• Massachusetts: Big Rail Plans. All Signals Green?

  • 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 johnpbarlow
 
Not sure where to put this new thread as it touches on more proposals than just MBTA-centric ones...

Intro paragraph:
“GREEN SIGNALS AHEAD: THE FUTURE OF RAIL EXPANSION IN MASSACHUSETTS.” That was the theme of the fall meeting and mini-conference held in Boston on Friday, Oct. 11 and sponsored by the Rail Users Network (RUN). At the event, several rail managers and planners, as well as representatives of elected officials, provided an ambitious plan for expanding rail in the Bay State, from Pittsfield and Greenfield in the west to New Bedford and Fall River in the southeast.
GLX, Foxboro commuter service, and South Coast Rail commuter service were discussed as the actual expansion plans that are underway. Everything else was a proposal (eg, Worcester - Springfield/Pittsfield service and Wachusett - Greenfield/N Adams service). North-South Rail Link was apparently barely mentioned.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/ma ... als-green/
  by Rockingham Racer
 
It seems that the Commonwealth could add longer distance trains out of North Station, if they wanted to.

It would take lots of dollars, but a Haverhill-Worcester service would work, perhaps, as an alternative to the I-495 rush hour parking lot.
  by jaymac
 
Those of us of a certain age can start humming that Beach Boys classic "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
  by thomas1897
 
Consider rail service to the southwestern areas of Millis, Dover Sherborn and Medfield along the Needham line would give commuters better service to downtown Boston. The Needham community can have an extended Green Line service from Newton Highland to Needham Junction with greater frequency to go to downtown Boston.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
What's really needed is an extension of the Lowell line to Manchester and Concord, NH, but we all know that it'll be a cold day in hell before that happens.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
Electrify? Oh, dear.

I know I've beaten this topic to death, but surely it must be possible to develop a battery electric multiple unit train that can run on the existing network without the need for expensive catenary infrastructure?
  by rethcir
 
Although personally I'd love if Full Rebuild happened, I also have to wonder if it would cause "White Flight 2.0." Not necessarily along racial lines, but economically sure. People abandoning the inner city again due to better QOL and COL in the suburbs/exurbs.
  by Arlington
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:54 am .. develop a battery electric multiple unit train that can run on the existing network without the need for expensive catenary infrastructure?
Where would it recharge?

But the real answer is that catenary systems vastly decrease the weight and complexity of the trains they power, AND that the procurement cycles favor buying existing (off-the-shelf) EMUs *right now* and then continuously.
Right now: Providence/Stoughton
Then: Fairmont, Franklin, Foxboro
Then: Framingham Worcester
Then: Lowell & Newburyport & Rockport
And then Fitchburg, Haverhill, Reading, & Old Colony

There's never a natural stopping point that favors switching to the cost and weight of batteries.
  by HenryAlan
 
rethcir wrote: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:22 am Although personally I'd love if Full Rebuild happened, I also have to wonder if it would cause "White Flight 2.0." Not necessarily along racial lines, but economically sure. People abandoning the inner city again due to better QOL and COL in the suburbs/exurbs.
Not likely. Better regional mobility and connectivity within the urban core will make it easier for people to live in more outlying locations, but it won't change the lifestyle reasons that lead people to see living in the city as desirable. Population is growing, so this will provide another way to handle that growth, but it won't cause an abandonment of the core.
  by Commuterrail1050
 
Having the commuter rails a hybrid fleet that uses a mix of gas and electricity(battery) is better so they don't have to add wires anywhere. Just switch the power.
  by diburning
 
rethcir wrote: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:22 am Although personally I'd love if Full Rebuild happened, I also have to wonder if it would cause "White Flight 2.0." Not necessarily along racial lines, but economically sure. People abandoning the inner city again due to better QOL and COL in the suburbs/exurbs.
People moving to the suburbs would cause eventual urbanization of the suburbs by virtue of higher population density. This may lower housing costs in the core area. In the big picture, that just means more growth all around.

As far as gas-battery hybrids, are there any such systems in operation in the US today? How about elsewhere in the world? Are we suggesting that the MBTA should try to reinvent the wheel again? (because that's worked out SO well for them before </sarcasm>)

My opinion is simple. If they want to go full electrification as a worthy future-proofing investment, that's great. If not, then the no-build option looks better than the options where they try unproven technology. We also need to keep in mind that the MBTA CR system will expand eventually, and if they do electrify the entire system now, the cost of electrification of future expansions may cause them to not be built (as costs will only go up as time passes)