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Old 11-13-2014, 09:17 PM   #1
BostonUrbEx
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General RER-type service thread

RER/DMU systems constantly comes up in the Crazy/Reasonable pitches, so might as well have one thread specifically for them.

Here's my map for a pitch for the North Side: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...M.kpURtPmFgod8

Circles are RER (I call it REN: Regional Express Network) only, where stars are also served by Commuter Rail, too. Each line has its own color, with shared stations (Sullivan Square and North Station) in black. All lines except the Lowell Branch run through Sullivan Square. However, all lines would terminate at North Station off-peak.

Every other train will alternate destinations upon passing through Sullivan Square. For example: Weston trains would split their destinations 50/50 between the Reading Branch and the Eastern Route. Note that every train arriving at Salem would further split 50/50 between the Danvers Branch and the Beverly Branch. During off-peak, all Eastern Route REN trains would terminate at Salem, with a connecting shuttle pinging between Danvers and Beverly with a connection at Salem (Salem would essentially be one huge triangular station with connected platforms on its three sides).

I believe the only station I eliminated was Wedgemere, but I also combined Wyoming Hill with Cedar Park into one station. There's obviously a bunch of infill stations which wouldn't be part of the immediate REN rollout, but would rather be a part of long-term planning.

The system counts on a few assumptions: the Newburyport Line is extended to Portsmouth, the Haverhill Line runs exclusively via the Wildcat Branch, and the Lowell Line is extended to Manchester. However, the only keystone in this network (other than Haverhill via Wildcat) is just a rebuilt Sullivan Square and the DMU equipment.

My South Side proposal is simple, but the new Google Maps wants me to pay just to add another category of placemarks so I didn't bother adding them in. South Side would only be Fairmount Line (to 128 and to Norwood) with the other end split between South Station and maybe West Station or Riverside.
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Old 11-13-2014, 10:32 PM   #2
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Re: General RER-type service thread

I love it. Of course, branching the Red Line to Waltham, Blue to Lynn and Orange to Reading would be preferable, but since that's apparently beyond the realm of possibility, I think this would be a good start.

A few things:

1) I would branch the yellow line to Methuen. Lawrence is admittedly smaller than Lowell, but not by much. I think it could deserve it's own DMU service, and extending it to Methuen would give Lawrence it's own sudo-rapid transit network.

2) Did you think about any non-Boston-centric RER service? Two that immediately come to mind that I think would be successful would be Concord-Manchester-Nashua-Lowell and Lowell-Lawrence-Haverhill. The latter being more expensive due to a new ROW needing to be constructed along 495 and reactivation of an abandoned ROW.

3) I disagree on the skip-stop arrangement. I get the idea of it, but it ruins the service for local commuters and reverse commuting, only being useful for people going into Boston. I think a local/express arrangement is far more conducive to reducing trip times while still serving so many destinations. I would consider having your yellow line express past Wilmington, and the blue past Lynn.


Unrelated, but does the new Google Mapmaker now only allow you the option of regular maps or "satellite"? There used to be several other layers that were far more awesome for transit mapping.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:30 AM   #3
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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Originally Posted by BostonUrbEx View Post
RER/DMU systems constantly comes up in the Crazy/Reasonable pitches, so might as well have one thread specifically for them.

Here's my map for a pitch for the North Side: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...M.kpURtPmFgod8

...
I like it!

Somerville: I noticed you put an "REN" station at "Cobble Hill." I assume this would be at the planned Washington Street GLX stop. For an REN station in Somerville, this location would be inferior to Lowell Street. Most of the catchment area would be a short walk from either Union Square or Sullivan Square, and this station would only be three quick stops from North Station on the Green Line.

If this station were removed in favor of Lowell Street, on the other hand, there would be the opportunity for express trips from further out (5 stops from North Station). There are also no REN or Commuter Rail stops in under a mile walk from Lowell Street, unlike "Cobble Hill." Lowell Street is also in a denser, residential area. Having a Lowell Street station would eliminate the need for a lot of reverse commuters to backtrack. With a Cobble Hill station, anybody going outbound from the College Ave, Ball Square, or Lowell Street stops would have to take the Green Line in a few stops to catch and outbound REN train, which would deter enough reverse commuters on the edge between driving and public transit. Having the transfer point be further out on the GLX would give reverse commuters better options (Lowell Street or North Station).

