Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

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

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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby ceo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:20 pm

rethcir wrote:They ought to put on a marketing blitz for seasonal ski trains for urban dwellers and tourists.

Uh, they do do that, but the "ski train" is just a regularly scheduled weekend train with the ski-rack car in the consist and a shuttle bus to Mt Wachusett. It's actually a faster trip now that it connects at Wachusett station rather than Fitchburg, but it's still kind of slow and doesn't get you there until about 10am. Really only makes sense if you live near North Station or Porter and don't have a car.
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby rethcir » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:46 am

I would not describe it as a marketing blitz, maybe they advertise it more at North Station? I don't see it promoted much in South Station or other parts of the system yet. At least not enough to have stuck with me.
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby Bill Reidy » Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:34 pm

Sounds like the CapeFLYER. Good luck finding any promotion for the service at South Station (a very limited number of signs are posted during its operating season directing riders to one of the Old Colony platforms -- you have to know to look for it to find it), never mind finding any information at the Flyer's other MBTA stations (Braintree, Brockton and Middleborough/Lakeville).

Both lost marketing opportunities and both easily fixed, if there was a desire to do so. At the very minimum, all winter printed and on line timetables should include a mention of the Wachusett ski trains, and all summer timetables should include a mention of the CapeFLYER.
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby leviramsey » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:04 am

I'm fairly sure that I've seen the Cape Flyer advertised behind home plate for Red Sox games (digitally inserted on the NESN feed).
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:55 am

So I was at CPF-333 walking around in the nice sunshine on Saturday 4/21/18 waiting to see if there would be train movement in the near future (28N was tied down on track 2) when a Fitchburg policeman stopped by to see if I was OK. I assured him I was fine and then attempted to explain I was there to take train pictures. He was very friendly and mentioned to me another good nearby location to take pictures at a parking lot off Depot Rd Fitchburg. I checked out the location (he was right!) and captured inbound MBTA train 1404 passing through an interesting arrangement of distant signal gantries, one eastward facing for CPF-333 (with mile post sign 331.9) and the other westward facing for approaching CPF-330. Question: why are these two gantries about a half mile apart as opposed to being a single gantry with signal heads on both sides? There must be some sort of overlapping block arrangement here on both bidirectionally signaled tracks - anyone know why?

Also notice what is missing in these two photos: there are no wood telephone poles erected along the RoW (as there are east of Fitchburg) strung with the ACSES-II PTC fiber optic cabling. I guess this is because track here is owned by Pan Am and not the MBTA? Anybody know what the plan is to implement PTC on the Fitchburg to Wachusett stretch? I know PAS/NS and MBTA were at loggerheads for awhile about MBTA paying for installing ACSES-II gear on a bunch of PAR locomotives as well as supporting I-ETMS that NS locomotives will use.
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MBTA 1404 Depot St Fitchburg 042118 small.jpg
MBTA 1404 Approach slow Depot St Fitchburg 042118 3 small.jpg
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby jaymac » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:59 am

johnpbarlow wrote:...Question: why are these two gantries about a half mile apart as opposed to being a single gantry with signal heads on both sides? There must be some sort of overlapping block arrangement here on both bidirectionally signaled tracks - anyone know why?
.

No insider knowledge from this mere-mortal civilian, but the 2 different sets of signals are in support of 2 new interlockings -- CPF-330 and CPF-333. Until the new interlockings were established, there were no crossovers between FG and 335, and the now-gone 50/50 signals were adequate protection, including EB on 1 for CPF-GL with its stub station track. The EB signals east of Depot Street provide protection for CPF-330 and the single crossover plus the turnout to the Controlled Siding/station track, and the WBs west of Depot Street provide protection for the CPF-333 paired crossovers and the Controlled Siding/station track.
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:06 am

It certainly goes against the grain for the MBTA, which has been putting ABS masts back-to-back, and eliminating overlapping blocks. I suspect it has to do with the steep grade coming down from Ashburnham into Fitchburg, but I never sat down and figured it out, nor heard on good authority what the real reason was.
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Re: Fitchburg Line Upgrade Discussion

Postby CRail » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:22 am

It seems there's more to come in that area. If you look at the signals in the first picture you'll notice both are mounted high with the provision for a third head, this leads me to believe it is a future home signal. The signal out of the Westminster facility is outfitted to govern 3 tracks while only carrying 2 signals for 2 existing tracks. Perhaps there is a plan to continue double tracking the main in addition to the Wachusett station and layover leads?

Note: After looking more closely at the second photo, I see that the same is true for that set of signals as well.
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