GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

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GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Diverging Route » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:12 am

This weekend the first visible impact of the Green Line Extension occurred on the NH Route (Lowell Line). So I thought I'd start a new thread to document progress and changes - which will be numerous over the next five+ years.

Over the weekend, #1 track was shifted east onto the new roadbed that has been under construction for many months, in Medford between Broadway and College Ave. You can see it if you stand at the Railfan Window in the cab car on an inbound train. The old rail has been removed from its former position. Currently there's a speed restriction on #1 track in this area; there were still workmen on-site as we cruised by on 352 this morning.

I assume the next step is to shift the #2 track east, that will leave room for construction of the College Ave. GL station.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Arlington » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:20 am

I suspected the move was underway given that the Lowell line was running only on the "inbound" rails this weekend.
The shift should also be visible from College Ave's bridge over the Lowell Line (here's a link for a sense of what you can see from there http://goo.gl/maps/8Uow1)
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:00 am

GLX sounds more like a railroad reporting mark, so I expected a discussion of freight traffic. The use of this abbreviation seems like an end run around the moderator. Spell out what you are talking about and let the moderator decide if it is worthy of a new topic: Suggestion: Green Line Extension Construction
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby TrainManTy » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:08 am

Gerry6309 wrote:GLX sounds more like a railroad reporting mark, so I expected a discussion of freight traffic. The use of this abbreviation seems like an end run around the moderator. Spell out what you are talking about and let the moderator decide if it is worthy of a new topic: Suggestion: Green Line Extension Construction


GLX is the official abbreviation used by the MBTA and MassDOT. It's even part of the project logo.

http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/default.asp?id=23864
http://greenlineextension.eot.state.ma.us/
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:03 am

Gerry6309 wrote:GLX sounds more like a railroad reporting mark, so I expected a discussion of freight traffic. The use of this abbreviation seems like an end run around the moderator. Spell out what you are talking about and let the moderator decide if it is worthy of a new topic: Suggestion: Green Line Extension Construction


I'm curious how you can live in Boston and be interested in rail but not know what GLX means.

Also, perhaps you should follow your own advice and leave it to the moderators to decide whether a thread title is acceptable. I'm not sure why OP would be trying to "run around" the moderators anyway, since the GLX is perfectly acceptable to discuss on this board, being a rail transit project.

--

Now back on topic, did they manage to pull this track shift off without a service disruption? If so I'm impressed! I would think the T would insist on a weekend or at least off-peak disruption to get this done in. Hopefully they can continue to minimize impacts to commuter rail service as construction progresses.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:56 am

I decided that this particular project was a huge waste of money years ago! What we get out of this is a high speed version of two car lines which were abandoner in 1932 and 1941. And neither branch goes as far as the original car line. (or the buses which replaced them, go further and still run, carrying far fewer passengers than the original car lines) ...Money Being Thrown Away...
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Diverging Route » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:26 pm

deathtopumpkins wrote:Now back on topic, did they manage to pull this track shift off without a service disruption? If so I'm impressed! I would think the T would insist on a weekend or at least off-peak disruption to get this done in. Hopefully they can continue to minimize impacts to commuter rail service as construction progresses.


There was single tracking on Friday evening, leading to this question in the delays thread:
What's up with Lowell tonight?
As I recall, there were up to 30 minute delays during the evening on Friday:

Lowell Line Train 337 (6:25 pm from North Station) delayed about 20 minutes today due to track work.

Affected direction: Outbound

Affected stops:
Winchester Center
Mishawum
Anderson/ Woburn
Wilmington
North Billerica
Lowell

Last updated: Oct 24 2014 06:59 PM

while the work was on-going. Over the weekend, with service every two hours, single tracking for this short stretch is not an issue. [Earlier on Friday there were delays during the afternoon rush, but they were attributed due to mechanical issues.]
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Arlington » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:44 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:I decided that this particular project was a huge waste of money years ago! What we get out of this is a high speed version of two car lines which were abandoner in 1932 and 1941. And neither branch goes as far as the original car line. (or the buses which replaced them, go further and still run, carrying far fewer passengers than the original car lines) ...Money Being Thrown Away...

I'd say that these comments should go in the main GLX thread, once there, I'll supply sources that suggest that by the time the GLX opens, trends (like record-low car-ownerhip among young people and their strong preference for staring at a smartphone instead of traffic) it will exceed its forecasted ridership.

Meanwhile, this thread is for how the GLX construction impacts the Lowell Line between Washington St (Somerville) and the U-Haul @ MVP (Medford-Somerville line). This past weekend was the first of many such interactions as the Lowell line gets moved "1 slot over" all along the original 4-track ROW of the Boston & Lowell RR. I'm sure that the construction of the bike path viaduct and the new Green Line shop and yards (also adjacent to the Lowell Line) will be worth tracking here too.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:47 pm

I'd like to make a motion to expand this topic to include impact on BET/remaining freight yard and the Fitchburg Route. All in favor, say "aye"!

We can keep GLX-specific talk in the GLX thread linked in the post prior to mine, as noted for: a) pricing, b) ridership, c) feasibility, d) alternatives, e) complaints, etc.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Arlington » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:13 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:I'd like to make a motion to expand this topic to include impact on BET/remaining freight yard and the Fitchburg Route. All in favor, say "aye"!

