• Pittsfield/Springfield/Boston East-West Passenger Rail

  • 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 BandA
 
A new state authority implies new director and a lot of politically appointed staff and a large budget. Why don't they need a new rail authority for GLX? For Southcoast? For "Knowledge Corridor"? Is the new authority for projects that are incredibly expensive, or "high speed", or outside the MBTA territory? Why do they need an authority instead of just a project under MassDOT?

I think Dan Grabauskas is available.
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  by Safetee
 
My swag is that some of the folks here in western mass dont want to be steam rolled by the boston convoluted t. . it certainly will be a different path if it actually happens but sooner or later they're still going to have to deal with the t. and i think it's safe to say that the t like most other urban transit authorities will give their operations the priority into and out of the hub. so it's another reason why i'm not sure it will work well. given the speed of the love from boston it's probably just mud on the wall at this point.
  by The EGE
 
Presumably the authority is because it is outside MBTA territory, as well as because Amtrak is a far more likely operator than MBTA/Keolis. Here in CA, joint powers authorities are very common for projects that are larger than a single county but smaller than statewide. They're not as common in New England because county government is minimal so everything is state-run.
  by QB 52.32
 
Safetee wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 1:13 pm all they have to do is take a left at new london and those corridor folks can be at worcester faster.
The name of the game is regional corridors. In terms of Worcester alone, an Inland Corridor provides ~ 7 times the marginal benefit in terms of catchment vs. recreating the old Shoreliner service and, undoubtedly, with the additional markets created by an Inland Corridor, comparative infrastructure costs and travel time, not even close.
  by cle
 
If it is a new build, it would indeed need its own org, but that should be a sub-division of MassDot. This might just be kicking the can down to the next elections.

It definitely should form part of a proper ongoing strategy to resolve the wires on New Haven-Springfield, the Hartford station/bridge, the whole corridor. But that is largely higher speed, pre-pandy, it was nearly hourly etc - a really good evolution. Springfield to Worcester/Boston is a natural extension to do similar, albeit more spacing - but a bigger prize at the end. And of course, an alt-route to NYC, perhaps leading to hourly Worcester-Springfield-Hartford to NYC service which between those three might be a great corridor as well as the local/regional services.
  by CRail
 
Amtrak isn't going to run it out of charity. Remember, the Downeaster is a contracted service to Amtrak by the State of Maine's Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.

When I see the Commonwealth is creating a rail authority I see the potential for a major reorganization. Does Commuter Rail and Springfield service need 2 separate Authorities? Probably not. Does Boston's transit system and the entirety of the Commonwealth's railroad network warrant 2 separate Authorities? I think so.
  by lordsigma12345
 
The Downeaster and NNEPRA is basically what they’re basing this on. The idea of the authority is to first develop this corridor and eventually take over responsibility for managing all the intercity service under MassDOT’s responsibility all for which services western Massachusetts.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Safetee wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 1:13 pm all they have to do is take a left at new london and those corridor folks can be at worcester faster.
I think connecting Hartford and Springfield into this is better than the small towns along the New London - Palmer segment. Clearly you are a critic of the New Haven - Springfield corridor and based on your past comments believe the focus should be shifted to the rt 2 corridor. However Franklin county has a much smaller population density and is well served by the rt 2 expressway and would maybe justify one a day. Fixing up the B&M for one a day seems like quite a lot of taxpayer money also.
  by jaymac
 
Soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Baker likes to look like he's playing the long game, mebbe as a would-be replacement for Sens. Markey or Warren as aging-out continues. For someone who's a lame duck, Baker's activity level has certainly increased over the last year of his term.
Baker is also pro-privatization, and an "independent" agency/entity/contractor would provide the opportunity twins of wheeling and dealing coupled with scapegoating. Keolis was supposed to remedy the alleged wrongs of MBCR, ditto MBCR for Amtrak, but all along it has been Commonwealth budgetary and political decisions -- or indecision -- that determined the real direction of the the T. Both the legislative and executive branches have been involved.
Those who may have seen staged ties at the western end of East Deerfield yard during the Knowledge Corridor rehab will remember the stacks were tagged with a circled T. The metaphorical T flag was also flown during rehab for Berkshire Scenic rehab, so the T -- even before being brought under massDOT/MASSDOT -- had some presence west of Worcester.
Mebbe the MBTA will revert to the MTA -- The MassTransportation Authority.
  by lordsigma12345
 
It sounds like there was originally talk about starting up an intercity rail division of the T to develop east west rail, and to manage the Hartford Line/Valley Flyer/Vermonter services. However the Baker Administration decided that they'd prefer to keep the T's mission focused on the Boston metropolitan area and on transit projects and instead have a separate construct for intercity rail like the NNEPRA.
Last edited by CRail on Fri Apr 29, 2022 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed. Do not use the "Quote" button as a "Reply" button.
  by Arborwayfan
 
A separate authority might make the service more secure. It would at least mean that an MBTA board dominated by people from Greater Boston wasn't balancing trains west of Worcester against the Lowell Line -- and for that matter the Red Line and the 51 bus -- every time they made a budget. It's not the only way to do that, but it is one way.

A small separate authority could be more efficient than a new office within the T. The board and its meetings won't cost much, and a handful of people in an office in Springfield could manage the western trains more easily than a similar handful of people within the T who had to report to/seek authorization from the T GM, who would always mostly think about Greater Boston transit. And they could all live out in Western Mass, closer to the service they were supervising (less work travel money).

The T and the new authority are/will be creatures of the state, with all their powers and obligations created by state law. The General Court could say that the MBTA must allow x slots at z times at y speeds to trains from the west. It could require the T and the new authority to cooperate on fares, schedules, etc., along overlapping routes, and it could even require the T and the new authority to coordinate equipment purchases: imagine the T and the new authority using at least some compatible DMUs with fully automatic coupling so that a Western Mass DMU (with suitable corridor seating) could come into Worcester and quickly couple onto a waiting T DMU (with suitable commuter seating), and the whole thing could proceed to Boston as skip-stop express, occupying just one slot.
  by ziggyzack1234
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 7:13 pm The T and the new authority are/will be creatures of the state, with all their powers and obligations created by state law. The General Court could say that the MBTA must allow x slots at z times at y speeds to trains from the west. It could require the T and the new authority to cooperate on fares, schedules, etc., along overlapping routes, and it could even require the T and the new authority to coordinate equipment purchases: imagine the T and the new authority using at least some compatible DMUs with fully automatic coupling so that a Western Mass DMU (with suitable corridor seating) could come into Worcester and quickly couple onto a waiting T DMU (with suitable commuter seating), and the whole thing could proceed to Boston as skip-stop express, occupying just one slot.
That's what I envision as well. Both take their general orders from MassDOT and are given a set of constraints and points they need to abide by, with the flexibility to manage the things that are in their own regions. Rolling stock standardization would be a big upside, and fare compatibility I think would already be on the books as nearly all transit in MA uses Charlie in some form, so with Charlie 2.0 already in development, it would be a natural fare medium.
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