Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby atsf sp » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:39 pm

It will be limited though. Mostly single track line. There is a siding right after the Charles River Bridge and that ridge can be upgraded to a double track because it once was. Single track would have to be kept in the MIT area because the tracks go through buildings. Plus they will have to combat with the roads and make sure that Mass Ave does not become bumper to bumper. (Reason why all MBTA/Amtrak shifts over the Grand Junction are at night or the early morning.) New switches must be installed to allow fast trains over the line. Plus what is now Beacon Park will have to be upgraded to at least two or three main line passenger tracks instead of one because there is no way to get off that track to the Grand junction without going throught the what is now yard. The switches are near the Market St. Bridge. It would be interesting just will take work.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby jaymac » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:03 pm

I'm glad the Lieutenant Governor is so enthusiastic, but my Google-Earth-surf showed a half-dozen grade crossings between but not including Storrow Drive and O'Brien Highway, not to mention numbers of informal pedestrian shortcuts. Does the plan include grade separation to deal with vehicular and pedestrian traffic? Elevation would be more than expensive, as would depression, which has the additional complication of infiltration from the Charles and the former navigation canals east of MIT.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:55 pm

jamesinclair wrote:
The closest thing I think we'll ever see to a north/south active use connection would be by directing some worcester trains to terminate at north station, which has excess capacity while south station is almost full. For that to happen, all the street crossings would need 4 quadrant gates, which would open up Amtrak to run new york-maine trains via worcester.

I'd rank that as more likely than a greenway trolley but less likely than the MBTA returning to NH.


:)
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby atsf sp » Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:00 pm

jaymac wrote:but not including Storrow Drive and O'Brien Highway,

Neither of these have grade crossings and are not a problem. Unless the radius coming off the bridge over the charles and then over Storrow is too tight for high speed, compared to the 15mph now.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby TomNelligan » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:18 pm

I''m sure that some current B&A commuters are headed for destinations closer to North Station than South Station, but I wonder how many will actually find it faster to ride direct to NSta via a presumably rebuilt Grand Junction line (which will never be anything close to high speed -- just follow it through Cambridge and observe all the twists and turns and grade crossings -- so we're probably talking 15+ minutes from Beacon Park) versus the current Orange Line connection from Back Bay. And what about current riders on the line who are perfectly happy going to South Station because that's closer to their destination, but find their trains going to Causeway Street instead? I can also imagine the reaction of the Cambridge NIMBYs when they discover that the current Grand Junction traffic of one short freight and one or two deadhead equipment moves each way is going to increase. There are a lot of buildings very close to the track.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:24 pm

Well, part of the project involves going from 13 trips a day to 20.

So lets say 10 go to SS and 10 go to NS. More options. Some people will have a much better commute, some people will have a slightly worse commute. Some will be exactly the same.

More of a headache will be outbound. You will no longer be able to go to BB or SS and assume a worcester train will depart soon, youll need to check the schedule.

A stop at the BU bridge area would be very helpful.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby crash575 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:45 pm

It will be limited though. Mostly single track line. There is a siding right after the Charles River Bridge and that ridge can be upgraded to a double track because it once was. Single track would have to be kept in the MIT area because the tracks go through buildings.


I work across the street from two of MIT's buildings that cross over the tracks; the McGovern Brain Institute (Bldg 46) and the new power plant chiller (N16). The ROW under the chiller is still wide enough for three tracks with clearance and two under building 46. The ROW is also three tracks wide from Mass Ave to nearly Memorial Drive (NECCO used to have their spur at Fort Washington Park). From Main Street to Broadway the only thing precluding a two track ROW is a dirt berm between the tracks and Galileo Galilei Way.

ROW width is not a constricting factor.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby Charliemta » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:03 pm

That's good news. The one spot where it would be difficult to fit two tracks would be the south end of the bridge over the Charles. The bridge itself is two tracks wide, but the radius on the bridge's south end just barely makes it from the east track to under the Mass Turnpike. A second track on the west side of the bridge may not have enough clearance to make it over Storrow Drive and under the Pike. http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=r1rvxv926k1q&scene=51754461&lvl=1&sty=b&where1=Soldiers%20Field%20Road%2C%20MA
Last edited by Charliemta on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby butts260 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:03 pm

atsf sp wrote:
jaymac wrote:but not including Storrow Drive and O'Brien Highway,

Neither of these have grade crossings and are not a problem. Unless the radius coming off the bridge over the charles and then over Storrow is too tight for high speed, compared to the 15mph now.

