Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby octr202 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:11 am

3247, see my post above. That's the DMU currently under design and/or construction for Sonoma-Marin counties in CA and for GO Transit in Toronto (for their new airport line). It is supposed to be FRA compliant.

Wicked - that's precisely what I was thinking. Extend it to Yawkey and then you have all of Beacon Park around the corner to work with for turnback.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby villager » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:31 am

Someone help me understand this- if it's a DMU, why the concerns about a reverse move at Back Bay Station? Just walk to the other end of the car, engage controls, and reverse through the nearest interlocking. Or is there no interlocking immediately east of Back Bay?
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby octr202 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:50 am

Still need time for the engineer to cut out one control stand, move to the other, cut those in, and do a brake test. It's not that different than changing ends on a push pull set, but still there are steps that take 5-10 minutes.

Plus if you want to maintain schedules, you need to build in some recovery time. You're gonna want at least 10 minutes on the end to accommodate all of these factors. That's a long time to occupy a platform at Back Bay at busy times.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby ns3010 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:07 am

After looking at this in more detail (the map didn't load for me last night), I must say that this plan is completely absurd. Diamonds across the Old Colony and several yard tracks, around the Southampton Street loop, around the south leg of the wye, and changing ends on the Back Bay NEC platforms? Yeah, ok.

If they wanted to use the Worcester platforms at BBY, they would have to build high platforms, since the DMU's in the PDF (presumably the ones the T would buy, since that's really their only option aside from custom ones) are high-level cars.

Whether this actually gets built or gets stopped because of how dumb it is, I think we could all laugh at it either way.
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South Boston Rail/Track 61 Reactivation for Passenger Train!

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:19 am

It's not April 1st, right?

http://www.boston.com/business/news/201 ... story.html

http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2013/09/0 ... ey-square/

And check this map out:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/201 ... aphic.html

That 600 ft missing link directly reconnects the Port of Boston to the world. This could be good news for eventual direct container service to Conley.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:52 am

How much you wanna bet they didn't ask Amtrak how much this will FUBAR their yard ops before putting out the press release, and Amtrak is learning about this the first time the same way we are?

I can't imagine how many minutes are going to elapse stopped motionless at switches during peak hours. You literally cannot cross more conflicting train movements than this. It's like one of those Family Circus cartoons where Billy runs in circles all over the panel...except it's set in the busiest passenger yard east of NYC.

Plus there's the fact that this is in Patrick's Transit Toys bill that the Legislature didn't fund, so this is probably #2 behind the Berkshire Line on the list of things going to be insta-scrubbed. They're going to be paying way more than the tossed-around figures on DMU purchase price anyway. $4M per unit is wildly overoptimistic for what SMART, SPRINTER, Metrolinx, et al. have paying for very recent or ongoing orders. It's more like $6.5M per...not counting ancillary costs like shop retrofits for servicing married pairs. That is not going to fall by a third in 2 years...there just aren't enough orders in the queue right now trending the manufacturing scale to better ground.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BostonUrbEx » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:56 am

Just to be explicitly clear as to what MassDOT is trying to pull off here: a new station must be constructed at the Convention Center where Summer St crosses the Haul Road, trains must proceed across the Cypher St grade crossing (which needs to be fully upgraded), trains will then proceed across diamonds in one of the few double track sections of the Old Colony line, proceed across two (at least) of the busiest tracks in the entire Southampton facility, cross the tracks of the Fairmount Line which the MBTA/MassDOT hope to get 10 minute headways on, go around the not-so-gentle curve of Widdett Circle, merge back into Fairmount/Old Colony traffic in approaching the Cove Wye, make it across the three most congested train tracks in the entire state, and then dwell for reverse on of the Worcester Line tracks at Back Bay (a line which needs improved schedules and more frequent service).

And we're doing this why? Because the Silver Bus is deemed insufficient before they're even running the maximum volume of buses. (Another reason I would like to call the Big Dig the gift that keeps on giving - years later, we're stilling looking for multi-million dollar band aids and half assed alternatives)

---

Now tell me, does this not sound more appealing in every aspect other than aggregate cost?: the Piers Transitway currently ends at roughly Atlantic & Essex. Pull South Station's Tracks 1 & 2 out of service (preferably after expansion is completed), cut and cover a tunnel down to Cove Interlocking, and then the trickiest non-optional part is to dive under the I-90 tunnel. Once you clear that, there's two options: cut and cover the Worcester Line leads, the Mass Pike eastbound, or partially both (to reduce impact on either). Keep cutting and covering until you reach Back Bay Station, at which point you end the line if you wish. But here's where the fun part comes in -- opportunities! At this point, you can convert SL2 to light rail, then you can optionally bore just one block to the Huntington Ave subway, and if you do all that you could even reactivate the abandoned Tremont St tunnel which ends a block away from your new cut-and-cover under the intersection of Arlington & Tremont. This means you eliminate Copley Junction and improve the central subway of the Green Line. If there were a return to the Arborway, you could have two lines: Heath-Union Sq (Somerville) and Arborway-Seaport. SL1 could continue to loop at South Station. SL4 and SL5 could be converted and utilize the reactivated Tremont tunnel.

Now, in terms of total cost, is it more? You bet it is. A tunnel from South Station to Back Bay isn't cheap - but it sure as hell is the cheapest tunnel in terms of per mile cost in comparison to any other possible tunnel in this city! The benefits have the potential to be enormous if you take the full package and improve the entire Green Line with it. It also means the Piers Transitway wasn't a waste if we use it to it's full potential. The cost of a DMU shuttle from BCEC to Back Bay is not just procurement and track upgrades -- it is also the cost of pissing away the Piers Transitway's potential capacity. And that tunnel did NOT come cheap.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby joshg1 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:04 pm

I have a few questions about this proposal and a few observations.

