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Old 02-28-2019, 06:16 PM   #1561
tysmith95
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Back to the Worcester to Kendall/North Station route, I think the short trek from North Station to Kendall would actually be a popular route. Though there are already private busses that serve that need. Still even if it takes the same time I think people prefer trains more than they do buses.

I know the MBTA is procuring on a new drawbridge to help out North Station, could more modern switches speed up the approach to North Station a little bit too?
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:32 PM   #1562
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
Back to the Worcester to Kendall/North Station route, I think the short trek from North Station to Kendall would actually be a popular route. Though there are already private busses that serve that need. Still even if it takes the same time I think people prefer trains more than they do buses.
The WOR-NS study answers this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Page 57
The new Kendall/MIT station would generate 500 boardings daily and an equal number of alightings: 100 trips between the Kendall Square and the North Station neighborhoods, and 400 trips between the Kendall Square area and points west on the Framingham/Worcester Line.
YMMV on how much up-up-UPside you peg Kendall's near-term growth at, but 100 daily trips is an extremely weak baseline to be starting from. Especially when the estimated demand is nearly all contained during peak-most hours (i.e. bi-directional all-day RER service isn't going to goose it any). You would have to be looking at something that rewrites the whole calculus...like Urban Ring offering one-seats to all the major line transfers...to boost that number exponentially.

Quote:
I know the MBTA is procuring on a new drawbridge to help out North Station, could more modern switches speed up the approach to North Station a little bit too?
7 minutes between Kendall and NS. That isn't going to change much more than insignificant seconds inside of the margin-of-error.

Kendall Station has a small but immovable dwell time of its own because of the DTMF switch that overrides the crossing protection to keep gates open to traffic while the train is safely stopped sandwiched between crossings (otherwise it's gates-down on both crossings during the whole stop). Before the engineer can go, he/she sends a radio ping to 'end' the preemption and trigger gates-down in the travel direction. Then, since these crossings have traffic lights that would be tied into the crossing equipment for priority, there'd be a 6-10 sec. pause while waiting for the traffic lights to flush.

That's a significant blocker to trying to speed things up, because by using the GJ at all you chose to do business with the grade crossings and do all the necessary mitigations for local Cambridge traffic, including peds and buses.

Then you've got the very tight curve at the Fitchburg Line junction knocking speeds down to their most restrictive, with only 3000 ft. after that to rev back up at all before the curve into Tower A's blur of switches. It's not nearly enough running room to recover from the curve. An EMU would pick up a handful more seconds, but you'd still be well inside the schedule margin-of-error and netting 0:00 improvement on the official schedule. That margin-of-error has to cover--above all else--variable platform dwells like 1 random-draw stop being more crowded than usual, or a wheelchair rider needing special-assistance boarding. Unfortunately bumming seconds here and there isn't going to do anything against the dwell MoE unless it starts rounding up to near-minute. There just isn't any place on this particular routing where conditions are favorable enough for long enough to accumulate savings above-and-beyond MoE.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:28 PM   #1563
tysmith95
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

So i'm not sure if this has been discussed already, but when the green line extension is finally built will there be any new green lines that terminate at North Station (or Leachmere).

A good chunk of commuter rail riders, it honestly often seems like roughly half, transfer to Orange/Green in order to get closer to their destination (going to financial district/seaport/or back bay). During the morning rush hour Orange is usually too crowded for anyone to get on, so the green line is usually filled by riders coming from North Station. However with the GLX, i'm sure that green line cars going from Medford and Union will be pretty full by the time they reach North Station.

I've seen it where commuter rail riders during peak rush hour will fill the entire green line car. An empty one will come in and will be entirely full by the time it pulls out of North Station.

Although the new orange trains will help, I think it is important to have some green line trains to ease pressure on the Orange.

I think when you have a new fare system that allows free transfers, commuter rail use on the northern lines might increase a little. Though it would increase a ton if there were ever a NSRL built.
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Old 03-01-2019, 03:58 PM   #1564
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
So i'm not sure if this has been discussed already, but when the green line extension is finally built will there be any new green lines that terminate at North Station (or Leachmere).

