Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby roberttosh » Wed May 30, 2012 7:57 pm

I would think grade separation in that area would be next to impossible with tracks being just above the Charles River west of Moody St, so you'd have to end up raising the tracks which would create a huge wall in downtown Waltham as well as major issues with what are now overpasses just east of the station. Not an Engineer and I guess if there's a bottomless pit of money anything "could" be built, but I think it would just about rival the Big Dig in regards to engineering issues :-)
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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby diburning » Thu May 31, 2012 7:05 am

It's not THAT close to the Charles River.

If you look at Memorial Drive at the Harvard Bridge (Mass Ave bridge) there is an underpass for Memorial Drive traffic to go under Mass Ave. It's closer than the commuter rail tracks are to the river at Waltham! So, it can be done! They might have to make it longer since trains can't handle grades as well as road vehicles do.

But this begs the question.... Is it necessary? Can they double track through this area without having to re-grade the entire section?
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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby roberttosh » Thu May 31, 2012 8:59 am

I'm not quite sure what you are trying to explain or for that matter how the Memorial drive design has anything to do with this Waltham situation. Just west of moody St, the tracks paraellel the Charles river only a few feet above the river, certainly not enough where the roadbed could be lowered to get under moody St without having the track below the level of the river. I highly doubt they would build some sort of dyke or levee system like they have in New Orleans to acconmodate such a design. I also don't see them building a twenty foot tall wall to raise the tracks over Moody St, cutting the downtown area in half and casuing additional engineering problems with what are now the Jackson and Newton St overpasses just east of the station. The other option would be raising both Moody and Elm St's over the tracks and if you know that area, there is just no way that could be done without completely having to rebuild the whole downtown area and eliminating access to whole neighborhoods. Botton line, it aint gonna happen.....
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Re: Fitchburg line bottleneck?

Postby newpylong » Thu May 31, 2012 10:04 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:

They've also got a big ADA backlog on the Lincoln and Concord stations also beyond the scope of the current double-tracking project, and it's a high (but expensive priority) to replace the 3 tiny/borderline-useless Weston stops with a large and very badly-needed Route 128 park-and-ride at Exit 26. So it's a safe bet that at some point in the next 10 years when there's a chance at more grants to chase that they're going to revisit the inner portion of the line out to 128 and Concord. Those inner suburbs need much better and more frequent transit, especially Waltham which is one of the largest bus hubs on the entire MBTA that's far isolated from any reasonably nearby rapid transit options.


Like you said, Waltham has multiple bus routes that come into the City. They have Commuter Rail. More importantly, for rapid transit it is just a couple miles from Riverside on the Green line.

Can't have everything. There are many other communities with worse transit.
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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby Abe Froman » Thu May 31, 2012 10:38 am

roberttosh wrote:I'm not quite sure what you are trying to explain or for that matter how the Memorial drive design has anything to do with this Waltham situation. Just west of moody St, the tracks paraellel the Charles river only a few feet above the river, certainly not enough where the roadbed could be lowered to get under moody St without having the track below the level of the river. I highly doubt they would build some sort of dyke or levee system like they have in New Orleans to acconmodate such a design. I also don't see them building a twenty foot tall wall to raise the tracks over Moody St, cutting the downtown area in half and casuing additional engineering problems with what are now the Jackson and Newton St overpasses just east of the station. The other option would be raising both Moody and Elm St's over the tracks and if you know that area, there is just no way that could be done without completely having to rebuild the whole downtown area and eliminating access to whole neighborhoods. Botton line, it aint gonna happen.....


Last time I looked there was a dam/spillway involved in the immediate area of the Moody St. crossing...the difficulty is not the location or positioning of the tracks as much as it is the prolonged resistance within the City of Waltham to any type of traffic re-routing/traffic engineering. We are not talking about midtown Manhattan here. Changing traffic flow patterns by creating one way streets, eliminating turns, designating bypass roads and realistic train scheduling and dispatching will effectively-and cheaply-address the problem far quicker and easier than any proposed construction project.
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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby diburning » Thu May 31, 2012 11:50 am

roberttosh wrote:I'm not quite sure what you are trying to explain or for that matter how the Memorial drive design has anything to do with this Waltham situation. Just west of moody St, the tracks paraellel the Charles river only a few feet above the river, certainly not enough where the roadbed could be lowered to get under moody St without having the track below the level of the river...


Which is exactly the situation at the location I described above. The underpass is below the level of the river, and only a few feet away. It doesn't have any problems with leaks. If it can be done for vehicular traffic, it can be done for the rails as well given enough space. From an engineering standpoint, it has already been done, and just needs to be adapted for railroad use (which doesn't really involve much other than laying track instead of paving it) It would be an underpass similar to Wellington tunnel, except it would be double tracked and not built to such tight clearances.
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Re: Fitchburg line bottleneck?

Postby saulblum » Thu May 31, 2012 12:24 pm

newpylong wrote:Like you said, Waltham has multiple bus routes that come into the City. They have Commuter Rail. More importantly, for rapid transit it is just a couple miles from Riverside on the Green line.

Can't have everything. There are many other communities with worse transit.


Unless you have a car in the first place, Riverside is not a realistic option for Waltham commuters. There is the 558 bus, but it runs very infrequently and only during weekdays. And after around 7:30 p.m., bus service becomes very infrequent.
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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby newpylong » Thu May 31, 2012 3:35 pm

While Waltham is very close to Boston (10 miles to Back Bay), we're not talking Somerville or Brookline here. People have driveways and most people have cars. Riverside is convenient. Depending where you live in Waltham it can be as close as 2 miles away. Tons of parking. Only a couple bucks to ride the Green Line.

There is also the 505 express bus (Mass Pike) for commuters from Waltham Center. The 553,554 and 556 are all local buses that start in Waltham and end downtown.
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Re: Fitchburg line bottleneck?

Postby boblothrope » Thu May 31, 2012 4:46 pm

newpylong wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote: Those inner suburbs need much better and more frequent transit, especially Waltham which is one of the largest bus hubs on the entire MBTA that's far isolated from any reasonably nearby rapid transit options.


Like you said, Waltham has multiple bus routes that come into the City. They have Commuter Rail. More importantly, for rapid transit it is just a couple miles from Riverside on the Green line.

Can't have everything. There are many other communities with worse transit.


Such as?

Waltham Center is 3 miles from Riverside, which is a big distance on a local transit scale. That's about the distance from Ashmont to Forest Hills, and guess what, they're upgrading commuter rail service on the line that's halfway between them.

I don't think there's any point in Somerville which is more than *two* miles from a subway station, yet they're getting the billion dollar Green Line extension.

Waltham has 60,000 people, many of them near the center. It could certainly support better service than the existing commuter rail every hour or two. Express buses are infrequent. The local bus is very slow, and not too frequent off-peak, yet it still attracts heavy ridership -- standing room only loads after 9 pm.
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Re: Single Track at Waltham on the Fitchburg Route

Postby NRGeep » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:30 am

Don't forget about the good ole' #70 for those not in a hurry it will eventually connect one with the red line in Central after the loooong wait at the Arsenio Mall.
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