Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

johnpbarlow
Posts: 2132
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by johnpbarlow » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:09 am

Not sure where to put this new thread as it touches on more proposals than just MBTA-centric ones...

Intro paragraph:
“GREEN SIGNALS AHEAD: THE FUTURE OF RAIL EXPANSION IN MASSACHUSETTS.” That was the theme of the fall meeting and mini-conference held in Boston on Friday, Oct. 11 and sponsored by the Rail Users Network (RUN). At the event, several rail managers and planners, as well as representatives of elected officials, provided an ambitious plan for expanding rail in the Bay State, from Pittsfield and Greenfield in the west to New Bedford and Fall River in the southeast.
GLX, Foxboro commuter service, and South Coast Rail commuter service were discussed as the actual expansion plans that are underway. Everything else was a proposal (eg, Worcester - Springfield/Pittsfield service and Wachusett - Greenfield/N Adams service). North-South Rail Link was apparently barely mentioned.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/ma ... als-green/

User avatar
Rockingham Racer
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by Rockingham Racer » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:17 am

It seems that the Commonwealth could add longer distance trains out of North Station, if they wanted to.

It would take lots of dollars, but a Haverhill-Worcester service would work, perhaps, as an alternative to the I-495 rush hour parking lot.

jaymac
Posts: 3871
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by jaymac » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:37 am

Those of us of a certain age can start humming that Beach Boys classic "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
"Watching trains is better than smoking meth."
--Source, location, and time undisclosed.

thomas1897
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:20 am

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by thomas1897 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:33 am

Consider rail service to the southwestern areas of Millis, Dover Sherborn and Medfield along the Needham line would give commuters better service to downtown Boston. The Needham community can have an extended Green Line service from Newton Highland to Needham Junction with greater frequency to go to downtown Boston.

charlesriverbranch
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:53 am

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by charlesriverbranch » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:14 am

What's really needed is an extension of the Lowell line to Manchester and Concord, NH, but we all know that it'll be a cold day in hell before that happens.

rethcir
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:51 am

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by rethcir » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:57 pm

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transp ... -expansion

It really does sound like the FCMB is on board with a megaproject to do the NSRL and electrify the entire CR.

charlesriverbranch
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:53 am

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by charlesriverbranch » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:54 am

Electrify? Oh, dear.

I know I've beaten this topic to death, but surely it must be possible to develop a battery electric multiple unit train that can run on the existing network without the need for expensive catenary infrastructure?

rethcir
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:51 am

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by rethcir » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:22 am

Although personally I'd love if Full Rebuild happened, I also have to wonder if it would cause "White Flight 2.0." Not necessarily along racial lines, but economically sure. People abandoning the inner city again due to better QOL and COL in the suburbs/exurbs.

Arlington
Posts: 4071
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by Arlington » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:07 pm

charlesriverbranch wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:54 am
.. develop a battery electric multiple unit train that can run on the existing network without the need for expensive catenary infrastructure?
Where would it recharge?

But the real answer is that catenary systems vastly decrease the weight and complexity of the trains they power, AND that the procurement cycles favor buying existing (off-the-shelf) EMUs *right now* and then continuously.
Right now: Providence/Stoughton
Then: Fairmont, Franklin, Foxboro
Then: Framingham Worcester
Then: Lowell & Newburyport & Rockport
And then Fitchburg, Haverhill, Reading, & Old Colony

There's never a natural stopping point that favors switching to the cost and weight of batteries.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

HenryAlan
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:12 am

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by HenryAlan » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:39 am

rethcir wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:22 am
Although personally I'd love if Full Rebuild happened, I also have to wonder if it would cause "White Flight 2.0." Not necessarily along racial lines, but economically sure. People abandoning the inner city again due to better QOL and COL in the suburbs/exurbs.
Not likely. Better regional mobility and connectivity within the urban core will make it easier for people to live in more outlying locations, but it won't change the lifestyle reasons that lead people to see living in the city as desirable. Population is growing, so this will provide another way to handle that growth, but it won't cause an abandonment of the core.

Commuterrail1050
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:25 pm

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by Commuterrail1050 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:48 am

Having the commuter rails a hybrid fleet that uses a mix of gas and electricity(battery) is better so they don't have to add wires anywhere. Just switch the power.

diburning
Posts: 3062
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Practicing safe CSX by using Three-Step Protection

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by diburning » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:44 am

rethcir wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:22 am
Although personally I'd love if Full Rebuild happened, I also have to wonder if it would cause "White Flight 2.0." Not necessarily along racial lines, but economically sure. People abandoning the inner city again due to better QOL and COL in the suburbs/exurbs.
People moving to the suburbs would cause eventual urbanization of the suburbs by virtue of higher population density. This may lower housing costs in the core area. In the big picture, that just means more growth all around.

As far as gas-battery hybrids, are there any such systems in operation in the US today? How about elsewhere in the world? Are we suggesting that the MBTA should try to reinvent the wheel again? (because that's worked out SO well for them before </sarcasm>)

My opinion is simple. If they want to go full electrification as a worthy future-proofing investment, that's great. If not, then the no-build option looks better than the options where they try unproven technology. We also need to keep in mind that the MBTA CR system will expand eventually, and if they do electrify the entire system now, the cost of electrification of future expansions may cause them to not be built (as costs will only go up as time passes)

johnpbarlow
Posts: 2132
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

Post by johnpbarlow » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:15 am

Boston.com article re: MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board recommendations for MBTA evolution: "The MBTA’s oversight board wants the commuter rail to run more like an urban subway system — eventually."

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/ ... -rail-plan

Return to “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)”