Silver Line to Light Rail?

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Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby rethcir » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:56 pm

Do you guys think the news of GE moving down to the Seaport increases the likelihood of the Silver Line moving to Light Rail at all? That'll be a lot of new employees in the area, I bet the current rubber wheel fleet will be quickly overwhelmed.

I imagine the problem of running them in the harbor tunnel is insurmountable..
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:21 pm

Make GE pay for it. They have plenty of money to spare since they don't have to pay any federal taxes.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:13 pm

Compared to everything else that has sprouted up, I don't think GE would be anything too major. Just a drop in the bucket of all the new development. And since we're apparently talking about upper levels of management from the sounds of it, they're probably going to be overwhelmingly driving to work.

Light rail wouldn't go beyond the SL2 loop, perhaps not even past Silver Line Way, so the Ted Williams Tunnel wouldn't be an issue.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:08 pm

The announcement this morning stated that GE would be bringing approximately 600 jobs to the Seaport District. As BostonUrbEx said, a drop in the bucket.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby BandA » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:07 am

One of the articles said transit improvements were promised. Weird that they announce this without having the lease in place.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby BandA » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:18 am

They should embed the rail in the pavement for "street running" intermixed trolleys & trackless trolleys. Making it ADA compliant would be interesting. Do low-floor trolleys have more capacity than the same width "BRT" vehicles?
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby SemperFidelis » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:34 am

Because light rail vehicles generally are not limited by overall length laws on roadways, as bus equipment is, they generally do have much higher capacity. Without a waiver, a rubber tired bus (articulated) is limited to 60 feet long in most places. Non articulated buses are generally limited to 45 feet in length.

When aboard thier own right of way, buses needn't comply with those laws. There are very few dedicated busways that don't require the buses to eventually use public roadways however.

And according to what GE told thier good, unionized workforce right before they fired them in Erie, PA, they're really hard up for cash, so you can't ask GE to kick in anything. Those golden parachutes for the execs won't fill themselves.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:08 am

According to the WSJ and twitter.

https://twitter.com/mbtainfo/status/687459444293242883

MA offered GE "as much as $120 million...on infrastructure, such as new roads and parking facilities"

I don't think GE will be paying for anything. Will Silver Line upgrades be part of this? Seems doubtful.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby NH2060 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:50 pm

BandA wrote:One of the articles said transit improvements were promised. Weird that they announce this without having the lease in place.

That's how anxious they were to leave CT. They had considered moving out of state for about 3 years.


If there were to be a light rail in South Boston I think it would have to somehow connect with the existing Green Line network for it to even be considered by the T. And that won't come cheap.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby CRail » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:05 am

It's inevitable that it will happen eventually, perhaps before I die (I'm not 30 yet), but not because of GE. As BandA said, a major first step would be putting rails in the Transitway (which is designed to have rails put in it). Even if you just put rails in and leave them there, you're in that much better shape to convert/mix streetcars in with dual modes. The Harvard tunnel was like this at one point, streetcars/trackless only (as it should be today, IMO). DMAs to the airport and cars to South Boston (to start). Streetcars to Chelsea would be next in my ideal world. I'd probably never send them to the Airport. I wonder if the SL3 (City Point) were a streetcar, would still be running today?
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby BandA » Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:58 pm

The history of transportation is switching to new modes based on cost, or speed or convenience. Steam trains were cheaper than stage coaches. Trolleys were cheaper than steam. Diesel required less maintenance/fuss than steam. Buses are cheaper to buy than trolleys.

Going the other way, trolleys should last longer and have higher capacity than dual-mode buses.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby mbk2013 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:48 pm

Would we ever see some form of light/heavy rail shuttle on the Marine Terminal tracks to/from South Station ? Could easily add capacity at minimal cost.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby RailBus63 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:34 pm

The next time that a Massachusetts transportation project is done 'at minimal cost' will be the first.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby Red Wing » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:23 pm

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=152499&view=unread#p1410870

With the City wanting to go commuter rail to the Seaport, I wonder if this would be a better use of money? If the Mayor wants to get Fairmont riders to the Seaport provide free transfers and South Station.
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Re: Silver Line to Light Rail?

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:26 pm

CRail wrote:It's inevitable that it will happen eventually, perhaps before I die (I'm not 30 yet), but not because of GE. As BandA said, a major first step would be putting rails in the Transitway (which is designed to have rails put in it). Even if you just put rails in and leave them there, you're in that much better shape to convert/mix streetcars in with dual modes. The Harvard tunnel was like this at one point, streetcars/trackless only (as it should be today, IMO). DMAs to the airport and cars to South Boston (to start). Streetcars to Chelsea would be next in my ideal world. I'd probably never send them to the Airport. I wonder if the SL3 (City Point) were a streetcar, would still be running today?


The answer, as far as potential sugar daddies for a Silver Line rail conversion may go, isn't GE, and isn't even MassDOT. It's Massport.

Considering that the Ted Williams tunnel is already as gridlocked during rush hour as the Callahan/Sumner once were, and considering Massport's ongiong dreams of further expansion at Logan, it's clear that there needs to be investment in a new, better way to get from Boston to the airport.

Given the dirt-cheap cost of deep bore tunneling these days (relative to what it once was, that is, I'm starting to think that the case can be made for a second rail tunnel under the harbor to carry a light rail loading gauge from the seaport to Logan, running to the east of the Ted. Once under the airport, it could snake under the gap between Terminals A and B, offering a station serving both, while continuing under the access road and hooking west to the gap between Terminals C and E are, where a second station would serve those. From there, it would continue northwest until merging to the SIlver Line Busway to Chelsea, stopping at Airport along the way. Massport could foot the bill for the harbor tunnel and airport ROW, while the would only have to pay for electrifying the Seaport tunnels and the Chelsea ROW. Eventually, if the desire was there, you could even continue the light rail all the way to Assembly via Everett and the new Casino, who would all love to have that one-seat ride to Logan (and have the money to lobby for it to happen).

Now, you just connected Chelsea, Revere, etc to downtown and the Seaport, while setting the stage for a Silver Line extension to Back Bay or Fenway/Longwood.

It's a pie-in-the-sky idea, but if anyone has the money to make it happen, it's MassPort.
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