New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:29 pm

That's an interesting perspective on what's happening both with GE's potential relocation and Sununu's sudden interest in commuter rail.

My read on the investigation at GE is that it will not affect the headquaters move. This is a house cleaning issue leftover from the previous CEO whose legacy the company is trying to leave behind. In some ways it actually strengthens the case for the move because it will help change corporate culture which has been identified as a area of focus by the new CEO.

The angle from Sununu is a little more intriguing as New Hampshire's tax free status is potentially extremely attractive to highly compensated executives. That being said "take the bus" or "drive yourself" is probably not an acceptable answer to a lot of these people.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby BandA » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:35 pm

What? I read the article (did not watch the video), saw nothing about New Hampshire. If there is anything left of the company, they will likely still move to Boston. If they have space left over in their new HQ they will sub-lease it at a profit! Perhaps a few people will move to New Hampshire and "work from home" to take advantage of NH no income tax, take commuter rail into Boston for occasional meetings at the mothership. I've heard that the condo market in CT is somewhat softer than you would expect, presumably due to their problems in that state.

Let me know when GE starts ramping up their Riverworks in Lynn and demands commuter rail be extended to NH
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby b&m 1566 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:54 pm

Where they move to, remains to be seen. What New Hampshire, does have is a governor who might be realizing New Hampshire, isn't very attractive right now and never really has been and probably will lose the bid as a result. Maybe commuter rail has nothing to do with GE but I wouldn't put it past any business considering a move to New Hampshire, to see the lack of drive, growth, initiative and opportunities and just pass right over the state. Something needs to change in this state and commuter rail is one of a long laundry list of things that needs to change. What aggravates me is that we've been through this same study before and so far, all studies have come to the same damn conclusion and it's never been in favor of the naysayers and NIMBY's. How many times we have to keep beating a dead horse is beyond me but just like I thought for the last one, maybe this one will be “the one”.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:20 pm

It seems, though, that the commuters on the interstates running toward and around Boston either need their car at their destination, or don't and are happy to sit in traffic jams day in and day out. I can't figure it out.
Adding lanes is not the answer. Just ask the folks in Chicago, as one example.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby BandA » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:43 am

NH has lower taxes, therefore less ability to offer incentives or subsidies than MA or NY.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby elecuyer » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:23 pm

Big names in N.H. business throw support behind commuter rail
http://www.unionleader.com/article/20180130/NEWS02/180139878

A group calling itself New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion includes more than 50 businesses, organizations and individuals, ranging from some of the state’s largest employers to its major educational institutions and small startups.

The 10-Year Transportation Improvement Plan submitted to the legislature by Gov. Chris Sununu includes $4 million in federal funds for an detailed analysis of a rail extension from the MBTA station in Lowell, Mass., to Nashua, and northward to Manchester and Concord along the Route 3 corridor.

The analysis of the so-called Capital Corridor project would delve into the engineering and financial details of the proposal, setting the stage for a final decision on implementation.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby sicariis » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:55 pm

NHPR's Exchange did another episode on NH Commuter Rail, including a short segment with Patricia Quinn from NNEPRA (in the last 10 minutes or so). This got me thinking about would it be possible to contract with NNEPRA to run the service? New Hampshire is part of Northern New England. This would be from Concord, NH to Boston North with intermediate stops in (Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, and could Discharge/Receive at Woburn) instead of just resigning to the fact that service would be through MBTA. Lack of Amtrak rolling stock comes to mind, and you're going to need a storage facility in Concord,NH but Im guessing MBTA would also be looking for something similar as well.

http://nhpr.org/post/new-hampshire-considers-commuter-rail-again#stream/0
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:14 pm

I don't see why the service couldn't all be served from the new yard that the MBTA wants to build in Nashua, pretty much the same way that all of Rhode Island service gets run out of a single yard in Pawtucket.

And how long a trip would a trip from Concord to Boston be? Again for about the same reasons that all of Rhode Island service can be run on MBTA equipment I'm thinking all of New Hampshire's service can be run on MBTA equipment.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Dick H » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:50 pm

NH GOP State Representative Al Baldasaro (if you follow NH state politics, you know him well)
was on WMUR TV9 last evening claiming that the Governor told him that he will not object if
the Legislature removes the $4M from the Transportation plan. I have not seen any comment
from the Governor I this.

Another GOP Representative (whose name I do not recall) insisted the $4M must be used for highways.
Do not bet the farm or anything else, that the commuter rail study will survive.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:56 pm

sicariis wrote:NHPR's Exchange did another episode on NH Commuter Rail, including a short segment with Patricia Quinn from NNEPRA (in the last 10 minutes or so). This got me thinking about would it be possible to contract with NNEPRA to run the service? New Hampshire is part of Northern New England. This would be from Concord, NH to Boston North with intermediate stops in (Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, and could Discharge/Receive at Woburn) instead of just resigning to the fact that service would be through MBTA. Lack of Amtrak rolling stock comes to mind, and you're going to need a storage facility in Concord,NH but Im guessing MBTA would also be looking for something similar as well.

