Cape Flyer Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Falmouth Secondary to Otis » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:03 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:It's important to note that when they talk rail restoration, Falmouth Depot is the one that truly matters because it sits right next door to the huge Steamship Authority parking lot and the CCRTA + intercity bus depot. There's extremely little parking at Woods Hole-proper, and not even much in the way of a kiss-and-ride capacity. The Steamship Authority requires that you transfer to the shuttle buses to get there at all, because the ferry terminal lot is strictly for cars being loaded/unloaded onto the ferries (and they barely even have the space to do that with much efficiency). All other parking lots in the neighborhood are strictly rationed to USCG and Oceanographic Institute employees first, leaving very little share leftover for the hordes of visitors. It's mostly on-street parking in the neighborhood. They graded out a stretch of RR yard a couple years ago with 100+ spaces of linear parking along the bikeway, but it's got this horrible narrow little half-mile driveway totally inadequate to task.


MassDOT recently completed $ 1,300,000 modernization of Falmouth Depot as seen in 8/21/2017 photo with double track clean out only by station area. Town of Falmouth says this is only for a possible historical display of RR equipment not for the return of Rail service. Perhaps MassDOT has something else in mind for the future seeing that this area has been developed into a transportation hub.
Attachments
DSCF1921.JPG
Falmouth, MA Depot 8/21/2017
DSCF1919.JPG
Falmouth, MA Depot modernization 8/21/2017 ( bike path on left side of tracks )
Last edited by Falmouth Secondary to Otis on Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:30 pm

That is so cool to see. Too bad those tracks aren't connected to anything :(
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Dick H » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:04 pm

How many rail miles is if from the end of current active track to the Falmouth Depot? Thanks.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:22 pm

6-3/4 miles from end-of-track to Falmouth Depot.

If you want a comparison, Falmouth Branch restoration would be 1/4 mile longer than it would take to de-landbank the Franklin Line from end-of-track at Grove St. to a wye with P&W in Blackstone to run Boston-Woonsocket commuter rail. And that one only has to relocate an un-landscaped, dead-end gravel trail with poorish current utilization off to the side on a ROW that has a tree buffer at least 25 ft. wide on both sides.


Turkington made damn sure this one was never coming back when he rammed through that bill ripping up 6-3/4 miles worth of hardware. :(
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby atlantis » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:02 pm

In my humble opinion, the town of Falmouth should be made to pay back all the money that was spent to construct the rail platform at the station.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Falmouth Secondary to Otis » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:35 am

bostontrainguy wrote:That is so cool to see. Too bad those tracks aren't connected to anything :(


They cleaned out a lot more of the track area than I had expected and looks great. But there is more track area still in place up past the station into the middle of the Steamship parking lot, but overgrown with trees & underbrush. Makes you wonder how congested with traffic does the Cape have to get to bring it back. Good news posted on Mass Coastal discussion yesterday about UCRTS rail transfer station reopening / Falmouth Secondary to Otis line back in regular operation next month.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:34 pm

One correction to an earlier statement, CONRAIL never owned any trackage in the Falmouth area. It was sold by Penn Central or the Penn Central estate, not by Conrail.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:33 pm

Saturday - 145 & 15 bikes out of Boston....157 & 15 bikes into Hyannis
Sunday - 104 & 22 bikes out of Boston.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Ryanontherails » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:49 pm

Just for curiosity's sake, how feasible would it be to split/re-couple a CapeFlyer train set at Buzzard's Bay Station? That way, you can have one locomotive and three cars go to North Falmouth and the other locomotive and three cars go to Hyannis. It reminds me of Sicily, where a train from Palermo and another from Syracuse meet in Messina and are broken up and put on the boat over to Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, where they are put back together for the rest of the way north. Also, how hard would it be to build a wye at the interlocking so that a train can go from Hyannis to North Falmouth without turning around on the bridge? Too much private property and/or houses that would be torn down? I don't know how much cost and/or hassle it is to raise or lower the bridge, but I feel like the benefits of having the so-called "Trash-train" take a triangle routing as well as a possible shuttle train taking passengers from a possible Bourne Bridge Station to North Falmouth would outweigh (at least long-term) the trouble with raising and lowering the bridge.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:33 pm

From what I've read, adding or removing cars requires a fresh brake test, which apparently takes about ten minutes. I suspect that coupling or uncoupling cars is not allowed to be done by the train crew, so that would require one or more additional employees to be assigned to the station - not a big deal if there are lots of trains, but would be a pain for only a few trains a day.

