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Old 08-02-2019, 05:55 PM   #1
HelloBostonHi
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Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Couldn't find a thread about this but I could just be an idiot. I know it's been mentioned in a few but since it seems like it's finally going to happen with the Fall 2019 schedule changes I thought maybe having a thread would be a good idea so we can argue about ridership and schedules per usual.

Project Link: https://www.mbta.com/projects/foxbor...-service-pilot

Details:
  • Zone 4
  • $4 daily parking
  • Service starts October 2019
  • Year long pilot
So far the grade crossings have been upgraded with new crossing arms and new pavement, track has been shifted and a brand new signal system has been installed that can communicate with the rest of the signalling infrastructure. PTC hardware has already been installed and is ready. Maintenance of way has also been shifted from MassCoastal to the MBTA along the Framingham Secondary.

Last, the proposed schedule:
Quote:
Inbound to Boston
Leave Foxboro Arrive at South Station
5:48 AM 6:52 AM
7:30 AM 8:24 AM
8:20 AM 9:16 AM
10:30 AM 11:30 AM
1:30 PM 2:30 PM
4:33 PM 5:33 PM
5:26 PM 6:16 PM
6:37 PM 7:38 PM
7:40 PM 8:25 PM
9:50 PM 10:50 PM

Outbound to Foxboro
Leave South Station Arrive at Foxboro
6:05 AM 7:00 AM
7:05 AM 8:05 AM
8:50 AM 9:39 AM
11:45 AM 12:42 PM
2:45 PM 3:51 PM
4:15 PM 5:11 PM
5:03 PM 6:05 PM
6:30 PM 7:25 PM
8:15 PM 9:18 PM
10:00 PM 10:55 PM
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:43 AM   #2
jklo
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Seems they had to rob Walpole service but at the same time Walpole keeps it's limited stops service so they might be OK with it.

Are they going to offer service to get people home from the two Patriots weekday games?
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:06 AM   #3
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklo View Post
Seems they had to rob Walpole service but at the same time Walpole keeps it's limited stops service so they might be OK with it.

Are they going to offer service to get people home from the two Patriots weekday games?
They've run weekday night Pats service all along. Those should be interesting since the crowds going to Gillette are going to coincide with the P.M. rush hour. While they'll surely try to mitigate it, there's not a lot of attractive options for keeping that from being a hell commute.


Walpole can't be added to the pilot because the mainline station is non-accessible, so if they added a Foxboro-side platform on the wye track it would trigger holy hell with the ADA. And that station is a legit nightmare to make accessible because the platform is incredibly short crammed between the wye switch and diamond while the station building is on the Historic Register. Platform's too close to the building to structurally interface with a full-high, and the platform is already too short to be shortened any further. It's also one of the busiest stations on the commuter rail, so accessibility is a festering sore. Basically, if they touched anything for the pilot the accessibility timebomb would've gone "KABOOM" instantly.

Since the odds of the pilot exceeding its ridership goal is extremely good, and the remaining costs for the full-build plan to expand out to 16 round trips daily (equal to Forge Park) are minor, it's pretty close to fait accompli that this service is never going away. So they'll have to kick off the tortured Walpole accessibility process as a featured element of the full-build upgrade. I'm thinking that's going to have to require moving away from the historic building and straddling over Elm St. and the Neponset River with an island platform bookended by crossovers so either platform track can access Forge Park or Foxboro directions. Will require widening both bridges, and having northbound freight wye access be on its own passing track since this is a freight clearance route. The old historic depot can become part of some downtown redev or something.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:20 AM   #4
mass88
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
They've run weekday night Pats service all along. Those should be interesting since the crowds going to Gillette are going to coincide with the P.M. rush hour. While they'll surely try to mitigate it, there's not a lot of attractive options for keeping that from being a hell commute.


Walpole can't be added to the pilot because the mainline station is non-accessible, so if they added a Foxboro-side platform on the wye track it would trigger holy hell with the ADA. And that station is a legit nightmare to make accessible because the platform is incredibly short crammed between the wye switch and diamond while the station building is on the Historic Register. Platform's too close to the building to structurally interface with a full-high, and the platform is already too short to be shortened any further. It's also one of the busiest stations on the commuter rail, so accessibility is a festering sore. Basically, if they touched anything for the pilot the accessibility timebomb would've gone "KABOOM" instantly.

