Common Rail Concept for New England

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby jaymac » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:12 am

neman2-
That assumption is correct. Dunno how messed up my fingers were, but I definitely prefer a red dashed underline, especially given how long it sometimes takes for autocorrect to do its job.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:44 am

I enjoy the line ranging south from Leominster to the west of Worcester and across the Quabbin to Amherst and Northampton in particular.. :-D
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby Ridgefielder » Mon May 01, 2017 11:35 am

NashuaActon&Boston wrote:I enjoy the line ranging south from Leominster to the west of Worcester and across the Quabbin to Amherst and Northampton in particular.. :-D

Hey at least that has the advantage of having actually existed at one point-- meaning it's feasible. Brattleboro - North Adams would need a rack system to get over the Greens.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Sat May 06, 2017 9:13 am

Ridgefielder wrote:
NashuaActon&Boston wrote:I enjoy the line ranging south from Leominster to the west of Worcester and across the Quabbin to Amherst and Northampton in particular.. :-D

Hey at least that has the advantage of having actually existed at one point-- meaning it's feasible. Brattleboro - North Adams would need a rack system to get over the Greens.



Well, only the Amherst to Northampton segment ever actually existed. There was never a line from Leominster to the west of Worcester. And the Central Mass skirted south of the Quabbin. No railroad ever bisected the Quabbin/Swift River Valley longitudinally. So not quite a feasible route today.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby FLRailFan1 » Mon May 08, 2017 9:58 pm

The New Haven - Boston route is interesting, at Hartford it turns east, so would East Hartford get a stop? In Vernon it turns northeast to Worcester, so it looks like it misses Storrs/Mansfield/UConn. Also, Hartford to Hanover? Nothing west for Hartford? Northampton has more rail in that proposal, than Hartford...
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue May 09, 2017 11:34 am

FLRailFan1 wrote:The New Haven - Boston route is interesting, at Hartford it turns east, so would East Hartford get a stop? In Vernon it turns northeast to Worcester, so it looks like it misses Storrs/Mansfield/UConn. Also, Hartford to Hanover? Nothing west for Hartford? Northampton has more rail in that proposal, than Hartford...

The "concept" seems to imagine that every single person in New England has a burning desire to get to Boston, and only Boston.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue May 09, 2017 12:46 pm

Well, Boston is the "Hub"! There's a reason the Boston Bruins have the spoked B on the front of their jerseys. :wink:
I would love to see a more realistic concept for New England (to include NYC). Most concepts are "dreams" to begin with but none the less it can sure make for an interesting conversation.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed May 10, 2017 11:45 am

b&m 1566 wrote:Well, Boston is the "Hub"! There's a reason the Boston Bruins have the spoked B on the front of their jerseys. :wink:
I would love to see a more realistic concept for New England (to include NYC). Most concepts are "dreams" to begin with but none the less it can sure make for an interesting conversation.

Well, here would be my 2 cents for an augmented New England system (added on top of what exists now):
-Restored Inland Route service, New Haven - Hartford - Springfield - Worcester - Boston.
-Waterbury-Hartford via New Britain (the Highland Line)
-New London - Norwich - Worcester.
-Extend 1-2 of the Springfield shuttles to Greenfield.
-Vermonter to Montreal.
-2nd frequency on the Conn River, to Burlington via Essex Jct.
-Ethan Allen rerouted to run the length of the ex-Rutland, North Bennington - Burlington, with a connection to the above-mentioned 2nd frequency. Service upped to 2/day.
-"Boston Outer Belt" - Providence - Worcester - Leominster - Lowell - Lawrence - Haverhill
-Attleboro - Taunton - Fall River - Newport
-Lowell - Nashua - Manchester - Concord
-Eastern Route service extended as far as Portsmouth, NH
-Brunswick - Augusta - Waterville - Bangor

OK, tell me how stupid this is. :wink:
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed May 10, 2017 2:34 pm

Not stupid. Very ambitious, though, and expensive. :wink: I think the Inland Route restoration will happen. It's on the radar of MassDot, and putting back the double track between Springfield and Auburn will certainly reduce opposition on the part of CSX. Should not be that hard to do: all the bridges and overpasses were originally used by two tracks.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed May 10, 2017 3:32 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:Not stupid. Very ambitious, though, and expensive. :wink: I think the Inland Route restoration will happen. It's on the radar of MassDot, and putting back the double track between Springfield and Auburn will certainly reduce opposition on the part of CSX. Should be that hard to do: all the bridges and overpasses were originally used by two tracks.