I really like the concept, and I think it looks great. I just figured I'd throw in my $0.02 about what would work well in Somerville.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: General RER-type service thread

Danversport is dead. The rail trail's coming in from Peabody Sq. and they made their irreversible choice that nothing's ever crossing the Peabody/Danvers town line. You have to do North Shore Mall/Lahey Clinic routing that town of Peabody is still pushing hard and crank up the bus frequencies on the transfers in/around Danvers that hit both stops.

The other option's not going to re-materialize because:
1) Danvers didn't like the Endicott Plaza terminal very much and thought it served Beverly more than it did them (which is kinda true). The T's design also had the ROW bending to the stop on a trajectory that wouldn't cross 128.
2) Danvers didn't like train traffic right in the heart of downtown, thinking it would induce too much parking demand even with the 128 terminal (faulty suburbanite reasoning, but may have a grain of truth if they have a lot of un-metered parking ripe for out-of-towner abuse). Layover yard siting also would've been more problematic sticking to a cross-128 ROW alignment.
3) The buses out of downtown are already pretty good routing-wise: both malls served and Peabody Sq. So they figured increased frequencies and piggybacking on Peabody's advocacy for the North Shore Mall routing would serve their transit needs almost equally well (and they've got a point...this is a little more nuanced than pure NIMBY-ism).


Note that on the North Shore Mall alignment one of the layover options stays on the old ROW to the corner of Purchase and Lowell Streets, leaving future extension to West Peabody/I-95/US1 possible at the point where all 3 trails converge.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:44 AM   #5
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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Note that on the North Shore Mall alignment one of the layover options stays on the old ROW to the corner of Purchase and Lowell Streets, leaving future extension to West Peabody/I-95/US1 possible at the point where all 3 trails converge.
I find it tough to picture the neighbors going for commuter rail service (and definitely a layover yard) on an alignment that's already been trailed.

I'd also definitely encourage the Worcester Line service to stick mostly to the South Side. I'm not a hater of DMU/GJ by any means, but I suspect that if you did a survey, more Newton commuters are headed to Back Bay than to Kendall. Add to that the Yawkey connection to Longwood and the fact that you can't really get to the Seaport from North Station, and the South Side is probably a lot better.

3/4 of the trains over South and 1/4 over North seems appropriate, with the other trains on the GJ pinging between North Station and Allston with a timed transfer at the latter.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:18 AM   #6
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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I find it tough to picture the neighbors going for commuter rail service (and definitely a layover yard) on an alignment that's already been trailed.
The trail that's between 128 and 95 connects to absolutely nothing because it can't get across either highway. All it is is a low-use connector between Peabody Rd. and the Lahey Clinic parking lot. And the ROW from Peabody Sq. to 128 is NStar-owned off-limits to trail (which is why the Danversport ROW was taken first).

Those areas benefit from commuter rail because the 128 overpass on the ROW can have a pedestrian deck on it allowing the trail head to get across to Northshore Rd. and potentially take some other route along Proctor Brook to get to the Square. That's the pot-sweetener for the locals to de-isolate that neighborhood carved up on both sides by impassible highways.


As for the layover, it's marked "Optional" on the map for a reason...layovers are always controversial with abutters. They could negotiate with Lahey or the Mall for a couple tracks in the parking lot. Or the Plan B of least impact is to take North Street Yard, the 3-track freight yard west in eyesight of Salem station that's only used twice a week to park one short freight train for a few hours at a time. No residential abutters there, and my guess is if Indigo gets a badly-needed motification for the initial routing to terminate at Salem that they'll use that right away as their parking spot. At 2.5 miles from the end of the line and no mainline fouling it's trivial to run deadheads from North Shore to Salem. You can even take passengers and just terminate/originate at Salem with fare-waived for those equipment moves to/from North Shore Mall.


