Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

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Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby The ViRoCo » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:09 pm

I was on the southbound CapeFLYER on Friday (8/22), and I heard an MBTA employee say something that "commuter rail might be going to Buzzards Bay in the fall" and to check the MBTA website. I did check the website quickly, and I didn't see anything about the extension to Buzzards Bay. Does anyone have any information on this?
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby jaymac » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:30 pm

Off topic but on theme, during a first season (late 2001) ride on the Downeaster, an AC said with absolute certainty that service would be extended north of Portland within 2 years.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:55 pm

The ViRoCo wrote:I was on the southbound CapeFLYER on Friday (8/22), and I heard an MBTA employee say something that "commuter rail might be going to Buzzards Bay in the fall" and to check the MBTA website. I did check the website quickly, and I didn't see anything about the extension to Buzzards Bay. Does anyone have any information on this?


Too early.

1) The Kawasakis really need to be back from rebuild and the new locos all in service before they do any more service expansion. They're too thin on reserves and too preoccupied breaking in the new vehicles for this Fall to be any realistic target.

2) BB needs to have its full-high platform constructed first. They can fudge it with the Flyer, but it slows down commuter service too much to not be able to use the power doors at 1 single stop and to have a platform a little bit short for opening all doors on a rush hour consist. Installing a full-high there is no big deal because it's far, far away from the station house. But it's not instantaneous. They have to move that small driveway grade crossing by the current mini-high to get an unbroken platform, and survey/EIS/re-landscape the strip of land closer to the bridge to get at least a 600-footer if the full-regulation 800 ft. isn't possible because of the Academy Dr. crossing (though they really should try for the full 800 and creep as close to the bridge as safely possible because those Middleboro rush-hour consists are getting more and more packed and will need that many cars in due time). And if they haven't gated the Academy Dr. crossing yet they have to take care of that. Busywork, not too expensive, but not something that's ready for prime time right this second.

3) Bourne isn't even in the MBTA district yet. Either CCRTA floats the cost of running across the Wareham town line like it does the Flyer until that paperwork gets settled, or they have to settle the paperwork to run regular service. The Flyer is run on a shoestring budget; I doubt they have the money to turn on a time and fund 100% of the past-Wareham running miles on full-time basis starting now. They really do need to get Bourne voted into the district first like every other commuter rail destination.

4) The PTC mandate only exempts 6 train movements per day on unsignaled track without a PTC installation after 12/31/2015. So far the only commuter rail trains in the country that have exemptions are the LIRR Greenport Scoot (too few daily frequencies to exceed the threshold) and the NJT Princeton Dinky (special exemption because there is never more than 1 consist occupying the line and it never crosses the junction with the NEC). Since MassCoastal is too small to qualify at all for PTC, that probably means the T can have all 6 movements to itself. But that's still only 3 round-trips per day. The mandate takes effect in a little over 16 months, longer than it would take for them to install cab signals from Middleboro to the bridge. There's no point to initiating any service greater than that when the deadline is going to kneecap it in a year. Even if the T is flagrantly late (which it looks like they will be) getting PTC installed on all existing territory, the FRA is going to hold it against them when granting deadline extensions if they start packing unsignaled territory full of commuter runs and plow themselves further underwater on the deadline. They have to get the cab signals installed to BB and at least have a definitive date for when ACSES PTC goes live on the Old Colony before it makes any sense to do this. Yeah, that could be as early as 2016 if they start work soon. But adding more to their plate before then is seriously jumping the gun and hampering their already dire progress systemwide on achieving PTC compliance.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby nomis » Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:37 pm

Since I am unsure if the line is signaled from Middleborough to Buzzards Bay ... I'm not sure which critera is correct: 2 RT or 6 RT, per 49 CFR 236.1019 (b) (2) - MAIN LINE TRACK EXCEPTIONS
(2) Passenger service is operated on a segment of track of a freight railroad that is not a Class I railroad on which less than 15 million gross tons of freight traffic is transported annually and on which one of the following conditions applies:
(i) If the segment is unsignaled and no more than four regularly scheduled passenger trains are operated during a calendar day, or
(ii) If the segment is signaled (e.g., equipped with a traffic control system, automatic block signal system, or cab signal system) and no more than 12 regularly scheduled passenger trains are operated during a calendar day.


Also, it would be prudent for the MBTA to start as many services before 12/31/2015 as fringe "testing the waters" services that fit the 2 RT, 6 RT criteria as they see fit. After 2015, PTC will be required on all new commuter services. CFR 236.1005 (b) (6)
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:18 pm

nomis wrote:Since I am unsure if the line is signaled from Middleborough to Buzzards Bay ... I'm not sure which critera is correct: 2 RT or 6 RT, per 49 CFR 236.1019 (b) (2) - MAIN LINE TRACK EXCEPTIONS
(2) Passenger service is operated on a segment of track of a freight railroad that is not a Class I railroad on which less than 15 million gross tons of freight traffic is transported annually and on which one of the following conditions applies:
(i) If the segment is unsignaled and no more than four regularly scheduled passenger trains are operated during a calendar day, or
(ii) If the segment is signaled (e.g., equipped with a traffic control system, automatic block signal system, or cab signal system) and no more than 12 regularly scheduled passenger trains are operated during a calendar day.


