• Potential MBTA Southern NH Service

  • 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 jbvb
As I reported from the Public Hearings on the proposed Plaistow extension, a bunch of people who outspokenly hate/fear having to ride in a public transit vehicle with others they don't like pop up whenever the subject of passenger service in NH is raised. Being personally acquainted with someone who makes at least part of his living as a climate change obfuscator, I wouldn't be surprised if showers of money bring forth passenger service objectors.

Regarding legislatures, I've spent the last decade or so reviewing proposed NH bills for effects on town government, land use, schools etc. If MBTA electrification is MA's champion, NH beats that hands down (but in another forum).
  by BandA
I just read an article yesterday about a PR firm that was set up & got rich spreading fears, lies and uncertainty about global warming. Although it doesn't help that scientists hungry for grants and partisan media on the other side also spread fear and lies.

But it is not the job of the NH legislature or NHDOT to solve global warming. It is their job to lower costs and improve energy efficiency and reduce HYDROCARBON EMISSIONS not CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS. It is their job to help NH residents to outcompete residents in MA, ME, VT, or other states and countries.

Commuter Rail is supposed to improve efficiency and lower costs. But the train has to have lots of riders and reasonable operating costs.
  by mbrproductions
Commuter Rail ridership is rebounding as of now, all the months of the people in NH saying that "it is doomed to fail because of remote work" are now meaningless. I have no doubts that once this line is built, it won't take long for it to become one of the highest ridership lines in the system, because it will connect the two largest cities in NH to the very economic and productive center of New England, my personal guess is that it will be second only to the Providence Line.
Does anyone have any more news on the extension, I haven't heard or read much about it lately, should I contact the AECOM team working on it?
- Thanks
  by BandA
There is no way the office space in Boston and surrounding cities is going to sit empty for more than a few years. Although fewer folks will be working M-F 9-5. On the other hand we are seeing a lasting implosion in retail.

If you recall your history, the three Boston railroads were the Boston and Lowell, opened to freight in 1835, Boston and Worcester 1835(to West Newton 1834, probably the first Commuter Rail service in the country?), and Boston and Providence which reached Canton in 1834. See a pattern?

from Wikipedia who is quoting from a source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_an ... l_Railroad
The Boston and Lowell was faced with a new problem; it had a reputation for speed which made it very popular and highly competitive with stagecoaches. Many people wanted to go not only from Lowell to Boston but to places in between. The Boston and Lowell ordered another locomotive and cars for local passenger rail in 1842, and had them make six stops along the route. Passenger rail proved to be almost as profitable as freight
  by mbrproductions
Does anybody here know when the study about this is set to resume? Was it paused as a rest for those involved, or were they gathering new info and will release it when the time comes?
  by BandA
From the NH Senate hearing before they amended the house bill
Sen. Watters asked when the study would be done.
Mr. Herlihy [NHDOT Director of Rail and Transit] said it would be finished by January of 2023.
The actual project they were specifically trying to block was the Nashua-Manchester-Concord, project number 40818, in the 2019-2028 Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan. Project page seems to be here https://www.nh.gov/dot/projects/nashuam ... /index.htm
  by BandA
From MA Governator Baker's comments at the MassDOT/Amtrak/congressman press conference in Springfield a week ago or so, he thinks MA will have, or hopes to have, specific plans on paper when federal funding opens up early next year (after Baker's term has expired). He said this would be a competitive advantage to get funding for MA for their East-West and other Western MA projects over other states which might not have their plans ready because they are waiting to see what federal funds will be available.
  by mbrproductions
ARTICLE: "Associated Builders and Contractors endorse Sununu"
Sununu also discussed several infrastructure investments at the state level ranging from broadband to cleaner drinking water that have also helped the state’s economy along with the initiatives related to supporting housing developers, but he expressed skepticism over a proposed commuter rail station slated just a few thousand feet away from 409 Elm St., stating its potential cost and the change in commuting habits after the COVID-19 pandemic as well as his view that it would help the Massachusetts economy more than the New Hampshire economy.
Apparently, Gov. Sununu still has still not made up his mind about this project, he went from opposing it, to subtly supporting it, and now is doubtful about it, even though the study has not yet been finished to say for sure whether or not his fear of the extension not helping the NH economy is backed or not. And the old canard about commuting habits after COVID-19 being the end of Commuter Rail's merit is no longer relevant, as ridership continues to rise back up to pre-pandemic levels, as well as the highways being jam-packed full again.
  by BandA
Gov Sununu is running for reelection in Nov, study will not be available until after the election. But it is a real issue that he should be talking about. He is correct, MA benefits from collecting income tax from NH residents yet not having to provide any benefits such as schools, health benefits, welfare, water, sewer, trash pickup, except for roads. Normal roads/highways have lower operating/maintenance costs (probably <$0.20/mile pre-pandemic) than the MBTA Commuter Rail (probably >$0.50/mile pre-pandemic)
  by Komarovsky
Source on your cost per mile for either mode?
  by BandA
Source for road costs in MA:

