The Green Line Revisited

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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby BostonUrbEx » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:38 pm

I believe it was said somewhere that the best headways the Red Line ever saw was 3 minutes? Let's say the Orange Line could also handle 3 minute main subway headways, or similar. Current rush hour headways are 5 minutes. So you could bump that to 6 minutes on each branch and run 3 minutes in the main subway.

However, I still think the best option is a heavy rail Green Line from Riverside to Brookline Village to Copley via Huntington Ave (combines D and E branch) and on up to Wouburn via Lowell. Complete with a split in Newton which goes to Needham from the north. And perhaps a split in Winchester which goes up to Anderson, meaning complete elimination of all commuter rail stops south of Anderson. :)
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby Arlington » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:13 pm

I totally get that you've put your finger on the problem (rush-direction capacity) but your explanation hasn't quite nailed it.
SM89 wrote:. If the orange line were branched to Medford though, that would double since there would be half the amount of trains running to Oak Grove.

Sadly the "Green Line Revisited" proposal doesn't seem to have addressed this at all. You assume that fleet and headways are fixed. I don't. Both are assumptions trying to fill this gap in the GLR proposal. The OL today runs 5min headways downtown. It could run every 2.5 minutes ( NYC and DC sustain headways of 2.5mins or less) with a branch every 5mins alternating between Oak Grove vs Lowell Branch. The problem is cost. All the putative savings (and then some!) of putting the OL on the Lowell Line would have to be expended:

- Doubling the OL fleet size (call it $1b)
- Doubling of yard space (call it $100m) and
- Maybe a signaling upgrade (call it $50m)

all to support 2.5 minute headways at rush hour. An OL branch may be cheap from a right-of-way standpoint, but its too expensive operationally because it loads the Orange Line with more people in the rush direction. This is SM89's point and it strikes at the heart of why the Orange Line was *never* considered seriously for the Lowell Branch.

Meanwhile, both the proposals that the MPO considered back in 2003 for Lowell Branch service (they considered both Green or Blue to West Medford) had the virtue that they were only proposing to tack service onto the "non-rush" end of an existing line, leaving central subway headways mostly unaffected, and only requiring enough new fleet to cover the new segments (requiring a new yard, yes but not a doubling).
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby djlong » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:09 pm

Quite frankly, I'd like to see the MBTA stop and take a good long look at the Green Line rolling stock and make a leap.

Specifically, I'd like them to go to Dublin and see what they have going there. They have long, articulated street-running trams with FAR more capacity than any of the types now running in Boston. They're long single units and you can walk from the front to the back of the equivalent of a 3-car green line train.

I rode on and saw LUAS trams take sharp 90-degree turns on narrow city streets thinking "reminds me of the Boylston curve". They had enough acceleration and speed at points that I had no problem imagining them making quick work of the Riverside branch.

I'd like to see the MBTA start planning a gradual replacement of the entire fleet with a *revolutionary* leap in trains rather than an evolutionary one.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:19 pm

djlong wrote:
I'd like to see the MBTA start planning a gradual replacement of the entire fleet with a *revolutionary* leap in trains rather than an evolutionary one.


The only trouble with "revolutionary" is that sometimes you wind up with a LRV fiasco. (We should have watched San Francisco's for a while all the while using our PCC's that were rotting away in good shape at the Arborway.)
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby madcrow » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:30 pm

3rdrail wrote:
djlong wrote:
I'd like to see the MBTA start planning a gradual replacement of the entire fleet with a *revolutionary* leap in trains rather than an evolutionary one.


The only trouble with "revolutionary" is that sometimes you wind up with a LRV fiasco. (We should have watched San Francisco's for a while all the while using our PCC's that were rotting away in good shape at the Arborway.)

Not a good example given that the Boeings actually performed quite well in SF... We could have watched SF all we wanted and the combination of worse weather (more stuff to go wrong) and a vastly lower standard of maintenance here in Boston would have made the picture from SF a rather useless one. Different cities have different needs, so what works in one place isn't always what will work in another.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:22 pm

3rdrail wrote:(We should have watched San Francisco's for a while all the while using our PCC's that were rotting away in good shape at the Arborway.)

Wasn't that a decade later following the E line shutdown? I thought the whole PCC fleet was in pretty bad shape until the Boeings' problems forced the T to overhaul many of the PCCs.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby jonnhrr » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:26 pm

One comment I had on the proposal in the GLR blog is that when talking about the efficiency of the Green Line vs. heavy rail, with the downtown to Lechmere segment you are dealing with a completely grade separated rapid transit style infrastructure and therefore decent travel times to the downtown from Medford / Somerville. In addition with the "Brattle loop" at Government Center you have the potential to isolate the Medford and Somerville service for some trips and thus have it unaffected by delays in the rest of the system.

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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:06 pm

madcrow wrote:
3rdrail wrote:
djlong wrote:
I'd like to see the MBTA start planning a gradual replacement of the entire fleet with a *revolutionary* leap in trains rather than an evolutionary one.


