• Beacon Park Tracker

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  • 192 posts
  • 1
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 13
  by MBTA1016
 
What about the sidings for Boston sand&gravel? I know that's a stretch but its the best idea right now.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Mbta fan wrote:What about the sidings for Boston sand&gravel? I know that's a stretch but its the best idea right now.
Can't. It's in use every day. And they're kind of overstuffed at BET with all the coach deliveries.

Freight tracks behind Sullivan station, perhaps? Not much gets parked there these days except for increasingly rare overflow from Pan Am Yard 8.
  by GP40MC1118
 
Height clearances preclude the flats, etc from coming beyond Beacon Park. This is why the
circus train, when it ran via the B&M had to go up to Ayer, then over to Lowell, down the New
Hampshire Route mainline.

I am sure the Circus train will be allowed use of some extra tracks at Beacon Park.

D
  by GP40MC1118
 
Also

1) There are no usable sidings at BS&G even if you could get there with the circus train.
BS&G is basically a single lead to two parallel tracks into the plant. Plus you wouldn't
want that stuff next to BS&G, since they use a front end loaded to move cars around!

2) The circus train will probably occupy the Grand Jct mainline line between Memorial Drive
and Mass Ave, with all other rail traffic via the passing siding (which has not been restored
to service since the branch reopened). A new wrinkle this year will be having to probably
cut the train in an additional spot at the new Pacific Ave pedestrian crossing (they have to
cut it already for Fort Washington pedestrian crossing.

D
  by bwparker1
 
Forgive me, I am late to the party, I know that there was extensive discussion and a plan to see Beacon Yard to the state of Mass. from reading back a few pages, I guess this has happened. So is the current situation then that:

1) The state is selling some/most of the land to Harvard
2) The Beacon Yard is being slowly scrapped/torn up with the exception of the few main tracks that lead onto South Station
3) Most of the CSX business/freights now terminate in Worcester?

If I am correct, where does the yard stand in terms of track removal? I always enjoy(ed) seeing the yard when driving on I-90 east into Boston.

BWP
  by MBTA1016
 
Thanks f-line and 1118. I know it was a longshot but it was the best idea I could come up with the grand junction bridge being in and out of service a lot recently.
  by atsf sp
 
bwparker1
Harvard has owned the land for years. The state never owned Beacon Park. But they do have rights to the land granted by Harvard.
The yard is just sitting empty with some tracks having been removed.
Intermodal traffic terminates in Worcester and any interchange with the PW. Framingham still gets freight and the one chemical plant by 495 also has a yard and designated switcher.
  by bwparker1
 
atsf sp wrote:bwparker1
Harvard has owned the land for years. The state never owned Beacon Park. But they do have rights to the land granted by Harvard.
The yard is just sitting empty with some tracks having been removed.
Intermodal traffic terminates in Worcester and any interchange with the PW. Framingham still gets freight and the one chemical plant by 495 also has a yard and designated switcher.
Thanks for the update. So was their a lease w/ Harvard that expired and that is why this happened?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
bwparker1 wrote:
atsf sp wrote:bwparker1
Harvard has owned the land for years. The state never owned Beacon Park. But they do have rights to the land granted by Harvard.
The yard is just sitting empty with some tracks having been removed.
Intermodal traffic terminates in Worcester and any interchange with the PW. Framingham still gets freight and the one chemical plant by 495 also has a yard and designated switcher.
Thanks for the update. So was their a lease w/ Harvard that expired and that is why this happened?
No. It was an open-ended because it's gonna be a decade before Harvard can feasibly do anything with the property. The state ponying up for Worcester Yard and the double-stack project was what triggered go-time for them. Prior to that commitment there was the stated desire from all parties to move out of BP but no timetable attached.

