• Haverhill Line Train 225

  • 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: CRail, sery2831

  by alewife
 
From Newburyport to Portsmouth, the Eastern Route ROW is under public ownership and landbanked, so restoration is theoretically possible. The big expense would be building a new moveable bridge across the Merrimack. There are rail-trails now in Newburyport and Salisbury but there's likely enough room to reconfigure those as rail-with-trail. However, I don't think restoration is particularly likely, especially given New Hampshire's reluctance to fund passenger rail service even on existing, intact lines. There's also the issue of the fact that the ROW runs right through the Seabrook nuclear power plant property. If passenger service to Portsmouth ever resumes, it will more likely use the intact Portsmouth Branch that diverges from the Western Route at Rockingham Junction in Newfield.

North of Portsmouth, the portion from Kittery to North Berwick was abandoned in the 1950s and Maine Route 236 was built on the ROW, making any sort of restoration very difficult. Much of the rest of the ROW in Maine was repurposed for power line/utility purposes and is therefore mostly intact despite being abandoned after the B&M consolidated everything onto the Western between North Berwick and Portland in the 1940s. Because of this, even if you started service to Portsmouth (whether via a reactivated Eastern or the Western Route/Portsmouth Branch), you wouldn't be able to continue north of there.

Reactivating the Eastern might make sense in the very distant future for a full-blown Boston–Portland HSR corridor, as it has long stretches of tangent track that could support high speeds and could be passenger-exclusive. Keeping the ROW locked down under public ownership is a good strategic play for those long-range possibilities, but otherwise restoration doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
  by mbrproductions
 
Reactivating the Eastern might make sense in the very distant future for a full-blown Boston–Portland HSR corridor, as it has long stretches of tangent track that could support high speeds and could be passenger-exclusive. Keeping the ROW locked down under public ownership is a good strategic play for those long-range possibilities, but otherwise restoration doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Well, we all know High Speed Rail north of Boston is never going to happen, and in itself doesn't even make much sense anyway, but I think restoring it for 125 mph Amtrak service might make sense. I am not sure how they could build around the highway however...