GP40MC1118 wrote:Does the phrase "snowball's chance in hell" ring familiar?!
The cost to replace a drawbridge and upgrade the track would be astronomical. Bad enough
the present cost of SOCO Rail now without this. Plus you'd have to rehab the Taunton to Attleboro.
The anti-train nuts in Norton would go postal...
Sakonnet Draw wouldn't be astronomical in cost. It would be 1 track across a 350 ft. channel. The T is cleanroom-replacing Gloucester Draw-- 2 tracks spanning a 200 ft. channel--for $50M. And that includes all cost of doing half-and-half construction staging 1 track at a time to keep portion of the old bridge in service, raising and widening the boat clearance, and building separate moving bascules for each track for redundancy. I don't see why construction of a new Sakonnet span wouldn't clock in at similar $50-75M price tag: longer approach spans but only 1 track/1 bascule, similar-size bascule span, similar vertical clearances (16+ ft. closed, unlimited-clearance open), and simpler construction staging because the line is inactive. RIDOT's beyond-horrible cost management on the new adjacent Route 24 span shouldn't have any carryover here.
All theoretical of course unless South Coast Rail gets a full-on cost reboot, but that's MA's problem. IF
by some miracle the Fall River Branch is a go, RIDOT doesn't have that daunting a task justifying the cost of a draw span and 2.7 miles of re-laid Tiverton track to the state line. That's probably enough to make a go of it with Class 3 dark territory south of Fall River Depot, the dinner train being able to roam north to FR, a seasonal "Newport Flyer" funded similarly to the way Cape Flyer is, prospects for a couple skip-stop express AM inbound/PM outbound Boston-Newport commuter extras (similar to how a full Buzzards Bay-extended Middleboro schedule serves up options to send a couple rush hour Hyannis extras over the bridge without triggering the PTC mandate in Cape Main Class 3 dark territory), and maybe some Amtrak presence glomming onto a double-draft Cape Codder
that splits/recombines at Taunton Depot into "Cape Codder" and "Newporter" halves. Suspending one's disbelief for one sec that South Coast FAIL has a prayer in the real world...that kind of spread is not too difficult a reach from RIDOT's perspective. The timetable for this corridor is at least a couple decades behind their main passenger rail thrust on the linear Woonsocket-Pawtucket-Westerly corridor, so other much more consequential stuff will be running and paid for before they even have a chance to act on MA's bestest-case timetable
SCR coattails. This one will never be a 2020's effort competing with their NEC commuter rail initiatives; it's is at least a funding generation or two after everything else.