A good chunk of commuter rail riders, it honestly often seems like roughly half, transfer to Orange/Green in order to get closer to their destination (going to financial district/seaport/or back bay). During the morning rush hour Orange is usually too crowded for anyone to get on, so the green line is usually filled by riders coming from North Station. However with the GLX, i'm sure that green line cars going from Medford and Union will be pretty full by the time they reach North Station.

I've seen it where commuter rail riders during peak rush hour will fill the entire green line car. An empty one will come in and will be entirely full by the time it pulls out of North Station.

Although the new orange trains will help, I think it is important to have some green line trains to ease pressure on the Orange.

I think when you have a new fare system that allows free transfers, commuter rail use on the northern lines might increase a little. Though it would increase a ton if there were ever a NSRL built.
Tentatively it's pegged as E to Union and D to Medford. The E has to go somewhere past Gov't Ctr. on the inbound end because there's no storage yard on branch to feed it, so that one's obvious. Otherwise anything can be matched up. One reason those two are selected is that they need the fewest platform mods on the system to accept the longest multi-car crowd-swallower trains of 'stretched' Type 10's, while the B has a bigger backlog of platforms to lengthen and the C a hopelessly big backlog. The D's also the highest-priority line for running 7-8-7 triplets, so is the most obvious Medford matchup for as long as the current fleet is running.

For crowding purposes, you are now going to see a lot more general usage of Brattle Loop to turn trains from the north end at GC. Garden event nights for sure, but also run-as-directeds at any point during the day where they're flushing the system to recover from a residual delay. Having a new storage yard with more car supply than itty-bitty Lechmere helps a lot for going to the well on as-needed Brattle Loopage.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:06 PM   #1565
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

As I was riding a C on Tuesday morning from North Station to Park St, I was surprised to see an E running on my left (the inner Brattle loop) and even more surprised to see it full of people and officially showing "E Government Center" on its rollsign*

How often does that happen?

*what do we call roll signs now that they are LED?
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:50 PM   #1566
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Brattle one-offs can happen at any time if something is screwed up and they need to either abort the run or pound out a residual delay affecting the north end. Or I suppose if they were transferring a car from Lechmere Yard to North Station Yard way ahead of time for the next C shift change, it's operationally easiest to stage a revenue run-as-directed to loop instead of deadheading and reversing on the NS platform...although that's probably extremely rare vs. just originating a lone C from Lechmere at the shift change.

At any rate, a handful of those revenue moves happen every week, but it's completely random occurrence.


For regular service, not sure if they've resumed doing Lechmere-GC short-turns for Garden events since GC reopened from its renovations. That used to be a standard practice before/after events.
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:40 AM   #1567
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
Definitely need an infill between Roslindale Village and Forest Hills, given the density and transit use of that neighborhood. Archdale/South St ("Arboretum") would be appropriate.
If Bellevue gets moved a bit centered on the Westie Parkway, it would be interesting to maybe put an infill @ Belgrade & Walworth. Good spacing from Bellevue (~2,800ft), and a reasonably dense area. Stop spacing from Rozzie Square is kind of short, though (maybe ~1800ft being generous).

I would assume if Highland gets shifted, it would be between Park & Bellevue St, or Park & Center. I would think Park & Center would be ideal, but its about 600ft, so would need some pretty long ramps/stairs to pad things out. Can't really tell from the Google Map's aerials where there might be room for a station/platforms/etc in there (Bellevue St & Center seems pretty cramped).

If West Roxbury Station gets shifted - would it be more between Dent/Elgin and Temple or even further? Past that the ROW is fairly curved, so not sure if platforms could be done, and it gets fairly isolated from the street grid, and, again can't really judge the ROW width.

I do full also agree that an end cap station at the VFW Hospital/Parkway would be awesome if it doesn't continue to Needham.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:17 AM   #1568
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by bakgwailo View Post
If Bellevue gets moved a bit centered on the Westie Parkway, it would be interesting to maybe put an infill @ Belgrade & Walworth. Good spacing from Bellevue (~2,800ft), and a reasonably dense area. Stop spacing from Rozzie Square is kind of short, though (maybe ~1800ft being generous).
1800 ft. is way too short for OL stop spacing. Currently it only spaces stops sub-2000 ft. in the original 1908 subway between NS and Chinatown where loads are extreme. It's going to be hard to point to stop pairings everywhere else--including Assembly infill 2700 ft. from 'close' Sullivan--and be able to make a strong case.

