North-South Rail Link Discussion

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:52 pm

Post by AznSumtinSumtin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:08 pm

l008com wrote:
Charliemta wrote:Windows Live Local has more up to date aerial photography than Google does of the Greenway area.
I don't see any aerial photos at all on that site? Just an old school mapquest style street map. Am I missing something?
Here you go. On the left side of the screen, if all you see is "2D 3D", then click the down arrow next to it. It should give you more options, such as aerial view.

Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:22 am
Location: Stoneham, MA

Post by l008com » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:13 pm

Clicking that just bring me to the live local search homepage. This live local thing never seems to work. Google is so much better, I just wish they'd update their maps more often
My New YouTube Channel (Give It Time):
John's Train Videos

Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:52 pm

Post by AznSumtinSumtin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:34 pm

Are you using a Mac? That may explain a lot. Microsoft products are not Mac product friendly, of course.

Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:22 am
Location: Stoneham, MA

Post by l008com » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:40 pm

Of course I use a Mac. Oh well, I really don't NEED to see the corridor. I'm still wondering how viable a plan it would be? Any thoughts?
My New YouTube Channel (Give It Time):
John's Train Videos

Ron Newman
Posts: 2772
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Post by Ron Newman » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:39 pm works fine in Firefox on a Mac, but not in Safari.

Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Jamaica Plain, MA

Post by Arborway » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:37 pm

Time for a little thread necromancy...

Someone brought up a good question in another thread, which is basically what would be the point of having a Central Station between North and South stations?

Wouldn't a couple of subterranean sidings be really all you would need to help facilitate the NS Link?

Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:15 am
Location: Brooklyn

Post by Kinbote » Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:18 am

As a guess, I'd imagine in order to allow a commuter rail-Blue Line connection, and to give commuter rail riders a more direct shot into the financial district.

I personally endorse a central station based on neatness factor alone.

Posts: 717
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Post by djlong » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:53 am

Another 'reason' was to provide "one less seat" connections to the airport.

Posts: 1175
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:37 am
Location: Ithaca, NY

Post by neroden » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:44 pm

ags wrote:I'm sure it probably sacrilegious to mention something like this on a trainspotting forum, but at what points are trains expected to become obsolete? 50 years? 100 years?
When we develop teleportation.

Trains have turned out to be an improvement on most of the transportation modes invented after them. (There are actually good reasons for that, relating to the advantageous use of physical principles to keep the trains on the track.)

However -- since Boston will be flooded by rising sea levels within the next 50 years, it's really not worth building giant infrastructure projects so close to sea level (other than said seawall). :-)

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

Re: Big Dig Project???...(North-South Rail Link)

Post by BostonUrbEx » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:38 am

Bring this back from the dead and bringing in something new...

There was some discussion some ways back that you would have to electrify a tunnel link at least to North Station, or even all the way to Portland, unless you used dual-mode locomotives. Well, how expensive would dual-mode locomotives be? Do they even exist? Would they have to be designed for the first time, tested, etc? I've personally not heard of one. Even if they do exist, wouldn't it be easier to just tack on both a diesel and electric loco? Diesel from Portland to North, at the North Station platform, raise the pantographs and stop the diesel, then proceed to points south. Or would that be even more expensive for Amtrak?

I'd say hold off on MBCR connections, but this does not mean having no foresight in building the tunnels, they should be built with full-system-link capacity in mind. I have no idea what to do for MBCR other than the aforementioned dual-modes... I suppose fully electrifying MBCR lines which run on the SW corridor is a good option and then just running only those lines all the way to NS.

Posts: 3895
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: Big Dig Project???...(North-South Rail Link)

Post by jaymac » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:27 pm

The dual-modes that currently exist pick up traction-motor voltage, not catenary voltage. Could catenary-voltage dual-modes be made? Probably. Could another Somewhat-Big Dig be saddle-bagged on the Really-Big Dig to provide cross-Boston rail service? Technically, possibly. Fiscally or politically? Exceptionally improbably, for a least another ten years until post-Big Dig amnesia can set in.
Besides being named after compass points, what else do North and South Stations have in common? Just before each station's stub-end platforms are restrictive accesses. The designing of an approach from the eastbound curve before South Station to an underground tunnel seems, at best, difficult and also would seem to need to bypass the platforms. The outflow of the Charles is bridged just beyond North Station, and that would seem to require surfacing somewhere near the Gilmore Bridge. Couple those issues with providing platform access for passengers, and architects and engineers on such a project will prematurely become what I already am -- aging and balding. North Station could be the passenger-access by doing a reverse move once the equipment had surfaced, but this is starting to get as confusing as the old Pennsy in old Philadelphia.
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.

Posts: 1486
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:39 pm

Re: Big Dig Project???...(North-South Rail Link)

Post by jwhite07 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:49 pm

Dual mode locomotives do exist, and have for decades.

I think what jaymac was trying to say is that the existing dual modes in the United States (the 1950s-era EMD FL9 and the much newer GE P32AC-DM and EMD DM30AC) are all of the diesel/third rail electric type. While no diesel/overhead catenary dual modes exist yet, they will very soon - Bombardier is designing one, and New Jersey Transit and Montreal's AMT have both placed orders for them. That would probably be the kind of beast most suitable for an N-S Rail Link operation, unless full electrification of the commuter rail system is ever done.

Posts: 717
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Big Dig Project???...(North-South Rail Link)

Post by djlong » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:52 pm

The N/S Rail Link isn't exactly what one would think. As a brief refresher...

The actual link would be a pair of 2-track tunnels bored at a depth of up to 135 feet below the surface of Boston.

Because of the topography, 4 portals have to be created - and there would be no at-grade changes to the existing North and South Stations. Basically, the "new" stations would be UNDER the existing stations. The new platforms would be for through-service while the existing platforms would still be "stub end" terminals.

On the north side, there would be 2 portals - one a mile or more out on the Fitchburg branch and another one geared toward a more northerly access - I don't remember offhand if it would be on the Lowell or Haverhill branches but I would guess Lowell.

On the south side, there would be a portal "south" of Back Bay, and one in Dorchester (for the Fairmont/Old Colony lines).

The reason for these is that you have to push thoes portals out pretty far and have 3% grades in order to get down far enough to get under the existing stations.

There was also talk of an optional, new "Central Station" that would have connections to *all* rapid transit lines, in cluding the Blue Line.

Posts: 535
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:12 pm
Location: Darkest Atkinson, NH

Re: Big Dig Project???...(North-South Rail Link)

Post by ferroequinarchaeologist » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:50 pm

I've never understood the supposed need or enthusiasm for the North-South Rail Link, other than that advanced by some misguided greenies at the Conservation Law Foundation, whose objectives I ordinarily support. He**, you can take rapid transit, a bus, a cab, or you can walk it in fifteen minutes. Major cities on this planet seem to manage quite well without having all the rail lines entering them connected at one point - London and Paris come to mind.

What is the problem that the N-SRL proposes to solve?


Diverging Route
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:35 pm

Re: Big Dig Project???...(North-South Rail Link)

Post by Diverging Route » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:33 pm

1) Through Amtrak service from Portland to the NE Corridor
2) Through routing of commuter rail service from the north and south sides, such as Lowell to Providence or Haverhill to Worcester.

For example...

Return to “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)”