• Boston Surface Railroad: Worcester-Providence Commuter Rail

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by The EGE
Aaaand yet another person from the tech industry is about to discover why railroads are hard. The New Haven took about 105 minutes in 1937 with local stops; getting down to 70 minutes for the 43-mile journey even with only one intermediate will be very difficult on a line that curvy. If they want to attract commuters, they want local stops other than Woonsocket, which will involve building new stations with parking lots. If they want intercity passengers, they'll lose out on a lot if they don't have cross-ticketing with Amtrak. They need permission from Amtrak to get into Providence (the P&W track doesn't have a platform) and from the MBTA (possibly CSX as well) to use the Worcester platform track. And on top of this, they expect to acquire rolling stock, make infrastructure upgrades, and run trains and still make money.

The only advantage they've got coming in is that P&W is a quality railroad that operates well, plays very nicely with MassDOT and RIDOT, and has a decent existing physical plant. If trains actually run, P&W will run them well.

I'd much rather see this service operated under MBTA, RIDOT (when they breakaway Rhode Island-specific service from extended Providence Line service) or Amtrak. They wouldn't shut down when surprise surprise the line doesn't turn a profit.
  by johnpbarlow
Which way is the commute - to Providence or to Worcester or both? $3M seems like a fraction of what it will cost to acquire equipment and operate, especially for a service equivalent to Amtrak's Business class. And wouldn't they want a station near the Mass Pike in Milbury? And assigned seating for a commuter train service when most riders sprint to their trains and pay with a monthly commutation ticket?
  by MEC407
Telegram.com wrote:The service is projected to cost about $3 million to set up and operate, including engineering services, initial track improvements, rolling stock purchases, and leasing and other infrastructure and services.
That has to be a typo. $30 million might be doable with second-hand rolling stock, but $3 million? No friggin' way.
  by lirrelectrician
Maybe he wants to use the P&W's passenger train. Then he would just have to pay rental costs.
  by MEC407
Even if P&W gave him the train for free, I don't see how you can get this thing off the ground for only $3m. If that was possible there'd be a lot more passenger rail services popping up all over America, and they'd all be privately operated.
  by lirrelectrician
MEC407 wrote:Even if P&W gave him the train for free, I don't see how you can get this thing off the ground for only $3m. If that was possible there'd be a lot more passenger rail services popping up all over America, and they'd all be privately operated.
I agree, I think $30 million is a much more realistic cost. Unless he has some agreement with the P&W that we dont know about. The station in Woonsocket would have to be built, connections at Worcester and Providence would also have to be built to serve existing platforms. Not to mention the whole line is jointed rail and dark territory. I think it is a good idea and I would love to see it come to fruition, but I am not holding my breath.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
http://www.growsmartri.com/pdfs/Final%2 ... -09%29.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

RIDOT already gamed out the costs of Providence-Woonsocket with 2 intermediate stations on the P&W, running blended on the Providence Line. See p. 134 of the PDF for physical plant upgrades on the main, p. 151 for costs. Tracks and grade crossings alone are $10M. They're already poised to pursue this with the MBTA as contracted operator. Final funding and shovels-in-ground on new Pawtucket station on the NEC is the prerequisite they have to settle up before they take any next steps here like grant applications. So it might trail the launch of Providence-Westerly instate commuter rail by a several years, but they plan to keep this one advancing incrementally with further study and prelim engineering.

The state also put in its 2014 State Rail Plan a line item for full long-term study of Providence-Worcester.

This reeks of opportunism. This guy knows what the state is planning and wants to take squatter's rights so he gets a check to go away when RIDOT is ready to go to Woonsocket in 8-10 years. That's all this is about...an end-run to a payday. Providence Station is owned by Amtrak; he is not getting rights to stop there even if he comes up with some convoluted plan to put a side platform on the FRIP track. Amtrak doesn't care if people support this; it doesn't trust strangers to use its major union stations. But I suspect he knows this, and is just trying to fan some public pressure so he gets a payday from some other venture. It doesn't take more than a holding company with no assets and a bunch of stenographers at the Telegram and ProJo to twist public opinion to one's business advantage and try to pit P&W at odds with the 2 states. If it doesn't work, he took almost no risk for his effort at trolling.
  by v8interceptor
I'm guessing he's planning to pay P&W to "hook & pull" whatever passenger equipment his company procures, he's not going to be buying his own motive power for that $$$...
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
v8interceptor wrote:Pretty minimal website:
The mailing address appears to be a small office building in Arlington Center, MA filled with one-room law offices and realtors.

The trick is guessing which of the law offices on the sign out front he's getting his mail delivered to.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
frrc wrote:The latest news on the proposed commuter rail project...

http://www.telegram.com/article/2014120 ... 2/business" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Boy, that reporter really earned his money CTRL-C'ing Mr. Bono's press release. Image

-- Zero about where he's going to get the trainsets.
-- Zero about the discrepancy in minimum track improvements (grade crossings up for renewal, etc.) he's expecting to fund for that $3M.
-- The kicker: zero about how exactly he is going to get Amtrak permission to stop at an Amtrak-owned station requiring at least a small sojurn off the FRIP track onto Amtrak- owned-and-dispatched passenger track.
-- Zero about how he's going to get permission to stop at Worcester Union Station and cross the MBTA's path into its secondary layover site (which they would cross even if they used the Gardner Branch side of the building for their platforms). No mention of what the MBTA has to say about that and the implications on their relationship with P&W, or CSX for its trains up the Gardner Branch and its testy relationship with P&W over slots on that line.

Basically, a vacuum about everything except that one ambiguous quote from P&W's general counsel. Who doesn't say which study he's referring to: RIDOT's active Woonsocket study, P&W's own TIGER grant applications for state-of-repair on the line which have are freight-only despite having theoretical passenger benefits, or some new thing cooked up by Mr. Bono that somehow violates the laws of finance physics and fits neatly inside that $3M.

I wonder if this guy is friends with Colin Pease at HRCC and is just following their playbook of ghostwriting for the local-yokel papers to make pure vaporware seem like it's got real momentum behind it. When the ulterior motive is really just getting free money to do jack squat. Nothing I've read has convinced me otherwise.

He does seem to have the entire Telegram newsroom in a thrall. This once be the last stenography press release the paper issues on Mr. Bono's behalf this month.
  by nomis
It's in the newspaper so it must be true :wink:
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