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

This (and any spacers between FH-Rozzie) also was never a historical stop at any time since the line was first built in 1834. The original line was Forest Hills-Dedham Center, then quickly extended from Dedham to Islington as the first thru routing for the Franklin Line. Rozzie, Bellevue, and W. Rox--at their current locations--were the original stops in Boston. And the union station at Dedham Center lasted to 1958 from the W. Rox direction and to 1967 from the Readville direction. Highland was added as an infill in 1855. The Needham Cutoff joining W. Rox to Needham Junction and including Hersey, wasn't built until 7 decades later in 1906 (oddly younger than the Orange Line itself!).

So the corridor is a bit unusual in having its primary catchments so very firmly set over time with little in the way of guesswork. The only tasks in the conversion are nudging egresses to be centered at street corners for bus walkup instead of centered around the 19th century depot buildings that were the heart of hyperlocal civic life (e.g. get the mail, do chores at the telegraph office, read today's news on a posted bill, fetch a horsecart, etc. etc.). You can of course study new catchments, but surplus-to-requirement gets reached pretty quickly without some dead-obvious spectacular development a la Assembly that this end of the corridor really doesn't possess.

Quote:
I would assume if Highland gets shifted, it would be between Park & Bellevue St, or Park & Center. I would think Park & Center would be ideal, but its about 600ft, so would need some pretty long ramps/stairs to pad things out. Can't really tell from the Google Map's aerials where there might be room for a station/platforms/etc in there (Bellevue St & Center seems pretty cramped).
For rapid transit it's 390 (Orange) to 420 (Red/max-padded) foot platforms, not the 650-750 footers the T built for the Needham Line for its 1987 reopening. Multiple options here, so the general location is fungible:
  • Full platform would fit between the Park/Bellevue overpasses without excessive ramping if the embankment were re-landscaped.
  • Straddling the whole square bullseyed on Centre would require reworking of the cut, taking of rear parking spaces for construction only, then re-capping the widened cut. More expensive, but possibly worth it if it nets a superior busway.
  • South platform tip between Centre/Bellevue with headhouse at Centre means north headhouse would probably be at McKenna Terrace. But...a re-landscaped embankment extended north to Park could throw down a 250 ft. footpath from the McKenna egress to Park.

Quote:
If West Roxbury Station gets shifted - would it be more between Dent/Elgin and Temple or even further? Past that the ROW is fairly curved, so not sure if platforms could be done, and it gets fairly isolated from the street grid, and, again can't really judge the ROW width.
Behind the Star Market is the place, because that can be redeveloped for TOD and get a nice big busway. The track curvature is within tolerances for gapless door openings. But...track can also be shifted a little more to even it out because the Temple St. overpass is so extremely wide at 90 ft., having once carried 4 or 5 tracks for the junction with the branch to Dedham and a freight yard that used to be in between the branches after they split. You could bank a harder curve on the unused other side of the bridge to even out quicker before the platform behind Star.

Quote:
I do full also agree that an end cap station at the VFW Hospital/Parkway would be awesome if it doesn't continue to Needham.
FWIW, I don't think this is going to be a winner on ridership. But ops ease lowers the barrier a lot because trains are going to be crossing over VFW to get to the storage yard by Home Depot/Millennium Park anyway, and the stop spacing fits. As long as the station structure is kept cost-controlled and there's a comprehensive transit plan for VFW that doesn't involve jamming more cars through the area it'll make its farebox recovery margins by picking up residual riders en route to the yard. The alternative being a considerable length of no-passenger deadheading is what ends up making it palatable.
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:51 PM   #1569
tysmith95
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

For the Worcester line, could you build a park and ride station out by the 495/90 interchange? Maybe something to replace the Southborough stop.

Woburn/Anderson does well being just a park and ride station, one of the busiest ones on the CR system despite not being near any housing.

Last edited by tysmith95; 03-05-2019 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 03-04-2019, 07:05 PM   #1570
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
1800 ft. is way too short for OL stop spacing. Currently it only spaces stops sub-2000 ft. in the original 1908 subway between NS and Chinatown where loads are extreme.
I was thinking about this a few days ago. I count five segments from Tufts NEMC O Line stop to North Station. 1.25 miles almost exactly. So each segment averages nearly exactly 1,200 ft. With O Line standard configuration running at 410 ft. (my estimation, but pretty close I think), it only goes three full subway lengths per segment.

