Beacon Park Updates

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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby Bemused » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:20 pm

StefanW wrote:

"There was a significant presentation and discussion about the "West Station" project (along with the I-90 relocation) at the joint MBTA FMCB & MassDOT Board meeting."

https://mbta.com/events/1096

...and under the topic "The T's continuing effort and commitment to reduce the deficit and stop gouging taxpayers and our riders" we have: FMCB Briefing Page 29:

"Construction Phase Closure of GJR
•The GJR will be closed for 3 years(estimated) to construct either of the at-grade variations
•MBTA will utilize a 104 mile detour to transfer equipment between the south side and the CRMF in Somerville"

Wow, three years of deadheading equipment 104 miles (each way) on a daily/weekly basis...anyone know the location of the mother lode?
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby EuroStar » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:41 pm

Bemused wrote:Wow, three years of deadheading equipment 104 miles (each way) on a daily/weekly basis...anyone know the location of the mother lode?


It is very hard to believe that the outage of GJR needs to be this long. Three months would have been more like it. It is not as if the track needs to be protected at all times of the day during construction -- as long as it is passable at 5mph once a day, everything would be good. It will be incredible if they cannot do that and run the equipment moves every day the long way.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:11 pm

Better start budgeting to purchase the Worcester Main outright from PAR and pump it full of SGR $$$, because if the hospital train has run out there nearly every day for years on end they're going to start landing on the ground a couple times a month just like PAR does on that cromulent excuse for a "main line".
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby GP40MC1118 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:38 am

I assume the GJR will go out of service Spring 2018 for the reconfiguration of Swift Interlocking for a few months.

D
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby leviramsey » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:36 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Better start budgeting to purchase the Worcester Main outright from PAR and pump it full of SGR $$$, because if the hospital train has run out there nearly every day for years on end they're going to start landing on the ground a couple times a month just like PAR does on that cromulent excuse for a "main line".


MassDOT is likely to eventually buy CSX's Fitchburg Secondary, right? Would it be possible then to build a connection between the Fitchburg Secondary and the Worcester Main (presumably with enough paper-barriers to prevent whatever short-line runs locals on that branch from interchanging with PAR? That would eliminate the need to change ends in Worcester and would only mean that MassDOT would only have to heavily bankroll heavy SGR for Clinton-Ayer.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:36 pm

There appears to be an intact ROW for a long-abandoned connection between those two lines in Clinton, but it would still require trains to change ends, and you may end up having to spend the SGR $$ saved on the Worcester Main on the Fitchburg Secondary instead. I don't know what the traffic potential on the latter is, but from a state-wide perspective it probably makes more sense to fix the Worcester Main to encourage freight traffic.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:10 am

MBTA3247 wrote:There appears to be an intact ROW for a long-abandoned connection between those two lines in Clinton, but it would still require trains to change ends, and you may end up having to spend the SGR $$ saved on the Worcester Main on the Fitchburg Secondary instead. I don't know what the traffic potential on the latter is, but from a state-wide perspective it probably makes more sense to fix the Worcester Main to encourage freight traffic.


Clinton Jct. is still intact buried in the weeds, but hasn't been used in 40+ years. I suppose if the Worcester Main were ever upgraded to Class 3/40 MPH freight by PAR's successors like it ideally should to leverage POSE/SEPO revenue that CSX might be in favor of reinstating the junction for an as-needed shortcut (using their Worcester Main overhead rights) back to Framingham via Worcester on days the Leominster job normally has to outlaw in Clinton from running out of crew hours. Right now the Worcester Main is just too slow to provide any operational benefit as an alt routing for the Fitchburg Sec. Especially when that freight schedule only runs to Leominster twice a week and otherwise just reverses direction back to Framingham at Clinton runaround comfortably within a single crew shift.

