Newtonville question.

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Newtonville question.

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:32 pm

Why is only one platform used? I saw today that there's an old platform on the outbound side that's closer to the street and I feel like could be used.

Also, kind of unrelated, but why is the B&A tracks at Back Bay low level?
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Re: Newtonville question.

Postby diburning » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:00 pm

The "old platform" is supposed to be used as an emergency exit, but "supposed to be" is the key phrase here since the gate at the top is padlocked.

Back Bay is low level on the B&A because there was former freight service to the Boston Waterfront. There was talk about reactivating the line a few years ago on this thread, but it seems like the idea has been abandoned. With the reconstruction of Yawkey being all high level platforms, it has pretty much put the final nails in the coffin for freight service in the Boston area.
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Re: Newtonville question.

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:53 am

Why is only one platform used?


The current single-track platforms at Newtonville, West Newton, and Auburndale stem from the construction of the Mass Pike Boston extension in the early 1960s. At that time New York Central trimmed the B&A from four tracks to two to make room for the highway. Passenger service was quickly disappearing at the time and a single platform squeezed between track 2 and the turnpike was deemed sufficient for what was left. (From the mid-1960s through the 70s, B&A service was just three weekday rush hour trains inbound in the morning and outbound at night.) Now with greatly expanded service the single platforms are a bottleneck, but given street locations and subsequent construction it would be hard and very expensive now to add a platform on track 1, especially since the government would require that it be handicapped accessible.
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Re: Newtonville question.

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:13 am

diburning wrote:The "old platform" is supposed to be used as an emergency exit, but "supposed to be" is the key phrase here since the gate at the top is padlocked.

Back Bay is low level on the B&A because there was former freight service to the Boston Waterfront. There was talk about reactivating the line a few years ago on this thread, but it seems like the idea has been abandoned. With the reconstruction of Yawkey being all high level platforms, it has pretty much put the final nails in the coffin for freight service in the Boston area.


It's still in the works. They state paid a premium for Track 61 in the CSX deal for reason. Massport is occupied presently with its Eastie haul road project, and CSX has bigger things to worry about at the moment with the re-shuffle out west. Southie port activity probably starts ramping up when the Conley Terminal haul road goes into design and they press forward on the redevelopment to attract more tenants. It's a pretty trivial matter to reactivate/rehab the current Marine Terminal track and do the crossover work for clean access from the Fairmount Line to get some active business going, but the big part of the project is the new trackage to the redeveloped northerly pier.

At any rate, yes, Yawkey going all-high effectively makes freight on the B&A east of the Grand Junction a moot point (and if CSX dishes that job off to Pan Am, everything east of Framingham ends). So they'd now be free to raise the low BB platform. It's no different than going through the Fairmount high platforms now. But that's primarily going to be a container port anyway, which poses no clearance issues around high platforms. And CSX is all about containers these days. Everett Terminal is where the wide-load freights are best suited to transload, and Pan Am's the best-suited carrier for growing that biz.


Hopefully when they ever get around to solving the single-track bottleneck at the 3 Newton stops they rebuild all 3 as island full-highs. Those platforms absolutely suck being scrunched up against screaming Pike traffic. And the high but rickety wood barriers are only so effective at shielding passengers from road dirt and ejected snow pack off the tops of trucks. They'd be much better buffered with a single center platform and tracks shifted to the outer sides of the ROW, plus it's much easier to build ramps or elevators to the street that way. Those are truly miserable places to wait for a train in their current configuration.
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Re: Newtonville question.

Postby KEN PATRICK » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:22 am

i don't think a progressive move from fairmont to south boston running is possible. there's a sizeable red line row embankment in the way. also, to get to conley from tk 61 requires a bridge. lastly conley doesn't have the footprint for a rail container move. as for rail rates? what must they be to provide cost savings over the present flows? ( i responded in this thread since the posts include tk 61 matters. ken patrick
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Re: Newtonville question.

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:37 pm

KEN PATRICK wrote:i don't think a progressive move from fairmont to south boston running is possible. there's a sizeable red line row embankment in the way.

No there isn't. The Cabot Yard lead uses the same bridge that used to carry the Old Colony tracks over the Midland Division.

Conventional wisdom is that rail is cheaper than trucks for moves of more than 500 miles (even with trucks required for pickup and delivery at either end), and several railroads have plans to afoot to establish even shorter intermodal corridors.
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Re: Newtonville question.

Postby BandA » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:58 pm

The City of Newton plans to develop their Newtonville parking lot. If the "T" rebuilds the station and increases the frequency of trains (and makes the price comparable to express bus on the same route), they will need all the parking spaces and more. There has been been zero investment (other than maintenance) on these three platforms since they were built fifty years ago. Newtonville had a granite train station, and long distance trains stopped there as they had better facilities for handling baggage than the other stops. Up until the 1950s, Walnut St was route 128.
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