Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter Rail

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Re: Worcester / Providence Commuter rail line

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:29 pm

Admin Note: Moved from MBTA as this is not an MBTA operation, nor is it on MBTA tracks.

Some sourcing:

Idaho Statesman

Yes, the Idaho statesman. It's article was more complete than the other links I found.

Brief, fair-use quote:

Company plans to offer first private passenger rail in years

...

Boston Surface Railroad Co. is planning a commuter rail line that would shuttle passengers between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Providence in about an hour. No private passenger rail line has existed since 1983, and it's been even longer since there was a significant private investment in passenger rail.

...

The 45-mile stretch between Worcester and Providence presents the perfect opportunity for commuter rail because there are existing well-maintained tracks, which are owned and used for freight by Providence and Worcester Railroad Co., said Vincent Bono, CEO of Boston Surface Railroad.

...

Bono said capital costs are budgeted at $3 million to $5 million, because the company needs to build very little: a short passing track and a passenger platform at the Worcester train station. It plans to keep costs down by relying on equipment it will get refurbished — three used locomotives and 12 former Amtrak passenger coaches.

Boston Surface has entered into a memo of understanding with the freight railroad, which owns nearly the entire route.

A feasibility study was just completed, and the project is in the planning stages. Bono says it doesn't need federal or state money.

...
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Re: Boston Surface Railraod: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby NH2060 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:24 pm

On their website there's a map-like graphic on the right hand side that hints of a possible New London-Norwich-Plainfield-Worcester service down the line.

There's also a rendering of the platform @ Worcester Union Station:

http://www.bsrc.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... cester.jpg
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby Cosmo » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:44 pm

I'm guessing that's the current P&W former NH side of the station?
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Re: Worcester / Providence Commuter rail line

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:13 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:Admin Note: Moved from MBTA as this is not an MBTA operation, nor is it on MBTA tracks.

Gee, thanks, Jeff :P

Moderator's Note: Have at 'er, boys (but not at each other.)
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Re: Worcester / Providence Commuter rail line

Postby boblothrope » Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:56 pm

BandA wrote:Boston Surface proposed pricing:
$18/43.3mi = 42 cents/mile (cash fare)
$12/43.3 = 28 cents/mile (rate with monthly discount)

By comparison, "T" fares
$5.75/8.14mi = 71 cents/mile (walk-up fare Newtonville-Boston zone 1)
$3.75/8.14mi = 46 cents/mile (express bus Charlie Card Newtonville-Boston inner express bus)
$2.10/>10.9mi = <19 cents/mile (Charlie Card Riverside-Boston subway rate)

$10.50/44.33mi = 24 cents/mile (walk-up fare Worcester-Boston zone 8)


The BSRC fare is round-trip, so the per-mile price is half of what you posted.
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby YamaOfParadise » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:03 pm

Cosmo wrote:I'm guessing that's the current P&W former NH side of the station?


Yeah, the former NH/B&M section of it. Means it doesn't involve touching the B&A mainline, so that at least makes operational sense.


Anyways, one should note that they say they won't need any federal or state money; he says nothing about municipal funding, which would need to happen by necessity. There's no other way his budgeting would make any shred of sense otherwise, and even then. I suppose even if he swindles Woonsocket and Worcester into building accommodations for this service, and then he follows to produce service, at least there will be some tangible gain for having facilities ready for service that is being planned for anyways. I wonder where the heck he plans to base their trains out of and to maintain them? Sure, P&W has yards and maintenance facilities, but to say the least I'm skeptical they'd let them do that. Guess they want to get municipalities to build that for 'em, too?

Of course, with the dubiousness of some guy just popping out of the woodwork with no history and no company headquarters, I wonder if he even seriously talked to P&W before going to the press.
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Re: Commuter Rail from Worcester - Providence...

Postby MaineCoonCat » Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:38 am

MEC407 wrote:Are they competing with elevated and underground railroads along the same route? :P


Do they run a car float up the Blackstone River Canal to Worcester? Image

:wink:
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Re: Worcester / Providence Commuter rail line

Postby BandA » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:47 am

boblothrope wrote:
BandA wrote:Boston Surface proposed pricing:
$18/43.3mi = 42 cents/mile (cash fare)
$12/43.3 = 28 cents/mile (rate with monthly discount)

By comparison, "T" fares
$5.75/8.14mi = 71 cents/mile (walk-up fare Newtonville-Boston zone 1)
$3.75/8.14mi = 46 cents/mile (express bus Charlie Card Newtonville-Boston inner express bus)
$2.10/>10.9mi = <19 cents/mile (Charlie Card Riverside-Boston subway rate)

$10.50/44.33mi = 24 cents/mile (walk-up fare Worcester-Boston zone 8)


The BSRC fare is round-trip, so the per-mile price is half of what you posted.
21 cents a mile for an UNSUBSIDIZED fare, that would be excellent! Cheaper than "T" CR subsidized fare. Another example, MNCR charges 23 cents a mile from New Haven to Grand Central OFF PEAK / 30 cents peak for service that runs at an average s l o w speed of 39MPH (including station stops). Another example, at $2.50 a gallon, my 2000 Camry gets roughly 22MPG = 11 cents + 1 cent oil change + 1 cent tires...maintenance is roughly say 5 cents. And that ignores all fixed costs, realistic replacement costs & tolls (if on the Mass Pike)....
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Re: Boston Surface Railraod: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:03 pm

NH2060 wrote:On their website there's a map-like graphic on the right hand side that hints of a possible New London-Norwich-Plainfield-Worcester service down the line.

