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Old 12-03-2018, 09:53 AM   #3401
HenryAlan
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

I think it makes more sense to go with one of the easier ROW options and elevate sections if flooding is a valid concern.
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:19 AM   #3402
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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I think it makes more sense to go with one of the easier ROW options and elevate sections if flooding is a valid concern.

Basically what they'll be doing with any BLX config to elevate the Saugus Draw approach for a taller fixed bridge carrying CR/BL side-by-side. I guess if the marsh is screwed the whole causeway can be raised above flood stage with a gravel dump. Tough EIS'ing, but they can tackle it piecemeal.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:55 PM   #3403
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Basically what they'll be doing with any BLX config to elevate the Saugus Draw approach for a taller fixed bridge carrying CR/BL side-by-side. I guess if the marsh is screwed the whole causeway can be raised above flood stage with a gravel dump. Tough EIS'ing, but they can tackle it piecemeal.
If we have a stop at Points of Pines, wouldn’t the floods reduce the need of the station? There isn’t much radius where a person can walk to and from that station. You already have the Lynnway stop across the water.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:17 PM   #3404
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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If we have a stop at Points of Pines, wouldn’t the floods reduce the need of the station? There isn’t much radius where a person can walk to and from that station. You already have the Lynnway stop across the water.
Does this sidewalk look like any picnic of a walk? The next-nearest stop on the Lynn side of the river is nearly a mile away. Unless you're foregoing the BRB&L entirely for the Eastern Route causeway for reasons of cost blowouts over building impacts on the ROW near PoP, there really needs to be a stop there.

Second, the whole point of flood protection is so that a neighborhood like that DOESN'T get wiped out. Reference the flood maps I linked to in the previous post. PoP as a neighborhood fares pretty well compared to the Rumney Marshes side of the ithsmus. Topping off the currently very short Rice Ave. seawall and adding a short seawall on the Mills Ave. + 1A side that currently lacks any protection largely solves the problem. Notice how Revere Beach Blvd. is high-and-dry on the sea level rise map for its entire length because of its very modest current seawall that needs no extra topping for the worst-case inundation. You're not talking billions of dollars to keep this neighborhood fully dry, or lost causes in-wait like it's freakin' Plum Island. *Very* modest infrastructure investments on the order of a few $10's of million along a handful of street blocks is all it'll take...and those fortification proposals are already taking shape today.

Last edited by F-Line to Dudley; 12-03-2018 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:28 PM   #3405
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Unrelated to the BLX discussion, but supposing that everything on our wishlists for regional rail got built - NSRL, full electrification for EMUs, etc. - and we started to hit the physical capacities of the busier lines (the Amtrak lines are the obvious ones here), what are our options? We’ll take for granted that usage will be high enough to warrant asking this question. We’ll also assume ‘bulldoze houses’ is still off the table, politically.

The only thing I’ve got is ‘cut and cover more tracks underneath the current lines,’ but I’m sure there’s a half-dozen reasons that is also impractical.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:19 AM   #3406
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Riffing on DominusNovus's thought about stacking subteranian lines under existing tracks, what about building an El above the Fairmount Line? Then that corridor would have actually, true rapid transit (although admittedly, true regional rail would probably also work just fine for that location).
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:43 AM   #3407
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Riffing on DominusNovus's thought about stacking subteranian lines under existing tracks, what about building an El above the Fairmount Line? Then that corridor would have actually, true rapid transit (although admittedly, true regional rail would probably also work just fine for that location).
You could get pretty damn close to "true rapid transit" headways along the Fairmount Line with just electrification (which is easy, because South Station and Readville are already electrified), and new Euro-style EMU rolling stock. No need for an El.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:46 PM   #3408
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by DominusNovus View Post
Unrelated to the BLX discussion, but supposing that everything on our wishlists for regional rail got built - NSRL, full electrification for EMUs, etc. - and we started to hit the physical capacities of the busier lines (the Amtrak lines are the obvious ones here), what are our options? We’ll take for granted that usage will be high enough to warrant asking this question. We’ll also assume ‘bulldoze houses’ is still off the table, politically.

The only thing I’ve got is ‘cut and cover more tracks underneath the current lines,’ but I’m sure there’s a half-dozen reasons that is also impractical.
Look closely and you'll see that the city is crisscrossed by a web of rights of way, commonly called highways, streets, and roads. There would have to be a whole heckuva lot of demand for travel to max out the rail ROWs at full geometric capacity, but if that ever happened you'd have a very strong case for starting to take lanes from the pike & 93.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:19 PM   #3409
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Look closely and you'll see that the city is crisscrossed by a web of rights of way, commonly called highways, streets, and roads. There would have to be a whole heckuva lot of demand for travel to max out the rail ROWs at full geometric capacity, but if that ever happened you'd have a very strong case for starting to take lanes from the pike & 93.
Does the MBTA have a stake in those ROWs?
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:20 PM   #3410
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

They could take one lane of highway for light rail in the center and build an El above it for the other direction tracks.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:30 PM   #3411
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Been meaning to ask this question for weeks now: what sort of freight service (or any other non-commuter rail, non-Cape Flyer service) do any of the Old Colony Lines see these days? Including the Middleboro Secondary.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:10 AM   #3412
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Been meaning to ask this question for weeks now: what sort of freight service (or any other non-commuter rail, non-Cape Flyer service) do any of the Old Colony Lines see these days? Including the Middleboro Secondary.
CSX B729 runs 6 days a week on the Middleboro Sec. and Old Colony. Departs Framingham around PM rush, runs entire length of the Framingham Secondary, down the NEC past Attleboro Jct., then crosses over and reverses to get onto the Middleboro Sec. Goes to Middleboro, then as far north as Braintree Yard. En route it sometimes does mop-up work for the early-afternoon NEC Mansfield-South Attleboro local if that didn't finish its chores. Works the Middleboro Sec., Taunton Industrial Track, and Middleboro Yard throughout the evening, then waits until commuter rail shuts down for the night to go up the Old Colony. Returns to Framingham by morning. If they run out of crew hours they outlaw in Middleboro Yard instead of returning to Framingham, re-crew in the morning, and finish up the OC the next morning after rush hour.

