North-South Rail Link Discussion

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Arlington
Posts: 4070
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Arlington » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:42 pm

BBY is smoky because the trains are diesel, there is no shore power for stops along the line, and the mechanical ventilation is not up to date (planned).

NSRL will be electric, new yards are built with shore power and are way cleaner (see the new Haverhill yard now being built vs the current one) and any decked yards would have modern vent systems (and shore power and/or catenary)
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2858
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:12 pm

I suggested electric-only like they have in New York. Using electric switchers if necessary to tow diesels.

mirage
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:01 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by mirage » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:45 am

Arlington wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:42 pm
BBY is smoky because the trains are diesel, there is no shore power for stops along the line, and the mechanical ventilation is not up to date (planned).

NSRL will be electric, new yards are built with shore power and are way cleaner (see the new Haverhill yard now being built vs the current one) and any decked yards would have modern vent systems (and shore power and/or catenary)
Worse than that, the MBTA discovered that despite all the years of air quality issues at BBY that the outdated ventilation system was not even working and they had no idea when it stopped working or why no one was ever inspecting it despite numerous complaints and negative publicity about air quality BBY. They are now finally moving on updating it.

djlong
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by djlong » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:55 pm

BandA wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:45 pm
NSRL is only 4 tracks, not equal to 12 new double-track lines.

I would like to pay less than One Billion Dollars.
Yes, the NSRL is, at most, 4 tracks. The point was that when you connect all the north side lines from FItchburg to Newburyport to all the south side lines from Framingham to Greenbush, you now have TWELVE lines that you can run, with electrification, at near rapid transit headways.

They did EXACTLY that in Philadelphia in the 1980s. That's one reason why their subway hasn't expanded - because their Regional Rail service was consolidated and rationalized!

I'm hearing four billion dollars to expand South Station - which will only keep all the hassles we currently have. You can't expand the system much when you have but a SINGLE track (the Grand Junction) connecting the south side to the big maintenance facilities near North Station.

You're looking at building a little over a mile of tunnel with 4 portals. The question that needs asking is - how come London and Paris can do it so much better, faster and cheaper than we can? Take a look at London's Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail) and look at how much they're paying for what they're getting. Funny how they didn't have the problems that New York's 2nd Avenue Subway had.

Lose the damn diesels. Build the damn NSRL. Electrify the system line by line. EMUs cut dwell times by 40%, are cheaper to buy, faster and cheaper to operate. Diesels fail every 5-6,000 miles. EMUs fail every 150-200,000 miles. Operating costs per car-hour? SEPTA:$311, MBTA:$544. THIS IS A NO BRAINER!

Backshophoss
Posts: 6323
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Backshophoss » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:12 pm

How do you fund the construction??? MBTA is stuck with the "BIG DIG" bond debt service/payoff.
There's still plenty of bad memories about the cost overruns and problems created by the Big Dig project.
NEED to wait for 20 years before attempting this,that allows the collective bad memories to fade away.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

Arlington
Posts: 4070
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Arlington » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:21 pm

I would combine the Masspike and the Springfield-Boston rail line into a single "central spine transportation authority" allowing peak hour sur-tolls on the Pike to pay for rail electrification.

Similarly, I would use HOT lanes added to 2, 3, 93, & 95 to fund Fitchburg, Lowell, Newbury and Middleborough electrification. (Virginia is doing this--not tolling existing interstate lanes, but adding new HOV+toll lanes in the median...and devoting it's share of the PPP profits to VRE+Amtrak new track & trains)

The central tunnel itself would be funded by a Boston congestion charge.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2858
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:39 pm

Arlington wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:21 pm
I would combine the Masspike and the Springfield-Boston rail line into a single "central spine transportation authority" allowing peak hour sur-tolls on the Pike to pay for rail electrification.
OH GOD NO!! The "Metropolitan Highway" already combines the Ma$$ Turnpike Extension with The Big Dig to subsidize The Big Dig, and you want to add the entire turnpike to subsidize expanded CR service? CR service that has higher costs than private-passenger automobiles?
Similarly, I would use HOT lanes added to 2, 3, 93, & 95 to fund Fitchburg, Lowell, Newbury and Middleborough electrification. (Virginia is doing this--not tolling existing interstate lanes, but adding new HOV+toll lanes in the median...and devoting it's share of the PPP profits to VRE+Amtrak new track & trains)
RT 3 Lowell-Burlington was reconstructed with room for a fourth lane, which it needs NOW. RT 2 & I-95 definitely have no room available and will not be expanded anytime soon. I-93 I assume has similar problems. Sorry, except for RT 3 - North, not happening within the next twenty years.
The central tunnel itself would be funded by a Boston congestion charge.
Gantries on every road entering the City of Boston? Good! Just keep my suburb outside the iron curtain. No way the commercial property owners and developers and special interests will allow this.

CR and Mass Highways need to get their costs under control, CR needs breakeven as a goal.

