Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby sery2831 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:48 pm

I don't get why this is making so much press. They are acting like they got the money to do it. They only applied to get funding to do it.

And did I miss something. Part of the reasoning being used is to increase the speed for the DownEaster! That might save an entire 20 seconds since they have to stop at Haverhill anyways.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby Arlington » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:39 pm

sery2831 wrote:I don't get why this is making so much press. They are acting like they got the money to do it. They only applied to get funding to do it.
And did I miss something. Part of the reasoning being used is to increase the speed for the DownEaster! That might save an entire 20 seconds since they have to stop at Haverhill anyways.

Could save 5 minutes if it turns out they only stop in Haverhill because they have to slow for the bridge
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby MEC407 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:47 pm

?

I'm pretty sure they stop in Haverhill because they want the paying passengers...
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby Arlington » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:21 pm

MEC407 wrote:?
I'm pretty sure they stop in Haverhill because they want the paying passengers...

Maybe you'd skip HHL on one morning southbound and one evening northbound if you didn't have to slow for the bridge. Imagine running one limited-stop to Boston in the morning, it could really benefit your core POR-BON customers and not inconvenience many others. It looks (see below) like 78% of revenue comes from trips between BON and points north of HHL...all of which would have a better experience if you could skip HHL.

Given that the MBTA serves Haverhill-Boston, HHL has pretty lousy revenue characteristics for the Downeaster. In this Feb 2011 table (http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com/sites/d ... Update.pdf ) you see that Haverhill-Boston has the lowest passenger count and lowest average fare:

City Pair # Riders Revs Avg Fare %Riders %Revs
POR-BON 11,369 $199,036 $ 17.51 28% 37%
SAO-BON 2,693 $42,227 $ 15.68 7% 8%
WEM-BON 2,421 $34,166 $ 14.11 6% 6%
DOV-BON 3,622 $47,334 $ 13.07 9% 9%
DHM-BON 3,060 $42,509 $ 13.89 8% 8%
EXR-BON 5,720 $54,384 $ 9.51 14% 10%
HHL-BON 2,181 $16,940 $ 7.77 5% 3%

That totals only 81% of revenues, but I note they left off Woburn (mabye that's rolled into BON?) but I suspect that as you divide the other 19% of revenue between the umpteen possible itineraries, POR-EXR, POR-DHM could be 3% each, leaving, <1% for each the remaining pairs and maybe only 1% for all other combos involving HHL.

If you're crawling across the bridge at 5 or 10 mph, the cost of stopping is low. If you could be going faster, the cost of stopping gets higher.

If not being able to skip HHL at "high" speed, why *would* the bridge be good for the Downeaster?
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby MEC407 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:20 pm

Arlington wrote:...but I note they left off Woburn (mabye that's rolled into BON?)...


On southbound trips, they only discharge passengers at Woburn; they don't pick up any passengers there. In other words, you can't take the Downeaster from WOB to BON.

Likewise, on northbound trips, they only pick up passengers at Woburn, rather than letting any off, so you can't take the DE from BON to WOB.

Thank you for clarifying your point about Haverhill.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby b&m 1566 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:21 pm

Is this bridge beyond repair or something? What about the money they just spent on repairs or was it just a Band-Aid? It’s a lot of money to replace that bridge, just so commuter trains can gain a little more speed for a short distance.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby Finch » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:49 pm

b&m 1566 wrote:Is this bridge beyond repair or something? What about the money they just spent on repairs or was it just a Band-Aid? It’s a lot of money to replace that bridge, just so commuter trains can gain a little more speed for a short distance.

Nobody would fork over money to replace a bridge if it could be effectively repaired. I think this bridge's time is up. At some point (and I don't profess to know if the Haverhill bridge is quite there yet), it comes down to safety. They're not spending millions to save a little time. They're spending it to keep the trains out of the river.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby b&m 1566 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:58 am

That makes sense.
Was it during repairs when the state realized the bridge needs to be replaced altogether?
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby sery2831 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:57 am

b&m 1566 wrote:That makes sense.
Was it during repairs when the state realized the bridge needs to be replaced altogether?


The last work on the job was a tie / rail job. The ties need to be replaced on the bridge. That work did not reveal anything they did not know about the bridge as the speed had already been reduced for several YEARS before the tie job.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby BandM4266 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:56 pm

Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere just figured this was correct thread.

I was driving by Bradford station today and noticed construction activity on east side of bridge. They have cleared a path way from road (South Elm St) down to the river embankment next to the bridge, looked like some RR officials were nearby as well.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:32 pm

They've also painted numbers on all the westerly track's ties, and I noticed that track was barricaded out of service Tuesday morning. The old Georgetown branch underpass foundation that's now visible used to be decked with 1882 ~60 lb. rail embedded in concrete; I don't know if any of it is left now.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:56 am

The bridge's westerly track was out of service yesterday and crews were removing the guardrails and joint bars this morning. The bus from Bradford to Haverhill could use some re-thinking: It waits in the Bradford parking lot, so by the time it's loaded and ready to go, the bus is behind the traffic jam that regularly develops at the bridge end of the entrance road. Commuters arriving on evening trains don't have to be awfully vigorous to walk to Haverhill before the bus gets there.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:11 am

Rail is lifted on the westerly track from Washington St. to the through truss span.

The bus is running faster now, but the trains it meets are painfully slow, running at restricted speed from Frost to Ballardvale, stopping at every signal to get permission to pass. An employee told me they'd originally planned to do paperwork allowing crews to run at track speed, but the FRA vetoed it. There doesn't appear to be budget to actually change the signals, so this might go on for the duration (3 years?).
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby octr202 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:27 am

Huh? Frost to Ballardvale at restricted speed? I ride daily to/from Andover, and ever since the end of the Shawsheen bridge work it's been track speed from Andover west.
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Re: Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill

Postby jbvb » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:41 am

Typo [which for some reason I can't edit], I meant Bradford, not Ballardvale.

Without being able to see it out of the cab and read the bulletin orders, the closest I can come is:

Frost (crossovers, east end of Track 17 in Lawrence) to Hall (crossovers at former Haverhill yard/enginehouse location) is CTC. Because the Bradford - Hall westerly track block is marked out of service, the dispatcher can't clear a route from Frost to Hall on that track. The system lacks flexibility, meaning the home signal at Frost and the three intermediate signals on the westerly track between Frost and Bradford are always red, requiring restricted speed and stops for permission to pass for at least the two EB trains that use it every weekday. The T had a plan A, which the FRA vetoed. Unless the T prioritizes customer service, this Plan B might persist for the entire 3 year duration of the bridge repair job.

I haven't ridden a WB train originating at Bradford, so I don't know what signals they get. I've never noticed anything but red on the WB signal for the westerly track at the west end of Bradford storage yard. Everything runs at normal speed on the easterly track.
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