• 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

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  by StefanW
 
By the way - I do periodically ask the MBTA data people about getting access to non-revenue GPS tracking data (if there is any) because I would add that to my mapping app in a heartbeat. It would be so uber-cool to be able to track the moves via Worcester freight routes... but I don't think it will ever happen.
  by GP40MC1118
 
1) It was 15-20 minutes transit time on the GJ with additional time for crossing malfunctions and
for eastbound moves, ability to cross the Fitchburg Route mainline at Swift.
2) Not really. Permission east of Cambridge Street depends on mainline traffic at Swift. Sometimes
if there are opposing moves, somebody gets held at one of the endpoints.
3) See 1 & 2.
4) Totally up in the air. Over six hours or more. Depends on PAR's traffic on the Worcester main and
what's going on in Ayer Yard. 71 miles round trip.
5) See 4.
6) See 4.
7) Don't know. Doesn't seem like it.
8) See 7
  by BandA
 
Bramdeisroberts wrote:Better to snag the federal money to build the NSRL using direct Amtrak through-service from Portland ME and Concord NH to NYP and beyond as the carrot to lure in Federal attention and investment and once that's built, convert the Grand Junction to light rail or rapid transit as the first stage of an inner belt connecting West Station to Airport via Kendall, Sullivan, Everett, and Chelsea.
What federal money? If NY/NJ can't get federal money for their high-profile critical tunnel needs, how is no-leverage Boston going to get $2B-$9B for a nice-to-have? (By having awsome planning, a track record of low costs and on-time? - no, no and no).

There isn't enough Amtrak traffic to justify a big tunnel like the NSRL. A NSRL "pipe" will have to be filled with subway and/or Commuter Rail Traffic, such as people wanting to commute from Walpole to Chelsea. Amtrak would just be "along for the ride"
  by Bramdeisroberts
 
The big issue with the NYC tunnels is the fact that New York State and NJ still can't seem to agree on how to fund their respective shares of it, and so long as they can't work that basic stuff out, then the federal government will always be reticent to throw any money at that political mess of a project.

The NSRL otoh adds vitally-needed increases in capacity to a choked-out commuter rail system while helping to disperse real estate demand that's approaching San Francisco levels inside 128 to communities farther out thanks to increased CR frequencies and the ease of commuting to the city that will come with them. The Amtrak benefits are just the icing on the cake, something to snag some smidgen of support from Maine and NH reps to help get the ball rolling on funding the project, although there absolutely is also a case to be made that those increased frequencies on the Providence line will also pan out into massively increased capacity for Amtrak on the NEC as well now that they aren't reliant on their 2-3 South Station slots anymore.

If (and it's a big "if") that all pans out, as I believe that it should, then there's no reason whatsoever why the GJ shouldn't be converted to light rail as the first phase of a belt line.
  by BandA
 
We're getting off in the weeds; I think there are separate threads for the NSRL & the Amtrak tunnels in NY/NJ. [OT] And I'm not buying the operational efficiency of a NSRL when it is cheaper to just expand BOS and coach storage than to build a tunnel & redundant underground stations.
  by MBTA3247
 
Bramdeisroberts wrote:there absolutely is also a case to be made that those increased frequencies on the Providence line will also pan out into massively increased capacity for Amtrak on the NEC as well now that they aren't reliant on their 2-3 South Station slots anymore.
I believe the limiting factor on Amtrak's capacity east of NYP is actually the number of slots Metro-North allots them. I seem to recall reading it was 2 slots per hour.
BandA wrote:Would the NSRL be appropriate for freight? If not you still need the Grand Junction as a rail line.
No, the grades would be too steep for a freight of any length.

The Grand Junction Branch is not necessary for freight operations. All the customers are east of BET, where there is a connection to Pan Am.
  by Bramdeisroberts
 
Connecticut strikes again, I see...

And yeah, I would figure that there's nothing the GJ does for freight moves that couldn't be done far, far better by improvements to any of the connecting lines between CSX and Pan-Am/Norfolk Southern in Worcester County or Western Middlesex.

Otherwise, in this hypothetical situation you'd be sacrificing the beginning stages of an inner belt line that could easily reach Red Line/Central Subway passenger volumes in the name of keeping the route open for a tiny handful of short freight moves, something that doesn't ever even come close to making sense.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
MBTA 3247 wrote:

I believe the limiting factor on Amtrak's capacity east of NYP is actually the number of slots Metro-North allots them. I seem to recall reading it was 2 slots per hour.


Perhaps, because the New Haven Line is quite jammed at rush hour. But the absolute limiting factor is east of New Haven with limits on bridge openings by the Coast Guard, as I understand it, so as not to annoy all those boaters that need to get from harbor to LI Sound. :wink:
  by dbperry
 
Boston Globe has a "Starts & Stops" article about the Grand Junction detour:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/0 ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Instead of a three-mile trip, it’s 120 miles,” said Jody Ray, the T’s assistant general manager for commuter rail. “One trip a day is basically all you can get done,” compared with as many as three a day on the Grand Junction.

Trains south of Boston must now head west to Worcester, north to Ayer, and then back east on the Fitchburg Line to get toward the northern side of the rail network. Not only does it take longer, but the T must also plan trips around commuter and freight schedules on the various lines.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the system works reasonably well, and also requires that the T do more intense maintenance work at rail yards on the southern side to minimize shuffling trains around.
  by CRail
 
No they won't, and even if it were that big of a deal there are multiple abandoned rights of way that could be reactivated for less money than it would cost to build a new facility.
  by BandA
 
CRail wrote:No they won't, and even if it were that big of a deal there are multiple abandoned rights of way that could be reactivated for less money than it would cost to build a new facility.
I'm curious, what are the alternate right-of-ways?
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