• Southcoast Rail

  • 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 HenryAlan
 
BandA wrote: Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:06 pm I keep thinking about how the railroads at one time operated profitably with much lower passenger density than the deficit-ridden MBTA does now (2019)
Passenger operations never made a profit. Freight was and remains the game in railroading. Why should we expect the MBTA, without a freight operation to subsidize the rest, to make any kind of profit?
  by BandA
 
How about street railways, did they ever make a profit?
  by nomis
 
BandA, In the final years of the BERy financial statements 1941 to 1946, show a couple years of a profitable balance sheet, only due to deferring some major debt payments. Overall revenues were not meeting major expenses (labor and property taxes), and if it wasn’t for depreciation it would have looked a lot worse. After that FY 1946, public sector monies were infused into the operation.

But now back to our regularly scheduled SCR conversation…
  by mbrproductions
 
How come the MBTA is by law required to put catenary over the Stoughton route, which law is is this? can someone link something? thanks
  by BandA
 
The MBTA has some agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to run electrified service for South Coast Rail phase 2 (if it is ever built). Lots of people have stated in these forums, with little documentation, that electric operation is required to meet the proposed timetable while using only a single track. There is a lot of the line which runs through wetlands.

I *assume* the ROW is wide enough for two tracks. Obviously, this line should be a double-track diesel line. Has the Taunton line always been single-track? Was the roadbed ever prepared for double-track? How does the cost of widening the ROW (if needed) compare to the cost of building catenary? How much (if any) wetlands would need to be created elsewhere as mitigation?
  by Red Wing
 
Any new lines should be electrified and eventually all the lines should be electrified in my opinion. For MassDOT and the MBTA to meet legal requirements the Commonwealth basically requires itself to electrify through 310 CMR 60.05:

The Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act, signed into law in 2008, set the legally-enforceable goals of reducing GHG emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.



https://www.mass.gov/transportation-pla ... -reduction
  by The EGE
 
I certainly agree that electrification of the whole system is desired - lower greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, lower noise, and speedier service benefit everyone. However, it would be best to prioritize electrifications on the lines where traffic density, stop spacing, and other factors gives the largest benefit. That would be the Providence, Worcester, Newburyport/Rockport, and Fairmount lines. With low frequency and widely spaced stops, South Coast Rail would be among the lowest priorities for electrification if it was an existing line; the only compelling reason to prioritize it would be if diesel SCR trains were too slow for their slots between Canton Junction and South Station.

That said, electrification during construction of the Stoughton-Taunton section will probably be cheaper than coming back later to electrify while the line is active.
  by mbrproductions
 
Obviously, this line should be a double-track diesel line.
I personally 100% agree with this
Has the Taunton line always been single-track? Was the roadbed ever prepared for double-track?
The line will be partly double tracked to allow for passing, the stations from North Easton to East Taunton seem to be one single track then one double track, like this
North Easton: 2 tracks with 1 island platform
Easton Villiage: 1 track with 1 side platform
Raynham Place: 2 tracks with 1 island platform
Taunton: 2 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 side platform
East Taunton: 3 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 island platform
Freetown: 2 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 side platform
Fall River: 2 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 side platform
Battleship Cove: 2 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 side platform
Church Street: 2 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 side platform
New Bedford: 2 tracks (one for passing freight) with 1 side platform
  by Trinnau
 
The Army Corp laid it out as a requirement to operate through the Hockamock Swamp for environmental reasons, and the service pattern planned on 100mph operation with precise meets at either end of a 12-mile single track. Just a pure disaster in terms of resilient operations in New England. Not to mention it would require to the MBTA to operate over 80mph, which they currently don't do and opens a whole new can of worms in terms of equipment maintenance and certification levels. Long story short, it's not worth it in terms of operating/maintenance expense for a commuter railroad to operate over 80mph for the very limited amount of distance it would actually achieve these speeds - yes even with electrification improving acceleration. Very rare across the country.
  by west point
 
