Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby bmvguye39 » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:59 am

highgreen215 wrote:I am NOT suggesting that any public money be spent on a tourist train. I am suggesting that a private train operator, or even individual private cars, could access Black Falcon Terminal for convenient near across-platform transfer. Of course they would be appropriately charged for use of the facilities.


If memory serves, the Alaska Railroad does this with their 'cruise trains' that run from the southern cruise terminal up north through the scenic wilderness in conjunction with the cruise lines. I think some of the cruise lines own or help operate the cars or individual cars as well so there is at least precedent for the suggestion... However, I imagine getting private cars from the Falcon Terminal over to South or North Station would be the first step and then connecting them to the DownEaster or the Lakeshore Limited would be another..... unless Amtrak were to 'create' an east coast ski train and run it from Boston to upstate Vermont! haha...
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:13 am

Wondering if Massport should rethink this whole Marine Terminal idea. What if Massport rebuilds the newly acquired land between Summer Street and the existing Conley Terminal? The plan is to build out the terminal slightly westward to allow higher cranes (necessary due to the new larger container ships and the terminal's proximity to Logan Airport which limits the height of existing cranes). What if they extend the haul road and railroad together across Reserve channel? Then develop the far west end for the Marine Terminal project. This obviously would easily allow eventual rail-on-dock service to Conley in the future.

Concerning the Black Falcon situation . . . when you take a cruise to Alaska one of the most popular excursions is the White Pass & Yukon trains out of Skagway. The trains pull right onto the docks and the transfer is very easy. I have always thought that a similar thing could happen at Black Falcon. Most cruises come into Boston for the fall foliage season although it's pretty difficult to see the trees from the ocean! Realize that many cruises from Boston are ONE WAY, that is you can take the cruise from Boston to Montreal or Montreal to Boston. You have to arrange for your own transportation from either end. Sometimes motorcoach transfers are part of the deal.

Also in Alaska you can take the Ultradomes across the state to Fairbanks. The rail services are extremely popular and a fantastic experience. I think an optional fall foliage excursion train from Boston to Montreal either way, connecting with these cruises, would be very popular. It's a great add-on and a perfect fit for that older affluent market. So leaving this possibility available would be desirable.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:29 am

bostontrainguy wrote:Wondering if Massport should rethink this whole Marine Terminal idea. What if Massport rebuilds the newly acquired land between Summer Street and the existing Conley Terminal? The plan is to build out the terminal slightly westward to allow higher cranes (necessary due to the new larger container ships and the terminal's proximity to Logan Airport which limits the height of existing cranes). What if they extend the haul road and railroad together across Reserve channel? Then develop the far west end for the Marine Terminal project. This obviously would easily allow eventual rail-on-dock service to Conley in the future.


That's the plan, and it has already started.

There is a haul road currently under construction between the Summer St Bridge and Conley terminal along the Reserved Channel/E 1st St. In documents it was noted that this Haul ROW could one day (not now) host an extension of Track 61 into the container port.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BandA » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:42 am

How do cruise passengers get to/from Black Falcon Terminal today? Is it awkward/slow/expensive? Another place that used to have service to the pier was Woods Hole.

A short extension to support seasonal service seems reasonable, assuming ADA compliance isn't a dealbreaker.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:12 am

BandA wrote:How do cruise passengers get to/from Black Falcon Terminal today? Is it awkward/slow/expensive? Another place that used to have service to the pier was Woods Hole.

A short extension to support seasonal service seems reasonable, assuming ADA compliance isn't a dealbreaker.


Busses, mostly, as well as personal cars.

If we're talking rail service to Black Falcon, though, it makes much, much more sense to bite the bullet and convert all non-airport silver line service to light rail, with streetcars running to a terminus at the Boston Design Center, who just landed Reebok among its other high-profile tenants.

Now, cruise ships would also have a direct connection to the T subway network that would be much, much quicker than the current silver line busses (not to mention, able to actually handle the capacity.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby bostontrainguy » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:40 am

The Silver Line is pretty pathetic. Slow and limited in capacity. The problem with converting it to rail is that it could no longer go through the tunnel and serve the airport, a rather important part of its function. I think some kind of guidance in the "subway" part would be the best option. Also by the time these unique Neoplan (now out of business in the US) dual-propulsion buses are retired, fully electric buses will be perfected and the obvious solution.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:52 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:The Silver Line is pretty pathetic. Slow and limited in capacity. The problem with converting it to rail is that it could no longer go through the tunnel and serve the airport, a rather important part of its function. I think some kind of guidance in the "subway" part would be the best option. Also by the time these unique Neoplan (now out of business in the US) dual-propulsion buses are retired, fully electric buses will be perfected and the obvious solution.


