New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

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

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

Postby trainhq » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:13 am

Salem to Manchester will never happen for three reasons.

1. It's redundant; they can get service to Manchester and the airport from the Nashua side.

2. It's expensive; the track and signals would have to be completely replaced.

3. It's lightly populated; besides Derry, there aren't that many people between Salem and Manchester.

As far as Portsmouth is concerned, several years ago it was looked at, and the people in the Rockingham planning commission concluded that the best bet was to run it from the Downeaster route off Newfields. That's only 7 miles to Portsmouth over a line which is still intact and (lightly) used; the cost to rehab it wouldn't be that high. The route north of Newburyport would require a new bridge over the Merrimack, big $$$, and extensive other expenditures on the Mass side, which could be hard to come by. Look for Newfields to happen first.
trainhq
 
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:07 pm

Postby stevo » Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:37 am

i'm unclear one one thing: is this going to be just an extension of MBTA like in the past, or will it be a NH state commuter rail?
stevo
 

Postby trainhq » Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:08 am

The extension from Lowell to Nasha will be MBTA. Beyond that, I don't think anybody knows yet.
trainhq
 
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:07 pm

Postby djlong » Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:29 pm

I could see Lawrence being extended up to Salem. A park-and-ride lot in Salem along with the mall and racetrack (if they ever figure out what to DO with it) make a nice terminus.

Getting to Manchester is another story. The current plan is to first get rail back to Nashua, extending the Lowell line. Then, Phase 2 extends the line further to Manchester. I've said this in other threads, but the interesting part of Phase 2 is that the airport said they would kick in money to build a station in Bedford where the new airport connector road is about to be built (scheduled completion of the road is 2011). The aiport would then run shuttle buses from the train station to the terminal barely more than a mile away.

Phase 3 brings the line all the way up to Concord NH.

On Friday, Governor Lynch is supposed to be signing the bill into law that creates the New Hampshire Rail Authority.
djlong
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Postby stevo » Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:31 pm

so nashua will be a place where two commuter railroads meet? looks like i'll be doing a lot more railfanning in my town than i do now.
stevo
 

Postby Jonny Bolt » Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:01 pm

trainhq wrote:Salem to Manchester will never happen for three reasons.

1. It's redundant; they can get service to Manchester and the airport from the Nashua side.

2. It's expensive; the track and signals would have to be completely replaced.

3. It's lightly populated; besides Derry, there aren't that many people between Salem and Manchester.

As far as Portsmouth is concerned, several years ago it was looked at, and the people in the Rockingham planning commission concluded that the best bet was to run it from the Downeaster route off Newfields. That's only 7 miles to Portsmouth over a line which is still intact and (lightly) used; the cost to rehab it wouldn't be that high. The route north of Newburyport would require a new bridge over the Merrimack, big $$$, and extensive other expenditures on the Mass side, which could be hard to come by. Look for Newfields to happen first.


I have the main report of the study for the Eastern Route CR revival, and it says the Newburyport bridge is not a lost cause, and it CAN be rehabbed without complete reconstruction. I know it's a pipedream at this point, but there were a lot of folks contributing to the last study, and it seemed everyone just ignored them. Foolish! FOOLISHNESS I TELL YA! :-D
Jonny Bolt
 

Postby trainhq » Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:01 pm

Yes, but the estimate on rehabbing the Hampton line was about $90 million in 2001, probably at least $120 million now, maybe about half to be spend in Massachusetts. Prioritywise, the T has a lot of other projects ahead of this one. Plus, they just extended the
CR up to Newburyport ten years ago (just yesterday, in T expansion time) and they're not likely to do anything in that area again any time soon. I'd say in the 20 or so years that it will take the T to get around to doing anything, the folks in Portsmouth will be happy to get the Newfields branch working; and they can do that for enormously less than $120 million.
trainhq
 
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:07 pm

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:18 pm

stevo wrote:so nashua will be a place where two commuter railroads meet?