How many conventioneers in a year versus how many daily commuters? Commuters now, not unknown commuters of the future.

If someone who works down there won't walk to South Station, what makes anyone think they'll walk a similar distance to Convention station?


The only reason this is making news is the abundance of well paid white collar campaign dono- ah, innovation workers in this area. It's not about tourists, it's about getting to your Back Bay condo or Wellesley.

If this route is built and operated per the Globe story it will either slow down CR for everyone else on the south side, or the DMUs are going to sit around waiting at the Old Colony crossing and outside BBY at rush hour. Probably both.

Both this and the Silver Line are cheap bodges to make up for an unwillingness to plan ahead and build subway lines (Fairmont? Bueller? Fairmont?) But not so cheap that their costs don't detract from other MBTA projects (I should make T shirts- Blue Line to Lynn Since 1945). Which leads me to-

The ultimate bodge, which we may never see, the Urban Ring. I'm not supposed to mention it at all, but in theory with money-no-limit, it's a great idea. What we'll get is a mix-match of overlapping services with DMUs and buses that are less a ring than a series of squiggly lines. I won't go into what I think *should* be done- this isn't the place.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby sery2831 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:05 pm

They added a comment in the article about using the DMUs on the Fairmont Line, so they will have to be high level cars. There is no way to run this service in a timely fashion unless it will be a service that runs at off peak times only. I purely think money can spent more wisely elsewhere!
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby TomNelligan » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:07 pm

Regarding the Silver Line capacity issue, is the problem that they don't have enough bimodal bus-and-a-halfs to add more trips, or that the tunnel is currently at capacity? I know that they run close headways at rush hours but in the course of occasional trips to and from the airport I haven't yet encountered an underground traffic jam. If the limit is equipment availability, a cheaper solution would seem to be to buy more off-the-shelf Czech tracklesses to cover South Station-Silver Line Way service and leave the bimodals for the two routes that extend beyond the wires.

BTW, whatever the merits of the T's plan, I though that Globe reporter Shirley Leung did a nice job of explaining it without any of the silly goofs (like "the conductor was driving the train") that civilian writers often make when writing about railroads and rail transit. She even correctly explained what a Budd Car was.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BostonUrbEx » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:16 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:Now tell me, does this not sound more appealing in every aspect other than aggregate cost?:


I made a map to explain a little more easily the core of the proposal: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=21 ... 3,0.090895

I would not rate this as being as critical as Red-Blue, but I do imagine potential ridership being the same and potential cost being perhaps surprisingly similar. That is, of course, assuming that the cut-and-cover does not have the unknown utility problems which a Cambridge St bore tunnel would. I believe we can assume this as it is running under a very old rail line.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:56 pm

This creates an easy Back Bay Hotel to Convention Center link which I think is part of the thinking here. However, I'll add Yawkey and (future) Brighton Landing to the list of possibilities.

Now if a wye was built at the Grand Junction they could even go to Kendall Square!
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Arborway » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:16 pm

Having now seen the proposed station location, I'm a bit concerned that we're missing out on a good opportunity.

The proposed station will not serve the core of the Seaport. It will not serve the World Trade Center, Fan Pier or Seaport Square. As it stands now, the Convention Center will be the exclusive beneficiary of the Seaport line.

Moving the station site a little bit further down the track would allow for pedestrians to reach the Convention Center and the rest of the Seaport with ease.

If we don't do this right from Day 1, the shortcomings of the line will probably outlive us all.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby highgreen215 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:26 pm

If you look closely at the map, it looks like they will be using the NEC tracks in Back Bay. The one used by the Needham Branch is probably the least busy.

Also, I can see eventually activating the track all the way out to the Black Falcon Terminal to connect with cruise ship passengers visiting Boston.

But the DMUs are the big news. They can be deployed all over the system for light passenger loads - and they make so much sense for the Fairmount Line.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby NH2060 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:16 pm

When I first read the headline I thought "It's about time the Seaport District had a rail link of some sort to the rest of Boston!" Then I saw the graphic of the proposed route... Even if there was no interference of any sort (which given that they'll be using Amtrak rails as well sounds laughable, I know) that still looks like a ridiculously long trip in track distance for such a short air distance- and with no neighborhoods to be served in between. And the unfortunate reality of Track 61s split from the Old Colony being not in close enough proximity to the Fairmount Line to allow for a direct connection between the two via a bridge flyover without fouling up the Southampton Yard makes any Readville-Seaport District DMU running a less than easy prospect; which is a real shame since any rapid transit-style frequencies on the Fairmount at all won't happen without more space at South Station and using Track 61 would provide a dedicated routing that would allow the T to run as many trains per hour as the single stretch of track would allow to permit those higher frequencies on the Fairmount.

The real irony is that a project like this should have been in the cards years ago- albeit in a different form. The Fort Point/Seaport District sections are perhaps the most "happening" areas of the city that have no rail/subway/light rail access. I walked over there with a friend once and was quite surprised at how active the areas around the convention center, etc. are. And that was in the winter. Now maybe the attractiveness of the area is because it isn't directly served by rail and is outside of the downtown area and therefore makes it more affordable? I'll defer to those who are real estate savvy. But some form of light rail/subway/DMU access to this part of the city IMO wouldn't exactly be a waste if done right. At the same time however it looks like the only real way to do that would be to build a brand new subway extension and I don't see that happening for another 25 years or so.

On the plus side... even if this thing gets axed this could result in that DMU purchase for the Fairmount ;-)
Last edited by NH2060 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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