South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1911

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South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1911

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:03 pm

What... is... this?!: http://www.wardmaps.com/viewasset.php?aid=16365

I can't quite figure it out, but from the looks of it, the Boston & Albany may have had plans to tunnel from South Station to their yards in East Boston, and then purchase the Boston, Revere Beach, & Lynn to consume the ROW to Lynn.

Oh man, I'm entering fantasy mode here... imagine if it happened! The NEC would probably be running Northeast Regionals all the way to Portland via the Eastern Route today.

Okay, but anyway. Am I interpreting this correctly? There was a plan to run steam-hauled trains through Boston to Lynn? Or was it actually a rapid transit plan (where the East Boston tunnel was still just a trolley tunnel)?
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby The EGE » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:37 pm

That looks more like the New Haven trying to get to Lynn. The B&A could already get to its East Boston yards via the Grand Junction, which may have been slightly slower but a heck of a lot cheaper than building a tunnel. The New Haven in 1911 was getting its Forest Hills-inward trains bashed by the El, so Lynn might have looked like a very tempting source of commuter traffic.

Interestingly, that tunnel doesn't appear to branch off the loop tunnels built in 1899 that showed severe problems with steam trains. I imagine this would have been all-electric (which the New Haven, by 1911, was doing in New York with the Park Avenue Tunnel).
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:10 pm

Is it just me or is that section drawing of the east Boston tunnel in the back ground not quite right? It looks awfully steep heading in to Eastie.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby TrainManTy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:49 am

The EGE wrote:That looks more like the New Haven trying to get to Lynn. The B&A could already get to its East Boston yards via the Grand Junction, which may have been slightly slower but a heck of a lot cheaper than building a tunnel. The New Haven in 1911 was getting its Forest Hills-inward trains bashed by the El, so Lynn might have looked like a very tempting source of commuter traffic.


On the lower right corner of the map there's a title:
N.Y., N.H. & H.R.R. / Boston to Lynn, Mass / showing / Proposed Tunnel / South Station to East Boston / And Connections.

So I'd say you're correct. :-)

Adams_Umass_Boston wrote:Is it just me or is that section drawing of the east Boston tunnel in the back ground not quite right? It looks awfully steep heading in to Eastie.


Check out the map scale in the lower right corner, directly below the above-mentioned title. It has a scale. It's tough to make out even at fullscreen and 100% zoom, but I believe it reads:

Scales:
Hor. 1in = 555ft
Ver. 1in = 40ft

That would explain the distortion on the grades. Also look at the station length and the fact that the tunnel in Southie starts way back where COVE is today. The proposed NYNH&H tunnel's grade would be much gentler than that of the EBT.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby NH2060 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:30 am

Didn't the NH have some form of control over the B&M at that time? IIRC the Eastern Route to Lynn (or Swampscott?) was rebuilt to NH standards (4 tracking, etc.) during the 1910s.

This is indeed fascinating though. Not a bad idea for a model railroad! ;-)
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby jbvb » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:38 pm

Yes; the NH controlled the B&M at this point, and this was in the planning process when the RoW through Lynn was 4-tracked and grade-separated. It's why the 50-years-gone Lynn Tower had such a New Haven look. I have always wondered what it would have been like if Mellon (not the current one) had had an insight about the fate of the trolley lines the NH was spending so much money on, and had built this tunnel instead. It's one of the premises of my HO model railroad.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby Elcamo » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:54 pm

Why didnt they just connect to the B&M facilities at their north station equivalent instead? Seems like it would've been a hell of a lot easier to do that than tunnel underwater to East Boston. I get why they wanted the narrow gauge route, but they could've got there relatively quickly still if they went through the eastern route to hook up around Orient Heights instead (There appears to be some kind of branch between the eastern and narrow gauge ROW around there, not sure what it is though).

How much did they think it would cost to do this?
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:14 am

Elcamo wrote:Why didnt they just connect to the B&M facilities at their north station equivalent instead? Seems like it would've been a hell of a lot easier to do that than tunnel underwater to East Boston. I get why they wanted the narrow gauge route, but they could've got there relatively quickly still if they went through the eastern route to hook up around Orient Heights instead (There appears to be some kind of branch between the eastern and narrow gauge ROW around there, not sure what it is though).

How much did they think it would cost to do this?

I'm not sure what that line is around Orient Heights, but it's not a railroad line. Could be a streetcar line.

The B&M's Chelsea Beach Branch ran alongside the BRB&L from about where Revere Beach station is today to Point of Pines, connecting to the Eastern Route at both ends.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby jbvb » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:59 am

Boston (as with a lot of other US cities) was not receptive to a major railroad route being built through either the center of the commercial district (distressway route) or the Common/Esplanade west of Beacon Hill. Also, at that time North Station and the Somerville/Cambridge/Charlestown yards were a mess of unconsolidated leftovers from the B&M's recently merged predecessors. The NH had consolidated its Boston terminals and presumably wanted to leverage that investment with the tunnel.

IIRC, the old Eastern track the B&M kept ended about where the Grand Junction entered East Boston via the Chelsea Creeek draw. This map's proposed use of the BRB&L may be something put together to address potential resistance from the B&A to a larger excavation under their Bennington St. yard. Or they may have wanted to maximize potential commuter traffic. I know the current Saugus River draw was built with foundations wide enough for 4 tracks.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby joshg1 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:04 pm

This is from the time the New Haven and Mellon were trying to create a monopoly in New England. NH controls the B&M controls MEC, along with paying top dollar for any carline, ferry, or steamship line they could get. Also took a 50% share in the B&A. Added to this mix is the expensive spat that started the SNE- Grand Trunk (CV) at Palmer to Providence with lots and lots of bridges. Titanic Railroad is my source (don't recommend it). Apparently it all started with JP Morgan keeping NH east of the Hudson- he allowed Mellon to go wild as compensation.

All of this led to consternation and uproar in business and government circles in Mass and RI. Lots of hearings, lots of proposals. The GT made promises about building lines to Worcester and Boston from the SNE. I expect this map was drawn up by the NH for public relations, just like this map- http://maps.bpl.org/id/m8695- drawn up by a Commonwealth board. Hopes and dreams. Like shipping a MBCR train out to Berkshire County- looks nice, not coming to station near you soon.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby The EGE » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:20 pm

One more thing worth noting about the map: it involves the New Haven taking over the BRB&L. Had this occurred, it would have been a surprisingly good match - the BRB&L was always kneecapped by not having a direct route to downtown. Had it survived the 1940s, the line might have stayed as commuter rail past 1940.
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Re: South Station to Lynn - Proposed East Boston Tunnel in 1

Postby Elcamo » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:51 pm

Staying as CR (with the construction of the tunnel) would've likely meant it became the new route for today's Newburyport/Rockport line, and become a huge corridor for passenger traffic. Would be interesting to see what would happen with no ROW for blue extension, and if it could've been a N/S link by having trains go back towards Boston to head to the other northside lines.
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