Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

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Postby Robert Paniagua » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:36 am

Electrifying that portion of the Midland route from BOS to Readville would also benefit Amtrak trains in case they need to use that as a detour if the shorteline route from those two points for some reason is closed. And maybe MBTA trains couls run with electric locomotives for the Providence lines if that FGairmount line is electrified.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:22 am

Ron Newman wrote:I assume that Providence Line trips could also do this, but none are currently scheduled.
Yes, they could run PVD trains on the Dorchester Branch, however, that would be senseless with all of the speed restrictions on the line due to the "new" cab signal system which was installed last year. Also, single track operations between South Bay & park Interlocking during bridge work will slow things down tremendously. And lastly, don't forget that many sets dead-head to Readville to layover during the middle of the day between the AM & PM rush hours.
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Postby firepug » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:11 pm

So I guess no one took my Budd car purchase seriously :wink:

But, seriously, does anyone know whether the MBTA or state has committed to the residents' wishes for DMU/frequent service once some or all of the new stations are built? I haven't seen any increase in service mentioned in official announcements.
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Postby trainhq » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:10 pm

Certainly, the T has looked into this. There are (non -FRA compliant) DMUs in service on the River Line in New Jersey. If the Fairmount line were shut off for freight during normal operating hours, they could be used here as well. Remember, however, from the point of the T

1. They would require special maintenance work and training.

2. If they succeeded on the Fairmount line, people on the
other lines would start clamoring for them too, putting additional strain on the T's budget.

They're a great idea and would work here, but don't expect it to happen without a major infusion of $$$$
(which are needed for many other items as well.)
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Postby gt7348b » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:30 pm

So I guess no one took my Budd car purchase seriously Wink


I did! Of course, I'm trying to get people in Atlanta to buy them . . .

Seriously, about the Fairmont line; that line through Dorchester should definitely have better service once the platforms are upgraded. I mean, Blue Hill Ave used to have a trolley reservation and if you add up the number of people traveling on the bus per stop according to the CTPS, the buses carry enough people to warrant a rail line. The Indigo line is an idea that only lacks the political will for implementation.
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby Choo Choo Coleman » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:41 pm

It looks like the Fairmount Line is finally going to get some new stations added, with some plans for development around those sites. This article in the Boston Globe also mentions possible long range plans for Fairmount's converstion to a rapid transit line or light rail:

http://www.boston.com/business/articles ... ds_to_a_t/
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby rethcir » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:33 pm

It seems to me that this would be a fairly obvious candidate for expansion project probably right after the Urban Ring in importance and maybe before some of the blue line work. For the sake of conversation, if you guys had to propose how to quickly and cost-effectively convert the line to Rapid Transit, what would you propose? Third rail, catenary, dmu? Are all the stations high-level and ready to work as closed-off t stops? Are the ROWs all separated from crossings? etc.
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby Robert Paniagua » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:48 pm

Actually th Fairmount Route doesn't have any grade crossings
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:27 pm

rethcir wrote:It seems to me that this would be a fairly obvious candidate for expansion project probably right after the Urban Ring in importance and maybe before some of the blue line work. For the sake of conversation, if you guys had to propose how to quickly and cost-effectively convert the line to Rapid Transit, what would you propose? Third rail, catenary, dmu? Are all the stations high-level and ready to work as closed-off t stops? Are the ROWs all separated from crossings? etc.


The line merges with the Old Colony routes on approach to South Station literally next to the Red Line yard tracks at Cabot. Might have to reconfigure a couple of tracks or do a small overpass/underpass to criscross the CR tracks with grade separation, but the line already is on the Cabot/Southampton property on its approach to SS so the dirt simplest thing to do is run unmodified Red Line trains on the Indigo even if it is not itself a revenue RL branch (due to lack of inbound tunnel access). Your Indigo line stop can be built onto SS when the Postal facility gets knocked down because that opens up the RL ROW for extension from the yard loop across a widened Channel RR bridge to SS proper and means for integrating it into the basement levels of the station. The Indigo terminus at SS can then serve as the provisional start for the North-South rail link's rapid-transit line whenever that gets built, or even the terminus of a Red Line "Rush Hour Express" from the south skipping Andrew and Broadway via the yard tracks. Should the N-S link ever get built this would also allow full operational re-routing of either RL branch through the Link and capacity to scale up for further extensions if there were dual downtown routings.