It would provide zero operational benefit to the T even if they had Fitchburg Sec. rights. 10 MPH track with lots of curves, most grade crossings are flashers-only, and it requires changing ends out in the field in Clinton to get on the Worcester Main which mandates double-drafts all the time. And unless you're building Framingham-Northboro commuter rail, which studied pretty nifty on rush-hour ridership but is absolutely no one's idea of a Top 6 extensions build priority, the freight traffic will never justify any upgrades in track class. The Worcester Main SHOULD have been Class 2 all along were it not for Guilford neglect, and if any company with scruples owned PAR District 2 they'd be seriously considering Class 3 by now. So as a state investment the Worcester Main is a much fatter upgrade target that'll pay back the investment sooner just as a freight economic dev. target. For T ops, they already have full rights to wye in the P&W yard and run the hospital train single-engine, all crossings on the P&W Gardner Branch to Barbers Jct. are gated + approx. half on the Worcester Main are gated (the other flashers-only ones would be gated by now if PAR maintained it like they should), and the daily train schedule is robust enough that it gets frequent enough inspection. It's a much-superior routing on its merits. Just, unfortunately, it needs a heaping ton of state-of-repair catchup to roll back the decades of unacceptable Guilford neglect. But it needs all that just to realize its true freight revenue-generating potential as a Worcester-Portland mainline, so the T hospital train doesn't have a lot to do in and of itself with that bucket list.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby leviramsey » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:59 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:And unless you're building Framingham-Northboro commuter rail, which studied pretty nifty on rush-hour ridership but is absolutely no one's idea of a Top 6 extensions build priority,


Have any studies been done on Clinton commuter rail? There's a reasonable density walk-shed already around Clinton Jct (except for the cemetery) with quite a bit of former mill buildings and a few large vacant lots) that are well suited for transit-oriented development/redevelopment. None of the highways out of town (62, 70, 110, Wattaquadock Hill Rd.) to 495/290/190/2 are particularly fast (15-20 minutes to 495/290 at rush hour pretty consistently). I imagine that Clinton via Framingham would get dramatically better ridership than Clinton via Ayer (mostly from Worcester Main north of Clinton being undevelopable nowhere vs. Northborough, Marlborough, Southborough, Framingham State), especially if piggybacking on a Fitchburg-level rebuild investment on the B&A.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:23 am

Northborough/I-290 via Framingham was studied by Boston MPO in 2002, though for whatever reason they don't have the PDF of that study archived on their site...just the bibliography. I haven't even been able to find it scanned on Google Books yet like a lot of other old studies in the State Transportation Library. The study also ballparked some Phase II considerations for extending past Northborough to Leominster after the first phase to I-290 opens, and appendixed the possibility of reinstating the connection to the Fitchburg Line for run-thru service. Annoyingly, the MPO's 2003 Program for Mass Transportation study compendium which pegged project priorities on all extant rail transit expansion proposals went with the Leominster figures that weren't studied in as much depth as Northboro so it's impossible to parse out from stuff that is searchable on PDF the costs & ridership of the much more consequential Northboro leg without digging out the original N'boro-centric paper study in the Transportation Library. The PMT ranked Leominster an overall "medium priority". I guess you could extrapolate from that rating that Phase I to Northboro-only is a "medium + 1" -priority by being a little more focused in scope.

I can't fathom there ever being demand to extend to downtown Leominster because the ex-NYNH&H station there is in near-literal walking distance to N. Leominster on the Fitchburg Line and MART bus Route 9 runs down MA 12 from downtown all the way to the Sterling town line. Expand those Fitchburg schedules like they're supposed to, reshape some downtown-terminating MART routes to loop a few blocks over @ N. Leo and boost headways to catch those expanded train schedules, and vote Sterling into the MART district so Route 9 can be extended 2.5 miles further down MA 12 to Sterling center with an I-190 park-and-ride lot. You'll end up getting more Boston frequencies and probably a faster overall Boston trip on the MART + Fitchburg combo than you ever would on a one-seat train ride out of Framingham, so the 10 miles of track past Clinton Jct. are essentially transit-useless. And very nearly freight-useless, as there's only 1 CSX customer left in Leominster served twice a week while the 5-day-a-week job never goes any further than Bestway Lumber on Sterling Rd. about 1.5 miles past the junction. Chances are the line's going to be cut back to Bestway in the next 10 years as the last scraps in Leominster dry up and get rail-trailed...and it'll be no loss to anyone. (Framingham-Clinton, thankfully, should be permanently safe.)


