Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

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

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mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:28 am

Commuterrail1050 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:36 am
If Foxboro had more trains and ran on time, it would serve better, but because during each rushour, it only gets 3 trains with 1 the fairmount extension and the other 2 Norwood central and Walpole locals. For now, it doesn't have a better schedule than Sharon and Mansfield for example. I take 806 from Sharon to south station daily and it always takes 30-40 mins depending on Needham line train traffic of 601-2. It beats the Foxboro trip which is at least an hour. Half hour longer than needed for my trip. We shall see how it does as time passes.
100% agree about the travel time. Due to all the stops inbound on either the franklin or Fairmount line, the 55 min train trip on the Foxboro trains is too long to be competitive. If you look back at my posts, I have harped on this point. Even if you live close to Foxboro and work close to south station, that is going to be a 1:15 door to door time.

You can show up at Manfield at 7:45 and get to South Station at 8:16. Or you can show up at Foxboro at 7:29 and get to south station at 8:24. Or from Sharon the ride is 30-35 mins depending on the train. I get that Mansfield and Sharon are parking limited which is part of what this is trying to address but it would be quicker to have a shuttle bus run from Foxboro to Sharon station.

Commuterrail1050
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Commuterrail1050 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:35 am

Plus if the double track was extended from Norwood central through Norfolk, it would be easier for trains to run on time.

mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:29 pm

Yes, it is a bit crazy that a commuter railroad with >10,000 passengers per day is a single track for 10 miles through the busies 5 stops on the line. AND doesn't have an end of line layover facility such that you have to schedule outbound trains that are almost empty deadheads to further congestion.

The most significant impediment to double-tracking from Norwood Central to Walpole is the underpass of Rte 1A. It is currently a narrow single tunnel that runs under 1A at a diagonal just north of downtown Walpole and Walpole station. I think I saw somewhere in an assessment a few years ago that it was an estimated $60m project to complete that section because of that underpass.

I think it would be pretty simply to double track from Norwood Central to Plimptomvill and at least get a couple of additional signal block of double track. The only bridge in that section used to carry two tracks and the only underpass is definitely wide enough double track. The ROW appears wide enough along that entire stretch too.
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mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:33 pm

As I was pushing submit I realized I forgot about the plimpton street bridge which is a single track but would not be a complex project to make it double track with a prefab bridge replacement the way they did the East st. bridge in Westwood.
Last edited by CRail on Sat Oct 26, 2019 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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EuroStar
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by EuroStar » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:09 pm

You are right that it is not hard to double track at least some portion of the single track, but of course it is all about priorities. Cutting ribbons on new service is gathers more attention and more future voters for a politician than double tracking a single track. The best (and only) way double tracking will happen is if an infliential state representative from the area pushes hard enough for it, so tell anyone who is not happy about it to complain to their elected officials. Maybe one of them will take it and eventually after 10+ years some double track will materialize.

charding
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by charding » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:55 pm

...having grown up in Walpole, I can remember when the Franklin line was double-tracked thru Walpole and beyond...however, the track thru the tunnel under Rt 1A was always single-tracked...there was some sort of slip switch which allowed trains to pass thru the tunnel without stopping...some railroad historian engineer will know what type of switch it was...

MBTA3247
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by MBTA3247 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:43 pm

Sounds like either a pair of spring switches or a gantlet track.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.

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elecuyer
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by elecuyer » Sat Oct 26, 2019 12:55 pm

The tunnel under 1A in Walpole was once a gauntlet track. Otherwise the Midland division was double-tracked to at least Blackstone, probably farther.
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The EGE
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by The EGE » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:59 pm

The Midland Division was reduced to single track south of Norwood in 1940-41.

Bill Reidy
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Bill Reidy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:40 am

The Walpole Library website has a brief history of the railroad in Walpole, including the tunnel, written by Ed Sweeney.

http://www.walpolelibrary.org/history/h ... bridge.htm

mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:50 pm

We are into week three and the performance continues to be subpar for the pilot. Peak on-time performance on the Franklin line is 52% over the past 7 days and averages about 70% since the pilot started. The Norwood Central lot was full at 8:20am today. There were probably 5-10 cars circling trying to find a spot for the 8:22am departure. This is the first time I can remember this happening in the 10 years I have been riding. The plot has created real problems for anyone boarding at Walpole or Norwood Central.

I have not been able to find anything more about ridership at Foxboro.

Commuterrail1050
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Commuterrail1050 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:45 am

That's because there isn't enough trains serving Foxboro during the rushour and isn't reliable frequently.

Ryanontherails
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Ryanontherails » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:25 pm

mirage wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:50 pm
I have not been able to find anything more about ridership at Foxboro.
It's not doing gangbusters, that's for sure! I ride it in every Monday and each time I counted about 40 cars in the lot. The first two rows closest to the station are mostly full, however I can always park right by the walkway entrance without any trouble.

mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:41 pm

I got the last spot today at Norwood Central and only because I was willing to park in a spot partially blocked by a light pole. There were already 2 cars parked illegally when I pulled into the lot.

I went back and looked at the performance metrics that the MBTA is using for the pilot. They don't track Norwood Central parking specifically, only Foxboro, Sharon and Mansfield. I assume they should be able to track daily parking revenue and see that it is up at Norwood.

The will see that Walpole parking utilization is down and say hey, it worked, people left Walpole go to Foxboro! And they will eventually see that the Norwood Central lot is full and say, great new riders due to increase service! When all of this is just people diverting from Walpole to Norwood Central due to decreased rush hour service from Walpole.

I wish they had the automatic passenger counting up and running. I think it would be easy to see the shift. But with the noisy data they will get from manual counts, not sure they will. They should so a customer satisfaction survey on the franklin line for the pilot. And include as part of this whether the pilot has changed their commuting behavior, included where they get on the train.

ssresident
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by ssresident » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:07 am

mirage wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:41 pm
They will see that Walpole parking utilization is down and say hey, it worked, people left Walpole go to Foxboro! And they will eventually see that the Norwood Central lot is full and say, great new riders due to increase service! When all of this is just people diverting from Walpole to Norwood Central due to decreased rush hour service from Walpole.
I don't know how much detail the MBTA will see, but you do enter your plate number into the Pay by Phone parking app. I would guess that they could look at a plate's history to see if it had been in Walpole for some period of time and then switch to NC when the service to W was decreased.

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