archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Transit and Infrastructure

Transit and Infrastructure All things T or civilly engineered within Boston Metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-24-2018, 01:22 AM   #1
Wash
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Arlington
Posts: 19
CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

CSX has announced that it's interested in selling off the B&A mainline, most likely to MassDot. This includes trackage from Springfield to the border with New York, and, more excitingly, from Worchester to Springfield (I think).

What will happen now? If MassDot buys the tracks, double-tracking the line between Worchester and Springfield should be easy. Commuter rail to Springfield, Inland route NE regionals, a Boston-frequency Montrealer; all of this is suddenly much more possible than it was just two weeks ago.

What do you guys think?
Wash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 04:48 AM   #2
stellarfun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: salem ma and washington dc
Posts: 4,323
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

I think its Worcester not Worchester.

Why would MassDot run commuter rail to/from Springfield? There is no demand for such.
__________________
A man gazing on the stars is at the mercy of the puddles in the road
stellarfun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 07:09 AM   #3
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,958
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wash View Post
CSX has announced that it's interested in selling off the B&A mainline, most likely to MassDot. This includes trackage from Springfield to the border with New York, and, more excitingly, from Worchester to Springfield (I think).

What will happen now? If MassDot buys the tracks, double-tracking the line between Worchester and Springfield should be easy. Commuter rail to Springfield, Inland route NE regionals, a Boston-frequency Montrealer; all of this is suddenly much more possible than it was just two weeks ago.

What do you guys think?
There's an important distinction between B&A inside Worcester and outside. Because the major freight yards are all there, and because freight terminal operations have been entirely eliminated inside of Route 128, the eastern portion is relatively clear for passenger services. By contrast the segment from Springfield to Worcester is part of the most important freight trunk route in New England.

I'm not enough of an expert in scheduling to say anything definitive, but I wouldn't think of those two lines in the same way. With that said, public ownership of rail lines is typically a good thing for everyone, and this one is already at the highest specs (MassDOT has had to do a lot of upgrades on other purchased lines), so while any repairs and maintenance would be really high-priority, it wouldn't need much work to start with.

MassDOT doesn't generally own trackage for commuter rail services, btw. That's mostly MBTA-owned. MassDOT lines see Amtrak service, and will carry CTrail into Springfield, but MassDOT owns rail mostly for freight use. The only useful part of South Coast Rail, for instance, is the upgrade of the relevant lines to NB and FR to modern weight restrictions.
Equilibria is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 08:19 AM   #4
HenryAlan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Rozzie Square
Posts: 1,699
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellarfun View Post
Why would MassDot run commuter rail to/from Springfield? There is no demand for such.
When has that featured in CR expansion plans in the past 30 years? It is a political decision, and maybe a pretty good one, as it might bring Western legislators in to the pro-MBTA caucus.
HenryAlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 08:43 AM   #5
stellarfun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: salem ma and washington dc
Posts: 4,323
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
When has that featured in CR expansion plans in the past 30 years? It is a political decision, and maybe a pretty good one, as it might bring Western legislators in to the pro-MBTA caucus.
You are asking the Commonwealth to pay for track maintenance for a freight railroad. CSX then pays what is basically a user fee, which may not cover the annual cost of maintenance and operation of the track. Even if CSX paid 'full freight' for its use, it avoids the real property taxes to cities and towns on that trackage.
__________________
A man gazing on the stars is at the mercy of the puddles in the road
stellarfun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 09:06 AM   #6
jass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,987
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellarfun View Post
I think its Worcester not Worchester.

Why would MassDot run commuter rail to/from Springfield? There is no demand for such.
Most likely run as part of the new Springfield Hartford line.

Maybe 2-3 trips a day continue to Boston
jass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 09:45 AM   #7
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,958
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jass View Post
Most likely run as part of the new Springfield Hartford line.

Maybe 2-3 trips a day continue to Boston
Springfield is a tack-on there. It's run by ConnDOT, so it's not going to continue anywhere else in MA. Even if MA were to pay for it, the added length would make schedules worse in Connecticut.
Equilibria is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 10:42 AM   #8
jass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,987
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
Springfield is a tack-on there. It's run by ConnDOT, so it's not going to continue anywhere else in MA. Even if MA were to pay for it, the added length would make schedules worse in Connecticut.
ConnDoT pays Amtrak for the new service I believe.

Amtrak would have no issue running the trains.

No different than Virginia paying them to run NEC trains to farmsville in farmland county.
jass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 10:53 AM   #9
Joel N. Weber II
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 562
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellarfun View Post
Why would MassDot run commuter rail to/from Springfield? There is no demand for such.
Ignoring the commuter rail service from Springfield to Hartford, which AFAIK is pretty much guaranteed to happen, I think there's plenty of demand in Springfield for better access to jobs, which high speed commuter trains from Springfield to Boston could provide.