There won't be any CSX opposition. MassDOT has an unfunded proposal to fix a low-clearance bridge in West Springfield that currently prevents a straight-to-highways truck exit for intermodal loads from CSX West Springfield Yard. Trucks currently have to take a roundabout route through neighborhood streets and be mindful of traffic, school buses, and evening noise complaints. Very much limits the amount of intermodal expansion CSX can do there to tickle its main profit center, until the state fixes that low bridge with a full-rebuild roadway undercutting and trucks are allowed to dump straight onto 4-lane MA 147 on a big industrial + big-box store dragstrip that doesn't bother anyone. With straight shot to the US 5 expressway to the I-91/MA 57 interchange for fanning out. That's what unlocks W. Springfield's potential for augmenting Worcester intermodal, and it tickles CSX right in the tummy.

Watch that bridge replacement, currently stalled in prelim design and not assigned to any MassDOT CIP funding years, get graduated real fast to a fast-tracked project when it's time to hash out Inland Route agreements: slots, trackwork responsibilities, dispatch allowances, and installing ACSES PTC interoperable with CSX freights' I-ETMS PTC. They already talked about this when the great Worcester migration was being hashed out, so it won't be any more dramatic than reviewing what they previously discussed for the Inland Route and formalizing it. CSX has plenty to gain too from the Inlands by the uprate from Class 3 to Class 4; 60 MPH freight is better than 40 if someone else is paying. Their consent was never about track capacity and always about what they could leverage for freight improvements. Especially for expanding the battle lines with Norfolk Southern as they get more entrenched on the Patriot Corridor up in East Deerfield other end of I-91. Uncorking W. Springfield truck access currently bottled-up by that low bridge that only MassDOT can fix is a very big prize, and crucial check on NS's inroads the sooner they can get it done...so definitely a concession worth leveraging Inland Route slots for. The fact that the bait is pre-existing right on that ^^MassDOT project URL^^ means there doesn't need to be a holdout. MassDOT's already given CSX the wink-wink that it's a done deal when the time comes for them to thumbs-up/thumbs-down the Inland build (right now the Baker Admin. is giving off signals of strongly favoring a thumbs-up).

Expect this bundle of Inland transactions to be relatively quick and harmonious.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby BandA » Thu May 11, 2017 12:24 am

I think a 128 Belt Line would be an immediate hit. I think this would have to be mostly an EL, should be heavy rail transit and/or innovative "people mover" small ATO vehicles. Stations at junctions with CR lines and at key bridges. Using new designs, you could have steep "flyovers" over bridges utilizing helpers such as cog-racks or magnets or cables, and shed covers to protect these delicate elements.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby Ridgefielder » Thu May 11, 2017 11:39 am

BandA wrote:I think a 128 Belt Line would be an immediate hit. I think this would have to be mostly an EL, should be heavy rail transit and/or innovative "people mover" small ATO vehicles. Stations at junctions with CR lines and at key bridges. Using new designs, you could have steep "flyovers" over bridges utilizing helpers such as cog-racks or magnets or cables, and shed covers to protect these delicate elements.

My thinking in proposing an Outer belt, roughly following I495, was to use existing rail lines. Providence & Worcester from PVD to WOR, then Pan Am the rest of the way. Going to be far easier than an elevated line on the 128 ROW, which would likely face decades of NIMBY opposition.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby b&m 1566 » Thu May 11, 2017 2:31 pm

Using existing rail lines I imagine would be cheaper too.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu May 11, 2017 5:40 pm

BandA wrote:I think a 128 Belt Line would be an immediate hit. I think this would have to be mostly an EL, should be heavy rail transit and/or innovative "people mover" small ATO vehicles. Stations at junctions with CR lines and at key bridges. Using new designs, you could have steep "flyovers" over bridges utilizing helpers such as cog-racks or magnets or cables, and shed covers to protect these delicate elements.


