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Old 02-28-2018, 06:50 PM   #21
tysmith95
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

I love that transit matters is publicizing this stuff. Most people are totally unaware on the amazing effects that the NSRL could have.

I often hear people say "well I can take the subway from North to South station so what's the point of the NSRL". They don't realize that a double tracked NSRL would literally double the capacity of both North and South Station, unclog the subway lines, and allow these rapid transit like regional rail systems.

I would love to see a ballot question for a project like this. I believe most people in eastern mass want infrastructure improvements.

As far as how to pay for it is harder. Maybe an earmarked additional tax at people making over 500k.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:10 PM   #22
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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Data, excellent job. I've RT'd it and sent the pdf to almost 20 people today, it just makes so much sense.
That's so exciting to hear! Thanks a lot!

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Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
I love that transit matters is publicizing this stuff. Most people are totally unaware on the amazing effects that the NSRL could have.

I often hear people say "well I can take the subway from North to South station so what's the point of the NSRL". They don't realize that a double tracked NSRL would literally double the capacity of both North and South Station, unclog the subway lines, and allow these rapid transit like regional rail systems.

I would love to see a ballot question for a project like this. I believe most people in eastern mass want infrastructure improvements.

As far as how to pay for it is harder. Maybe an earmarked additional tax at people making over 500k.

I'm sorry, but it's clear that you did not read the report. This is NOT about NSRL. Regional Rail is not dependent on NSRL. Please read my earlier posts in this thread.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:25 AM   #23
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

Data, thanks for being available to answer these questions. It's great work to get a conversation going, and I'm seeing a lot of discussion on a few different Facebook groups, but I think the Globe article may have created some confusion in at least one discussion I'm in, hopefully you can definitively clear this up. It mentions a $2-3 billion price tag immediately after mentioning Needham Line replacement with OL/GL extensions. People I know are saying that's the cost for the extensions, but when I read the white paper, I thought that was the estimate for achieving the five principles, but not at all related to the cost of Needham replacement. Is that the case?
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:33 AM   #24
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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Data, thanks for being available to answer these questions. It's great work to get a conversation going, and I'm seeing a lot of discussion on a few different Facebook groups, but I think the Globe article may have created some confusion in at least one discussion I'm in, hopefully you can definitively clear this up. It mentions a $2-3 billion price tag immediately after mentioning Needham Line replacement with OL/GL extensions. People I know are saying that's the cost for the extensions, but when I read the white paper, I thought that was the estimate for achieving the five principles, but not at all related to the cost of Needham replacement. Is that the case?
$2-3 billion is electrification, high platforms & track/signal improvements only (the 5 principles). The Needham language never got to a point I was satisfied with (I think we'll modify it), but it is in a chapter prior to the cost breakdown and the "Rolling Out Regional Rail" chapter addresses what the $2-3 billion entails clearly:

Quote:
We estimate the cost range of systemwide electrification, high platforms to enable level boarding, and strategic capacity improvements at bottlenecks to be about $2 to 3 billion.
To be frank, the Globe's coverage of this (and numerous other transportation issues) has been frustrating. They consistently miss the forest for the trees.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:12 AM   #25
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

Would buying bi-level coaches with lower level doors be cheaper since they would allow for accessible boarding without building high level platforms at every station? I believe that's what Go Transit uses in Toronto.
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:05 PM   #26
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

