Winter St Concourse

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

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Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed May 21, 2008 7:51 am

SS loop was on the CR, so wasn't part of the Red Line (and wasn't used very long because it wasn't ventilated). A small portion of the leads to that are still around and were uncovered by Big Dig construction...I think another small portion makes up the lower level of SS and the Red Line connector...rest got obliterated and filled in over many periods of renovation.

The demolished rapid-transit tunnel at Dewey was the unused upper tunnel above the Red Line that runs to Park and is now the Winter St. concourse which was intended as a local-service trolley funnel, turnback, and possible connector to the Green Line...although it was rendered unusable by the grade crossing it would've had to make at the Orange Line (seriously...who was the idiot who designed that?). I've never seen any pictures of it prior to the conversion to ped walkway or the demolition of the SS leg by the Artery construction, so I don't know what it looked like in its empty-and-waiting days or if there were any space provisions made for stations beyond the Washington/DTX and SS transfers. I think the spacious SS Red Line lobby (even pre-Silver Line) reclaims a small portion of this ROW. Very little's documented about that tunnel except for its existence. Could've been an extremely useful piece of infrastructure were it not for that asinine grade crossing since the ROW is plenty wide. Even with all sorts of space cannibalized for offices and storage and whatnot you can tell walking down the concourse that you're in a real rapid-transit tunnel.
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Postby 3rdrail » Wed May 21, 2008 2:47 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:SS loop was on the CR, so wasn't part of the Red Line (and wasn't used very long because it wasn't ventilated). A small portion of the leads to that are still around and were uncovered by Big Dig construction...I think another small portion makes up the lower level of SS and the Red Line connector...rest got obliterated and filled in over many periods of renovation.


We can only guess what role the never used South Station lower level suburban loop tracks would have played, particularly in modern-day MBTA ownership and management of South Station. Trolley loop for cars coming down Summer St. from Park Street Station ? Even better, trolley loop for a North Station - South Station connector line ? Red Line turnaround for special events like First Night ? Makes you wonder.
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Postby Ron Newman » Wed May 21, 2008 3:31 pm

We can only guess what role the never used South Station lower level suburban loop tracks would have played, particularly in modern-day MBTA ownership and management of South Station. Trolley loop for cars coming down Summer St. from Park Street Station ? Even better, trolley loop for a North Station - South Station connector line ? Red Line turnaround for special events like First Night


None of the above would have been likely, because the loop connected a northbound commuter rail track to a southbound one.
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Postby 3rdrail » Wed May 21, 2008 3:58 pm

I think that it would have been extremely likely, as as built, the facility was not well-suited for equipment with an internal combustion engine - electric cars would be ideal. Also, we are "what ifing" with the advantage of hindsight. Look at the track changes at Riverside, Braintree, Forest Hills, Orange Line, etc etc etc.
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Postby Ron Newman » Wed May 21, 2008 4:05 pm

What I meant was, the loop was not built in a direction that would have suited any of the suggested uses above.
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Postby maxman927 » Wed May 21, 2008 4:19 pm

Ron Newman wrote:What I meant was, the loop was not built in a direction that would have suited any of the suggested uses above.

don't you just need the space? the T could just retrack it and make a hole on each side for the track.
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Postby 3rdrail » Wed May 21, 2008 4:26 pm

I know Ron, so the answer would be to change it. Considering it's prime downtown location, this was a golden opportunity squandered (one of many, unfortunately). Historically, South Station has been always a big commuter rail station, with persons connecting to rapid transit, trolley, and bus service. With the bus terminal next door, this would have completed it's connections. There is no direct connection to the trolleys now or before. As a special events terminus, it's large enclosed area in town would be ideal. With the development of the "Seaport" area, Silver Line, this could have been a nice mesh of services. I'm assuming that in order to facilitate the long railroad equipment of the day, that this loop was spacious. I recall it as a kid when my uncle took me bowling down there, and even then, in spite of the fact that it was partitioned, it was still a good size.
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Postby maxman927 » Wed May 21, 2008 4:33 pm

also, the winter st. concorse could help with the transofrmation of the silverline to light rail, connected to the green line.
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Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed May 21, 2008 7:43 pm

3rdrail wrote:I think that it would have been extremely likely, as as built, the facility was not well-suited for equipment with an internal combustion engine - electric cars would be ideal. Also, we are "what ifing" with the advantage of hindsight. Look at the track changes at Riverside, Braintree, Forest Hills, Orange Line, etc etc etc.


Image Image

From Wikipedia, here is said loop, and where they merged back into the CR tracks (see inclines on right in 2nd picture). As noted, since these are pointing in the CR direction the loop never would've worked as a turnback in a rapid-transit configuration via the unused upper Red Line tunnel. It simply wasn't oriented in a direction that would allow that kind of retrofit. You can see given the low ceiling and space available that this thing was laughably inept at handling the smoke. From what I gather the loop ROW was more-or-less preserved until the 1980's SS renovation and 1990's bus station construction pretty much obliterated the approach tunnel (portal was still intact, though, and re-excavated for Big Dig-related track work). The actual loop space was the bowling alley and underground employee parking for awhile...now it's the lower-level offices.

Had they not wrecked the magnificence of the original station with its partial demolition in the 80's this ROW would've been the ideal place to loop a rapid-transitized Fairmount/Indigo line. Or, I suppose, if someone had thought of it in the MTA days you could've run a thru-service subway line to downtown via Fairmount and a portion of the upper Red Line tunnel if the loop simply gave way to an island platform. That would've been pretty nice, especially considering this could've been the two-prong branching point for Fairmount and SW Corridor rapid-transit lines meeting at Readville.