http://nhpr.org/post/new-hampshire-considers-commuter-rail-again#stream/0


No dice, because the MBTA already secured perpetual trackage rights to Concord in the Pan Am land swap deal for the Green Line Extension and Northpoint redevelopment properties in Cambridge. Somewhere on board search is the linky to the exact text & legalese of that STB docket on the motherlode of properties and rights exchanged...which included perpetual rights for the Wachusett extension of the Fitchburg Line, perpetual rights for the now-cancelled Plaistow extension of the Haverhill Line, and perpetual passenger rights on the Worcester Main between Ayer and Barbers (for functional purpose of gaining a backup route for north-south equipment swaps). Other passenger carriers are only allowed if the T waives its right of first refusal on a new service start or sub-contracts intrastate service out to another operator. Neither case extinguishes the T's perpetual rights and primacy, so they can evict any waived or sub-contracted operator at-will. The T is also pre-approved for its own service starts by Pan Am and doesn't have to ask new permission; any third wheels are going to need both the T's blessing to sub-lease and a whole fresh round of PAR rights.

Note this well when Boston Surface Rwy. makes another round of big promises to excite uninformed local lawmakers. Not only do they have to somehow secure T permission on the T-owned portion of the NH Main south of the border, and T + LRTA permission for access to T-operated/LRTA-owned Lowell Station...but they are equally subservient to the T for all running miles in NH. They can get blocked everywhere if the T doesn't like the cut of their jib...and it won't matter how much PAR likes the cut of their jib. For NNEPRA...the charter prerequisites of tying NH into them for funding and governance on a route that doesn't touch Maine all come first before you can pose any what-if's. That agency really isn't set up to "Pilgrim Agreement" somebody else for straight-up mercenary cash; it took the magic cloak of Amtrak membership to muscle all the Downeaster agreements that spliced MA and ME together into a perpetual-rights corridor with an NH participation opt-out.



The T also needs Nashua. Lowell is the only line on the system longer than ~15 miles that lacks its own layover yard, so it is the #1 loss leader on the entire system in no-revenue and low-revenue equipment miles because of all the deadheads and near-empty revenue extras that have to be run every day to balance equipment. By a wide margin over the next-worst line. There's no space for a layover yard in Lowell; PAR already dumped all the old freight yards as redevelopment property holds. So the only place to go is Nashua, where the downtown freight yard is only half-used and PAR has already given verbal commitment to leasing the T space in the yard. Former T GM Rich Davey once said on-record that Lowell-Nashua is the one CR extension he would build full-speed-ahead even if the agency found its finances in such a long-term crunch that all other extensions had to be curtailed. It does that much good at keeping northside ops costs--already way too high--from continuing to fly off-scale.

So you'll probably get an enthusiastic T reception if NH or City of Nashua can get anything moving on any permutation of a border poke. It doesn't have to be the full-build option of pair of stations at the Mall/South Nashua + the property the City purchased for the Crown St. downtown stop. Put anything barebones on that side of the state line so there's a mechanism for enacting Nashua layover (which the T can't legally pay for without an NH gov't partner to launder through), commit to it for-real without getting gun-shy one election day later, and MA will be game for it. MassDOT will be spending a bunch anyway this coming decade on the 2 miles of NH Main between Lowell Station and N. Chelmsford Jct. to upgrade freight clearances for Ayer-Portland double-stack, so one-third of the MA route miles between Lowell and the border are going to get a major makeover with or without passenger service. And it's not that expensive a total price tag for getting to the border to begin with since this is all present-day Class 3 signalized track, so they'd crave an opportunity to lump some freight grant funding streams into a wad with the passenger proposal to crest their purchasing power on this shared-use corridor.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:43 pm

sicariis wrote:This got me thinking about would it be possible to contract with NNEPRA to run the service? New Hampshire is part of Northern New England. This would be from Concord, NH to Boston North with intermediate stops in (Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, and could Discharge/Receive at Woburn) instead of just resigning to the fact that service would be through MBTA.


No. It's outside of their statutory mandate. Despite the name they are a State of Maine agency.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:20 am

The parallels with Rhode Island suggest the easiest path forward:
1) An MBTA line is yard-limited in its ability to increase service (RI=South Attleboro Line , NH=Lowell Line)
2) First municipality across the state line has space for a nice yard (RI=Pawtucket, NH=Nashua) that can "fix" the MBTA line
3) State's largest city and largest airport lie beyond the proposed yard (RI=Providence & PVD, NH=MHT & Manchester)

Solution: Host state builds yard & stations, hotels the trains overnight, and rents the MBTA on a variable basis.

The 2013 2014 study used Amtrak costs Why?
https://www.nh.gov/dot/org/aerorailtran ... ummary.pdf
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:39 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:No dice, because the MBTA already secured perpetual trackage rights to Concord in the Pan Am land swap deal for the Green Line Extension and Northpoint redevelopment properties in Cambridge.

Thanks for posting this I had absolutely no idea that the T had FROR for passenger operations in NH (or elsewhere). Along with pre-approved service.
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby sicariis » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:53 am

So this private entity that plans to run commuter rail from Bedford-Nashua-Lowell-Worchester needs to make an agreement with MBTA to run on PAR NH?
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Re: New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:21 pm

I think that would depend on the writing of the deal, no? Just because the MBTA has passenger rights, should they chose to exercise them, doesn't mean another passenger railroad couldn't have rights as well. Unless, of course, the MBTA's deal specifically barred PAR from selling any more passenger rights. Sort of like a paper barrier but for passenger rights, I guess.
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