops, but it's only :30 frequencies unto itself. But now you go and change Forge Park to a judicious skip-stop schedule that skips all but the highest-demand Fairmount intermediates so end-to-end is doable (still at :30 headway) in 50 minutes. Fantastic! And you go throw more Readville or 128 short-turn trains at Fairmount Urban Rail to square back up to :15 after vacating the local stops from Forge Park trains.

That's a 33% traffic increase right there because you backfilled with locals the slots that turned express, and absolutely none of that traffic increase gets applied to the base inside-128/outside-128 frequencies which are still :30 or :15 same as they ever were. The increase all goes to improving travel times on the longest-haul schedule. Which is now short enough that Franklin ridership sees a new growth spurt from the schedule change, and you can probably hold the Woonsocket and/or Milford builds to an hour.


As ^above^ example illustrates, frequency and time no longer have to direct-compete with each other under a tight capacity cap like this initial RER rollout. New capacity can get assigned to the benefit of any pressing need, instead of having to be an exercise in canceling out sacrifices. That's why this RER push is 'initial' and why advocates like TransitMatters preach how getting the ops practices in place practically DEMANDS we build the NSRL build as a second act. It's the ability to double-barrel service that allows the system in the future to tackle the frequency vs. timeliness argument without both needing to compete with each other. Thus, the biggest source of traffic increases is not going to be the popular misconception of: blowing out frequencies bigger than Eastern MA's population actually is. It's going to be applied to things like this which live inside the default frequencies but fortify a given line's layer cake of service for the needs of specific audiences...rather than pitting audiences against each other. It's mostly a flexibility thing, but between the lines are a fuckload more trains you have to fit somewhere.


If you saw some of the less-appetizing skip-stop schemes in the FCMB Rail Vision slides, it's palpable just how much those factors are head-to-head with each other on the current system.

There are insane number of examples across the system where service increases can be applied to achieve best of both worlds on frequency/density vs. travel time. North, let's take the Eastern Route. Rockburyport's not bad for schedules. But if Urban Rail goes to Salem we're really going to need that Lynnport public reboot of River Works. We're really going to need that Salem State U. infill stop. You can even make a solid argument for an East Lynn revival spanning Lynn and Swampscott. But can you do all of those beneficial Urban Rail infills without stringing out the Regional Rail schedules on the branches if they're the ones contributing half-and-half to the :15 frequencies. How are we going to run this line if Portsmouth ever comes back? That actually wasn't a bad schedule on the clock when it got re-studied a dozen years ago, and a little stop-skipping on the main might put the Seacoast in 1:10 of Boston. If the terminal district cap were lifted, you could assign more trains strictly with the purpose of bringing Boston closer in time without worrying about upsetting the apple cart on frequencies.

You don't get it. It COSTS more to turn outside an ops base. Let's say, since we're trading in way-spurious examples, that you're jealously guarding that penny jar you want to raid from drawbridge SGR to pay for Urban Ring bridges because all money is one big slush fund and blah blah blah (bear with me, everyone else). Well...you're emptying that jar a penny at a time with every :15 and :30 frequency train you cut out at Porter instead of going to the integrated terminal with the staff + cash rooms in the NS building and all of Keolis World Headquarters right there at BET. BTW...that crew room in North Station: those folks can and will run downstairs just as easily when the tunnel is open to stage a crew turnover. All-day, every day...take-a-penny with each Porter-turning train. How efficient an operation are you running doing it this way here...and Sullivan, and elsewhere. Drip, drip, drip.

And this is a universal railroading problem, not T specific. Amtrak's long-distance trains are such cromulent money-losers in part because the routes that don't have big Amtrak facilities at the end of the line cost so damn much more in between-run chores, staff expenses, and ground transportation when a train (e.g. an LD that only runs a few times per week) has to get remotely re-crewed. Freight carriers have to religiously monitor crew shifts for federal hours-of-service limits because if they 'can' the train in the middle of nowhere far from finishing their runs they're bleeding money on taxi fare. Pan Am on the northside is an industry-wide joke for canning its trains so much they lose up to a couple million dollars in unnecessary cab/Uber/Lyft fare per year because they're too lazy to staff up their trains properly enough to finish on time.

