Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

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

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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:25 am

Will the yard area marked as "P&W Yard" become a commuter rail parking lot? Or are there other station parking plans?
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:48 am

Site selection hasn't been finalized relative to which side of Pine St. it's going to go. It'll either be the Receiving Yard and the Pine-Conant block, or the industrial crud lots and Pine-Dexter block. Either way the station design is identical and the site plan involves a lot of TOD infill density. Configuration of the surrounding development is all that would significantly vary from one site to another. Don't know how much parking they envision. Hopefully not an overdose of it; this is their one big chance to get downtown density built out really really right.

Chances favor the P&W yard because it's already had all structures raised to the bare slab, RIDOT already has a rich and productive working relationship with P&W, and there's no loss of empties-storage capacity here that couldn't be absorbed by Cranston Yard instead. P&W does need yard space, but finding new uses for the Receiving Yard is a futile pursuit because it requires crossing over all NEC tracks right in the grill of the commuter rail yard to even reach it. They confine fetch/deposit moves of those empties to the middle of the night because it's not worth the trouble haggling with dispatch during the day for scarce slots to stage such an awkward movement.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:40 am

Plus with the G&W buying them I'm sure the new owners wouldn't mind getting cash for non-critical assets.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:55 am

Well, they are RI's only freight common carrier so it makes the choice of who to buddy-up with pretty straightforward. But fact remains that the Receiving Yard just isn't very useful to P&W despite its acreage because of those traffic-fouling crossover moves right in passenger nerve central. State can't help them there, because it's Amtrak dispatch who controls the access. Site's also not very attractive for trucking since drivers would have to barrel straight through the densest of downtown's squares to reach I-95; the big main yard further south across from the CR layover sits right at the end of a high-speed exit ramp and is wholly under their own mainline dispatcher. Cranston Yard, despite being physically further away, is a lickety-split hop off the FRIP track across 2 crossovers at Cranston Interlocking. They do that move multiple times per day. Trim back a little overgrowth at Cranston and they can probably lengthen out some of that yard's tracks to squeeze 1-2 dozen more cars of storage there offsetting the loss of overflow at Receiving. No great shakes, but Receiving Yard's tracks are in such very poor shape with leftover building demo debris blocking several of them that well under half the yard tracks are still usable halfway-or-further to the bumper posts at Pine St. Without a debris cleanup and spot repairs they probably can't stuff more than 2-3 dozen cars on track is still clear and operable there.

Dollar-for-dollar P&W's best move is going to be selling the Receiving Yard, because it's not even worth their while to waste 2 weeks of labor cleaning up the debris-blocked tracks with how constrained their access is. RIDOT always has a freight grant application or two in the submission queue for the coming fiscal year's TIGER, etc. federal awards...resubmissions increasing their chances in subsequent years if they miss the cut in one year. Another couple small ones of $0.5-1M for "general yard improvements" at the main Pawtucket yard or Valley Falls without any sort of time limit on which year's grant apps make the cut is all it would really take to indemnify them for making the transaction. That's probably how it's going to roll. State/city just couldn't for sake of the schedule move forward with a land transaction until they got their own grant award to kick off design-build on the station. Transaction of whichever end of the block they're buying land is now just a rubber-stamp formality.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby NH2060 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:30 pm

This vid taken last week by Zeffers716 @ Kingston shows that the catenary poles for the 3rd track are in place awaiting their "arms" (is that the correct term?). No tracks yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPsd_NQ86rY
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby sonicdoommario » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:15 pm

Quick question, how do inbound trains out of Wickford Junction operate? When pulling out of the station and merging onto track 1:

-Does it stay on track 1 until it approaches TF Green, where it can then switch back to the TF Green side track?
-Does it merge onto track 1, switch to track 2, stay on track 2 until the next switch before TF Green, and then switch back over so it can stop at TF Green?
-Does it do both of the above, depending on the dispatcher's mood and if there are any Amtraks in the area?

This has always been a curiosity since following the tracks out of Wickford on Google Earth.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby eubnesby » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:54 pm

In case anyone is interested, it has recently been announced that RIDOT will be offering free intrastate train service from July 3rd.

