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 StefanW » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:57 am

Bramdeisroberts wrote:Problem is, Central station is one of the stations most worth building because it make every CR station now a 2-seat ride to the Airport. That's huge in this day and age.


I disagree!! If the goal is rail to airport, the cost of NSRL central station could be better spent in improving speeds north of Boston to make the connection at Chelsea for airport via Silver, or connecting at Wonderland to Blue.

My point about skipping the central station was more for the initial NSRL to get it done faster & cheaper - especially if the goal is to serve 50,000 people wanting to get to Amazon jobs in Revere.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:12 am

The optimal 2-seat ride from Northside CR would be a "Gold Line" BRT that ran directly: NS-Haymarket-TerminalsABCE.

Airport access is not a good reason to build Central Station.

The Blue Line is not even a 1 seat ride to the airport, but requires a shuttle bus (at best, only Terminal E, when expanded, will be a moving sidewalk to Airport)

And Silver-under-DStreet and via-90East Downramp are good ways to upgrade the Southside's Silver Line airport access.

I am thinking that for the same $ as we'd pay for Central, we could do the Red-Blue connector, expand airport & North-FiDi BRT, Gold Line, and BL to Lynn (or at least a Wonderland Dog Track CR-BL moving walkway.
"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 Bramdeisroberts » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:44 am

BRT to the airport is a waste of time so long as it has to share the tunnels with traffic loads that will only continue to surge from Lyft, Uber, etc, and a dedicated BRT busway to the airport will cost far more than a single island between NS Under and SS Under. And even IF you somehow found a spare billion dollars lying around to build a Silver-only 4th harbor crossing, the busses will STILL have to contend with the cars, Ubers/Lyfts, taxis, motorcoaches, hotel shuttles, Massport busses, etc etc etc when it comes to actually negotiating the terminals.

A direct NSRL<->Blue connection also opens you up to building either a short BL Spur that terminates at Logan's moving sidewalks, or to Massport building, uh, something other than a bus to connect the terminals and airport station. All of that would be impossible if you rely on slow, traffic-facing busses to be your critical link between an increasingly international city and it's gateway to the rest of the country and the world.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:05 pm

Now that Sumnner/Callahan are e-tolled, all it would take to give a bus priority would be punitive tolling on SOV / 2OV vehicles and or dynamic tolling that ensured the tunnel always moved freely.

Same thing goes for the airport roadways themselves: Massport can easily impose a toll for airport entry and exit exactly the same way that DFW airport does.

In both cases a readily available no build alternative is better for airport Access than Central Station.

It would also make a lot of sense to finance The north-south Rail Link itself through some sort of vehicle tolling system in the central business district either on state-owned roads like the airport tunnels or with some sort of congestion charge
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby ceo » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:41 pm

I've thought for a while that the Airport Station to Logan problem might be a good application for an urban gondola. One station in the northwest corner of East Boston Memorial Park, the other on the roof of Central Parking.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby rethcir » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:09 am

ceo wrote:I've thought for a while that the Airport Station to Logan problem might be a good application for an urban gondola. One station in the northwest corner of East Boston Memorial Park, the other on the roof of Central Parking.


Gondolas are certainly cool. I think they need one from Assembly to Wynn Casino. But I think in this case probably overkill. Expensive infrastructure and doesn't solve the one-seat problem. The circulator busses work pretty well other than that, and they could certainly be electrified. Also, would cargo weight of all the luggage be a problem for a gondola?
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:16 pm

I think a pertinent question would be the size of the gondolas and the resulting line capacity in terms of passengers per hour per direction. Long waiting lines would quickly end any capacity problem.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby StefanW » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:33 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote:BRT to the airport is a waste of time so long as it has to share the tunnels with traffic loads that will only continue to surge from Lyft, Uber, etc, and a dedicated BRT busway to the airport will cost far more than a single island between NS Under and SS Under. And even IF you somehow found a spare billion dollars lying around to build a Silver-only 4th harbor crossing, the busses will STILL have to contend with the cars, Ubers/Lyfts, taxis, motorcoaches, hotel shuttles, Massport busses, etc etc etc when it comes to actually negotiating the terminals.


