New Bedford Service

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

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Noo Beffud

Postby mxdata » Sat Apr 17, 2004 8:50 pm

Both the state and the city have "missed the boat" a number of times, and it wasn't just in letting the whaling ship and the battleship get away from New Bedford.

Route 140 is turning into a major commuter corridor, and the four lane stretch of Route 24 between the 140 merge south of Taunton and the Route 24/I-495 cloverleaf badly needs to be increased to six lanes, if commuter rail waits much longer. In the morning northbound, and the evening southbound, Route 140 traffic is probably more dense than I-195. The New Bedford traffic southbound backs up on Route 24 at the 140 exit in the afternoon, creating a serious problem and accident potential, but the state has yet to address this.

The City of New Bedford is also almost incredibly slow at making corrections and improvements for the increasing traffic volume. Take the traffic mess on Brownell Avenue, for example. In the afternoon between 4PM and 5:30 you typically have eight to ten blocks of cars lined up on the street waiting for the light at Route 6 and 140, idling, wasting fuel, and producing pollution. The city owns the land on the east side of the road, part of Buttonwood Park, and could easily put an extra lane in there to flow two lanes north onto 140 instead of just one lane. It would probably cost less to do than putting up one of these fancy "You are entering the Buzzards Bay watershed" signs that pollute our view of the scenery.

With Dartmouth, Westport, Mattapoisett, and Marion all building in population rapidly, the area and the traffic are only going to get worse. It would be refreshing to see some realistic thinking applied to the commuter rail problem, rather than having it tied up in requirements to dig out multi million dollar superfund cleanup sites and support tourist attractions that may never get built.

By the way, on the subject of use of tax dollars, has anybody else noticed the couple of signs on I-195 that tell you how far it is to "Braga Bridge". The Braga Bridge is a structure, not a town or city, and isn't named on most maps. If you know what it is, you probably live in the area and have a pretty good idea how far away it is, so you don't need a sign to tell you. Your tax dollars at work.....duh! :wink:
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New Beige

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sat Apr 17, 2004 9:38 pm


How about the 4-way Stop signs erected on Rockdale Avenue and
Court Street at the Park? Now we have another backup of traffic
sometimes halfway to Allen Street!

You are right about RT 140. Having commute for 25 years now,
its amazing how busy this highway is. And the interchange with
RT24 is getting to be...well, IS...dangerous. Yet another truck flipped
over this week - it attempted to go RT140 North to RT24 North and
ended up blocking the ramp from RT24 North to to RT140 North.

The foot-dragging over the restoration of commuter rail to this
region is shameful.

I also have my worries about the super station planned for
downtown/waterfront in NB in as far as security goes. NB should
have two stations - the waterfront one and another up at Tarklin
Hill Rd or further north at Church Street/RT140.

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Postby BenH » Sun Apr 18, 2004 7:22 am

The MBTA FY05 – FY09 Capital Investment Program (CIP), that was released on 11 March 2004, includes only one statement about service to Fall River & New Bedford:

Page 108:
There are three projects that have been identified as anticipated future efforts for commuter rail expansion.
�� New Bedford/Fall River Extension – Design and Construction
This project involves the design and construction of a new commuter rail extension from Boston to the cities of Fall River and New Bedford, also providing service to the towns of Stoughton, Easton, Raynham, Taunton, Lakeville, Berkeley, and Freetown. This project will proceed when all permits are completed, the necessary rights-of-way are purchased, and state funds are made available.
(items 2 and 3 have been omited)

From this it would seem clear that Fall River / New Bedford is "off the radar" screen of the MBTA for the time being.

FYI, you can find the full report on this link:
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Postby mxdata » Sun Apr 18, 2004 7:34 am

By the time they get anything in service I will probably be pushing up flowers and consequently won't have to risk my life using the downtown New Bedford railroad station.

You gotta ask yourself this question:

"Do you feel lucky?"

Can you make it from the station to your car in the parking lot, at a railroad station right next to the biggest druggie hangout in the city without getting beaten and robbed?

