• 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 octr202
 
Noticed last night that work has started on grading where the new switch will go for the west end of the new double track, just east of Ballardvale. Looks like you won't be able to see the end of double track from the station, as it'll be around the curve from the station.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Perhap someone can answer this about the placement of that signal. If it's not visible to the engineer leaving Ballardvale eastbound, does the Delay in Block rule come into effect [restricted speed to the next signal, I think it is]. Of course when PTC takes effect, it becomes a non-issue.
  by jbvb
 
Not much progress in the past week. Old rail had been sitting on Track 17's old ties, it's removed. New rail wasn't up to the new station platform last night. There hasn't been any activity in Andover since the black rock was dumped in a few spots near MP 21.
  by octr202
 
Yeah, I was going to add that in Andover they seem to have graded out the easy (wide) spots of the right of way. No work on the tricky spots around the Central St. and Shawsheen bridges, where it looks like there might need to be some stabilization work on the old trackbed. The work seems confined to the section between the cemetery crossing and the west/south end of the new track. Any grading work happening north of Andover station on the single track portion?
  by jbvb
 
No work at all yet between the cemetery crossing in Andover and Andover St. in Lawrence, so no hint as to what they're going to do with those drain pipe manholes on the old eastbound RoW. In Lawrence, they're still removing old rail and ties from track 17, a job that would have taken less than a week for 4 guys, a burro crane and a string of gons back in the day. I think I understand why they picked the spot for the new End of Double Track: cheap access to grid power. If they'd put the switch closer to Ballardvale, they'd have needed to put in a couple of poles.
  by octr202
 
I wonder if it also puts it away from a larger concentration of homes as well. I can imagine how Andover types are going to be the first few times a freight idles at the end of the new track for a few hours...
  by jbvb
 
It's been a week (allowing for the 4th) and old rail/ties are still sitting on track 17. I saw the loader they're using at work last week, and I think I understand why: It's a fairly big one, and I don't think they will let a train pass on the easterly main while it's between the new station and Andover St. So as the next pile of rail or ties gets farther and farther away, the number of cycles per day decreases dramatically. At this rate, we'll be lucky to see track 17 finished by Labor Day...
  by jbvb
 
Thursday (another week) they had dragged most of the piles of rail along Track 17 back to the new station area. New rail and ties stop at the east end of the platform (Osgood St.), as they have for a couple of weeks. A crew erected new chain-link along Portland St. this week. I fear this will be short-lived, between snow plows and residents separated from business along Merrimack St. No other progress I can see.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
You know, I was up there visiting family over the fourth, so I went out to the station, and checked it out. A pet peeve of mine immediately came to mind: a second platform on the track 1 side is quite doable if they straighten it out as it comes under S. Union Street [why there's a slight curve there, I've got no idea], and bend track 17 a bit. But thanks for the update on the lightening-like speed of this project :-D
  by sery2831
 
They have to make a path for high and wide freight trains. So platforms on both tracks are not possible.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
sery2831 wrote:They have to make a path for high and wide freight trains. So platforms on both tracks are not possible.
Okay on the high and wide-I guess. It's already "wide" there between the two mains--for about 1,000 feet. Which brings up a question not directly related to this thread: what exactly is the purpose for Track 17 going to be? Pull track for the yard? Is PAR planning to put trains out of the way on it between AS and Frost? I don't imagine that 17 will hold a train much more than 3500 feet in length between circuits. If it's the latter, it seems it's not very useful, and they could've tied 17 into track 1 east of the new station, allowing more room for facilities at the station itself.
  by jbvb
 
If the T had had initiative and budget, the new Lawrence station could have been designed for two passenger platforms, but they didn't.

I don't think Guilford runs many 4000 foot trains on the Western Route these days, so Track 17 might do for routine pickup/setout work. The reason it ends where it does is money, as usual. The original track 17 went right to the Shawsheen River bridge. Ending the new one anywhere but inside CP Frost would require more signals and switches.
  by jbvb
 
All quiet except that the big loader is scraping up old ballast and loading it into MBTA hi-rail dump trucks. Slowly.
  by jbvb
 
The Track 17 effort has a little dozer. It appears to be finished undercutting the Union St. bridge. Now it's scraping ballast into piles down by the old station. The piles are still being loaded up and taken away, perhaps one truckload a day. Nothing else.
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