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Old 04-02-2008, 06:17 AM   #1
Scott
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Fairmount Line Upgrade

Fairmount Line Improvements

The Fairmount commuter rail line is approximately 9.2 miles long, running from South Station to Readville. It passes through the communities of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, serving three intermediate stations. Despite the density of the surrounding communities and lack of nearby rapid transit lines, the line is currently underutilized and the frequency of service is low. Additionally, much of the infrastructure is in a state of disrepair, and station amenities are primitive and do not meet ADA regulations. The improvement project would upgrade the existing Uphams Corner and Morton Street Stations, with the possibility of constructing up to four new stations at Newmarket, Four Corners, Talbot Avenue and Blue Hill Avenue. An alternative site for the Four Corners station, located at Geneva Avenue, is also being studied. Additionally, six bridges would be reconstructed, a new interlocking would be built, and the signal system would be upgraded.

The completed upgrades at Uphams Corner and Morton Street have replaced the existing low-level platforms with new 800-foot long high-level platforms. Both stations feature paved parking lots with drop-off areas. To ensure passenger safety at Morton Street Station, a new Overhead Pedestrian Walkway has been constructed to provide direct access from Morton Street to the Outbound platform. Also, an additional access point has been constructed from the end of Flint Street to the Outbound platform. On the Inbound side, a new concrete stairway and rampway provides direct access to the platform from Morton Street. At Uphams Corner Station, the existing granite stairway on the Outbound side has been retained, and new concrete stairways and rampways have been added. Platforms at all stations have detectable warning strips; new canopies, benches, signs, train warning system, variable messages signs, and lighting. All stations on the Fairmount Line will feature accessible routes to the existing sidewalks.

Four Corners Station
Talbot Ave Station
Blue Hill Ave Station
Newmarket Station

http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/?id=14261
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:49 AM   #2
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Are there timelines for this project.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:26 AM   #3
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

What's happening to the "Indigo Line"? I'm guessing that it's pretty much dead since I haven't heard much about it lately. They should probably take a further look at things to really access if the area would benefit from such an upgrade. Rapid transit would be a much better option ... and it would make the commuter rail much more manageable. The commuter rail should be for the suburbs ... or people commuting within or outside the 95/128 belt.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

What's a shame is that they removed the underground loop at South Station when they renovated it in the 1980s. If they had kept it then this line could have functioned as a true rapid transit line with free transfer to the Red and Silver Lines.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

The project isn't dead, but I don't know what its timeline is. The state committed to this, along with the Green Line extension, as Big Dig mitigation.

I've read that the underground loop at South Station was never used after its first day, because it filled with smoke and was not well ventilated.
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Old 04-02-2008, 02:00 PM   #6
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

I think we both read that from the same place, Railroad.net forums. I wouldn't doubt its truth though.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:34 AM   #7
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

I grew up in Boston (Dorchester) and lived in Boston my whole life and not until I started reading this website did I know that there was a Fairmount line. And the funny thing is where I grew up (around Geneva ave) I would see this train pass my house everyday, but I always thought it was the commuter rail going out to suburbs. I am relatively young so maybe at one point the Fairmount line flourished.

Probably one of the reasons the line has low rider-ship, could be from the bus routes. The buses that pass these existing Fairmount train stops do not advertise or announce the Fairmount line. The buses advertise the major rapid line stations (i.e. Ruggles, Ashmont, etc.).
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:02 AM   #8
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

When did you grow up? For many years, trains passed through Dorchester without stopping at Uphams Corner or Morton Street. These stops were revived only in 1987.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:15 PM   #9
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

T riders take the bad news first

Service suffers, but help on way
The long-range future of the MBTA's Fairmount commuter rail line is bright: Four new stations in Mattapan and Dorchester, as well as new trains, signals, and bridges - are all on schedule to be delivered in less than three years.
The reality of the line today, though, is troubling: canceled trips, delayed runs, and very slow rides. Construction on three bridges on the 9.2-mile line has been disrupting service. At two recent community meetings in Hyde Park, residents voiced their displeasure to officials of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

"The Fairmount line went from being the best performing line in the commuter rail system to the worst," MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an interview last week. The T has one more meeting on Fairmount service this month with residents in Mattapan. After that, officials say, they will announce plans to improve the service or at least ease the delays.
The bridgework is part of a major upgrading to the line, which runs from Readville near the Dedham line to South Station, with stops at Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park, Morton Street in Mattapan, and Uphams Corner in Dorchester.

