• Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

  • 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 BostonUrbEx
Already in the works. Engineering work has started for building Tracks 11 & 12, rebuilding the Charles River Draw with three spans (two tracks each), and rebuilding and redesigning both Tower A and FX (FX might be split into two interlockings, Sand and FX). Included in all this are a Middle Ladder at Tower A, finally hooking up the Tuttle Track/Fast Track for expressing Eastern Route trains in/out of North Station and forging a direct mainline connection from Yard 10. Needless to say, Terminal congestion is a target for elimination.
  by CRail
Tons of thinking inside the box going on in this thread. All of the things I've mentioned are, as I've said, concepts in the minds of those actually doing the stuff. Grand Junction is getting upgraded, West Station is getting built, provisions for expanded service are being designed and implemented. The physical plant as it exists today is not what it will be 20 years from now. The era of eliminating all modes of urban transportation in favor of the automobile is well extinct.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
So...that means we're going to see the study that proves the traffic modeling that the GJ and northside terminal district can handle the service levels for this shuttle any day now, because it "is getting upgraded". Right? Can anyone give an approximate date for when those studies expected to be released? Design-bid is not so outside-the-box a process that something which "is" proceeding can actually...proceed...without giving the budget keepers at the state, would-be bidding contractors for the construction, grade crossing traffic stakeholders like Cambridge Dept. of Public Works, and so on some actual math to work with for their build target.

So when's that data dump all coming?
  by WatertownCarBarn
Walked around Binney St./ GJ crossing yesterday. As might be expected, there is an enormous pile of plowed snow on the GJ.
So the GJ is obviously out until it is cleared or melted?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
WatertownCarBarn wrote:Walked around Binney St./ GJ crossing yesterday. As might be expected, there is an enormous pile of plowed snow on the GJ.
So the GJ is obviously out until it is cleared or melted?
Since service is still healing itself back to normal after days of weather-related disruption and service cutbacks, it's unlikely there were enough hands on-deck to run the hospital train Thurs. & Fri. even if they wanted to. Some of the wonky crossing protection on the line has been slapped on-and-off with flagging orders the last couple years, so does it end up being the best use of human resources in a post-blizzard recovery to assign MOW to dig out the crossing switches on a non-revenue line that isn't going to kill them if it doesn't run for a few days while the system is stuck on a reduced snow schedule? Probably not. Getting off the snow schedule is first priority, and getting off the snow schedule is what ups demand on equipment swaps to need to run the first post-storm hospital train. So first things first in the dig-out bucket list.

As for CSX, they always phone up PAR to handle Everett when the GJ is OOS for any length of time and probably have standard weather-related customer agreements with New England Produce Center to run truck-only when the whole world is on a snow schedule, so the daily freight doesn't drive any urgency here either. They didn't give that line much snow-clearing priority when it was under their self-ownership and the job originated out of Beacon Park next door, either.

Look for the first hospital train of this coming work week to be an extra-long one. That's usually how it goes when they skip a couple days because of weather, holidays, staffing pinch, or misc. snafus.
  by CRail
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:So when's that data dump all coming?
This is why we can't have nice things. I don't concern myself with the studying of studious studies. Things are studied, and then the study is studied, but then after the study is studied it's out of date the plan has to be studied again. In the end it'd have been millions cheaper to just build the thing and be proven wrong.

You don't need to bury your nose in government documents to look around you and read the wall's writing.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
You should concern yourself with those things, because they're quite literally what gets this project from Point A to Point B. Not every recurring proposal is going to demand a full study write-up to get any action, but the nature of this one does because the only extant GJ traffic modeling data is based on a unidirectional peak-only service. Bi-directional and all-day is a totally new ballgame. To make the actionable decisions that actually get it built, you do have to bury your nose in fresh-collected documents on:

-- ...whether the northside terminal district can handle this many TPH to-AND-from that direction when this shuttle proposal is so different from that unidirectional proposal
-- ...ID'ing what crossings need DTMF switches timed to what settings, new signal blocks aligned to what...and what it'll cost to purchase the hardware at those installations that supports bi-directional instead of unidirectional service.
-- ...figure how that shuttle service fits into grander CR Future schemes about multiple Indigo routes sharing the terminal districts and/or coexisting at West Station.
-- ...provide City of Cambridge with documentation on how their multimodal city-controlled streets are going to be affected and what city signal streamlining the state is and isn't going to pay for.
-- ...be able to re- fastrack the West Station build after the recently announced 20-year delay so it can actually be put out to bid for prelim design that transforms it from pretty...but very imprecise...Adobe Illustrator concept renders to picks of Alternatives A, B, or C that can proceed with every measured dimension, quantity of steel-and-concrete, and drainage structure accounted for in a construction budget.