I find that endlessly charming/amusing [charmusing].

Also, I figure there's at most 850 ft. between when a 430-ft. (guesstimate) standard configuration Red Line subway lurches out of Park Street and starts to reach the beginning of the platform at DTX (more or less directly underneath Hawley & Summer intersection, I reckon).

So a Red Line train that's gone a full length out of Park Street has only 1 length to go.

All of which is to say: attempting to stage a James Bond/Speed (as in Keanu Reeves] showdown on top of a "hurtling" O Line or R Line train rattling underneath DTX would be Pythonesque in its absurdity.
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Old 03-04-2019, 08:22 PM   #1571
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
For the Worcester line, could you build a park and ride station out by the 495/128 interchange? Maybe something to replace the Southborough stop.

Woburn/Anderson does well being just a park and ride station, one of the busiest ones on the CR system despite not being near any housing.
Do you mean 495/90? Maybe there's room around the freight terminal for a station, but the challenge is getting ramps from the highways to the station. The Sudbury River could complicate any EIS process.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:55 AM   #1572
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

495/90 was proposed about 15 years ago by the MPO.
  • CSX yard was looked at back when it was only partially used. That's since changed bigtime as part of the whole Beacon Park relocation, as CSX built the very busy Transflo (i.e. transloading of liquids & loose aggregates) terminal maxing out the yard property lines and generating heavy truck traffic through the industrial park to 495.
  • Cumberland Farms HQ has a trackside pond inconveniently between it and 495. There's room for a platform sandwiched between 495 and the Pike, but the wetlands would leave a driveway kiss-and-ride awkwardly wedged at questionable accessibility and the parking would have to be carved into the Pike embankment at considerable cost in tall retaining walls.
  • Fruit St./Old Flanders Rd. would require considerable property takings, and probably be opposed by Westborough over the need to widen narrow, rural, meandering Flanders Rd. Heavy traffic on that street stays NW of the Pike overpass by the industrial park, so they have a self-interest in not letting a town-control street become some sort of state turnpike between 495 and MA 85.
So the properties aren't physically available. But even if you could force-fit, the inability to do a direct offramp from the Pike was a buzzkill that severely depressed calculated ridership for the MPO. It's wetlands, wetlands, wetlands from the Pike side in the entire area. CSX is too far a reach and requires crossing the river. Cumbys is too constrained for ramps being surrounded by retention ponds. And Flanders Rd. is blocked by ponds and a tributary of the Sudbury. No direct access meant a solid third of the ridership would never materialize.

Rather, all traffic would have to funnel through the tortured 495 interchange, go up to MA 9, then backtrack on the industrial park connector road. Or, add a slim-profile 495 exit at Flanders Rd. which would be very difficult to keep from backing up at peak park-and-ride usage.

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

Chalk it up to anti-location, anti-location, anti-location. No non-wretched sites, no non-wretched access.

Also, the Worcester Line's ridership profile has not been one aligned in actual practice to parking sinks despite the incredible loads put on it. Ashland and Westborough stations, sited far from their traditional downtown centers, have been ridership failures since opening from '00-02 doing only a fraction of the boardings of adjacent stops. Southborough, sited right at a crossroads where the historic train station had been, has been the biggest winner of the outer-Worcester intermediates despite the Cordaville village being sparser than the real downtown a couple miles north. Grafton is sort of half-and-half, eschewing the traditional center at North Grafton 1.25 miles west but anchoring itself to TOD via Tufts campus.

As a do-over, Ashland should've gone at the historic depot at the corner of Main & Homer instead of the desolate parking sink 3/4 mile west. Westborough should've been squared at its historic depot on E. Main St. in the heart of downtown. And Millbury, which the town unwisely turned down when offered in the late-90's, should get an infill straddling the US 20 overpass where the easy Pike access from MA 122 would give it both walkup and Pn'R patronage.