I do think if there's serious interest in commuter rail, following the I-90 alignment for most of the Palmer to Worcester segment is probably appropriate instead of investing in double tracking the old B&A alignment, and that would involve getting rolling stock that can cope with 3% grades (which is not rocket science although I bet it would be worth looking at getting batteries from a company whose CEO does also have a rocket company).
Joel N. Weber II is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 10:55 AM   #10
Joel N. Weber II
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 562
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellarfun View Post
You are asking the Commonwealth to pay for track maintenance for a freight railroad. CSX then pays what is basically a user fee, which may not cover the annual cost of maintenance and operation of the track. Even if CSX paid 'full freight' for its use, it avoids the real property taxes to cities and towns on that trackage.
I want the railroads to have a level playing field with the highways. Do you favor privatizing all the state highways and tolling them so that they can pay property taxes to the municipalities they run through?
Joel N. Weber II is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 11:07 AM   #11
Joel N. Weber II
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 562
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
There's an important distinction between B&A inside Worcester and outside. Because the major freight yards are all there, and because freight terminal operations have been entirely eliminated inside of Route 128, the eastern portion is relatively clear for passenger services. By contrast the segment from Springfield to Worcester is part of the most important freight trunk route in New England.

I'm not enough of an expert in scheduling to say anything definitive, but I wouldn't think of those two lines in the same way.
CSX does still operate at least one freight yard in Framingham AFAIK, but I think all the intermodal container / trailer trains on the Boston & Albany only operate the the west of Worcester these days. (Bulk liquids transloading happens right by I-495, and I don't understand why it is that Logan Airport deicing fluid apparently gets transfered near I-495 and not somewhere in or near Everett.)

Quote:
With that said, public ownership of rail lines is typically a good thing for everyone, and this one is already at the highest specs (MassDOT has had to do a lot of upgrades on other purchased lines), so while any repairs and maintenance would be really high-priority, it wouldn't need much work to start with.
I suspect public ownership would create an opportunity to figure out how many trains a day CSX thinks they might want to run on the busiest days, create a schedule when those trains can run to stay out of the way of passenger trains, and allocate the rest of the time to passenger trains (and maintenance).

Quote:
MassDOT doesn't generally own trackage for commuter rail services, btw. That's mostly MBTA-owned. MassDOT lines see Amtrak service, and will carry CTrail into Springfield, but MassDOT owns rail mostly for freight use. The only useful part of South Coast Rail, for instance, is the upgrade of the relevant lines to NB and FR to modern weight restrictions.
Is the distinction between MassDOT vs MBTA ownership all that important when they're both part of the state government? (It does seem to make sense for the MBTA to not manage the tracks it doesn't run on.)
Joel N. Weber II is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 11:28 AM   #12
jass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,987
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
Ignoring the commuter rail service from Springfield to Hartford, which AFAIK is pretty much guaranteed to happen,
Understatement, it opens this Spring.

Quote:
When service begins there will be 17 round-trip trains between New Haven and Hartford on weekdays. A dozen of those trains will continue to Springfield. Trains will arrive at stations in New Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin and Hartford every 45 minutes during peak hours and every 60 to 90 minutes during off-peak periods.

The trains will reach speeds of up to 110 mph for an average trip between Springfield and New Haven of 81 minutes, eight minutes faster than Amtrak. The service will run between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-p...023-story.html
jass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2018, 12:41 PM   #13
Joel N. Weber II
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 562
Re: CSX sale of B&A to MassDot: Possibilities?

I think from a passenger train perspective, it's also worth keeping in mind that while Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited is currently the only train running between Worcester and Albany, the Springfield to Worcester segment probably has a lot more potential for passenger service than the Springfield to Albany segment.

In particular, since the Connecticut River bridge on the Shore Line is a bottleneck, adding Northeast Regional service from Boston to New York via Springfield and Hartford is probably going to be desirable.
Joel N. Weber II is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MassDOT Pike Parcels 12 - 15 | Boylston St. and Mass. Ave | Back Bay Mike Development Projects 950 05-18-2018 07:47 PM
September Beer & Transit feat MassDOT | TransitMatters DigitalSciGuy Boston Architecture/Urbanism Related Events 0 01-18-2016 09:56 PM
MassDOT Public Meeting: Lynn alexander Boston Architecture/Urbanism Related Events 0 01-30-2014 12:54 PM
MassDOT RTA's BostonUrbEx Transit and Infrastructure 7 07-06-2013 02:35 PM
MassDOT Air Rights Parcels 12-15 CAC Meeting palindrome Boston Architecture/Urbanism Related Events 0 04-04-2013 10:03 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.