• NEC Future: HSR "High Line", FRA, Amtrak Infrastructure Plan

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Woody
Patrick A. wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The current upgrades ... [should] ... increase the speed limit through Wallingford cluster from 25 MPH to 80 MPH and Meriden cluster from 25 MPH to 60 MPH. ... immediately south of Wallingford it's now gone from 80 to 91 MPH and immediately north of Wallingford from 80 to 110 MPH. South of Meriden it's now 110, with the restricted S-curve now 80 instead of 60.
... no idea that the current track work would raise speeds ... to such an extent. Coupled with the longer stretches of dual track south of Hartford...

Any guess as to what kind of time savings we could be seeing here come next year? (Emphasis added.)
It's a two-fer for Amtrak: not just the NHV-SPG trains, but also for the Vermonter. (And ultimately for D.C.-NHV-SPG-Montreal as well as for NHV-SPG-Worcester-Boston.)

And of course, new commuter service on this corridor.

Not overlooking the substantial contribution from Connecticut, and Mass., but ...
WOW! Look at what a few hundred million in Stimulus funds (federal govt investment) can do for passenger rail!
  by bostontrainguy
Ready for some interesting reading?

Record of decision published.

http://www.necfuture.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Still claiming Boston to NYP in 2:45 without the bypass!

Still don't understand this:

New Segment: Neponset (Sharon
to Hyde Park, MA)
  by STrRedWolf
So they have a "Selected Alternative" here. Common projects:
  • New coach/engines/etc
  • Station additions/rebuilds/improvements
  • Additional power stations
  • Additional track
  • New bridges/tunnels
  • PTC installing
Some disappointments and things to note for me in the Maryland area though:

Two tracks WAS to NCR: Seriously? Still two? You're going to move the bottleneck to DC?
Four tracks, express track platform at Odenton: Ooohkay, I gotta see how they accommodate ADA on this one...
New stations Bayview, Elkton: Bayview I can see, and Elkton maybe?
  by TomNelligan
This article from this morning's New Haven Register highlights the NIMBY opposition to four-tracking through Branford and Guilford, CT, and relocating the right of way through Old Lyme. Gotta worry about those sturgeons and things.

http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/ ... -shoreline" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Ridgefielder
I've got to say that for once I'm with the NIMBYs on this one. The bypass plan was totally stupid, and would have wasted billions of $ that could be better spent elsewhere. And isn't quad-tracking a bit of an overkill, too? Doesn't seem to me like the traffic density really requires more than possibly a few stretches of bypass through stations.
  by Scalziand
Quad tracking might be a bit of overkill on that section, but the corridor is relatively unencroached by development on that section, so...

I guess the 'planners' are looking at that as an easy way to add capacity, even if it's not needed there. Maybe it will be needed there in 50 years.
bostontrainguy wrote: Still don't understand this:

New Segment: Neponset (Sharon
to Hyde Park, MA)
A couple thoguhts:
*The junction between the NEC and Stoughton line (soon to be south coast rail.. eventually) is currently at grade. The ROD identifies the junction as a chokepoint, which the ne segment is supposed to addres, with a flying junction I assume. There's a lot of development around Canton Junction, so I don't think it could be grade separated with a flyover in place.
*That part of the NEC is only double track from Sharon to Readville, and triple track from Readville to Hyde Park. The development around Canton Junction would also make it difficult to add third and fourth tracks.[dunno if that would be more difficult than blasting a new 2track ROW through the swamp and golf courses though. gotta avoid that cemetery too.]
*128/Amtrak station is currently 2 tracked, but designed to easily drop in another 2 tracks.
*Likewise, Readville and Hyde Park stations are currently 3 tracked, but the west platforms are extra wide, taking up what used to be a fourth track slot.
*The existing curves on that part of the mainline aren't too bad, but they're not quite good enough for the full high speed they're aiming for 160+
*There's more room for a flying junction around Dedham/Canton st and University than the existing Canton junction, although Dedham/Canton street might still be in the way.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Canton Jct. is not a born chokepoint. It is a chokepoint today because of relatively poor layout, and when the NEC Infrastructure Improvements Master Plan was signed off on 7 years ago the MBTA declined to provide any detail on capacity management improvements for it like it did for the other NEC stations. Just an in-situ platform raising to full-highs, while everywhere else like Sharon & Mansfield got extra tracks or something else major. A baffling omission because the practical fixes are very small-scale and easy to implement...but it's created a "garbage in, garbage out" situation for NEC FUTURE data collection that still has them humping down on this nonsense Canton bypass that lays waste to miles of wetlands and residential for no good reason. I guess they didn't have any unnecessary map doodles to piss off Massachusetts and had to invent the most inane one imaginable for inclusiveness' sake.