Entry Interchange 123A/B (old 15) - Weston (Route 128/I-95/Route 30) (Eastbound only)
Exit Interchange 135 (old 25) - South Boston
Axles 2 Axle Passenger
Payment Method E-Z Pass MA
Toll Mileage (based on roadway miles) Est. Time
Eastbound : $1.70 12.7 00:12
Westbound : $1.70 12.7 00:12

That's $0.1339/Mile. Put the theoretical 5 passengers in the car and that's only $0.03/mile.
West Stockbridge to Weston is $4.25/124 miles = $0.34/mile, which is actually way more than I expected. The IRS standard mileage rate is $0.625/mile, but that is supposedly an all-in cost including insurance, fuel and depreciation.

The Massachusetts Turnpike Extension is part of the Metropolitan Highway System, and contributes money towards the Big Dig bonds. In other words, the Mass Pike east of Weston earns a profit above the cost of their own bonds, and takes this money and gives it to the state to pay the bonds on I-93 which is not tolled. The portion west of Weston is supposed to break even on their bonds (including the expensive EZPass system) which they have found excuses to renew at least twice./rant

Note that MA has road maintenance costs per mile that are several times the cost in NH.
  by CRail
BandA wrote: Thu Oct 06, 2022 5:03 pm...benefits such as schools, health benefits, welfare, water, sewer, trash pickup, except for roads.
These are municipal expenses except for health and welfare which would be provided by the employer and/or its government. Why shouldn't MA generate revenue off of making southern NH a prosperous and economically viable place to live?
  by mbrproductions
NEW ARTICLE: "The Commuter Rail should extend its Boston lines into New Hampshire"
https://criernewsroom.com/opinion/2022/ ... hampshire/
The proposal that has garnered the most support from the public, as well as elected officials, is the so-called Capital Corridor project. This proposal is simple: it involves extending an MBTA line that currently terminates in Lowell to one of the following cities: Nashua, Manchester, or Concord. A state-sponsored study concluded the best options would be Nashua or Manchester.
Opponents argue the price tag that comes with the project, reaching two-hundred million dollars in some estimates, as more than enough reason to not pursue this undertaking. This price tag may look large at first glance, but the benefits of expanding commuter rail are not only worth the price, but they also outweigh the potential negatives.
  by jbvb
With (R) in control of the NH Governor's office, Executive Council and Senate, not expecting a lot of progress. (D) control of the House would help, though.
  by mbrproductions
With the promised "Red Wave" turning out to have been a sham in most areas in the country, including NH, I do have hope that this project can now progress just enough to be able to get started. Democrat control of the House will definitely help, as Republican control of the house was what led HB 1432 to nearly end this project once and for all last year. Also, keep in mind that Gov. Sununu is not opposed to passenger rail expansion into NH, and has implied that if the AECOM team studying the project (the study is due to be complete in 2 months now) is able to come up with a sustainable and viable economic plan for the project, then he would be willing to cooperate with the project, so its not like Republican control of the Governor's office is going to be much of an obstacle either.
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