Google-Earth tells me that the radius of that curve is about 380 feet, maybe a little less, which works out to be a 15 degree curve, using the formula: curve degree = 5729.65/radius in ft. From Track Safety Standards 213.57 (a) and (b)(1) you get a max speed of about 30 mph, assuming the maximum allowed superelevation of 7 inches for classes 3 through 5.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:04 pm

crash575 wrote:
It will be limited though. Mostly single track line. There is a siding right after the Charles River Bridge and that ridge can be upgraded to a double track because it once was. Single track would have to be kept in the MIT area because the tracks go through buildings.


I work across the street from two of MIT's buildings that cross over the tracks; the McGovern Brain Institute (Bldg 46) and the new power plant chiller (N16). The ROW under the chiller is still wide enough for three tracks with clearance and two under building 46. The ROW is also three tracks wide from Mass Ave to nearly Memorial Drive (NECCO used to have their spur at Fort Washington Park). From Main Street to Broadway the only thing precluding a two track ROW is a dirt berm between the tracks and Galileo Galilei Way.

ROW width is not a constricting factor.


Correct. Those buildings were constructed to provision for 2-track operation + breathing room in case the ROW were cannibalized for the Urban Ring--ick--busway.

That's never going to be a viable routing for commuter rail service because of number of grade crossings that would be speed-restricted even at upgraded track speeds because of the curves. And that even includes someday elimination of the Mass Ave. grade crossing, which MIT wants to do by burying the roadway Broadway-under-Harvard Yard style on that block for a pedestrian mall with tracks/Urban Ring remaining on the surface. The route would definitely work as light rail because of the shorter consists and faster acceleration/deceleration. But that'll be a slow trip in a loco, messing up multiple streets at a time as it plows through. Some of the Amtrak moves already mess things up pretty good Broadway and Main when they choose to go through at 5:30 or 6:00 on a Friday.


I think Worcester commuters will be just tickled having more trains period. Which they can do when all those Allston freights dissapear and the line gets its badly needed cab signal installation on the inner half. Nobody's going to be inconvenienced by an Orange Line jog from Back Bay when they've got twice the number of trains to choose from to fit their schedules.
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:33 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:I think Worcester commuters will be just tickled having more trains period. Which they can do when all those Allston freights dissapear and the line gets its badly needed cab signal installation on the inner half. Nobody's going to be inconvenienced by an Orange Line jog from Back Bay when they've got twice the number of trains to choose from to fit their schedules.


Its not about their convenience, its about south station being full, and needing to send the trains elsewhere. The Worcester line is the ONLY line where this would be possible.

Once the Indigo line comes online, that's it, no more room at South Station. You either send trains to NS, or convince people to commute during off peak hours.


As for the speed....

Whats the current time/speed between the yard and south station? Especially BB to SS appears to be extremely slow. Would 20mph in cambridge be any worse?

Also, stick a stop near the BU bridge (for both "branches") and then a stop in Kendall, and bam, you have yourself phase 2 of the urban ring! (phase 1 was the CT buses). It would probably be faster to take a worcester train from BU to NS than it would to take the B line (with transfer)
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Re: North/South Side Connection

Postby sery2831 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:01 pm

The Grand Junction Branch is now officially part of the MBTA/MBCR family. From the Beacon Park Yard Limits EAST is now under the control of the MBCR Terminal Dispatcher who controls Tower A and North Station.
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:35 pm

Does that mean the MBTA bought the branch off of CSX?
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby diburning » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:26 pm

Yes.

Reading a news article, it also said that the MBTA will be running Worcester Trains via North station. I'd take it with a grain of salt though. Most news media outlets don't verify their information when it comes to topics they are not familiar with, like the rail industry
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Re: Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

Postby Charliemta » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:54 pm

Grade crossings wouldn't be huge deal once MIT builds its proposed underpass of Mass Ave under the tracks.

The only one-track section would be at the south end of the bridge over the Charles River, and even that could be two-track if some of the green strip between Soldiers Field Road and the existing single track could be taken, and if there is enough room there to fit the second track in. Also the bridge over Soldiers Field Road would have to be replaced.
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