Not sure how you can undo the Ashland and Westborough mistakes today. Current Westborough Station is plausibly far from downtown that infill could be done while retaining the parking sink, although that's going to tank the utilization of the parking sink. But Ashland is a 'tweener; current stop must be abandoned if it gets re-centered on downtown. I don't know what would compel an outright abandonment, other than if/when they do grade separation of the Main & Cherry St.'s grade crossings with rail overpasses it could be mashed into some grand downtown revival scheme.

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

For MetroWest parking sinks, the place to look is the Fitchburg Secondary. There's a local blogger who's on the RER study public advisory committee who's crunched the numbers and sees much more serious upside for that branchline than most folks relegating it to the long-term bin have, and sees RER as the catalyst for expediting a Framingham-Northborough build over the ones actually being prioritized (South Coast FAIL) which won't tap the higher all-day frequencies nearly as well. For the life of me I can't remember the guy's name even though I commented on some of his Fitchburg Sec. posts not 2 months ago (). Anyway...not sure I'm totally sold because he doesn't have much company in his strong advocacy for this particular expansion, but the arguments made were compelling and worth some additional analysis.
  • Framingham State U.
  • Pike/MA 9 at the industrial park with all the corporate HQ's
  • Southborough Center (MA 30 @ MA 85)
  • Marlborough/495...at the industrial park with major TOD and adjacent offramps. 2 exits up from Pike/495.
  • Northborough Center (US 20)
  • Northborough/290...by industrial park and adjacent exit. TOD and parking.
Basically an alternating series of local vs. big-biz/commuter parking the whole way up, and definitely superior to the Worcester Line for car commutes even though they'd have to keep the inbound stop selection from Framingham lean to balance out speeds on all the curves. I would've thought this would just be a 9-5'er line, but that blogger makes a compelling case that it's got a balanced mix of both worlds on local walkup and corporate HQ's that staff multiple shifts that it would rake in all-day ridership.

At any rate, MetroWest highway relief via transit frequencies directly correlates to priority level for doing something with the Fitchburg Secondary...so I guess if we ever did break our worlds-destroying addiction to South Coast Rail, RER-ified service to Northborough probably deserves a detailed second look in study.
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:41 PM   #1573
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Small, reasonable transit pitch as a regular Fitchburg Line rider:

Run Fitchburg Line Train 402 Express from Lincoln to Kendal Green (without stopping at Silver Hill or Hastings) like Trains 406 and 410.

Yes, this would leave Silver Hill with only one inbound (flag) stop per day. With how abysmal that station's ridership is, and how popular Train 402 is, I think that could be appropriate.

If it's helpful, I'd also be totally in favor of removing the flag designation on Train 492's Silver Hill stop and adding token late night flag stops on the schedule for Silver Hill and Hastings on Trains 430 and 432.

As of now, those stops on Train 402 slow many passengers down for the benefit of very, very few.
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Old 03-08-2019, 03:14 PM   #1574
tysmith95
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
Small, reasonable transit pitch as a regular Fitchburg Line rider:

Run Fitchburg Line Train 402 Express from Lincoln to Kendal Green (without stopping at Silver Hill or Hastings) like Trains 406 and 410.

Yes, this would leave Silver Hill with only one inbound (flag) stop per day. With how abysmal that station's ridership is, and how popular Train 402 is, I think that could be appropriate.

If it's helpful, I'd also be totally in favor of removing the flag designation on Train 492's Silver Hill stop and adding token late night flag stops on the schedule for Silver Hill and Hastings on Trains 430 and 432.

As of now, those stops on Train 402 slow many passengers down for the benefit of very, very few.
Here's the problem, people in Weston are rich and have connections that us regular proletariat's don't have.
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:17 PM   #1575
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Here's the problem, people in Weston are rich and have connections that us regular proletariat's don't have.
FWIW, Town of Weston officially endorses building the 128 Multimodal Center station at the Biogen site with all of its associated Exit 26 & frontage road improvements, then retiring Kendal Green in favor of it. While that doesn't mean they won't continue clinging for dear life to Hastings and Silver Hill, they're giving an endorsement with full awareness that allowing any tweaks to their stop selection risks opening up Pandora's Box to tweaks across the board to their stop selection.