Not at all. The Transitway was designed from Day 1 to accommodate both buses and trolleys at the same time as a 100-year solution for changing needs, and because of the uncertainty of the Phase III build's feasibility under BRT (fears ultimately proven correct). It would work much like Harvard tunnel did until the Cambridge trolleys went away in '58, where it handled trolleys, TT's, and diesel buses simultaneously for a period of about 20 years from the 72's TT-stitution in '38 to the end of streetcars. The Transitway platforms are already at default Green Line ADA height, and the turnouts at the stations would allow for passing tracks and crossovers for moving around OOS vehicles. All it would need is a signal system installation. And if the rest of the grade-separated Green Line has migrated over to a CBTC stop-enforced system by this point, there'd simply be a changeover at the Transitway merge to a stretch of current/old-style wayside blocks for the co-mingling (since buses have no choice but to go by operator line-of-sight). LRT/bus mixing isn't a new thing at all; it's been done in tunnels for a century, right up to this day.


The next-generation Silver dual-modes are supposed to be battery hybrids that charge with regenerative braking on the whole trip then burn their battery power in the tunnel without needing to raise the trolley poles. At most there'd be a quick-charging station retained for them at the loop to plug into the 600V Transitway source. That frees up the catenary for full conversion to LRT-only pantograph, and to degree the tunnel power source goes unused for an interim period the trunk feed is still interconnected to the Red Line providing beneficial juice for the other lines. Possible as well (though a little ham-fisted and maintenance-intensive) to dual-power pantograph trolleys and pole TT's off the same overhead by stringing one lower wire with dual panto/pole wire hangers...then hang a TT-only return wire raised a few inches higher out of reach of pantograph and electrical arc range to accommodate the TT's as-is. One pole would just extend higher than the other. Not going to be necessary to do that kind of wire-sharing, though, because brake-recharged bus batteries have gotten good enough to provide plenty of juice for SL1 to do a a full in-and-out trip through the tunnel totally on its own reserve electricity.

The way service would work is that you have a trolley-only tunnel from Downtown (whichever routing works best) hitting that notch in the wall on corner of Essex & Atlantic reserved for Silver Line Phase III. Signal pause there...then trolley comes off the ballast onto streetcar tracks in the concrete pavement and follows line-of-sight on the Transitway wayside signals. Trolleys all loop at SL Way with a Lechmere-like yardlet in the parking lot (or continue as streetcar branches...but that's extracurricular). SL1 and any other bus users loop at South Station per usual. The entirety of the Transitway overlap allows for hopping on/off at 4 consecutive stations for a transfer. Sluggish speeds don't matter much for dispatching a trolley that's at the very end of the line so long as they can make up for any schedule uncertainty by flying at fullish speed between SS Loop and the Tremont tunnel to Boylston (which used to be a fast shot). Dwell times get tamed simply by the fact that 2-3 car trolleys swallow so many more riders so much quicker than a single 60-foot bus, those platforms being so long that multiple modes can stop back-to-back with signal priority waving the more critical schedules to the front spot, and South Station dwells being so orders-of-magnitude better from fewer people needing to transfer to Red to get elsewhere.

No...it's not a one-seat ride to the airport. That chance was precluded 26 years ago when the powers that be decided to fund the Ted tunnel as only a two-bore roadway instead of 3-bore roadway + rail. But it's the very best you can ask for on a two-seater with how easy and 'stretchy' the transfer options are across the whole route of the Transitway.