Harvard's Allston redevelopment is proceeding slower than expected, so Beacon Park is going to be overgrown with weeds before they get that far down Western Ave. The only parcels they can reasonably flip quickly are the trailer parking lots on Western Ave. Followed by the Romar parcel on Rotterdam St. I very strongly suspect they won't breach Cambridge St. until they secure a land-swap commitment from the state to realign the Pike straight across the main yard to make the ex-Pike tolls embankment and northern two-thirds of the yard direct-accessible from Cambridge St. and a street grid buildout from Cambridge. There's no way they can touch the yard now with only this dank egress available from the Allston side. They're not going to bridge over from the BU side first to do anything, because then the development benefits BU first instead of the Harvard campus.

Look for some serious horse-trading between University and state over the next 5 years. And expect the yard to be a sad, derelict sight for the next 10.


In the interim, CSX is tasked with ripping out all main yard rail and tearing down all main yard structures: yard office next to the Pike, the various sheds near the center, the light towers, and all misc. structures and electrical support plant. Most of which has some cash value to them for scrap or repurposing. The state's responsible for the engine yard and anything underneath the Pike viaduct. Who the hell knows what'll happen with those when there's zero money for the considerable environmental mitigation required around the engine house and fueling facility. That all's surely going to sit frozen in time for years on end unless the T can find a cheapie repurposement. Engine yard's the least valuable parcel for Harvard by far because of the near-useless street grid access and continuing presence of the Houghton Chemical plant. Plus the Pike ramp/Cambridge St. interface hugging the engine yard is probably are never moving from this location even if the main highway gets straightened and all the sprawling western ramps compacted and reshaped away from the main yard in the land swap.
  by bwparker1
 
"No. It was an open-ended because it's gonna be a decade before Harvard can feasibly do anything with the property. The state ponying up for Worcester Yard and the double-stack project was what triggered go-time for them. Prior to that commitment there was the stated desire from all parties to move out of BP but no timetable attached."

Is Beacon Yard physically larger than Worcester? How about West Springfield?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
bwparker1 wrote:"No. It was an open-ended because it's gonna be a decade before Harvard can feasibly do anything with the property. The state ponying up for Worcester Yard and the double-stack project was what triggered go-time for them. Prior to that commitment there was the stated desire from all parties to move out of BP but no timetable attached."

Is Beacon Yard physically larger than Worcester? How about West Springfield?
BP's considerably larger on acreage. But it's an apples-oranges comparison. BP had entirely side-loading intermodal, while Worcester has vertical crane loading. Vertical loading is much, much more space-efficient, staff-efficient, and time-efficient than the cumbersome cattle-herding it took to coordinate transloads at BP. BP has extremely constrained truck access from street grid and parking lots into the yard, and its overflow lot is blocks away on Western Ave. Therefore, all those trailers had to take up space smack in the center of the yard to get into position. Worcester has very easy truck access from its lots, and a truck that has its number called can quickly pull up to the ramp, do its business, and get out in orderly fashion without all the managed chaos that plagued BP. Worcester's trailers don't have to be stored en masse between the tracks. Plus the surrounding street grid is much more accessible, and takes less cumbersome moves to get in and out. So Worcester makes up for its smaller size with vastly better efficiency and density. Plus the vastly better efficiency and space usage of double stacks.

West Springfield's bigger than Worcester on acreage. It's apples-oranges with BP on acreage because WS is one self-contained site while BP has the truck overflow lot on Western, ops spread underneath the Pike Viaduct, and the engine yard. WS has many more total yard tracks, but about two-thirds of them are pretty short so more long stuff gets parked on the lead tracks stretching well west of the center of the yard than ever were at BP. WS doesn't require nearly as much empty-calorie trailer staging space in the middle of the yard because of the superior street grid accessibility, and doesn't require offsite parking. It now gets double stacks. And it's slated for the same investment in vertical cranes that Worcester's getting and the state is funding a lot of road access improvements, so its overall capacity and productivity is going to increase sharply in short order within the same space.


