Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter Rail

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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:10 am

Hmm... without reading the original Nashua Telegraph article it is difficult to figure what rights the city of nashua is giving up by signing. They own the property of one of the station sites I believe.
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Believe it's time to let this go,and let this scheme die a quiet death.
There's NO support or commitment from the P&W or the corporate parent G&W for this.
There's NO visible progress on this,all plans/NO action.
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby MaineCoonCat » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:52 pm

Mayor Presents Plan to Bring Commuter Rail Service to N.H.
By NHPR STAFF • SEP 25, 2017


The mayor of Nashua says he will propose a partnership between the city and a private railroad company in order to offer a commuter rail service.

Mayor Jim Donchess on Tuesday will bring forth a proposal to the Board of Aldermen that will enter the city into an agreement with the Boston Surface Railroad Co. The Rhode-Island based company will invest in creating a commuter rail line that connects Bedford and Nashua in New Hampshire to Lowell and Worcester, Massachusetts

The Mayor has been in talks with BSRC since March.

Read the (little bit) rest at: http://nhpr.org/post/mayor-presents-plan-bring-commuter-rail-service-nh#stream/0

The NH Telegram article lurks behind a paywall here: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/2017/09/23/commuter-rail-line-to-lowell-a-possibility/
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:14 am

BandA wrote:Hmm... without reading the original Nashua Telegraph article it is difficult to figure what rights the city of nashua is giving up by signing. They own the property of one of the station sites I believe.


Crown St. across from the freight yard is where they bought property for a future downtown multimodal center. Currently it's just a dilapidated abandoned warehouse that stretches a good distance back along the mainline track and is flanked by a few sticks of long-disconnected siding track. Fine print on the purchase squares the siding easement w/PAR such that the stop would have a turnout to a single side platform set behind the yard switch so as not to foul freight traffic, and platform poured at island-width so it's changeable to up-and-over ped access from the adjacent station building when the time comes to double-track for Manchester/Concord service (see Rowley station for a reference example of a single-side platform constructed extra-wide so it can be changed to an up-and-over DT island later).

Crown St. is NOT the important one for luring MBTA service across the border with a go-it-alone border poke. The linchpin is still the Route 3 parking sink at the border behind the Mall that taps the lion's share of demand, has all the superior the highway access (esp. now that the missing half of Exit 36 across the state line is finally being jointly constructed by MassDOT + NHDOT), would have bus drop-offs from LRTA Chelmsford-Tyngsboro routes terminating at/across the border, co-equally serves as Tyngsboro's local stop to satisfy the in-district MBTA constituency, and taps all the TOD upside around the fast-growing Mall area. Crown St. was merely dirt-cheap abandoned property they were able to scoop up quickly and bank for an easy infill when they can afford it, since it's right across the street from the would-be layover yard where trains would be deadheading the short distance from South Nashua. They can simply clean up the lot and save up their penny jar for doing downtown when they can afford it, as it wouldn't be a prerequisite for service starts. South Nashua/Route 3 is still the station site that have to show the goods on to get MA onboard with the border poke. Originally they were looking at the remediated ex-industrial property on Spit Brook Rd. stretching north to Circumferential Hwy. Now the Mall owners have warmed up a little bit to the idea of a public-private partnership on their property south of Spit Brook and spanning the state line (straight-off access from Exit 36, which would be superior for local traffic). Being able to strike a big public-private deal would be a masterstroke for City of Nashua, because absent any support from the State of NH the city simply doesn't have the money to build the required parking capacity...but the Mall developers sure as hell do if they have profit-sharing incentive on the parking revenue. And MassDOT can get involved as a third funding wheel if any of this (parking, access road, etc.) hits the slice of Mall asphalt that resides on the Tyngsboro side of the state line. So you have to hope Nashua pols are up to the deal-making challenge, because public-private's the only way they can stretch their resources to pull it off and deliver MassDOT the goods that earns this extension a likely thumbs-up from south of the border.

