• Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

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

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

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  by BostonUrbEx
jamesinclair wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:
BostonUrbEx wrote:I believe most Grand Junction activity is nearly unpredictable. But CSX brings produce to a market Chelsea every day. I believe you'd catch it 6-7 AM, not sure. But it is definitely daily.
The return trip of that train is (or was a few years ago) around 4-5PM.
It still is.
Yep, it still is. Forgot to mention that. Occasionally I see them returning since I go home later on Tuesdays/Thursdays (4:00-4:30 I'll be going through Sullivan Square) and I'll see a couple CSX locos, but I've never seen them taking anything back.
  by Finch
Thanks for the info guys. And the radio frequency used for moves on that line?
  by CRail
Probably 161.070 which is the CSX Yard channel. 160.800 is the road.
  by BostonUrbEx
Some people were talking about the freight line running up Atlantic Ave earlier. Stumbled on this after 3rd Rail posted the Arlington signs for sale:


It is the dashed line running along the streetcar tracks at about South Station, then running between the streetcars at double track after High St and Broad St.

Not very detailed, unfortunately.

EDIT: And here it is running up Causeway Street:


Seems to end just after Portland, or at least according to this.

2nd EDIT: And the missing link of the above 2 maps, the run through the North End:

  by MBTA3247
Curious that it doesn't show the actual connection along the east side of North Station. The page for the South End (sheet 30) shows the UFRR heading off the street towards the tracks into South Station.
  by jaymac
Surprisingly or not-so-surprisingly, maybe, the 1903 Boston and 1946 Boston South USGS topos at UNH don't show the UFRR, with the possible exception of a spur stopping at Causeway on the 1946. But maybe that was a delivery track for the large bakery that was there into the mid-50s.
  by djlong
I just found a scrapbook I'd been keeping back in the 1990s that has stories concerning the North/South Rail Link among all the other articles I kept.

In order...

2/1/93 - Boston Globe - Amtrak Tries High-Speed Train [The X2000]

2/1/93 - Boston Globe - MBTA officials say they'll consider expansion north [plan call for a new Blue Line branch north of Airport and, get this, possible extension of the Revere terminus all the way to NEWBURYPORT]

4/21/93 - Boston Globe front page - Artery Rail Link proposal expected [says it will cost "up to $1.6B"]

5/6/93 - Boston Globe page 16 - TaskForce: Link stations [article says it'll take 20,000 cars off the road, full plan includes electrifying all commuter rail which would balloon the cost to $3B]

5/8/93 - Boston Herald page 9 - Few changes needed to tie artery, rail link [$93M in engineering changes to the Big Dig will allow for the rail link, Kerasiotes says he won't do it if it slows down Big Dig construction]

5/16/93 - Boston Globe page 21 - Full color proposed map of how the MBTA's commuter rail will be restructured with "run through" lines - Fitchburg to Lakeville, Lowell to Soughton (with arrows to Concord NH and Fall River/New Bedford), Haverhill to Providence (with routing via the Wildcat Junction), North Wilmington to Needham Heights, Newburyport to Worcester, Beverly Depot to Forge Park/Franklin, Rockport to Plymouth. Only the Greenbush and Readville lines don't go beyond South Station. Accompanying story says Gov. Weld appears to want to "go slow"

5/17/93 - Boston Globe page 14 - Centray Artery rai link feasible, federal study says [Federal Transit Administration says it's "technically feasible", meaning there aren't any technical showstoppers]

That's all I have in the notebook but it's an interesting look back.
  by Diverging Route
In today's Boston Globe article, this comment from Lt. Gov. Murray:
Currently, the Worcester-Framingham line terminates at South Station. But because the state will own transfer facilities in the Allston rail yard, Boston-bound trains could also be redirected to North Station, Murray said, to form a closer connection between the world-class hospitals, universities, and private laboratories in both cities.
Passenger trains over the Grand Junction? Even if the track was upgraded to passenger standards, how long would it take to go over the GJ, navigate BET, and reverse into North Station? I would think the status quo of taking the Orange Line from Back Bay to North Station would be a lot faster.
  by BostonUrbEx
What reverse move? It's a straight shot right into the Fitchburg Line.

Still, the speed restrictions would probably be heavy, and as you said, Orange Line from Back Bay to North Station is probably faster.
  by sully
Chances are they would do some track upgrades, especially since the grade crossings need to be upgraded. Any work at all will be better than the current speed limit of 20mph.
  by frrc
From reading an article in the Worcester Telegram, the State is intent on purchasing the Grand Junction track, and upgrading it, to allow commuter trains to go to/from the South Side to the North Side in 2012 or so. Trains on the Worcester line will be allowed to goto North Station.

  by sery2831
BostonUrbEx wrote:What reverse move? It's a straight shot right into the Fitchburg Line.
No it's not, it's a straight shot into BET but not the Fitchburg Main. Otherwise your option is going outbound to the Eastern or Western Routes.
  by octr202
Still difficult to see what the advantage to going to a less centrally located station (relative to downtown) than the two currently served, unless its solely a move to free up capacity at South Station. A lot more people work close to BBY and South Station than North Station.

I suspect that the work necessary to upgrade the Grand Junction to passenger standards (track rehab, grade crossing improvements (likely quad gates), probably sound walls in a lot of places near residential properties, and let's not forget PTC (and signals to begin with!) would make putting a direct connection between the GJ and the Fitchburg main inbound look like peanuts in the end. But still doesn't seem to warrant spending the money. The only plus I could think of it adding a Kendall Square area station to serve Cambridge, but that doesn't seem worth making everyone else go around the long way to get to downtown.
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