Also, it would be prudent for the MBTA to start as many services before 12/31/2015 as fringe "testing the waters" services that fit the 2 RT, 6 RT criteria as they see fit. After 2015, PTC will be required on all new commuter services. CFR 236.1005 (b) (6)


It is not signaled at all between the end of the M'boro platform and the bridge. Short of a gimmicky 2 morning / 2 evening extended runs they have very little flexibility here until they signal that whole 19 miles of track.

Now, Amtrak did install a wayside signal system here 20+ years ago for the Cape Codder, which is why you see dark and decaying signal heads occasionally (more of them survive on the Cape and Middleboro Secondary than here). Never completed, and whatever physical plant remains from that aborted install is total garbage after 20 years and needs total rip-out/replacement. For one, I'm sure they used copper back then instead of fiber. But it may help them slightly at getting a jump on this if the underground conduits Amtrak trenched way back then are reusable and can just have the derelict cable pulled out and new cable pulled in. Especially under the grade crossings. Trenching's usually the most time-consuming part of the EIS, engineering, and permitting.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby The ViRoCo » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:39 pm

And if they haven't gated the Academy Dr. crossing yet they have to take care of that.

That is all gated and set to go. But that crossing is a pain. It gets in the way of everything.
Since I am unsure if the line is signaled from Middleborough to Buzzards Bay ...

The whole Cape Main is unsignalled. The only signals that are in place and work are at the bridge and Canal Jct (That I know of, probably at Bay too). There are still are a few signals in place down the line that aren't operating and just sit there facing away from the tracks. (F-line beat me too it!)
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby nomis » Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:19 pm

Thanks for the clarification ViRoCo and F-Line ... The basis of my comments were from the wrong number of RT's permitted come 2016 ...
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:46 pm

The Cape Main is DCS territory...Form D's are need for all moves. Passenger trains can not exceed 59 mph in Non-Signaled DCS territory, and per Mass Coastal Special Instruction, freight trains not exceed 30 mph. CANAL JCT. (54.90) and BUZZARDS BAY (54.60) are the only signals in use on the Cape Main, and INT/DCS Rules govern. BAY just has a station sign signifying the BEGIN/END of KEOLIS territory. This is also where the Cab Signaled territory BEGINS/ENDS
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:04 pm

Here's the 2007 BB extension study: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/30000/30900/3094 ... Report.pdf. Station siting for the intermediate stop is a little outdated now that Wareham Village by the shopping center is the consensus choice, but rest of it is still pretty accurate.

Some operational things it mentioned:

-- With cab signals, 79 MPH is doable from M'boro to BB with exception of Elm St. curve in Wareham (60 MPH), the Route 6 grade crossing in Wareham (40 MPH), and final approach into the BB platform (15 MPH entering the station if the Academy Dr. gates are to be triggered gingerly enough that an inbound train can idle on that tight platform without having gates down for the duration of the dwell or requiring a full-time crossing tender to assist).

-- With 1 intermediate stop and Class 4 cab signaled track, South Station-Buzzards Bay is 75 minutes. With 1 intermediate stop and unsignaled track, it's 84 minutes. Add a couple minutes accordingly for the few runs of the day that hit JFK in addition to the QC/Braintree either-or. No alterations would need to be made on the stop selection for the current schedule.

-- 5 trainsets would need to be stored at Middleboro layover, which it has space for. If they're not comfortable with those track storage margins, add +1 tracks on the open pavement on the south side of the property. No layover required at BB other than a parking spot on a pocket track west side of the grade crossing. Deadheads to Middleboro are well within the threshold of cost effectiveness for operating the extension, but they're more cost-effective if it's 79 MPH and not 59.

-- 1 passing siding needed south of Middleboro. For 79 MPH operation future-proofed for the most schedule growth the single-track restriction north of Braintree can support, recommended length is 3.3 miles starting at the Spruce St. grade crossing in Middleboro running to the end of the Rochester transfer station's 2nd iron at County Rd.. With an extra yard track at the transfer station and automatic switches at both ends of the yard thrown in to preserve freight ops.

-- Can either add an additional passing siding between Braintree and Middleboro to support all necessary meets on the max supportable schedule, or lengthen a couple of the existing ones. I'm guessing lengthening is probably a lot easier. It appears they anticipated exactly this extension within the constraints of Boston-Braintree headways because the ROW is graded wide enough for DT and has unused bridge abutments for DT extending in both directions off most of the existing sidings, with the few negligible pinch points and bridges lacking second decks positioned further away.