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Bono is not stupid. He moved BSRY "headquarters" from a nondescript law office building in Arlington, MA to Woonsocket Union Station because RIDOT has reams of study information about how that station becomes an intermodal hub when Providence-Woonsocket commuter rail touches down. There's a denseish spread of RIPTA routes already there and a big beef-up of auxiliary bus frequencies and connections planned when CR hits there, as well as border-poke potential with the GATRA district to come across the state line from Millerville and Route 146 park-and-rides. Bono's move also timed serendipitously with the release of RIDOT's 2014 State Rail Plan, which explicitly calls for joint prelim studies with MassDOT by the 2020's to ascertain paper feasibility & demand for Worcester-Providence service and restoration of the Franklin Line to Blackstone/P&W for Boston-Woonsocket service.

It was speculated way at the beginning of this thread that Bono was going for little more than squatter's rights at Woonsocket Union so he could extract a buyout from RIDOT when they proceeded on intrastate CR to Woonsocket, knowing that his incumbent rights there would appreciate hansomely in value once the public CR proposal got fleshed out with all the RIPTA/multimodal upgrades and TOD plans for downtown. Or maybe that he was just speculating on the TOD real estate and didn't really have much interest in the trains. The logic sort of followed when he started negotiating direct with the Worcester Redevelopment Authority for the Gardner Branch side of Union Station: get embedded with the WRA, get embedded with the real estate boom downtown and become a developer by-trade not a railroad. Then there was conspicuous absence of evidence of any signs of negotiation for access to Providence Station--the single most important one on the initial route--which is owned by Amtrak and doesn't have any real estate speculation upside for a prospective developer-masquerading-as-railroader sitting on the outside looking in. BSRY would strictly be a third-wheel fees payer to Amtrak @ PVD, nothing more. Then we sort of forgot all about these contradictions when this briefly looked like the proposal was making some measurable headway with P&W and had a puncher's chance if it could close the last of its financials gap to make it work.

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Now fingers-crossed plausibility and hope has turned to pure farce and we're now in the eighth circle of crazyland with all this Worcester-Lowell hooey. No progress with P&W/G&W on access anywhere in Worcester and no signs their legal team ever intend to return another BSRY phone call. No explanation of how in the hell the fourth-world condition PAR Worcester Main is going to get its passenger upgrades paid for and by whom. Blind assumptions that they can just kick their feet up on the furniture in LRTA's/MBTA's Lowell Station and cross into co-dispatch territory at Bleachery like it ain't no thing. And no Joe Pesaturo-verified contact of any kind with the MBTA on how they're going to square NH Main access when the T is the incumbent passenger rights holder Lowell-Concord and it takes theirs + PAR's co-sign to reopen an STB docket for any third-party access.

Cutting a deal with Nashua now looks like a bald-faced squatting ploy for the Crown St. downtown station site. Because MassDOT ain't interested in tag-teaming with the city's go-it-alone scheme for a border poke until they secure the South Nashua/Route 3 property themselves or by magnificent-bastarding a pub-priv deal with the Mall, Crown is just a cheap future hold to bank for a rainy day. They'll bulldoze the warehouse, clean it up into a temp municipal lot to control the blight...but pay it no mind until South Nashua gets reeled in and there's something to start saving the penny jar for when the Crown parcel is going to be facing the active layover yard. When the time comes and trains are ready to serve the primary South Nashua stop...yes, get a TOD-ified site master plan going, triage for funding, and Crown will end up being a nifty grower that jump-starts downtown revitalization. It'll pay back its modest initial investment handsomely because the initial purchase of blighted property was nearly free, and it costs no extra operating $$$ to infill the secondary stop because all trains will be deadheading from S. Nashua on upgraded track to the new layover tucked inside the facing freight yard. But right now today it has no development value because they still have a complicated, multi-party site selection/TOD job to do by the Mall in order to lure the trains at all.

How sweet it is for a real estate squatter to be holding all the keys at Crown when the Mall cuts its deal with City of Nashua and State of Massachusetts, and a train schedule is clinched to that layover yard across the track. The city years earlier gives away the farm to this pied piper wearing a Thomas the Tank costume, only to find out they have to give him a bigger payday later to get anything erected 12 ft. across Tk. 1 from where the trains will be already be reversing direction 30 times a day. More payola still if giving away the farm also involves Bono worming his way into tax breaks to buy up some of the other blighted warehouses around the block under wild promises to be their below-market cost TOD svengali.