Think about it. . .

Indigo "A" branch -- DTX/Park (to Green Line via concourse), SS, Newmarket, Uphams Corner, Columbia, Mt. Bowdoin, Talbot, Morton, Blue Hill, River, Fairmount, Readville.

Indigo "B" branch -- DTX/Park (to Green Line via concourse), SS, Herald (transfer to El at new intermediate station between Dover and Essex/Chinatown), Back Bay, Mass Ave., Ruggles, Roxbury Crossing, Jackson Square, Stony Brook, Green St., Forest Hills (OL/GL transfers), Mt. Hope, Clarendon Hills, Hyde Park, Readville.

Loop-de-loop at Readville if you want to run this thing as a continuous circuit. Or, hell, find a way to navigate that OL crossing at DTX, branch the thing 2 ways on the north side, and then crisscross the two routings. At the very least the elegant SS loop transfer was still accessible up until 20+ years ago, and could've been extended along the Silver Line Phase II tunnel with a little less-shortsighted planning since the bollixing of 'classic' South Station happened around the same time as the Big Dig was hitting the drafting table.
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Postby Gerry6309 » Wed May 21, 2008 8:05 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:...which was intended as a local-service trolley funnel, turnback, and possible connector to the Green Line...although it was rendered unusable by the grade crossing it would've had to make at the Orange Line (seriously...who was the idiot who designed that?). I've never seen any pictures of it prior to the conversion to ped walkway or the demolition of the SS leg by the Artery construction, so I don't know what it looked like in its empty-and-waiting days or if there were any space provisions made for stations beyond the Washington/DTX and SS transfers.


Once again. This was nothing more than the extension of existing lobbies at Summer and Winter Stations and was NEVER intended for any other use, with the exception of the lobby and substation at South Station. The section east of Chauncy St. became the turnstyle shop and still is. The rooms off the Winter St. concourse were always used for office and storage space. No phantom trolley line, no intent or possibility ever for such use. The floor (invert) of this "tunnel" is at platform level on the Orange Line. and the transition from the original lobby to the Washington Lobby cannot be detected, but there follows a remp down so that there is no space between the tunnels at Chauncy St.

On the Winter Street side the Red Line Tunnel comes up on a steeper grade toward Park St. filling the space from the Orange Line pit. Again there is an original Red Line lobby in the space at Park St. which predates the extension. It is at Green Line platfoem level. This is NOT a Silver Line possibility unless the Orange Line is abandoned.
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The next stop is Washington. Change for Forest Hills Trains on the Winter St. Platform, and Everett Trains on the Summer St. Platform. This is an Ashmont train, change for Braintree at Columbia.
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Postby FP10 » Wed May 21, 2008 9:15 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Image



seriously... wow
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Postby 3rdrail » Wed May 21, 2008 9:18 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote: As noted, since these are pointing in the CR direction the loop never would've worked as a turnback in a rapid-transit configuration via the unused upper Red Line tunnel. It simply wasn't oriented in a direction that would allow that kind of retrofit.


Of course we are talking fantasy here, but it is kind of fun to imagine what could have been. I see the loop's entrance/exit direction (which would be oriented northeast and southwest respectively) as being ideally suited for use, particularly for the current Red Line. The Dorchester Tunnel hugs the western edge of the Fort Point Channel coming up towards South Station in a northeasterly direction. Construction to make a diverging route into the east side of the loop's entrance would have to be a relatively minor operation, as it's alignment with the railroad tracks feeding the loop is in the same direction and adjacent to, if not directly below them.

Now, if it was determined that trolley service would use the loop (my favorite option) with cars entering underneath South Station and Atlantic Ave. and then tieing into a loop which would then exit out the same side of South Station into the noted concourse, this service would not require the large diameter loop that the former railroad equipment would necesitate, and I'm quite sure that such an alteration in loop direction would be possible considering this. (The loop would basically be changed from pointing southwest to northwest.) Gerry is quite obviously correct in assesing that the concourse was never designed as a vehicle tunnel. However, BERy and the MTA had the area underground where this concourse exists already cut and covered, constructed as a platform level space, and cleared of underground pipes, wiring, etc already. How much difficulty would there have been to then convert this already enclosed underground area into a "Summer Street Tunnel" for the trolleys to use coming down from Park Street ? According to this 1912 BERy map, there is @ 700 feet from Park to Washington with @ 1800 feet from Washington to South Station. The only possible sticking point here is that I wonder if that distance would be sufficient to descend under two levels of rapid transit lines at Washington (Downtown Crossing) Station ? That might be, and probably was the "fly in the ointment."
Image
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Postby FP10 » Wed May 21, 2008 10:17 pm

Could someone explain why the red line would even need the south station loop, if it hypothetically did align and all that.



And of course, obviously the appeal of all this today is that it could allow the Silver Line to extend to Park Street, and by proxy be turned into a trolley route. I know the T wants to connect the two SL routes, but what is their magical plan to get it done? This area seems to have more tunnels than dirt, and the silver line at south stations sounds like its boxed in by the highway.
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Postby Arborway » Wed May 21, 2008 10:35 pm

The proposed Silver Line alignment.

The plan is so nonsensical that it makes my head hurt just to look at the thing.
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Postby 3rdrail » Wed May 21, 2008 11:49 pm

FP10 wrote:Could someone explain why the red line would even need the south station loop, if it hypothetically did align and all that.


Downtown Boston doesn't have a large rapid transit terminal whereby crowds and trains can be staged to accomodate large crowds resulting from special events in an operating situation where the staging of multiple stationary trains won't impede headway along the line.
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