That ignores the sunk cost present in all the stations that are already high level that wouldn't be compatible with low level boarding trains and it also ignores that in the Northeast Amtrak has committed to high level platforms so any lines that see Amtrak trains would need high levels still. It just doesn't make sense in this context even if in some other places it might be a good decision.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:26 PM   #27
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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Would buying bi-level coaches with lower level doors be cheaper since they would allow for accessible boarding without building high level platforms at every station? I believe that's what Go Transit uses in Toronto.
No and we are currently working on a supplement to prove it.
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:49 PM   #28
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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No and we are currently working on a supplement to prove it.
What are some of the quick facts?
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Old 03-03-2018, 03:01 PM   #29
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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What are some of the quick facts?
My personal experience - Salem boards quicker than Beverly Depot with more people due to elevated platform.
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:28 PM   #30
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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My personal experience - Salem boards quicker than Beverly Depot with more people due to elevated platform.
We don't have any examples of this right now. Picture the bi-level coaches but instead of the doors being on the ends, they're in the middle on the lower level. You wouldn't need to build high level platforms and could still have the benefits of level entry. I wanted to know what the downfalls of that are.
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:59 PM   #31
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

You can't use those at all of the high platform stations that already exist and it would be a huge cost at this point to tear them all out.
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Old 03-04-2018, 11:27 AM   #32
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

This is awesome stuff and hope I live to see it implemented! Bravo!
I am curious about some new (old) extensions I saw (Woburn, Danvers, etc) - as far as I know, the Woburn ROW is mostly gone though I could be wrong.

Disclaimer: I worked with Transitmatters a couple years ago on their podcast AND I never read the Globe article, only the Transitmatters presentation so I'm a bit bias
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:37 PM   #33
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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Originally Posted by sm89 View Post
We don't have any examples of this right now. Picture the bi-level coaches but instead of the doors being on the ends, they're in the middle on the lower level. You wouldn't need to build high level platforms and could still have the benefits of level entry. I wanted to know what the downfalls of that are.
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You can't use those at all of the high platform stations that already exist and it would be a huge cost at this point to tear them all out.

This - and they wouldn't be able to tear it out at any station that Amtrak services, too, as they are all high levels.
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Old 03-04-2018, 10:20 PM   #34
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

Here's something for Transitmatters to think about...it argues pretty strongly for more all-door boarding:

May 2020 is when AFC 2.0 turns on, May 2021 is when old fare system gets shut off. AFC 2.0 will be all about tapping your fare media as you board...and on commuter rail, as you exit:
Quote:
Commuter rail passengers would be required to tap both entering and exiting trains to measure distance traveled and assign fares accordingly, Block-Schachter explained.
http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/11/20/...-their-way-out
https://mbta.com/projects/automated-...ection-20-afc2

Tap-as-you-board-inbound and tap-as-you-alight outbound both strongly argue for all-doors-open , lest AFC 2.0 actually lengthen dwells lest people back up waiting to tap

So how will this change how trains turn at SS/NS? Will it accidently trigger the need for additional faregate space or slower boarding/alighting as people tap their media?
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Old 03-04-2018, 11:18 PM   #35
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

^Maybe this will allow for regular fare gates at North Station/South Station/Yawkey/and Ruggles.

Passengers would have to go through the gates to enter or to exit. Since most passengers either enter or exit at those stations it would really cut down on fare evasion. If the passenger did not tap in and wants to exit at a central station then they would have to pay a zone 10 fare.



Something like this could be added to the outer station platforms. That and readers on the outside (but not inside) of the train could work. I wouldn't want one on the inside because then people would wait to tap in when they get to zone 1a even if they started in Lowell.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:50 AM   #36
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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So how will this change how trains turn at SS/NS? Will it accidently trigger the need for additional faregate space or slower boarding/alighting as people tap their media?
No.Tapping is instant. The validation machines can also be spread out around the station, not lined up.


BTW, Big opportunity for MBTA:

Quote:
If you're interested in buying some trains and have an extra $78,000 lying around, the City of Ottowa has the deal for you. This ad, posted on a government asset liquidation site called GovDeals, advertises "Lot of Three (3) 1999 Bombardier Talent Trainsets and Parts."

The trains for sale are diesel multiple units or DMUs, which are powered by engines that are incorporated into one or more of the train's carriages. The trains were pulled out of service in March 2015 but are supposedly still in working order.
https://ggwash.org/view/66653/got-78...uy-some-trains
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:55 PM   #37
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

A bit late to the party here, but wanted to drop in my two cents.