This pickup, if Nashua really does give BSRY the shirt off their backs, is potentially a much bigger problem than squatting at Woonsocket Union. Nashua's twice the population of Woonsocket, RIDOT PVD-WON is the decidedly lightest-frequency cog and most overall-spartan build in their 3-piece overlapping intrastate CR scheme, and the joint MassDOT feasibility studies for Woonsocket-hub service are little more than suggestions to crunch some commitment-free paper numbers before 2030. The stakes aren't that high there for buying BSRY out or grudgingly doing real estate business with them when RIDOT brings the real-deal CR trains to Woonsocket Union. Here, on the other hand, Nashua inadvertently ends up pissing off incumbent rights holder the T because they got snookered into "BSRY The Railroad" without so much as reading that binding STB decision about who's the real alpha- rights holders. They piss off the Mall owners who they've been diligently trying to court for South Nashua by making themselves look like business amateurs, and letting the BSRY gnats use that passenger rights fakeout to now insert selves into the Mall's business over S. Nashua. It took a long time to get the Mall owners to start attending CR-advocacy community meetings at all, a longer time to get them off the fence on the issue, and lots of arm-twisting on the hard sell to get them enthusiastic about public-private possibilities. And City Hall's going to risk that all that hard work and relationship-building by letting Lyle Lanley run amok to the tune of "Yakkity Sax"???

Now, if by some miracle they're able to keep the trust of a wary Mall & MassDOT and make S. Nashua ever happen, the Crown St. property and any other adjoining blighted properties BSRY ends up squatting on skyrocket in value way higher than Woonsocket Union ever would. So when attention turns to the downtown #2 stop, Bono gets paid whatever ransom he wants to get paid or nothing ever happens except continued blight with the linchpin of downtown revitalization. Success!!!


Yet, like a slow-motion train wreck, this is exactly what the City seems intent on giving away all up-front. . . :(
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:22 am

So the mayor of Nashua has been meeting since March, is proposing something in September and will want a vote pretty quick, but the public can't view the proposal. I hope they aren't trying to railroad the proposal through. Those articles have little detail.

The map shows an airport stop in Bedford NH...weird that Bedford NH is adjacent to an airport (MHT) and Bedford MA has an airport (Hanscom), and they both had former B&M passenger tracks running nearby.

And NH commuters want to get to Boston, not Ayer?
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby ts.puruz » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:00 pm

Wow.

Been lurking here for a while and a lot seems to be going on and people getting spooled up so I thought I'd register and chime in.

I'm not in the railroad industry at all but I rent two offices from Boston Surface in Woonsocket and I see all those guys every day. There are only 7 of them and if anyone wanted to corral Vin or Darwin with questions they don't move very fast and the lobby doors are unlocked.

Folks from other railroads (mostly Amtrak and Prov & Worcester by the vehicles) come and go almost daily although I can't tell if that's due to the consulting or for the passenger service. Yes I keep track because I want to ride in one of the ones with the rail wheels (like all of you too).

I'd be happy to relay anyone's (reasonable not snarky nor insulting) questions although I'm also sure you could just email them directly to BSRC.

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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby MaineCoonCat » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:12 pm

At 9:48PM on October 03. 2017 In an article entitled "Nashua panel supports moving forward with new passenger rail effort", KIMBERLY HOUGHTON, Union Leader Correspondent wrote:
Nashua panel supports moving forward with new passenger rail effort

crossbuck.jpg

The Nashua aldermanic Planning and Economic Development Committee voted in favor of a proposed memorandum of understanding to partner with Boston Surface Railroad Company
to create a plan to bring privately funded rail to Nashua. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/CORRESPONDENT)


NASHUA — An aldermanic panel is recommending that Nashua enter into a memorandum of understanding with Boston Surface Railroad Company to create a plan to bring privately funded passenger rail service to the city.

“For 10 years I have tried to get commuter rail built, and unfortunately it has fallen on deaf ears,” said Alderman-at-Large Michael O’Brien, also a state representative. “This is a truly homegrown idea.”

On Tuesday night, the aldermanic Planning and Economic Development Committee voted in favor of the proposed memorandum of understanding, which will now be considered by the full Board of Aldermen.

“I like the idea that this is a market-based approach,” said Tim Cummings, economic development director for the city.

Boston Surface Railroad Company of Rhode Island is in the early stages of planning to bring privately funded passenger rail service from Bedford to Worcester, Mass., with stops in Nashua and Lowell, Mass.