Complete belt's probably out of the question, but you could without tooooo much trouble line 128 from Riverside Jct. to Waltham with a track pinging between the Riverside turnout, Worcester Line, and Fitchburg Line at a future 128/US 20 station. Pike/128 interchange will eventually be reconfigured to tidy up the sprawl in the post-toolbooth era, and there remains a graded dirt ramp down from the northbound carriageway to the Fitchburg Line from the highway's original construction for moving fill. If you cross the Charles and duck above/below the Pike interchange ramps from a diamond/wye at Riverside Jct., shift 128 a few feet to the southbound side along a new River Rd. retaining wall to avoid the couple northbound-abutting Weston houses next to River Rd. overpass, and shift 128 on the Stony Brook Reservation embankment (probably with addition of concrete pollution runoff catch-basins if any of the current soil absorption buffer is narrowed)...then you have room to go the entire 2 miles linking northside + southside. Sort of like a grade-separated replacement for the Grand Junction at 128 so you can swallow the GJ for Urban Ring light rail.

Not sure there's really compelling need here, but that one can for-real be done without crippling cost if it's careful enough around the reservoir and those 1 or 2 abutting buildings. The Polaroid redevelopment @ Waltham and all the new TOD around Riverside make it a mildly tasty prospect, as both South Station-Riverside and North Station-Waltham/128 would be slam-dunk Indigo Line candidates.
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Re: Common Rail Concept for New England

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat May 13, 2017 9:49 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Rockingham Racer wrote:Not stupid. Very ambitious, though, and expensive. :wink: I think the Inland Route restoration will happen. It's on the radar of MassDot, and putting back the double track between Springfield and Auburn will certainly reduce opposition on the part of CSX. Should be that hard to do: all the bridges and overpasses were originally used by two tracks.


There won't be any CSX opposition. MassDOT has an unfunded proposal to fix a low-clearance bridge in West Springfield that currently prevents a straight-to-highways truck exit for intermodal loads from CSX West Springfield Yard. Trucks currently have to take a roundabout route through neighborhood streets and be mindful of traffic, school buses, and evening noise complaints. Very much limits the amount of intermodal expansion CSX can do there to tickle its main profit center, until the state fixes that low bridge with a full-rebuild roadway undercutting and trucks are allowed to dump straight onto 4-lane MA 147 on a big industrial + big-box store dragstrip that doesn't bother anyone. With straight shot to the US 5 expressway to the I-91/MA 57 interchange for fanning out. That's what unlocks W. Springfield's potential for augmenting Worcester intermodal, and it tickles CSX right in the tummy.

Watch that bridge replacement, currently stalled in prelim design and not assigned to any MassDOT CIP funding years, get graduated real fast to a fast-tracked project when it's time to hash out Inland Route agreements: slots, trackwork responsibilities, dispatch allowances, and installing ACSES PTC interoperable with CSX freights' I-ETMS PTC. They already talked about this when the great Worcester migration was being hashed out, so it won't be any more dramatic than reviewing what they previously discussed for the Inland Route and formalizing it. CSX has plenty to gain too from the Inlands by the uprate from Class 3 to Class 4; 60 MPH freight is better than 40 if someone else is paying. Their consent was never about track capacity and always about what they could leverage for freight improvements. Especially for expanding the battle lines with Norfolk Southern as they get more entrenched on the Patriot Corridor up in East Deerfield other end of I-91. Uncorking W. Springfield truck access currently bottled-up by that low bridge that only MassDOT can fix is a very big prize, and crucial check on NS's inroads the sooner they can get it done...so definitely a concession worth leveraging Inland Route slots for. The fact that the bait is pre-existing right on that ^^MassDOT project URL^^ means there doesn't need to be a holdout. MassDOT's already given CSX the wink-wink that it's a done deal when the time comes for them to thumbs-up/thumbs-down the Inland build (right now the Baker Admin. is giving off signals of strongly favoring a thumbs-up).

Expect this bundle of Inland transactions to be relatively quick and harmonious.


When it comes to developing an Inland Corridor, CSX is primarily looking to protect and grow their intermodal franchise into central Massachusetts both today and moving forward. With this in mind, a bridge in West Springfield is relatively small potatos and more of a local political issue; speed improvements will lead to ~15 minutes time savings, surely a very negligible benefit if even one at all; and, none of the benefits identified has anything to do with their competitive position against NS: NS is a far second in service and hasn't gained market share for the past 5 years; their franchise comes from the Conrail split, and, the most meaningful CSX market position improvement already came with domestic stack capability. When it comes to an Inland Corridor, most importantly CSX will vigorously protect their intermodal service slots either with additional track capacity requirements or scheduling that puts their market needs first while also leveraging support for increased central MA terminal capacity.
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