• Southcoast 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: sery2831, CRail

  by mbrproductions
 
What a diamond of an answer. This is exactly what I was trying to get across when I inquired about the electrification and trestle requirements a few months ago earlier in this thread, though he obviously put it much better than I could have ever dreamed of, bravo!
  by stevefol
 
Surely the obvious solution to the capacity, is for the MBTA to start buying MU's , and splitting/joining them at Taunton, with 3/4 cars to New Bedford, and 3/4 to Fall River. If they bought dual mode, the Stoughton route solution would be battery power across the Hockamock. Such things exist in Europe. See the Stadler FLIRT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadler_FLIRT
  by mbrproductions
 
The obvious solution is what was stated above, to challenge the Army Corp's report and build the line as a normal, double tracked, unelectrified line that doesn't have a ridiculously long trestle running through a swamp that is already dissected by state highways. If it is still possible, I would like to see the state do just that after Phase I, it should be an easy win for them after all, because the Army Corps has no way to defend their requirements, but I think everyone in this thread knows that the state is going to end it there and not go any further. I fear the Fall River/New Bedford Line is going to end up as a colossal failure for the state.
  by Ken W2KB
 
The Army Corps in conjunction with the US EPA does likely indeed have a way to "defend". By federal law, an Army Corps permit is required for any construction activity affecting the waters of the United States. Absent such a permit, the Corps or EPA can easily obtain an injunction from a federal court prohibiting construction until the necessary permit is issued. The very recent US Supreme Court Opinion in SACKETT ET UX . v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ET AL., while it limited somewhat the definition of waters of the USA, stated: "In sum, we hold that the CWA extends to only those wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States.” Rapanos, 547 U. S., at 755 (plurality opinion) (emphasis deleted). This requires the party asserting jurisdiction over adjacent wetlands to establish “first, that the adjacent [body of water constitutes] . . . ‘water[s] of the United States,’ (i.e., a relatively permanent body of water connected to traditional interstate navigable waters); and second, that the wetland has a continuous surface connection with that water, making it difficult to determine where the ‘water’ ends and the ‘wetland’ begins.”

The Massachusetts swamp in question is clearly has streams, rivers and ponds with continuous surface connection with that water and the swampland and the precise boundary cannot be determined. The navigable water definition has long been held to include navigation in commerce at any time in the past, including the era of canoes used as the vessels in commerce. See: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/2 ... 4_4g15.pdf
Last edited by CRail on Fri Jun 02, 2023 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
Re: "a relatively permanent body of water connected to traditional interstate navigable waters": so, these streams and rivers run through more than just Massachusetts? Otherwise, how does the word "interstate" apply?

What happened to the original rail line that used to run along this alignment? How does there come to be a swamp where trains used to run?
  by HenryAlan
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Thu Jun 01, 2023 9:43 am What happened to the original rail line that used to run along this alignment? How does there come to be a swamp where trains used to run?
The original ROW was on an earthen berm, which you can still see on Google satellite view if you look closely enough. Essentially it was the same configuration as the Needham Line uses through Cutler Park (also an earthen berm through a swamp). I'm not sure anybody in this thread disagrees with the idea that the Army Engineer Corp's position is needlessly obstructionist. But nevertheless, it exists, and it's not so easy to get around that.
  by BandA
 
I'm sure that in places the drainage ditches have become clogged...this becomes a "vernal pool" which is then a protected wetland. One of the reason they pave the highway medians these days is to prevent drainage ditches from becoming protected wetlands.
  by wicked
 
Note that the Army Corps also is limiting the CCRTA from contracting for a second Cape Flyer run on Fridays because it doesn’t want to let the bridge down (or is at least using that as a bargaining chip of sorts).
  by GP40MC1118
 
F-Line's response over to ArchBoston regarding the bridge: It's money more than leadership. When the bridge needed a top-down rehab 20 years ago the state wanted nothing to do with it, so the Corps fronted 100% of the cost. Cape Flyer simply laterally traded for the weekend slots pre-allotted for Cape Rail to get in at almost no cost, but the Corps actually wants to get paid for anything beyond that. And the state doesn't want to pay them the going rate. So they get denied...time and again.

It's not hard. If they want to use the bridge, they need to kick in some subsidy for the extra openings. The Corps is a P.I.T.A. to deal with, for sure, but their position isn't unreasonable. The state simply feels like it's owed something for nothing, and that's a position ripe for getting shot down. Mouthing off about it on Facebook isn't going to garner sympathy for their side. A willingness to pay fixes it.
  by wicked
 
The bridge has a tender at all times, correct?

Why should the state pay for another opening? There is no added cost.
  by RandallW
 
The bridge is normally open for maritime traffic, not rail traffic and the rules on the canal give maritime traffic precedence over rail traffic. Given the safety horns to prevent collisions with the down bridge in low visibility, I wouldn't be surprised if the primary objections to more lowering of the bridge are not coming from the residents of Bourne and Buzzard's Bay.
  by Ken W2KB
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Thu Jun 01, 2023 9:43 am Re: "a relatively permanent body of water connected to traditional interstate navigable waters": so, these streams and rivers run through more than just Massachusetts? Otherwise, how does the word "interstate" apply?
The creek, stream, river waterways eventually reach the ocean which is the connection to interstate even if the waterway itself is wholly within a single state.
  by BandA
 
Ironic that the Army is in charge of navigable waterways.
  by wicked
 
Any discussion of an opening date? We’re already halfway through 2023.
  by OldColony
 
wicked wrote:Any discussion of an opening date? We’re already halfway through 2023.
Project Director Jean Fox presented an update on status during the Cape Cod Chapter, NRHS banquet last month. Interesting presentation, but I noted it did not include a planned opening date, so I asked during the Q&A. She said it is hoped to be late this year, but it's dependent on PTC testing. Any defects found could lead to a delay of months, so early 2024 is more likely.
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