Greenline Expansion to Medford

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Green Line/McGrath/Grand Jct

Postby GP40MC1118 » Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:50 pm

"green line from Union Square to Lechmere should be located along the NORTH side of the Fitchburg rail line. That way it can pass under McGrath Highway, and also avoid the need for a crossing of the Grand Junction"

It is impossible for any Green Line track headed to Union Square NOT to cross the the Grand Jct. The GJ crosses the Fitchburg Route mainline at grade UNDER McGrath, then swings west to Medford Street in Somerville.

-The only way you could go under McGrath is in a tunnel or take some
land and cut through the area where the Wear Guard store is, over
McGrath on a bridge, behind Star Market and over the GJ on a bridge.

-There is no room on the east side of the commuter mainline between
the Red Bridge and McGrath or even beyond to Union. There's the
small matter of the Brickbottom Artists building, Pat's Towing, the
Target/AC Moore mall, etc. The only possible room is west of the
Medford St bridge where the ROW is wide. Of course, you would
have to retire the commuter rail storage track/switching lead known
at the Paint Shop.

-To come off the Red Bridge area on the west side of the CR
mainline would also require land taking as in the parking lot of
the Charles Webb building (former Dealy Foam Factory). Since
you can't cross the GJ here at grade here, it would require some
Zakim bridge type flyover of McGrath and the GJ. BTW, there is
no room to squeeze the Green Line between the commuter rail
mainline and the westerly abutment of McGrath anyway.

-Another "Red Bridge" problem to consider is once this bridge is
removed, the T has plans to cut the embankment back in order to
east the curve on the CR there. They also would like to raise the
track here due to the persistent flooding problems. Also, easing
the curve would allow expansion of the Yard 14 layover yard to
nine tracks as originally called for (although this may never happen).

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Postby ceo » Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:15 pm

Looking at an aerial, I completely can't see what the problem is. There appear to be four tracks under the Red Bridge: two for the Fitchburg Line, one for the Grand Junction and a lead to the Boston Engine Terminal. The GJ crosses the other three at grade under the McGrath Highway. All you need to do is take those four tracks down to 2, so that the GJ joins the north track of the Fitchburg Line and then splits off just east of the Red Bridge, with the shop lead splitting off of the GJ just beyond. This doesn't create that much more interference with commuter rail traffic, as the GJ interferes with it already. Now you have room for two Green Line tracks north of the Fitchburg Line tracks. Tear down the Red Bridge and you have plenty of room for a bridge carrying the Green Line over the Fitchburg to bring it down to the new Lechmere location.
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Postby GP40MC1118 » Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:12 pm

You need to actually go out there and look at what's there. An aerial
shot doesn't cut it. Your plan would require a complete redesign of
"Swift Interlocking", would affect operations by reducing the Fitchburg
Route mainline to single track (!) and solve how it get over McGrath
Highway since going under it is problematic since that aerial photo
does not show the hefty bridge abutment between the two mainlines/GJ
and the Paint Shop lead (the east side of the tracks) that would prove
difficult to allow passage under McGrath.

And reducing the Fitchburg mainline to single track here? That's all
we need, bad enough we might have to add schedule killing stop at
Union Square if this ever happens!

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Postby ceo » Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:08 am

I'm not suggesting reducing the Fitchburg Route mainline to single track. There are four tracks now; take out the Paint Shop lead and have the GJ join the Fitchburg for a hundred feet or so. That leaves two tracks for the Fitchburg and two tracks for the Green Line.

And of course you're going to have to redesign Swift Interlocking. Running the green Line up the Lowell Line ROW is going to require moving the commuter rail tracks and getting rid of the old freight line. These are far from insurmountable obstacles.

The bridge abutment I didn't know about. I'll try to get out there this weekend and go over the ground.
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Postby apodino » Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:51 am

Here is a thought based on some articles I was reading. Obviously Somerville wants a stop in Union Square. Obviously the extension to West Medford is economical without moving it away from the ROW since the T won't have to undertake any land takings. Here is a suggestion that has been brought up and seems to be worth looking at. Why not run Branches at this end of the green line much like the other end with B C, D, and E. One branch would follow the Lowell ROW into West Medford, the other branch would follow the Fitchburg ROW into Union Square? Obviously West Medford has to happen as has been mentioned. The question becomes, how do we provide good service to Union Square to satisfy the town govt.
Rich "Dino" Martin
A one time happy rider of Arborway and the old Washington St. El.
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Location: Appleton, WI

Postby trainhq » Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:26 am

That's one of the plans they're considering. It makes
a lot of sense, and it may happen. We'll see.
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