• Fairmount Line Discussion

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by F-line to Dudley via Park
The EGE wrote:The 2017-2021 5-year plan, approved by the MassDOT board last month, allocates full funding for Blue Hill Ave. $3M in FY 2017, then $22M over FY2018-FY2021. That puts the smart money on the opening date being sometime in 2020.
So...neighborhood has the all-clear to resume its incessant whining about the design? :wink:
  by Narrowgauger
So since this is the very end of the Fairmont line , what are the plans for the ongoing work in Readville? A new European arched light blue bridge has been constructed below the Sprage st bridge. Upon surveying the old bridge over the corridor, its hard to tell if its being added or replacing the bridge. Also looks like there may be some track realignment going to take place. Any ideas at what the finale work is going to be?
  by ns3010
Blue Hill Ave approved for $16.97mil, opening 2019:
BOSTON -- The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) today approved a recommendation of MBTA managers to execute a contract for construction of the brand new Blue Hill Avenue Commuter Rail Station between Blue Hill Avenue (Route 28) and Cummins Highway on the Fairmount Line. The contract will be executed with McCourt Construction Company for $16.97 million.
http://mbta.com/about_the_mbta/news_eve ... nth=&year=
  by danib62
I just don't see the logic in spending that much on a station that is a quarter mile from the high speed line. $16.97 mil probably buys you a decent amount of maintenance work on the PCC fleet...
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
danib62 wrote:I just don't see the logic in spending that much on a station that is a quarter mile from the high speed line. $16.97 mil probably buys you a decent amount of maintenance work on the PCC fleet...
The station itself is well worth the inclusion. Mattapan is just that huge and under-served that if Fairmount ever gets the frequencies promised this will be one of the higher-ridership stations. They still need the thwarted 28X BRT route out of Dudley on top of the HSL and Fairmount Line; that's how much of a demand center Mattapan Sq. is. Hell...Mattapan more than demands a proper one-seat Red Line extension from Ashmont, were it not for the Miltonites who have historically refused to ever trade in their boutique stops for a consolidated Lower Mills heavy rail stop. Unfortunately for Mattapan, it's those NIMBY's just a few blocks north and the DCAIMBY's (Don't Change Anything In My Backyard) a few blocks east...ugh! The former group responsible for this station's torturous public comment saga were the same ones primarily responsible for turfing the seemingly straightforward 28X.

Cost for the stop being absurdly off-scale high is unrelated to demand served. But there absolutely needs to be an audit here, because there is nothing unorthodox design-related that could ever plausibly explain why this stop is costing so much more than the other Fairmount infills. The dispute with the neighborhood was on precise siting...not above-and-beyond frills or distorting the build into greater engineering degree of difficulty. It's still a fairly generic and prefab build indistinct from the other new stops. This seems like another case of the T being so chronically short of internal project managers that they're once again non-reactive to an outside contractor who submits them a crooked number. It's one thing if a megaproject like GLX gets hit with it; the FCMB will react when the stakes are that big. But when the project manager positions tasked with watching the contractors are top-to-bottom unfilled across the organization the same problem manifests itself on smaller projects below a threshold where they can/will assign audit resources.

That ends up being where senseless bloat accumulates quickest and does its biggest aggregate damage to the agency over time: not the rarest GLX-scope megaprojects but more regular design-build stuff like station renovations and additions further down the food chain. That's where the watchers are surrendering to the futility of being chronically overwhelmed and outnumbered. It explains why so many recent commuter rail stations and rapid transit station renos, parking garages, and the like have had such glaring cost overruns and/or ham-fisted workmanship, late-breaking change orders, and do-overs of chintzy crap like botched concrete pours. Also explains why there's been such a rash of unchecked station cost bloat in recent years while this wasn't quite as chronic or extensive a problem during the late-90's/early-00's wave of ADA blitzes and commuter rail extensions.

