North-South Rail Link Discussion

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

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby djlong » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:57 am

I can speak for people that worked in what is now called the Seaport District who lived north of the Mass Pike (I live in NH). We would have LOVED direct service to South Station! Look at all the development in Boston and it's in what used to be a vast wasteland of half-empty industrial buildings and parking lots that has become Boston's new neighborhood.
djlong
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BvaleShihTzu » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:35 pm

Yellowspoon wrote:No, that's $17,899,221 per MONTH, not per year. So that changes $0.71/trip to $8.52 per trip. Would you pay $4250 to go that extra mile every year (2 trips per day, 250 days per year)? But wait, there's more. Your assumption is that 100% of all riders want to get to the other side. (Back Bay and Yawkey exist because many passengers don't even want to go as far as South Station). My guess is that less than 20% of CR passengers want to get to the other side. Even if 40% of CR passengers want to get to the other side, that raises the $8.52 figure to $21 per trip. More accurately, ten thousand dollars per year if you do it twice a workday.

People who want to get to Kendall (for example) still haven't gained anything. They still have to transfer at South Station or Porter. Lotsa people from the north now take the Orange Line to Back Bay. Is every train from the north going to take me to Back Bay? If I'm in Dorchester and I want to go to a Bruins game, should I transfer to the Orange Line or wait for the erratic schedule of a Commuter Rail train to take me? Today, tracks exist to run trains from Middleboro to Back Bay. If there is no need to run trains from Middleboro to Back Bay, is there really enough need to run trains from Woburn to Back Bay?


You obviously don't actually commute north side to Kendall Square (as I do), or you wouldn't make such a silly statement.

Obviously for Fitchburg Line, Porter Square would remain the popular transfer. But for the other lines, North Station to Kendall via T is a pain -- Orange or Green to Downtown Crossing or Park, then change. Those lines are packed during peak hours; often Orange Line leaves passengers behind at North Station. In the reverse direction, you must guess which is better route. If your employer (or their landlord) has bought into EZRide, then that is an option -- just hope that traffic isn't gridlocked around Leverett Circle. Direct connection to the Red Line from the North would make it a more convenient connection, and free capacity on the Orange and Green lines.

Seaport District is worse; if you want to work down at the Design Center that means Orange/Green to Red to Silver.

And even if every train doesn't go to each stop, cross-platform transfers are very convenient. So if only one line, for example, served all the new development at Allston Landing and the redeveloped Beacon Yards area, it would still be attractive for commuters on the other lines to transfer, so long as frequencies are high.

It can't be emphasized enough: much of future development will be at sites which are poorly served by a split rail system. Seaport District, Allston Landing, NorthPoint, Assembly. Look at all the older cities around the perimeter (Chelsea, Lawrence) which could be future targets for renewed residential development. Many of these have poor or no access to the Orange/Red/Green/Blue lines. The highways are nearly maxed out. If Boston is to realize its potential, it needs to eliminate the split in the rail system, just as London is doing with successive CrossRail projects.
BvaleShihTzu
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:42 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Choo Choo Coleman » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:55 pm

MA Congressman Seth Moulton wrote an op-ed piece for the Boston Herald this past Tuesday about his support for the North/South Rail Link.
Wonder if having an up and coming Congressman for an advocate in Washington will help?

http://www.bostonherald.com/opinion/op_ ... on_economy
Choo Choo Coleman
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:12 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby highgreen215 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:21 pm

Very well and simply stated pro-NSRL argument.
highgreen215
 
Posts: 411
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:43 pm
Location: Roslindale, Mass.

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:47 pm

If it weren't or the Big Dig, the NSRL would be built or would be in progress by now.
User avatar
Rockingham Racer
 
Posts: 2810
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:37 pm

It's nice to see a politician touting the benefit of taking people off the core subway lines - I feel like that needs to be emphasized.

However, I wish he (and others) would stop touting that every train will run through. It won't. That'd be impossible, at least during peak hours.
Call me Connor or DTP

Railfan & Roadgeek from the North Shore of Mass.
deathtopumpkins
 
Posts: 862
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:56 am
Location: Somerville, MA

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Yellowspoon » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:15 pm

BvaleShihTzu wrote:You obviously don't actually commute north side to Kendall Square (as I do), or you wouldn't make such a silly statement. [text omitted] And even if every train doesn't go to each stop, cross-platform transfers are very convenient. [more text omitted]
If you're going to throw insults, please comment on all aspects of my argument. And do some arithmetic before you criticize.

Lets use your example of Kendall Square. That would not affect the south-side commuters (63% of all CR ridership), nor would it affect the Fitchburg commuters (another 7%). Those two factors eliminate 70% of the commuter rail passengers. A NS Rail link would benefit, at most, 40% of all commuters, or about 1.1 million riders a month. With a monthly amortization cost of $17.9 million, that means that each use would cost someone about $16 per ride. That's about $7500 per year per person.

What do you save for $16? Well, the number of stops from North Station to Kendall is still five, so there are no savings there. If you're lucky enough to get a through train to South Station, you've saved yourself one transfer (let's call it 2.5 minutes), but the distance is now 1.3 km longer than green line to Park, so that adds 1.5 minutes. Total savings: about one minute which is probably eliminated by the extra deep transfer necessary at South Station. Would you spend $16 of you own money, twice a day, to save one minute?

Any transfer at North Station is not going to be cross-platform. Trains that terminate at North Station will be on the surface. The NS Link is likely to be at least six stories below the surface. If a transfer is requred at North Station, you would have zero savings, or possibly a longer commute. You might as well walk to the green line which will probably be closer and the frequency of service will be better.

