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Old 01-03-2008, 03:00 AM   #21
whighlander
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Re: ?improved MBTA commuter rail distribution throughout the CBD as the key benefit of NSRL?

Impossibly to justify the expense of the North South Rail Connection on that basis

If the T station at North Station was connected to North Station by a pedestrian tunnel and either
1) the Red-Blue connection was made at Charles
2) or alternatively a pedestrian tunnel was cut along Washington Street connecting DTX with State

Then a commuter arriving at either North Station, South Station or even Back Bay Station on the Commuter Rail would be able to access any point in the Downtown Boston / Cambridge employment area accessible by T -- through at most one T-T line transfer

So there is no benefit then from a ?Central Commuter Rail Station? that would be half way between N and S Stations


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Old 01-03-2008, 07:07 AM   #22
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Re: North-South Rail Link

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Re: ?improved MBTA commuter rail distribution throughout the CBD as the key benefit of NSRL?

Impossibly to justify the expense of the North South Rail Connection on that basis
Has worked wonders for Paris.

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So there is no benefit then from a ?Central Commuter Rail Station? that would be half way between N and S Stations
Always thought a big ol' station would be neat right under the plaza at Faneuil Hall.



(Oh, maybe Boston's too small for such frills.)

(Or maybe Boston's small for lack of such frills.)
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:12 AM   #23
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Re: North-South Rail Link

westy, a central station in the State Street area would allow access to the heart rather than edges of the Financial District with zero transfers: more convenient for the users, and better for the system in that it reduces crowding. We can debate whether the benefits justify the costs, but the benefits are there ( to say nothing of the operational benefits of not having to run two separate systems).

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Old 01-03-2008, 10:13 AM   #24
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Even without a Central Station, the improved distribution for Northside commuter rail passengers (being able to ride to South Station or Back Bay without transfering) would still rank as the primary benefit of NSRL.

I'm not necessarily a proponent of NSRL (and certainly not in this funding environment) but I'm always surprised at how much supporters of the project emphasize Amtrak through traffic and suburb to suburb commuting (when the market for either of those is extremely small) and rarely mention improved commuter rail distribution. Less sexy than those Middleborough to Reading commuters and Old Orchard Beach to Philadelphia train passengers I guess.
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:28 AM   #25
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Re: North-South Rail Link

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Always thought a big ol' station would be neat right under the plaza at Faneuil Hall.
So let say we knock down that silly arc shaped building and build a new head house on the plaza (complete with replacement shops and restaurants) overlooking the Greenway.

What should footprint be? What style should it be (or does it even matter?) What scale should they be thinking about? What materials should they use?
It's a head house in a prominent location so it should be monumental, right?
Or should it be minimalist and defer to Quincy Market?
Should it mimic the style of QM (using only the highest of quality materials and construction methods, of course)?
Should there be an above ground or below ground connection to the trolley line that will someday grace the Greenway? Or should it just be a walking path?
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:46 AM   #26
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Re: North-South Rail Link

That location already has an entrance to Aquarium station, though it's on the State Street side of the Marketplace Center building. It was added a few years ago when the T extended the Blue Line platforms to allow for future six-car trains.

The station would get more use if the Blue Line were extended west to Charles station.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:58 PM   #27
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Re: North-South Rail Link

OMG, don't get me started on the "six-car" trains ... makes me furious.
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:14 PM   #28
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Why? The Red and Orange Lines have had six-car trains since the late 1980s. May as well have them on the Blue Line, too. Can't happen until the State and Maverick construction projects advance further, though.
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:42 PM   #29
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Re: North-South Rail Link

The D Line was under construction for years because of the promise of three-car service.

I've never seen three cars. Ever.

Others say they have, but I think they were high.

So, I was talking about something different. But, you get my point.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:57 AM   #30
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Re: North-South Rail Link

No one is arguing {at least I'm not} the lack of beneficial effect of a Central Station on the Commuter Rail System.

