MBTA Old Colony Line

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MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby The ViRoCo » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:33 pm

This topic is about the MBTA Old Colony Lines, which consists of the Middleboro/Lakeville line, and the Kingston/Plymouth Line. Questions, answers, and comments are welcome!
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby wicked » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:16 pm

Besides Quincy Center and Quincy Adams, what is the possibility of double-tracking between Neponset and Braintree? Would they be able to add a second track between Neponset and Wollaston if they raised the embankment and shifted some things around?

Could some land-taking be done between Savin Hill and JFK to shift the Red Line tracks over, thus allowing for more double track?
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby The EGE » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:47 pm

State library download link for "Widening the Southeast Expressway: A Conceptual Plan". (Former link, now dead)

A long shot that this actually gets constructed, but would bundle Malfunction Junction improvements in with a highway project. The Old Colony would get full double track through Savin Hill and JFK/UMass - thus creating continuous double track from South Station to Neponset. JFK/UMass would get turned into a single island platform for the Red Line and one for the Old Colony. At Savin Hill, both the Old Colony and Braintree tracks would be buried. Malfunction Junction would be relocated south of JFK with a rather more sensible layout.

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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby Teamdriver » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:53 am

With respect to the Plymouth line, why did they choose to end it at Cordage park, and leave all that barren decrepit trackage that continued south towards the waterfront district. Still steel in the ground , and the surrounding land parcels seemingly abandoned ' Chelsea style ' to this day , the line used to go at least as far as rte 44, where there is a plaque noting the site of the former Old Colony station. Presently the Plymouth station lies hidden behind an abandoned walmart. Why isnt this wasted potential addressed, by not only the transportation wizards , but the semi - private sector development yahoos ? Especially in light of the Hyannis extension. Go down to the Plymouth waterfront on the weekend and see , the people want it , its a hidden jewel. As the great Papi might say , its a flocking shame........
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby wicked » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:01 pm

In fairness, the Plymouth station was in a thriving spot when they opened it -- the Wal-Mart had opened a few years before, and there seemed to be a decent number of businesses in Cordage Park. I don't know if that's still the case with Cordage Park. I do wonder why no arrangement has been made to add some of the Wal-Mart parking to that available for commuters.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:38 pm

I have always been bothered by the Plymouth line stopping so far short of downtown as well. My guess is it is a similar situation to the Newburyport NIMBYs. I would absolutely take the train to Newburyport to visit if it was in a logical place. But it's not. The NIMBYs didn't want the business. So I'll proceed to clog their streets with traffic. Their loss. *shrugs*

I don't really go to Plymouth often, but I might if I could take the train downtown. It just doesn't make sense.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby NH2060 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:52 pm

The Plymouth timetable is anything BUT commuter oriented. Other than the one train from Boston in the evening it's strictly catered to day trippers. And even that isn't really saying much. So how could there be any commuters without the trains for them to ride in the first place?

At least in Newburyport the station is about a 20 minute walk to the downtown area. With Plymouth it's about an hour's walk IIRC to the center of town. I'm actually amazed that the Plymouth line is even still operating. Why the T won't add service is beyond me other than 1) not having enough equipment for separate Kingston and Plymouth runs or 2) lack of capacity between South Station and Braintree with that single track.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby wicked » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:56 pm

An hour walk is a stretch. Maybe 40 minutes.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby wicked » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:03 pm

The EGE wrote:State library download link for "Widening the Southeast Expressway: A Conceptual Plan". (Former link, now dead)

A long shot that this actually gets constructed, but would bundle Malfunction Junction improvements in with a highway project. The Old Colony would get full double track through Savin Hill and JFK/UMass - thus creating continuous double track from South Station to Neponset. JFK/UMass would get turned into a single island platform for the Red Line and one for the Old Colony. At Savin Hill, both the Old Colony and Braintree tracks would be buried. Malfunction Junction would be relocated south of JFK with a rather more sensible layout.

