Iron Horse OCC Billerica

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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:18 am

newpylong wrote:B - Iron Horse is walkable/bikable to/from N. Billerica Commuter Rail station (trains every 30 mins to the hour weekday). 2 miles to I495 and 3, 5 miles from 93 and 8 to 128. From a geographical perspective, it is very easy to get to and fairly centrally located for northside operations. Many of the people who currently work in Innerbelt live up north as well.


It is over a mile walk from the station, about 1⅓ or so, whereas walking distance is generally considered ¼ or ⅓ mile. As it is, BET and Sullivan are ¾ mile to Cobble Hill, but people use them. Sidewalks are spotty in North Billerica depending on your route, but High St certainly has none and no paved shoulder, close-in foliage making fairly blind curves. Cycling infrastructure is non-existent in Billerica, whereas Cobble Hill has bike infra and will soon have three bike networks landing at its edges. Street lights are far more infrequent in Billerica, too. Corthell Rd is one of the shorter routes and has no lighting at all, makes for a very uneasy and dangerous walk or ride. An OCC is a 24/7 365 environment, so peak service levels at that station you can trek to don't much matter, anyway. It is convenient only for driving and only for some.

BandA wrote:You want to locate your back-office facilities in low-cost areas, not in downtown transit accessible locations


Employees at Cobble Hill aren't exactly land-intensive and are pretty cheap to place. Ballparking here, everyone needs a 10x10 desk area or office, add to that multiple shifts and you might average 2 employees per 10x10 work area. Meanwhile, warehousing and maintenance facilities are very land-intensive because you're storing parts, machinery, and trains. BET has 4x the land used for parking, but the property is 10x larger. Barring specific needs or conveniences of the industry, warehousing and maintenance should be on the periphery.

Also, the MBTA already and still owns the Cobble Hill property, as well as BET which is not relocating, and other properties are theoretically available (probably full occupancy) such as High St or the State Transportation Building. There's no pressing need to propagate job sprawl and VMT, which in turn encourages further housing sprawl.
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby newpylong » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:29 pm

They plan employee shuttles between the train station and Iron Horse, regardless - the majority of the folks who take the train down to Cobble Hill only do so because it's a farce to drive in and out. Lack of immediate walkability will mean nothing when traffic becomes less of a problem. Obviously this has been thought through or there wouldn't be an RFP - I don't think it needs to be armchaired.
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby BandA » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:48 pm

so...why are they moving out of Cobble Hill? Because it is old? Why are they bringing PAR along for the free ride - make them stay at the old facility?
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:25 am

There's been a lot of speculation over the past five years about the future of the whole Innerbelt area with the coming of the Green
Line Extension. I don't have the link with me, but there was a Somerville study/report done back then which re-visioned the whole
area from Washington Street down to Innerbelt to where the Green Line will be. All the remaining warehouses would be gone and the only
rail left was the Lowell mainline. Certainly not middle-class, blue collar stuff since it didn't look like the Cobblehill apartments currently
between Washington St. and New Washington St/Cobblehill survive.

Oddly enough, Cobblehill has a relatively brand-new dispatching office built as an alternate site for Amtrak CETC/Keolis Southside and
was used when CETC South Station was being renovated.

As I said in an earlier post, I think this is being pushed by Mass DOT for whatever reason. Remember the T owns Iron Horse Park.
Some of the MW stuff now at Innerbelt is also moving to Billerica which is being driven, in part, to accommodate the Yard 9/10 track
rebuild/reactivation for PAR.

Some other things: I can't believe the T or PAR would provide an employee shuttle from N.Billerica Station. Hardly anyone at Cobblehill
takes any train into work. That's more true for the Southside guys.

Given my earlier comments about Somerville's vision for the Brickbottom/Innerbelt area, I am surprised that they haven't raised a ruckus
over the new Yard 9/10 lead rebuild that will replace Yard 8 due to GLX. This connection will have two grade crossings and apparently neither
one will have any type of crossing protection including Innerbelt!

One advantage of moving out of Cobblehill is the impending and worsening traffic situation. No major road improvements to Sullivan Square
or Rutherford Avenue in light of the opening of the Wynn Casino, road / bridge closures for GLX coming up this Fall.
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby newpylong » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:14 am

BandA wrote:so...why are they moving out of Cobble Hill? Because it is old? Why are they bringing PAR along for the free ride - make them stay at the old facility?


If the T is rebuilding Pan Am's current building they have to give them space in the new one.
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby BandA » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:03 pm

What are the plans for the old building?
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:26 pm

Would there be an issue if both CR and subway/transit were based in the same OCC (given FRA vs. non-FRA)?
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby BandA » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:13 pm

That would make too much sense. Therefore it will not be allowed.

Where are the disaster recovery/backup sites for the two control centers?
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby Trinnau » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:27 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:Would there be an issue if both CR and subway/transit were based in the same OCC (given FRA vs. non-FRA)?


Same building probably not an issue. Operations centers typically have non-qualified/regulated support staff in the same building (clerks, etc). Not sure if 45 High has enough room with all the operations support staff. Bus and Transit control centers are on different floors in that building. Having been in both I can say CETC is larger than the MBTA OCC. However there is no real operational reason for them to be in the same room or building.

BandA wrote:Where are the disaster recovery/backup sites for the two control centers?


Not sure which "two" you mean because there are several talked about in this thread.

CROCC - North Side Commuter Rail dispatching center at Cobble Hill in Somerville. No backup
CETC - South Side Commuter Rail/Amtrak Shore Line (NHV-BOS) + SPG line at South Station in Boston. Backup at Cobble Hill and I think Amtrak can in theory move to NYC or Philly.
Pan Am OCC - Pan Am Lines including the outer reaches of 3 MBTA North Side lines. No backup except for the commuter territory which could be dispatched from CROCC.
MBTA OCC - I don't know this one for sure, but I don't think there is a backup.

The new Iron Horse OCC could either become the North Side backup or more likely become the North Side primary with Cobble Hill becoming the backup for both North and South operations.

Centralization vs distributed dispatching has its pros and cons. Ask CSX what happened when a hurricane hit Jacksonville after centralizing. There is also a strong case for joint dispatching centers in shared corridors (CETC is a great example, along with San Bernadino dispatching the LA area with UP/BNSF out west). Pan Am/North Side in one location is a mirror to that.
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Re: Iron Horse OCC Billerica

Postby CRail » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:49 pm

Trinnau wrote:MBTA OCC - I don't know this one for sure, but I don't think there is a backup.

There are multiple. One on active standby that I know of (the other[s] would probably require investment to be reactivated but they're there), it was used recently while High St.'s OCC and BCC (Bus Control Center) were being renovated.
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