Track Numbers at Back Bay...

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Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby madcrow » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:26 pm

I've been wondering this for a while, but going through Back Bay station yesterday finally pushed me to ask: what's up with the track numbers at Back Bay. The three NEC tracks are logically numbered 1, 2 and 3, but the East-West tracks are numbered 5 and 7... Were there supposed to be more tracks at Back Bay then actually are there or something? Or are the Orange Line tracks assigned the 4 and 6 slots? If the OL tracks are the 4 and 6 slots, one wonders why they got numbered like that, rather than getting 4 and 5 and leaving 6 and 7 for the East-West CR/Amtrak platforms. Does anyone have any clue on this?
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby jamesinclair » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:18 pm

Im pretty sure the OL tracks are the missing numbers
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:54 pm

madcrow wrote:The three NEC tracks are logically numbered 1, 2 and 3


Somewhat logically. From east to west (or south to north technically) it goes 2, 1, 3. In all it would go 2, 1, 3, 4, 6, 5, 7 (or 7, 5?) if the OL is indeed the case here.

So, whatever the reason for staggering the OL numbers, it also applies to the NEC platforms.
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby 130MM » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:48 am

The track numbers of the Commuter Rail/Amtrak tracks at Back Bay are independent of Orange Line track designations. In general, around Boston, tracks are number outbound odd - inbound even. And if you have any addtional main tracks to Tracks 1 & 2, any track to the outbound side of Track 1 are numbered 3, 5, 7, ...etc.; and those to the inbound side of Track 2 are numbered 4,6,8...

In Cove Interlocking which ends just east of Back Bay the tracks are numbered from the north (outbound) side 7,5,3,1,2. To further confuse the issue once you leave Cove on Track 5 (and enter what is called Track 5 in Back Bay) you are actually on CSX Boston Subdivision Track 1, and once you leave Cove on Track 7 (and enter what is called Track 7 in Back Bay) you are actually on CSX Boston Subdivision Track 2. So the tracks in the station are numbered according to the timetables from the north 1,2,3,1,2. I believe the Tracks in the station are called 5 and 7 is to prevent confusion when boarding trains.

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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby dbperry » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:46 pm

I'm pretty sure:
Track 7 in Back Bay = Track 1 on the timetable. Northernmost track / closest to the Mass Pike. Almost exclusively outbound at Back Bay.
Track 5 in Back Bay = Track 2 on the timetable. Southernmost track / closest to Orange Line. Almost exclusively inbound at Back Bay.
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:37 pm

Just a correction, The tracks in Back Bay continue as tracks 5 and 7 respectively to CP 3 (just West of Yawkey) where it changes to the Single track, and yard track. This was changed when Amtrak Dispatchers took charge of this piece of the RR while the new Yawkey station was being constructed, even though CSX still owned the line. Tis same today regarding track #'s, as the Commonwealth has taken ownership now, and Keolis WML TD now is in charge. Track 7 is closest to the Mass Pike, track 5 is closest to the NEC. Also, as 130MM mentioned, where there are subway tracks in the area, (For example, Red Line thru the Dorchester, Quincy, Braintree Sections) they are completely separate to heavy rail operations...nothing between the two modes overlap at all
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby dbperry » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:30 pm

Excellent, thanks for the clarification
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:40 am

Some interesting stuff here. I always just assumed it was because there may have been more tracks years ago and the track numbers just remained from what might have survived.
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby JWilson » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:40 pm

As 130MM said additional tracks on the track one side are odd numbered while additional tracks on the track 2 side are even numbered. It's not that there were once more tracks which are now gone, it's because the NY,NH&H was thinking ahead when deciding how to number tracks. This way you don't have to identify added tracks on the number one side with names like Zero, A, B . . .
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby CRail » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:38 am

It's why the tracks at Providence are 2, 1, 3, and 5.
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby Robert Paniagua » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:19 pm

While tracks 4 & 6 are the Orange Line subway unofficially
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby ns3010 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:34 pm

JWilson wrote:As 130MM said additional tracks on the track one side are odd numbered while additional tracks on the track 2 side are even numbered. It's not that there were once more tracks which are now gone, it's because the NY,NH&H was thinking ahead when deciding how to number tracks. This way you don't have to identify added tracks on the number one side with names like Zero, A, B . . .


It's really ironic how the "Standard Railway of the World" deviated from this and named the tracks 1-4 in order, with 1 being the eastmost track and 4 being the westmost, with extra tracks getting those unusual names like 0, A, and B.

My favorite numbering scheme is the four tracks through Secaucus Junction, that, from east to west, are labeled 2, A, B, 3. Not sure how anyone came up with that idea...
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Re: Track Numbers at Back Bay...

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:04 pm

ns3010 wrote:My favorite numbering scheme is the four tracks through Secaucus Junction, that, from east to west, are labeled 2, A, B, 3. Not sure how anyone came up with that idea...

From New York to Washington Amtrak has numbered the northbound high-speed track 2 and the southbound 3, with the outer tracks, when present, taking 1 and 4, while the track layout at Secaucus puts tracks 2 and 3 on the outside. It looks like they decided that using A and B would be less confusing than 2,1,4,3.
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