Where did you get that idea? There will be one service, everntually, from Manchester to Boston, if all goes well. At least, that's the way I'm reading it.
User avatar
Rockingham Racer
 
Posts: 2864
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:21 pm

trainhq wrote:Yes, but the estimate on rehabbing the Hampton line was about $90 million in 2001, probably at least $120 million now, maybe about half to be spend in Massachusetts. Prioritywise, the T has a lot of other projects ahead of this one. Plus, they just extended the
CR up to Newburyport ten years ago (just yesterday, in T expansion time) and they're not likely to do anything in that area again any time soon. I'd say in the 20 or so years that it will take the T to get around to doing anything, the folks in Portsmouth will be happy to get the Newfields branch working; and they can do that for enormously less than $120 million.

I think that if Portsmouth ever gets service via Rockingham Jct., you can pretty well anticipate Pan Am demanding double track from Plaistow. And let's not forget the bottleneck between Lawrence and WJ, which has been planned for years, still seems dead in the water, AFIK.
User avatar
Rockingham Racer
 
Posts: 2864
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:54 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:
trainhq wrote:Yes, but the estimate on rehabbing the Hampton line was about $90 million in 2001, probably at least $120 million now, maybe about half to be spend in Massachusetts. Prioritywise, the T has a lot of other projects ahead of this one. Plus, they just extended the
CR up to Newburyport ten years ago (just yesterday, in T expansion time) and they're not likely to do anything in that area again any time soon. I'd say in the 20 or so years that it will take the T to get around to doing anything, the folks in Portsmouth will be happy to get the Newfields branch working; and they can do that for enormously less than $120 million.

I think that if Portsmouth ever gets service via Rockingham Jct., you can pretty well anticipate Pan Am demanding double track from Plaistow. And let's not forget the bottleneck between Lawrence and WJ, which has been planned for years, still seems dead in the water, AFIK.


Very good point; even with the help of the Wildcat Branch relieving some of the traffic, I can't see the corridor taking on too much more. Pan Am has just recently brought attention in get the line double tracked again up to the Rockingham Jct. area or somewhere near there. The T has already made its point very clear that the "bottle neck" is at the max for traffic and I don't think they have any plans to double track the area anytime soon. In the end the price tag will probably cost about the same whether you double track the bottle neck and the NH section or come up from Newburyport. Either way you look at it; Portsmouth won't have a commuter train for at least another 20 to 30 years; if ever. You think the price tag of 120 million is big now I can't even begin to imagine what it will cost 20 years from now; 180, 200 million?
Lowell to Nashua and on wards I would say would be the number one priority. Secondly I would have to go with a CR extension into Plaistow/Kingston to try and relieve the traffic off of 125 (probably the least expensive one) Third would be the extension into Salem. The right of way is still clear and it would be a short expansion of about 8+/- miles (with a lot of grade crossings). Then I would have to go with the Portsmouth CR only because this will be the most expensive. Except for the Lowell for extension the current corridor for the Salem, Plaistow extensions I would think it will require the line to be double tracked the entire route eliminating the bottle neck which we all know starts in Reading.
b&m 1566
 
Posts: 2842
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:09 am
Location: Hudson, NH

Postby GP40MC 1116 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:59 pm

Isn't the bottleneck you're talking about from Ash St Reading to CPF-FY or "Frye" in Lawrence? At Ash St it starts single track and continues single track all the way past CPW-WJ and CPF-LJ until you get to "FY" in Lawrence at the start of the Lawrence Running Track. Come to think of it the Lawrence Running Track is in such horrable shape, MBCR won't divert trains off at FY, so technically the bottleneck ends at CPF-AS "Andover St" were the interlocking is.
User avatar
GP40MC 1116
 
Posts: 2072
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:38 pm

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:03 pm

GP40MC 1116 wrote:Isn't the bottleneck you're talking about from Ash St Reading to CPF-FY or "Frye" in Lawrence? At Ash St it starts single track and continues single track all the way past CPW-WJ and CPF-LJ until you get to "FY" in Lawrence at the start of the Lawrence Running Track. Come to think of it the Lawrence Running Track is in such horrable shape, MBCR won't divert trains off at FY, so technically the bottleneck ends at CPF-AS "Andover St" were the interlocking is.

