Orange Line questions

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

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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby e-m00 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:09 pm

CRail wrote:If the line had a fleet big enough, they could run express trains from Malden to North Station


Wellington is the busiest station on the North side for commuters. It would make much more sense to run an express from Wellington to North Station to service the hundreds of commuters that use the lot and garage every workday.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby sixflagscoasters » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:35 pm

You might think that Wellington is the busiest station north of North Station because of its size, but Malden Center Station is actually the busiest with 10,418 typical weekday station entries. As opposed to Wellington's 7,310.

Malden is ranked 15, and Wellington 28 overall subway stations.

This info is according to the 2009 MBTA Blue Book:

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/docum ... 202009.pdf
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:09 pm

CRail wrote:The current right of way south of Community College allows for track re-alignment to place switches where needed to cross back to the southbound side from the center track, and the other end allows for such operation currently.

The track arrangement at Community College already allows that.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby CRail » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:30 pm

Apparently I had it backwards. A look at another map reveals that what I mentioned is possible on the Community College end, and the "test track" that extends north of Wellington does not link up as I had assumed. Therefor it's the north end of the track that needs work. All it would need is for a switch to be added. As it is now Inbound express trains would interfere with regular outbound service.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:47 pm

There is a switch north of Wellington, it's very tight, and I always stare at it, trying to imagine anything maneuvering on to the express at more than 5 MPH through it. Clearance with the signals looks pretty tight, too.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby CRail » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:04 am

The switch north of wellington is south of the crossover between the current north and southbound tracks. In order to operate the center track as a bi-directional express track, a connection north of this crossover must be established

Current layout:
________________________
______/_________________
___/____________________ During the morning rush, northbound trains would interfere with southbound trains crossing over to the center track

Adequate layout for express operation:
________________________
_/_____/________________
___/____________________ With this layout, express trains can cross over onto the center track without interfering with northbound traffic.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:05 am

CRail wrote:The switch north of wellington is south of the crossover between the current north and southbound tracks. In order to operate the center track as a bi-directional express track, a connection north of this crossover must be established

Current layout:
________________________
______/_________________
___/____________________ During the morning rush, northbound trains would interfere with southbound trains crossing over to the center track

Adequate layout for express operation:
________________________
_/_____/________________
___/____________________ With this layout, express trains can cross over onto the center track without interfering with northbound traffic.


If they ever wanted to that wouldn't be hard. Track awkwardly terminates because it was originally intended to go all the way to Oak Grove with the Reading extension replacing the commuter rail. After that scale-back I'm sure they just went with the cheap "shiv" terminus for the track that isn't terribly practical for expresses on such a short stretch. I much doubt the Medford Branch has got another 5 years left in it with only one warehouse served twice a year, not much success attracting new/higher-frequency customers to the complex, and borderline Watertown-bad track conditions. If it weren't so short Pan Am would've abandoned it years ago. If that line goes by the boards the T can stretch its legs a little bit at that junction. Yard track rehab's on the needed capital improvement plan since most of the lines have pretty bad and way past useful life non-revenue trackage and switches. Wellington's on that wish list and will probably need it when the new, bigger fleet takes up more space and requires more yard movement. That'd be the ideal time to make a small-scale fix like that.


I pulled up the 2003 Transit MPO's cost and ridership projections for various extension proposals this week in the Southcoast Rail thread, and was floored at how high the counts were for the Reading extension. Not even new-to-mode riders, but new transit riders period despite having pretty dense stop concentration and close to max supportable CR frequency. Surprisingly modest per-rider capital cost for this rapid-transit extension (lower than the Green Line extension and bested only by the two Blue projects). And with that kind of ridership bump the per-rider operating cost was a lot better than I thought it would be for such a long-mileage extension. Really, for subway lines Red-Blue, Blue-Lynn, Green-Medford were the only ones that were more obvious slam-dunks, and Orange-Reading brings more all-new transit riders to the system than all rapid-transit OR commuter rail projects but Blue-Lynn, the North-South link, and the (dubiously high-projection) FR/NB lines. Even T being do-nothing T I'm puzzled that hardly anyone ever talks about picking this one up. Green-Needham gets more consistent active chatter than it, and even Orange-West Roxbury gets mentioned in passing as a priority more often. Their cost/ridership projections on any of those configurations pale badly in comparison.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby RailBus63 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:10 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:I pulled up the 2003 Transit MPO's cost and ridership projections for various extension proposals this week in the Southcoast Rail thread, and was floored at how high the counts were for the Reading extension. Not even new-to-mode riders, but new transit riders period despite having pretty dense stop concentration and close to max supportable CR frequency. Surprisingly modest per-rider capital cost for this rapid-transit extension (lower than the Green Line extension and bested only by the two Blue projects). And with that kind of ridership bump the per-rider operating cost was a lot better than I thought it would be for such a long-mileage extension. Really, for subway lines Red-Blue, Blue-Lynn, Green-Medford were the only ones that were more obvious slam-dunks, and Orange-Reading brings more all-new transit riders to the system than all rapid-transit OR commuter rail projects but Blue-Lynn, the North-South link, and the (dubiously high-projection) FR/NB lines. Even T being do-nothing T I'm puzzled that hardly anyone ever talks about picking this one up. Green-Needham gets more consistent active chatter than it, and even Orange-West Roxbury gets mentioned in passing as a priority more often. Their cost/ridership projections on any of those configurations pale badly in comparison.