Canton Jct. is fixable by:

-- Pull the platforms behind the junction. Right now it's awkwardly staggered where the Providence southbound and Stoughton northbound platforms run a full 500 ft. north of the tip of the island platform and the area where the Providence NB and Stoughton SB tracks diverge at the switch. Prevents any installation of crossovers that could eliminate a conflicting movement, or doing a more orderly quad-track split at the junction. All you need to do is have the full-regulation 800 ft. side platforms start at the same place the triangular island platform ends, and drag the full length of those platforms further south.

-- Have all platforms be the same length. Right now Providence inbound trains can only platform a max of 6 (maybe only 5???) cars because the island platform is so short on that track. Providence routinely runs rush-hour trains of 7-8 cars, so this is a significant station dwell buzzkill. There is plenty of room for a full-regulation 800-footer, so it's baffling that they've left this one so short for so long.

-- Tri-track the NEC side by moving the Providence outbound platform onto a turnout so Amtrak has a center passer. There is plenty of room for moving the Providence outbound platform back a dozen feet and eating a parking row. You can even see on Google how clearly there used to be a siding or MOW turnout long ago off the southbound track right after the Spaulding St. overpass, so the track layout is already set up for exactly this. A lot of trains on the Providence schedule already skip Canton Jct. because of Amtrak being hot on their tail, so this is an MBTA service increaser as well as an AMTK capacity manager.

-- Redo the junction switches by Spaulding St. for more fluidity now that moving the platforms a few feet south creates room for more/better-placed crossovers. Stick a crossover just south of Canton Viaduct so Amtrak can leapfrog stopped Providence inbound trains via the center passer.

-- Revise the NECIIMP 2010 assumptions for Route 128 station further north. The new 128 station was constructed in 2000 such that BOTH platforms can be turned into islands and flanked by 2 tracks each, for a total of 4 platform tracks. Actually, there's even extra slack beyond that on the east side for constructing a whole other side platform and making it a 5-track/3-platform stop if the spirit ever moves them. Yet, the NECIIMP only called for 3 tracks total at the station, and opted to drop from 4 to 3 tracks at Readville even though the Neponset Reservation already allows for 4 full berths. Why? What is stopping them from picking up the planned 4th track at Forest Hills near the end of the Southwest Corridor tunnel and running it straight through to the 128 platforms with slower commuter trains taking the side berths and Amtrak taking the center berths. Even if the wetlands and rock cuts between the end of the freight runaround and Spaulding St. bust the running track between 128 & CJ down to 2-3 tracks instead of running quad all the way to the CJ crossovers, you'd have contiguously sorted traffic all the way from Forest Hills through 128 station and the always-available passer setup at CJ to settle any remaining turbulence until the last branchline has safely pulled away and it's across the Viaduct into 165 MPH territory.

Total nothingburger. Seriously...you can fix CJ with maximum flex for like $30M and offsets of a strip of ~100 parking spaces relocated elsewhere onsite to create the room for the 3rd track turnout for the NEC southbound platform. No mods need to be made to 128 station...just spend the $50M extra to bring the Forest Hills-Readville 4th track in the NECIIMP straight through the station platforms. Premium frills?...just decide how much rock-cutting they want to do for 2-1/4 miles between the Neponset River crossing and Spaulding St. to join that 4-track Forest Hills-128 segment to Canton Jct. at how many tracks (2, 3, 4?). And the slightest of curve straightenings by the I-95 overpass. The drop from 150/165 MPH to 125 MPH around Sharon station is close enough to the 128 station approach the Acela stops at that it's not even worth it to try to mod the curve around Canton Viaduct + Junction. The Viaduct doesn't need to do 165 MPH when no southbound HSR train coming out of a 128 station stop will have hit triple digits by that point...and bypassing it would only gain a 165 MPH northbound an extra 3/4 mile at most before the first brake application into the station stop so the current alignment isn't even outside the margin-of-error of a station dwell on schedule time vs. a bypass. Literally 0:00 timetable difference.