RIDOT is making commuter rail service free for a limited time, beginning on July 3 and running through the end of the year. The promotion will raise awareness of this convenient transit service, encouraging more people to use the train instead of the busy Route 4 highway corridor and the subsequent challenges of driving into and parking in Providence.


http://www.ri.gov/press/view/30728

Instead of doing this, perhaps they should focus on getting Kingston and Westerly ready for a proper commuter service. A Wickford terminus can only bring disappointment. Progress is being made at Kingston, judging by the last time I was there, but there have been no new announcements for ages.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:37 pm

The Track 3 project is moving along at a good pace, and word from a great Amtrak higher up, is that the T will be heading down there once the entire project has been completed. Wickford Jct. is just a stepping stone
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby jamesinclair » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:09 pm

Kingston looks done, as an Amtrak passenger
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby shadyjay » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:16 pm

Not sure if the new track at Kingston is wired up yet. Granted, you don't need wires for T service, but for Amtrak to use it, you do. Always good to have a spot for a regional to get in the hole for an Acela to pass by.

Also, they're gonna have to connect the Wickford Jct station track to the main at some point. Looking at Google Maps, looks like this "should" be relatively easy:
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.5795104 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Actually, it appears it would be relatively easy to add a second platform/"up and over" should demand warrant. That looks like a 4-track bridge still existant over Victory Highway (RI 102) at the station.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby eubnesby » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:34 pm

I was in Kingston last month, and there was no sign of any track or wire. All of the station works (platforms, etc.) have been done for a while. This is an Amtrak project, not a RIDOT/MBTA one. There are not even any 'plans' for the MBTA to service Kingston at this time. The only purpose of this track, at this time, is to allow Acelas a way around stopped Regionals, of course allowing for future commuter rail service.
Last edited by CRail on Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Do not quote the previous post to its entirety. Simply reply to it.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:59 am

shadyjay wrote:Actually, it appears it would be relatively easy to add a second platform/"up and over" should demand warrant. That looks like a 4-track bridge still existant over Victory Highway (RI 102) at the station.


That's the eventual plan. As the T pokes farther south into RI (and RIDOT/RIPTA eventually start up their own intrastate service), eventually both Wickford and TF Green will become 4-track stations with platforms on both sides. RI's just following its usual MO of doing improvements piecemeal in small, easily manageable and fundable chunks.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:11 pm

eubnesby, the track is laid, you would be very surprised at how quickly Amtrak's TLM drops ties and rail! Also, there are plenty of opportunity for Acela's to skip over Regionals in that stretch of the RR. This project is for one purpose....the eventuality of commuter rail. You are correct in stating that nothing is "officially declared" yet, but give it short time

http://photos.nerail.org/s/?p=238272

Last i heard, Amtrak and the State of RI were in disagreement of who is going to cover the costs to replace the bridge spanning RI 102
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby eubnesby » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:13 am

That's quick, real quick! When I was there, there was only dirt and gravel. I give them credit for that.

However, I wouldn't bet on commuter rail coming in a 'short time'. I know that's the goal, but this is RI we're talking about.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Rhode Island Discussion

Postby Ryanontherails » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:25 pm

So, some things I've noticed/wondered about:

1. I was surprised about seven years ago to discover that the Providence Line had only one train going to Providence during rush hour. A second train was added a year later, and as of the recent schedule update there are now three trains arriving in Providence between 6:00am and 9:00am. Ridership was very small on the two trains- maybe 30 passengers altogether? I wonder if the extra frequency will boost ridership going south, if it hasn't already.

2. T.F. Green is about to get service on three new airlines: Norwegian, Frontier, and Allegiant. Norwegian is especially notable as it will serve flights to Europe. The runway expansion will allow them to gain more European service as well as service to the West Coast. Could these flights make the train service there profitable?

3. Kingston will definitely be the terminus for commuter rail; it makes too much sense with its proximity to URI and being an established AMTRAK station. The question is, once Rhode Island gets its intrastate commuter rail up and running, how far down will the MBTA go? I think it would have to go down as far as T. F. Green, but would they have to build connections to the other tracks so that they can turn around?
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