There's also a rendering of the platform @ Worcester Union Station:

http://www.bsrc.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... cester.jpg
Why is a new platform needed? I'm assuming it's so arriving and departing can be handled simultaneously + a freight running through. I would think, sweep the old platform & repair the canopy. Wait for the service to prove itself before building platforms.
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:29 pm

I believe a second platform is part of increased Amtrak service via the Inland Route.
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Re: Boston Surface Railraod: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby YamaOfParadise » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:38 pm

BandA wrote:
NH2060 wrote:On their website there's a map-like graphic on the right hand side that hints of a possible New London-Norwich-Plainfield-Worcester service down the line.

There's also a rendering of the platform @ Worcester Union Station:

http://www.bsrc.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... cester.jpg
Why is a new platform needed? I'm assuming it's so arriving and departing can be handled simultaneously + a freight running through. I would think, sweep the old platform & repair the canopy. Wait for the service to prove itself before building platforms.

While you don't technically need a new platform, with the added Providence <-> Worcester service traffic, the scheduling of platform access would make get quite complex and tight; there's only one platform currently in Worcester. Going to the original NH/B&M platform location would only operationally impede one movement (traffic coming east off of the B&A mainline and going north, and vice-versa). This way also avoids whatever service provider also having to convince the MBTA to let them have access to the existing platforms, something not having to be done if you build the new platform. Also, despite being on an elevated structure, it'd still probably be cheaper than what Woonsocket has to do to build an entirely new station and supporting facilities (parking, etc).
_________

I have mixed feelings about going forward with building a station as in Woonsocket proper as opposed to in Blackstone. While Woonsocket does largely make more sense than Blackstone as far as being central to the population and downtown area, putting a station in Blackstone obviously has the potential to link up with the potential re-adding of the now Franklin Line service back out to Blackstone. I don't know how reasonable it would be to have both Woonsocket and Blackstone as stops on a Providence <-> Worcester service, considering how close they are. Of course, there's really few other feasible stops on such a service (maybe a I-295 park-and-ride?), so the time hit might not be too major.

As for the station stops on a potential New London-Worcester service, I'm surprised that there aren't other stops on such a line. While the population density is really sparse throughout this region (hence why this kind of service would be better accomplished by a few RDCs rather than locomotive-hauled trains), the population tends to be very clumped together along the Norwich & Worcester line and the rivers it follows, because of mill towns. Offhand, I think Webster, Oxford, Putnam, and Danielson would all be good places to put stations and station stops. Groton would be a good idea, too, but I am perplexed at where you would put it. Serving Naval Station New London would be a very good idea, and that would generate a fair bit of traffic for the line alone; I took SLE into New London for a couple of months, and I frequently saw servicemen waiting for trains (be they Amtrak or SLE). But I still am fond of the idea of having a station at the wye with the NEC, where a station has already historically stood. There's a fair bit of land within the area of the wye, especially since it used to be a former railroad yard; putting a station here could service both New London <-> Worcester trains as well as a service extension of SLE. You'd probably be able to finagle a third track on the NEC to keep the line clear for movements, as well. There definitely were sidings on the NEC third of the wye, but today it would require reconfiguring the added electrification. There's no reason you'd have to touch the beautifully maintained SS-119 there, either.
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Re: Commuter Rail from Worcester - Providence...

Postby Ridgefielder » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:55 pm

MEC407 wrote:Are they competing with elevated and underground railroads along the same route? :P

They're channeling the spirit of the New York & Boston, the Boston & New York Central, and the Boston, Hartford & Erie, all of which operated in that part of the world... :wink:
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Re: Commuter Rail from Worcester - Providence...

Postby v8interceptor » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:25 am

papabarn wrote:
MEC407 wrote:Are they competing with elevated and underground railroads along the same route? :P


Do they run a car float up the Blackstone River Canal to Worcester? Image

:wink:

Having canoed much of the length of the Blackstone over the years,including sections of the canal, I can say for certain that they would have an interesting time portaging that equipment at a number of locations along the river..
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Re: Commuter Rail from Worcester - Providence...

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:47 am

Joking aside, my completely uneducated guess is that the company name is a tip of the cap to the Boston Elevated Railway by someone in management, comparable to Iowa Pacific's painting its passenger equipment in IC chocolate/orange/gold.

And after all, there's plenty of precedent for railroads with let's say "aspirational" names. The Minneapolis & St. Louis never got to St. Louis, the New York, Chicago & St. Louis only went as far east as Buffalo, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific gave up in the middle of the New Mexico desert...
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:58 am

Since we are already adding stops :-D, I'd like to see a stop at a park-and-ride somewhere to the north of the downtown, possibly near St Gobain (Norton) or in Holden?. Might even service Boston-bound commuters who don't want to drive into Worcester to park. This doesn't solve Worcester's big transportation problem which is lack of efficient east-west transportation through the city.

I would add a pedestrian walkway along the tracks to St Vincent's / Worcester Medical Center, which is like 1000 feet away. Or an additional platform stop.

I don't believe BSrail needs to ask permission of the MBTA to access the existing NH/B&M platform.
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