Vincent Bono, president of BSRC, told city officials that the southern New Hampshire route would likely have electronic ticketing and assigned seating, which he said would create a better experience for riders.


Read more of this story at the New Hampshire Union Leader's web site
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:12 pm

The key quotes:

Aside from a federal railroad reinvestment improvement loan, private equity and venture capital would be used to help fund the project; he said it could cost about $1 million per mile to upgrade existing rail tracks.


. . .

“I am not sure where to start because I feel like I am lacking so much basic information about this plan,” said Moriarty, noting there is no map, budget or schedule in place.

Bono called it a “first step” and said the city is not on the hook for any financial obligation other than to build its own station.



Now where have we heard this rope-a-dope before?
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:08 am

The alderman at-large says it doesn't obligate the city in any way. I'll take that with a grain of salt.

I guess since no other private enterprise is likely to come in and compete with BSRC, they don't have to worry about exclusivity? What is the memorandum of understanding? That the town/city won't support an MBTA extension while they are running? That a station will be provided?

And if things fail they can ask for a subsidy or the riders can clamor for an MBTA extension.

I assume PAR would apply for the federal loans. Would BSRC guarantee the loan payments?

Should be rolling stock available to lease for a small operation, such as RDCs from VT. They could take a short-term lease while waiting for push-pull equipment to be refurbished. PAR could profit a little from trackage fees + free track upgrades + usage of their locomotives or staff.

BSRC would need to take out lots of insurance or seek state legislation to limit liability??
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby ts.puruz » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:44 am

BandA,

Should I see if I can corner one of the BSRC guys on these when I head in today?

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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:12 pm

Ask them when the Manchester proposal will be made public.

I wish them well, I am only an observer. I might take a ride as a fan but probably won't use their service on a regular basis (unless I got a job in downtown providence). You are the one who is at ground zero in Blackstone. in I am not completely skeptical as some others are. I'm unsure what their business model is, but so far that is their business.

I would however recommend that they improve their online presence / public relations and if you publish a webpage keep it up to date.
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby ts.puruz » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:35 am

Manchester Union Leader

http://www.unionleader.com/local-govern ... -rail-plan

and after a call to the BSRC office spoke to Nykolette :

http://www.bsrc.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... -Final.pdf
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BandA » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:11 pm

Thanks Todd for getting the Memorandum of Understanding. It's really interesting. I don't know what Formula Grant Funds are. So they have to identify federal grant money to make this happen. Some of the grant money would be used for rolling stock no doubt, some would go to operating subsidy?? some to the host railroad for track upgrades.
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby MaineCoonCat » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:51 pm

On 11 Oct 2017 In an article entitled "Nashua One Step Closer to Getting Commuter Rail", PAIGE SUTHERLAND of the NHPR staff wrote:
Nashua One Step Closer to Getting Commuter Rail

Image
FILE

Nashua is one step closer to getting commuter rail in the city.

That's after city lawmakers this week unanimously agreed to enter into a public-private partnership with a railroad company out of Rhode Island.

The proposed train would run from Worcester, Massachusetts, with stops in Lowell, Nashua, and Bedford.

Boston Surface Railroad Company would cover all of the costs including the construction and day-to-day services.

And under the agreement, Nashua would get about 10 percent of the profits, which is estimated to be about $180,000 a year.

Mayor Jim Donchess says the city will reassess this partnership in a year or so to see how viable the project is.


Read more of this story at the NHPR web site
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Re: Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter R

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:01 pm

And under the agreement, Nashua would get about 10 percent of the profits, which is estimated to be about $180,000 a year.


Somehow profitable passenger rail operations are unobtainable in all but a select few markets such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, and a couple others. Even the Northeast Corridor's profits are for operations costs only. But somehow we are to believe that profits on a Nashua-Lowell dinky will be such a slam dunk that the city will net $180k/year, and that's only 10% of the profits. Honestly, can the city wake up and smell the snake oil? This is potentially very bad, because if they sink their claws into Nashua, conning them into a sinking ship that the city will be liable for, it could permanently sour New Hampshire on passenger rail. The passenger rail climate in New Hampshire is bad enough -- we don't need chumps convincing them that rail is some sort of scam. This can be done smartly, or it shouldn't be done at all!
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