There's 58 01700 cars, enough for 9 6-car trains with spares. That's plenty for a starter fleet on a very short line like the Indigo. Since the line would have to be operationally set up as Red Line to share equipment they can run 100% unmodified save for an indigo paint job and some ASA installation. Besides third rail power your only "new" infrastructure is the RL car storage and small maint facility at Readville, the track work to across the Old Colony junction grade-separated into Cabot, the "extension" across the Channel and former Postal property, and the actual Indigo South Station platform itself. It's a lot of construction at Cabot/SS proper, but little anywhere else and virtually none outside of MBTA-owned non-revenue property.

Ridership would probably explode on this thing if it continued past Readville 1 stop along the NEC ROW to Amtrak/128 station where you'd get the huge park-and-ride ridership to accompany the robust local service. The way the ROW looks landscaped on Google Maps satellite looks like there's room to add 2 tracks on the existing footprint without getting the Neaponset Reservation environmentalists in a tizzy. Hell, might be the only place you ever again get to ride a Red Line car barreling along at 65 MPH in the ATO era. :-D
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby Robert Paniagua » Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:34 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The line merges with the Old Colony routes on approach to South Station literally next to the Red Line yard tracks at Cabot. Might have to reconfigure a couple of tracks or do a small overpass/underpass to criscross the CR tracks with grade separation, but the line already is on the Cabot/Southampton property on its approach to SS so the dirt simplest thing to do is run unmodified Red Line trains on the Indigo even if it is not itself a revenue RL branch (due to lack of inbound tunnel access). Your Indigo line stop can be built onto SS when the Postal facility gets knocked down because that opens up the RL ROW for extension from the yard loop across a widened Channel RR bridge to SS proper and means for integrating it into the basement levels of the station. The Indigo terminus at SS can then serve as the provisional start for the North-South rail link's rapid-transit line whenever that gets built, or even the terminus of a Red Line "Rush Hour Express" from the south skipping Andrew and Broadway via the yard tracks. Should the N-S link ever get built this would also allow full operational re-routing of either RL branch through the Link and capacity to scale up for further extensions if there were dual downtown routings.


There's 58 01700 cars, enough for 9 6-car trains with spares. That's plenty for a starter fleet on a very short line like the Indigo. Since the line would have to be operationally set up as Red Line to share equipment they can run 100% unmodified save for an indigo paint job and some ASA installation. Besides third rail power your only "new" infrastructure is the RL car storage and small maint facility at Readville, the track work to across the Old Colony junction grade-separated into Cabot, the "extension" across the Channel and former Postal property, and the actual Indigo South Station platform itself. It's a lot of construction at Cabot/SS proper, but little anywhere else and virtually none outside of MBTA-owned non-revenue property.

Ridership would probably explode on this thing if it continued past Readville 1 stop along the NEC ROW to Amtrak/128 station where you'd get the huge park-and-ride ridership to accompany the robust local service. The way the ROW looks landscaped on Google Maps satellite looks like there's room to add 2 tracks on the existing footprint without getting the Neaponset Reservation environmentalists in a tizzy. Hell, might be the only place you ever again get to ride a Red Line car barreling along at 65 MPH in the ATO era. :-D


That's a good idea, maybe they shpuld do that for real after all, what you described in the last paragraph by having the Indigo Line go from SS thru Cabot Yard, and having it go via Midland thru Readville and to Westwood would be great especially with the new Westwood Station Project taking place along University Avenue and further down University Avenue into Norwood around building #625 which was recently abandoned by Reebok where the MBTA can place a yard/layover for the Indigo/Red Line trains. This is a great idea
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby jonnhrr » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:50 am