New stations are going to be built in Mattapan Square and on Talbot Avenue in Dorchester, Four Corners in Dorchester, and Newmarket in Dorchester, next to the South Bay shopping center. The MBTA is seeking bids for the Four Corners station, which is slated to start construction at a site between Washington Street and Geneva Avenue later this year. The entire $125 million project is due for completion in December 2011.
Community activists and elected officials in Dorchester and Mattapan have been pressing for the new stations for more than a decade, arguing that they are badly needed in neighborhoods poorly served by public transportation.
"It is going to be a very significant improvement in access for a part of the city that is very dependent on public transportation," said District 4 City Councilor Charles C. Yancey.
Jeanne DuBois, executive director of the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, said, "This is a huge priority for people in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park. This is a key rail connector for these communities."
When the stations and other improvements to the line are completed, a trip that can now take an hour or more by bus will be reduced to 15 minutes on the train, Yancey said.
The long-term vision of activists is conversion of the Fairmount line to a rapid transit service, already tentatively named the Indigo Line, which would link to the Red and Silver lines at South Station.
Joseph Cosgrove, the MBTA's director of planning and development, said the transit agency shares that hope for transforming the line but is making improvements in stages for now. Yancey said his long-term goal is to make the Fairmount line part of the rapid transit system, but added, "It is quite fulfilling to see a part of the dream being realized."
Improvements on the line began four years ago with renovation of stations and installation of new track and signals.
The Fairmount line carries about 2,000 inbound riders daily, which is the smallest ridership in the commuter rail system. It also is the only commuter rail line entirely within the city of Boston, and it is the only line with no weekend service.
Riders who depend on the service are upset by the delays. "There are lots of issues of trains being canceled and trains being late," said District 5 City Councilor Rob Consalvo, a Hyde Park resident. "As much as the T is making a commitment to capital investments, they have to make a commitment to efficiency on the line now. People rely on it to get to work."
Pesaturo said the service disruption has been caused mainly by the bridge construction.
"All it takes is one miscue," Pesaturo said. "If one train has a problem, it has a cascading effect on the entire line."

http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...ad_news_first/
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:42 PM   #10
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

The fact that this is the line with the lowest ridership is not surprising. Most people within Boston would ride a rapid transit line that continuously runs in order to do errands or make intracity trips. A sparsely scheduled commuter line does not serve these needs.

I think the lack of ridership is not reflective of a lessened need for rapid transit in the area. I think if it is built, then it will be successful.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:12 AM   #11
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12345 View Post
Joseph Cosgrove, the MBTA's director of planning and development, said the transit agency shares that hope for transforming the line but is making improvements in stages for now. Yancey said his long-term goal is to make the Fairmount line part of the rapid transit system, but added, "It is quite fulfilling to see a part of the dream being realized."
These guys had better wake up soon and turn some of these long term goals into near term ones...the federal government is about to go on one of its largest public project spending sprees in history, this year, through the stimulus plan and next year for the larger policy shifts Obama has indicated will be for a direction change in transportation issues, finally putting public transit on a level playing field with roadway transit (using a myriad of policy and funding changes).

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Old 03-26-2009, 12:44 PM   #12
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Quote:
New commuter rail stations will fit neighborhoods to a T
Fairmount Line upgrades bring redevelopment to Dorchester, Mattapan route

By Robert Preer
Globe Correspondent / March 24, 2009

In the midst of a prolonged real estate slowdown, an old industrial building at Four Corners, a closed garage on Talbot Avenue, and a long-vacant car dealership on Cummins Highway would seem to be unlikely candidates for redevelopment. But the properties, in Dorchester and Mattapan, have an unusual feature that makes them valuable right now: They are near the locations of planned stations on the Fairmount commuter rail line, which the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has put on the fast track for improvements.

Developers, mostly community organizations, have bought or are planning to buy and rebuild as many as a dozen properties along the 9.2-mile rail corridor. The projects typically involve apartments or condominiums, some with a retail component, and are designed to take advantage of their proximity to transportation into downtown Boston.

"Up and down the Fairmount Line we are making sure we have an urban village around each stop," said Jeanne DuBois, executive director of the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation.

Patrick administration transportation officials said they are committed to building the four new train stations, as well as making improvements to tracks and bridges and adding more frequent service for residents, who are now mainly served by bus lines. The new Fairmount stations, three in Dorchester and one in Mattapan, are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.

The new stations are at Newmarket, Four Corners, and Talbot Avenue in Dorchester, and in Mattapan Square. A fifth station has been proposed for Columbia Road in Dorchester.

The Fairmount Line now runs from South Station to the Readville section of Hyde Park. The long-term vision of the state and MBTA is to convert the commuter line to a rapid transit or light rail service, tentatively dubbed the Indigo Line.

The Fairmount improvements could be particularly crucial in the neighborhoods along the line, which include some of the city's poorest.

"We are looking for the benefits of economic development near the stations," said Marvin Martin, executive director of the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition. "History has shown that transit coming in has always been a catalyst to economic development."

The development proposed for the Four Corners neighborhood involves replacing an old industrial building with 24 cooperative apartments above first-floor shops. The developer, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, also wants to build apartments with a retail presence on the site of an old garage on Talbot Avenue. Both would be short walks to the new stations.

Meanwhile, Dorchester Bay, DuBois's agency, has acquired several properties on Quincy Street in Dorchester near the proposed Columbia Road Station. And not far away, Dorchester Bay has recently finished the $20 million Dudley Village, a five-building complex with 50 apartments and 6,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space. That development is a quarter-mile from the Fairmount Line's existing Uphams Corner Station.