I can't see how a willingness to close KG isn't going to put Hastings closure right between the crosshairs since that stop would also be slightly less than a mile from the 128 Multimodal platforms and relocated 70 bus loop. If anything they'll be forced to rally behind SH if they want to save any of them...since it at least has grade separation, something resembling appropriate stop spacing, and theoretical ability to be made accessible if the town were willing to pay for the paved grading/railings/lighting.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:01 PM   #1576
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I know this has been proposed already, but it would help out the Haverhill line if the line were permanently switched to using the wildcat and going on to the inner sections of the Lowell line. Then trains in the inner Haverhill line would terminate at Reading.

This already happens for 2 peak morning trains, and one slightly past peak evening train.

Even the non express wildcat trains that stop at Lowell stations save about 10 mins over the Haverhill line. It would really improve service to Andover, Lawrence and Haverhill if every train used the Wildcat connector. It also might be less confusing to people who don't ride the train often.

You'd also have the ability to give Anderson/Woburn, Winchester, and West Medford rapid transit like frequencies if you regularly had 2 lines connecting those stations. Anderson/Woburn has excess parking so increased service would be great. West Medford is also an urban station that would really benefit from increased service.

I'm not sure there's a need for Winchester Center and Wedgemere to see increased service, as those stations have little in the way of walk up apartment complexes and the parking lots are small, but they still get decent ridership. It would be nice if the MBTA could add more third track between Wilmington/Woburn and Winchester to allow for some express trains to skip Winchester stations. It could also allow the Downeaster to avoid train traffic from increased service.

If DMU's ever become a thing on the T, than they would be perfect for the "Reading" line which has stops pretty close to each other through Medford and Wakefield.
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Old 03-15-2019, 04:28 PM   #1577
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
I know this has been proposed already, but it would help out the Haverhill line if the line were permanently switched to using the wildcat and going on to the inner sections of the Lowell line. Then trains in the inner Haverhill line would terminate at Reading.

This already happens for 2 peak morning trains, and one slightly past peak evening train.

Even the non express wildcat trains that stop at Lowell stations save about 10 mins over the Haverhill line. It would really improve service to Andover, Lawrence and Haverhill if every train used the Wildcat connector. It also might be less confusing to people who don't ride the train often.

You'd also have the ability to give Anderson/Woburn, Winchester, and West Medford rapid transit like frequencies if you regularly had 2 lines connecting those stations. Anderson/Woburn has excess parking so increased service would be great. West Medford is also an urban station that would really benefit from increased service.

I'm not sure there's a need for Winchester Center and Wedgemere to see increased service, as those stations have little in the way of walk up apartment complexes and the parking lots are small, but they still get decent ridership. It would be nice if the MBTA could add more third track between Wilmington/Woburn and Winchester to allow for some express trains to skip Winchester stations. It could also allow the Downeaster to avoid train traffic from increased service.

If DMU's ever become a thing on the T, than they would be perfect for the "Reading" line which has stops pretty close to each other through Medford and Wakefield.
The whole reason why the RER study proposes interlining Lowell + Haverhill is that. . .
  1. Vacating the outer half of Haverhill from Reading schedules is the only way you can feasibly swing :15 bi-directional Urban Rail headways to Reading.
  2. Interlining two :30 bi-directional schedules on the inner Lowell Line achieves de facto :15 headways Wilmington-inbound (though in reality it's a little more variable than that because Haverhill has to schedule around some midday freight slots).
Now, in terms of how you accomplish all these schedules, here's the upgrade bucket list.


Reading Line
  • Full-high platforms at all stops enabling auto-door coaches. Reading station is going to be complicated for that because of the historic depot building, but you can flip the single track to a full-high on the currently empty #2 berth opposite the depot to buy some time for figuring out how to do the depot side.
  • Change Reading Jct. (Eastern/Western Routes split in Somerville) from a 2 x 1 to a 2 x 2 track split by re-grading the Western Route approach.
  • Upgrade Wellington-Malden passing track for full service and extend it through Medford St. bridge to hit 3/4 mile length (requires some light embankment landscaping just north of the bridge).
  • Extend double-track 1/4 mile through Reading station so multiple trains can be stopped there at once (deadline for finishing depot-side high platform mods).
  • Crossing protection upgrades Melrose-Wakefield for higher-density service. Quadrant gates at Greenwood to eliminate staffed crossing tender position.
  • Close New Crossing Rd., Reading (needed for layover yard); upgrade industrial park driveway access to Ash St. Close Ash St. grade grossing, rework street to snake through Burger King/Jiffy Lube lots to Route 28; synchronized signals on 28 @ Ash & Bolton St.'s adjacent to each side of the remaining crossing.
  • Install layover yard behind 128 Marketplace plaza.
  • Add Quannapowitt/128 infill stop.
  • Close North Wilmington stop. Any few/far-between Haverhill remainders that may or may not still get scheduled for the inner-Western just proceed straight to Ballardvale.
  • [optional] Melrose-Wakefield-Reading community path behind fence on side of ROW (currently proposed by towns...ROW side space mostly available with little effort).