Railroads used to do this kind of thing all the time, no big deal. These days it is a big deal - either because of tougher rules or because labor costs relatively more than it used to. I think there is a technological solution - coupling/decoupling by push button from the cab, electronic brake coupling, fast brake self-testing?? But that would require the MBTA to innovate...
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:11 am

Too complicated. What I think you'll eventually see is CCCR get roped in.

1. Cape officials are searching for property to publicly acquire on the other side of the bridge for an infill station (or at least to hold in-pocket for when enough additional speed upgrades are complete to allow for more scheduled infills). First attempt last year was behind Gallo Arena about a half-mile from Bourne Rotary, and it didn't take because the trackside access was poor. Next site they're sure to look at is the DPW lot underneath the Sagamore Bridge, which has excellent road access from Exit 1C.

2. We already know from discussion on the previous couple pages and the separate topic on NE Railfan that there is an unfunded MassDOT CIP line item for a Cape Jct. wye that would allow CCCR to move between Cape Main and Falmouth Branch without inducing a bridge opening and backup move. This line item appears to be directly tied to full Buzzards Bay commuter rail and loss of CCCR slots at BB station. And it makes sense that it was left off the FY2017-2021 MassDOT CIP because there is so much other track work funded/scheduled those 4 years on the Cape Main & Falmouth Branch that first chance to fund a Middleboro extension & associated items won't be until the next CIP...hence these related line items being held over.

3. We know from those same threads that MassDOT's buy of the Otis Branch and pending upgrades of will open up the turning wye and derelict yard area next to the transfer station for CCCR and Mass Coastal to use as expansion space to offset the cramped confines of Hyannis Yard. Coupled with the future Cape Jct. wye that would allow them to very easily originate passenger runs at North Falmouth.

4. There are extant Falmouth Branch stations with (non-ADA) platforms at Monument Beach and Catumet used occasionally by CCCR excursions. The demolished stations at Pocasset (between Monument Beach and Catumet) and North Falmouth have land and roadside access under MassDOT ownership, allowing for new CCCR stations to be built when needed.


CCCR is going to be running a lot more Hyannis-N. Falmouth excursions in the future when that wye leg is complete...possibly even with those two endpoints becoming 'the' new dinner train route. And CCCR would be able to supplement the dinner train with more general-purpose on-Cape transit once they're free from the mandatory bridge opening and reverse move to get across Cape Jct. Things like running an RDC dinky pinging back and forth. The potential infill stop at Sagamore (or somewhere between the two bridges) thus becomes a potential transfer point between CCCR and MBTA service. North Falmouth, in addition to being beyond-the-pale for splitting Cape Flyer trains, simply is going to have lower utilization for Boston directs than Hyannis because it doesn't serve anywhere near as big a catchment and bringing the more densely-abutted Sandwich and West Barnstable intermediates online outslugs M. Beach, Pocasset, and Catumet by a huge margin. So the T will never be able to split their focus.

However, if a CCCR dinky from North Falmouth has a timed transfer at Sagamore with the Flyer you get great connectivity to both branches. All you would need for fluidly setting that up is the right track/platform configuration at Sagamore. Have a double-track turnout for the dinky to pull away and reverse direction back to N. Falmouth while the Flyer passes. Or, build a full double-track island platform so the dinky can just wait on one track for the Flyer, passengers hop across, and the Flyer departs first from the meet with the dinky either reversing back to N. Falmouth or continuing on making the next local stop at Sandwich. Such a setup would even work as a commuter rail trial. Say that Buzzards Bay becomes the new permanent terminus of the Middleboro Line, with full mainland signalization. The T could then finagle 2 morning rush skip-stop commuter extras from Hyannis + 2 evening rush outbounds within the daily limits of non-PTC dark territory on the other side of the bridge. This would in turn give CCCR a shot at pocketing some commuter revenue by running a single RDC from N. Falmouth to Sagamore timed with each of those daily Purple Line trains. All they would need to make that work as a commuter transfer service is to install cheap 1-door mini-highs at Monument Beach and Catumet for ADA compliance on the non-excursion service, and have the (presumably already built for the expanded excursion schedules) N. Falmouth and Pocasset stations done to-spec. Cheap, easy, and probably still a lot faster as a 2-seat/cross-platform trip than taking the highways to Boston.