Since the odds of the pilot exceeding its ridership goal is extremely good, and the remaining costs for the full-build plan to expand out to 16 round trips daily (equal to Forge Park) are minor, it's pretty close to fait accompli that this service is never going away. So they'll have to kick off the tortured Walpole accessibility process as a featured element of the full-build upgrade. I'm thinking that's going to have to require moving away from the historic building and straddling over Elm St. and the Neponset River with an island platform bookended by crossovers so either platform track can access Forge Park or Foxboro directions. Will require widening both bridges, and having northbound freight wye access be on its own passing track since this is a freight clearance route. The old historic depot can become part of some downtown redev or something.
The Patriots don't have any home Monday Night Football games this year (they're away to the Jets on their lone appearance this season) and only have the single Thursday Night Football game this year. It'll be rough given the crunch of additional passengers, but we're only talking one night.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:30 AM   #5
jklo
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Thing is, if you live north of the stadium, you're likely better off driving to Walpole, and South to Mansfield because of the limited stops. Now since Mansfield is Zone 6 that might get some people to take the 2 zone discount.

Doesn't seem like it's going to cost that much, but you're likely talking about just people who live in the immediate vicinity of the Stadium and Patriot Place workers. Maybe you could get people staying at the hotel on the site to take it.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:16 AM   #6
mass88
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

There's a large apartment complex that is being built just south, right at the junction of 495 and rte 1. I am sure they're advertising the Foxboro commuter rail stop in their marketing materials. I also wonder if Kraft will be adding a residential component to Patriot Place? Having a commuter rail stop would be a big selling point to people.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:43 AM   #7
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklo View Post
Thing is, if you live north of the stadium, you're likely better off driving to Walpole, and South to Mansfield because of the limited stops. Now since Mansfield is Zone 6 that might get some people to take the 2 zone discount.

Doesn't seem like it's going to cost that much, but you're likely talking about just people who live in the immediate vicinity of the Stadium and Patriot Place workers. Maybe you could get people staying at the hotel on the site to take it.
The full-build projected a lot of parking relief at Walpole, even when including Walpole on the schedule. It was a significant shift. Mansfield was harder to factor because the Providence Line schedule wasn't changing in any way.

Where this all comes home to roost is if/when a successful trial begats the full-build, because then the Franklin Main's schedule outright doubles to 32 round trips daily at all stops Endicott-Walpole. Foxboro and those 5 miles of upgraded Framingham Secondary track are small potatoes unto themselves, but they're the upgrade that enables humongous frequency increases at Dedham Corporate, the Norwoods, and Walpole where the ridership would collectively explode and fetch major TOD development at DC (more than what's already going up) + the major downtown stops.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:31 PM   #8
jklo
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by mass88 View Post
The Patriots don't have any home Monday Night Football games this year (they're away to the Jets on their lone appearance this season) and only have the single Thursday Night Football game this year. It'll be rough given the crunch of additional passengers, but we're only talking one night.
Ah, you're right. I only looked at the time, neglecting to see if it was home or not. I've heard that the Patriots Train is really popular too but as you said it's just one night.
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:32 PM   #9
jass
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

The late night service was discontinued because it **only* served 15,000 riders over 2 hours.

This is projected to attract 210 riders a day.


The late night service was discontinued because it required a **massive** subsidy of $13 per ride.

This is projected to cost a subsidy of $12 per ride.


https://cdn.mbta.com/sites/default/f...accessible.pdf
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:23 PM   #10
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jass View Post
The late night service was discontinued because it **only* served 15,000 riders over 2 hours.

This is projected to attract 210 riders a day.


The late night service was discontinued because it required a **massive** subsidy of $13 per ride.

This is projected to cost a subsidy of $12 per ride.


https://cdn.mbta.com/sites/default/f...accessible.pdf
↑ A shining example of an apples-broccoli comparison if there ever was one.


This is a limited pilot. Those are limited pilot -grade targets taking advantage of the state-of-repair rebuild of the Framingham Secondary, which allowed the running speeds to automatically increase. If the pilot is successful, the next step is advancing to full build with a Kraft-underwritten full-high Gillette platform, a layover yard, and 16 round-trips daily equal to Forge Park.