My point re: Urbie's map is that this alignment crosses 128 on the actual ROW permitting future considerations. The Danversport one does not because of where the study placed the least-impactful Endicott Plaza platform off the old ROW where it's impossible to create a 128 crossing. That's now been sidelined to Crazy Transit Pitches land, so work with the routing that's actually available, reserved for that specific 128-reaching purpose, and a #1 point of advocacy for the Town of Peabody that features the bus connectivity that doesn't leave Danvers in a lurch.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:45 AM   #7
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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The trail that's between 128 and 95 connects to absolutely nothing because it can't get across either highway. All it is is a low-use connector between Peabody Rd. and the Lahey Clinic parking lot. And the ROW from Peabody Sq. to 128 is NStar-owned off-limits to trail (which is why the Danversport ROW was taken first).
I never said they'd be rationally opposed . It's interesting to me (and perhaps telling) that the T has already studied this alternative, but it's basically creating an all-new ROW where residents had a reasonable expectation that there would never be anything but power lines behind their houses.

I do get how important this is, though. It would be the only highway-accessible rail connection to Boston east of 93, and would probably see a ton of park-and-ride.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:23 AM   #8
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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I never said they'd be rationally opposed . It's interesting to me (and perhaps telling) that the T has already studied this alternative, but it's basically creating an all-new ROW where residents had a reasonable expectation that there would never be anything but power lines behind their houses.

I do get how important this is, though. It would be the only highway-accessible rail connection to Boston east of 93, and would probably see a ton of park-and-ride.
They took that into account in the N. Shore Transit Improvements study. There's a whole chapter on NIMBY mitigation for the slate of projects considered. It's actually pretty impressively well thought-out; I wish more studies went into that level of detail about the most common aggravation slowing down these kinds of builds.

The only real difference they found with West Peabody vs. Danversport is slightly more wetlands to square. The ROW doesn't get particularly close to "NIMBY" homes until that last 2000 ft. before 128/Northshore Rd. (Peabody Sq.-Endicott St. are the "YIMBY" homes right next to the station site on Railroad Ave.). The ROW actually rides alongside on Warren St. Extension to where it does that mini S-curve in front of the high school driveway, then plops on top of Warren Ext. where it dead-ends into the factory + electrical substation driveway as a private street. That's a good 500 ft. away from all residential abutters and would just take re-shaping the HS driveway to keep the grade crossing on the private/substation driveway end of the street. These are the lovely scenic views those condos by the power lines get out of their windows on 2 sides: 128 and the office parks on one side, craggy overgrowth and tangled mess of power lines on the other side. You can easily see why no one's enthusiastically calling for a trail here even if NStar would return phone calls about leasing space for one. I doubt a single set of train tracks set well back inside the overgrowth is going to be all that noticeable, especially with no nearby crossings to blow horns or ring bells at.




Lahey Clinic is going to be a big ridership driver. It's not just the parking sink and the cookie-cooker suburban mall there. They just did a large 60,000 sq. ft. expansion wing to that facility, and it's the location that serves their main outpatient cancer center and neurology lab. Plus a ton of primary-care doctor's offices and Peabody's only emergency room. Having a one-seat ride out there is going to be a big deal for patients and the elderly who aren't healthy enough to be up for a solo drive or a bus transfer, as well as for family/friends to avoid needing to drive to visit or drop off people. The main Lahey campus in Burlington isn't transit-accessible at all and Beverly Hospital (now affiliated with Lahey) is a few blocks' walk from Montserrat and the nearest bus stop out of Salem/Beverly Depot.

North Shore just doesn't have a lot of direct transit accessibility to their ample supply of medical centers. Also another reason why the South Salem/Salem State U. mainline infill station is so badly needed. The stop sitings that were studied 10 years ago were basically 2 blocks to the University east of the station, 2 blocks to Mass General for Children to the west of the station.
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Old 11-14-2014, 02:13 PM   #9
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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I like it!

Somerville: I noticed you put an "REN" station at "Cobble Hill." I assume this would be at the planned Washington Street GLX stop. For an REN station in Somerville, this location would be inferior to Lowell Street. Most of the catchment area would be a short walk from either Union Square or Sullivan Square, and this station would only be three quick stops from North Station on the Green Line.

