North-South Rail Link Discussion

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

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RenegadeMonster
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by RenegadeMonster » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:32 am

Also, the Orange Line is not a viable North South link.

It doesn't connect North Station to South Station. It connects North Station with Back Bay, which does not have access to all the lines South Station does. So for many people it's still a 2 transfer connection.

Both the Orange Line and Red Line are suffering from over crowding downtown as well.

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Rockingham Racer
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Rockingham Racer » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:26 am

Agreed. Luggage on a subway in any city during rush hour is a challenge. The CTA in Chicago is probably the worst I've experienced.

CRail
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by CRail » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:56 am

Pertaining to this discussion, anything made up of a different mode of transportation does not constitute a "link."
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BandA
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:03 pm

So alternatives to the N-S Rail Link boondoggle are off-topic?

NYC can't get funding for new rail tunnels and their volume is much higher than what the N-S tunnel would be during it's first 20 years.

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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by newpylong » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:41 pm

Yeah - because they aren't alternatives. All of the NSRL studies state the problem and requirements for a solution. Orange Line and Grand Junction Branch do not meet them. Might as well reverse out to New York on the B&A and come in to North Station on the B&M.

Dick H
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Dick H » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:04 pm

The NSRL will always be tied to the huge cost overrun of the Big Dig.
At least another 10 years will be needed for it to become a distant\
memory.

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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Backshophoss » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:56 pm

Figure on at least 20 year before the "Big Dig" memories fade away,unless a tunnel springs a leak!
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by CRail » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:46 pm

BandA wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:03 pm
So alternatives to the N-S Rail Link boondoggle are off-topic?
I never said anything about on or off topic. Stating another mode IS a north/south link is not suggesting an alternative. The orange line is a connecting service, it in no way closes the gap in rail service. I do not make this distinction as a NSRL proponent, as I've stated that ship sailed when the Big Dig didn't include it. It's also an utterly foolish notion that NSRL negates the need for North and South station expansions. Still, though, a subway line is NOT a rail link.
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Bill Reidy
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Bill Reidy » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:04 pm

A review of the goals for the North-South Rail Link is worthwhile. It's discussed by proponents at http://www.northsouthraillink.org/.

Whether one agrees with the goals and costs or not, the context is connecting Amtrak service north and south of Boston and locally more important, the commuter rail system through the city. The claim is commuter rail through service would make more efficient use of the MBTA's commuter rail equipment, reducing the need of expensive layover yards within Boston and providing through-city commuting opportunities for eastern Massachusetts. Are through-city commuting opportunities for eastern Massachusetts a game-changer? I'm convinced -- maybe you're not. Regardless, a subway connection or use of the Grand Junction clearly does not meet the stated goals.

Of course, the hangover from the Big Dig will affect when the NSRL happens, if ever.

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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by CRail » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:04 pm

Bill Reidy wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:04 pm
...reducing the need of expensive layover yards within Boston and...
Oh yeah, then there's this. The layover yards are expensive how? They don't need to be purchased again. Because developers are drooling over every square inch that isn't a condo/retail development this week doesn't mean we ought to scurry to irreversibly do away with what little rail transportation infrastructure we have left.
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BandA
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:30 am

Layover yards can exist in the basements of developments if provisioned for ahead of time, such as Widett Circle or Beacon Park. Would have been nice if the Boston Herald ("Inkblot") & Northpoint (ex-B&M yards next to Boston Engine Terminal) had space provisioned. Requires electric locomotives or shutdown of the diesel & using electric switching locomotives.

Run-thru storage at the endpoints means you are deadheading the trains mid-day, trading higher operating cost for lower capital cost. Runthru solves the dwell & brake test problems at the terminals, and maybe reduces the number of transfers.

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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Arlington » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:01 pm

CRail wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:04 pm
The layover yards are expensive how?
Opportunity Cost. Foregone Tax Revenue.

We spent $300k per new rider building the Greenbush line.

If, instead, we could sell off (some) rail yards, we could add just as many (or more) new transit riders, except this time MassDOT woud be paid for the land and (Boston would) collect property taxes forever--the money would flow into the system when winning new riders, instead of out.

I'm not saying the yards aren't valuable as transit, but am saying that you won't get good policy outcomes if you think of them as costless

It is also one of the screwed up things about transit finance in MA: The state builds transit (and offers "mitigation" to local NIMBYs) but then the local municipality gets to collect the $$ as local property values go up.

If the state could directly tax the increase in property values along CR as it got converted to electric service every 15minutes, we'd already know where the $ to build NSRL was coming from. But because the state pays and the municipalities tax, we can't figure out how to pay for transit.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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BandA
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:35 pm

You cannot have train service without train yards or service facilities. Unless you keep the equipment in perpetual motion, with Talgo mechanics performing repairs en-route. This applies equally to Commuter Rail or Subways or Trolleys or buses. Sell off surplus property, you can always buy it back later for one hundred times the price. The subway platforms are already overcrowded with no solution in sight.

The south-side Commuter Rail system infrastructure is a product of the 1960s minimus of service. The New York Central sold half their tracks inside 128 and pulled up half the tracks outside. Sold their coach yard. Sold half?? of Beacon Park freight yard.

Selling off more real estate would be stupid. If the MBTA possesses property it knows it will not use in the next 10 or 20 years they should by all means lease, not sell it. They need to be thinking of 50, 100 years out not 5 years ago.

Arlington
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Arlington » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:08 pm

If we build the north-south Rail Link, the yard serving the South shore could be in Woburn
or Lowell where there is plenty of cheap land.

The right kind of land deals would be part of the solution
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

Dick H
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Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Dick H » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:31 pm

I would be wary of placing a layover "yard" below ground. The T has never solved the air pollution
issue at the Back Bay. At outside yards in Bradford, they never can seem to keep the electrical
plug ins working in the winter, with the trains idling all night. In addition, when plugged in, some
of the well worn locos don't want to start in the AM.

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