• Haverhill Line Upgrade Discussion (Western Route)

  • 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 MBTA1055
2 questions-

When they double track through Andover & Balardvale, will second platforms be built on the other side of the track? Andover I think they can sqeeze one in, Ballardvale may have to rip up part of the opposing apartment parking lot.

Why was the second track removed in the first place. (this was '88 or '89ish from what i've heard) There was no Downeaster then so that took away quite a bit of traffic, but just to clarify because It doesn't seem to be a smart move to take out such a large portion of double track that could be used to keep delays down, run trains more frequently, and better accomodate Guilford traffic
  by Rockingham Racer
In the short term, from what we've read, there are no plans to put in second platforms at either Ballardvale or Andover. In fact, Ballardvale is still going to be in single track territory after the first phase of double-tracking. In the time period you mention, 1055, most railroads were "rationalizing" track and installing CTC as a cost-saving measure.
  by jbvb
The EB track from Lowell Jct. to just W. of the Shawsheen station was abandoned about 1976, after the last of the original B&M passenger service to Haverhill ended. Capacity afterward was adequate for 8-10 freights a day, and the B&M had started to operate Lawrence - Mechanicville freights as a side-effect of closing the Mystic Jct. hump. They wanted a long siding in Lawrence to make up LM-1 on, and the rail removed was welded and relaid, probably on the Fitchburg Div. (this happened to a lot of the Western Division's double track).

AFAICT, the first thing to be done is completion of the track 17 project through Lawrence station. Crews, equipment and new ties are on hand. The temporary low platform is being removed, as are old ties and rail. Aside from that, the welded rail dropped last Fall remains as it's been and the two track panels they built by the cemetery crossing in Andover are still sitting on the old EB roadbed. No sign of work at the future west end of double track, Andover St. interlocking or any of the grade crossings.
  by Rockingham Racer
It galls me to no end that there will be only one platform in Lawrence. Very short-sighted. Are they at least going to leave space for a platform and move 17 to do it? I can't remember exactly how much ROW is left there. Thanks for the update, though!
  by sery2831
They can't build another platform there because there would be no way to get high and wide freights through that area. Since they moved the station, the new station platforms have to be 100% high level. Naturally there are exception to the 100% high level platforms on freight main lines... The T decided to single track commuter rail trains and single track freights in the this area to make an accessible station.
  by jbvb
The Union St. overpass is wide enough for four tracks plus the center pier. In front of the station, there was room for an additional spur track between Track 17 and the adjacent industry. So, with sufficient $$ and no land taking you could add a high-level platform between the easterly main and Track 17, though it might not be the full 8-car length. Me, I'm still wondering what went wrong with the West end of the platform. Construction stopped like they'd discovered somebody had screwed up the clearances and show no signs of resuming two years later.

Yesterday work on Track 17 continued, all the joint bars are out at least as far as the old station platform.
  by Rockingham Racer
The S. Union St. overpass in Lawrence is in a perfect position so as not to require an overpass for arriving passengers on a track 1 yet-to-be-built platform. Metro North and SLE built or are building overpasses for passengers to be able to cross the tracks. For ADA compliance, I suspect elevators would need to be built though for access to platforms.
  by jbvb
New rail is being installed on Track 17 at the east end. Old rail and ties have been removed to S. Union St. but the remains of the low platform are still in place. Possibly only carpenters can dismantle the shorty high platform? Possibly only electricians can remove the old light poles? Or maybe (unlikely, I know) they plan to route Track 17 behind the low level platform and keep it available. Joint bars are out down to the wye, but there aren't any signs of further progress from there to Ballardvale.
  by jbvb
From the east: ?electricians? removing wire from lamp poles on low-level platform at Lawrence. Rail removed as far as the old station platform. Signalmen up the pole and in the cabinets by the Rt. 133 grade crossing at Andover.
  by Rockingham Racer
Thanks for keeping us posted. But: Rt. 133 grade crossing in Andover? Rt. 133 goes under the RR at Shawsheen. I can't picture any grade crossing in Andover, save for the puzzle just south of the station in Andover.
  by jbvb
You're right, the crossing at the station is (primarily) Essex St., not Rt. 133. I go through twice most weekdays on the train, but hardly ever drive there, and my most vivid memories of the intersection are from a bike railfanning trip I made back when Lawrence Tower was still manned and Andover St. had a crossing watchman.
  by jbvb
Whoever was supposed to salvage the folding edge on Lawrence's temporary high-level got around to it today. There's around 100 yards of new track assembled but not ballasted. The old rail is removed from track 17 to AS interlocking.
  by Rockingham Racer
That's going to be a good place to stash a freight out of the way once it's put back in, leaving room for a second future platform for Track 1, of course! I am assuming there will be a crossover at Andover St. from Track 2 [now the runner] to Track 17 eastbound.
  by jbvb
Rockingham Racer wrote:That's going to be a good place to stash a freight out of the way once it's put back in, leaving room for a second future platform for Track 1, of course! I am assuming there will be a crossover at Andover St. from Track 2 [now the runner] to Track 17 eastbound.
On [email protected], someone reported a conversation with a foreman on the project who said that AS will be removed entirely, leaving access to the east end of the freight yard only via Frost. Back when there were customers on the M&L, this would have been unthinkable but now... At that rate, I wouldn't be surprised if there won't be any connections between the easterly and westerly tracks between the new End of Double Track around MP 21 and Frost.
  by Rockingham Racer
Speculation here on my part, but it would seem advantageous to keep a universal crossover between the two main tracks, at least, at Andover St. to help with fluidity through Lawrence. It would then be quite possible to run a Downeaster around a train doing station work in Lawrence without delaying it very much. Guess we'll have to wait and see........
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