That's all true. The running track used to be the eastward main. Back to New Hampshire. I just checked the city populations, and it's no surprise for the first three: Manchester, Nashua, Concord in that order. A surpising fourth is Rochester. Rochester?! :-) Then Dover. Where's Portsmouth? After Dover, and if you combine the latter with Rochester, you get a fairly decent population. All of which begs the question: where do these people go to work, or more specifically, do they go into MA to work? "Let's do a study!"
I don't thing there's alot of bang to the buck by putting Portsmouth as a priority yet; but I'm sure the folks from Portsmouth to Newburyport might disagree. Especially if a study shows they're going south to MA in big numbers to warrant CR.

Edit: the website lists only "city" designations. I checked the census bureau statistics, and Salem has more people than Rochester, but it's not listed as a "city". It's a "town". So, from the Census Bureau perspective, it's possible, of course, that some towns are bigger than some cities.
Last edited by Rockingham Racer on Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Rockingham Racer
 
Posts: 2864
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Postby citystation1848 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:19 pm

This is per Stevo's question about the meeting of commuter railroads:

The Nashua commuter rail service to points north will MEET Lowell-Boston trains in Lowell. I've noticed that the wording has changed for the Nashua commuter rail and that what we're going to getting will be a commuter train that will meet Boston bound trains at Lowell, and vis versa for northbound trains. I'm a little worried that we're losing the one-seat ride appeal, but if the connection is well planned, it may seem like an everyday thing rather than a unique situation.

The Long Island Railroad is a one-seat/two-seat ride. I learned this when I went to visit my girlfriend on Long Island. Trains in her area on the Hempstead Branch make transfers at Jamaica, where it's a cross platform transfer to Penn Station or to her stop. Some trains were direct out of Penn. Anyways, long story short, I wasn't complaining cause you could either see the train that you had to get on arriving or it was sitting there waiting. I also didn't mind having to change trains.

Matt
Nashua City Station Railroad History - http://www.nashuacitystation.org
citystation1848
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:15 pm
Location: Nashua, NH

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:46 pm

citystation1848 wrote:The Nashua commuter rail service to points north will MEET Lowell-Boston trains in Lowell. I've noticed that the wording has changed for the Nashua commuter rail and that what we're going to getting will be a commuter train that will meet Boston bound trains at Lowell, and vis versa for northbound trains. I'm a little worried that we're losing the one-seat ride appeal, but if the connection is well planned, it may seem like an everyday thing rather than a unique situation.

Matt

I'm afraid that's true. Changing trains in Lowell is not appealing. I just re-read the law, and I wonder why it stipulates Manchester to Lowell, and not to Boston in conjunction with the MBTA. In any case, the law states that this is the first priority. Other projects have to come later.
User avatar
Rockingham Racer
 
Posts: 2864
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Postby NHN503 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:51 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:
citystation1848 wrote:The Nashua commuter rail service to points north will MEET Lowell-Boston trains in Lowell. I've noticed that the wording has changed for the Nashua commuter rail and that what we're going to getting will be a commuter train that will meet Boston bound trains at Lowell, and vis versa for northbound trains. I'm a little worried that we're losing the one-seat ride appeal, but if the connection is well planned, it may seem like an everyday thing rather than a unique situation.

Matt

I'm afraid that's true. Changing trains in Lowell is not appealing. I just re-read the law, and I wonder why it stipulates Manchester to Lowell, and not to Boston in conjunction with the MBTA. In any case, the law states that this is the first priority. Other projects have to come later.


The law stated Lowell to help get it passed. Taking big bite with MBTA to Boston may have been HUGE hurdle and killed the bills. This way you can atleast GET to the commuter trains to Boston, and work on the rest later. If MBCR chooses to bid on the operations contract, then perhaps more indepth working relationship with MBTA can be accomplished, and then direct "one train" service and be done.
User avatar
NHN503
 
Posts: 972
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:31 pm

PreviousNext

Return to New England Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dick H and 5 guests