There should also be no need for a hideously overcomplicated flying junction if you make these small tweaks to Canton Jct. for a few dozen $M. All 4 platform tracks can be occupied simultaneously by stopped commuter trains and Amtrak will still always have a means of accessing the passing track. Stopped commuter trains (especially on the Stoughton side) can always cede priority to an Amtrak meet within the default station dwell time and still make their schedules, meaning there is no need to build grade separation to sort somebody's traffic. MBTA service can be outright increased here at no detriment to Amtrak simply by having that tri-track turnout on the Providence side and keeping the platform layout from fouling the junction. In fact, there can be more flexibility for timed overtakes on the passer if the default headways assumed that commuter trains always stopped here, instead of the keep-away games the T plays with Providence skip-stops and (even worse) Stoughton skip-stops on the broken South Coast Rail service plan.
  by seacoast
We asked CTDOT and FRA to explain the purpose of this part of the Quadtracking project, to explain generally the footprint, the priority, and the decision-making process behind the selection. Unfortunately, the agencies were non-responsive. It's something we've seen up and down the corridor... communities that are looking for details and reassurance, or maybe a conference call, and time and again they are rebuffed.

Frankly, for all the talk of NIMBYism, most of these communities are pro-rail, and were inclined to follow along at first, until they learned a bit more, and then most kind of felt duped.

As for impacts from the quadtracking, the project would significantly impact residences in Stony Creek, conservation land, and the National-register Route 146 Historic district. It also represents a significant investment where there is already flooding on the landward side of the tracks.

Our official stance on this project was not opposition, but a request for removal from the ROD until the project was properly explained and justified. I don't think that deserves mockery, and I really appreciate the significant understanding of that by Ridgefielder, F-Line and others. If you want to modernize the corridor, you're going to have to win support from the people along the corridor. I think many are willing to accept the idea of the greater good, with a better process.
  by bostontrainguy
seacoast wrote:If you want to modernize the corridor, you're going to have to win support from the people along the corridor. I think many are willing to accept the idea of the greater good, with a better process.
I'm sorry but that is not reality. People along the corridor are going to fight anything proposed . . . faster speeds, curve modifications, additional tracks, etc. That's just the way it is. You can't get anything done in this country anymore and that demographic is going to fight anything and everything.

The best thing to do is forget about upgrading the existing ROW and build a bypass to avoid . . . oh, wait
  by seacoast
Breaking down the 2:45 benchmark for Boston to NYC, it appears that the proposed study area east of New Haven will require a 12 minute savings.
Not sure why the latest planning no longer rounds up to the nearest five minute increment, but in my experience the numbers for NEC Future are
rarely pulled out of a hat. So... what solution does this 12 minutes suggest?

Page 28 of Appendix A suggests guidance to at least revisit the 'dropped' plans during subsequent study:
Accordingly, the Selected Alternative includes the requirement for a capacity planning study (the New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study), in partnership with Connecticut and Rhode Island, that will identify on- and off-corridor infrastructure elements to achieve the service and performance objectives of the Selected Alternative between New Haven and Providence. The New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study will encompass the geographic area within the following limits: along the Hartford/Springfield Line from New Haven to Hartford, from Hartford to Providence, and along the existing NEC from New Haven to Providence. This study area includes the areas considered for capacity expansion between Branford to Guilford, CT, and Old Saybrook, CT, to Kenyon, RI. Completion of a New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study for this area will be a pre-condition to any Tier 2 projects that are intended to increase capacity.
Frankly, I am much more interested in what is happening along the proposed New Rochelle to Greens Farms route. According, to reporting by Sue Haigh for the Associated Press, consultants are already moving ahead on a $3 million state-funded study for CTDOT. This raises a few key questions: Who is conducting the study? When did the study begin? What are the parameters of the study? And how could CT DOT begin a "state-funded $3 million dollar consultant's study" without some prior knowledge of the decision to select the New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass as part of the Record of Decision?
  by seacoast
We now have high-quality routing information for the entire Northeast Corridor NEC Future "Preferred Alternative."
We haven't had a chance to render every section (we'll take requests!), but you can find detailed maps of the
New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass here:

http://secoast.org/high-resolution-maps ... ms-bypass/
  by bostontrainguy
seacoast wrote:We now have high-quality routing information for the entire Northeast Corridor NEC Future "Preferred Alternative."
We haven't had a chance to render every section (we'll take requests!), but you can find detailed maps of the
New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass here:

http://secoast.org/high-resolution-maps ... ms-bypass/
I really am interested in what the Sharon, MA to Readville bypass plans are.
  by seacoast
35dtmrs92 wrote:Is there any new word on additional train slots over the CT River drawbridge?
No news on this. I think this would have to be negotiated in 2018 with the Army Corps of Engineers. I actually think the towns
are very much willing to accept this, and I hope it happens
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