This also fits well with a conversion of the Mattapan Ashmont line to heavy rail, assuming you could get that past the likely NIMBY's in Milton, you would have to grade separate the line at Central Ave and Capen St. and also figure out how to connect at Mattapan (probably a 1/2 mile tunnel under River St) but then you could run Alewife - Ashmont - Mattapan - Readville - (128)

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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby $teve25 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:33 pm

Build a tunnel portal near or before Andrew station then build an elevated line straight down the fairmount line since a ROW already exist, your just building above the existing tracks. Commuter trains coming from out of the city still get to use it as well as freights and the moves between readville and the BET. Imagine the red line with three branches and Boston gets to have an EL again.
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby Charliemta » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:50 pm

I really like F-Line's idea. It would create a new rapid transit line along the Fairmount line using the Red Line cars out of the Cabot yards, plus provide additional rush hour express service for the existing Red Line to JFK/UMass and points south.

Looking at Google maps aerial photos, I see evidence that the Fairmount Line was historically a three-track line, so it may have room to install a third track. This would require new bridges and retaining walls, and some minor property acquisition, and re-doing the stations. There could be room for one freight-only track, plus a separate two-track rapid transit line using the Red Line cars as F-Line suggested. The rapid transit line could go all the way to Readville and the Route 128 station.

When the Postal Service building at South Station is demolished, the original underground loop track at South Station should be re-established to provide turnaround capability and a boarding area for this new Fairmount rapid transit line.
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:16 pm

$teve25 wrote:Build a tunnel portal near or before Andrew station then build an elevated line straight down the fairmount line since a ROW already exist, your just building above the existing tracks. Commuter trains coming from out of the city still get to use it as well as freights and the moves between readville and the BET. Imagine the red line with three branches and Boston gets to have an EL again.

That would almost certainly result in less service on the Ashmont and Braintree branches, which is the last thing we need.
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Re: Fairmount as a rapid transit line?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:53 pm

jonnhrr wrote:This also fits well with a conversion of the Mattapan Ashmont line to heavy rail, assuming you could get that past the likely NIMBY's in Milton, you would have to grade separate the line at Central Ave and Capen St. and also figure out how to connect at Mattapan (probably a 1/2 mile tunnel under River St) but then you could run Alewife - Ashmont - Mattapan - Readville - (128)

Jon


You wouldn't even need to do that, really. One of the proposals for the new Blue Hill Ave. station has it spanning the block between Blue Hill and Cummins Highway for more TOD parcels, slightly easier pedestrian access in either direction around Mattapan Square, and easier means of looping buses through that station and Mattapan Station. Mattapan Station is 1200 feet down Cummins and across the Square from the entrance to this planned stop. And Cummins is 4 lanes wide with a median and currently unused parking shoulders on both sides, and has only 3 apartment buildings on the right side of the road and an ugly supermarket at the Square with nothing else but ugly parking lots and bulldozed or condemned industrial property. If Cummins were reconfigured on the short stretch between the Square and Regis Rd. where the Blue Hill station entrance would be the trolleys could be extended 1 stop to a direct-transfer loop at the station running either in a reservation or in a full traffic-separation lane up Cummins...without incurring the dirty word "street-running" that turns the T into its own NIMBY. The actual station turnout on the corner of Cummins and Regis is a hideous abandoned industrial lot, as is the first 2/3 of the Fairmount-facing side of Regis with just one house punctuating the decay. The Mattapan Square crossing is already at a stoplight on a 6-way intersection so the trolleys can get across on the same signal the buses use to get out of the station. So that's a ton of empty space to take advantage of and redevelop.

This would be a dirt cheap and dirt quick transfer node that would drive a lot of traffic through a pretty below-capacity line when you consider how many people would want to get to Ashmont from the Fairmount corridor. The whole Fairmount ROW is a remarkably cost-, labor-, and equipment-efficient way to add a whole spanking-new heavy-use rapid transit line to the T with minimal disruption to anything. Outside of the northside Green Line extension they'll never get one as easy as this.
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