MBTA Commuter Rail Platform Sizes

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MBTA Commuter Rail Platform Sizes

Postby The EGE » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:20 pm

The subject of MBTA platform sizes has come up a handful of times. I went through the system and measured (via Google Maps) the sizes of most of the full-length high-level platforms on the system (plus a couple of the odd island platforms).

12 feet by 800 feet is definitely the standard for side platforms; most Fairmount, Old Colony, Greenbush, and Rhode Island platforms are very close to this standard. There's more variation on island platforms, but there appears to be some standardization at 22.5 and 24 feet wide for stations where trains may pass at speed. Yawkey's looks to be thinner and may be an exception to this rule, but we'll see when it's actually installed.

These numbers have some interesting practical effects. Two side platforms are just about equal in space taken up to an island; which one is better comes down to what's around the station. Assuming 12 feet per track, this gives us the magic numbers for right-of-way width: 24 feet supports one track and one platform, 48 supports two tracks and sufficient platform for both, and 60 feet gets two platform tracks plus a passing track. I suspect these numbers carry a lot of importance for the inner Worcester Line.


Center island, full-length high-level:

Newburyport: 24x850
Lynn: 28x890
North Station: 16x600, 16x650, 16x720, 16x770, 16x780
Anderson RTC: 24x840
Littleton/Route 495: TBD
Ruggles: 22.5x1050 (partially blocked off)
Forest Hills: 22.5x1050
Back Bay: 16(?)x1050
Yawkey: TBD
South Station: 16xUnknown, 16x1010, 16x1130, 16x1240, 16x1260, 16xUnknown
Brockton: 22.5x850
Providence: 24xUnknown, 24xUnknown

Center island, low with some high:

Lowell: 22.5x240 high; 22.5x430 low
Porter: 22.5x750 low + mini-high
Back Bay: Unknown

Side, full-length high-level:

Rowley: 22.5x800
Malden Center: 11x400
Oak Grove: 6x500
Lawrence: 18x670
South Acton: TBD
Route 128: 26x1050, 15x1050
Worcester: 8x360
Back Bay: 8(?)x1050
Yawkey: TBD
Old Colony, Greenbush, Fairmount lines: 12x800
South Station: 12(?)xUnknown, 12(?)xUnknown
T.F. Green Airport: 12x800
Wickford Junction: 12x850


Future:

Blue Hill Avenue (island): TBD
Ruggles (side): 12x800
Salem (side): 12x800
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:56 am

For Malden Ctr. and Oak Grove the CR platforms were built to the length of a 6-car Orange Line consist to allow conversion. So that's where MC's 400 ft. baseline comes from.

1050 has got to be Amtrak's baseline for 10-car NEC trains. I wonder if we're going to see that length at Mansfield when it gets raised since that's a stop for Regionals.


The new highs designed for Littleton, South Acton, Salem, Beverly, and Rockport are all going to be 800 ft. They aren't doing any full-high conversions at less than that standard length unless there's an obstruction (grade crossing sandwich, etc.) blocking it...then they settle at a minimum 450 ft. and go from there. The North Shore Transit Improvements report specs what some of the recommended raisings would be on the Eastern Route. Montserrat, for example, would only get 450 footers because of the crossings while most others are 800 ft.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby The EGE » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:04 am

Mansfield is not a stop for Regionals, and I don't think it's ever been.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby Red Wing » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:56 am

How long was North Station platforms before they extended the length of the waiting area?
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby MBTA1016 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:55 pm

The EGE wrote:Mansfield is not a stop for Regionals, and I don't think it's ever been.



I do remeber seeing a YouTube video of a regional stopping at either Sharon or Mansfield since the mbta had an issue that day. I forget what the cause was and the regional was pulled by a p-42 I think.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby The EGE » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:59 pm

This document indicates that the Blue Hill Avenue platform will be 18 feet wide, making it the narrowest island in the system save the downtown stations.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby The EGE » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:24 pm

Updated.