I haven't looked at the data, but my first thought is that the two-track Washington Street tunnel would be quickly become a serious bottleneck. The MBTA would have to find a way to increase throughput on this line to entertain such an increase.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:02 pm

In the short term, the only way to increase capacity would be to improve the ATO to allow closer train spacing. In the long term, they'd probably have to add a lower level to the subway.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby danib62 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:29 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:In the short term, the only way to increase capacity would be to improve the ATO to allow closer train spacing. In the long term, they'd probably have to add a lower level to the subway.

I don't think the Washington st. tunnel is running at capacity. Peak headway is 6 mins. Compare to 4.5 on the red and 4 on the blue. There is definitely room for more trains.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:54 pm

danib62 wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:In the short term, the only way to increase capacity would be to improve the ATO to allow closer train spacing. In the long term, they'd probably have to add a lower level to the subway.

I don't think the Washington st. tunnel is running at capacity. Peak headway is 6 mins. Compare to 4.5 on the red and 4 on the blue. There is definitely room for more trains.


Theres a ton of room. The best headways can be at 90 seconds, with the proper signaling system.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby RailBus63 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:26 pm

jamesinclair wrote:
danib62 wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:In the short term, the only way to increase capacity would be to improve the ATO to allow closer train spacing. In the long term, they'd probably have to add a lower level to the subway.

I don't think the Washington st. tunnel is running at capacity. Peak headway is 6 mins. Compare to 4.5 on the red and 4 on the blue. There is definitely room for more trains.


Theres a ton of room. The best headways can be at 90 seconds, with the proper signaling system.


This is the Boston we're talking about - neither the MBTA nor its riders have the discipline to allow trains to get in, load up and go at the pace to support a 90 second headway. They've never been able to run the Red Line properly with one-third the trains. In New York, you get on the train when it arrives or they'll close the doors in your face. I can only imagine the uproar that would occur if MBTA operators began running their trains in such a no-nonsense fashion.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby CRail » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:05 pm

Railbus, you couldn't be more right. However, such things can be changed. The T police should be upgraded to police officers who actually carry out the duties of police officers, and people should be detained and fined for interfering with train service. It wouldn't take long for people to catch on.

Unfortunately, ATO would likely never allow such frequent service (certainly more frequent than current, but not as frequent as 90 second, or even 3 minute headways). Rearranging the block limits would be extremely costly. In my opinion that system should never have been installed, the current system on the blue line is sufficient.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:13 pm

CRail wrote:Rearranging the block limits would be extremely costly.

But well worth the investment if/when it reaches the point where the number of people trying to use the system exceeds the current capacity.
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Re: Orange Line questions

Postby #5 - Dyre Ave » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:17 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:I pulled up the 2003 Transit MPO's cost and ridership projections for various extension proposals this week in the Southcoast Rail thread, and was floored at how high the counts were for the Reading extension. Not even new-to-mode riders, but new transit riders period despite having pretty dense stop concentration and close to max supportable CR frequency. Surprisingly modest per-rider capital cost for this rapid-transit extension (lower than the Green Line extension and bested only by the two Blue projects). And with that kind of ridership bump the per-rider operating cost was a lot better than I thought it would be for such a long-mileage extension. Really, for subway lines Red-Blue, Blue-Lynn, Green-Medford were the only ones that were more obvious slam-dunks, and Orange-Reading brings more all-new transit riders to the system than all rapid-transit OR commuter rail projects but Blue-Lynn, the North-South link, and the (dubiously high-projection) FR/NB lines. Even T being do-nothing T I'm puzzled that hardly anyone ever talks about picking this one up. Green-Needham gets more consistent active chatter than it, and even Orange-West Roxbury gets mentioned in passing as a priority more often. Their cost/ridership projections on any of those configurations pale badly in comparison.

I guess with the existing Commuter Rail service already running there, maybe they figure there's no pressing need to send the Orange Line to Reading. But if it were to attract a significant amount of new riders to the system and take them off 93, then that's something well worth considering. I mean, it's not impossible to convert the Haverhill Line to OL operation from Reading south and then reroute the rest of the Haverhill CR onto the Wildcat Branch and onto the Lowell Line for the rest of the way into North Station. Also, you might want to have OL rolling stock with more comfortable, forward-facing seating (like Philly's PATCO train) for the longer distance from Reading to downtown Boston.

At first, I questioned the value of doing a OL extension to Reading, because I didn't know what would happen with CR service between Reading and Haverhill and Amtrak Downeaster service. But since finding out that Haverhill CR service can be rerouted via the Wildcat Branch and that Downeaster trains already use it, I can see the value in having the OL take over the Haverhill Line from Reading on south.

RailBus63 wrote:I haven't looked at the data, but my first thought is that the two-track Washington Street tunnel would be quickly become a serious bottleneck. The MBTA would have to find a way to increase throughput on this line to entertain such an increase.

Why would it? Doesn't the Orange Line have excess capacity? Headways are once every six minutes. With frequencies like that, you should be able to run more trains on tighter frequencies. The Red, Green and Blue Lines do.
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