That doubles service levels at Endicott, Dedham Corporate, Islington, Norwood Depot, Norwood Central, Windsor Gardens, and--if ADA and platform placement snafus can get worked over--Walpole. Those stops do 5,386 daily boardings today with 16 round-trips. Foxboro full-build will--per the Feasibility Study--give them these upper-bound increases when it's 32 round trips:
  • Endicott: +58%
  • Dedham Corporate: +67%
  • Islington: +107%
  • Norwood Depot: +73%
  • Norwood Central: +21%
  • Windsor Gardens: +133%
  • Walpole: +46%
They didn't figure lower bounds for the existing stops, but Foxboro itself projected a lower-bound of 729 boardings under the 16 round-trip plan and upper-bound of 990 boardings...approx. a 35% difference between bounds if you want to go glass-half-empty on the ridership increases ^above^.

Would you agree that a whole lot of riders would get served under the full-build? The fact that Foxboro at full service would only slug in the middle-upper range of stops doesn't give it a demerit at all when running the full schedule there produces such yuuuuge increases on the mainline.

To get there they need to fulfill this pilot--and its lowballed projections--successfully because Kraft is only going to go public-private on a new station facility if it gets results and Towns of Foxborough & Walpole (but especially NIMBY-fied Walpole) will only grant permission if the pilot proves to be a hit. Arguably this was the cleanest way they could go about it given the cats they had to herd. While it is no fait accompli that the state will proceed afterwards, it's also not likely that a successful pilot is going to result in a return to zero service except on game nights. The full service has been on a bucket list item on a lot of MassDOT lon-range planning docs, and it's cheaper than it used to be now that a lot of the necessary track/ROW work was cleared away for freights.

----- ----- -----

Though on second thought, there was a weird smell at Park St. today when I was waiting for the B...so this sucks, everything sucks, everything that ever was or will be sucked, and fuck everything.

Is that more like it?
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:22 PM   #11
sm89
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

I get that the ridership projections are lower than they could be with a full build. I also get that you can't get "real" new riders because no one is moving to Foxboro with a job in Boston because a one year train test makes the commute more desirable. In its current form this will siphon off riders from crowded nearby stations. There is demand for such a service.

I think jass is trying to make the point that for the same amount of money, inner-core service which was deemed too expensive is still a better move for the system as a whole. You are providing opportunities for inner-core residents to be more flexible about their work hours, job locations, and saving them money and time when they have no other options.

Why expand the commuter rail to ease travel for people outside the city and encourage more sprawl?
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:13 PM   #12
jass
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
↑ A shining example of an apples-broccoli comparison if there ever was one.
False.

We are comparing dollars versus dollars.

The MBTA has a fixed budget.

It is ridiculous to spend $X on this project in the hope that you might get 990 boarding, when the MBTA just said it was not feasible to spend the very same $X on 15,000 riders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sm89 View Post
I get that the ridership projections are lower than they could be with a full build. I also get that you can't get "real" new riders because no one is moving to Foxboro with a job in Boston because a one year train test makes the commute more desirable. In its current form this will siphon off riders from crowded nearby stations. There is demand for such a service.

I think jass is trying to make the point that for the same amount of money, inner-core service which was deemed too expensive is still a better move for the system as a whole. You are providing opportunities for inner-core residents to be more flexible about their work hours, job locations, and saving them money and time when they have no other options.

Why expand the commuter rail to ease travel for people outside the city and encourage more sprawl?
This is correct.

I am not saying "no one will ride the train"but that we need to stop catering to a handful of suburban folks at the expense of the people riding the MBTA day in and day out.

Lets not forget that the MBTA spent $534 million on capital costs (and who knows how much sunk into operations) for 6,114 daily riders on the Greenbush line while actually important projects like red-blue get ignored because theyre too pricey.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:42 PM   #13
datadyne007
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

OMG there will actually be service for weeknight Revs games with this schedule!!!

Inbound to Boston
9:50 PM 10:50 PM

Outbound to Foxboro
5:03 PM 6:05 PM
6:30 PM 7:25 PM

Seriously, it has taken me 2 hours to drive to Gillette for weeknight Revs games for 7/7:30 this season and with this season's new MLS schedule, there are a lot more weeknight games.
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Old 08-06-2019, 02:50 PM   #14
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jass View Post
False.

We are comparing dollars versus dollars.

The MBTA has a fixed budget.

It is ridiculous to spend $X on this project in the hope that you might get 990 boarding, when the MBTA just said it was not feasible to spend the very same $X on 15,000 riders.

This is correct.

I am not saying "no one will ride the train"but that we need to stop catering to a handful of suburban folks at the expense of the people riding the MBTA day in and day out.