Clinton would be interesting to include in a re-study scenario with Northboro, however, because of the direct track connection to Worcester and likelihood that PAR's successors will need/want a Worcester Main that's maintained to full Class 3 speeds ASAP. Northboro we know would have good park-and-ride catchment and healthy resulting rush-hour ridership, though remains to be seen if there'd be much of an off-peak demand on that routing. But by going the extra 7.5 miles of rehab through Berlin and Clinton you gain potential run-thru access to Worcester Union Station via Clinton Jct. on Worcester Main track that the freights will have long paid for to uprate to Class 3. It would sweep up the whole north half of Metro Worcester on a service that serves substantial amount of Worcester reverse-commuting demand in addition to Boston commutes. Maybe parts of the day it just operates as a Framingham-Worcester shuttle to balance long travel times on the branches with more frequent 2-seat timed transfers @ Framingham and Worcester Union, while other times of the day it runs all the way thru and other times of the day it's throttled with an I-290 short-turn for optimal travel time on the Boston-centric park-and-riders. It'll take a solid 1-2 decades before Worcester becomes enough of a reverse-commute gravity well to really drive a corridor-wide investment like that, so that's why the Northboro piece and its heftiest track rehab price tag isn't anyone's idea of a 2020's-decade priority. But the future looks very compelling the more Metro Worcester grows. You could spend all day brainstorming useful schedules that sliced/diced Worcester-centric and Boston-centric demand on a half-loop route that went:

(points east) <--> FRAMINGHAM <--> Framingham State U. <--> Mass Pike/MA 9 <--> Southborough/I-495 <--> Northborough Ctr./US 20 <--> Northborough/I-290 <--> West Berlin <--> Clinton <--> Oakdale/I-190 <--> West Boylston <--> Greendale <--> WORCESTER UNION
Last edited by CRail on Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed
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Re: Beacon Park Updates

Postby BandA » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:46 pm

What do folks feel about a pilot project dinky from Boston Landing to Mass Ave? Would only require a switch east of Boston Landing to provide access to track 2. Gates wouldn't have to block Mass Ave since train never crosses it. Add a platform at Memorial Drive.

Since South Station is at capacity, you theoretically cannot add any rush hour trains. I haven't heard anybody say that North Station is "at capacity". So if you want to add additional rush-hour Framingham or Worcester frequencies within the next decade (for "bullet" service, lol) it will have to go to North Station or truncate at BBY.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:22 pm

We already have that. It's called the 64 bus between Oak Sq. and Kendall, it runs every 13 minutes at peak and 25 minutes off-peak, and it takes about 10 minutes to get between Boston Landing and Central Square. Rail scheduling's not going to improve upon that if all you're looking to do is dump people off at Mass Ave.; it'll be a costlier fare at far worse frequencies. If you aren't hitting North Station and Kendall for large-scale destination and trip linkage, there's literally zero advantage to the Purple Line through Cambridgeport over the existing Yellow Line routes.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates

Postby diburning » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:34 am

More like 23 minutes peak and 35 minutes off-peak (and one hour very off-peak and on weekends). It only goes to Kendall during peak times, and it is often stuck in traffic on Broadway. Also, it does not stop at Boston Landing, that stop was removed as part of the development of that area.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates

Postby rethcir » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:12 pm

I've been seeing a lot of agitation lately for West Station in the Globe and a lot of TOD twitter accounts (@peoplespike seems to be the main activist). This may have been discussed (at length by some I'm sure) before. I think I don't see any point for it until the Worcester Line is upgraded to electric or rapid transit, at least to I-95 or so. Adding another CR stop so close to Boston Landing sounds like it will hose up the schedules even more. Is it a chicken and egg game where Harvard is waiting for transit, and the transit planners are waiting for Harvard?
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Re: Beacon Park Updates

Postby BandA » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:59 pm

I thought the idea was Boston Landing would be the "major" stop and there might be other "local" stops like West Station and a Fanueil or Brighton stop. The ball is really in Haarvaards court - they own Beacon Park, will reap the benefits of development, so if they want a West Station they should pay for it 100%.
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Re: Beacon Park Updates

Postby deathtopumpkins » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:47 am

The problem is that a lot of the 'activists' clamoring for West Station are doing so from the perspective of "every transit proposal is good and must be pursued!" usually without any appreciation for how it ties into the whole network, or how it affects operations.

There's also a lot of people who want the Worcester Line to be something it's not (local transit).

The state has the right idea postponing West Station into the indefinite future. It's a good idea to put a station there - so long as it is served by something other than already crowded commuter trains from far away Worcester. Build West Station once there is local service that is appropriate to serve it. Until then, walk to the B line.
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