Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Trinnau
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Trinnau » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:35 am

There are always trade-offs. To improve service to some areas, others may have to take a hit to theirs.

The trains currently serving that inbound evening window where there will be a gap have a ridership out of Walpole of 8 people combined. So virtually nobody is using the currently offered service. Maybe changing it to run out of Foxboro will draw more ridership?

As for any infrastructure changes at Walpole station, the MBTA is probably looking at it but they can't commit until the pilot is deemed successful. There's also the problem of the historic station building. Any changes to the station will also require a full high-level platform to replace the existing one on the Franklin Line side. So it's not any easy or quick solution to add the stop on the Foxboro side.

StephenB
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by StephenB » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:19 pm

When discussing the evening ridership, I am keeping in mind those 300+ new apartments coming on line this fall.

Maybe the answer is to build a new platform on the so-called Lewis wye, even over the West St bridge and leaving the station building and Franklin platform alone for now.

In any case, the parking lots and adjacent areas of the station are coming up in need of serious work, everything falling apart as it is.

Another development coming is that McCourt is making good progress on the 2nd track project south of Walpole station, so at some point, schedules will change again, equipment allowing.

njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:13 pm

Unfortunately, in life, public transportation companies have very tough choices to make about which projects to do. They must ask themselves questions like do you want to inconvenience a hundred or a thousand customers. Before any projects get underway, proper planning must be done. That is the root cause of why New Jersey Transit is in a lot of trouble right now. I live in New Jersey Transit land and have ridden both NJT and MBTA plenty of times. I know that both agencies have planning issues. I don't know much about the route to Foxboro or the Franklin Line. I rode the Franklin Line to Forge Park-495 back in 2009. Hopefully after the service to Foxboro begins and if it proves to be a success and it turns permanent, a solution will be offered for Walpole passengers. Hopefully the equipment situation gets mitigated sooner rather than later but sometimes those things can take time.

Trinnau
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Trinnau » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:30 pm

StephenB wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:19 pm
When discussing the evening ridership, I am keeping in mind those 300+ new apartments coming on line this fall.
But how many of those will actually want to take the train inbound at that hour? Any idea what the projected amount of ridership would be generated by those 300 apartments? Let's shoot high, that each apartment has 1 person taking the train for a total of 300 new riders.

The current count of 8 inbound passengers out of 740 total inbound passengers is 1.1% of the total ridership from Walpole. So of those 300 new riders, 3 whole people would board the train at that hour. Those 300+ apartments are only going to add a sizeable amount of ridership in the already stuffed peak periods. Walpole boards 88.6% of passengers during that time, which is 266 of those 300 new riders.

That same gap exists on the stations further out from Walpole as well, and their combined counts basically triple that of Walpole. Clearly the overwhelming majority of people are going home at that hour, not headed inbound. And if you are headed in for the evening, the 5:24 option is nearly perfect for a night in the city. This gap won't be an issue.
StephenB wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:19 pm
Maybe the answer is to build a new platform on the so-called Lewis wye, even over the West St bridge and leaving the station building and Franklin platform alone for now.

In any case, the parking lots and adjacent areas of the station are coming up in need of serious work, everything falling apart as it is.
It doesn't matter, if you are going to touch the station you have to touch the Franklin side and build it full-high along with whatever is built along the wye. Has to do with ADA and it's been covered quite a bit in this forum. I explained in my last post why it won't be done immediately but will likely be done if the service goes full-time.

charding
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by charding » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:51 am

...if they, the infamous ‘they', think volume warrants an additional loading area, the most likely place would be where the old Walpole freight station used to be between the Elm St bridge and Gilmores...lets see what the volume will be...also going to be interesting as these Foxboro trains transit the Lewis Wye as commuters try to get their trains at the Union Station..sure is going to be a work-in-progress...

Backshophoss
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Backshophoss » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:23 pm

With possible Mon and Thurs. NFL games,What happens to the "Double Draft" game extras,
during the PM peak trains arrival times at Foxboro?
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mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:02 pm

I remember several negative comments towards Walpole's concern about this pilot service because it was going to actually increase service to the area. Walpole's concern was more about the safety and noise pollution along the south Walpole tracks, but their worse nightmares have now come true - less service but more trains rolling through without stopping. Yes, there are trains that are not that far time off schedule-wise from the removed rush hour service but it is still reduced service.

Personally, I would never ride the Foxboro line given the current schedule per the comments above. It is simply not time competitive with the other options in the area even though MBTA is subsidizing it by calling it zone 4. I used to drive to Sharon (have not been able to get non-resident parking in years) and Canton junction (schedule changes from 2016 switched this to a defacto stoughton stop) to save on travel time on PVD trains that are express from 128 inward even though I live 250ft from the franklin line tracks. The average speed of the trains from foxboro to South Station is 20-25 MPH given all the stops. I think there are better ways to address the parking shortage at on the Franklin/PVD lines. The reason those stations are so packed is because travel time by train is much less than by car if you work in the downtown core. And you cant drive up to RTE 128 stations 2000 car parking garage because you have to drive through a huge traffic jam up 95.

