North-South Rail Link Discussion

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

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chrisf
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by chrisf » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:02 am

The tracks would need to be sunk further through the Southwest Corridor as the catenary infrastructure is not fully below ground level. Of course once you get past Forest Hills the tracks are not below ground whatsoever. Costs would be astronomical and the train traffic disruptions would be massive, for little gain.

apodino
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by apodino » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:13 am

As much as I would like to see this, I doubt we will ever see this in our lifetime. They blew a golden opportunity to do this while the big dig was under construction, and now costs to do this would be even more astronomical. That being said, I was looking at an MBTA document called Focus40, which itself is worthy of its own thread on there. The document talks about projects that the MBTA wants to do long term. Included in that would be a return of the Orange Line to Everett, an Orange Line extension to Roslindale or West Roxbury, the long awaited Blue-Red line connection at Charles, Electrification of the entire Commuter Rail system, and an E branch extension to Hyde Square among others.

You know what was not included in this document? The North-South rail link. This tells me that the MBTA has put the project to the back burner and its not a priority going forward.

I am going to start a separate threat about the Focus40 document, but for this thread, the takeaway from this document is no north-south rail link in our lifetime.
Rich "Dino" Martin
A one time happy rider of Arborway and the old Washington St. El.

rethcir
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by rethcir » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:32 am

I agree, I don't think that the investment in the full NSRL is necessary. I still think electrification of the CR out to 128 and eventually 495 would be similarly impactful on traffic and housing choice (hence cost of living and quality of life) at a smaller cost and with a faster buildout. People will remain happy to walk or transfer to subway to bridge the last mile gap, but we need to get people off the roads and into trains for the bulk of their journeys.

Dmdogs900
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Dmdogs900 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:22 pm

I was thinking the tracks could be covered when the subway is extended alongside the rail row.

chrisf
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by chrisf » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:50 pm

The Orange Line extension to Roslindale/West Roxbury/wherever it ends up would diverge at Forest Hills and follow the route of the Needham Line. This extension would not affect the existing Amtrak/MBTA Providence Line tracks in any way, so it would make no sense to cover anything.
Last edited by CRail on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.

Dmdogs900
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Dmdogs900 » Wed May 01, 2019 8:03 am

Could the Needham line be covered.

nomis
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by nomis » Wed May 01, 2019 8:49 am

No.
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watervapr
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by watervapr » Wed May 01, 2019 8:59 am

Could the rose-kennedy greenway be used to build an elevated viaduct as a cheap NSRL without doing any digging? Stops could be NS-Aquarium-SS. I know this would be reverting back to the central artery days but a trolley would be cleaner, have a smaller footprint, and be more visually appealing. Plus it could double as a tourist attraction going between the north end, long wharf waterfront, etc. It wouldn't swing any north shore to south shore commuters, but would alleviate a lot of the pressure on orange/green/red during rush hour and would be a big boon for north-side commuters working near south station.

ceo
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by ceo » Wed May 01, 2019 10:17 am

Someone suggests something like this about every other month in this thread. :-) The entire point of NSRL is to unify the northside and southside commuter rail systems. A trolley down the Greenway isn't going to do that.

ExCon90
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by ExCon90 » Wed May 01, 2019 2:59 pm

We had the same situation in Philadelphia--every so often there would be a Letter to the Editor wondering "why don't they just provide a shuttle bus between Reading Terminal and Suburban Station? The cartoonist Gary Larson used to have a panel series with the caption "Unclear on the Concept."

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BandA
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Thu May 02, 2019 12:09 am

There's nothing preventing running CR on an EL between North and South Station. There is obviously room, and it would be perhaps between one-fifth and a magnitude the cost of NSRL. You could also run a trolley or "heavy rail" on a four-track EL or two above two tracks.

ceo
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by ceo » Thu May 02, 2019 12:27 am

After we spent fourteen billon dollars to get rid of an elevated structure through the middle of the city, you want to build another one? Good luck with that.

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BandA
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Thu May 02, 2019 12:31 am

It would be deliciously ironic. Or you could try selling the greenway to developers; It is designed to hold up to 6 story buildings. Anybody willing to pay say 14-21 billion dollars for a linear mile of prime real estate? After the sale we might have enough dineros to build the NSRL.

watervapr
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by watervapr » Thu May 02, 2019 6:06 am

ceo wrote:After we spent fourteen billon dollars to get rid of an elevated structure through the middle of the city, you want to build another one? Good luck with that.
Haha.. I agree a 4-track NYC 7-line style viaduct is a complete nonstarter. But a small two-track elevated "historical" trolley elevated 15 feet off the ground could be additive without casting a massive shadow over the entire greenway, and would only take up minimal ground space such that the breweries, parks, and highway exit ramps can continue to exist.

ExCon90
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by ExCon90 » Thu May 02, 2019 2:54 pm

The problem remains that once people hear the word "elevated" they're going to think Forest Hills-Everett and stop listening. You can try PowerPoint presentations of present-day operations at local meetings but it'll be an uphill battle.

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