Atypical Rail Service (trains NOT to Boston)

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

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Atypical Rail Service (trains NOT to Boston)

Postby Hux » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:52 pm

Boston Globe article on MBTA idea of bypassing North Station.

"As part of a years long study about improving the commuter rail, transit officials are considering linking the Newburyport/Rockport commuter lines with the Fitchburg Line, somewhere just north of North Station. That would create a long, single through-route linking North Shore cities such as Salem, Lynn, and Chelsea with Cambridge, Waltham, and points further west."

https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... MTMyNTg%3D
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:17 pm

"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby rethcir » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:55 pm

Wow, this is a pretty awesome idea. If they electrified it, it wouldmake good on failed promises of a BL extension, and it would also bring sorely needed semi rapid transit to the densely populated North Shore and Belmont/Watertown/Waltham area. Would be a draw to the Fitchburg area too, which is an underdeveloped area of the state ripe for housing the Boston workforce.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby rethcir » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:15 pm

Also, it looks like there’d be room to build a 128 Station on the Waltham side.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:47 am



Paywall for me. I reached my limit on free reading the GLobe a long time ago. The possibility exists to link the Haverhill, Lowell, Fitchburg and Worcester lines, too, but hell will probably freeze over before that happens.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Trinnau » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:53 am

Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport can go to Fitchburg and Worcester on a continuous move via the tracks that run behind BET. The same tracks CSX used to use up until just recently. Lowell does not have that same kind of connection. Lowell has a through connection to Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport that freight trains use, but that's going to disappear rather quickly due to the Green Line Extension. Of course they could go Haverhill-Lowell-Fitchburg via the Pan Am Freight Main.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Lentinula » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:59 am

I'm still waiting on Worcester to North Station via Clinton

Though Worcester to Ayer, Worcester to Gardner, and Worcester to Leominster/Fitchburg would be great too.

What I really want is Worcester to Providence, Worcester to Hartford, and more than one train a day to Springfield.....
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:44 pm

Trinnau wrote:Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport can go to Fitchburg and Worcester on a continuous move via the tracks that run behind BET. The same tracks CSX used to use up until just recently. Lowell does not have that same kind of connection. Lowell has a through connection to Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport that freight trains use, but that's going to disappear rather quickly due to the Green Line Extension. Of course they could go Haverhill-Lowell-Fitchburg via the Pan Am Freight Main.


I was thinking about using the Lowell Branch, the Stony Brook and the Worcester Main Line to connect everything. Sorta like the rail version of I-495. :wink:
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Hux » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:32 pm

Well, that is "easily" accomplished by rebuilding the Georgetown branch East from Bradford to Georgetown and on to Newburyport. A little bit of an issue getting over I95, but everything else should be fairly straightforward.
Last edited by CRail on Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary nesting quotes removed.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:52 pm

I read the article, but not the full report.
Do they intend to run the trains to the end points of all three lines? Or would Rockport/Newburyport only go as far as Waltham? Do they need to go much further?
I am not a commuter rail rider, so I am naive.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Aerie » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:10 pm

Has any study been conducted to see exactly how many people would want to go from one line to another without changing in Boston? I doubt it's that many. And can lines like the Western Route that is already nearly saturated afford to run additional trains that bypass Boston? I guess it goes back to the 1800s and the beginning of the railroads: all the rail lines had Boston as their goal, and were in competition with each other, so there are very few links between them outside of Boston.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby CRail » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:32 am

In the 1800s trains moved things. Since they had their own thoroughfares and it was good for PR, they moved people too, but their purpose was to move things. Also, the suburbs didn't exist yet, so commuter rail wasn't a concept in the minds of the moguls of railroading. The infrastructure wasn't designed for passenger traffic patterns because it wasn't designed for passenger traffic, railroads went between factories and ports in industrialized areas and like New England. Fast forward 150 years after a suburban sprawl and a new transportation network inadvertently designed to fail by its own success (gridlocked highways), and railroads are once again needed to carry people where they never would have gone before all that. It's not a coincidence that highways generally follow rail lines, but now a phenomenon has occurred wherein we need railroads that follow the highways (ie. 128 and 495). Much of that infrastructure did exist before but because it didn't carry people it fell by the wayside and then out of the minds of transportation planners and into the minds of trail activists. Not only is reversal possible but it's also inevitable since rail infrastructure plays a much more significant role in our society than recreational paths no matter how unlikely it might seem in today's political climate. This is a first and very small step in the direction of political acknowledgement of that fact.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby BandA » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:06 am

I think the steam railroads demonstrated the practicality of commuting as far back as the 1830s, and I think the inner suburbs started to gel long before the horse cars.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby BandA » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:17 am

Yes, 70 years of highway imprinting clamors for more relief than replacing the passenger rail infrastructure destroyed 50 years ago. If you could snap your fingers, a circumferential EL near 128 would be an instant success.
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Re: East-West Rail Link

Postby Aerie » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:51 pm

I must say I've always been impressed with the circumferential and cross-town possibilities in London, and the first of those (the Underground's Circle Line) goes way back to the 1800's. But London doesn't have one major "downtown" area...it is spread out over a vast area and has numerous "downtowns". So crosstown links make great sense in London. If something like the Circle Line was to have been created in Boston, it should have been laid down the median of Rte 128* when they converted the "surface roads 128" into the "super highway 128" back in the 1950's. I'm glad to see NH is leaving room in the median of the widened I-93 for a rail option.

*For those of you from out of state, Rte 128 is what insiders call I-95 :-D
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