StephenB
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by StephenB » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:51 pm

charding wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:51 am
...if they, the infamous ‘they', think volume warrants an additional loading area, the most likely place would be where the old Walpole freight station used to be between the Elm St bridge and Gilmores...lets see what the volume will be...also going to be interesting as these Foxboro trains transit the Lewis Wye as commuters try to get their trains at the Union Station..sure is going to be a work-in-progress...
I hadn't thought of that spot. I would indeed make a logical place for a platform to serve both endpoints. I suppose the T still owns that land, most likely being part of the entire railroad property, though Gilmore's or more likely the apartment house developer very recently graded and removed what was left of the concrete freight platform just within the past year.

The EGE
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by The EGE » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:27 pm

The 2010 study (see pages 94-100) speculated adding an island platform east of the current station. Both sides could be used by Franklin trains, and the south side by Foxboro trains. No indication how it would interact with freight.

In the meantime, if the pilot goes well, I suspect they'll install two temporary mini-high platforms at Walpole - one on the main, and one on Lewis Wye. Recent experiences with Bourne (trucking in the whole platform) and West Natick (prefab composite decks) mean they'd probably be willing to do that.

troffey
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by troffey » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:57 pm

mirage wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:02 pm
I remember several negative comments towards Walpole's concern about this pilot service because it was going to actually increase service to the area. Walpole's concern was more about the safety and noise pollution along the south Walpole tracks, but their worse nightmares have now come true - less service but more trains rolling through without stopping. Yes, there are trains that are not that far time off schedule-wise from the removed rush hour service but it is still reduced service.

Personally, I would never ride the Foxboro line given the current schedule per the comments above. It is simply not time competitive with the other options in the area even though MBTA is subsidizing it by calling it zone 4. I used to drive to Sharon (have not been able to get non-resident parking in years) and Canton junction (schedule changes from 2016 switched this to a defacto stoughton stop) to save on travel time on PVD trains that are express from 128 inward even though I live 250ft from the franklin line tracks. The average speed of the trains from foxboro to South Station is 20-25 MPH given all the stops. I think there are better ways to address the parking shortage at on the Franklin/PVD lines. The reason those stations are so packed is because travel time by train is much less than by car if you work in the downtown core. And you cant drive up to RTE 128 stations 2000 car parking garage because you have to drive through a huge traffic jam up 95.
There are probably other (and maybe better) ways, but they aren't the one Bob Kraft is willing to pay for, which is a large part of why this project is happening.

mirage
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:53 am

yes, absolutely. Kraft is a big part of it. If you are the MBTA, and Bob Kraft comes to you with a way to expand service and foot part of the bill, then you should say yes.

But the original schedule for the pilot maintained service on the entire Franklin line, which was an astute move by MBTA to avoid complaints about reduced service. And then they slip in the reduce service at the last minute. From a management and stakeholder perspective, this makes sense. And I am fully supportive of the idea that reduced legacy service at certain locations is part of modernizing the system. I used to got to Norwood Depot for years but when they cut service there for the schedule updates in 2016 I had to start going to Norwood central (and judging by the parking lots at those stations, I was not the only one to switch). But it made not sense to have 2 commuter rail stops 3/4 mile apart with full service. I hope part of MBTA long term plan for the franklin line is to better manage express/local service as they increase the amount of double track.

However, I think the MBTA is shortsighted in their approach to incrementally expand service in ways that are not competitive with alternatives. Look at the ridiculous travel times for phase I of the SCR for example in IMHO. The commuter rail needs a transformative change to be completive moving forward and accomplish its goals of reduced congestion, reduced environmental footprint (compared to cars), and offering mobility to suburban communities.

nomis
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by nomis » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:23 pm

Some of the problems with morning service on the Franklin line is indeed the 741-706-740 tango at Walpole. The morning casualty is a stop to lose one of two trains within 10 minutes, one that will remove a main reason of delays for the highest ridership to the line.
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HenryAlan
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by HenryAlan » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:45 pm

Trinnau wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:17 pm
Which it does not do. There is some increased service on the Franklin as a result but some of the trains going to Foxboro already existed, they are just re-routed. The Fairmount train count doesn't appear to change though new connections are offered. It's a far cry from doubling the service frequency.
Do you have schedule information to confirm that it is only diversion of Franklin trains? I don't think I've seen anything to indicate that so far, so I was under the impression that the schedule was additive. We also have to keep in mind that this is a pilot, so even if it is all diversion for the moment, that doesn't mean there won't be an increase in total trains if the pilot is successful.

Trinnau
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Trinnau » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:30 pm

Go to mbta.com/foxboro scroll to the bottom and look at the board presentation from July 23rd of this year. In the appendix is what appears to be a master schedule with all Franklin, Fairmount and Foxboro service. It may be additive, but it is certainly far from double. And as has been discussed in this thread Walpole in particular sees a service reduction.

HenryAlan
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by HenryAlan » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:56 am

Thanks, Trinnau. So based on the information on slide 9, there will be 4 fewer inbound and 2 fewer outbound Franklin trains, but 10 Foxboro trains in each direction. So a net gain of 14 total trains for stations north or Walpole through Readville. I guess that's not a doubling, but it's still a big increase.

So for example, Norwood Central has 27 inbound trains under the new schedule, whereas today it has 21.

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