Center island, full-length high-level:
Newburyport: 24x850
Lynn: 28x890
North Station: 16x600, 16x650, 16x720, 16x770, 16x780
Anderson RTC: 24x840
Littleton/Route 495: 22x800
Ruggles: 22.5x1050 (partially blocked off)
Forest Hills: 22.5x1050
Back Bay: 16(?)x1050
South Station: 16x860, 16x1010, 16x1130, 16x1240, 16x1260, 16x??
Brockton: 22.5x850
Providence: 24x1050, 24x1050

Center island, low with some high:
Lowell: 22.5x240 high; 22.5x430 low
Porter: 22.5x750 low (tapered) + mini-high
Back Bay: Unknown

Side, full-length high-level:
Rowley: 22.5x800
Malden Center: 11x400
Oak Grove: 6x500
Lawrence: 18x670 (built for x800)
South Acton: 12x800
Route 128: 26x1050, 15x1050
Worcester: 8x360
Back Bay: 8(?)x1050
Yawkey: 13(max)x600
Old Colony, Greenbush, Fairmount lines: 12x800
South Station: 12(?)xUnknown, 12(?)xUnknown
T.F. Green Airport: 12x800
Wickford Junction: 12x850
Salem: 12x800

Future:
Blue Hill Avenue (island): 18x800
Ruggles (side): 12x800
Kingston (side+island): unknown
Salem (side): 12x800
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby The EGE » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:40 pm

Some notes, some pulled from here.

Lawrence was built for 800 feet long, but the last 130 feet of the platform edge are missing for reasons unknown.

Ruggles is another baffling one. The platform is down to only 480 usable feet, but they've never fixed it up.

Lowell, too, is odd. It's like they got bored halfway through building the high-level platform. There's a minor curve, but you can fit just short of 800 feet before running into bridge abutments to the south.

Worcester could use an extension. The full-high was built on the cheap, but there's no reason they couldn't extend it a bit. Dwell times and auto doors aren't an issue, though, so it's probably low priority. (Same as Lowell).
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby jogden » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:59 am

The EGE wrote:Lowell, too, is odd. It's like they got bored halfway through building the high-level platform. There's a minor curve, but you can fit just short of 800 feet before running into bridge abutments to the south.


Lowell was built in at least two phases. 20 years ago the high platform there was at least a couple of car lengths shorter than it is today. I cannot remember when they extended the high platform, but it seems like it was around (+/- a few years) of them building the new parking garage over the tracks there.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby sery2831 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:29 am

The EGE wrote:
Worcester could use an extension. The full-high was built on the cheap, but there's no reason they couldn't extend it a bit. Dwell times and auto doors aren't an issue, though, so it's probably low priority. (Same as Lowell).


Worcester was to be a full high level, but there was some issue with having the high level on the bridge located there. There was quite a 'to do' about it back when the station was being built. I am sure you can find some old news paper articles on the subject.

The extension of Lowell platform I believe was done around 1999/2000. The new garage was opened 2002/2003.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:37 pm

So what's the deal with Lawrence? Was something track-related holding up the installation of the last 130 ft. of platform edging, and are they ever planning to finish it?
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby octr202 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:30 am

I would guess that it's just not a high priority. Nothing (normally) runs on that line over six cars, since Malden is so short. Wakefield is also pretty short, although not part of the high level discussion.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:37 pm

octr202 wrote:I would guess that it's just not a high priority. Nothing (normally) runs on that line over six cars, since Malden is so short. Wakefield is also pretty short, although not part of the high level discussion.


Ballardvale and Andover are 800-footer mini-highs, however. Bradford's 720 ft. and Haverhill's 660...but both could easily and cheaply round up if Bradford layover gets retired and the Merrimack-rehab related replacement of the Washington St. overpass serves up more room at Haverhill. Hell, Ballardvale could probably get redone as a full-high at relatively minor cost if the layover relocated. Construct a new island platform between the existing yard tracks joining to what's now the location of the mini-high, shift the mainline over onto the new alignment, and retain one of the old mainline tracks as a freight + Downeaster passing siding.

If increased Haverhill peak frequencies stemming from the larger layover yard trend more towards the Lowell Line and Anderson-Haverhill expresses platform length does make a difference for the outer-stop crowds that are going to flock to the rush hour slots that get them home in an hour or less by virtue of not running on the Reading Line.

I agree they have better things to do right this minute than worry about this. But seems a silly thing to leave that little remainder of platform edging unfinished for nearly a decade when the line is going to see plenty of demand for long consists in the not-too-distant future.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby jbvb » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:36 pm

The way the Lawrence platform was left, late in construction with footings & rebar in place, make me think someone screwed up the clearances in the relationship between the platform and the Union St. bridge and/or its center pier. A few people reading this probably know, but I have an old friend who might actually tell me.
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Re: MBTA Commuter rail platform sizes

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:01 pm

How did you measure Lynn's platform? It's a bit odd -- while an island, it is still "staggered". I'm not sure if both halves are the same length. There's also a closed portion on the southern end, IIRC.
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