-- The current Cape Flyer stop in downtown Wareham would not be under consideration for any kind of stop because of the reserved private parking on that back alley and cumbersomeness of trying to enforce that, and the alley not being able to support large kiss-and-ride dropoff volumes at rush without messing up traffic and the abutting businesses. So...Flyer stop for the weekenders, maybe a Prides Crossing-like flag stop once or twice a day, but too awkward to administer for anything more than that.

-- BB would have to have the pedestrian grade crossing between the two current mini-highs to the Army Corps of Engineers building eliminated. As long as the Old Colony platforms at South Station are 6-car instead of the usual 8, they can get by with a 600-footer that keeps the locomotive safely behind the grade crossing activation. However, since SS expansion and the new platforms are going to be full-regulation 800-1000 footers the conjecture in this study's going to have to get re-examined on what they need to do for construction. And the gate timings are a very close shave when a train is occupying the platform. I'm wondering if it would help to realign Academy Dr. a few feet on top of that not-particularly-attractive rock garden into a straight intersection with Washington Ave. where the single-cycle traffic light would fare much better at dispersing traffic queues around the station. Wouldn't touch one single pebble of asphalt at the marina parking lot and would buy a good 50-75 ft. of extra space to have the road curve into a 4-way intersection instead of two T-intersections 50 ft. apart and 200 ft. from a rotary.

-- They based their equipment assumptions on the Middleboro equipment capacity in use as of 2007, so that's already outdated with the MBB's being retired for the Rotems. What they said was that--other than the extra trainsets needed to re-balance the schedule at equal headway--train lengths did not need to go any longer so long as Middleboro/BB got assigned all bi-levels. In that case, the seating capacity increase over the typical circa-2007 rush hour consist would adequately swallow all the new ridership in the same 6 cars. But as above with SS expansion, this may need to be re-studied 7 years later. Those rush hour trains are getting more and more crowded; this line's probably gonna need 7 bi-level cars as soon as SS has an 800-footer to spare on the Post Office side (which doesn't necessarily have to wait until the full expansion is shovels-in-ground...just for the Post Office to get demolished so they can tack on +200 feet to the far island).

-- Parking capacity is going to be a big problem at BB given the number of park-and-riders likely to get off the Bourne and Sagamore and slam Route 6 downtown. They're saying...ugh...parking garage needed. Which, much as I hate to admit it, is kinda necessary for this location. Bourne Bridge commuters might be able to keep on going up Route 25 to the Wareham Village park-and-ride and take their pick of more spacious parking environs. Once you get over the bridge 25's rarely backs up. The folks coming off the Sagamore, though? They don't have attractive second options and will be plowing down Main St. right into that limited BB capacity (and yes, it's probably still gonna be needed even if some Phase II plunks an on-Cape stop right by that side of the Sagamore). So brace yourselves for them going full-retard Beverly- and Salem-style with an opulent budget-exploding garage that probably costs more than all the track and platform work combined. The only saving grace is that it might have to be a block or two away (this hideous liquor store moonscape, for instance), so other parties are going to have to mobilize with the land acquisition and ownership, possibly saving the T just a few drops of the bath it's going to take building the lots or garage.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby BenH » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:57 pm

Here's some news --

"Commuter rail return to Buzzards Bay pivots on town approval, parking"
http://capecod.wickedlocal.com/article/20140924/NEWS/140928182
Wicked Local Cape Cod - 9/25/14

"Commuter Rail To Bourne Could Take Even Longer"
http://www.capenews.net/bourne/commuter_rail_to_bourne_could_take_even_longer
The Enterprise - 9/26/14

I wonder why the Central Transportation Planning Staff in Boston now has to prepare a new report. Their last extensive report on this topic, from 2007, is still rather fresh.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby NH2060 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:01 am

Bourne to join the MBTA? We will sooner or later know (fair use quotes below):
Selectmen at their Jan. 20 meeting will try to explain the upcoming Special Town Meeting article that asks voters if the idea of Bourne joining the MBTA should be placed on the May town election ballot, a pivotal move seen as the precursor to Boston commuter-rail service returning to Buzzards Bay.

The finance committee, as of Jan. 9, had not discussed commuter rail feasibility or the MBTA issue facing voters Jan. 26. The MBTA question, Meier said last week, was set for discussion Monday night (Jan. 12) in a joint session of selectmen and finance members.

http://bourne.wickedlocal.com/article/2 ... /150106835
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby trainhq » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:20 am

Well, they have to do it if they want CR service. The next thing of course, will be negotiating
the amount the town would have to pay to get CR down there. Given that there is already
existing track and stations, there should be some way to do it. My thinking is they could
do it on the cheap by running only, say three-six trains a day each way, with the rest stopping
at Lakeville. That way, they might avoid expensive signaling upgrades.
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Re: Commuter Rail to Buzzards Bay

Postby YamaOfParadise » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:53 pm

The Bourne station, in and of itself, seems like it could be problematic for traffic flow; you still have people converging on the bridge area since it is going to be underneath the bridge. There is land there they can use for parking, though, so there's that at least.
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