Cross-posted from the CSX forum because a nearly-total MBTA story and related to Fairmount:
http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/hyd ... to_be.html
The empty Yard 5 at Readville is about to get a major environmental cleanup starting in a few weeks. They've been doing bits and pieces of prep work for awhile, but by tying the EPA funding appropriation as a trailer onto the Fairmount Line upgrades project they've given the cleanup a brisker schedule and greenlight to get a move on. Lot of contaminated soil going to be cleaned on and offsite to get rid of god knows what toxins have seeped into the ground after 100+ years of use. Should be a pretty interesting sight given all the railfan viewing vantage points around Readville.
-- Project timetable is May through early Fall, with continuous work 8:00am-4:00pm and staging areas onsite for the major decontamination.
-- Fill leaving the site will be trucked
out through Dedham, not shipped by rail. T's response was lame when the Dedham state rep questioned why they're using trucks through his town. They said it would require track/signal upgrades and rental of freight cars they don't have, but never did a cost-benefits analysis so they don't know for sure. Huh??? CSX transports heavy crap on the Franklin Line from Readville every day of the week, and it's not like they don't know who to call when they need to borrow some trailers. Weak. Fully appropriate for Dedham pols to roast them for not even weighing for one moment the pros/cons. Real foot-in-mouth moment there.
-- It looks like the tracks possibly may not be going back in, at least initially. They're going to re-fill and seed with grass to get rid of the blight, but the project diagrams don't depict any replacement tracks on the site. The remaining Dedham Branch stub track is part of its own work zone, so if anything remains for storage that's probably it (and probably all that's needed for now). More detail needed on what the immediate plans are for the rails.
-- MBTA was emphatic that it is not remediating the site for sale to future commercial or residential development, and is only cleaning up to standard of light industrial zoning commensurate with continued rail yard use. The T's environmental compliance manager threw cold water on questions about whether they're even interested in selling. If somebody wants to float an offer they can't refuse they'll listen, but it'll be the buyer's responsibility to do the further levels of cleanup for the zoning upgrade to commercial or residential. As long as it's theirs they intend to use it for continued rail use and that's the standard they're mitigating to. This will pretty much kill any developer interest in the property, much to the chagrin of the Hyde Park city councilor and whoever's carrying Menino's water in the neighborhood. Menino's own unilateral plan from a couple years ago for some fanciful mixed commercial/residential village didn't even get 2 feet beyond his own mouth before quietly dying from total lack of developer and neighborhood interest. We won't be seeing any repeat of that even if he tries again brandishing a bigger crowbar next time.
I think this is a very encouraging statement for future capacity needs, and a statement they seemed intent on making after Hizzoner's last attempt at strongarming an unwilling seller for the property. Acceleration of the cleanup might even indicate they're thinking substantively about future plans for the site, since they would have to get it fully decontaminated to use it for anything more than the desolate blighted MOW storage it currently is. This parcel's almost as big as BET, and is the single largest piece of undeveloped real estate currently in-house. Pre-zoned for rail, and already active for rail to keep the Dedham NIMBY's from getting too bold. They're gonna need the space, and looks like they're willing to say so publicly.