What I've argued is that at the multi B$ cost -- it's hard to justify compared to a better high speed line to Worcester and possibly even the Fall River New Bedford lines.

What Boston and the metro area needs desperately is access to reasonably priced housing. What exists is a fair amount of such -- but unfortunately not well connected to Boston or the metro area except by car. If we are going to make a major investment in a rail transit system -- then the investments should be in priority:
1) to connect Worcester to Boston by a 30 minute link
2) Red-Blue connection {most likely at Charles as the tunnel already is mostly there down Cambridge Street}
3) a better integration of the DTX complex by a pedestrian tunnel to State {probably should be done now that the Filenes Tower is underway}
4) improvements in the Silver Line in the area near to D Street and the Ted Williams Tunnel.

A N-S rail link falls well after the above as a priority for scarce resources {i.e. $}.

In addition to $ and priorities -- There are also some challenging technical issues related to the required depth of the N-S link to avoid the Tip O?Neil Tunnel and yet have an acceptable grade {4 to 5 %} for current ?pull from the front? type of rail. As a result of these matters the platforms for the N-S rail link will have to be deep under the exiting platforms at South Station and North Station {100 plus feet}. There needs to be a long ramp {2000 feet} as well which will greatly complicate the design. For example try to merge the South Shore line {track needs to cross under the Fort Point Channel} with the ramp for the Tracks to / from Back Bay Station at some distance from South Station. At North Station the tracks need to start to descend on the other side of the Charles and so there needs to be another underwater tunnel. All of this might dramatically increase the cost of construction well beyond just digging the N-S tunnel.

As for the argument of well Paris has a tunnel for its commuter rail -- well London has a far more extensive Commuter Rail system than Boston and the various lines in London?s various systems terminate at a myriad of stations. There are even two Kings Cross stations with essentially operated by different lines that aren't even connected by an all weather passage.

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Old 01-04-2008, 10:39 AM   #31
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Re: North-South Rail Link

London is about to fix that, however, by building the Crossrail project.
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:27 PM   #32
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Berlin is in the process of building a north-south connection to complement its east-west one as well, if it hasn't completed it already.

But all this is being done because the European rail system has an increasingly transcontinental purpose and is departing from the hub-and-spoke model of national rail systems, which focused on capital cities. Through-rail through central Boston would be somewhat beneficial for the T, and perhaps a small number of people contemplating intrasuburban commutes via rail, but on a continental scope through access to NH, ME, and the Canadian maritimes for passenger rail customers, which would be the sort of macro-purpose of a N-S rail link, doesn't justify a Big Dig complement.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:52 PM   #33
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Re: North-South Rail Link

CZSZ -- I think you've pretty much slam-dunked the rebound from my shot on this one

The only possible way to justify the expense of the N-S rail link would require Congress to relinquish control of Amtrak, assume the infrastructure debt, sell the real-estate, and restructure the FRA to function as the equivalent of the Federal Highway System -- just providing funds for maintaining and extending roadbed.

The States could then take advantage of the ROW to design and implement their own commuter / passenger networks {such as MBTA and Rhode Island}, purchase equipment or license the use of the ROW to private companies {as in the case of the privatization of British Rail that has led to a number of successful equipment operating passenger companies such as Great Northeastern, Thameslink, etc}

Then like the Downeaster, Boston could then develop additional spokes to the Northern Network {terminate at North Station} including high-speed service {100 MPH average} to Nashua, Manchester, and possibly southern Vermont {possibly continuing to Montreal} to complement higher-speed service to Portland and beyond. Then if there was a huge flux of people from the Northern Spokes to the rest of the NE Corridor or to a revitalized high speed western link to Worcester, Springfield and even Albany ? a N-S link could then be justified.

