Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby craven » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:51 pm

On Tuesdays ~ 2:30 PM, the B721 leaves the Framingham North yard and runs East on the B&A with scrap and a few box cars.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby John Smythe » Fri May 11, 2018 6:40 am

For years freight trains, commuter rail engines & cars, Amtrak use this connection between East Cambridge & Cambridge where the Mass Pike go by Boston University. The steel trestle crosses The Charles River. People are just going to have to get used to the fact that trains have operated over this line for decades & the number of motor vehicles that this North / South link will remove from traffic will benefit all.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby BandA » Mon May 14, 2018 4:10 pm

Barring wartime, temporary closures or CSX buying parts of PAR, you won't see much more than one a day freight over the Grand Junction.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby Trinnau » Tue May 15, 2018 4:02 pm

The Framingham Secondary, which is the connecting line to Foxboro, is owned by MassDOT now too.

To round out the list of tracked owned by another entity...
Fitchburg to Wachusett (Pan Am, operated under trackage rights)
Franklin to Forge Park (CSX, leased by MBTA).
MA/RI State Line to TF Green (Amtrak, operated under agreement)
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby Backshophoss » Wed May 16, 2018 8:00 pm

Just a few years ago,Grand Jct branch was ripped up and rebuilt,and was in fair shape,why is MBTA doing this AGAIN??
IT will be OOS for a LONG time if this is for the green line construction,A BIG mistake!
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby TomNelligan » Wed May 16, 2018 8:37 pm

As I drove by this afternoon I noticed that the rails have been removed from the Mass Ave grade crossing and the empty space paved over with an asphalt patch. I assume the crossing is being rebuilt.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed May 16, 2018 10:42 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Just a few years ago,Grand Jct branch was ripped up and rebuilt,and was in fair shape,why is MBTA doing this AGAIN??


Not at all. The Grand Junction was out of service because the bridge over the Charles River was in such deplorable condition. I think they may have ran a tie job roughly around the same time, but I don't believe there was any significant work, nor was it timed with the outage for bridge work.

Backshophoss wrote:IT will be OOS for a LONG time if this is for the green line construction,A BIG mistake!


The work at Swift is necessary to make room for the Green Line and will last 6-8 weeks according to the work schedule. It is not necessary for the entire duration of the Green Line Extension Project, which will last at least 3 years.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby CRail » Thu May 17, 2018 11:33 am

There will be an extensive outage (estimated 3 years) as part of the Mass Pike realignment project. When that will happen is to be determined.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby BandA » Fri May 18, 2018 1:27 am

So they are taking advantage of the outage to also fix the Ma$$ Ave grade crossing, good. They should upgrade the Grand Junction to passenger standards, then say "hey look, we have this line available, shame to not run trains"

Can't plan for a 3 year outage when MassDOT and their landlord The Harvard University haven't come up with a plan or a timeframe. And if passenger service on the Grand Junction is already running, well they will have to consider not having a three year outage.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby Area4 » Fri May 18, 2018 7:16 am

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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby John Smythe » Fri May 18, 2018 2:12 pm

The fact that this line sees use is important. It does allow The T & Amtrak to shuttle engines, coaches & other equipment back & forth between North / South Station area service locations. Importantly above all else I believe there is no need to undertake another " Big Dig " rail project to link North & South Stations. I'm sure that with some Federal $$ the surface route ROW can be upgraded & utilized to shuttle passengers between the two stations. Keeping it as a non-stop route will be a great benefit as well.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby BandA » Sat May 19, 2018 1:20 am

Yes; They want to build a tunnel for <$1B (according to Mike Dukakis), more likely much, much more. Meanwhile they have this track two-four miles away that is barely used.

They need to stop at Kendall! Or if not Kendall then Ma$$ Ave. All trains. If it's a local it should also stop underneath Memorial Drive / BU Bridge, and around Cambridge St or wherever the GLX crosses. Theoretically, if a "Grand Junction Line" provided good interchange with all the subway lines it would not have to go to North Station but could continue on one of the north-side lines (cough Maine cough NNEPRA cough)

The Grand Junction is connected to the Framingham Worcester Line to the west. In order to be fully useful it should also connect to the east. A balloon track could be built at low cost if it is baked into the design of Harvard's Beacon Park development / I-90 reconstruction.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby John Smythe » Sat May 19, 2018 11:19 am

Just to set things right, the college that purchased / is taking over the former Beacon Yard for expansion of their facilities is Boston University. MIT University is the cluster of buildings that are located very near to the Mass Ave. RR Crossing, the tracks wind along very close to some of their buildings. I once believe some kind of chemical company was located next to them & received tank cars on occasion as far back as the early 1990's. Harvard University is situated kind of right in Harvard Square in Cambridge not far from Storrow Drive along the Charles River.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Sun May 20, 2018 5:25 am

Better to snag the federal money to build the NSRL using direct Amtrak through-service from Portland ME and Concord NH to NYP and beyond as the carrot to lure in Federal attention and investment and once that's built, convert the Grand Junction to light rail or rapid transit as the first stage of an inner belt connecting West Station to Airport via Kendall, Sullivan, Everett, and Chelsea.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby StefanW » Wed May 23, 2018 11:42 am

Sorry if this was covered / answered elsewhere. I searched and couldn't find it - including New England Railfan

I'm wondering (numbered for easy reference):
1) What is (was) the usual trip time for north-south south-north equipment moves over the Grand Junction?
2) Was there a huge variation between best-case and worst-case trip times?
3) What causes variations in trip times over Grand Junction?

4) What's the round-trip time currently via Worcester?
5) How much variation is there? (if we know so far)
6) What causes issues (if any) on that long move via Worcester?

7) Have there been any equipment shortages since the Grand Junction outage and the moves via Worcester?
8) Have there been any delays / cancellations due to equipment shortages?

I'm really curious about all this because it's such a huge variation from the usual. I found some references to unusual freight moves over otherwise all-passenger lines, but this Grand Junction outage (like times before) is what... 10x longer move?

Thanks all!
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