They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

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They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:32 pm

I was able to pick up a couple of early trackless pics from the MTA era. The photos are dated 7/10/61 and show a demonstration to keep the MTA from abandoning service on Warren Street next to Dudley Station in the Triangle. I found it interesting and somewhat contradictory that we see what appears to be MTA brass guiding the trolleys into the station past the crowd being held back by Boston Police who would otherwise inhibit their entry. This would seem to be a contradiction of the group's aim to keep the coaches running on Warren. Could the date be noteworthy, such as a "last run" ? I wonder what the crowd would have though about the fact that not only were they about to lose their "buses", but lose their El as well, a scant 1/4 century from then ! These residents certainly got a raw deal. When I get time, I'll have to see if Warren St. closed before all trackless traffic going into Dudley did.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby jamesinclair » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:45 am

What was a worse decision, removing the wire 40 years ago, or building the silver line without a wire outside of the tunnel 10 years ago?
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:18 am

I assume that you're referencing the Silver Line to Logan rather than the Washington Street bus route. The problem with all-electric operation to Logan is the trafic congestion around the Logan terminals, which as I'm sure you know can be a mess. A diesel bus can freely dodge and weave as necessary to get through, while a trackless would be limited to one lane (plus some lateral tolerance) that as a practical matter might not be possible to always keep free of obstructing vehicles. I think the current dual-power system with electric operation in the tunnels and diesel beyond Silver Line Way makes sense because of Logan traffic patterns. In my experience the power changeover never takes more than a minute or two.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby Arborway » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:58 pm

I can only hypothesize that someone at the T (who was also virtually immortal) really, really hated Dudley Sq. and wanted to do as much as possible to bring it to ruin over the course of several decades.

As far as neighborhoods go, it really got a raw deal from the T.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby MarkB » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:46 pm

Arborway wrote:I can only hypothesize that someone at the T (who was also virtually immortal) really, really hated Dudley Sq. and wanted to do as much as possible to bring it to ruin over the course of several decades.

As far as neighborhoods go, it really got a raw deal from the T.



The decision to take down the El was considered a great victory for the community all along Washington street. The fact that it also tore out rapid transit to downtown along the same route got no traction, and still gets no love. I'd say it's a lot more than one guy at the T who's to blame for that part of the problem.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby Teamdriver » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:13 pm

11 Retro Photos of the Orange Line
The elevated version of the T—and Boston in all its 1980s glory.
The MBTA’s Orange Line, like much of Boston, has a long, evolving history. The first parts of the elevated train were constructed in 1901, and by 1909, the train ran all the way from Everett to Forest Hills, with the southern portion riding above Washington Street. The route took a right turn when city residents defeated plans to extend I-95 through the heart of Boston, cutting through Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, and Roxbury. Unfortunately, the state had already cleared the land for the new highway, so they had to answer a question: What to do with all that empty space? The emerging answer was to build a new route for the Orange Line, as well as adding in a commuter rail line and the Southwest Corridor Park.....

http://blogs.bostonmagazine.com/boston_ ... ange-line/
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby 3rdrail » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:17 am

MarkB wrote:

The decision to take down the El was considered a great victory for the community all along Washington street.

Considered by who ? The only persons that I recall sprouting how lucky everyone was to be rid of the El were people that didn't live along it's service area.
http://vimeo.com/14479121
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby Teamdriver » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:35 am

I think the powers that were , having demolished a right of way for the Southwest corridor that never was ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwest_Corridor_(Boston) ) ,needed to do something constructive to offset the blight they caused, and spend money at the same time transportationally. It was crazy, what they did, alot of people lost their houses.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby BandA » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:20 am

They blew a bunch of money buying up property and clearing it, then eventually sold it back to developers who made a lot of money on it. They spent the remaining highway money putting the rail corridor back together; Two orange line tracks + two North East Corridor tracks?. How many tracks were there before? How many train stations? Is the ROW wider than it was historically, or only at the stations? I'm told the old orange line EL was noisy, it was certainly poorly maintained by the "T" in later years (possibly anticipating replacement), with chunks of cement falling off and hitting a few cars. The "T" looked at the new SW corridor orange line as getting something for free from the feds. I think they should have kept the EL and operated both. If they were trying to do this today, Amtrak would want the whole ROW for themselves + commuter rail.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:56 pm

Two orange line tracks + two North East Corridor tracks?. How many tracks were there before? How many train stations?