Lowell Line
Note that Lowell is a freight clearance route, so full-high platforms take more invasive mods. To get complete level boarding, you have to be willing to close Wedgemere and Mishawum.
  • West Medford -- Town acquires land strip from Rite Aid parking lot. Rebuild as full-high side platforms w/ center passing track (Downeaster and freight) stretching from north of Canal St. grade crossing to Maintenance-of-Way siding across from Playstead Park. Install quad gates, DTMF switch, signal-prioritized traffic lights at Harvard Ave. & Playstead Rd. Note that ridership here is probably going to adjust way way down when GLX reaches Route 16, so this is probably the one to consider skipping on Haverhill (but not Lowell) trains.
  • Wedgemere -- Close. Curve + water crossing + embankment means can't be made full-high. Extend 95 bus to Winchester Ctr., institute "94A" bus to Winchester Ctr. via Davis/College Ave./West Med to compensate. Make path improvements (lighting, etc.) through Ginn Field to Winchester Ctr. station entrance.
  • Winchester Center -- Stet, except for augmentation for absorbing Wedgemere. Already getting full-highs w/ freight gauntlet track. Presence of GLX a couple stones' throws away may beckon substantially increased bus coverage and frequencies here, making this stop much more of a multimodal center than it is today.
  • Add Montvale Ave. infill stop. Full-highs w/ passing track. Connections to downtown Woburn via 354 bus, Stoneham via Stoneham Branch trail.
  • Mishawum -- Close. Poor ridership, poor accessibility on surrounding streets from any residential areas, embankment makes widening for passing tracks excessively difficult.
  • Anderson RTC -- Complete west-side entrance. Redraw 134 bus terminus to end there.
  • Wilmington -- Relocate offset platforms to both be entirely south of MA 62 overpass; rebuild as full-highs. Needed for 1) providing access to both platforms for Wildcat-Haverhill trains; 2) creating room under bridge for center Downeaster/freight passing track; 3) incorporating passer into interlocking for Lowell/Wildcat split.
  • North Billerica -- Restore missing Track 3 bridge deck over Mt. Pleasant St. Spread out platforms, add center freight passing track. Tie passer into revised interlocking just south of station for Billerica Branch.
  • Lowell -- Extend half-length high to full length.
The re-spacing solves a lot of the problems with whether some places are oversaturated and some are under-served.

