Needham Line

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

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Arborwayfan
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Re: Needham Line

Post by Arborwayfan » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:30 pm

Tallguy wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:09 pm
There would no longer be "a constant stream of buses" . THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT! The OL would replace them. And Needham folk would take the GL, not the OL
I was talking about the CR-to-Forest Hills-and-change-to-OL scenario that Charles River Branch speculated about, which absolutely would still have the constant stream of buses because there would be nothing to replace them.

Extending the OL, yes, would replace most of the buses and rejig some of the rest. 34, Georgetowne, 30, 50, 51 would stay but might start in Roslindale Sq.; 35, 36, 37 might just disappear, or become much shorter from stations in W. Rox.

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Re: Needham Line

Post by jonnhrr » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:35 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:30 pm

Extending the OL, yes, would replace most of the buses and rejig some of the rest. 34, Georgetowne, 30, 50, 51 would stay but might start in Roslindale Sq.; 35, 36, 37 might just disappear, or become much shorter from stations in W. Rox.
I doubt those bus lines would disappear, especially the 36. There would still be a need for local service in West Roxbury, even if the OL added more infill stations than the commuter rail currently services. It probably would terminate at Rozzie Square.
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Tallguy
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Re: Needham Line

Post by Tallguy » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:52 pm

The GL from Riverside puts you at Park St in 45 min, per the mbta trip planner app. Needham Center is the same distance. Needham line trains take 38-46min, depending on the train.

The EGE
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Re: Needham Line

Post by The EGE » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:40 pm

That could be substantially improved by improvements to the Green Line - notably all-door boarding (coming in the next couple years) and getting rid of the Type 8s and their speed limits. That 38-minute time is absolutely achievable on the Green Line.

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BandA
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Re: Needham Line

Post by BandA » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:32 am

I haven't been on the subway/trolley system in quite a while, but I think the rapid-transit lines need some express tracks if they want to support expansion or replacement of Commuter Rail line(s) Are they not crush-loaded at rush hour? And all those stops!

charlesriverbranch
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Re: Needham Line

Post by charlesriverbranch » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:19 am

They are certainly crush-loaded during peak hours.

A Green Line extension to Needham is probably impractical, given the increase in traffic volume it would produce on the Highland Branch. I suppose one could detach the third car of a three-car train at Newton Highlands and run it to Needham, but it would require extraordinary coordination. And there's still the problem that the line is a bike path in Newton Upper Falls and there's no way to cross Route 128.

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BandA
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Re: Needham Line

Post by BandA » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:37 pm

Is the Highland Branch at capacity? Electrical capacity & headway? The chokepoints are historically Kenmore east...

CRail
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Re: Needham Line

Post by CRail » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:11 pm

charlesriverbranch wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:19 am
And there's still the problem that the line is a bike path in Newton Upper Falls and there's no way to cross Route 128.
The bike path is not an obstacle, bike paths preserve the right of way for future rail use. Regarding 128, we have the technology. If there was still a bridge there it would likely have to be replaced anyways, as would the bridge over the Charles River. This certainly isn't a Foxboro style "hey let's send trains this way and see if it catches on," but there'd be no obstacle should it ever become the T's formal plan.
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BandA
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Re: Needham Line

Post by BandA » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:09 pm

Is there enough room for rails with trail? (Two track + bike path).

The EGE
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Re: Needham Line

Post by The EGE » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:39 pm

The entire ROW from Cook Street Junction to Needham is owned by the MBTA. It's 80 feet wide from CSJ to Webster Street, where it narrows to around 60 feet. You can do rail+trail all the way to Needham Center without an issue, with just three tiny parking lot slivers to take. There to Needham Junction might be a bit trickier (the ROW is about 50 feet wide) for rail+trail, but very doable, and of course Green Line alone would be trivial.

The recent widening of 128 removed the abutments for the former bridge. However, there's nothing preventing a new bridge from being built; I believe the cost of the new abutments (but not the bridge deck) would be paid by the highway department, as it was their project that removed them.

As for capacity, the Type 10s will essentially double capacity on the Green Line. Each 110-foot car will be nearly equal to a current two-car train (fewer cabs + 100% low floor = more efficient interior) - and they will run in two-car sets on the D. Other factors like improved dispatching will also balance loads, making too-crowded trains less common.

Meanwhile, the outer end of the current D Branch is going to become less important. Woodland, Waban, and Eliot are the three least-used stations on the D, and there's no development to increase around them. Riverside is nothing but a parking sink; as the Worcester Line gets more service and Needham gains the Green Line, its importance will diminish. So you can easily send every other D train to Needham without causing issues.

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BandA
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Re: Needham Line

Post by BandA » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:07 am

Sending green line to Needham restores the connectivity lost when the "Needham Loop" was discontinued about 100 years ago due to anti-trust ruling(can't allow competing railroads to cooperate on passenger service!!!). Corollary: "Indigo" Commuter Rail to Riverside would restore some of the connectivity of the "Newton Loop" service which was broken when the NYC sold the Highland Branch to the MTA in 1958. Getting off topic, but Riverside growth is limited mostly by parking space - they should not have sold development rights or whatever. Waban will remain mostly frozen in time (a village built around the train station aka old-school transit-oriented development) until deep pocketed developers overcome the deep pocketed homeowners. Woodland is limited by RT 16 heavy traffic, but if they ever develop the golf course look out!

neman2
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Re: Needham Line

Post by neman2 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:14 pm

The EGE wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:39 pm
The recent widening of 128 removed the abutments for the former bridge. However, there's nothing preventing a new bridge from being built; I believe the cost of the new abutments (but not the bridge deck) would be paid by the highway department, as it was their project that removed them
Mass DOT oversees both roads and public transportation within the Commonwealth,no matter how they decide to come up with the money for the abutments the taxpayers pay for it not the "highway department."

CRail
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Re: Needham Line

Post by CRail » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:11 am

Taxpayers pay for a lot of things which has nothing to do with this discussion. The point that the T would likely not be on the hook for that part of the project cost is a good one.
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Arborwayfan
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Re: Needham Line

Post by Arborwayfan » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:50 am

Especially since if replacing the abutments is a highway project, it can be paid for with gas taxes and maybe even with federal gas taxes. That's much closer to user fees paying for the work needed to get the extra lane on 128 for the drivers on 128 (which I assume is why the abutments were removed) than it is to general tax revenue subsidizing transit (which I approve of, too, but which is perhaps harder to to politically).

rethcir
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Re: Needham Line

Post by rethcir » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:11 pm

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/newto ... story.html

With this really large development approved in the Upper Falls, there's a much better "business case" to be made for a branch down the Upper Falls Greenway (Or OL loop up from the Needham Line). Newton locals will happily complain to you about the traffic load on Needham Street if you ask too.

Maybe it would make sense to relocate the Eliot stop westward, and put an in-fill D line station on the "dip" of the track south of Route 9 in range of the rapidly developing Upper Falls area.

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