The only trouble with "revolutionary" is that sometimes you wind up with a LRV fiasco. (We should have watched San Francisco's for a while all the while using our PCC's that were rotting away in good shape at the Arborway.)

Not a good example given that the Boeings actually performed quite well in SF... We could have watched SF all we wanted and the combination of worse weather (more stuff to go wrong) and a vastly lower standard of maintenance here in Boston would have made the picture from SF a rather useless one. Different cities have different needs, so what works in one place isn't always what will work in another.


Not a "good example given", Mr. madcrow ? "Performed quite well in San Francisco", also ? The San Francisco Chronicle disagrees with you:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... S16054.dtl

3247 - The abandoning of working PCC's was happening not only in the 80's as you suggest...but in the 70's and even 60's as well. To demonstrate what I am saying, if you have access to a Sept/Oct 2007 Rollsign, go to page 14 (center photograph) and take a gander at the long line of All-Electrics on one track of the "overnight storage tracks" at the Arborway... in 1967 ! On that one track are more cars than would be needed for Arborway service in a full day's complement.That is a multi-tracked yard with scores of cars behind the row that we can see that are out of the cameras view as well. I can tell you from living nearby and frequenting the yard often that what appeared to be many useable PCC's sat in dead storage at this time.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby BigUglyCat » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:14 pm

Paul:

Thanks much for that article reference. I too had bought into the "talk" that SF was running merrily with the Boeings. It's quite interesting to see that things were very different there.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:00 pm

Oh, you're entirely welcome ! I'll tell you a brief story. Around 1986, I was at the Muni car barn by the U.S. Mint just being a busy body and seeing what I could lawfully obtain for my collection of signs. I was entertaining the Muni guys with my stories, and they were entertaining me with theirs when all of a sudden, I heard this loud "Thanks a lot !" coming from the barn. We all looked up and there was this big brawny Irish looking guy, covered in grease, looking right at me like he was going to stick my head into a traction motor. All of a sudden, he burst into a big smile and yelled, "Thanks for the LRV's !" He had heard where I was from. Everybody laughed like hell !
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby ThinkBoston » Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:54 pm

Howdy. I appreciate ALL of the replies, even if I do have a headache now. But that's mostly from all of the cutting and pasting and organizing the comments by topic. Now that I've done that, I'll go back and research each one; that will take a little time. Just didn't want to delay in saying thanks and let you know I'm in the process of responding.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby Arlington » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:12 pm

ThinkBoston wrote:Howdy. I appreciate ALL of the replies, even if I do have a headache now. But that's mostly from all of the cutting and pasting and organizing the comments by topic. Now that I've done that, I'll go back and research each one; that will take a little time. Just didn't want to delay in saying thanks and let you know I'm in the process of responding.
-RL

You'll want to look at The 2003 Program for Mass Transportation. In particular they evaluated both Green(page 5C-36) & Blue (page5C-32) extensions to West Medford

And when they thought (their less-preferred thought) of extending the Orange LIne in its rush directions (end-additions both north and south toward Rte 128), those are covered in Part 5, here: http://www.bostonmpo.org/bostonmpo/pmt-old/PMT-5.pdf

And I do think that the reason the Blue or Green was preferred was that it added traffic in the "non-rush" direction and therefore made good use of empty-ish runs on existing trains giving "balance" to the existing lines, and leveraging underused capital.

Also note that the Lowell Line is really prized as a commuter and intercity line: it is the core of 2 commuter lines on the North (both Lowell Line and supplying express runs to Haverhill) and the core of 2 interstate lines (today's Downeaster to Portland ME, which will be potentially expanding frequencies, and the Planned Capital Corridor to South Nashua, Manchester Airport, Manchester and Concord in New Hampshire). Converting it to transit is tough to justify when it cuts off these growth opportunties.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby Leo Sullivan » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:48 pm

Before questioning the relative importance of Commuter Rail as so
well mentioned in Arlington's post, consider that in commercial days,
the product of passenger transportation was stated in "Passenger Miles".
That gives a far different weight to CR ridership.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby Disney Guy » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:36 am

Boston's PCC fleet was in such bad shape by the time the Boeings debuted that Boeings had to be put in service before the scheduled debut. Perhaps the shop staff felt that since the Boeings were coming soon only the minimum repairs would be done on PCC's. Then a snowstorm "tore off the Band-Aids" (my words).

While we are speculating on what the Green Line could have been, it was in the 1960's that I imagined the Riverside and Cleveland Circle lines coming into Kenmore inbound then going out the loop track onto an extension subway to downtown via a different routing. Thus reducing congestion on the Boylston St. subway and providing service to other areas.
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Re: The Green Line Revisited

Postby djlong » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:28 am

When I said "revolutionary" I didn't mean that it was new technology as much as the *ideas* were revolutionary from an American standpoint. LUAS seems to run quite well with these new trams and I would want to specifically AVOID another Boeing fiasco. Dublin seems to be a good place to look at since it has a nasty winter climate (less snow though), and street running down small roads in an ancienty wity negotiating tight 90-degree turns.
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