• Lowell Line - Winchester, Woburn, Wilmington Spottings

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by newpylong
 
They're doing exactly as he said -removing the automatics (intermediate) ABS signals and reconfiguring the home signals to accomodate a loss of cab signals.
  by Trinnau
 
To add a little, the current signal system on the north side has wayside signals up and down the line. Interlocking signals are retained and Clear Block signals added to them, automatic signals are removed. In other words, anywhere you can crossover the signals stay. Anywhere the signals just indicated track condition ahead (between interlockings) and didn't protect any switches they are removed. The cab signal system provides that information to the engineer in "real-time" in the cab, they don't need the fixed blocks anymore.
  by l008com
 
I've been crossing over the lowell line my whole life. Many years ago, the way the signals worked is that they wouldn't be lit unless there was a train nearby. But starting about 10 years ago or so, the signals lit up and stayed lit. All the time. Now, I assume due to the previously mentioned signal project, the signals are dim again.

I'm all around this line pretty regularly, but I'm on Cross St in Winchester and Montvale Ave in Woburn pretty much every day. It's surprising to see unlit signals again.

So does anyone know what the whole story is in this area? Why did the signals go from sometimes lit to always lit, and now back to sometimes lit.
  by twropr
 
Amtrak put out a passenger notice advising that during the next several weekends (Nov 7-Dec 20) their DOWNEASTER trains would not be stopping at Woburn due to "trackwork being performed by the MBTA." Apparently DOWNEASTER is detouring over the Western Line. Does anyone know what kind of work the T is performing on their New Hampshire Route and/or Wildcat Branch?
Thanks!
Andy
  by Trinnau
 
The MBTA is pretty up-front about what's going on. You can usually find it on their website. Short answer, ATC/PTC work along with the GLX project as we discussed above. It's been happening for the better part of 2 years between both projects. The current Downeaster schedule doesn't even list a schedule time for Anderson/Woburn on the weekend.
l008com wrote:I've been crossing over the lowell line my whole life. Many years ago, the way the signals worked is that they wouldn't be lit unless there was a train nearby. But starting about 10 years ago or so, the signals lit up and stayed lit. All the time. Now, I assume due to the previously mentioned signal project, the signals are dim again.

I'm all around this line pretty regularly, but I'm on Cross St in Winchester and Montvale Ave in Woburn pretty much every day. It's surprising to see unlit signals again.

So does anyone know what the whole story is in this area? Why did the signals go from sometimes lit to always lit, and now back to sometimes lit.
Signals would light on approach of a train for many reasons. Save electricity, less light pollution, and fewer bulb replacements. Now with LED lights, the beams are more focused, they last MUCH longer and consume far less energy. There were always certain critical locations which would be lit full-time for one reason or another.

But this past weekend the signals at Montvale Ave. and Cross St. were retired and replaced by ATC. The signal heads should be turned away from the tracks or removed, but the masts may remain for a little while still. They will not be lit again.
  by stevefol
 
So, does anyone know if the weekend rerouting of the Downeaster to the WR is now a permanent thing? Or at least until service resumes on the Lowell Line at weekends? The line south of Bleachery is now dead at weekends

As an aside on the freight movements - the only daytime movements I've seen lately are Pan Am engine movements for, I believe, BO-1. The last 3 weeks through West Medford between 11:15 and 11:45 on a Tuesday, today it was MEC 507. Stuff moves at night.
  by Trinnau
 
The re-routing has to do with GLX and ATC projects, once those have done enough on the line to not need full track access they'll bring the Downeaster back to the Lowell Line. ATC needs to eventually go to the Western Route.
  by l008com
 
I've been watching freight and amtrak trains come on and off the wildcat in front of Wilmington station for years.
But last Thursday was unique. A freight train came up from the south, and went straight through Wilmington station. No right turn on to the wildcat. And it just kept going. I think that's the first time I've ever seen anything but commuter rail and MoW north of that junction.

This would have beeeeen June 29th I believe, in the evening. Anyone got the scoop?
  by GP40MC1118
 
It's not that odd. Happens from time to time. Pan Am occasionally sends the outbound stuff to Lowell instead of Lawrence for whatever reason.
  by Trinnau
 
And sometimes it's faster for a train to go from Lawrence to the Billerica Shop via Wilmington than via Lowell. Not all that rare, and they sometimes use the 4 track at Anderson/Woburn to make the runaround move.
  by l008com
 
So tonight, I happened to be in Somerville and the gravel train I often catch up in the W towns, I saw going over the mystic river bridge. I've never seen it there before. It really looked to be struggling, like it could barely make it over the bridge. Is this what happens every day? It had three locos today but typically it only has two. I used to go under that bridge all the time on my boat and I've never seen the gravel train there before.


Meanwhile, in the same area, the Inner Belt in somerville... I though they had restored the line along New Washington St to run freight that way instead. I was actually hoping to catch the gravel train or something else there. But alas, it was disconnected and had a string of cars parked on it. What's the deal with this? That would be such a cool place to watch a big freight train go by. Although the dogs at the park might not like it :D


Edit: I just cleared the brain-fart and realized why I've never seen the gravel train going over the mystic before. That's the haverhill line, not the lowell line :P
  by Trinnau
 
They are still working on the connections between Mystic Junction on the Lowell Line (right at the Washington St bridge) all the way across to the Yard 21 lead behind Sullivan Square. It's not quite fully in service yet.

As for gravel over the Mystic on the Haverhill Line, it's been a regular occurrence with the GLX project over the last few years. Unfortunately due to tight signal spacing in the area westbound (inbound) freight trains are limited to 10mph just inbound of the bridge, so that's why it may have appeared to be struggling. Their speed was down to comply with the restriction.
  by l008com
 
The track along New Washington Street did look PERFECT. Like it was just rebuilt to commuter rail standards. It will be a very cool spot to catch freight once in a while.
  by bostontrainguy
 
l008com wrote: Fri Aug 27, 2021 7:44 am The track along New Washington Street did look PERFECT. Like it was just rebuilt to commuter rail standards. It will be a very cool spot to catch freight once in a while.
From what I have read:
No crossing protection planned
No way to directly cross to the Mystic River bridge into Everett
Does offer the ability to run directly between the Lowell Line and the Fitchburg Line if ever needed

Is cool to see an unused track being reactivated in the Boston area.
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