Short of that ? the other justifications and not sufficient to support the spending of possibly $10B when all is said and done on the N-S link, new stations and electrification of at least the line to Haverhill {for the Downeaster extension of Accela}

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Old 01-05-2008, 05:30 PM   #34
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Re: North-South Rail Link

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CZSZ -- I think you've pretty much slam-dunked the rebound from my shot on this one

The only possible way to justify the expense of the N-S rail link would require Congress to relinquish control of Amtrak, assume the infrastructure debt, sell the real-estate, and restructure the FRA to function as the equivalent of the Federal Highway System -- just providing funds for maintaining and extending roadbed.

Then like the Downeaster, Boston could then develop additional spokes to the Northern Network {terminate at North Station} including high-speed service {100 MPH average} to Nashua, Manchester, and possibly southern Vermont {possibly continuing to Montreal} to complement higher-speed service to Portland and beyond. Then if there was a huge flux of people from the Northern Spokes to the rest of the NE Corridor or to a revitalized high speed western link to Worcester, Springfield and even Albany ? a N-S link could then be justified.

Short of that ? the other justifications and not sufficient to support the spending of possibly $10B when all is said and done on the N-S link, new stations and electrification of at least the line to Haverhill {for the Downeaster extension of Accela}

Westy
Westy,

I think you are missing the benefits of offloading traffic from the 95/128 and 495 region as well. If you look at the major German cities with thru-service S-Bahns, many commuters move from North to South, East to West, Home to Job commutes through the center city -- with at most ONE TRANSFER. And the ONE TRANSFER is the key, any more than that and the system is too inefficient -- people cannot rely on the system.

A well designed thru link that allows trains to run from Hingham to Beverly, or from Lowell to Forge Park (as examples) could take a lot of traffic off of 95/128 and 495. People really do those crazy commutes, alone in their cars. And designing the thru-train choices so every train hits every subway line -- sometimes multiple times, actually would make the system work on many levels.

The time to start this investment is NOW, rather than waiting for gasoline to hit $10 per gallon.

It is not just about access to downtown -- it is about sound, usable regional transportation.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:37 PM   #35
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Re: German S-Bahns: "think you are missing the benefits of offloading traffic from the 95/128 and 495 region as well. If you look at the major German cities with thru-service S-Bahns, many commuters move from North to South, East to West, Home to Job commutes through the center city -- with at most ONE TRANSFER. And the ONE TRANSFER is the key, any more than that and the system is too inefficient -- people cannot rely on the system."

Unfortunately, those German examples don't apply very well to the Boston Metro region and its distribution of employment centers outside of the central core. There is about the same amount of first class office space in the outer loops of Rt-128 and I-495 and the spokes of Rt-3, Rt-2, I-93, I-95, Rt-24 than there is in the central core of Boston and Cambridge. In addition the outer region has a lot of other employment including a substantial amount of manufacturing, and a growing amount of bio/pharma lab {e.g. Lexington, Waltham} as well as the traditional high tech R&D.

Unfortunately, the current way that Boston Metro Region suburban to suburban commuting is distributed just is not very closely related to the distribution of transit of any type -- except for the single passenger automobile. For example, which Commuter Rail station do you think best serves the Million Plus sq. ft. at New England Executive Park in Burlington, or the other few Millions of sq. ft. at Lahey Clinic, and along and near to Mall Road, and across Rt-128 on several small side streets. How about all the development on Winter street in Waltham on the back side of the Reservoir.

Similarly, there are many large suburban office and R&D clusters in Lexington, Bedford, Woburn, Wilmington, Andover, Billerica, Chelmsford, Marlboro, Hudson, Westborough, Westford, etc., that are not close enough to any commuter rail station to be easily served usefully. These complexes often provide employment for many thousands of people in a collection of enterprises {making ride sharing difficult} and who arrive via the highways, that are close to the work sites, from all over the Metro region and beyond into New Hampshire.

