Track 61

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mbk2013
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Track 61

Post by mbk2013 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:08 pm

Interesting piece in today's Globe about the possible sale of the Hynes and a shuttle to the BCEC "A possible solution to efficiently transport hotel guests and convention attendees from Back Bay to the BCEC would be to activate Track 61, an existing rail line that runs from the Harvard/Allston Yards through the Prudential Center/Back Bay Station and into the Seaport. There are significant and costly technical issues that would have to be resolved to make this happen, but in view of the economic impact of the expanded BCEC and the Back Bay hotel industry, a low-speed rail shuttle system between the Pru and the BCEC would pay significant dividends in terms of transporting BCEC attendees between the convention center and Back Bay. Additionally, it would also unlock a dormant transportation asset that could link the Seaport, Widett Circle, Back Bay, and Harvard’s Allston Yards project. Just the connection between Back Bay and the BCEC alone would be a major transportation initiative as Phase I. Since the logistics of integrating Track 61 through the rail network involves conflicting demands, a long-term solution is solvable with smart engineering and appropriate funding. It is noteworthy that an 1,800-foot section of Track 61 is currently being upgraded at a cost of $32 million to test Red Line cars." https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/201 ... story.html

charlesriverbranch
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Re: Track 61

Post by charlesriverbranch » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:38 pm

...Allston!? I thought Track 61 connected to the Dorchester Branch.

MBTA3247
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Re: Track 61

Post by MBTA3247 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:59 pm

It doesn't even do that anymore.

With some track work underneath the South Boston Bypass Road they could either connect it to the Old Colony lines (which would require changing ends to get up to South Station or Back Bay) or to the loop around Widett Circle.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.

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BandA
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Re: Track 61

Post by BandA » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:16 pm

Is there even a good map of "Track 61" as it exists/existed? Of the various proposals? If the BCEC wants this service between BBY & BCEC they should commission it & pay for it! There really needs to be freight service to Massport Conley Container Terminal. If you want to cross freight yards it needs to duck under or over, not as a diamond on any major track.

neman2
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Re: Track 61

Post by neman2 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:31 pm

As it exists today Track 61 is connected to MBTA Cabot Yard by a "switchback" for the Red Line test track that was created by filling in the former roadbed that passed under the "Midland" bridge with 8 to 10 feet of fill. It then follows along the Bypass Rd. on a ROW that is only wide enough for one track to Cypher St. behind the Convention Center. Track 61 is connected with a derail type switch in place to the former "Neponset? yard at the end of that switchback. Track 61 no longer connects to the Dorchester branch because of that fill. I hope that explains it.

bostontrainguy
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Re: Track 61

Post by bostontrainguy » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:11 pm

I guess they could always run from the Convention Center to that small yard (called Neponset? above) that is next to the Old Colony line at the west end of the bypass road and then reversing north and out the B&A would be fairly easy. The original and maybe future plan would be to cross through the yard tracks and loop around Widett Circle.

This of course is after the T is done using it for a test track. The above could also work for any short single-level container shuttle trains from Conley to Worcester.

Also I have often wondered about the bypass trackage and thought that it might have been a four track stretch when originally built. So even though the bypass road has taken over half, does the other half have room for two tracks?

neman2
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Re: Track 61

Post by neman2 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:48 am

bostontrainguy wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:11 pm
Also I have often wondered about the bypass trackage and thought that it might have been a four track stretch when originally built. So even though the bypass road has taken over half, does the other half have room for two tracks?
Definitely not, as it exists the road has very narrow shoulders with barriers and retaining walls that leave room for only one track from east of West First street to west of Dorchester Ave.

Off topic but the first priority Mass DOT should have is replacing some of the bridges over the Bypass/ Track 61. Dot ave which is 100+ years old looks to be in tough shape and further complicating that job is that the Red Line tunnel runs below the abutments.

