Cape Flyer Discussion

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby TomNelligan » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:40 pm

Arlington wrote:Best guess I've seen is that IP layoffs were a normal seasonal layoff that the media construed as unexpected news.


Discussions on some other rail sites (example below) suggest that Iowa Pacific is having cash flow problems and there have been layoffs all across its system.

http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=40197
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:09 pm

Doubt any of this is going to impact the Cape, as the MassDOT FY17-21 CIP is flush with tons of SGR upgrades to the Middleboro Secondary, Cape Main, Falmouth Branch, and the Yarmouth stub to the transfer station. I can't find it on board search, but somewhere this summer I copypastad a full bullet list of the line items (maybe it's back a few pages???). It's a very impressive and intensive list, much of it freight IOU's that they committed to in the great CSX/Mass Coastal swap of '08 now finally being slotted on the calendar. Basically the whole Cape-related rail network at-large is getting as much TLC over the next 4 years as the main from M'boro to BB got during the first couple Flyer seasons.

Now...who they contract out for the work may be affected by any Iowa Pacific financial issues longer-lasting than one bad fiscal year. They'd be the ideal choice for the track work as they've done a pretty spiffy job helping out with the Framingham Secondary upgrades. It would probably be their track gangs imported from HQ out-of-state as surge forces who'd be on the ground here for the few years this project bundle is scheduled, so watch if any centralized services @ IP get hit with big and/or destabilizing layoffs (if their internal problems trend to the severe...which we can't extrapolate from any of the rumors).
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:21 pm

Is this the list of upcoming work? How much is programmed for 2017?
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:They can't take Falmouth by force, no matter if another Turkington-type troll in the Legislature tries to salt the earth. CCCR/Mass Coastal have federally protected trackage rights, and MC is a common carrier so the loophole is sealed shut for any Adirondack Scenic-type shennanigans. Dinner train had Falmouth excursions each of the past two weekends, so the branch is certainly getting regular use.


From the itemization, looks like most of it is mundane bridge/culvert inspections and repairs. General summary of items:

Cape Main (Middleboro-Hyannis)
Cohasset Narrows Bridge replacement: $8.2M
Track work (cumulative): $7M
Yards and "support facilities": $6.8M <-- ED: Hyannis layover? Rochester Yard/trash train upgrades?
Yard track work (cumulative): $3.7M
Hyannis Yard reconfig (rail + crossing work related to Route 28 reconfig): $2.2M
Bridges and culverts (cumulative): $2.1M
Grade crossing improvements: $1.9M
Siding upgrades (rail, ties, ballast) @ Tremont, Sagamore, Sandwich, W. Barnstable: $1.5M
Station fencing/railing installs @ Hyannis, Wareham: $183K
Other (cumulative) - $558K

Falmouth Secondary
Grade crossing improvements: $1.5M
"Structures": $1.2M
Track improvements (cumulative): $999K
Bridges and culverts (cumulative) - $135K
Other (cumulative) - $73K

South Dennis Secondary
Grade crossing improvements: $588K
Track improvements: $460K
Other: $147K

Middleboro Secondary
Track and switches improvements (cumulative): $12.9M
Grade crossing protection improvements: $3.6M
Bridges and culverts (cumulative): $2.9M
Grade crossing improvements (surfaces?): $1.8M
Other (cumulative): $2.6M


That's a pretty fat menu programmed over the next 5 years for the Cape region.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:50 pm

That's the one. The CIP only tracks the payment installment plan across each fiscal year. It isn't a schedule document, and in the minority of cases where MassDOT is paying forward for some project the construction schedule can sometimes lag behind the CIP years (though budget front-loading is a lot rarer for discrete capital improvements and more often employed for 'recharging' a forever-ongoing contract).

It's coming soon. M'boro Secondary freight upgrades are slated immediately after the Framingham Secondary work wraps up because that's #1 on the CSX-owed priority list. Since the Fram. Sec. is pretty much in last stages on the Mansfield end as of ground freeze we'll probably be looking at a kickoff in Attleboro this spring/summer. When the rest is scheduled would be documented elsewhere on the MassDOT website in the project log, contract advertisements, etc. But those entries rarely give useful detail. I guess we'll be waiting for some local news report explainer to get the full story from a spokesflak. Grade crossing renewal and gate installations on the M'boro Sec. are getting a big push, so that'll probably make the Taunton-area news when construction progress gets closer to that downtown crossing cluster.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:46 pm

With IP having big money problems,has Mass Coastal/Cape Cod Central posted any notice of "discontinued" passenger service
for this summer season??
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Bill Reidy » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:10 pm

Backshophoss wrote:With IP having big money problems,has Mass Coastal/Cape Cod Central posted any notice of "discontinued" passenger service
for this summer season??


The Cape Cod Central's website (capetrain.com) states tickets go on sale March 15th. 2017 schedules have not yet been posted.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:44 pm

Backshophoss wrote:With IP having big money problems,has Mass Coastal/Cape Cod Central posted any notice of "discontinued" passenger service
for this summer season??


Nah. The big IP operations hemorrhaging money were Pullman Rail Journeys, Saratoga & North Creek, and Texas State RR. Those were the ones that bore the brunt of the service cutbacks and layoffs, while some of the primarily freight marks like San Luis & Rio Grande have canceled their niche/non-critical excursion services. CCCR is profitable, and backed by year-round revenue from Mass Coastal freight...with the trash train contract for the state giving MC stable guaranteed carloads and the MassDOT dispatcher contract for the Framingham Sec., Middleboro Sec., Cape, and South Coast giving the back-office 7 days a week of work. Cape Rail's loco fleet was just overhauled, their main yard's about to be reconfigured by state grant, and there's more physical plant grants kicking in throughout their territory...including pending 286K weights on CSX from their interchange.

