Fitchburg Route single track question

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Fitchburg Route single track question

Postby johnpbarlow » Sat Mar 27, 2004 4:58 pm

Why is the Fitchburg route single tracked for ~ 1 mile in Waltham? Isn't the rest of the route between S. Acton and N. Station double tracked? Has this stretch always been single tracked? Seems like a bit of bottleneck, potentially.
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Postby TomNelligan » Sun Mar 28, 2004 10:37 am

The single track section through Waltham dates back to the late 1950s and was necessitated by close clearances in the cut east of the station. When the Boston & Maine started handling piggyback and other large dimension freight cars, the line was single tracked to make more room. After all these years it surely would have been cheaper to enlarge the cut and maintain double track, given the cost of the switches and singnals and delays to trains over the decades, but that's not the decision that was made back then, and these days the cost would probably be prohibitive.
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Fitchburg Single Track question

Postby johnpbarlow » Sun Mar 28, 2004 4:53 pm

After I posted my question, I checked "Trackside Around Boston 1942-1962 with Lawson Hill" and found a handful of pictures showing an impressive station in Waltham with three tracks. One picture, taken in 1955, captures the NYC New England States detouring through Waltham due to hurricane damage on the B&A.

Thanks for the info.
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Postby atkelly » Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:16 pm

I think it contributes to the capcity issues on the line since it impacts train frequency. While I think adding the express is helpful, double tracking through Waltham could increase utilization of the line by allowing more frequent movements.

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