I wouldn't worry about this. If the SL III reboot connecting downtown is done right as LRT the way it should've been, the Transitway was mercifully pre-provisioned for it all. And it's the lack of that Downtown connection that's such a buzzkill for the speeds because of that overcrowded and mandatory South Station dwell to get anywhere, so it would've functioned a lot better if either mode completed the connection as originally intended. It's crippled much more because the project's nowhere near finished than because of anything to do with raw speeds from SS Loop to SL Way empirically sucking.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:33 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:No...it's not a one-seat ride to the airport. That chance was precluded 26 years ago when the powers that be decided to fund the Ted tunnel as only a two-bore roadway instead of 3-bore roadway + rail. But it's the very best you can ask for on a two-seater with how easy and 'stretchy' the transfer options are across the whole route of the Transitway


The dirty little secret in the tunneling industry these days is that the cost of TBM-bored tunnels is dropping precipitously to the point where it's now more cost-effective than cut+cover.

This now means that were the SL to be upgraded to LRV service, it would be more cost effective than ever before for Massport to consider adding a 3rd tunnel, and boring it would mean that they could avoid all the costly cofferdams, etc associated with building a sunken tube tunnel like the Ted.

From what I know of Massport's pockets and aspirations, if there was a LRV upgrade and Phase III buildout (which is now more cost-effective than ever because of the whole "cheap bored tunnels" business, the possibility of a direct one-seat connection between downtown and the airport would likely be enough for Massport to bite and complete a 2nd harbor rail crossing.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Ken W2KB » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:42 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote: At most there'd be a quick-charging station retained for them at the loop to plug into the 600V Transitway source.


Or available rapid wireless capacitive recharge technology for bus and light rail vehicles would eliminate the need for a plug in and recharge could be accomplished during station passenger dwell time at the terminal ends or even enroute stations.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:21 pm

Whenever I hear someone talking about "inductive station-based quick-charging systems", my mind is filled with nightmarish visions of potentially-finicky proprietary equipment that's so complex and unusual that it makes the Silver Line dual-mode hybrid busses look as simple and traditional as 600v DC third-rail electrification.

All of these crazy electrification solutions look great on paper until the pop-up company selling them either goes under ant takes all parts support with it, or gets so successful that you're stuck ordering equipment from them for the rest of the system's life. Either way, transit agencies lose. Boring though it may be, tried-and-true solutions like 3rd rail/catenary DC electrification has been the standard for hundreds of years for a bunch of very good reasons.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby The EGE » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:08 pm

We're getting to the exciting point where major rolling stock providers are actually providing them. Siemens just sold Charlotte six new S70 light rail vehicles (the most common LRV in the country) that can run off-wire about 50% of the time. Battery rather than true quick-charge, but still a big step forward, and it's in one of the most reliable light rail chassis currently made.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby SemperFidelis » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:15 pm

Inductive charging is proven, time tested technology, though it is only now becoming more visible due to the sudden popularity of electric vehicles and better battery technology.

I regularly use an inductive charging system to charge my Leaf and my wife and a few of her coworkers use them for thier Teslas. There is nothing wrong with the technology so far as any of the consumers I know can tell. Scaling it up to charge a bus battery should be no issue.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:30 pm

Just received a new brochure from Holland America. I am surprised to see that their handful of fall cruises from Boston has exploded in 2017. They are offering 23 cruises from Boston next year from April to October including the ones I mentioned previously between Boston and Montreal. The Norwegian Line Bermuda cruises are weekly during the same time and there are other ships doing the fall foliage thing.

So now more than ever the idea of connecting rail connections between Boston and Montreal just might be viable. This is an affluent market that appreciates convenience and just might like a nice land cruise added to their ocean one. This is of course very popular in Alaska and land cruising through New England would also be very attractive. This makes the direct rail connection to Black Falcon worth preserving at least.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby rethcir » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:08 pm

Straying off topic here, but it would not be leaf peepers but college kids and young professionals looking to party who would make the Boston to Montreal route a success if fares were low.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby rethcir » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:11 pm

The EGE wrote:We're getting to the exciting point where major rolling stock providers are actually providing them. Siemens just sold Charlotte six new S70 light rail vehicles (the most common LRV in the country) that can run off-wire about 50% of the time. Battery rather than true quick-charge, but still a big step forward, and it's in one of the most reliable light rail chassis currently made.


"Plug-in" hybrid technology like this seems like a great idea for silver line. Though using catenary or third rail rather than plugging in. I assume quick charges would be possible at the voltage provided by the T's catenary/third rail. And you are only talking about running unplugged for what, half an hour at a time?
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