• Needham Line

  • 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

  by BandA
My first impression from reading the Glob article is: "800 apartments, that won't cause any school overcrowding". Even if mitigation funds cover all capital expenses, adding new students is usually a net cost to existing taxpayers, driving up real estate taxes. But government officials see it as a short-term opportunity to expand/maintain the bureaucracy without an explicit tax override.

This large development at the corner of Needham St & Oak St I think extends all the way to the train tracks by the preserved Upper Falls train station at the corner of Oak St & Chestnut St, last used circa 1930? Since RT 9 and Needham St / Highland Ave, 128, and other roads in Newton and Needham are all overcrowded, rail + trail Green Line to Needham seems more of a no-brainer every day and would attract lots of riders almost instantly, assuming adequate parking lots (and secure bike racks) are created.

Moving Eliot Station in Thompsonville (actually on Lincoln St not Eliot St) a few blocks east would require land taking, and would probably be pretty expensive to build a new station. And the existing station has some kind of small parking lot. Although the idea of a pedestrian connection between Woodward St to Easy St is intriguing. Building a pedestrian / bicycle bridge across the Green Line and crossing parking lots would be a worthwhile standalone project and would make Eliot Station accessible from Needham St / Dedham St area. Eliot Station is about 3500 feet from Newton Highlands, so moving it a couple blocks closer doesn't seem to be worth the $millions.
  by charlesriverbranch
According to an old MBRRE trip brochure, there was a freight agent at the Newton Upper Falls station until 1980.
  by charlesriverbranch
The Upper Falls Greenway, the bike trail on the old Charles River Branch right-of-way in Newton Upper Falls, seems pretty useless for commuters, as it doesn't provide access to Eliot station or Newton Highlands station, but dead ends just past East Street. If it did, and the bridge over 128 still existed, it could be used to walk or bike from Needham Heights to the Green Line, saving me a lot of time. I currently have to walk to Central Avenue to get under 128, cross the river via Echo Bridge, turn left on Chestnut Street to get under Route 9, and then walk along Route 9 over the hill to Eliot station.
  by BandA
That's another reason to put the bridge back over 128, to provide better connectivity to the "bike" path aka greenway! And if they put back the bridge for the greenway, might as well do rail + trail at the same time since the ROW is wide enough!!!
  by charlesriverbranch
Is it? It was only a single track when it was in use. If there's room for a trail next to the track, then any service to Needham would have to run both ways on the same track. Something like the old Newton Lower Falls branch "ping-pong", maybe? A single car that just shuttles between Newton Highlands and Needham Heights?
Last edited by CRail on Thu Dec 19, 2019 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
  by Tallguy
Single track LRT is not that unusual. There is another single track bridge just east of 128.There is a good sized passer just south of Needham Heights which could be enough for decent operations
  by atlantis
A good example of single track LRT is the "River Line" between Trenton and Camden New Jersey. This line has large sections of single track and even runs on diesel power. This method could be a model for any future Needham/Newton light rail at least as far as cost goes.
  by Rbts Stn
Morning Train

(image is too big you will have to click the link)

  by MBTA3247
Beautiful shot! Taken from the Great Plain Ave bridge, I think?
  by Rbts Stn
actually from Greendale, looking towards the "Needham Flats". You can see a sliver of Route 128 to the right of the tracks where it goes under the RR bridge.

Morning walks (when it isn't raining) are the best. Not as many folks to have to maintain distance from, and great sunrises.
Last edited by CRail on Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
  by charlesriverbranch
Walking down Hunnewell Street from Highland Avenue early this morning, I noticed that the Needham Heights yard was empty. And now I think about it, it's been empty every time I've seen it lately. Is Keolis not storing trains at Needham Heights as they used to do?
  by Trinnau
They are not using it during extended period of reduced service.
  by Rbts Stn
Where are they storing all the extra equipment?
  by troffey
According to another post, equipment and crews are based out of Boston at the time. Whether that's only for some lines or all lines, I don't know.
  by sonicdoommario
Although looking at the Providence schedule, there are three trains (7800, 7802, and 1802). that look like would come right out of Pawtucket in the morning, unless they are doing 4-5AM equipment moves. The Pawtucket yard can hold six trains, so maybe some of the yards outside of Boston are just holding the bare minimum amount of trains needed for reduced service?