Arlington
Posts: 4070
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Arlington » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:31 am

Rush hour road capacity is scarce and valuable. Traffic jams are like Soviet breadlines: the result of politicians telling people that a finite good should be free.

Pricing roads dynamically is a proven way to bring supply and demand back into balance (uncongested), and like charging a market price for bread actually increases prosperity over time
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

stevefol
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:28 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by stevefol » Sun Sep 22, 2019 6:17 pm

Why on earth does the NSRL need FOUR tracks? Modern signalling, and using the same electric trains should easily have the capacity. Thameslink and Crossrail (London North/South and East/West) each manage 24 trains per hour in each direction (or at least will in Crossrail case once opened). These are both using just twin track tunnels, and fan out to multiple destinations on each side of London. I believe the RER in Paris is similar.

nomis
Posts: 2161
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: MRS 20 (was QA 9 & QB 2)

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by nomis » Sun Sep 22, 2019 6:33 pm

24tph/track is slightly under par with the theoretical output of either of the two terminals in use today for the rush hour. Consider you will have 3tph per terminal track, the rush schedule for either side of the system will exceed the throughput of a two track NSRL.

That does not include any Amtrak through the NSRL, as movement to a new north side maintenance facility or possible Downeaster linking to the NEC.
Moderator: Metro-North (with CDOT), Photography & Video

Avatar: An overnight trip on Girard Ave. stumbles upon 6 PCC's and an LRV stuck within two blocks.

johnpbarlow
Posts: 2130
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by johnpbarlow » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:04 am

If and when the NSRL comes to fruition, will there need to be wholesale crew changes on trains passing through the link? That is, I'm guessing there are separate labor agreements for North-side and South-side crews these days and these might continue to be in place when NSRL is operating. Today I believe Amtrak NEC crews change out at NY Penn on through Acela and Regional trains. Per current schedules, it appears the shortest NYP dwell times are 13 minutes for through trains but that may also reflect the time allocated to the ticket checking boarding process used at NYP as well as the volume of patrons de-training onto platforms that feature limited (ie slow) egress into the station concourse via a couple of stairways. I would guess that MBTA won't enforce a queue for patrons to board at BOS or BON but through trains using NSRL will likely disgorge/acquire the majority of their passengers at BOS/BON impacting train dwell time.

CRail
Posts: 2381
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 8:27 am
Location: Eastie

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by CRail » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:09 am

There is no difference between north and south side crews. Some switch sides regularly.
Moderator: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Avatar:3679A (since wrecked)/3623B (now in service as 3636B).

ExCon90
Posts: 4497
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by ExCon90 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:25 pm

Having only two tracks would require a level of maintenance that we're not accustomed to. With only two tracks you simply cannot have a failure in service. I'm guessing that an operation on this scale here can expect at least one medical emergency a day involving a passenger, requiring movements on that track to be halted until released by medical or other authorities. There simply has to be another track available for such cases. The Munich S-Bahn operates on two tracks with approximately a 3-minute headway all day long, but there are platforms on both sides of the tracks at the five trunk-line stations: one central platform for boarding and a side platform on each side for alighting, with only down escalators to the center platform and up escalators from the side platforms; doors are opened on the right side on arrival, and the left side some seconds later. (Subway-style equipment, in other words, with three or four double-stream doors on each side.) I don't know what they do if someone collapses or something and they have to wait for the medics. I don't look forward with confidence to that level of precision on this side of the Atlantic.

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2858
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by BandA » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:55 pm

I think there is a greater present need for new subway tracks than for CR tracks. I can't see the MBTA filling (with full trains) even two NSRL CR tracks within the first decade. Then there is the issue of pricing the service. Do you continue to charge very low prices for CR passengers in Zone 1A i.e. Boston Landing>Landsdowne>BBY>BOS, [Porter | W. Medford | Malden | Chelsea] > BON, JFK>BOS, Fairmont>Blue Hill Ave>Morton>Talbot>Geneva>Uphams>Newmarket>BOS, and extremely high fares for those in Zone 1 & 2?

Should the fare be $2.25 between BOS & BON or should it be $13 to reflect the actual cost of providing the service through brand new tunnels with brand new deep stations?

Bramdeisroberts
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: North-South Rail Link Discussion

Post by Bramdeisroberts » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:43 pm

That's the point though, a proper NSRL basically doubles if not triples your subway capacity for the price of one tunnel through the downtown. Who cares about the Red Line capacity through the downtown when you can one-seat it from Porter to JFK/UMass in 1/3 to 1/2 the time. Ditto for the Orange Line and Ruggles/Back Bay and Sullivan or Malden. The Blue Line to Lynn also becomes redundant other than to allow backflow commuting from Revere and East Boston to the regional rapid transit network via a connection at Lynn.

Hell, combine Yawkey and Kenmore with a tunnel and add in a Union Square station and Broadway CR stop on top of BON and you could eviscerate the Green Line as well.

Return to “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)”