Well, can you?

"A man's gotta know his limitations".
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Postby Ken W2KB » Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:21 pm

Commuter service parking would not conflict with visitors to Battleship Cove since one is mostly weekday days and the other weekends, and in the summer weekday commuting is less with vacations. A multilevel parking deck could be built if needed.

Now, wouldn't it be great if the line were extended south to Tiverton and thence to Newport? Might not even have to build that new Sakonnet River vehicular bridge.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]
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Postby Cotuit » Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:13 am

Ken W2KB wrote:Now, wouldn't it be great if the line were extended south to Tiverton and thence to Newport? Might not even have to build that new Sakonnet River vehicular bridge.

There's quiet 'talk' about that in Rhode Island. The Airport extension is of course first priority, and nothing can reach Newport until Fall River gets service, but it's on the distant horizon for Rhode Island transportation planners.

Postby ST214 » Mon Apr 19, 2004 6:30 pm

If this train serves Lakeville, will the Lakeville at Middleboro/Lakeville be dropped???
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.
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Postby BenH » Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:29 pm

The August 16, 2004 edition of
(The E-Zine of the National Corridors Initiative, Inc.)
reports that the this project is "back on track".

You can read the full article on this web link: ... shtml#Fall
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Tue Aug 17, 2004 8:42 am

thats good news :-D

I was just reading the MBTA Excutive report on the T's website about the FR/NB line and they said they want to double track the stoughton branch from Canton Center to Stoughton, that is going to be a little bit of a problem, cause some parts of the branch, you cant fit a second track, there are steep hills on the sides of the tracks, houses, etc.
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Postby trainhq » Tue Aug 17, 2004 5:09 pm

You can be sure that if they try proposing that again that the Stoughton/Easton NIMBYs will be up in arms again. I'm sure they're
preparing new lawsuits already. I think the Attleboro route will be
the one that is finally chosen.
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Tue Aug 17, 2004 9:18 pm

the Attleboro route is difficult because at "Boro" this is where the Middleboro Secondary meet sthe NEC. The only way to get onto this track traveling in the direction of Providence---Boston. The switch is on Track 4 and if trains from Boston wanted to get onto this track, they would have to pull past the switch and then reverse onto the Middl. Secondary, the engine would have to switch ends of the train, but the engine would still be facing the wrong direction.
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Postby Ron Newman » Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:04 pm

That's assuming you can't just build a wye or connecting track.

The other problem is, this is the NEC, and it's already got a lot of both Amtrak and commuter traffic.
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New Bedford

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:51 pm

It is hard to believe today but years ago there were a number of routes
that could have been used for direct service between Fall River/New
Bedford and Boston. Unfortunately, the lack of foreshight has resulted in
the disappearance of a viable route.
In my opinion, probably the best way out of this is to do what has to be
done to double track the section between Boston and South Braintree.
Can't be done?, oh I think it can, a structure could be built above the
existing Red Line or OC track for an additional main track in the areas
where there is not sufficient room for an additional track on the existing
right of way. I would suspect that the right of way from South Braintree
to Middleboro could probably accomodate a second main line track now if
it was necessary as the line was double track at one time anyway.
Use the existing wye track at Middleboro and build a wye connecting
track at Cotley Junction to permit a straight away move from Middleboro
to Fall River/New Bedford.
I would think that the addition of a dozen or so trains to NB/FR would cause the main line to reach a saturation point. Especially from Readville
to Attleboro.
In order to get trains to New Bedford and Fall River, something is going to
have to give and a major change in thinking will have to take place.
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Postby Ron Newman » Wed Aug 18, 2004 6:42 am

Didn't the old route go through Stoughton and Easton? If trains ran there before, and nothing has been built on the right-of-way, then trains can run there again.
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Postby trainhq » Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:18 am

The ROW still exists, but there's a lot of stuff near it, especially in Easton
where it runs through the middle of town. There will be significant noise
and vibration impacts for that alignment. I think the route could be
shifted to run maybe to the west of Easton, but you'd still have significant
land takings to do that.
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