If this station were removed in favor of Lowell Street, on the other hand, there would be the opportunity for express trips from further out (5 stops from North Station). There are also no REN or Commuter Rail stops in under a mile walk from Lowell Street, unlike "Cobble Hill." Lowell Street is also in a denser, residential area. Having a Lowell Street station would eliminate the need for a lot of reverse commuters to backtrack. With a Cobble Hill station, anybody going outbound from the College Ave, Ball Square, or Lowell Street stops would have to take the Green Line in a few stops to catch and outbound REN train, which would deter enough reverse commuters on the edge between driving and public transit. Having the transfer point be further out on the GLX would give reverse commuters better options (Lowell Street or North Station).

I really like the concept, and I think it looks great. I just figured I'd throw in my $0.02 about what would work well in Somerville.
I should have mentioned that this was under another assumption: that West Medford was the GLX terminus. So Cobble Hill really is more for Union Square than the GLX connection. And not for Union Square to North Station, which you noted would be well-covered, but for Lowell to Union Sq, or Winchester to Union Sq, etc. If you're going from Lowell to College Ave, you transfer to my hypothetical GLX transfer at West Medford.

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I love it. Of course, branching the Red Line to Waltham, Blue to Lynn and Orange to Reading would be preferable, but since that's apparently beyond the realm of possibility, I think this would be a good start.
Exactly. It is mostly a cheap launching point for building a base of ridership.

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1) I would branch the yellow line to Methuen. Lawrence is admittedly smaller than Lowell, but not by much. I think it could deserve it's own DMU service, and extending it to Methuen would give Lawrence it's own sudo-rapid transit network.
I think Lowell is a tough stretch for DMU service as it is. Once you're getting out that far it seems commuter rail is a better option. You're starting to lose the benefits of the service, I think. The Lowell Line provides a nice spine, though, and the line itself is almost grade-crossing free, and double tracked, and signaled for trains on any track in any direction.

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2) Did you think about any non-Boston-centric RER service? Two that immediately come to mind that I think would be successful would be Concord-Manchester-Nashua-Lowell and Lowell-Lawrence-Haverhill. The latter being more expensive due to a new ROW needing to be constructed along 495 and reactivation of an abandoned ROW.
Yes (Lowell-Lawrence-Haverhill), but not as a part of this map.

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3) I disagree on the skip-stop arrangement. I get the idea of it, but it ruins the service for local commuters and reverse commuting, only being useful for people going into Boston. I think a local/express arrangement is far more conducive to reducing trip times while still serving so many destinations. I would consider having your yellow line express past Wilmington, and the blue past Lynn.
I'm not sure what you mean. Every station you see, a DMU train would stop at. No skipping. The only thing new is that commuter rail would only stop at the "star" icon stations.

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Danversport is dead. The rail trail's coming in from Peabody Sq. and they made their irreversible choice that nothing's ever crossing the Peabody/Danvers town line. You have to do North Shore Mall/Lahey Clinic routing that town of Peabody is still pushing hard and crank up the bus frequencies on the transfers in/around Danvers that hit both stops.
Yes, yes, yes. I know. But I still refuse to stop advocating for it. For me, it's either truncate at Peabody Sq, or go to Danvers. I will not give in.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:00 PM   #10
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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I should have mentioned that this was under another assumption: that West Medford was the GLX terminus. So Cobble Hill really is more for Union Square than the GLX connection. And not for Union Square to North Station, which you noted would be well-covered, but for Lowell to Union Sq, or Winchester to Union Sq, etc. If you're going from Lowell to College Ave, you transfer to my hypothetical GLX transfer at West Medford.
That would be an effective set-up.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:14 PM   #11
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Re: General RER-type service thread

Eastern Route
-- If you're going by half-mile catchment areas Bell Sq. and Beachland are 2000 ft. or less from BL Revere Beach and Wonderland. That's oversaturation that will not in any way, shape, or form trap ridership at 15-minute headways vs. 7 min. on Blue. Cut those. The MPO found this out when it studied a Wonderland CR stop across the parking lot as a first stab at Indigo headways. It was D.O.A. on actual demand.

