Newburyport Line extension

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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby LLPX2032 » Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:30 am

That's too bad, I would've liked to see the Newburyport Line extend into New Hampshire.

When they make these "Rails to Trails" bike trails, there should always be a stipulation that if the former roadbed is ever needed for rail service once again, the trail will get the boot.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby RedLantern » Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:54 am

EMD GP9 wrote:That's too bad, I would've liked to see the Newburyport Line extend into New Hampshire.

When they make these "Rails to Trails" bike trails, there should always be a stipulation that if the former roadbed is ever needed for rail service once again, the trail will get the boot.


There is, it's called "rail-banking" and it's a complete pile of BS since once the trail becomes popular, there's just that many more people to put up a fight if there were ever a reason to re-lay the tracks.

What they really should do in Newburyport is leave one track in place and use the space from the other track (from when it was double tracked) as the bikeway. The track left in place could be considered "an interpretive display of the city's transportation heritage" until the bridge is repaired and that track can be used for trains again. Build the paved trail a safe distance from the tracks with a provision for a fence alongside it in the future to seperate the track from the trail. The track could also be used for a trolley (on loan from Seashore?) to be used as a (temporary) light rail line from the station to downtown.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby jbvb » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:47 am

I looked over the Newburyport rail-trail project yesterday: Grading and construction of the footbridge over Low St. are done, but there is no paving yet. The Salisbury, MA project on the line North (timetable east) of the Merrimack is partly paved. The design shows no consideration for future rail use; the graded path runs right down the middle of the 3-track RoW from Parker St. to the old station at Washington St. The embankment at the Newburyport end of the river bridge is removed down to the level required to support the bridge itself. Compared to the bike path using the Amesbury branch RoW, the project is really gold-plated: Footbridge, street lights, granite steps up to give access to High St. and down to Cashman Park. Stone arch fans, note that the Salisbury project left the arch over the access road intact. No construction on the Salisbury path is visible at MA 110, I need to go ride it and see where it comes out.

I did get some good detail photos and dimensions of the bridge itself, though the reinforcement makes the bridge enormously complicated as a model building project. I hadn't realized until a boat trip last weekend that the Newburyport-side spans have 7 panels and the Salisbury side uses 6.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby SilverLakeRailroad » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:53 pm

Ok Im jumping in here cuz i think i have to.. You guys have to stop dreaming.. When will MBTA ever go past Newburyport... I feel like a broken record, but get it in your head here.. people don't want the railroads! Look at the green-bush line??? it took them 25 years of meeting after meeting... It started in the early 80's to get a train down there, now common, NH? they have no money either, and I don't see any planning boards around? Even if there was some sort of plan for future service, other than a rail fans dream, it would be 35-40 years in my mind.. there are just way to many blocks in the way, so would you rather have a rail-trail which you can still enjoy a ride on the row, or look at it rot away??? I like the rail-trails.. perfect for a biker-railfan like me, so seriously give up the redemption of the Portsmouth line, because its not happening.. What i think should happen is turn it into a speeder-railtrail like cvrtc... that way IF a railroad ever wanted to come in, which they probably wouldn't!, they would be 1 step ahead because 50 year old speeder rail is in place.. More bad news to you people; http://www.essexheritage.org/bordertoboston/ How do you like this? ill bike to portsmith! Atleast something is being done with the ROW
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby trainhq » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:08 am

At some point, you have to recognize when to bow before financial reality. The reality of this area is that the cost of a new/replacement bridge over the Merrimack makes any kind of train service north of Newburyport fiscally impossible. Period. Given the T's other commitments, it won't happen for another 20 years, minimum. In that case, they may as well turn it into a bike trail; they can always put new track on it eventually (whenever!) if they want. And, in this area, the loss of this line isn't really all that critical. Since the best route to Portsmouth (where most of the population to be serviced lives) would be through the Newfields junction anyway, which has only about 6-7 miles of track to be rehabiliated with no major bridges involved, the loss of this line isn't all that critical. With a line to Portsmouth in place, most inhabitants of the coast area would be, between Newburyport, Exeter, and Portsmouth, less than about 7-8 miles from a station. They can handle it.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby madcrow » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:07 pm