It doesn't have to be because of slop-ops that they're losing money. All of the time a crew is out-of-service because you cut them at Porter instead of cycling them along is money wasted. All of the time you're carrying extra cars instead of being able to swap sets in the yard within the turnaround time of a :15 Waltham set is money wasted.


Also..."nobody on Fitchburg needs to go past Porter." WHAAAAA??? That may be news to everyone coming in who has to use this contraption called the Orange Line. Assloads of people take Orange every day, and it does not run through Porter. You can direct-transfer to it at North Station. It's an exercise in torture to reach on Red. I personally lived in North Cambridge and used Porter for commuting for 9 years. Any morning I had to find my way to Orange I'd try to time it for the Fitchburg freebie instead of fighting my way to DTX. There was always a crowd on the platform.

Green isn't going to substitute it. For one, the Union Branch (E) sees exactly 1/3 the headways of North Station (C+D+E), so the notion you can just shove everybody on there like they'd get fooled by the Foldgers Crystals switch is patently false. As in last post, Harvard + North Cambridge destinations and the 77 are big drivers for GLX reaching Porter. The Fitchburg Line is not and never was a driver for Porter because NS has and always will have minimum 3x the trolley frequencies + Orange. Sullivan CR and Sullivan GL are driven by the humongous bus terminal. It's the same Orange Line there, and NS will always have multiple times the Green frequencies.

No. Nothing about a "crowdswallower" vehicle makes it unsuitable for the tunnel. The tunnel as-designed will be able to take a max length push-pull set of Kawasaki bi-levels if hauled by a locomotive that's in electric mode (straight electric or dual-mode).

As before, RER practices mean even-keeled frequencies and keeping as much equipment in rotation as possible. So a lot of rush-hour will be satiated by the higher frequencies. However, in the absence of a traditional peak/off-peak divide and the limitation of running all-local on a lot of routes...there will be need for surge slots. A surge slot can be a super-size crowd-swallower. But it can also be an express extra since staging expresses is a little harder with the headway requirements. It can be a headway-corrector when there's a service disruption, as it'll be more important to maintain the default headway than follow the paper schedule. And it can be a throttle-up/throttle-down headway corrector on one of the mercifully few lines (Haverhill in particular) that has to swim upstream against freight interference. Any of those surges are easier to stage from the surface terminal, because attempting to pair-match on-the-fly with an instant tunnel slot causes more problems than it solves. And they're easier being able to grab-and-go a trainset on-demand from BET...to NS, not Porter.



As am I for assuming it was self-evident a much traffic-heavier system needed to pay basic mind to ops and cost efficiency and not go out of its way to make things harder for itself.

What is driving this crusade for service cuts at Porter, anyway...since money, logistics, transfer destinations, and rapid transit frequencies apparently have zero to

The southside and northside are different beast and will always be so. With the two biggest cities AND Amtrak service frequency imbalance, the south side will always have a need forSS.
The northside has three destination cites, all within 30 miles, and the Fitchburg Line.
Here are my assumptions
1. Tha Green Line is pushed out to West Medford if not further.
2. That the Orange Line goes to Reading
3. That the Blue Line goes to Lynn
And, yes I understand that will take a while. I am focused on eventual utility of NS.
So the three tracksets coming into NS:
Eastern Route has four stops inside Salem (including River Works) S Salem adds a fifth. In a world where EMUs run to Beverly or Danvers and get 30 min service EACH, and the outer lines get 30 min service each with express after Beverly and an extra 2tph to bring south of Salem frequencies to 15 , that is 8tph.

The Main Line has four stops between Anderson and NS, and two of them should be gone (Mishawam and Wedgemere) Wilmington and Billerica are the only stops north of Anderson . Whether 15 frequencies go to Anderson or Lowell, five stops are not enough of a drag to warrant expresses on the 25 mile route. If you need Lowell expresses, the NH trains should handle it.
Speaking of NH , Let's assume 30 min frequencies there. Let's also assume 30 min frequencies that express after Salem St. Thats five stops on Haverhill, six with Anderson. That is again, 8 tph
Fitchburg? How far out do you run 15 service? The Weston PnR proposed ? That makes for eight stops even with an Alewife infill and a Beaver Brook reuse.
Even with 30 min local(express inside 12 AND 30 expresses from Fitchburg/Littleton(overkill in my opinion-the three stops in Concord and Lincoln don't slow you down that much? That is AGAIN, 8 tph.
8+8+8 equals 24 and in 1 tph for Amtrak
Portsmouth? I think that is magical thinking, but if not, than that ahould be an extension of the five-six stop Newburyport semi-express, not and additional train.
Still, 25 tph. Amtrk Regionals to Anderson? Doubling the DE? MAYBE 2tph.
26 tph, 10 of them diesels, unless Fitchburg gets electrified to Littleton, then 8. That would be 16-18 tph into the tunnels and 8-10 for NS. Three berths, even with 20min turn arounds. Two, with 12min turnaround.