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BandA
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Re: Track 61

Post by BandA » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:34 am

At present, if you want to get from BBY to the BCEC you would take any CR train from BBY to BOS, go down a level & take the Silver Line bus rabid-transit to WTC, then walk 0.4 miles. 23 minutes at rush hour to travel 2 miles. Or 40 minutes on foot. What is the goal of this project? To bypass changing trains at South Station? To bypass terminal congestion near South Station? To avoid walking 0.4 miles from World Trade Center Station to the Convention Center? To avoid walking the length of the Hynes & Prudential complexes?

Looking at google maps, the train would go east from BBY, if it is coming from the Worcester Line it would have to cross over the "outbound" NEC track about under Shawmut Ave, take the curved track over Ft Point channel, take the balloon track around Widett Cir. Then you need a new bridge to the right of the Haul Road bridge, if not have to cross some tracks at grade, go over (or under) what looks like Red Line. Now we are on "Track 61". What would the likely track speed be for these maneuvers? So, we're talking about 3 miles or so?, at 15 MPH assuming upgraded tracks & the new bridge over some tracks. Total time about 10 minutes, savings of about 10 minutes. How much demand would there be for this service?

DMK
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Re: Track 61

Post by DMK » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:42 am

What about CSX?

While this track is under the MBTA, it was my understanding that CSX still maintains an easement on that track and could exercise that at any time. Long range, it has been established in the press that CSX has some long-range plans to possibly bring some container work back to the waterfront and might actually use Track 61 to connect and move freight.

Any updates on that?

All of the bridges along Fairmount branch have been replaced or raised to meet double-stack requirements in the last 10-15 years. Seems long-range this is being considered?

DMK

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Re: Track 61

Post by Arborwayfan » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:19 pm

It sounds to me as though the purpose might be to make it possible to market the convention venues at the two ends of the line to be marketed as essentially one venue. One dedicated train, easily explained to out of town convention-goers who don't know Boston or the T, or even who don't know or won't use general public transportation at all. I can see developers and convention marketers imagining something that feels as nonthreatening as those little trains they have inside Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis-SP, and some other airports. I can picture matching decor at the stations at each end, and wayfinding signage designed mostly for people attending big conventions with panels and other events going on at both ends of the line. (In the same way that a big conference now may have meetings in the Hynes, the Westin, and the Marriot, so that the convention-goers walk back and forth through the malls with their nametags around their necks. I don't know that that's a good reason to invest public money, or that it serves a particularly important transportation market, but I suspect that the reason they want it is more or less along those lines.

ExCon90
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Re: Track 61

Post by ExCon90 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:08 pm

Given the various operational complexities (including a reversal en route?--see the Short Turns and Brake Checks thread in this forum), how many trips per hour would be possible? Convention attendees won't be happy with long waits.

MBTA3247
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Re: Track 61

Post by MBTA3247 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:34 pm

I'd be surprised if you could do more than 2 round trips an hour (and even that might be a stretch). You're in yard limits basically the entire time, and have to jockey for track space with all the existing trains heading in and out of South Station.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.

Tallguy
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Re: Track 61

Post by Tallguy » Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:09 am

I thought this vampire had a stake in its heart years ago. The solution is Silver Line conversion and a tunnel from the Pleasant street portal. Of course, there!s the billion dollar price tag....

octr202
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Re: Track 61

Post by octr202 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:27 pm

But the beauty of converting the Silver Line to rapid transit tied into the rest of the system is that you could pick up a minor traffic flow (convention-goers between Back Bay hotels and the BCEC) while serving much larger flows of potential traffic - like people working in the Seaport. Someone even drew some nice maps and thought a lot of it out:

http://www.vanshnookenraggen.com/_index ... e-seaport/
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BandA
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Re: Track 61

Post by BandA » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:06 pm

Tallguy wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:09 am
I thought this vampire had a stake in its heart years ago. The solution is Silver Line conversion and a tunnel from the Pleasant street portal. Of course, there!s the billion dollar price tag....
It is October...

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