Overall, I think it is a bang-up plan. Well-argued on all fronts, really doing a great job of pulling together all the different pieces. I hope it gets (continues to get?) traction.

The one thing I wished for: a better map. I don't think the spider map on page 35 really does the rest of the plan justice. For one thing, with most of the minor stations unlabeled, the additional service within Route 128 is easily overlooked. The NSRL is subtly indicated, with no real visual difference from a Link-less layout, and thus no depiction of the game-changing nature of the tunnel. In short, the included map looks too much like the current system, in my view, to be very convincing.

What I'd find more compelling is a second map, focused within Route 128, with the Regional Rail alongside the Rapid Transit lines, and labeled stations and landmarks.

As I understand it, one of the major benefits of the Parisian RER is that it created an express bypass for the overcrowded Métro. That's the piece that I find too-often lacking in discussions about modernizing Boston's rail systems. With respect to the question of maps, I think the Regional Rail proposal becomes that much more compelling when...
  • the NSRL is shown on equal visual footing to the Orange Line and Green Line as a "third subway" express running north-south through downtown from Back Bay to North Station
  • the Old Colony Regional Rail lines (for example) are shown as an express service equivalent to the Braintree Line
  • the Worcester Regional Rail line is shown as an express service equivalent to the Riverside Line, offering faster service from park-n-rides near 128 than you can currently get with the Green Line
  • the Fitchburg Regional Rail line is shown as an express service equivalent to the Red Line, pulling Alewife-bound drivers off of Route 2, into faster rail service to which they drive a short distance from their suburban homes, the raised frequency of the Regional Rail service meaning they no longer need to go all the way to Alewife in order to have flexibility in their schedule
  • the point is driven home that 7.5-15 minute headways would mean that you would get the scheduling flexibility of parking at Quincy Adams, Riverside or Alewife at every single node along the circumferential highway: Quincy, Route 128, Riverside/Auburndale, Brandeis, Anderson/RTC, Reading, Danvers, Beverly (to say nothing of the faster service into Boston from those locations)-- that's like having 7 more Red Lines!

The Transit Matters proposal for Regional Rail essentially calls for upgrading the Commuter Rail into something that, by Bostonian standards, is Rapid Transit. With a deft visual presentation of that equivalence, a single map would convey that vision better than 30 pages of text.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:20 PM   #38
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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A bit late to the party here, but wanted to drop in my two cents.

Overall, I think it is a bang-up plan. Well-argued on all fronts, really doing a great job of pulling together all the different pieces. I hope it gets (continues to get?) traction.

The one thing I wished for: a better map. I don't think the spider map on page 35 really does the rest of the plan justice. For one thing, with most of the minor stations unlabeled, the additional service within Route 128 is easily overlooked. The NSRL is subtly indicated, with no real visual difference from a Link-less layout, and thus no depiction of the game-changing nature of the tunnel. In short, the included map looks too much like the current system, in my view, to be very convincing.

What I'd find more compelling is a second map, focused within Route 128, with the Regional Rail alongside the Rapid Transit lines, and labeled stations and landmarks.

As I understand it, one of the major benefits of the Parisian RER is that it created an express bypass for the overcrowded Métro. That's the piece that I find too-often lacking in discussions about modernizing Boston's rail systems. With respect to the question of maps, I think the Regional Rail proposal becomes that much more compelling when...
  • the NSRL is shown on equal visual footing to the Orange Line and Green Line as a "third subway" express running north-south through downtown from Back Bay to North Station
  • the Old Colony Regional Rail lines (for example) are shown as an express service equivalent to the Braintree Line
  • the Worcester Regional Rail line is shown as an express service equivalent to the Riverside Line, offering faster service from park-n-rides near 128 than you can currently get with the Green Line
  • the Fitchburg Regional Rail line is shown as an express service equivalent to the Red Line, pulling Alewife-bound drivers off of Route 2, into faster rail service to which they drive a short distance from their suburban homes, the raised frequency of the Regional Rail service meaning they no longer need to go all the way to Alewife in order to have flexibility in their schedule
  • the point is driven home that 7.5-15 minute headways would mean that you would get the scheduling flexibility of parking at Quincy Adams, Riverside or Alewife at every single node along the circumferential highway: Quincy, Route 128, Riverside/Auburndale, Brandeis, Anderson/RTC, Reading, Danvers, Beverly (to say nothing of the faster service into Boston from those locations)-- that's like having 7 more Red Lines!