In the future, developments such as Westwood Station and Southfield, that provide a mix of residence and employment might alter the demand for highway commuting and / or could provide enough of a critical mass of employment near-enough to transit to make suburb to suburb commuting via transit relevant. There is also the possibility of combining transit over long distance {e.g. Fitchburg to Waltham at Rt-128} with something like Zip-car at the destination station that can permit the commuter to drive the final few miles to their place of work {e.g. Astra Zeneca just off Winter Street}.

In the meantime, the best option is to encourage the authorities to permit at maximum urban-style density the Westwood Station {TOD at its best} type developments in spite of the NIMBYs efforts to shrink and thin them out.

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Old 01-06-2008, 09:57 PM   #36
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Re: North-South Rail Link

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CZSZ -- I think you've pretty much slam-dunked the rebound from my shot on this one

The only possible way to justify the expense of the N-S rail link would require Congress to relinquish control of Amtrak, assume the infrastructure debt, sell the real-estate, and restructure the FRA to function as the equivalent of the Federal Highway System -- just providing funds for maintaining and extending roadbed.

This ^^^ is an absurd proposition. The only ROW owned by AMTRAK is between Washington DC and New Rochelle. So that should be sold so Massachusetts can build a North South rail link?

The States could then take advantage of the ROW to design and implement their own commuter / passenger networks {such as MBTA and Rhode Island}, purchase equipment or license the use of the ROW to private companies {as in the case of the privatization of British Rail that has led to a number of successful equipment operating passenger companies such as Great Northeastern, Thameslink, etc}
Massachusetts already either owns the ROW or uses ROW of privately owned freight railroads. To characterize the privitization of British Rail as a success is an exaggeration.

Then like the Downeaster, Boston could then develop additional spokes to the Northern Network {terminate at North Station} including high-speed service {100 MPH average} to Nashua, Manchester, and possibly southern Vermont {possibly continuing to Montreal} to complement higher-speed service to Portland and beyond. Then if there was a huge flux of people from the Northern Spokes to the rest of the NE Corridor or to a revitalized high speed western link to Worcester, Springfield and even Albany ? a N-S link could then be justified.
How much would it cost for high speed service to NH and VT? To average 100 mph, the line would need to be electrified. Then you'd have to electrify the existing line to Portland as well.

Short of that ? the other justifications and not sufficient to support the spending of possibly $10B when all is said and done on the N-S link, new stations and electrification of at least the line to Haverhill {for the Downeaster extension of Accela}
There is no Acela if AMTRAK no longer exists.
If you really want a North South rail link, the cheaper alternative would be to route North Side trains from Somerville along the existing "Grand Junction" ROW through Cambridge and crossing the Charles at the BU bridge to travel into Back Bay /South Station.
Thoughts in bold above.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:52 AM   #37
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Our Governor (ex-) Michael Dukakis tonight at panel in Dorchester congratulated Frank Baker on winning the election on Tuesday for Boston City Councilor D-3:

"Congratulations, Frank. Wait around after the panel, I want to talk to you about the North-South Rail Link ..."

Love it.

According to the Governor, he supported the depression of the Central Artery when first proposed because it included a two-way rail line running from North Station to South Station. He wasn't able to get it done because President Ronald Reagan wouldn't release the funds if it included a railway.
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:06 AM   #38
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Re: North-South Rail Link

Was just looking at some North-South Rail Link documents in the Transportation Library last week. The North Station Superstation plan was massive. It would have had entryways and headhouses as far reaching as the Garden, the corner of Merrimac/New Chardon/Congress, and Endicot St in the North End. And of course tie in with the Green and Orange lines at North Station, as well Haymarket. The size of platform space alone dwarfed the current North Station subway station by probably 3 or 4 times, and a grand atrium between Valenti and New Chardon, on Canal St. The Central Station/Aquarium Station also had some far flung headhouses, trying to penetrate the Financial District.


