Providence is already Electrified for the most part, and other than some work in the Layup yard, and at the stations south of Providence, this wouldn't take much at all. The issue would be what Amtrak would charge to use the system, as it seems they have fleeced other systems (MARC I believe is going back to diesel mainly over this). If there is some sort of agreement over shared cost of the Sharon Substation (Which powers the Northeast corridor north of Norton), and the Warwick Substation as well, this could work. One immediate issue is the air quality in Back Bay Station, which has been an issue for years (I know a new ventilation system is being constructed, but call me skeptical until its actually working). I know the some of the EMU proposals included dual-mode locomotives similar to what NJ Transit uses, and I think if the T gets these, these should be mandatory on all Needham, Providence, Stoughton, and Franklin trains.
Electrification to Beverly is interesting, as Salem is one of the busiest stations in the system. I can see this working, but you wonder about the wisdom of only electrifying one north side line and only part way at that.
More likely is the high level platform proposals. Readville and Fairmount would really benefit from this route (Why Fairmount was only rebuilt as mini-high I don't get), as that would make the entire line High-Level full length, and would give the T more flexibility in better equipment for the Fairmount Line. I saw Franklin on that list as well, and to me Walpole station would be the challenge, given its at a freight junction. Framingham was also on that list, and if you remember, West Natick and westward were all mini highs due to the CSX need for freight clearance. Now that Beacon Park is not there, is this still an issue and if so can the T rebuild all these stations?
Very good read. I am eager to see what comes of it.
Rich "Dino" Martin
A one time happy rider of Arborway and the old Washington St. El.