So a single two track drawbridge would be more than sufficient feeding into four berths. And 18 tph in the tunnels, well below maximum. Northside merging with NEVER be as complecated as Southside.
Yes, Regional Rail should lead to a significant increase of rail use. But a much smaller NS would still be quite futureproof.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:39 AM   #1669
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

@tallguy, can you possibly try to fix that with some quote tags? It's pretty hard to read/follow the conversation when you don't bother with the tags.

Here:

[quote_]
Other guy's text;
[/quote_]
Your text.

Drop the underscore to make it look like this:

Quote:
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:45 PM   #1670
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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well, yeah, but my point is that worked as a south station/north station connector (albeit not for passengers) until 1970. instead of figuring out the intricacies of getting a north/south connector underground, why not just revisit this concept?

seems a lot less expensive and disruptive.
Um, I know it's legal in MA now, but dude, you want to lay the hell off that stuff. If you want to permanently gridlock the fuck out of downtown traffic, I can't think of a better way to do that than sending Amtrak and commuter rail trains down the middle of the fucking street. Oh, and forget about any hope of those trains staying on schedule. The Union Freight Railroad only ran late at night, for good reason.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:55 PM   #1671
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

Sorry, I thought I was. Trying to do this on my phone....
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:48 PM   #1672
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Originally Posted by ceo View Post
Um, I know it's legal in MA now, but dude, you want to lay the hell off that stuff. If you want to permanently gridlock the fuck out of downtown traffic, I can't think of a better way to do that than sending Amtrak and commuter rail trains down the middle of the fucking street. Oh, and forget about any hope of those trains staying on schedule. The Union Freight Railroad only ran late at night, for good reason.
If we take the proposal seriously for a second, it seems like there might be room for an elevated structure through the Greenway. This has the obvious issues, but it would be possible to do. Proposal. Steps would be:
  1. New surface-level route starting from just about the end of the longest South Station platform curving west and then straight along Atlantic Ave. Rise in elevation until you hit what you need. This probably blocks a good bit of the bus terminal's street entrance, but it should be possible to rework it.
  2. New elevated platforms roughly where all of the trees to the west of the current platforms are, continuing out and over Summer St (blocking a good bit of the South Station facade, but whatever).
  3. Continue the elevated structure straight and onto the Greenway. Should be possible to avoid staying on top of the tunnels but this isn't going to be a high speed trip.
  4. Room for a central station from about High St to Aquarium
  5. Continue north, stick to the northern side and continue across over Beverly St.
  6. S-bend to the left over the on-ramp and then return to ground-level as you continue out and under the Storrow connector. Should be able to tie into a new bridge just north of the drawbridge after going under the connector.

No real room for a North Station equivalent that I can see. You need the space at the north end for the tricky weaving around roads. Might be able to put it on top of Beverly St, but I'm sure the new condo owners there won't be happy. Stations would have to be extremely minimalistic given the room constraints anyway.