Aye! All 4 phases of the GLX are going to impact some mix (or all of) BET, Lowell, Fitchburg, and Freight and this is a good place to talk about the conflicts, so I'd call it:
GLX Construction Impacts on CR/BET Ops
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:33 pm

Is there even an updated design for that carhouse? There's absolute zilch, nada for documentation other than the site selection scoping report from over 5 years ago. I mean, Norfolk Southern wasn't even in the picture when bad-old-days Pan Am signed its freight access away in the big land swap deals with the state. I'm sure NS has had ample time to air their displeasure at PAR and point out in no uncertain terms that living up to the PAS deal involves not giving up the Boston-area revenue feeding into Ayer.

After 5 years of the Commuter Rail division and freight carriers screaming/pleading with them to make a change it would be nice to know if there's any actual change being considered. Then again, the damn carhouse still isn't fully funded so that design process may not have much going on at all without another money dump.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:12 pm

Arlington wrote:
Gerry6309 wrote:I decided that this particular project was a huge waste of money years ago! What we get out of this is a high speed version of two car lines which were abandoner in 1932 and 1941. And neither branch goes as far as the original car line. (or the buses which replaced them, go further and still run, carrying far fewer passengers than the original car lines) ...Money Being Thrown Away...

I'd say that these comments should go in the main GLX thread, once there, I'll supply sources that suggest that by the time the GLX opens, trends (like record-low car-ownerhip among young people and their strong preference for staring at a smartphone instead of traffic) it will exceed its forecasted ridership.

Meanwhile, this thread is for how the GLX construction impacts the Lowell Line between Washington St (Somerville) and the U-Haul @ MVP (Medford-Somerville line). This past weekend was the first of many such interactions as the Lowell line gets moved "1 slot over" all along the original 4-track ROW of the Boston & Lowell RR. I'm sure that the construction of the bike path viaduct and the new Green Line shop and yards (also adjacent to the Lowell Line) will be worth tracking here too.

Don't bother, I don't usually follow or post in any topic longer than 100 posts.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:24 am

Gerry6309 wrote:
Arlington wrote:
Gerry6309 wrote:I decided that this particular project was a huge waste of money years ago! What we get out of this is a high speed version of two car lines which were abandoner in 1932 and 1941. And neither branch goes as far as the original car line. (or the buses which replaced them, go further and still run, carrying far fewer passengers than the original car lines) ...Money Being Thrown Away...

I'd say that these comments should go in the main GLX thread, once there, I'll supply sources that suggest that by the time the GLX opens, trends (like record-low car-ownerhip among young people and their strong preference for staring at a smartphone instead of traffic) it will exceed its forecasted ridership.

Meanwhile, this thread is for how the GLX construction impacts the Lowell Line between Washington St (Somerville) and the U-Haul @ MVP (Medford-Somerville line). This past weekend was the first of many such interactions as the Lowell line gets moved "1 slot over" all along the original 4-track ROW of the Boston & Lowell RR. I'm sure that the construction of the bike path viaduct and the new Green Line shop and yards (also adjacent to the Lowell Line) will be worth tracking here too.

Don't bother, I don't usually follow or post in any topic longer than 100 posts.


Then don't expect us to spoon-feed you information from them.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:01 pm

So... why can't Yard 8 be replaced with a downward grade?

Map: http://i.imgur.com/Z27uTRH.png

It may be hard to describe what I'm trying to show, but where the bike path (red line on the map) crosses over the tracks: a) the bike path is elevated, b) the Green Line yard lead is at grade, and c) the Yard 8 track is in a trench. The Wiley Track is changed to an upward grade track and the track is at grade when it passes under three elevated yard leads, and under those leads it splits into two tracks. The 1st/2nd/3rd/4th iron are, for the most part, unchanged, plus a 5th iron is added to compensate for the loss of the Yard 8 run-around. It is off the map, but I would still reactivate the Cobble Hill Track. Everything else is essentially what I could interpret from the community path PDF.
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Re: GLX Impact on NH Route (Lowell Line)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:57 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:So... why can't Yard 8 be replaced with a downward grade?

Map: http://i.imgur.com/Z27uTRH.png

It may be hard to describe what I'm trying to show, but where the bike path (red line on the map) crosses over the tracks: a) the bike path is elevated, b) the Green Line yard lead is at grade, and c) the Yard 8 track is in a trench. The Wiley Track is changed to an upward grade track and the track is at grade when it passes under three elevated yard leads, and under those leads it splits into two tracks. The 1st/2nd/3rd/4th iron are, for the most part, unchanged, plus a 5th iron is added to compensate for the loss of the Yard 8 run-around. It is off the map, but I would still reactivate the Cobble Hill Track. Everything else is essentially what I could interpret from the community path PDF.


Maybe not in that exact configuration. Changing the elevation of the freight track that dramatically may not fly because of the size of the freight consists that would struggle on the grade and have somewhat elevated risk of breaking away into a runaway train. Changes in Green Line and/or path elevation are what'll fix it. It'll add project cost, but there are several ballpark options for a reconfiguration that would work. Freight storage is going to be pinched any which way, but the NH Main-->Eastern Route access preservation is what's really crucially important, and that does allow some short-term storage for a long freight consist. It's having to rely solely on the Cobble Hill routing with its grade crossings and commuter rail- fouling backup moves that's what's really fatal here. It was really just thick-headedness and a total breakdown in communication between stakeholders that ignited the crisis with this design. There are equitable options; they just never bothered to explore them.
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