North-South Rail Link Discussion

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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby RenegadeMonster » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:49 pm

If sea level don't rise to much possibility.

But sadly, I think as time goes on it will only get more and more expensive and the amount of available money will decrease. They will probably just end up determining it is far to expensive to ever build.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:15 pm

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


Ehh, not quite the same. The New Haven was looking to capture new traffic and could have acquired the BRB&L at low cost due the BRB&L lacking a direct connection to downtown. I'd theorize that after running circle's around the B&M's Eastern Division for lower-North Shore traffic, they'd maybe make a move to acquire and continue up the Eastern Route with their service. However, the route is nearly useless for other North Side passenger services.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby The EGE » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:42 pm

That tunnel was proposed during the extremely brief era that the New Haven and the B&M were under some common control. At that same time, Lynn was being rebuilt with some of the only quad track ever seen on the B&M - obviously influenced by the New Haven. It looks like the intention was to take over the never-rich BRB&L as well and use that as the passenger mainline south of Lynn, with the Eastern Division primarily for freight.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:02 pm

"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:03 pm

I bet the cost of the stations alone will be greater than this estimate, after padding, prevailing wage costs, and Massachusetts govt inefficiency.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:00 pm

Yes, stations are always a blowout. However, in this case Central Station is a particularly bad potential offender because of the cost of widening under the footprint of I-93 to fit a station cavern and how hugely long a shafting job the elevators/escalators will be at maximum depth. Since that stop has dubious utility in the first place and is arguably expendable on-the-merits (build the Red-Blue Connector at a fraction of the price and the Blue-CR transfer @ CS no longer looms all that significant as a unique ridership generator), it's probably going to be the first cost-control feature cut from the project. That cut, which simplifies the under-93 tunneling a lot by keeping the trajectory totally within-footprint, is significant enough to absorb a 20% overrun on North Station Under and South Station Under. Particularly valuable to have in-pocket when South Station Under--which straddles the Ft. Point Channel retaining wall offset from the surface terminal--is the most complicated single piece of the whole project to engineer and construct because of all the other adjacent Big Dig and transit tunnels.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:08 pm

If this project could be built for this price then it is a "no-brainer", definitely build-it (minus Central Station) and worry about demand later. And build SSX too. Use a TBM and lots of robots. And lasers. If the project(s) run over budget, have the discipline to cancel the contracts and walk away so that the contractors lose the business rather than get rewarded for overspending.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:06 pm

The last time they built a tunnel using lasers in Boston, they got the various segments of it misaligned (remember when I-93 north felt like a roller coaster?) Better to stick with string and plumb bobs. They worked very well for the ancient Romans. :wink:
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby StefanW » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:49 pm

I think it's interesting (although I don't know if it's important or not) that the study was done via the Rappaport Institute.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/08/downtown-boston-rail-link-could-be-built-more-cheaply-study-says/
Harvard Gazette wrote:The research project was conducted under the supervision of Bilmes and under the auspices of the Greater Boston Applied Field Lab. The lab is part of the Kennedy School’s Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston


rappaport/about-the-institute/staff wrote:Steve Poftak is the Executive Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board, as well as serving on the MassDOT Board of Directors.

https://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/taubman/programs-research/rappaport/about-the-institute/staff

Poftak is Interim General Manager of the MBTA, until Ramírez takes over Sept. 12.

It would be interesting to find out if Poftak is in favor of the NSRL. I couldn't find anything from just quick googling though.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:36 pm

Linda Bilmes, the faculty member that seems to be guiding this project seems to fit the profile for a very liberal, pro-democratic party person. I would hope this research is non-partisan, fact-based, but I worry if it is a study designed to reach a predetermined conclusion.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:40 pm

85 dual-mode engines and 148 coaches! And in only 11 years from now! Sign me up!

Direct link to the study:https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/centers/rappaport/files/NSRL%20White%20Paper_Silver_Final.pdf

List of Key Project Parameter Assumptions for North South Rail Link Builds 67
Maximum (four-track) Build
Corridor length (in miles): 2.958
Number of tracks: 4
Number of tunnels: 2
Number of underground stations: 3
Tunnel construction method: Bored Earth Mixed Shield (Standard Cost Category 10.073)
Power distribution: Catenary
Dual-mode locomotives: 85
Coaches: 148
Planning start date: 1/1/2021
Tunnel construction: 4 years
Station construction: 3.8 years
Construction end date: 12/30/2028
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby StefanW » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:05 pm

Tonight was the first public meeting for the current MassDOT NSRL study project.
http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/planning/Main/CurrentStudies/NorthSouthRailLink.aspx

You can hear the entire presentation and Q&A session here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qfk4o1mxuqsczo1/2017-10-17_North-South-Rail-Link_First_Public_Meeting.m4a?dl=0

Also in case it wasn't posted previously, the proponent / advocates site is http://www.northsouthraillink.org/
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:10 pm

Without listening to the entire hour, what were the highlights?
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:53 pm

It seems like they're advocating to go with a bored tunnel with parallel twin-track bores and mined stations at South, North, and Aquarium, running to the surface via portals at Northpoint, Back Bay, Sullivan, and South Bay.

Only South Station would be built to Amtrak specs, while North and Aquarium would be CR only. To me, that seems like a bit of a mistake, as electrifying up to Anderson and adding Amtrak service at North Station seems like a "must" to improve connectivity, especially since there would be no direct connection between the Green Line and Amtrak services. Maybe it would save them a few million, but it honestly seems like chump change compared to what this will cost.

I'm just stoked to see an actual design for this, even if there's no way that it won't end up being East Side Access/Crossrail-expensive. At least the city is now doing well enough to actually justify spending the cash.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:58 pm

Could you tell us what the Amtrak specs require? Since Amtrak equipment already frequents North Station, what additional elements would be required by Amtrak?
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