Lets not forget that the MBTA spent $534 million on capital costs (and who knows how much sunk into operations) for 6,114 daily riders on the Greenbush line while actually important projects like red-blue get ignored because theyre too pricey.
There's a bit of both here. $13 Per ride subsidy was what was achieved (the floor) while $12 per ride subsidy is the proposed ceiling. If Foxboro and the increased service on the Forge Park branch create mode switching, the subsidy comes down even lower and car traffic from the area is also mitigated to whatever degree. Advocating for Commuter rail to become incrementally more like the subway is also a worthy goal. Is single tracked SCR a pile of trash? Yes, that's still true. But if it gets to the next question of how to make that service better, was it worth the step? Yes.

Whether people want to acknowledge it or not, capital spending on the subway hasn't been replaced by commuter rail spending, they are both getting attention. Politically and practically, you cannot just keep pouring money into one facet of the MBTA. The commuter rail work of today is the future Regional Rail of tomorrow with demand, double track capacity, and full high stations. Meanwhile, the subway capital is tied up with GLX and the RLT/OLT.

The congestion problem is from cars from both inside the city and from outside the city. Mode switching across the board is the goal. The fight here is that there should be more capital funding to go around and more capacity to spend the capital. The political will is there for the red/blue connector and the pressure will grow as Kendall grows. We all need to keep building that momentum, but it shouldn't come by shooting down other projects.
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:21 PM   #15
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Re: Foxboro Weekday Service Pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by sm89 View Post
I get that the ridership projections are lower than they could be with a full build. I also get that you can't get "real" new riders because no one is moving to Foxboro with a job in Boston because a one year train test makes the commute more desirable. In its current form this will siphon off riders from crowded nearby stations. There is demand for such a service.

I think jass is trying to make the point that for the same amount of money, inner-core service which was deemed too expensive is still a better move for the system as a whole. You are providing opportunities for inner-core residents to be more flexible about their work hours, job locations, and saving them money and time when they have no other options.

Why expand the commuter rail to ease travel for people outside the city and encourage more sprawl?
Full-build "Option C" had a capital cost of $63M in 2010 dollars, and subsidy-per-rider of $6.83. A lot of the trackwork appropriations such as Framingham Secondary rehab and Walpole-Norfolk second track (for absorbing a shifted Forge Park schedule) have already been spent or greenlit and can be subtracted from the project itemization, with the amount of public-private partnership for the new Gillette station being a wildcard. With that the inflation to 2020 dollars probably isn't going to be all that significant (those if a relocated Walpole Station becomes part of the project that would re-add cost.


Exactly what is a meager $63M competing with on top-tier projects, most of whom are 8-10x as much? And who claims that the T lives in a flat world of binary budgeting where it can only mount one 8-figure project at a time? This is the very essence of learning to walk and chew gum at the same time, because doubling frequencies on the inner Franklin main can be seen as a trial in itself of almost-RER implementation. On the face of it, most people say they want RER. But each line is going to have to get some small-scale upgrades of minimally several dozen $M's to get ready for the service increases, and the actual rollout will happen individually for all the lines that aren't yet ready for the traffic. So if we're quibbling with the Foxboro capital costs for bringing the Franklin main up to that service tier...how much does one really support RER when push comes to shove for doing that on other lines??? You know, that inner core service that's supposedly more valuable.

There's a whole army of strawmen to pick through there for the seasoned nitpicker. For how RER Line 1 shouldn't be funded because My Favorite Bus Line needs to be BRT'd. For how RER Line 2 shouldn't be funded because it's in a rich suburb and we should be building NSRL instead even though it's dependent on all lines being RER. For how RER Line 7 shouldn't be built because I'm tired of shitty Green Line commutes and want speedier trolleys. For how RER Line 9 shouldn't be built because "IT KNOWS DAMN WELL WHY!". For how RER Line 12 shouldn't be built because this ferry route has a 36 lower subsity. And so on and so on. You can make a game out of it. Some already do.

If a cheap reference project draws that kind of icky-poo face one has to ask oneself exactly how much they're really willing to support RER as a systemwide enhancement with on-the-ground capital expenses, when those inner-core frequencies so coveted are run on the backs of upgraded service to suburban destinations in I-495 land quite similar to this. In flat, binary budgeting world there's always something else that could take the money, but not always something contributing to an overarching "vision thing" initiative.
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