Main business is shortline interchanges, as it exchanges cars with Mass Coastal @ Middleboro Yard and Fore River Transportation @ Braintree Yard. Overflow empties from Fore River will sometimes be stored on the Randolph Industrial Track, visible to passing commuter trains.

Active customers include:
  • Linde (chemical co.), Attleboro near Attleboro Jct.
  • 1 or 2 small customers on the Taunton Industrial Track (lots of unused sidings in that industrial park)
  • some factory in Taunton @ Cotley Jct.
  • Warren Trask (lumber???), Lakeville
  • Middleboro Yard transloads
  • Trojan Recycling, Brockton (adjacent Campello Station, debris cars usually parked in view of the platform)
  • Champion City Recovery (recycling), Brockton, north of Montello Station (big customer...siding has mini-yard with 30-car storage capacity)
  • several unused sidings, Bridgewater-Avon + unused Randolph Industrial Track (Burke Distribution stopped receiving 2 years ago in some sort of dispute)
A few of those unused sidings would be gimmes for a RR that cared about generating local biz, but CSX only cares about the interchanges here.

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

Mass Coastal is the other player. They're a division of Cape Rail, who are in turn a holding of Iowa Pacific, Inc. Cape Rail does business in freight under the Mass Coastal reporting mark and business in passenger under the Cape Cod Central reporting mark...but are one and the same. MC has rights to the Cape Main south of Middleboro Jct., Falmouth Branch, Otis AFB spur, Hyannis Branch (main maintenance yard), Yarmouth spur, Fall River Line (in process of being reactivated by them from the port to RI state line), New Bedford Line, and Dean St. Industrial Track (a.k.a. isolated southernmost tip of Stoughton Line in Taunton). They have overhead rights (i.e. can move goods, but can't serve any customer sidings) on the Middleboro Secondary to Taunton to pass between their Taunton/South Coast and Cape lines.

Their main M'boro-Cape biz is the Cape trash train, transporting municipal garbage from on-Cape at Yarmouth Transfer Station to the large SEMASS energy plant in Rochester. That's how they keep garbage trucks from clogging up the bridges. Trash train runs 3 days a week.

Brand new customer, Cassova, started this summer shipping out construction debris from Falmouth Transfer Station on the Otis spur, necessitating a lot of the recent MassDOT funding for rehabbing the Falmouth Branch. Right now they're only taking 1-2 cars at a time couple times a week, but are supposed to be expanding operations. Otis is supposed to be imminently rehabbing its spur for military uses (likeliest: shipping in/out vehicles on flatbed for training exercises so they don't clog the bridges).

Customers (besides SEMASS):
  • Ocean Spray, Middleboro (just out of sight to east from M'boro Station platform)
  • 2 sidings, unknown status, Middleboro-Rochester
  • ...bunch else in the Taunton/South Coast line cluster (out-of-scope for this discussion, but bullish freight growth here is why the state's dropping an impressive sum of coin right this instant and for the next 3 years on upgrades to the Framingham Sec. and Middleboro Sec.)
The Cape is not a real hotbed for on-line biz, but now that MassDOT owns the Otis spur and the base is warming up to both commercial tenants at the old transfer station and military rail use there's some potentially good upside there (and it pisses off the Falmouth Branch bike path nihilists who think they can tear out active rails!).

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

Current CSX management is actively shopping low-margin lines across its network to dish off to other players. They already did sell off their Everett Terminal job to Pan Am earlier this month. B729 is the next-likeliest to go because the job is crew-intensive and hours-intensive for the shifts it works, they don't really care about any of the on-line biz, and the Mass Coastal and Fore River interchanges that they do value can be reached through other means. Their bread-and-butter in New England is gigantic intermodal trains, and interchange loads...so it behooves them to pare down their locals to a barest minimum. This job is the last "guilt-free" one they can drop without risking a competitive intrusion.

Mass Coastal's trackage rights for the Cape (only the Cape, not Taunton/South Coast) are up next year for competitive bid, because that's the way MassDOT has managed those lines for decades. They'll either win the renewal, or one of the rival consortiums bidding will end up more or less subsuming the whole Cape Rail system in a buyout from Iowa Pacific. And so it'll probably be when the entire next term-of-contract is secured that CSX will try to cash out its rights on the OC, Middleboro Sec., and the industrial tracks. MC (or successor) interchange would probably get handled at Attleboro Jct. by the mid-afternoon NEC local, and Braintree pickups would get handled by a nocturnal shortie out of Readville (which would later tack on South Boston Marine Terminal when Massport builds out that spur off Track 61).

No real commuter rail impact if this happens, except for the positive of CSX deleting one of its NEC dailies. Mass Coastal can putter around on the OC midday off-peak without getting in the way, since the T doesn't really have much in the way of train meets on the off-peak. If they run into start of rush hour there's Track 3 (a.k.a. Brockton Running Track) adjacent to Brockton Station right at the midpoint between Braintree & Middleboro Yards where they can turn out and park a 1500 ft. train until peak is over.

Last edited by F-Line to Dudley; 12-12-2018 at 12:22 AM.
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