-- Box District gets served 1/2 mile away by the SL Gateway stop. That's iffy enough on the RR ridership that the duplication probably isn't worth it. If you intend to slowly develop the Urban Ring across the Mystic (BRT or LRT) the ridership at the Eastern Route stop is going to gradually fall and get almost completely subsumed by the SL Gateway/UR stop. That's reason enough to hedge against.

-- As mentioned many times over in the casino thread, it is physically impossible to build a RR stop at Gateway Center/Everett Casino. That's on the steep downgrade off the bridge where the train engineer's sightlines are poor coming over the top of the bridge, and it's on the freight clearance route to Everett Terminal where you can't have high platforms. This location will never get approved for a RR stop for safety reasons, and there is nothing you can do to change that. Urban Ring or bust at that spot. First opportunity for a RR station in Everett is 1/2 mile further back at the 99/16 rotary.

-- You're going to have to drop Sullivan because of the capacity pinch for the shared Eastern and Western Route trackage to Mystic Jct. You just can't support those headways on each line with a station stop there. They need to run non-stop and separate themselves out at the junction quickly to keep from getting in each other's way. Sullivan is 2 stops on Orange from NS, and for redundancy purposes you can always spur the Green Line through the carhouse yard and terminate C trains or something at Sullivan well before you build the cross-Mystic UR.

-- If you're making any assumptions about the Blue-Lynn extension being completed, West Lynn's going to flip to rapid transit. Though I'd fully expect Riverworks to get moved there to a proper West Lynn station if Indigo happens, so that's OK. Just don't plan on keeping this one on both modes at once if/when Blue happens because the RR ridership will drop to near-zero.


Lowell
-- Cut Cobble Hill. It's a block away from GLX Washington, which goes to North Station all the same. No one will ride this given the headway disparity 15 mins. vs. 7-or-less.


Fitchburg
-- Cut Union and Fresh Pond. Every time the MPO studied parallel CR stations at both of these the ridership projected anemic in the same way as that Wonderland stop on the Eastern Route. Red Line and GLX took it all; RR ridership was near-zero. This is the same thing you'll be dealing with at the others inside the 1/2 mile catchment of a mode that does way better headways by default. These parallel RR stations only work at major transfer nodes like Malden Ctr. (bus hub), Lynn (major bus hub), Quincy Ctr. (major bus hub), Porter (77 and Harvard/Davis proximity), and Ruggles (major-major bus hub). For the cost of building some of these extra platforms around the system you can pretty much bank the cost of a GLX Union-Porter extension or a GLX Sullivan stub...so also consider what bang-for-buck you're sacrificing by oversaturating some of these rapid transit catchment areas.

-- Don't forget Beaver Brook underneath the Main St. overpass in Waltham. That stop lasted on the Fitchburg schedule until 1978 and still has a derelict platform. That one will be in demand if Waltham ever gets Indigo'ed.


Grand Junction
-- Capacity problems are well-documented here. Really don't think you're getting the requisite headways to run the line that way. Or will have anywhere near enough flex to do 2 stations. If you have to hedge, assume that the Worcester-North Station 5-trains-in-the-AM / 5-trains-in-the-PM rush hour plan goes back on the table and builds the Kendall station. Then just grab whatever the midday schedule will bear and take it as found slots, however imperfect. Don't build new infrastructure if you just can't get through those crossings once every 15 and this has to be by necessity a 30-min. headway. And don't try squeezing blood from stone here trying to pound square pegs into round holes because it's diminishing returns for the money you'd waste trying to tart it up on a RR mode. Traffic-sharing at the crossings and crossing elimination at some of them can't happen without a BRT or LRT conversion. Them's the constrictions of dealing with a RR mode where the train always has the right of way and where maximum grades restrict what inclines you can feasibly build above/below roads.

-- As a result, you'll have to do mainline Riverside out of South Station to float the majority of the service. Keep in mind the reason why the Worcester-NS study saw zero need for off-peak trains: transferring to Orange at BBY and Red at SS achieved equal travel times to NS and Kendall at all hours except for rush when the subway is at its most saturated. If the T fixes the fare structure so tap-on/tap-off free timed transfers are possible between Indigo and rapid transit...the same factor is going to be in effect here. And that lowers the upside to doing anything more than grabbing a few slots at the Kendall-area station that the Worcester trains build, doing what headways won't bust the traffic queues at the grade crossings, and not sweating it if it's a sub-ideal schedule or Cambridgeport isn't worth building. We all know the real Urban Ring is the only thing that's going to take the cap off this corridor. And the UR isn't dependet on the N-S Link being built first if certain steps are taken to make southside commuter rail ops less dependent on northside Boston Engine Terminal.



