North-South Rail Link Discussion

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

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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:40 am

saulblum wrote:
deathtopumpkins wrote:I used to do the North Station - Kendall commute via Red-Green, and to catch my 5:15 train home I had to leave my office by 4:30. Sometimes I made it to North Station early enough to catch the 5:00 train, but occasionally I missed the 5:15 and had to wait for the next one (which I believe was 5:40 then).

That should give you some idea of the variance in travel time when you have multiple transfers.


It's 1.4 miles from North Station to Kendall (less if you're going to somewhere between Kendall and Lechmere), or around a 25-minute walk at a comfortable commuting pace. (I do it every day.) And the variance is close to zero. Or it's .6 miles to Charles/MGH, with more than half of that indoors if you cut through MGH.

Not an answer for everyone, depending on whether you can handle the walk.


I previously looked into walking and no thank you. Google says 2.0 miles, 41 minutes. That's longer than the average T travel time and meant I would have had to leave earlier in order to have a comfortable ~10 minute buffer.

I did end up walking a couple times when the Red Line wasn't running, but it was always a last resort. I don't think very many people are willing to do that every day. 2 miles is most definitely a distance that you should be expected to take public transit for.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby NRGeep » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:32 am

Have there been any studies of reviving the old NH Framingham Lowell line between West Concord and Framingham? No doubt NIMBY issues, most infrastructure gone, funding issues etc. That said, seems like a viable connection from Worcester to North Station for commuter rail (etc?) minus urban headaches of cutting through Cambridge/MIT.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby The EGE » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:14 am

It's pretty dead, would have some logistical issues making the connection at West Concord, and is in the planning stages of being trailed anyway. It wouldn't be that much of a time savings over a (slightly upgraded) Worcester-Ayer line anyway.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:30 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:
saulblum wrote:It's 1.4 miles from North Station to Kendall (less if you're going to somewhere between Kendall and Lechmere), or around a 25-minute walk at a comfortable commuting pace. (I do it every day.) And the variance is close to zero. Or it's .6 miles to Charles/MGH, with more than half of that indoors if you cut through MGH.


I previously looked into walking and no thank you. Google says 2.0 miles, 41 minutes. That's longer than the average T travel time and meant I would have had to leave earlier in order to have a comfortable ~10 minute buffer.

I did end up walking a couple times when the Red Line wasn't running, but it was always a last resort. I don't think very many people are willing to do that every day. 2 miles is most definitely a distance that you should be expected to take public transit for.


They really need to make the EZRide an all day, single-route dollar circulator (or free or T-pass)
Today it is insane, running on different routes by time of day:

Which violates just about every rule of useful transit.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Diverging Route » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:08 pm

Arlington wrote:They really need to make the EZRide an all day, single-route dollar circulator (or free or T-pass)
Today it is insane, running on different routes by time of day:

Which violates just about every rule of useful transit.


EZRide is funded entirely by a consortium of businesses plus MIT, to mainly provide North Station CR users service to/from Kendall Square. The service is free to employees of participating businesses, and those with an MIT ID. $2 cash fares are accepted from the general public, as it has no relationship with the MBTA.

During the midday, it is funded by MIT to provide service for grad students to/from the northwest side of campus. Using EZRide as a contractor to do this during its off-peak (midday) downtime works well.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:49 am

Does this proposal for a tower on the landside of the Hook Lobster site impinge on the NSRL Dot Channel alignment beneath?
Image from Bostinno

Article here:
http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/06/2 ... -building/

Discussion of the Hook Lobster site on Archboston.org
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:15 am

Arlington wrote:Does this proposal for a tower on the landside of the Hook Lobster site impinge on the NSRL Dot Channel alignment beneath?
Image from Bostinno

Article here:
http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/06/2 ... -building/

Discussion of the Hook Lobster site on Archboston.org



Extremely poorly-written, error-filled article conveying unnecessary alarmism. Don't trust that at face value. It's crystal clear the state is heavily involved in the site evaluation and isn't about to let the Channel alignment get compromised. Second, the tunnel (per official scoping study schematics readily available online) is at max depth here 100 ft. down. You can put a plenty tall building here and still have dozens of feet in foundation separation from a tunnel later bored underneath. The plans just have to be vetted to make sure the pilings are constructed correctly with no need for special mitigation when it's tunnel time. Every indication hints to the state doing exactly that by poking it's head in the process...so why the alarmism?

Third, this isn't even far enough along to have a firm concept of exactly what kind of building is going up here. It's a zoning change to open up the property for a potential developer. It still has to go through the meat grinder of neighborhood haggling. And this stretch of wharf has been a total clownshow of redev gridlock for the Aquarium garage tower vaporware, so it's very presumptious to assume this early that this has realistic chance of getting off the ground. They're having tons of trouble with FAA height limits, general BRA/BDPA incompetence, and poor developer vetting on this cursed stretch of the Greenway. People arguably need to be more concerned about City institutions being unable to get things done here than MassDOT risking an approvals brainfart deep underground.


