• Needham Line Questions

  • 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 MBTA3247
 
Arborwayfan wrote:Yeah, I wonder if they ever thought of building the corridor for 4 tracks and just leaving one empty space until they needed a fourth track.
Probably not. The original plan, after all, was to have an 8-lane highway with 0 tracks.
  by HenryAlan
 
charlesriverbranch wrote:If the problem is NEC congestion affecting Needham Line service, wouldn't it make more sense to ping-pong back and forth between Needham Heights and Forest Hills, passengers transferring to/from the Orange Line, rather than spending the money to convert the branch to rapid transit?
I've wondered about this idea, too, envisioning a light rail line running from Needham to Forest Hills, where people could then transfer either to OL or one of the other NEC branch lines. Cheaper and easier would be a DMU line serving as a frequent shuttle. I'm not sure what the downsides are, other than it not being quite as good as a single seat ride.
  by BandA
 
It would be unfair to run compatible CR equipment & not let it run on the NEC. Or you could run non-compliant DMUs on a Rabid-Transit frequency saving $$$ if you isolate the line from the "national rail network"
  by Disney Guy
 
I could not see having the Green Line and the Orange line both extended to a location in Needham where they would meet.

It would be one extension or the other if either.

With construction funding so hard to come by, paperwork and reviews so lengthy, and the costs of operating the finished system so high, if both OL and GL were to be extended then they would be better off serving different regions.

As far as a Needham shuttle with a transfer to OL at Forest Hills goes, you make up for the transfer with dynamic connection optimizing scheduling or overall more frequent service to Needham.
  by rethcir
 
I agree, why have essentially two separate projects for two significantly different transit technologies when you could economize by having one.

I vote Orange Line. Tack on the Wakefield north extension while we're at it
  by ceo
 
Problem is, an Orange Line extension can't go any further than the Needham Center grade crossing without grade-separating it.
  by Bramdeisroberts
 
BandA wrote:It would be unfair to run compatible CR equipment & not let it run on the NEC. Or you could run non-compliant DMUs on a Rabid-Transit frequency saving $$$ if you isolate the line from the "national rail network"
There are a bunch of lines that could justify Stadler GTW-ification if the T really wanted to do it, and Needham (or Newton Highlands) from Forest Hills would be one place to start, which would allow the T to build out the ROW to GL/OL specs without having to worry about grade crossings or the cost of electrification. Brand it as part of the Orange Line and treat it like the Mattapan trolleys 2.0. I've long thought that the same ought to be done for the Minuteman Bikeway ROW from Alewife to Bedford, as well as for the old Central Mass Railway ROW to Marlboro/Hudson or the Greenbush line to Braintree.
  by BandA
 
ceo wrote:Problem is, an Orange Line extension can't go any further than the Needham Center grade crossing without grade-separating it.
Use catenary wire. Cheaper than a grade separation.
  by ceo
 
Better call CRRC and tell them to put pantographs on those new Orange Line cars, then. (I'm not sure heavy rail is allowed to have grade crossings anyway.)
  by Aerie
 
ceo wrote:Better call CRRC and tell them to put pantographs on those new Orange Line cars, then. (I'm not sure heavy rail is allowed to have grade crossings anyway.)
I've always wondered about 3rd rail driven trains and grade crossings. I've seen some videos on YouTube of rapid transit trains in Chicago and NYC crossing roads at grade, with the 3rd rail in easy reach of anyone foolish enough to touch it. I think when the Blue Line extension was built, they went to pantographs to avoid this situation. I would think there should be a rule against 3rd rail lines crossing at grade, or is this situation grandfathered for these specific cases in Chicago and NYC?
  by lanoitarus
 
HenryAlan wrote:I've wondered about this idea, too, envisioning a light rail line running from Needham to Forest Hills, where people could then transfer either to OL or one of the other NEC branch lines. Cheaper and easier would be a DMU line serving as a frequent shuttle. I'm not sure what the downsides are, other than it not being quite as good as a single seat ride.
BART out in SF is doing something vaguely similar with the eBART DMU extension -- they're building a new platform past the current terminal that operates only as a cross-platform transfer, the main train pulls in on one side and a DMU is supposedly waiting on the other side. Feels like something vaguely similar might be feasible in Forest Hills either with the OL or the NEC itself; if the extra transfer came with the carrot of more frequent service I could see it being palatable.
  by CRail
 
Skokie Swift used to use overhead wire but has used 3rd Rail for at least a decade now, and it has lots of grade crossings. Once incident does not necessarily admonish an entire concept. Cars get into wrecks and we still drive them.
  by deathtopumpkins
 
Chicago has plenty of grade crossings on rapid transit:

Skokie Swift: https://goo.gl/maps/2PcGgH7NVTv" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (suburan arterial)

Brown line: https://goo.gl/maps/a53AVrYCtnq" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (urban street)

Pink line: https://goo.gl/maps/ZnJFz3L4Yp82" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (major state highway)

All are just protected by standard crossing gates. If anything they're actually safer than most other railroad crossings, given that CTA operators see a signal that lets them know the gates are down far enough in advance that they can stop before the crossing, and the shorter stopping distance vs railroad equipment means they are far more likely to be able to stop in time if there's a vehicle blocking the tracks.

Plus there's the countless crossing in third rail territory on Metro-North and LIRR. And other subway systems in the US have private grade crossings, protected with standard railroad crossing gates (e.g. Baltimore Metro at Old Court).

Grade crossings are allowed on rapid transit and/or with third rail. They're not ideal, but they're allowed.