I wish this would get on track again.
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:37 AM   #39
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Re: North-South Rail Link

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Was just looking at some North-South Rail Link documents in the Transportation Library last week. The North Station Superstation plan was massive. It would have had entryways and headhouses as far reaching as the Garden, the corner of Merrimac/New Chardon/Congress, and Endicot St in the North End. And of course tie in with the Green and Orange lines at North Station, as well Haymarket. The size of platform space alone dwarfed the current North Station subway station by probably 3 or 4 times, and a grand atrium between Valenti and New Chardon, on Canal St. The Central Station/Aquarium Station also had some far flung headhouses, trying to penetrate the Financial District.


I wish this would get on track again.
That was the whole-candy-store plan. Much like the Amtrak 2040 Vision it's so excessive an actual build would have to be chopped down to a fraction of the scale. They're aiming for the sky then negotiating down, much like the ARC Tunnel absurdity in New York that didn't even work for Amtrak. That was negotiated down to the more reasonable Gateway Tunnel that doesn't give NJ Transit the candy store of their dreams but does get all parties from Point A to Point B efficiently and equally serves Amtrak, saves having to build a largely redundant $2B station, and does leave slack space by the portal for NJ Transit to take a later, cheaper run at its coveted one-seat ride (Secaucus Junction upgrades, not the ham-fisted 7 train extension candy store).


Let me count the ways the official N-S fantasy drawings with unicorns are absurd:

-- They planned on running some portion of EVERY line through it. Who in their right mind would need to go from Needham to Rockport or Fairmount to Fitchburg??? And how much does that diminish the importance of the terminal tracks when everyone will demand everything run thru?

-- The tri-portal feeds on the southside with mile-long tunnels going on the NEC, Fairmount, and Old Colony lines chew up a huge percentage of the total cost; none of that land is pre-cleared like the main tunnel under the Big Dig. The Old Colony and Fairmount portals have to go under the Ft. Point Channel, all that land that was frozen for the Big Dig and now has underground sinkhole problems, and through a whole new round of awful utility relocations and fresh environmental/archeological EIS considerations the pre-cleared Big Dig land and 100% redeveloped in last 20 years North Station/BET area doesn't have to. The Fitchburg portal on the northside is a less-messy one because it splits very close to the main portal and much closer to surface...but still very expensive and kind of messy. Is feeding ALL lines worth half the project cost and two-thirds the cost inflation, or does feeding MOST lines with an end-to-end NEC/NH shot?

-- There is NO intercity service on any of the lines getting the extra portals. Amtrak will never ever use them. Ever.
1. Middleboro to the Cape are accessible by the NEC or Stoughton Branch to the Middleboro Secondary. Braintree-north is on the Red Line. Is an extra billion-plus for an Old Colony portal worth it for the sake of Hingham, Plymouth, and Brockton? They could send the Red Line to Weymouth or Brockton for the same price (they won't--and probably shouldn't--but that's the counterargument to this illogic).
2. Fitchburg is accessible via Lowell with a North Chelmsford-Ayer diversion down the Pan Am mainline if they want to go there, OR via Framingham-Clinton-Leominster on the CSX Fitchburg Secondary. The former is a whole lot less new electrification mileage forking off Lowell than doing the mainline from Boston, and would be pretty zippy. Sorry, Acton and Concord. And Waltham needs real rapid-transit more than it needs this. If it matters that much go save 9 figures by blowing up a couple Innerbelt buildings instead and doing a surface runaround track splitting off the Lowell Line embankment.
3. The Fairmount will never be used by Amtrak because there's no Back Bay access. It should be a rapid-transit line, but the need for a commuter rail bypass from Franklin/Foxboro and freight to South Boston make that a tough sell. Sorry Dorchester...you should know by now you don't have the clout to avoid getting jobbed on transit. But...if it absolutely has to be done, why not build ONE portal to serve both that and the Old Colony and realign the Fairmount behind South Bay shopping center? That was actually the line's ORIGINAL late-19th century alignment before they decided to re-route it on a straight shot to the Southie port. $1B+ for a combined portal and $50M through an open parking lot with simple bridges over Mass Ave. and I-93, or $2.5B for 2 portals that slam 3 mainlines into each other at the same underground junction? Is this even a choice when the consolidated option does exactly the same thing at exactly the same speed for 40% the price?