The existing station on Morton Street has also drawn developers. The team of Judge Development LLC and Truong Enterprises is planning to build 28 condominiums and two stores at the site of a closed police station in Mattapan on one side of Morton Street. On the other side of the street, the Mattapan Community Development Corporation is planning a 24-unit apartment and commercial building.

Farther down the Fairmount Line next to the new Mattapan Square Station, Community Builders, the country's largest urban nonprofit developer, has proposed building apartments on the site of a former auto dealership that closed decades ago.

And in Hyde Park near the existing Fairmount Station, the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation is trying to acquire a city-owned building with an eye to converting it to a performing arts center.

DuBois said some of the community organizations are in the process of acquiring other properties for redevelopment. She declined to provide details since the matters are in negotiation.

In the current recession, the nonprofit community development corporations have certain advantages over for-profit developers. Without the need for profits, the organizations can operate on thinner margins. They also can take advantage of government lending and subsidies, and they can access capital offered by philanthropic lenders. Community development corporations also can form partnerships with for-profit developers.

"We're good at patching together deals," said DuBois. "We have a lot of different pots of money that probably give us more of a cushion."

The community organizations also have different goals than private developers, such as protecting the neighborhood from gentrification by the very projects that are improving it.

"On the one hand, you want economic development and investment, but you don't want the people who live there being pushed out of their own neighborhoods," DuBois said.

Opened in 1855, the Fairmount Line was one of Boston's first passenger railroads. It closed in 1944 and was reopened by the state in 1979. Today, it carries about 2,000 riders inbound daily, making it the smallest commuter line in the system. It is also the only MBTA commuter service entirely within the city of Boston.

Robert Preer can be reached at preer@globe.com.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:50 AM   #13
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Great report - exciting to see concrete evidence here in Boston of how even the promise of stable, RAIL rapid transit can yield new development in even some of the most economically disadvantaged areas.

Extend the Indigo Line past South station on a continuing route through Back Bay, Fenway, BU Bridge, Allston (Sports Depot anyone?), Brighton etc.
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:22 AM   #14
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

South Station needs more of it's tracks back to really do that effectively. We better hope when the Postal Annex is demolished more platforms are added.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:31 PM   #15
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Add stations and simultaneously electrify the line. Run subway rolling stock on it at subway headways. Revise the zoning around stations to allow much higher densities. Think Forest Hills, an ideal transit suburb.
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:02 PM   #16
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Different rolling stock would really be nice. The diesel monsters the T operates on the commuter rail don't seem appropriate for an intra-city line with frequent stops and (hopefully) higher nearby residential densities.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:05 PM   #17
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

It boggles my mind that the MBTA continues to use freight hand me downs instead of investing in modern BUDDs or DMUS
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:21 PM   #18
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Well if they did that then they would need to upgrade their facilities, or build new ones. The MBTA doesn't really think everything out, or if they do they only think how they can do things cheaply. That means we get a cheap ass transit system.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:33 PM   #19
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Hope this works, these communities could use the development. Being a former resident of Dorchester, I would love to see more transit-oriented developments in the city like the one at Ashmont station. The Carruth is not a perfect example given the problems it has had selling units as condos, although I think much of that has to do with the economy. Yet, this is great way of attracting young people, who don't have enough money to live downtown, but also who do not want to live way out in the burbs. If you tell them that they can live right on a train line that will take them into downtown, and tell them that they will have a little village at home with a grocery, a pharmacy, bookstore, than many people will be more willing to move there. Regardless, the line will be good for the people who already live there, who are underserved by the T.

However, I would guess that they are still several years from breaking ground on most of the stations given the economy. I mean, the former police station on Morton street has layed vacant for years, and for years there has been 'serious talk' that this site would be converted into housing.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #20
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Re: Fairmont Line Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
It boggles my mind that the MBTA continues to use freight hand me downs instead of investing in modern BUDDs or DMUS
Or hey, even EMUs. We already use them on the subways, so why not start building overhead wires on the Commuter Rail too? Very simple to do, and can improve both acceleration and top speed. EMUs in Japan--non bullet trains, by the way--are set to run at 160 km/h, or 99 mph, by 2010.

Implementation could start small: Fairmount and Needham lines, for instance. Overhead wires could be laid on parts of the Commuter Rail to enable rapid electric service on larger lines, too--Boston to Lynn, Reading, Anderson RTC, Waltham, Framingham, Brockton, etc. Gradually they would be extended, allowing the entire Commuter Rail system to run on electricity.

This would also make Rapid Transit extensions easier. Suppose the Red Line were being extended from Alewife to Waltham. Just stick in a single express track for commuter rail trains, give the Red Line cars pantographs (ala Blue Line), and run the new service with ease. No need to build an entirely new batch of stations or two new tracks right from the get-go; they could be gradually implemented as demand increased.

Last edited by jenkins; 04-06-2009 at 11:49 AM.
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