Cape Rail is one of the IP holdings to firewall around in a restructuring, or one of the sell-high prizes to broker intact at full service in a liquidation. It's appreciated in value since IP bought them because of Cape Flyer and all this MassDOT investment in the passenger + freight infrastructure of their territory. And it would very likely face a local bidding war if it were put up for sale. G&U's John Priscoli almost bought a controlling stake in them before IP was in the picture, and Seaview just snapped up the Newport dinner train to put themselves in the local acquisition game and the excursion RR game.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby craven » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:28 pm

First Train (2017) leaves South Station in just (53) days!
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby BandA » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:07 am

Remind me...what is changing for 2017?
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby dbperry » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:47 pm

BandA wrote:Remind me...what is changing for 2017?


I just posted the 2017 schedule on my schedule archive page. Comparing 2017 to 2016 I see no differences in schedules or prices.

http://www.dbperry.net/MBTA/#Cape_Flyer
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:33 pm

At least IP's $$$$ problem didn't foul this up! :wink:
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby BandA » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:03 am

They should use IP's former Hoosier State equipment - it would be more reliable than Keolis maintained at the moment :wink: . Not kidding. Have IP/Mass Coastal run the route under auspices of CCRTA, with IP/MC crews and equipment. Since CCRTA is the nominal sponsor of this whole shebang and MassDOT or their subsidiary MBTA own all the track, no problemo :wink:
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:10 am

IP's Big Dome won't clear the NEC catenary,the Hoosier's power has gone "home" to SLRG at Alamosa Co.
Besides the bike car was former MBTA equipment.
Remember the Cape Flyer is an extended service of a T pm rush train to Middleborough,to the Cape on fri,
the same is true on the weekend service runs to/from the Cape and on summer holidays as well.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Red Wing » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:22 am

Not that I think the scenery is great going to the Cape, but being that this train runs on the Old Colony lines, does it need to go under the wire?
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:34 am

Red Wing wrote:Not that I think the scenery is great going to the Cape, but being that this train runs on the Old Colony lines, does it need to go under the wire?


It'll pass under wires through the yard, but the only clearance restriction under wires in MA is on the curve at Cove right underneath the South Bay ramps. And it's not very much of a restriction, as 15'6" K-cars obviously clear it by the hundreds every single day while they can't fit through any of the New York tunnels. The only North American passenger equipment taller than that are Metra bi-level gallery cars & derivatives (15'10"), and Superliners & derivatives (16'2")...but obviously those 8-inch boarding cars can't platform on the T to begin with. Board search isn't turning it up, but I think it may have also been mentioned years ago here that the hoods of F59PH locos (15'8") *may* be iffy for the wire clearance envelope @ Cove, but that make has never been tried on T rails before so no clearance testing exists to confirm or deny. F59's would be the only active passenger power outside of a museum exhibit which you may not be able to pull into SS, as F40's/GP40's of all lineages are all shorter and every new make built post-1990 has been designed with Amtrak's new-constuction electrification specs (e.g. Cove) in mind.


Domes shouldn't be a problem operationally. I just doubt you're going to be getting them as a luxury add-on to the Flyer when that has to stick to pretty tight margins to hit its financial target. The bike & cafe cars are just regular old Pullman 2xx remans with seats pulled out on-the-cheap. It's a very, very different proposition saddling BET...which can't even keep its regular coaches from falling behind on mandatory inspections...with specialty cars of any kind. If CCCR is going to lease a dome, it'll only be used on the dinner train because Keolis just doesn't have the bandwidth to do that on Flyer sets that have to double some of the time as extremely crowded Middleboro Fri. afternoon sardine cans. Commuter Rail isn't Amtrak in institutionally being flexible at accommodating private cars on regular trains. Fleet blending with an excursion operator is a bridge too far for cleanly accommodating the Purple Line's 7-day-a-week public mandate, and most CR operators--including the ones who run a far tighter and less-dysfunctional ship than the T--draw the line there. If Iowa Pacific had a viable revenue stream to tap for leasing out its domes and other specialty cars for tours on CR systems, they'd not only be doing it all the time but probably would've amassed a much larger equipment collection for purposes of leasing out to CR's all the time. And the Flyer would've been running from Day 1 with leased CCCR equipment. There's a reason why that isn't a big side business for IP or anyone else, and it has to do with the nature of managing a CR system vs. managing intercity and managing excursion biz.


The way to buff out seasonal trains with more frills is to make the desperately needed next bi-level order to replace the Bombardier 4xx/6xx's with another ~125 K-car clones so they have the luxury of setting aside more good-condition Pullmans for in-situ interior conversion. A full fleet of bike cars they can spread systemwide on in-season weekends to all lines with appropriate hiking/biking destinations, or pad on another 1-2 snack cars for an extra Flyer set or special event one-offs (Quonset air show, Salem @ Halloween, etc.). Quickie, low-impact interior-only jobs like that. It runs afoul of operating margins if one lugnut on the specialty car's design becomes any different from regular rush-hour rolling stock. That's where stuff like dome rentals becomes a bridge too far for a bread-and-butter CR operator.
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