From afar: Could it be the wetlands are considered so fragile that a possib;le diesel spill has to be eliminated?
  by mbrproductions
 
Trinnau wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 10:05 pm The Army Corp laid it out as a requirement to operate through the Hockamock Swamp for environmental reasons, and the service pattern planned on 100mph operation with precise meets at either end of a 12-mile single track. Just a pure disaster in terms of resilient operations in New England. Not to mention it would require to the MBTA to operate over 80mph, which they currently don't do and opens a whole new can of worms in terms of equipment maintenance and certification levels. Long story short, it's not worth it in terms of operating/maintenance expense for a commuter railroad to operate over 80mph for the very limited amount of distance it would actually achieve these speeds - yes even with electrification improving acceleration. Very rare across the country.
I heard someone in this thread theorize that the Army Corps of Engineers put all these requirements to lower the motivation for ever completing the project, thus sinking the project intentionally, I have no idea whether this is even a plausible theory or not, but I found it interesting nevertheless. 100 mph operation on what will be a 51 mile (to Fall River) and 54 mile (to New Bedford) Commuter Rail line definitely sounds pointless, the MBTA's top operating speed of 79 mph would be sufficient on a line like that.
  by The EGE
 
For lines with substantial express operations - Providence, Worcester, and Lowell ( if NH and/or Haverhill expresses are added) - 100 mph running would make sense because it could make a time difference measured in minutes versus 80mph. (For example, at 16 miles from Framingham to Lansdowne, or Sharon to Ruggles, there's about a 2-minute gain when you consider acceleration.) 100 mph would also help with NEC slots, because there'd be a smaller speed differential between MBTA and Amtrak trains. There's a handful of other stretches that it might make sense; East Taunton to Church Street is 15 nearly-perfectly-straight miles. So I do think that with electrification, the MBTA will get 100mph capable equipment.

That said, mandating 100mph for SCR meets is unbelievably stupid. Dean Street-Raynham Park and Raynham Park-North Easton are both about 6 miles, too short to get much actual benefit from 100mph. It was added as a half-assed solution to make up for poor track design, rather than for actual passenger benefits.
  by pbj123
 
None of the tracks currently being built for South Coast Rail are designed for speeds exceeding 80 MPH. It could be that the requirement for 100 MPH is only for the stretch of track to be built in the Hockomock Swamp.
  by mbrproductions
 
Now that I think about it, I am not sure if 100 mph would even be physically feasible. The future Fall River/New Bedford Line is going to utilize wooden railroad ties (I guess the MBTA learned their lesson with the Old Colony Lines' concrete tie catastrophe). Are wooden ties capable of handling 100 mph? And if so can they do so while keeping a smooth ride for the passengers?
It could be that the requirement for 100 MPH is only for the stretch of track to be built in the Hockomock Swamp.
That is possible, but it makes such little sense to do so, its not going to hurt the swamp's ecosystem to run trains 20 mph slower, so why bother?
  by Trinnau
 
The EGE wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:38 pm For lines with substantial express operations - Providence, Worcester, and Lowell ( if NH and/or Haverhill expresses are added) - 100 mph running would make sense because it could make a time difference measured in minutes versus 80mph. (For example, at 16 miles from Framingham to Lansdowne, or Sharon to Ruggles, there's about a 2-minute gain when you consider acceleration.)
The problem isn't just the speed, it's the cost to attain that speed. Obviously the track infrastructure on the corridor is good for 100, but there is an incremental increase in the cost to certify and maintain equipment to operate at 100. And to do that for the 4 trains a day that actually make Mansfield/Sharon to Ruggles non-stop isn't worth it - the cost is simply too high against the benefit. As for the Worcester or any other line, the change in track maintenance is significant in addition to the equipment. Again, the cost/benefit just isn't there.

That's part of where the 100 on Stoughton route got caught. It sounds great, and under a perfect schedule it worked, but we don't live in a perfect world and the added maintenance cost was quite a lot for little return.
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