• 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 Finch
 
That's never going to be a viable routing for commuter rail service because of number of grade crossings that would be speed-restricted even at upgraded track speeds because of the curves. And that even includes someday elimination of the Mass Ave. grade crossing, which MIT wants to do by burying the roadway Broadway-under-Harvard Yard style on that block for a pedestrian mall with tracks/Urban Ring remaining on the surface. The route would definitely work as light rail because of the shorter consists and faster acceleration/deceleration. But that'll be a slow trip in a loco, messing up multiple streets at a time as it plows through. Some of the Amtrak moves already mess things up pretty good Broadway and Main when they choose to go through at 5:30 or 6:00 on a Friday.
But if they installed "real" grade crossings with actual gates, might the speed on the line be good enough to make the trip worthwhile? Cambridge, Binney, Broadway, Main, and Mass Ave would all be made way safer with gates. That's 5 crossings that could then be taken faster than the CRAWL at which they are taken these days. I imagine even a steady 20-30 mph through here would do wonders.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
jamesinclair wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote: I think Worcester commuters will be just tickled having more trains period. Which they can do when all those Allston freights dissapear and the line gets its badly needed cab signal installation on the inner half. Nobody's going to be inconvenienced by an Orange Line jog from Back Bay when they've got twice the number of trains to choose from to fit their schedules.
Its not about their convenience, its about south station being full, and needing to send the trains elsewhere. The Worcester line is the ONLY line where this would be possible.

Once the Indigo line comes online, that's it, no more room at South Station. You either send trains to NS, or convince people to commute during off peak hours.
The state's planned purchase of the Postal Annex solves that problem. Anywhere from 4 (minimum-build) to 6 (maximum-build) tracks would be added by razing the structure and replacing with narrower Dot. Ave.-facing development. The nuclear option is 11 tracks if the whole thing gets bulldozed without redevelopment (very unlikely). The South Coast rail studies say that the 6-track option would accommodate FR/NB, Fairmount, high-frequency Worcester sevice, and even speculative extensions like Millis, Milford, and Buzzards Bay without tapping it out.

The purchase is moving slowly because of flaky developers, but USPS most definitely is planning to move within the next 5 years to a new facility a mile down the road in Southie, and the state is ponying up to lock down the parcel and get that building knocked down. SS will have at least some more tracks in it before the decade is out, even if a max-build isn't in the cards until something huge like FR/NB is ready to run.
  by AznSumtinSumtin
 
Mcoov wrote:What is this Indigo Line I keep hearing about?
It's a plan to turn the Fairmount Line on the commuter rail into a rapid transit line.
  by Charliemta
 
If you go with a center platform, there's enough room for a station next to Mass Ave, on either the north or south side of the crossing. Along this whole stretch of track there are various parking lot and service road infringements onto the original right-of-way that could easily be eliminated.
  by djlong
 
I don't know how you fit all those trains, even expanding South Station into the Fort Point Channel, on the right-of-way. I mean, that's a scheduling/slotting nightmare already. How much more room for more trains is there between South Station and Readville?
  by sery2831
 
We are going off topic here. This thread is about the Grand Junction Branch, not South Station.
  by CSX Conductor
 
sery2831 wrote:The Grand Junction Branch is now officially part of the MBTA/MBCR family. From the Beacon Park Yard Limits EAST is now under the control of the MBCR Terminal Dispatcher who controls Tower A and North Station.
Probably mostly in part because CSXT did away with Beacon Park yardmasters..... the Park is controlled by Framingham Yardmaster. :(
diburning wrote: Reading a news article, it also said that the MBTA will be running Worcester Trains via North station. I'd take it with a grain of salt though. Most news media outlets don't verify their information when it comes to topics they are not familiar with, like the rail industry
I'm assuming you read about Worcester trains going to BON via the B&M's Barber Line through Clinton to Ayer where it would join the Fitchburg line to BON.
  by GP40MC1118
 
Beacon Park Yardmasters work 3PM-11PM Monday-Friday & Sunday 7AM-3PM. All other times are covered by the Worcester Yardmaster.

Neither connection of the Grand Jct is currently suitable for through passenger service.

The connection at Swift crosses on a diamond and does not connect into the mainline. Right now coming off the GJ there takes you into
BET or over the connecting yard tracks to FX. You are not going run regular passenger trains through Yard 14.
So that leaves another major reconfiguration at Swift. And don't forget the ridiculous Green Line extension proposal to Union Square
which will probably take away one track (The Paint Track).

Over at CP-3 in Beacon Park - again another reconfiguration as the only way you could directly access the GJ Branch from Worcester
is to coming down Track 1 at CP-4.

Dave
  by trainhq
 
There's another problem with the Grand Junction branch, which I studied about 8 years ago. The line there goes
adjacent to a number of MIT laboratories with sensitive equipment. In order to use the line there at higher speeds,
the track would have to be torn up and ballast mats installed. In addition, any jointed rail in that area would have
to be replaced with CWR. This would add greatly to the cost and difficulty of implementing any such service.
  by jamesinclair
 
trainhq wrote:There's another problem with the Grand Junction branch, which I studied about 8 years ago. The line there goes
adjacent to a number of MIT laboratories with sensitive equipment. In order to use the line there at higher speeds,
the track would have to be torn up and ballast mats installed. In addition, any jointed rail in that area would have
to be replaced with CWR. This would add greatly to the cost and difficulty of implementing any such service.
Sounds like something MIT would have to pay for. They knew a railway was there when they installed their sensitive labs.
  by Mcoov
 
I've always thought it would be better for Worcester trains that would depart N. Station to make stops at Waltham, Concord, S. Acton, and Ayer only, and then head to Worcester via PAR's Worcester Branch, with stops in Lancaster and Clinton, instead of going over the Grand Junction. Then I realized how slow the trains on that branch go. :-D
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