trainhq wrote:At some point, you have to recognize when to bow before financial reality. The reality of this area is that the cost of a new/replacement bridge over the Merrimack makes any kind of train service north of Newburyport fiscally impossible. Period. Given the T's other commitments, it won't happen for another 20 years, minimum. In that case, they may as well turn it into a bike trail; they can always put new track on it eventually (whenever!) if they want. And, in this area, the loss of this line isn't really all that critical. Since the best route to Portsmouth (where most of the population to be serviced lives) would be through the Newfields junction anyway, which has only about 6-7 miles of track to be rehabiliated with no major bridges involved, the loss of this line isn't all that critical. With a line to Portsmouth in place, most inhabitants of the coast area would be, between Newburyport, Exeter, and Portsmouth, less than about 7-8 miles from a station. They can handle it.

While the alternate route may be more economical, I suspect that the "old" route would still be better given the money to rebuild it, in that it probably hits more downtowns. Still, I think at this point any talk of ANY rail to New Hampshire is off base. As I recall, they just passed a law prohibiting the use of any transportation money for rail purposes and steadfastly refuse to chip in and support the Downeaster, despite the fact that outside of Summer tourist season, it functions almost solely as a glorified commuter train to take people from Southern NH to their jobs in Boston. Even if the T was flush with cash and could start building out to NH tommorow, I think that it would be silly for them to do so given the fact that the state of NH is at best a freeloader when it comes to rail.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:36 pm

madcrow wrote:
trainhq wrote:At some point, you have to recognize when to bow before financial reality. The reality of this area is that the cost of a new/replacement bridge over the Merrimack makes any kind of train service north of Newburyport fiscally impossible. Period. Given the T's other commitments, it won't happen for another 20 years, minimum. In that case, they may as well turn it into a bike trail; they can always put new track on it eventually (whenever!) if they want. And, in this area, the loss of this line isn't really all that critical. Since the best route to Portsmouth (where most of the population to be serviced lives) would be through the Newfields junction anyway, which has only about 6-7 miles of track to be rehabiliated with no major bridges involved, the loss of this line isn't all that critical. With a line to Portsmouth in place, most inhabitants of the coast area would be, between Newburyport, Exeter, and Portsmouth, less than about 7-8 miles from a station. They can handle it.

While the alternate route may be more economical, I suspect that the "old" route would still be better given the money to rebuild it, in that it probably hits more downtowns. Still, I think at this point any talk of ANY rail to New Hampshire is off base. As I recall, they just passed a law prohibiting the use of any transportation money for rail purposes and steadfastly refuse to chip in and support the Downeaster, despite the fact that outside of Summer tourist season, it functions almost solely as a glorified commuter train to take people from Southern NH to their jobs in Boston. Even if the T was flush with cash and could start building out to NH tommorow, I think that it would be silly for them to do so given the fact that the state of NH is at best a freeloader when it comes to rail.

The T doesn't have to build out to NH; it already owns to the NH/MA state line. This project, via Rockingham Jct. and the Portsmouth Branch will happen only if it's done with NH dollars. In other words, it's probably not going to happen. :wink:
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby jbvb » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:13 am

I won't reiterate my points regarding where the population and highway congestion are, or the alignment and grade separation of each route. I will note that my family has been in Rockingham County since 1919, and a great deal has changed in that time. "The pledge" (no broad-based tax) has just about run its course, IMO, and once that's dealt with, things like funding rail transit will be on the table instead of underneath it.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby djlong » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:37 am

madcrow wrote:While the alternate route may be more economical, I suspect that the "old" route would still be better given the money to rebuild it, in that it probably hits more downtowns. Still, I think at this point any talk of ANY rail to New Hampshire is off base. As I recall, they just passed a law prohibiting the use of any transportation money for rail purposes


Not true. There was a court case a couple of years ago that resolved a lawsuit saying that *gas tax* money could not be used for rail.

