• 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 TomNelligan
 
BandA wrote:I'm curious, what are the alternate right-of-ways?
I can't speak for the original poster, but off in fantasyland there's the former New Haven line between Framingham and Lowell. But aside from no longer serving any imaginable freight or passenger rail purpose, the right-of-way is now mostly in the hands of the rail trail people.
  by CRail
 
Rights of way are in the hands of whoever owns them, and most lines abandoned after a certain date are federally protected as such. In no case that I'm aware of do "rail trail people" own any of the land they want to repurpose with public funds. If the demand comes back, the trains come back.

Regarding what rights of way would better serve as a Grand Junction substitute, have a look!
  by neman2
 
You might as well propose a railcar ferry down the Charles River from Waltham on the Fitchburg Route to somewhere near Norumbega Park in Newton where the B&A crosses the river. Probably cheaper and less NIMBY issues.
  by rethcir
 
Cool map site. I never realized how close Fitchburg and Worcester come near each other at 95 in Western Newton. They should throw an el over that section of 95 to create a second north south connection, and facilitate Worcester to North Station runs.
  by Trinnau
 
rethcir wrote:Cool map site. I never realized how close Fitchburg and Worcester come near each other at 95 in Western Newton. They should throw an el over that section of 95 to create a second north south connection, and facilitate Worcester to North Station runs.
Both lines actually pass through the town of Weston. You can see the town borders if you zoom in close enough.

The shortest second route on ROW that is still relatively intact (albeit in trails) would be the Framingham-Lowell from Framingham to Sudbury, then turn onto the old Central Mass and connect with the Fitchburg just west of Brandeis/Roberts. There is already a slightly shorter route using the CSX Fitchburg Secondary from Framingham to Clinton to connect with Pan Am's Worcester Mainline there instead of going all the way to Worcester, though there is currently no connecting track at that location.
  by BandA
 
FYI the Fitchburg Line passes through Waltham, not Newton, albeit only a mile or two apart.

An EL over 95/128 is actually a good idea for passenger service. Probably of the "subway" type. You could use it for transfer of CR equipment on a time-separated basis. But the Grand Junction is easier and is already in place.
Last edited by BandA on Tue May 29, 2018 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by MBTA3247
 
An El over 128 wouldn't be useable for CR transfers. The grades at either end would be too steep and the curves too sharp.
  by Charliemta
 
GP40MC1118 wrote:Union Freight RR!
Seriously, that's my favorite option. The overly-wide roadways along the Rose Kennedy Greenway could have room for one freight track. Run the freight trains at night when there would be minimal disruption to roadway traffic.
  by BandA
 
I think you want a trolley line along the greenway, or one of those new chinese 3-car jobs that follow an embedded guideway & don't need tracks, i.e. trackless trolley or battery.
  by CRail
 
Trackless freight trolleys? I think we’ve veered a bit much off the beaten path...
  by StefanW
 
neman2 wrote:You might as well propose a railcar ferry down the Charles River from Waltham on the Fitchburg Route to somewhere near Norumbega Park in Newton where the B&A crosses the river. Probably cheaper and less NIMBY issues.
I'm surprised nobody before me has suggested this cheap-and-easy north-south link via ferry...
1) rehab the freight branch that heads off northeast across from FX and goes up past Terminal Street in Charlestown
2) build a rail-ferry dock somewhere under the shadow of the Tobin Bridge
3) rehab Track 61 all the way down to the water
4) build a rail-ferry dock east of the Black Falcon terminal or north of the dry dock

That would be cheap as hell, and the last time I checked all those tracks were unencumbered except for the Track 61 being converted to a Red Line test track. Even then, a second track on top of / in the Bypass Road parallel to the existing Track 61 could be added, and then just do rail moves at night with the bypass road switched to single direction with signals for the cars.
  by harshaw
 
It has been reported that with the GC out of commission for quite a while (year+?), that cars requiring maintenance on the south side must go worcester-fitchburg-BEW. We've also been seeing on the south side shorter sets and general delays with less trains, smaller trainsets, etc, presumably because equipment is harder to service and thus is less available on the south side.

The next logical conclusion is that while the grand junction is unavailable the southside is going to see 1+ year of problems, do to the lack of any kind of slack in the system. Is this dismal assessment correct?
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