For airport access from south-side rail lines I think we have to leverage the project that is almost done... the Silver Line Gateway.
https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/silverl ... rview.aspx
Except for the approx. 1/4 mile where it shares Chelsea St. and over the bridge, it's a completely dedicated BRT route between existing rail service and the airport. Yes there will always be roadway congestion getting to the terminals, but it's unlikely there would ever be a Blue Line branch to the terminals so that last-mile on roads would still be there.

Skipping the central station at least in the first round of expansion would save time and money. The time savings would mean the NSRL could be operational sooner, and the cost savings could go into raising the speeds from Boston to Chelsea.

You know the old saying "Faster, cheaper, better - pick two" - NSRL without Central would be faster and cheaper.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:19 pm

Keep in mind as well that Blue is not the only way to get a rail one-seat to Logan. The Urban Ring takes this little chunk of new Silver-Gateway busway and wraps it around through Everett and across the river to Sullivan. While the study >decade ago was still hitting the BRT Kool-Aid pretty hard, by getting that dedicated ROW megaproject in some form over to the freight leads side of Sullivan Station it ends up staring an arrow-straight 2500 feet down the tracks to the edge of the GLX carhouse trackage at 3rd Ave. Just build an open-air cut to duck under each leg of the freight wye, upgrade the carhouse leads from Lechmere into revenue-service tracks, and...voila!...Green Line branch into Chelsea. Which can then run multiple service patterns when/if you build the Lechmere-Kenmore UR leg along the Grand Junction via an upgrade of the Union Branch's carhouse flyover track to revenue-service. Might even be cheaper total construction for Mystic crossing and various duck-unders that change sides of the Western Route ROW @ Assembly and Eastern Route ROW @ Everett Jct./Everett Terminal to do up from Day 1 as narrower-profile LRT rather than big honking busway flyovers and trying to figure out where in Brickbottom there's possibly any land to continue the dedicated busway into Cambridge without poaching more mission-critical RR tracks.

At Chelsea Station where the Silver Line busway meets the Green Line trackbed, lay rails in the current busway pavement and (in full-mixed traffic) across the Chelsea St. bridge for a dual-mode transit corridor that overlaps this Green/Ring segment with Silver-Gateway BRT from SS. On the Eastie side of the bridge, put a track turnout transitioning into the East Boston Branch ROW. Then you have a decision to make on. . .
-- A) ...rails-in-pavement on the Haul Road for mixed transit + restricted truck traffic
-- B) ...widen the Haul Road ROW to its original 4-track RR width for full rail grade separation by scooping out the mid-20th c. earthen backfill to the original buried-ruin retaining walls, rebuilding the retaining walls, and realigning the haul road.
-- C) All of the above; start with cheaper bridge era of "A" before graduating much later on to "B" and a Haul Road cut widening when money comes available.

Last bit is just continuing straight on the ROW next to the East Boston Greenway after the Haul Road peels out, until hitting Logan Station and bridging station access over the Route 1A northbound lanes to 'superstationize' the Blue + Massport shuttle transfer. Tail tracks/mini-yard as needed a few train lengths behind.



Now...let's say as a completely separate and totally de-coupled Massport-funded project, the next time the airport gets a major 30-year cycled renovation around Central Parking they bake in a transit-only busway build to traffic-separate the Massport shuttles, SL1, and official rental car shuttles from all regular airport traffic. Out of engineering practiality this busway would probably hug off the side of the Central Parking structure in a wide loop with stops at each of the Terminal walkway egresses @ Central Parking rather than go fully curbside like today's SL1. But get the transit grade separation established with a transit-only loop and it's not hard to plop rails in pavement, bridge over the highway spaghetti ramps, and graft a reservation alongside Transportation Way for the final insertion into Logan Station. There's your one-seats to the Terminals: a much sped-up SL1 out of SS, and a direct Green Line branch out of Brattle Loop and/or run-thru points further westbound. Both union stations on the NSRL get direct-served (and Central Station gets even more superfluous). Plus run-thru trains to/from the Eastern Route can transfer to Green/Silver at Chelsea on the outskirts to avoid the overcrowding downtown.



