• Haverhill Line Upgrades (Western Route)

  • 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 Trinnau
 
That's been gone for a while. Speeds are limited to 15 MPH through the station but a stop is not required.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Trinnau wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:12 pm That's been gone for a while. Speeds are limited to 15 MPH through the station but a stop is not required.
Just curious: do you know if they interlocked the traffic signal with the railroad?
  by The EGE
 
Under pre-covid schedules, Haverhill trains operating via the Wildcat (making stops Anderson RTC, Winchester, Wedgemere, and West Medford) were about 5 minutes faster than Haverhill trains making all stops via Reading, and several minutes slower than Haverhill expresses via Reading. The implementation of PTC and the rebuild tracks for the GLX project will bump inner Lowell Line speeds to 70 mph, meaning that making every stop there would be as fast as fully expressing through Reading - and expresses would be much faster.
  by jbvb
 
Back when I worked on Summer St. in Malden, it seemed to me that with modest money, one could add a passing siding at Medford Jct. using the now-idle aboveground track to the east. With considerably more funds, the double track could continue towards Malden without land-taking. The RR side of the Malden station could be made 2 tracks with center platform. But the end of double track would have to be immediately north of the station to avoid demolishing the office building on the corner of Pleasant & Florence. Quite a few structures are immediately east of the RoW between Pleasant and Winter St. south of Oak Grove.

Still, making Malden Center double track would allow meets while the outbound train was stopped, which would greatly reduce the impact of the single track on scheduling.
  by CRail
 
Reading to WJ will be double track. The signal bridge at the eastern end of WJ has 3 signals mounted to it, with one aimed at the trees for having no track under it. Reading has always had the second platform, and I think the T would like to abolish North Wilmington, though if they could it would've been done long ago. Remember, too, that if the T got their way in the 70s, WJ to Reading station would be a bike path by now.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
And the Western Route as far as Reading would've been the planned Orange Line extension.
  by bostontrainguy
 
jbvb wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:00 pm it seemed to me that with modest money, one could add a passing siding at Medford Jct. using the now-idle above ground track to the east. With considerably more funds, the double track could continue towards Malden without land-taking.
Isn't it just the opposite? I thought they rebuilt the ground level track as the main and are avoiding the tunnel track. This was mainly to eliminate the rollercoaster profile approaching the bridge.

But I agree that there is the possibility of a passing siding here especially with reverse directional running.
  by Trinnau
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:30 pm Just curious: do you know if they interlocked the traffic signal with the railroad?
I'm pretty sure they are, but don't know 100% The low speed through there would be a good reason why. Higher speeds require longer timing for the traffic signals to clear out before the gates come down.
The EGE wrote:Under pre-covid schedules, Haverhill trains operating via the Wildcat (making stops Anderson RTC, Winchester, Wedgemere, and West Medford) were about 5 minutes faster than Haverhill trains making all stops via Reading, and several minutes slower than Haverhill expresses via Reading. The implementation of PTC and the rebuild tracks for the GLX project will bump inner Lowell Line speeds to 70 mph, meaning that making every stop there would be as fast as fully expressing through Reading - and expresses would be much faster.
So a train making 4 stops WJ to Boston is 5 minutes faster than a train making 8 stops. 4 extra stops is probably worth at least 5 minutes of schedule time. Even with the speeds on the Lowell Line being raised the difference won't be significant enough to offset capacity. And making those stops offsets the speed increases some. They just don't matter if you can't get up to speed between station stops. The MBTA could similarly increase speeds on the Haverhill from Reading to WJ which is largely straight and just begging to be 79 MPH.

I actually think the eastbound Downeaster schedule is the best barometer for speeds. 48 minutes to Haverhill (33 miles) with a single stop at Anderson/Woburn. That's an average speed of 41.25 MPH, which I'll call 40 MPH for simplicity sake. 40 MPH to go 18 miles takes 27 minutes. If you raised the average speed to 45mph it drops to 24 minutes to cover the same distance. The track speed increases probably won't get that much of a benefit to average speed, maybe a couple MPH for a minute, maybe 2. Downeaster may go from 41.25 to 43 or 44, for example.
bostontrainguy wrote:
jbvb wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:00 pm it seemed to me that with modest money, one could add a passing siding at Medford Jct. using the now-idle above ground track to the east. With considerably more funds, the double track could continue towards Malden without land-taking.
Isn't it just the opposite? I thought they rebuilt the ground level track as the main and are avoiding the tunnel track. This was mainly to eliminate the rollercoaster profile approaching the bridge.

But I agree that there is the possibility of a passing siding here especially with reverse directional running.
Correct, the tunnel has been bypassed on the surface for about a year and a half now. The tunnel would become the siding. There also wouldn't be any "reverse" running, everything new is setup to work both ways. When the ATC project comes through they'll eliminate all the remaining one-direction signaling.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:30 pm
bostontrainguy wrote:
jbvb wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:00 pm it seemed to me that with modest money, one could add a passing siding at Medford Jct. using the now-idle above ground track to the east. With considerably more funds, the double track could continue towards Malden without land-taking.
Isn't it just the opposite? I thought they rebuilt the ground level track as the main and are avoiding the tunnel track. This was mainly to eliminate the rollercoaster profile approaching the bridge.

But I agree that there is the possibility of a passing siding here especially with reverse directional running.
Correct, the tunnel has been bypassed on the surface for about a year and a half now. The tunnel would become the siding. There also wouldn't be any "reverse" running, everything new is setup to work both ways. When the ATC project comes through they'll eliminate all the remaining one-direction signaling.
I was thinking directional running so southbound trains approaching the bridge would have a running start and northbound trains could use the tunnel track having the momentum coming off the bridge.
  by Trinnau
 
Got it. Since the tunnel has been in place for years it really doesn't matter much for a passenger train to go on the "roller coaster" of bridge/tunnel. The change over to the surface really was to aid freight traffic being diverted away from the GLX project on the Lowell line. Has the added benefit of reducing the "roller coaster" for passenger trains and also not needing to maintain the commuter rail side of the tunnel too.
  by jbvb
 
It's been 6 years since I worked in Malden. I didn't record dates but IIRC the sequence was:

1970s passenger trains went through the underpass, ground level was for local freight working Piantedosi and other east side spurs, plus Medford Branch.

Early 1980s: F40s are too big for the original underpass, passenger trains rerouted to ground level.

Later 1980s: Underpass hogged out for F40s (and bi-levels later), passenger trains go back to underpass.

I am amused to see this repeat. I suppose making a run westbound to the Mystic RIver bridge would generate enough in-train force at the underpass to break a knuckle often enough to be annoying. Taking a train east that was long enough to be straddling the Mystic River, down in the hole at Medford Jct. and on the grade up to the Medford St. underpass would be downright nasty.
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