Fairmount Line Discussion

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

#5 - Dyre Ave
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:48 pm
Location: Whitestone, NY

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by #5 - Dyre Ave »

BostonUrbEx wrote:How does Worcester-Fairmount rapid commuter transit work? There's 1 track allowing a non-reversing run (ok, a somewhat easy fix) and then you have to inevitably crossover the entire 5 approach tracks including the NEC's to get from one line to the other.
That's why I don't think a Worcester-Fairmount through service would work. Also, the distance between the two Readville and Worcester is much too far. So I think those the two lines should remain separate. The only part of the Worcester Line that might benefit from rapid commuter service is the section through Newton and Boston. Such a service could start at Riverside and take the current-non revenue connecting track up to the Worcester Line to South Station, as the temporary Riverside Commuter Shuttle train did in 1996 when the Green Line got flooded. But even then, such a service should remain a separate service from Fairmount. You don't want to bypass South Station with a through-service, because it's a destination for many people on the existing CR services. So even if both Fairmount and a new South Station-Riverside service are operated as rapid commuter transit with self-propelled cars, they should be operated as separate lines.

But I still think the the Fairmount line would be best served as a conventional subway rapid transit line. It cuts down on construction costs because the Fairmount (Indigo) service can be based out of Cabot and the T can order a larger fleet of subway cars to serve both the Red and Indigo Lines. And the T wouldn't have to expand its commuter shops to handle equipment that would be restricted to one, maybe two lines.

F-line to Dudley via Park
Posts: 7355
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

The only way separate equipment--i.e. MU's--would work is if you had an aggressive "Indigo Lines" plan. Westwood/128 via Fairmount, Riverside via Newton/Allston, 128 via Waltham, Danvers via Salem, Anderson/128 short-turns, high-frequency Needham service, maybe even a Dedham Branch via Fairmount restoration. That sort of thing...dense rapid-transit level stops on the interior portions of lines and improve the CR service on the 128-to-495 belt by expressing the long-distance trains past these dense inside local stops. It'd be something a lot closer to the vision 50 years ago of rapid-transit lines replacing CR inside 128 and CR aligned to the outer burbs. And it's route-priming for real rapid-transit conversion of these lines when you run that level of local service and build the ridership to critical mass.

If they won't do dense stops and frequent-enough service, there's no leg to stand on for not running regular loco-hauled consists. The start/stop density is never high enough for MUs' advantages to be clear-cut without really pushing that kind of system-wide plan. Frankly I don't see separate car orders happening unless the Midland gets electrified, and in that case it's not MU's you're talking but a combined electric loco order for Providence + Fairmount. Electric locos still fare much better than diesels on start/stop performance. The T simply isn't interested in the old art of short-turns and mixed service that the RR's (and BERy on the rapid- and trolley-transit side) had down to a science with much heavier traffic volumes than today. MU's aren't justifiable anywhere unless you aggressively run them everywhere on these targeted high-frequency runs. When the Budds were in their heyday they were great for extremes in service: the frequent runs and short-turns where you'd run shorter consists a lot more of the time, and the low-density routes like Dedham, West Medway, Hudson, Lexington that only got a couple 1- or 2-car consists per rush hour that fell below threshold of running a loco. Once the system shrunk and the service options reverted to today's terminal-to-terminal only runs those cars stopped having operational advantages. In their twilight years they spent vastly more time as generic de-motorized coaches in regular loco-hauled consists. There's a distinct threshold there to give MU's value, and no proposal the T's got on the wish list today approaches that.

trainhq
Posts: 775
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:07 pm

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by trainhq »

Remember, however, that the Fairmount line has a distinction from the other CR lines; it's the only one
that doesn't have extended service beyond the end. That's why it's the only one where DMUs make sense;
the trains on the other lines (at least during rush hour) will have plenty of passengers from further out,
while the Fairmount line will not.

jwhite07
Posts: 1493
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:39 pm

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by jwhite07 »

Remember, however, that the Fairmount line has a distinction from the other CR lines; it's the only one
that doesn't have extended service beyond the end.
Sure it does. Some Franklin Line trains are routed via Fairmount to avoid congestion on the NEC.

trainhq
Posts: 775
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:07 pm

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by trainhq »

A few are. However, they aren't enough to provide the kind of more frequent CR service seen on inner portions of
the other lines.

#5 - Dyre Ave
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:48 pm
Location: Whitestone, NY

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by #5 - Dyre Ave »

Exactly. All other service on the Fairmount Line is basically shuttle service from South Station to Readville. With the new stations the MBTA is building along the line, some kind of self-propelled car will be much more suitable for Fairmount service because multiple units accelerate faster than loco-hauled trains, especially diesel-hauled trains.