That isn't going to happen here without a paper trail and a heaping document dump of train-sim modeling. Stuff like detailed traffic sim's aren't zero-cost or zero-schedule, so nothing about this comes closer to fruition by being scrawled into some wall about how "they really mean it this time, man". Really meaning it this time means doing the drudgery to find the precise train meets and establish what it'll entail to juggle them. New service of that scope isn't going to get any closer without that necessary prelim research, whether that fact thrills one's own imagination or not.

In no way is this such a jet-black and blinding-white world of extremes that showing intent and showing proof are diametrically opposed forces to getting something done. There's a big difference between filling in blanks that are prerequisites to Step 1 vs. "re-study the study for studying's" waste. Do what's necessary, not overboard, is the lesson in balance there. They don't need to contemplate their navel on whither a Kendall infill this time. They do need to establish achievable frequencies at what pain threshold for Mass Ave./Broadway crossings and the terminal district, and what any required mitigation will cost. Train-sim stuff, not rehashing employment demographics. Of course they don't have excuses for deferring any paper action 10 years or claiming such a data collection will cost $50M to perpetuate another generational vaporware scam like South Coast FAIL. But the CR Future panel will be delivering its urban rail recs in mid-2019, and the GJ will go OOS for 2+ years in '21 or '22 for the Pike megaproject construction. It's not a failure of polite civilization to call for the shuttle study that fills in those prerequisite blanks, fund it before FY19, commence it when the CR Future recs are delivered, put an 18-month deadline on it, then be shovel-ready for prelim work while the GJ is out-of-service. You don't know what the cost & construction itemization is until you collect that data, so how does a sequence like that not put us closer to having nice things?

They also shouldn't let an "unspoken" promise written in crayon on that wall carry the water because we've seen gruesomely, repeatedly what implied commitments have gotten us with: "Equal of Better" Roxbury transit, trolleys to JP Center by 2000, and all that nice transit signal priority circuitry Brookline installed years ago for the C Line on a flimsy verbal I.O.U. that got thrown back in the town's face. Or, more relevantly, with West Station build going from being touted simultaneous with the Pike realignment to suddenly punted out 20 years on a Friday afternoon pre-Xmas news dump. BOTH extremes--paper for paper's sake and praying for good intentions and instant gratification without having it in writing--tend to lead to nowhere fast in a majority of the cases. The real world is somewhere in the middle, and that equilibrium is mind-numbingly different for every individual project. Yes, that means some of the work done to make this thing A Thing™ in the real world is going to entail killing a few trees with boring train-sim printouts done by an outside contractor, and factoring a bunch of crossing queue counts so an unruly stakeholder City Council can be kept abreast of the mitigation options for its street signals. Because unfilled blanks are just that: statements that can't be answered at all until the necessary blanks are filled. You fill blanks with actionable data, not wild guesses where the wrong guesses end up the most surefire way to kill, delay, or cost-blow a project to death.

You're right about one thing: if the whole transpo construction world got flattened into those kinds of diametrically opposed extremes, we'd never have any nice things because extremes are surefire death in the public service sphere. I'll gladly take un-exciting shades of grey and exactly the right amount of neither too-little nor too-much paper pushing, and concern myself with that being the straightest path to a real-world transit build that does its advertised job. But to each his own.
Last edited by CRail on Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary nesting quotes removed.
  by GP40MC1118
CSX B721, the Readville Switcher made round trips Sunday on the GJRT. CSX B721 was the first
move since Wednesday, coming east with two engines and 8 loads. The Readville Switcher then
made a round trip and later that night and Amtrak Portland Extra came from Southampton Street
for Portland.

CSX didn't get much accomplished though as Everett was snowed in, compounded by PAR BO-1's
apparently leaving cars in the way (probably down at Ciment Quebec).
  by BandA
They should reinstall the second track and leave whatever is there as a siding. Of course they'd have to redo the crossings and tear down the billboard...nevermind
  by CRail
Why nevermind? Valuable transportation infrastructure succumbs to a billboard?
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