I don't know if size/acreage/# of tracks are particularly good metrics given that there's a very sharp density difference between BP and upgraded WOR/WS. Better metric may be an official quote on carload capacity and throughput/turnaround time for transloads.
  by QB 52.32
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:BP's considerably larger on acreage. But it's an apples-oranges comparison. BP had entirely side-loading intermodal, while Worcester has vertical crane loading. Vertical loading is much, much more space-efficient, staff-efficient, and time-efficient than the cumbersome cattle-herding it took to coordinate transloads at BP. BP has extremely constrained truck access from street grid and parking lots into the yard, and its overflow lot is blocks away on Western Ave. Therefore, all those trailers had to take up space smack in the center of the yard to get into position. Worcester has very easy truck access from its lots, and a truck that has its number called can quickly pull up to the ramp, do its business, and get out in orderly fashion without all the managed chaos that plagued BP. Worcester's trailers don't have to be stored en masse between the tracks. Plus the surrounding street grid is much more accessible, and takes less cumbersome moves to get in and out. So Worcester makes up for its smaller size with vastly better efficiency and density. Plus the vastly better efficiency and space usage of double stacks.

West Springfield's bigger than Worcester on acreage. It's apples-oranges with BP on acreage because WS is one self-contained site while BP has the truck overflow lot on Western, ops spread underneath the Pike Viaduct, and the engine yard. WS has many more total yard tracks, but about two-thirds of them are pretty short so more long stuff gets parked on the lead tracks stretching well west of the center of the yard than ever were at BP. WS doesn't require nearly as much empty-calorie trailer staging space in the middle of the yard because of the superior street grid accessibility, and doesn't require offsite parking. It now gets double stacks. And it's slated for the same investment in vertical cranes that Worcester's getting and the state is funding a lot of road access improvements, so its overall capacity and productivity is going to increase sharply in short order within the same space.


I don't know if size/acreage/# of tracks are particularly good metrics given that there's a very sharp density difference between BP and upgraded WOR/WS. Better metric may be an official quote on carload capacity and throughput/turnaround time for transloads.
F-Line, while your apples-and-oranges answer has some merit, your analyses of the operations does not. Worcester went to cranes partly because of land constraints (eg., it's new configuration could have been built for sideloaders), but mostly because of the new demands of Beacon Park's traffic being folded in and doublestack. Cranes have a volume efficiency advantage over sideloaders, but, they don't reduce labor requirements but instead improve productivity in higher-volume terminals. Cranes don't necessarily reduce yard jockeying, and, actually BP's parking between tracks is most efficient. Also, sideloaders can be faster than cranes in certain demand situations and depending upon the size and configuration of the cranes and facilty. Finally, what you're not seeing is that Worcester is being supported by off-site parking too, just not within proximity to the terminal for you to see. So, under different circumstances, Beacon Park could arguably have been converted to the same, if not more, capacity and efficiency put in place in Worcester. It's just that because the land under BP had been slated for other purposes by strong political forces, demand for where those intermodal boxes ultimately end up or originate from has shifted westward away from the 128 belt, and the astronomical costs to provide the necessary overhead clearance to support contemporary stack are unjustifiable beyond Framingham made BP obsolete as an intermodal site.

If I'm not mistaken, the WSP terminal improvements planned by CSX as part of clearing the B&A for high-cube stack and the deal with Commonwealth, have already occurred (and did not include cranes).
  by Ironman
 
You are correct, the intermodal site in WSP was rebuilt a few years ago, before they rebuilt the Worcester yard, and it uses brand new side loaders. The new site is very modern with new track, paved roads and parking lots and fenced in with gates. It can handle 10,000 foot long double stack trains. Very much improved compared to the old site. It's hard for the public to see, but it's basically just like the Worcester yard, but with slightly shorter working tracks and no overhead cranes.
  by bwparker1
 
Thanks for the informative replies on the other yards in Mass.
  by CRail
 
While there was at least one side loader that was clearly OOS well before abandonment that was scrapped in place, it appeared that most if not all of the active ones were carefully disassembled and loaded onto flat beds. I had assumed they were destined for Worcester to help with the work being taken from BP, but did they end up somewhere else? Sold? I hadn't realized Worcester was all OH cranes.
  • 1
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 13