outer Haverhill Line + Wildcat Branch
Note that everything here is a freight clearance route, and some stops without the room will simply have to be mini-highs.
  • Double-track Wildcat Branch from north of MA 38 grade crossing to merge w/ Western Route @ Wilmington Jct.
  • Add Salem St. station as replacement for N. Wilmington. Probably will have to be low + mini-high platforms due to lack of room.
  • Ballardvale -- Stet w/ planned second mini-high platform. Maybe some road safety improvements to square up the intersection of Tewksbury & Andover St.'s.
  • Andover -- Stet w/ planned second mini-high platform.
  • add South Lawrence infill @ S. Union St. & 495 (by the ice rink) as replacement for former Shawsheen stop. Full-high island on Tks. 1 & 2.
  • Lawrence -- See if 2nd platform needed, track-shift as appropriate.
  • add Ward Hill infill @ Industrial Ave. & 495 in North Andover. Full-highs w/passing track. Serves TOD in adjacent industrial park, 495 + MA 213 park-and-rides, and load diversion from Lawrence & Haverhill off 495.
  • Bradford -- Close layover yard. Rebuild as 4-track station w/ full-highs and 2 passing tracks for the bridge approach, swallowing layout of disused yard.
  • Haverhill -- Stet. Can't be made full-high because of curve on viaduct.
  • add Rosemont Ave. infill. Added because en route to new layover yard, and acts as replacement for canceled Plaistow stop for residents in northern Haverhill. T still owns property from canceled 1981 station. Full-high side platforms w/ center passing track at grade crossing. Loop MVRTA bus 13 from N. Main St. to stop there. Redevelop adjacent junkyard for TOD. Enhance accessibility to adjacent residential neighborhoods (sidewalks on all of Rosemont + Hilldale Ave.)
  • new layover yard at state line on Hilldale Ave. Necessary because closing Bradford layover (in a long-suffering residential neighborhood) is an environmental justice target, and service cannot substantially expand without a bigger yard. A modified version of "Option 3 Layover" from the Plaistow proposal, the only one of the layover options from that canceled extension that sits on the MA side of the state line, is where they need to look. T was looking at a parcel immediately bordering the state line on the easterly (northbound) side of the tracks bordering the Little River, with driveway egress poking about 200 ft. into Atkinson, NH. Since NH is going to scream holy hell about this, it must stay completely on the MA side of the state line where their lawsuits won't stick. Chances are they want to avoid creating a new driveway grade crossing if they can avoid it, so one of the parcels on the other side of the tracks from "Option 3" would be in-play. Reith Industrial Truck on the other side of the tracks w/ egress direct onto Hilldale Ave. would be an option. A little further south off Fondi Rd. would also be an option. City of Haverhill is supportive of any sites that stick out by these industrial park hinterlands. As noted ^above^, the Rosemont infill is somewhat of a gimme because the trains would be going out here any which way and having one last stop with a bus connection, unique residential walkup catchment, and nearish 495 exit + shopping plugs an otherwise deadhead run with just enough revenue to justify its existence.


STOPS (8-9) - Reading
  • NORTH STATION
  • [Sullivan Square]...TBD if they can figure out how to build it in very tight confines
  • Malden Ctr.
  • Wyoming Hill
  • Cedar Park
  • Melrose Highlands
  • Greenwood
  • Wakefield
  • Quannapowitt
  • READING
STOPS (13-14) - Haverhill
  • NORTH STATION
  • West Medford [skip?]
  • Winchester Center
  • Montvale
  • Anderson RTC
  • Wilmington
  • Salem St.
  • Ballardvale
  • Andover
  • South Lawrence
  • Lawrence
  • Ward Hill
  • Bradford
  • Haverhill
  • ROSEMONT
F-Line to Dudley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 10:28 AM   #1578
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I've heard Ari refer to gauntlet tracks as a way to get more full highs at tight stations. Is that feasible?
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:54 AM   #1579
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
I've heard Ari refer to gauntlet tracks as a way to get more full highs at tight stations. Is that feasible?
In limited doses. They are pretty maintenance-intensive and signaling-intensive, so they aren't a cure-all. The transpo blogosphere seems to think uncritically that they are a cure-all, but in-practice it's a measure of last resort.


Some definite blockers to gauntlets:

There can't be any nearby curves that the freight may be riding while the other end of the train is passing through the gauntlet, because that increases derailment risk. Hence, Wedgemere no-go while Winch Ctr. on tangent track is getting one. Lowell Line is certified for up to 92-car freights.

Gauntlets also no-go through grade crossings due to derailment risk in the crossing flangeways, so no dice on Ballardvale or Andover.

Gauntlets are no-go coming off major bridges with guard rail (i.e. "double" sticks of each rail to prevent plunging overboard in a derailment), so Haverhill station adjacent to the Merrimack Bridge can't do it.
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:51 PM   #1580
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Seems like GLX terminating at Rt 16 is the furthest it will likely go for a long while. Bridging the Mystic doesn't seem to make sense for a +1 West Medford extension. The farthest afield that probably makes any sense for GLX would be to Wedgemere to replace the Commuter Rail stop, but I wonder if there would ever be enough ridership demand from the neighborhood to justify that. Can't easily go farther than that because a tunnel under Winchester Center would be needed.

Looking wayyyy off there could be a complete hrt takeover of the Medford GLX branch that takes over all/most Commuter Rail stops up to Anderson, but that's getting into "choose your own adventure" territory.
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