What about the disadvantages of a NS Rail link? Consider the commuter who does not need a NS rail link. They would arrive in Boston six stories below the surface. Their transfer times are now extended by a minute or two. Your gain is their loss. How noble of you. The more I think about this, the more I wonder if there is a net gain for all users.

Some proponents are advocating an additional stop between North Station and South Station. With little doubt in my mind, that would make your commute to Kendall Square longer than it is today.

Are there benefits to the NS rail link? Yes. However, none of the proponents ever mention the costs or the disadvantages They only talk about their own benefit.
User avatar
Yellowspoon
 
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:00 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:39 pm

Your math is flawed here.

A NS Rail link would benefit, at most, 40% of all commuters


You mean to say 40% of current ridership would have more direct access to Kendall Square. That is different from saying up to 40% of commuters would benefit from NSRL. On the whole, 100% of all riders have more direct access to different places.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3498
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Red Wing » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:45 pm

Yellowspoon wrote:Are there benefits to the NS rail link? Yes. However, none of the proponents ever mention the costs or the disadvantages They only talk about their own benefit.


The advantage would be a less clogged subway system for the rest of the commuters, less delays waiting for platform space at the surface platforms. Potential for Amtrak expansion to Anderson and beyond. The last one I have is potential for higher frequencies using electric engines or EMU's
Red Wing
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:55 pm
Location: On the B&B

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby octr202 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:17 am

It's not just about the Lowell, Western, and Eastern Routes having better access to Kendall Square (which will still suffer from being further away from downtown no matter what), but think of the access to the Financial District (direct), Back Bay, the Seaport (close walking distance), and the LMA (much closer if trains serve Back Bay, Ruggles, or Yawkey when through-routed from the North side). And no, not every train will serve everywhere, but until we start trying to advance the tunnel project and the resulting upgrades to the rest of the CR system, commuters going to these areas will continue to eschew commuter rail service. When a commuter from Beverly or Reading spends the same amount of time or more getting from North Station to their workplace as they do on the commuter train itself, large numbers of these commuters will continue to drive. And as expensive as the NSRL is, we can't afford to create more road space and parking space in the city to accommodate these folks.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
User avatar
octr202
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:13 am
Location: In the land of the once and future 73 trackless trolley.

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby BandA » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:46 pm

Yellowspoon wrote:...A NS Rail link would benefit, at most, 40% of all commuters, or about 1.1 million riders a month. With a monthly amortization cost of $17.9 million, that means that each use would cost someone about $16 per ride. That's about $7500 per year per person
These kind of numbers are what is scary.

What is the maximum possible utilization for this line? There would be four tracks presumably, two for subway and two for CR. What is the average of the orange and red line + the maximum capacity of a CR line (say 8 doubles running minimum headway, at what speed?) How many years to get to a high utilization? How does this compare to the actual per-lane use on the "big dig" i-93, since a lane and a track are roughly similar width.
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 1582
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby ohalloranchris » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:58 pm

I have never heard mention of subway tracks being included in the NSRL, just CR and Intercity Rail, but I could be wrong.
ohalloranchris
 
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:42 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:05 pm

Yellowspoon wrote:...A NS Rail link would benefit, at most, 40% of all commuters, or about 1.1 million riders a month. With a monthly amortization cost of $17.9 million, that means that each use would cost someone about $16 per ride. That's about $7500 per year per person

The T has 1.1 Million rides* per day.
If we accept your number of 40%, that's 440,000 rides per day. Across 20 days-at-work each month, that's 8,800,000 rides per month.
If the amortization is $17.9m per month, divided by 8.8m rides is just $2 per ride, not $16,

But then let's say that for each 2 existing trips that benefits, we attract 1 more (50% growth). Then we've got $17.9m per month / 13.2m rides, and each trip is costing $1.33 per trip.

*technically unlinked trips, I think.
When I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder, shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it. --H.D. Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Arlington
 
Posts: 3104
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby Arlington » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:17 pm

ohalloranchris wrote:I have never heard mention of subway tracks being included in the NSRL, just CR and Intercity Rail, but I could be wrong.

There's room for 4 tracks, and they haven't chosen a final mix, actually.

There's a strong case to be made that 2 tracks should be devoted to making the so called Red X (it looks like an X chromosome, really) where each of today's Ashmont & Braintree branches has its frequencies doubled and the two cross/mix at JFK, but then a second red tube runs from there into the NSRL and emerges Northside on a new alignment along the Fitchburg (it might even run to Alewife South), or taking over the Orange, or running out to Chelsea. And maybe only the Red X gets a station at "Aquarium" (which is not a logical Amtrak stop, nor even a particularly needed CR stop, if it gets a Red with northside connections)

The beauty of running subway is that it does an awesome job of
- branch electrification (because they're already electrified)
- through running (because there's proven subway run-through demand
- core capacity relief (solving the Red's problems at DTX and Park)
- branch optimization (maxing A & B branches)


Meanwhile, most feasible CR/Amtrak can be run on just a two track railroad with stops only at SSUnder and NSUnder and then out onto whatever electrified branches (probably just inward of Anderson & Lynn & Brandeis & Framingham)
When I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder, shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it. --H.D. Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Arlington
 
Posts: 3104
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Postby ohalloranchris » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:28 pm

Very interesting, thanks for the detail. Regarding electrification of CR, years ago I recall reading that they were considering dual mode locomotives rather than stringing catenary beyond the tunnels (NJ Transit operates dual mode diesel/catenary-electric locos for example), but I don't know what the current thinking is.
ohalloranchris
 
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:42 am

PreviousNext

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Screamer 1000 and 6 guests