Yes, the Ring is a megaproject unto itself. But the giant loads the NSRL is going to heap all around it up the urgency bigtime to radially spread the rapid transit system away from the Big 4 transfer nodes. It's clear as day how necessary Red-Blue will be. We're also going to be kicking ourselves for not completing Silver Line Phase III (as less-boondoggle rail tunneling instead of slovenly under-street BRT) and spreading SS/Seaport loads east-west into the Back Bay instead of sentencing the Red Line to overload forevermore. And if it's not going to be picking up Phase III with a design do-over, then getting some Urban Ring segments cued up is the only other coping strategy that provides any truly significant relief. For all the hoopla about outside-CBD to outside-CBD trips the NSRL enables, the mind-boggling increase in total frequencies from gaining twice the overall CR system capacity to filet upstairs/downstairs at the terminals means that ridership growth into the CBD itself is going to explode just as fast (or...*gulp*...faster) than these newfangled RER trips through-and-through.

We'd be naive to think that doesn't put the region on-notice to complete a whole slew of other very badly needed--and very expensive--multimodal projects that could've/should've been tackled decades earlier. If NSRL is Greater Boston's mini-East Side Access analogue, then it's going to be non-optional to cue up our mini-Second Ave. Subway analogue (take your pick of biggies) to shadow NSRL closely in the build sequence lest the extant HRT/LRT/bus systems simply can't cycle all that extra load. This is an exponential investment in transformative transit investment, not a one-and-done self-contained killshot for all our woes.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:04 am

Too many TLAs - my head exploded.
RER - Réseau Express Régional, the commuter rail service serving Paris and its suburbs
CBD - Central Business District.
LRT - Light Rail Transit, i.e. ADA accessible low-floor "modern streetcars" i.e Green Line Type 8/9, running on dedicated ROW.
BRT - Dedicated busways with buses or trackless-trolleys or hybrid of the two.
HRT - Heavy Rail Transit, i.e. subway i.e. Red/Blue/or Orange Line.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:53 am

And what is a TLA? :wink:
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby ceo » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:59 am

Three Letter Acronym.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:20 am

How's this for an idea, F-Line?

Silver Line Phase III IS an absolute must, and with InkBlock, etc and the rest of all the new megadevelopment in the South End, there has never been a better time to push for turning the Silver Line into light rail that runs from the Design Center/citypoint to Dudley via South Station, Chinatown/Essex, and Boylston, turning the "big 4" downtown stations into "the big 6" and further unloading Downtown Crossing, Park Street, and the Red Line of anyone looking to go to the Seaport or Logan.

Now that you can ride a LRV from South Boston to Dudley uninterrupted, the next step could be to take the leftover bendy busses and build a high frequency surface shuttle that departs a dedicated covered bus shelter on Summer street (think: Curitiba), stops at the BCEC/Silver Line Seaport Terminus, and enters the Ted via the State Police ramps to loop the terminals and return via a corresponding second covered bus shelter on the far side of Summer in front of the Federal Reserve building, to replace the SS<->Airport connectivity lost by the elimination of the old Silver Line busses.

Since the new airport bus would be all diesel and have only one intermediate stop, I would bet hard money that it would end up being at least ten minutes faster between South Station and the terminals despite street running, since it wouldn't be speed limited by the tunnel, nor would it have to stop at Courthouse, World Trade Center, or stop to switch power, and would represent the best one-seat ride between the Red Line/NSRL and Logan short of building an entirely new subway/harbor crossing, while being one that requires ZERO investment in terms of new capital aside from a couple million for new covered bus shelters at South Station and the convention center.
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:57 pm

ceo wrote:Three Letter Acronym.


Thanks.
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