Naming misc.

-- "Shawsheen" was called "East Billerica" for over a century until that Lowell Line stop got dropped in 1965. That's the section of town it's officially in.

-- "Goldfish Pond" was called "East Lynn" from Day 1 of the Eastern Route until that stop went away (late-50's?). They aren't very imaginative with their names out there, but that's where it's located in local nomenclature.

-- "Warrendale" was Clematis Brook until stop was eliminated along with Beaver Brook in 1978. Recent enough Waltham history to stick with the old name.
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:11 PM   #12
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Re: General RER-type service thread

Shawsheen itself is in Andover, at Haverhill Street on the Haverhill Line. An unlikely stop to return, but it lasted until the 70s.
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:39 PM   #13
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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1) I would branch the yellow line to Methuen. Lawrence is admittedly smaller than Lowell, but not by much. I think it could deserve it's own DMU service, and extending it to Methuen would give Lawrence it's own sudo-rapid transit network.
That's problematic because of the location of Lawrence station. It requires a backup move to cover both the Transportation Center and the M&L Branch. Last time passenger service ran up there they had a "North Lawrence" (the old derelict Haverhill Line station west of the new one) and "South Lawrence" a few blocks away by the freight yard as separate stops serving the branch or the mainline. Had service to Methuen re-initiated in 1981 before the budget axe fell they would've gone fishing for a relocated station location TBD closer to Route 28 and Andover St. instead of staying at Merrimack St.

I'm not sure just doing a lone platform at the Merrimack St. grade crossing is going to cut it when the garage, buses, and transfers are 1/2 mile down the street at the main station. And doing the reverse at the main station is awkward as hell. Too much ridership sacrificed in the ham-fistedness of either option.


You've also got Methuen doing its stupid cheapo gravel trail (a.k.a. mugger's paradise in a post-industrial hellscape), so that ROW isn't available. New Hampshire still has that corridor to Manchester as a long-term advocacy. So that's the only scenario where the operational awkwardness at Lawrence is justifiable and the ROW restorable. But that's a loooooooooooong way off...decades behind the Capitol Corridor and the Eastern Route to Portsmouth/Kittery. Consider this route non-useful for strictly in-district service until it's got true interstate legs on it...if we're even alive to see that day.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:52 PM   #14
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Re: General RER-type service thread

I see the North Side as getting the most use out of RER-style transit. Here's my DMU/EMU pitch:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...k.kruIy1cwc1RY
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:13 PM   #15
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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I see the North Side as getting the most use out of RER-style transit. Here's my DMU/EMU pitch:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...k.kruIy1cwc1RY
"Winchester Heights" at Cross St. was "Winchester Highlands" until that stop was dropped in 1965. Though I'm not sure that one is needed when the buses hang closer to Winchester Ctr. and Montvale for connecting to downtown Woburn. Lowell probably works best with wider stop spacing and faster speeds since it only hits a few points of really high density along the way.


East Belmont isn't going to be much of a ridership catch with the 78 being frequent and hitting Fresh Pond and Harvard. Plus the Fitchburg Cutoff path and to-be extension to Belmont Ctr. puts both Alewife and Belmont Ctr. within a 3/4 mile walk in total grade separation.


Peabody Sq.'s got much more bus connectivity than Beverly Depot and no frequently-opening movable bridge to cross. If you're talking 15 min. headways I think it's Salem and/or Peabody and opening up that North Street Yard as a layover. You're going to have to many minor interruptions to the clock-facing schedule because of the swing bridge, and a lot less layover space up there.
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:20 PM   #16
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
"Winchester Heights" at Cross St. was "Winchester Highlands" until that stop was dropped in 1965. Though I'm not sure that one is needed when the buses hang closer to Winchester Ctr. and Montvale for connecting to downtown Woburn. Lowell probably works best with wider stop spacing and faster speeds since it only hits a few points of really high density along the way.
I'd thought of bringing up Lowell, given the low number of stops. If RT is ever brought up Lowell to Anderson, would Winchester Highlands be a useful LRT catch, or not dense enough to warrant it?