It was a four-track brownstone embankment. The current Orange Line ditch is actually a little wider than the New Haven RR's early 20th century elevated ROW between Back Bay and Forest Hills. As for intermediate stations, very long ago there were a couple but they were closed long before the 1960s. I have that info at home and will post it tonight of no one beats me to it.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:20 pm

BandA wrote:They blew a bunch of money buying up property and clearing it, then eventually sold it back to developers who made a lot of money on it. They spent the remaining highway money putting the rail corridor back together; Two orange line tracks + two North East Corridor tracks?. How many tracks were there before? How many train stations? Is the ROW wider than it was historically, or only at the stations? I'm told the old orange line EL was noisy, it was certainly poorly maintained by the "T" in later years (possibly anticipating replacement), with chunks of cement falling off and hitting a few cars. The "T" looked at the new SW corridor orange line as getting something for free from the feds. I think they should have kept the EL and operated both. If they were trying to do this today, Amtrak would want the whole ROW for themselves + commuter rail.


It's 2 OL tracks + 3 NEC, but that's because the retaining walls in the cut allowed for a wider trackbed within the same property boundaries than the old embankment.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby The EGE » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:37 pm

From north to south:

227.8 Back Bay
227.1 Chickering (at modern Mass Ave station location)
226.3 Roxbury (at modern Roxbury Crossing)
225.6 Heath (at modern Jackson Square)
225.0 Boylston (at modern Stony Brook)
224.5 Jamaica Plain (at modern Green)
223.9 Forest Hills
222.8 Mount Hope (at Blakemore Street; open until 1979)
221.8 Clarendon Hills (at former Metropolitan Avenue grade crossing)
221.2 Hazelwood (at West Street)
220.7 Hyde Park
"Give me an unobstructed right-of-way and I'll show them how to move the earth!"
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby jonnhrr » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:53 pm

What would have been ideal would have kept the El as far as Dudley Sq. perhaps re-activating the loop track, rebuilding the structure (as SEPTA is doing to the Market Frankfort El in Philly) to make it sound and using more modern techniques to make it quieter, plus building the OL out to Readville with stations only at Back Bay, Ruggles and then Green St and beyond.

But it is what it is. The sensible alternative now would be to make the Silver Line a light rail line but the T is too allergic to modern light rail possibilities tas is practised in many cities throughout the world o consider that.

The other travesty was the removal of the private ROW and tracks on Blue Hill Ave which would have made a useful light rail connection between Roxbury and Mattapan.

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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby MarkB » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:09 pm

3rdrail wrote:
MarkB wrote:

The decision to take down the El was considered a great victory for the community all along Washington street.

Considered by who ? The only persons that I recall sprouting how lucky everyone was to be rid of the El were people that didn't live along it's service area.
http://vimeo.com/14479121



Are you kidding? The structure was called an eyesore as far back as the 1940s, when local Jamaica Plain pols fronting for their constituents tried to have it pulled down. When it finally did come down, all the talk was about how great it was to let the sun shine in again, and speculators were buying up all the buildings along Washington street. Certainly the people who lived right on the route were happy to get rid of that constant noise. Think about living in one of those apartment buildings on Washington street. My other did for a short while in her very early years.

Personally, I liked the El, and I think they should have kept it in place. It was much faster than the trolley, even though I lived on the trolley line. But history is being written by the people who were happy to see the El go.
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Re: They Fought to Keep Trackless in the Triangle

Postby ferroequinarchaeologist » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:39 pm

From the video:

>>Boston Elevated Subway ...

Is that something like jumbo shrimp?

pbm
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