It's up to the FCMB do break out of its current paralysis of issuing PowerPoints that prove some thinktank whitepaper about outsourcing more functions, and actually start structurally gearing the real-world agency towards that. You can't outsource more if you won't staff enough internal project managers throughout the organization in that all-important watchers role. Exhibit A are design-build contracts like Blue Hill where outside firms have always been doing the primary work. If those projects keep chronically flying off-scale from too few watchers, of course they're going to have big problems incorporating ANY more outsiders into the mix on other agency functions. Perhaps get out of whitepaper land and start attacking that project mgr. deficit on stuff like a much-needed Blue Hill Ave. audit first as a proof-of-concept first??? Maybe react sooner to a funny-looking quote than a GLX-level meltdown? Maybe pay oversight salaries that are the going rate for a competitive industry instead of acting discouraged that the free market isn't drawing them any flies at bottom-barrel compensation? Hello, FCMB members...golden opportunity here @ Blue Hill to walk the talk...anyone awake??? :(
  by electricron
FRA is about to nationalize "Alternate" FRA compliance rules that Stadler built GTWs for DCTA and FLIRTs for FWTA meet.
Depending upon the size trains needed, either GTWs or FLIRTs would work well on many of the MBTA lines. Both GTWs and FLIRTs are available in DMU or EMU modes. FLIRTs are also available i dual modes models. As for Built in America requirements, Stadler has a final assembly facility in Salt Lake where they will be building FLIRTs for FWTA and KISSes for Caltrain. If Stadler built KISSes can operate on the same tracks as future CHSR trains, I'm sure other Stadler built "Alternate" compliant trains can run on the same tracks as Acela, Amfleets, or other MBTA trains.

Stadler price comparisons:
DCTA spend $77 million for 11 GTWs 2/6 models (2 cars per GTW), or around 7 million per GTW.
FWTA spend $108 million for 32 FLIRTs (8 sets of 4 cars)or around $3.4 million per car.
Caltrain spend $345 million for 96 KISS cars (16 sets of 6 cars) or around $3.6 million per car.

To be fair, Stadler cars, around 60 feet in length, are not as long as a typical commuter rail car built for America, around 85 feet in length. So a typical 3 passenger car train set built for America will probably need a 4 car Stadler set, so keep that in mind when comparing prices. And I will not suggest MBTA could get the same cars for the same prices, because how many of them bought under the RFP will affect the final price.

But the earlier proposed order of 10 sets of 3 cars, 30 total Amercian sized cars, could be satisfied by 10 (4 car) FLIRTs sets, or by 10 (2 GTW 2/6) sets. Costs would be (40 x $3.2 million = $128 million) for FLIRTs, or (20 x 7 million = $140 million) for GTWs.
  by The EGE
Been a while since we had an update. Blue Hill Avenue station is well on its way - most of the platform is in place, as are the supports for the ramps.

  by Arlington
How does that central spine work? It seems oddly angled and will it make it hard to move from one edge of the platform to the other?
  by The EGE
I believe that's just light poles / signage spaced at a normal distance - the perspective just makes them blend together.
  by nomis
Barring an unforeseen circumstances, Blue Hill Ave. will open to the public on Monday, Feb 25.
  by wicked
Perhaps it's time for trains every 30 minutes during the week and every 60 minutes on weekends.
  by BandA
Maybe riders are taking the Fairmont line in place of the failing Red/Orange lines?
  by johnpbarlow
In 2018, the most recent year for which I see actual ridership figures published by the MBTA for each commuter rail line, the Fairmount line deployed 21 inbound trains on a weekday to carry 1,345 passengers. That nets out to 64 passengers per train on average. Five morning inbound rush trains carried 129, 115, 314, 301, and 91 passengers. After the AM rush, trains typically carried no more than one coach-worth's of passengers: anywhere from single digits up to 75 riders.

In 2023, 23 trains now operate each way over the Fairmount line on weekdays, a 10% increase in frequency. The reported 130% increase in riders v. pre-pandemic figures would yield about 1,750 weekday inbound riders for an average of 76 passengers per train. What's hard to know is what are the peak ridership figures in 2023 given changed post-pandemic commutation habits.

I'm not convinced that MBTA's promotion of Fairmount Line ridership reaching "130% of pre-COVID levels in May 2023" is very significant.

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