Quote:
East Belmont isn't going to be much of a ridership catch with the 78 being frequent and hitting Fresh Pond and Harvard. Plus the Fitchburg Cutoff path and to-be extension to Belmont Ctr. puts both Alewife and Belmont Ctr. within a 3/4 mile walk in total grade separation.
Makes sense. I really included it out of pure stop spacing.

Quote:
Peabody Sq.'s got much more bus connectivity than Beverly Depot and no frequently-opening movable bridge to cross. If you're talking 15 min. headways I think it's Salem and/or Peabody and opening up that North Street Yard as a layover. You're going to have to many minor interruptions to the clock-facing schedule because of the swing bridge, and a lot less layover space up there.
That makes much more sense. I was looking at the track sidings north of Beverly [which is probably for freight?], but wasn't thinking about the draw.
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:45 PM   #17
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
-- You're going to have to drop Sullivan because of the capacity pinch for the shared Eastern and Western Route trackage to Mystic Jct. You just can't support those headways on each line with a station stop there. They need to run non-stop and separate themselves out at the junction quickly to keep from getting in each other's way. Sullivan is 2 stops on Orange from NS, and for redundancy purposes you can always spur the Green Line through the carhouse yard and terminate C trains or something at Sullivan well before you build the cross-Mystic UR.
What's the deal with the semi-abandoned inner belt tracks? There is also the abandoned platform and express track. Sullivan has a tons of wasted space to play with. Instead of the current configuration of:

IB-1 | IB-2 | OL-1 | PL | OL-2 | PL | OL-3 | CR-1 | CR-2

Couldn't you do:

IB-1 | OL-1 | PL | OL-2 | CR-1 | CR-2 | PL | CR-3 | CR-4

Or if the inner belt tracks aren't needed at all, the superior:

OL-1 | PL | OL-2 | CR-1 | PL | CR-2 | CR-3 | PL | CR-4


IB=Inner Belt track, OL=Orange Line track, CR=Commuter Rail track PL=Platform



That would give you plenty of room to play with for stopping DMUs. Of course, it would probably require the construction of a flying junction to separate the eastern and western routes, but that would/should probably happen anyway if there are going to be DMUs running with greater frequency up there.

Hell, even without DMU's, a flying junction and four tracks from north station to Mystic Junction would help bottle necking right now.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:05 PM   #18
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: General RER-type service thread

^ I'd save the space for the UR way before I reconfigure it for a Commuter Rail stop that no one will use...
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:41 PM   #19
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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Originally Posted by davem View Post
What's the deal with the semi-abandoned inner belt tracks? There is also the abandoned platform and express track. Sullivan has a tons of wasted space to play with. Instead of the current configuration of:

IB-1 | IB-2 | OL-1 | PL | OL-2 | PL | OL-3 | CR-1 | CR-2

Couldn't you do:

IB-1 | OL-1 | PL | OL-2 | CR-1 | CR-2 | PL | CR-3 | CR-4

Or if the inner belt tracks aren't needed at all, the superior:

OL-1 | PL | OL-2 | CR-1 | PL | CR-2 | CR-3 | PL | CR-4


IB=Inner Belt track, OL=Orange Line track, CR=Commuter Rail track PL=Platform



That would give you plenty of room to play with for stopping DMUs. Of course, it would probably require the construction of a flying junction to separate the eastern and western routes, but that would/should probably happen anyway if there are going to be DMUs running with greater frequency up there.

Hell, even without DMU's, a flying junction and four tracks from north station to Mystic Junction would help bottle necking right now.
Many, many problems there.

-- Orange is descending off the Community College viaduct as it pulls under Cambridge St. into the station. The CR and OL tracks don't reach the same level until the foot of the OL platforms. Meaning you have zero running room to sort stuff out at appreciable speed and are limited to jarring, slow-speed turnouts.