-- Because of the grades in the tunnel Central/Aquarium Station can only fit long enough platforms for 7 cars. Worcester and Providence already run 7 cars at rush hour, and will be 8+ easily as soon as the T's new higher-horsepower locomotives start arriving in 2 years. Amtrak Regionals may already be too big, and Acela will be when they get longer trainsets than the skimpy 6 cars they've got now. What is the point of having a station when the 3 services that need it most at peak hours...can't use it. Is that worth doing at all with a 25 MPH speed restriction clogging up traffic because the station spacing is too close and the platforms will sit on an slight incline? Throw in the extra excavation costs of widening beyond the Big Dig tunnel footprint to fit the station and this is untenable by $2B or more. Now you're talking >2/3 the project cost and almost limitless potential for overruns tied up in smaller-utilization frills like extra portals and platforms that aren't necessities and don't do squat for the national rail plan.



I get the point of aiming for the moon because that's kind of how this inefficient political negotiation works. But Big Dig fatigue makes it too high a goal, and the state is now trying to skirt another Transit Commitments law-mandated project because it once again set itself up with an impossible standard and unbuildable, incompatible mode. They have time to rethink this and start from scratch because Gateway Tunnel must be built first before Amtrak is capable of sending enough traffic to Boston for this to matter. But that's why the Transit Commitment specs doing the EIS this far out. It's complex enough job to take 10 years of planning prior to 10 years of building. They can't shirk it; it's too important for the National Rail Plan to not pick it back up on conceptual plans before 2020 (no doubt with gun to head) and not put first shovel into ground until 2035.


Here's what they need to do:

-- Cut this multi-portal shit now. If Old Colony must happen, then no way in hell can Fitchburg or Fairmount happen too with the aforementioned surface alternatives that do EXACTLY THE SAME THING at billions less. Amtrak won't use these, so why would the Feds fund it? Save yourselves an ARC Tunnel fiasco and focus the priorities more.

-- Cut Central Station. It's no use for the biggest rush hour trains, and stuff will move a lot faster without it. There is no way to fix the platform length with those tunnel grades, so this doesn't even work as an initial-only build.

-- Make a tunnel cut for the Old Colony junction but save the actual tunnel build for a future generation. I'm betting never because the intercity need isn't there and the Cape's political heft doesn't care with equal-or-better bypasses available.

-- 2 RR tracks only, space for 4 in the tunnel so there's either a rapid-transit provision on the other side or expansion space when it's needed. This is not the East River tunnels with every NEC train and every NJ commuter rail to Manhattan squeezing through, with no alternative for getting to Penn Station if there's an underground service disruption. All the existing South Station tracks are still bustling right upstairs. Judicious subset of Providence/points-south, Worcester/points-west, Lowell/points-northwest, Haverhill/points-northeast routed through the tunnel to other destinations. Maybe Newburyport/Portsmouth for northeasterly service if the Eastern Route gets reconnected to the outside world and becomes the preferred Downeaster HSR route. That's it. That's all you need, and you can do that on 2 tracks. Eventually clearing out the Lowell Line to Woburn and Eastern Route to Salem by flipping the local stops over to parallel-running rapid transit keeps things moving fast and clean all points north of SS to 128.