Finally, this misinfo that NSRL is in any way, shape, or form in direct competition with SSX needs to be stabbed relentlessly with an icepick. I'm looking at you, Seth Moulton...you keep repeating that lie despite being flat-out told over and over again by transpo experts at your own town halls that this is not true. SSX mends the brokenness of all the conflicting cross movements going in/out of Cove. We don't gain capacity to have real RER-level mainline rail frequencies across the system without double-barreling the terminal district interlocking AND making sure Cove surface flows well enough through Back Bay that you can use "Cove Under" to its fullest capacity. Short the surface so the cross movements remain forever constipated and it directly harms the cost recovery of that $8B tunnel from fewer frequencies.

This isn't hard. It's the frequencies, stupid. We broke SS/Cove 50 years ago. SSX fixes it. SSX is what enables NSRL to take Euro-level frequencies out of Back Bay. Pitting the projects (which aren't within 20 calendar years of each other) against each other is the most pants-on-head stupid stance ever. It's advocating systemic brokenness forever. Kill this virulent misinformation with a flamethrower.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby GU1001 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:24 pm

Looks like the governor is going to spend $1.5M for another study...

http://wwlp.com/2017/03/01/baker-launches-reassessment-of-north-south-rail-link/

Brief fair use quote:
"State procurement officials on Wednesday made available a bid solication for the reassessment contract, listing it as a professional engineering services opportunity with a total cost of $1.5 million and an eight-month timeframe for the work, which will include a project website and public meetings. The vendor hired to examine the project would also consider whether the tunnel link would feature two or four tracks and whether there would be a “Central Station.”"
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Cardinal » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:36 am

To anyone who has experience with timelines for these types of projects, what does this preliminary study represent in terms of overall progress? Put another way, at what point in the planning process should NSRL advocates get excited that the project is under serious consideration? My guess is that we're still very far from formally planning the project, let along putting shovels (or TBMs) in the ground, but wanted to get the thoughts of some of the experienced members on this board.

One more thought that's been nagging at me throughout the whole planning process: to what extent will this study be objective and free from political influence? We've seen that MassDOT isn't afraid to put its thumb on the scale of other projects that it doesn't feel like taking on (Red-Blue connector comes to mind). I worry that the current wave of NSRL enthusiasm could be extinguished by a study that focuses solely on the project's upper-bound potential costs (such as electrifying lines like Old Colony and constructing an overbuilt Central Station) and discounts its benefits (savings from increased operational efficiencies, higher revenues from increased ridership, etc.).
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:37 am

Let's study the idea of having another study. Then we'll have three studies. The original, and these two. Then, we should probably study which of the studies moves this belated project forward.

http://www.northsouthraillink.org/
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:22 pm

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/01/state-asks-for-bids-million-study-north-south-rail-link/PTD0uyhvs6nWXdcsWwM29M/story.html
The study, expected to take about eight months after a consulting firm is chosen, will cost as much as $2 million and will provide updated cost estimates and outline the benefits to riders.
Not sure why they need updated costs for a project that isn't going to be built for ten years, unless they can slip it in to Pres. Trump's infrastructure plan.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby jaymac » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:05 pm

If you really want to kill a potential project, then you should commission at least one more study about its efficacy.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:39 pm

BandA wrote:https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/01/state-asks-for-bids-million-study-north-south-rail-link/PTD0uyhvs6nWXdcsWwM29M/story.html
The study, expected to take about eight months after a consulting firm is chosen, will cost as much as $2 million and will provide updated cost estimates and outline the benefits to riders.
Not sure why they need updated costs for a project that isn't going to be built for ten years, unless they can slip it in to Pres. Trump's infrastructure plan.


Because for the state to consider a project the cost estimate has to be no more than X years old. Not sure how many years in this case, but on projects I work on the estimate has to be based on bid prices from the past 3 years. So as long as this project remains "active", they need to periodically update the cost estimate.

Construction costs fluctuate a lot more than you would expect year-to-year.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby West » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:53 am

Contract awarded to study NSRL:

https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2017/07/05/state-awards-1-5m-contract-to-study-north-south.html

The state has awarded a $1.5 million contract to Cambridge-based Arup USA Inc. to study a proposal to build a rail link between North and South stations.

The study, due to be completed by the spring of 2018, is being commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Office of Transportation Planning. The goal is to study the costs as well as benefits of the so-called North South Rail Link project to “determine whether further technical and financial analysis is warranted,” according to Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. It follows a draft environmental impact report on the project undertaken in 1995 that was suspended in 2003 under then Gov. Mitt Romney.


From Arup's UK website, a page on their involvement with Crossrail:

https://www.arup.com/projects/crossrail
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby jamoldover » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:42 pm

Amazing - over 100 years since this was first proposed, and we're still studying it...

Granted, the route being looked at now is slightly different, but the idea is still the same. Do you think we'll still be studying it in another 100 years?

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/1911_map_of_proposed_tunnel_to_East_Boston.png

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