-- I-93 girders are all over the place, splitting the CR inbound track from the OL express track, and between the OL express track and OL outbound track (including straight through the island platform). They are close-spaced enough that it further limits available turnout space to very sharp and slow-speed weaves. Then limited space between the girders and the headhouse-side retaining wall severely limits your space to do much of anything in the way of commuter rail platforms save for a single side platform accessible from 1 track only (which will not work for traffic levels). Pan around on Street View on both the Cambridge St. and Maffa Way overpasses.


-- Bumping the OL station over to the semi-active freight tracks and shifting CR onto the OL footprint is similarly awkward. Because then Orange would have to make a very sharp and slow S-curve off the Community College viaduct onto its new alignment, then the commuter rail a very sharp S-curve onto the Orange alignment. Wanna kill speeds and introduce a big bottleneck on 2 modes--and 3 mainlines--at once? This'll do it.


-- The freight tracks are semi-active and used when Pan Am needs overflow storage. Used to run to a yard at Assembly that was active until the late-80's. Tracks are operable up to the Mystic Ave. underpass, but if they brush-cleared it's intact up to the fence of the last Assembly property line. They are being held for the Urban Ring ROW--BRT or LRT. Cannibalize this and you have no grade separated way off the UR Mystic Bridge into Brickbottom. It has to be on this side of the station or you're going on the Sullivan Sq. street grid at least part of the way until next opportunity to slip under a pile of ramps. Do not mess with this if you care about building the UR.



-- To create space to do everything you need you have to move the entire platform complex out from under 93 and re-center it at the Maffa Way / Mystic Ave. underpasses. Total nuke/rebuild which makes it really awkward to reach from the headhouse. And you have now put yourself within about 1600 ft. of the tip of the Assembly platform. Is that really worth the heinous expense of a total station do-over for sole purpose of hammering a square peg into a round hole? You can bring the Green Line here from the carhouse to a revenue-sevice stub terminal on the freight tracks--simple escalator-up from an island platform into the OL fare lobby with zero other station mods--for the same money as this OL+CR force-fit. Which do you think is the better use of money for this station?
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:10 PM   #20
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: General RER-type service thread

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Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
I'd thought of bringing up Lowell, given the low number of stops. If RT is ever brought up Lowell to Anderson, would Winchester Highlands be a useful LRT catch, or not dense enough to warrant it?
Cross Street did have a stop on the old Woburn Branch, and also on the 1945 extension map (using the Woburn Branch). But the Woburn Branch end of Cross nearer to Route 38 was always the more popular of the two stops when both lines had them, because that one was much more walkable to downtown Woburn and right on the 134 bus.

If there's to be a rapid transit extension out here at GLX headways then I think it's fully appropriate to do Cross St...it's fully appropriate to do Wedgemere...it's fully appropriate to do Mishawum.

But at 15 minute headways the ridership's really going to cling tightly to the 2 adjacent stops that have the buses. The 134 takes 8 minutes from Winch Ctr. to Woburn Ctr. The 354 takes 10 mins. from Montvale @ Washington to Woburn Ctr. Up the frequencies and you've got this entire catchment covered to the point where an Indigo intermediate adds very little to the top.

Figure that if you keep the stop selection pretty miserly ALL Lowell/Nashua and Haverhill/Plaistow trains can make West Med, Winch Ctr., Montvale, Anderson, and Wilmington as local stops before they diverge. Wilmington's only 30 minutes on the current schedule. So you don't have to get choosy about skip-stopping anything as long as you're not hedging too strongly on the very marginal ones that don't make a difference unless it's real-dead HRT/LRT headways (i.e. Wedgemere, Cross St., Mishawum). Indigo on this corridor is much more a headway backfill than an express vs. local pattern, so it differs from the rest of the system. Including the current Haverhill route, which I think we can agree is much better-suited to a 128-turning schedule than it is a New Hampshire border schedule.



Does underscore the importance of building Montvale, though. The transit coverage in Woburn doesn't get really good until Winch Ctr. has a complement helping to frame the triangle that runs Route 38 on one side, Montvale Ave. on one side, and Washington St. on one side. 2 CR stops + 2 bus routes traces the entire catchment area for the densest part of Woburn almost perfectly.
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