CSX Conductor
Posts: 5458
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:04 am
Location: Boston, Mass

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by CSX Conductor »

So to save a few minutes between station stops you'd enjoy more fare hikes & higher taxes to off-set the costs of these dmus?!?

jamesinclair
Posts: 2251
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:22 pm

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by jamesinclair »

CSX Conductor wrote:So to save a few minutes between station stops you'd enjoy more fare hikes & higher taxes to off-set the costs of these dmus?!?
The MBTA purchases new equipment all the time. Its part of running a transit system.

diburning
Posts: 3068
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by diburning »

Well, put it this way. As of right now, the Fairmount line is a hit or miss as to whether each trip is actually profitable.

Sometimes when I ride the Fairmount line from Readville to South Station, the train, with 5-7 cars, runs the entire duration of the trip with THREE passengers on board. Assuming all three passengers pay full fare, that's not even enough to pay for the fuel used, or the wages for the conductor, trainman, and engineer. If the train costs more to run that it brings in for revenue, then theres a serious problem that needs to be fixed.

I'm not saying that DMUs are the answer, but all of the options will involve some cost.

jamesinclair
Posts: 2251
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:22 pm

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by jamesinclair »

diburning wrote:Well, put it this way. As of right now, the Fairmount line is a hit or miss as to whether each trip is actually profitable.

If the train costs more to run that it brings in for revenue, then theres a serious problem that needs to be fixed.
I hate to break it to you, but I doubt ANY MBTA line is profitable.

It's not a problem, it's a subsidy. Every form of transportation is subsidized.

Take a look at these (very outdated) numbers on how transit systems compare.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farebox_recovery_ratio

Making a profit is the exception.

The MBTA bluebook may go into details on which lines are profitable are not, if you care to read the document.
http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/docum ... 202009.pdf

F-line to Dudley via Park
Posts: 7355
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

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.

Teamdriver
Posts: 984
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by Teamdriver »

Hiz Honor the mayor lives very close to this yard, that should be good for a few chuckles!

F-line to Dudley via Park
Posts: 7355
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

There's a reason why no one wants to develop that parcel. It's isolated from the whole neighborhood and from Dedham by 3 ROW's, the extremely long Sprague St. bridge, and a street grid disconnected by Readville Jct. Road and pedestrian access would be horrible, would have to follow very convoluted paths around the junction, and only allow very roundabout access to the other side. And really not too inviting either...is it even possible to pretty up Industrial Dr. enough to make a long walk alongside a 350 ft. wide sea of tracks an attractive urban living prospect?

Menino heard crickets from developers because it's a terrible parcel for mixed-use. Doesn't stop him from saying "Mine!" and making the BRA draw up sketches of cookie-cutter towers on it whenever the spirit moves him, but even he can't make developers build on it when they don't see the money in such an awkward location. The T knows this. The neighborhood knows this. Everybody except the Mayor himself seems to know this. Hell, look at the giant crater in Downtown Crossing...he can't even get things built on the primest, bought-and-paid-for parcels in town anymore.


Anyway, it is a relief to see the T properly recognizing the value of such a huge transit space. You never quite know with them...they might've actually been shortsighted enough to consider getting taken to the cleaners in a sale that leads them later needing to pay three times the price for more yard space in a less-convenient location well outside of town with horrible required NIMBY mitigation in 20 years when the Amtrak + T southside storage/maintenance capacity crunch gets critical. And leave Hyde Park with a perpetually underperforming development in the middle-of-nowhere. That land's only appropriate use is a rail yard the way it's situated, so good to see the priorities are where they should be. If any of the Readville yards were to ever be land-swapped for new development, the CSX one is the best-situated for actually knitting into the neighborhood. And even that's kind of a ho-hum prospect for anything more than another row of apartment blocks on the other side of Prescott St. The commuter rail yard is almost as lousy a location as Yard 5 because it's isolated from Truman Pkwy. by the Neponset reservation on one side and from Hyde Park Ave. by the Fairmount tracks on the other side. Tiny Wolcott Ct. isn't going to feed traffic onto that isolated parcel much better than Industrial Rd. to Yard 5.

I think the simple matter of developer profits or lackthereof is going to keep all three of the current Readville yards under active RR use for years to come. The T is self-aware that it has no logical reason to give up the capacity, and no amount of windmill-tilting by pols is going to create redevelopment demand that doesn't exist on these properties.

User avatar
BostonUrbEx
Posts: 3838
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by BostonUrbEx »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjEb6pWX8c4

Uploaded by usgovpsc on Jun 15, 2011

The City of Boston, aided in part by a grant from the Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Program, has already assessed and/or cleaned up multiple city-owned brownfields along this rail line and is planning to provide environmental assessments on several more. In addition, the Fairmount Collaborative has developed a master plan for the Greenway, identified opportunity sites, and is developing resources for its realization.

User avatar
rhodiecub2
Posts: 474
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:27 pm
Location: Woburn, MA

Re: Fairmount Line Discussion (Future Indigo Line)

Post by rhodiecub2 »

The T has been slow to move on this project, don't you think?
James C.


http://photos.nerail.org/show/?order=by ... ccub&key2=" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://billboardchartrewind.wordpress.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Return to “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)”