Image Click for large version


Burying tracks seems to be overkill. It'd probably be cheaper to buy all the properties on that side of Sydney Street (I'm guessing 50) between JFK and Savin Hill, and swing the tracks over. Say 50 properties, average price of $400k, that's $20 million. Who knows what you'd find when you go underground.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby Teamdriver » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:33 am

My chagrin is that for the lack of a mile or so of existing abandoned right of way, with steel still in the ground , and surrounding decrepit adjacent land that is developable , the potential of the Plymouth waterfront,which has many historic Rocks , ships , buildings ect. ,which things already serve to attract people, this all has been overlooked. Day trippers are the customer here , to augment the commuter, increasing the utility of the line off-peak. It was just over looked , as a total package of tourism and transportation. It is a fine take on a day trip, a lunch trip , or just a ride on a train. Yet they are exploring some sort of Hyannis excursion, been to Hyannis lately ? It is not of the Cape Cod of which Patti Page sang ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... T2ao0rcxoA ) or that of Pat Boone ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Esjo8gt2VY)
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby djlong » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:51 am

Go ahead. Just *try* to wipe out half a neighborhood in Boston these days. After what happened with the West End and the Central Artery, you'll NEVER *EVER* see that kind of swath-clearing in Boston short of the city being nuked in a war. ...and I'm not just saying that because I used to live on Sydney Street :)
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby The EGE » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:31 am

djlong wrote:Go ahead. Just *try* to wipe out half a neighborhood in Boston these days. After what happened with the West End and the Central Artery, you'll NEVER *EVER* see that kind of swath-clearing in Boston short of the city being nuked in a war. ...and I'm not just saying that because I used to live on Sydney Street :)


Yeah, that's a 100% non-starter. Taking industrial properties is one thing; they don't care where they're located as long as trucks can get there, and they're almost always willing to relocate for the right price. Taking local business or residential land involves displacing people who are often happy where they are, and there would be lawsuits-a-plenty. Better to just dig the tunnel and do it right the first time.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby wicked » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:12 am

Problem is, the tunnel will never get built.

Sometimes the perfect solution isn't available or feasible. I'm not saying they should take all of Sydney Street, either, just the homes on that side abutting the ROW. If the displacement of 200 people will benefit thousands in improved transit services, it should be at the very least considered.

(I grew up in Southie and understand the sensitivity to taking land in the city, but sometimes these things are necessary. We're talking about a key piece of infrastructure here, not tearing down the West End to benefit real estate developers.)
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby merrick1 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:12 pm

It looks like the narrowest spot on the right of way is at Savin Hill. Could they have both Ashmont and Braintree Red Line trains stop at Savin Hill and build a new junction south of Savin Hill? Another possibility would be three tracks for the Red Line with peak direction Braintree trains bypassing Savin Hill. This would require a more complex junction south of Savin Hill. Either plan would leave room for two tracks for the commuter rail.
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Re: MBTA Old Colony Line

Postby The EGE » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:42 pm

merrick1 wrote:It looks like the narrowest spot on the right of way is at Savin Hill. Could they have both Ashmont and Braintree Red Line trains stop at Savin Hill and build a new junction south of Savin Hill? Another possibility would be three tracks for the Red Line with peak direction Braintree trains bypassing Savin Hill. This would require a more complex junction south of Savin Hill. Either plan would leave room for two tracks for the commuter rail.


Savin Hill is the least-used Red Line station, with just 1863 boardings daily in 2009. If you assume (for the purpose of argument) that all boardings are at rush hour, then stopping all trains at Savin Hill reduces the average wait time from 4.5 minutes to 2.25 minutes, saving station passengers about 4200 minutes daily. (Ridership would not substantially increase, as the station has a very limited catchment area). But the 28,162 passengers from the Braintree Branch get delayed 30 seconds each, costing 14,000 minutes of wasted time. That's a very high ratio in favor of only stopping Ashmont trains there.
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