Overall I say it's technically possible, but I wouldn't do it. We have the specs for the tunnel all laid out, and that will work fine without putting another eyesore on top of a great park. Operationally the offset tracks at both ends mean any trains going over this are going to foul a lot of other lines, and nothing will ever approach acceptable speeds when crossing switches, fouling them for even longer. You'd be connecting the far western South Station tracks to the far northern North Station tracks, which works out okay for Worcester->Salem service at least.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:03 PM   #1673
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Originally Posted by ulrichomega View Post
If we take the proposal seriously for a second, it seems like there might be room for an elevated structure through the Greenway. This has the obvious issues, but it would be possible to do. Proposal. Steps would be:
  1. New surface-level route starting from just about the end of the longest South Station platform curving west and then straight along Atlantic Ave. Rise in elevation until you hit what you need. This probably blocks a good bit of the bus terminal's street entrance, but it should be possible to rework it.
  2. New elevated platforms roughly where all of the trees to the west of the current platforms are, continuing out and over Summer St (blocking a good bit of the South Station facade, but whatever).
  3. Continue the elevated structure straight and onto the Greenway. Should be possible to avoid staying on top of the tunnels but this isn't going to be a high speed trip.
  4. Room for a central station from about High St to Aquarium
  5. Continue north, stick to the northern side and continue across over Beverly St.
  6. S-bend to the left over the on-ramp and then return to ground-level as you continue out and under the Storrow connector. Should be able to tie into a new bridge just north of the drawbridge after going under the connector.

No real room for a North Station equivalent that I can see. You need the space at the north end for the tricky weaving around roads. Might be able to put it on top of Beverly St, but I'm sure the new condo owners there won't be happy. Stations would have to be extremely minimalistic given the room constraints anyway.

Overall I say it's technically possible, but I wouldn't do it. We have the specs for the tunnel all laid out, and that will work fine without putting another eyesore on top of a great park. Operationally the offset tracks at both ends mean any trains going over this are going to foul a lot of other lines, and nothing will ever approach acceptable speeds when crossing switches, fouling them for even longer. You'd be connecting the far western South Station tracks to the far northern North Station tracks, which works out okay for Worcester->Salem service at least.

Seems like a lot of work and $$$ only to have another big dig 20 years after its built
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:27 PM   #1674
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Seems like a lot of work and $$$ only to have another big dig 20 years after its built
I don't disagree. It seems like if it turns out to be possible it would definitely be cheaper than the NSRL, but there are so many cost unknowns that I wouldn't even begin to know how to think about. The biggest would be that you'd be building this right on top of the tunnels and that's going to be miserable. That's not even including possibly needing to reconstruct multiple ramps at either end, or even how you'd get the South Station tracks to an acceptable level and still have room for a platform. Worst case scenario there is only a single station smack in the middle of the Greenway.

But hey. You'd finally connect the Blue Line to the commuter rail.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:43 AM   #1675
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Sorry, I thought I was. Trying to do this on my phone....
Argh, I find that virtually impossible. God speed to anybody who fights through this non mobile-optimized software!
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:22 AM   #1676
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

Where RER is a defined term based on Paris' 1960s to 1990s re-invention of its old rail network with a cross tunnel and transit frequencies. In French, it is an acronym, everywhere else is a concept, kind of like they also gave the world the word "Metro"
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:15 AM   #1677
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

Question about NSRL that seems relevant to capacities: In the 4-Track build is the proposal for any sort of flying junction at either end, or a simple level junction to bring all of the lines together?
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:38 PM   #1678
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Question about NSRL that seems relevant to capacities: In the 4-Track build is the proposal for any sort of flying junction at either end, or a simple level junction to bring all of the lines together?
Level. There isn't room to do it any other way. The underground mash-ups are pretty much mirror-images of their surface counterparts layout-wise, just with fewer total tracks involved.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:02 PM   #1679
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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Level. There isn't room to do it any other way. The underground mash-ups are pretty much mirror-images of their surface counterparts layout-wise, just with fewer total tracks involved.
? If memory serves, the latest feasibility study called for flying junction(s) at least at the north end. Which, I mean, perhaps was a debatable decision, but I'm pretty sure that's what was presented.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:42 PM   #1680
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Re: Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

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? If memory serves, the latest feasibility study called for flying junction(s) at least at the north end. Which, I mean, perhaps was a debatable decision, but I'm pretty sure that's what was presented.
Not quite. There's a flying junction on the mainline before the portals so traffic can cross over, but the actual portal splits are level. Not really sure what's going on there to force that, other than there must be some kind of level difference between tunnel bores that goes askew somewhere between leaving the North Station platforms and crossing the Charles River which they (1) have to close up in time for hitting the portals, and (2) have to avoid squishing traffic to one side or the other upon entering the station because otherwise it would limit routing options and traffic levels too much.

The renderings in the final report weren't all pretty and 3D for the portals like they were for the stations, so impossible to visualize what they're getting at from engineering standpoint.
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