-- Combine megaprojects to get these Transit Commitments unclogged and achieve build efficiencies.
1. That NEC tunnel is going to spit out right past Washington St. a safe distance behind where the Orange Line surfaces. It's going to go way deep. The Green Line Tremont St. tunnel is sitting there 1-1/2 blocks up Shawmut Ave. They're in violation of their Transit Commitment for dropping Silver Line Phase III. Why not do a bi-level tunnel here with light rail on the upper level, a 2 stinking block extension of the Tremont tunnel to get there, and then hook-in to the Transitway with a South Station runaround where alignments diverge? The Transitway is designed to handle dual bus and trolley. Isn't an extra $B for the second level and Transitway connection worth $6B in savings on the unbuildable Chinatown bus tunnel from hell. Why has no one at the state level ever raised this possibility, even as upper-level BRT?
2. Columbia Jct. on the Red Line funnels traffic to a giant X pattern without any intermixing of tracks. It's just the northeast leg of that X isn't really a branch, only 2 miles of yard leads. But if it were a branch, you'd have exactly the same capacity on that fork as the subway. Lo and behold, Cabot Yard ends about 400 feet away from where the N-S NEC/Fairmount/Old Colony tunnels would all converge. $4B for 2 lightly-used commuter rail portals, or $250M to dig a much shorter (because the incline can be way steeper than a RR) subway tunnel under Cabot feeding the Link via those sorely underutilized yard leads. Could also feed it via the abandoned upper-level Broadway tunnel for just a few hundred feet more under-street digging and angling into that same exact Cabot incline to the Link). Fork the branches at Columbia Jct. and use 100% of that track capacity. Send a lot of Braintree service through there so those Old Colony riders get compensated with one-seat subway access to North Station. Build a small, tight Aquarium transfer to the Blue Line and let the RR side speed past it. That's a buildable Central Station option with of the small 1-platform/6-car footprint and rapid-transit grades. Expand the upper level of the North Station superstation over the Orange Line tracks and put the new line there. Later phase...double-up the Orange Line portal to 4-track and send these Red Line trains out there and across BET to take over the Green Line Medford extension. Then you can plan real rapid-transit to Woburn and get 4 branches firing on all cylinders on the big Red X.

-- Around South Station it's going to be a miniature Big Dig. Deal with it. Give it some unprecedented-for-this-state contractor oversight. They have to make a big show of learning their lesson. Moreso on the stations and portal construction than the under-Artery portion. That one's not going to be too bad because the fill's all clear of utilities and EIS hurdles, and the tunnel walls will get a normal sealing from leaks instead of having to do the problematic I-93 method of unfinished slurry walls to fit all those lanes (4 tracks way narrower than the narrowest 3 lanes + shoulder portion). Go all-in on this being Boston's big comeback and confidence-booster from the Big Dig. Putting that embarrassment behind us is the only way we'll ever get to think big again and build other needed stuff.

-- Don't bullshit with the EIS schedule. They need to collect themselves, shoot for some funding, and get underway on this EIS by 2016 or '17. If Gateway gets funded, then the Link is on the clock. Feds are going to be itching to get shovels in ground sometime before '25. I don't think they'll want to dance if the Gateway tunnel boring machine is hard at work, first train is 4 years away, and the state of MA is still spazzing around delinquent on its EIS for the next big piece of the puzzle. If they don't stop covering their ears and screaming "NO! NO! NO!" on yet another promise it signed on for Amtrak's going to finish up what relatively minor capacity improvements it can capably make on the Shoreline east of New Haven then call it a day on further investment in eastern New England. They've got more to gain welcoming Virginia and North Carolina into the HSR family than getting their ridership through the New England megalopolis permanently capped by a 1 mile track gap nobody has the sack to want to fix.

Last edited by F-Line to Dudley; 11-12-2011 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:14 AM   #40
Charlie_mta
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Re: North-South Rail Link

The potential demolition of the US Post Office facility at South Station offers room for an entrance to a NS Rail tunnel, with portals to both branches of commuter rail and the Amtrak line. In this plan I put together, the red lines are the Old Colony tracks terminating on the surface at an expanded S Station. The portals are shown as black lines, and the blue dashed lines are the NS Rail Link tunnels. A station serving the NS Rail Link could be located where it crosses Summer Street.

This type of layout would eliminate quite a bit of tunneling and cost.

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