You don't need to think big. There's a lot of stuff already in the works around current upgrades and officially-proposed, not-too-distant-future upgrades that would enable general transit on the Falmouth Branch and CCCR some nifty opportunities to expand its revenue base at low up-front cost. Playing around with the dinky scenarios...or quick trials therein...will probably serve up very useful mobility options tied to the Flyer and/or Purple Line without any need to distort the T's schedules or trainsets.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:11 pm

Back in the good days the New Haven on a regular basis split and hitched trains at Buzzards Bay. I think they had a car inspector there to do the steam connectors and the brake tests. Nearly every train was either hitched or split depending on direction at Buzzards Bay. They had three station tracks to do the work, some trains from Boston were RDC equipment, it didn't matter. I don't have a timetable in front of me but I think it was about a ten minute move. It would probably be double that today and maybe even more. I think the best way right now to serve Falmouth is a bus connection on the Cape side of the bridge. A platform holding four or so cars, maybe a lighted canopy and a little bit of parking would do. The folks in Falmouth decided a few years back that they did not want any more trains so now they will pay the price for that choice.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby CRail » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:08 pm

BandA wrote:From what I've read, adding or removing cars requires a fresh brake test, which apparently takes about ten minutes.
Seconds. It's also done every time a push-pull train changes ends.

I suspect that coupling or uncoupling cars is not allowed to be done by the train crew
Of course it is! Who else is going to do it!?

Railroads used to do this kind of thing all the time, no big deal. These days it is a big deal - either because of tougher rules or because labor costs relatively more than it used to. I think there is a technological solution - coupling/decoupling by push button from the cab, electronic brake coupling, fast brake self-testing?? But that would require the MBTA to innovate...
You assume all that's possible can't be done and suggest stuff that's impossible. Self testing brakes? Coupling with a button? How are air hoses, MU, and HEP cables going to self plug in and unplug? I suppose they'll just self carry themselves onto the engine too? We're not talking about MSTS...
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:16 pm

CRail wrote:
I suspect that coupling or uncoupling cars is not allowed to be done by the train crew
Of course it is! Who else is going to do it!?

Depends on prevailing labor agreements at specific locations.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Falmouth Secondary to Otis » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:46 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Too complicated. What I think you'll eventually see is CCCR get roped in.

1. Cape officials are searching for property to publicly acquire on the other side of the bridge for an infill station (or at least to hold in-pocket for when enough additional speed upgrades are complete to allow for more scheduled infills). First attempt last year was behind Gallo Arena about a half-mile from Bourne Rotary, and it didn't take because the trackside access was poor. Next site they're sure to look at is the DPW lot underneath the Sagamore Bridge, which has excellent road access from Exit 1C.


On #1 topic the first attempt last year for a infill stop was underneath the Bourne Bridge, was in design stage and was all marked off on the pavement attempting to be done without even informing the Town Of Bourne about it. Tom Cahir got himself in a lot of hot water over that one as it was done in a way to try and get it past any review by the Town or the residents living next door to it. Once everyone found out about it and that it was already in process, a lot of opposition to it came out and it was dropped. Just past the Bourne Bridge the Gallo ice arena management proposed having a platform built there for a Cape flyer stop as they have extensive parking available seeing that summer is there off season and the rail line runs right behind the rink, but have not heard any further discussion about that proposal. As far as underneath the Sagamore bridge is concerned there is no DPW site there, but a private contractors yard does exist there for landscape supplies along with Gallo constructions currently inactive transfer station next to it, previously used for fly ash disposal from the power plant.
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