The Transit Matters proposal for Regional Rail essentially calls for upgrading the Commuter Rail into something that, by Bostonian standards, is Rapid Transit. With a deft visual presentation of that equivalence, a single map would convey that vision better than 30 pages of text.
This document/business model is about an overall concept. We deliberately hid the map in the back on a spare page in Appendix B because we didn't want people to obsess over the map - where stations are, what the link looks like, etc. We wanted the focus to be on the 5 key concepts and then maybe the Link. If we had featured the map, all the media & attention would have been focused on the map and if stations were located correctly/the Link. The Regional Rail report is not about specific capital projects such as new stations or the Link itself. We've made that clear in previous posts. Please take a look at my prior posts to understand how we approached the Link in this proposal.

This said, your suggestions for more visual imagery/new maps are greatly appreciated as we take this beyond the concept/business model phase. I'll share them with the team for consideration. This document is very much a living document and we are actively working on new appendices and marketing campaigns. The launch wasn't the time for maps (the NSRL Working Group generates plenty of those), but now as we move further into post-launch, the time is right.

Thanks for reaching out.
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:05 PM   #39
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: 2/28/18: Thank You TransitMatters for a Bold and Practical Vision

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Originally Posted by sm89 View Post
Would buying bi-level coaches with lower level doors be cheaper since they would allow for accessible boarding without building high level platforms at every station? I believe that's what Go Transit uses in Toronto.
https://pedestrianobservations.com/2...-run-bilevels/ discusses how dwell times are longer for bi-level coaches, which probably makes them generally not worthwhile.
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:23 PM   #40
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Re: electrification costs

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$2-3 billion is electrification, high platforms & track/signal improvements only (the 5 principles).
Do you break out overhead wire costs vs high platforms and track / signal improvements anywhere?

My understanding is that when y'all were looking at electrification costs, any battery powered train technology you might have looked at as a possible alternative was several years old, and I think the pricing and capabilities Tesla announced for the Semi in November 2017 provide a much more compelling value than people generally would have thought possible a few years ago.

http://www.latimes.com/business/auto...219-story.html says the price for a 500 mile range Tesla Semi is expected to be $180,000.

https://www.tesla.com/semi says 20 second 0-60 MPH with 80,000 pounds, which works out to 3 MPH/s (which is about what passenger trains that accelerate well are generally expected to do). If you put the batteries and motors from a Tesla Semi in each truck of a commuter rail train, the batteries in the trucks might increase the weight a bit vs what we have now, but http://www.kawasakirailcar.com/CT_MBTA says the heavier Kawasaki bi-levels are 131,000 pounds, which is about 66,000 pounds per truck.

If $1 million ends up buying most of 6 Tesla Semis to build enough trucks for three commuter rail coaches, and if the T has 480 coaches, the cost to convert the fleet to battery power would be around $160 million, probably not including the charging infrastructure.

I suspect overhead power lines would cost 5-10 times what installing batteries in the current fleet would, and the batteries don't risk running into NIMBY problems with the historic preservation commission that delayed the Fitchburg Line improvements, or the folks who didn't want 802.11/cellular poles in their town, or the Greenbush Line town that demanded a tunnel, etc. There might be a bit of suspension engineering to make the batteries work, but it'll probably be a lot more possible to make that work than to fight with unmovable NIMBYs.
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