As I've said in many other threads, NH is coming around. They now have a board for passenger rail issues. The current plan is to rehab the line north of Lowell and, in phases, make Nashua, Bedford (a stop for the new Airport Connector road), Manchester and Concord new stops on the line. There are funding issues and they're hoping that another round of stimulus funding (since this round is oversubscribed) will pay the capital costs for the buildout. Continuing funding is another matter.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby trainhq » Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:31 am

Yes, but there's a huge difference between the Nashua line and the Seabrook one. The Nashua line is currently
an active freight line; if they wanted to, they could run CR (slowly) down it tomorrow. The amount of $$$ needed to
turn it into a commuter rail service isn't all that great, relatively speaking. The Seabrook line is abandoned near the MA border and still needs that bridge over the Merrimack. A much greater investment would be needed to make this a viable line again. Also, the population of that area isn't as great as the Nashua-Manchester corridor, so the cost per rider would be much, much greater. So, don't go thinking that if they get Nashua going they'd get Seacoast rail again too; it isn't going to happen.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby Choo Choo Coleman » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:19 am

I took the train for the first time up to Newburyport this past weekend, and noticed that most of the line was only single track. It looks like there is room for another track. Was that line ever double-tracked? And if so, when was it removed?

Also, where was the downtown Newburyport Station located? The current one is a few minutes outside the center. It's too bad they removed the downtown station because I think it would fit the old New England Style town center that they have maintained, and would increase patronage by tourists out for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Lastly, on a Frday afternoon, the Newburyport Station parking lot was pretty empty. I'm guessing that is due to the infrequency of the daily trains, which probably can't be increased until they double the tracks, which probably won't happen until they put the bridge back and run trains to Portsmouth/Portland.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby B&Mguy » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:33 pm

While I’m not quite sure when the second track was removed, (although I would guess sometime soon after WWII) I know that the old Newburyport Station was located at the Washington St. crossing just to the west of Route 1. It was a nice central downtown location, and I agree it would have been nice to route the restored commuter rail service to this location. My guess would be that the lack of parking is why this wasn’t done. Shame how the car takes priority over preserving the character of the town.

About the bridge being rebuilt, and trains running to the north, I wouldn’t hold your breath on this. The Merrimack River bridge has been dormant for over 40 years, and would have to be completely rebuilt. While commuter rail to Portsmouth many someday be a reality, trains to Portland, ME already run on the Western Route, and there has not been Portland service on the Eastern for over 60 years.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby jbvb » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:27 pm

The eastern route was double track to Portsmouth (except for the Salem tunnel) from the construction of the present High St. overpass in the 1920s until sometime in 1939, when they removed the second track from Newburyport draw to the junction of the Manchester & Portsmouth branch outside Portsmouth. They left the other main in place between Hampton and North Hampton as a long siding (special mention in Employee's TTs because it spanned two stations).

Double track was removed from North Beverly to Newburyport in 1959. A CTC siding was installed at Ipswich (still there) and a segment of double track remained from Hanover St. in Newbury (Newburyport West interlocking) to the old end of double track between Merrimac St. and the draw, with spring switches at each end. This was taken out of service in January 1965, with the draw, but not torn out till several years later. In both cases, the main that was kept varied from segment to segment, usually to keep passenger trains next to the platforms (Rowley was an exception). The Newburyport station was east of Washington St., in the space now occupied by the relatively recent condos.
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby jamesinclair » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:00 pm

BOSTON – Sunday, October 04, 2009 – As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Patrick today announced the Salem commuter parking facility will move forward thanks to a full funding commitment from the state.

The 750-space parking facility to be located at the Salem Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail station will be funded in part by $3.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration and $3 million from the Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management (DCAM). The DCAM investment will allow 150 parking spaces to serve the new Essex County Courthouse complex. The balance of the spaces will be available to daily commuters who park and ride the commuter rail to Boston.

In addition to the committed federal and DCAM funds, the Governor said today the state will fund its appropriate share of the total $45 million project costs and will work with the MBTA and the City to finalize each party's contribution to the project. The facility is scheduled to be completed by 2011.

...
The Salem commuter rail station is one of the most heavily used on the MBTA’s Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line. It serves not only hundreds of daily commuters but also is a point of arrival for tourists and visitors. The existing surface parking lot with fewer than 350 spaces routinely is filled before 8:00 a.m. on weekdays.

The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Office of Transportation and MBTA have committed to completing projects that add a total of at least 1,000 commuter parking spaces at MBTA stations on the North Shore by December 2011.

More at:
http://mbta.com/about_the_mbta/news_eve ... nth=&year=
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Re: Newburyport Line extension

Postby highrail » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:01 pm

Relative to the Salem Station parking garage...It has been almost 40 years since they started talking about a garage! 40 years! This was proposed as part of the North Shore Transit Improvement Project's components back in the 1970's. Amazing how long it has taken.
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