• Framingham/Worcester 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

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  by Rockingham Racer
 
I thought I saw a video of a Keolis person who stated there are plans for a new CP 6.
  by dbperry
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:I thought I saw a video of a Keolis person who stated there are plans for a new CP 6.
CP 6 is replacing CP 4. No net gain in crossovers. CP 4 essentially displaced by Boston Landing station.
  by nomis
 
A theoretical CP16 would be a game changer for the line, especially with Cabs inside Framingham and Class IV speeds.

My dream is to see a triple track railroad from CP11 to CP16 (or CP 21/22) ... Comes with it rebuilt High Level Wellesley stations, or even HIgh Level Naticks
  by dbperry
 
nomis wrote:A theoretical CP16 would be a game changer for the line, especially with Cabs inside Framingham and Class IV speeds.

My dream is to see a triple track railroad from CP11 to CP16 (or CP 21/22) ... Comes with it rebuilt High Level Wellesley stations, or even HIgh Level Naticks
I'll start the $1 billion Kickstarter campaign today
  by BandA
 
This line was previously quad-tracked. Part of the row was either sold or leased or encroached on in Wellesley. Anyone know the status?
  by csor2010
 
BandA wrote:This line was previously quad-tracked. Part of the row was either sold or leased or encroached on in Wellesley. Anyone know the status?
Fairly certain that the whole ROW is intact between Weston & Framingham, though some of the station platforms may need to be reconfigured to accommodate a return to that configuration. Off the top of my head, the only structure that constrains the line west of Riverside is the bridge over "new" 128; even the bridge over the old 128 alignment (now the turnpike exit ramps) is quad-tracked. Triple tracking would be comparatively easy and would mainly need bridge rehab and rearranging the track centers.
  by dbperry
 
I agree, I'm not aware of any major encroachments or major obstacles for a return to triple or quad track from Framingham to Route 128. The electrical shed for the stormwater pumps in Natick Center is on the west side of the location of the switch for the old Saxonville Industrial branch that led to the north. That shed might encroach into the space needed for triple track but the shed is RR owned, so it isn't really a legal encroachment. It's protected by yellow bollards in some of the videos and pictures here:
http://dbperry.weebly.com/blog/the-epic ... k-flooding" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by The EGE
 
The plan for Natick Center calls for an island platform with a freight/intercity passing track; while it's a few years off, that will likely be done long before there's any need to triple-track the line.
  by BandA
 
A car float and an island platform should solve the flooding problem in Natick :-D

I assume that nothing has been done about designing the three Newton stations. I would assume island platforms would be impossible for those stations. Putting the high-level platform back in Back Bay should be very easy, just plop down concrete and adjust the elevator stops/doors.
  by dbperry
 
Natick Center conceptual plan:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150930204 ... /View/1252" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Presumably a passing track in Natick Center with a center platform would be a huge problem for our speculative 'third track,' which probably wouldn't work anyway. The best place for the third track would be between the existing two tracks. Similar to MetroNorth or NJ Transit territory where the expresses run in the middle where there are no platforms and the locals stay on the outside tracks to stop at the platforms. Major stations have multiple center islands (i.e. New Haven or Stamford) to serve many tracks. A hodge podge of center platforms and side platforms would be less than ideal for efficiently routing trains.

But a third track would require rebuilding every station, so maybe put the third track from CP 21 to CP 11 on the north side and make all the Natick and Wellesley stations similar to the proposed Natick Center station - center platform for two "southern" tracks plus the third 'freight passing / express' track on the north side with no platforms. Essentially flip the current Natick Center conceptual "option 2" and put the freight track on the north side since it should be on the north side for West Natick & Wellesley Hills. Problem is that the Natick Center freight track is already track 2 on the southern side - it has a depressed railbed to maintain freight height clearance for the Natick Center bridges.

Auburndale is the only Newton station with a conceptual plan right now, and it's even worse. One platform on track 1 side only - opposite from where current platform is for all three Newtons on track 2.

Auburndale conceptual plan:
http://www.wickedlocal.com/article/2013 ... /307189299" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by BandA
 
Thank you Dave for the links. I don't know much about Natick station; I've been to a rock concert in Natick square and to the Natick Outdoor Store (I hope it hasn't changed - it was excellent when I went there). That conceptual plan has low-res pictures. It looks like Natick Wants Whatever Yawkey Has Plus a Center Platform and A Rail Trail. Acutally a direct rail trail connection would be sweet.
dbperry wrote: --snip-- http://www.wickedlocal.com/article/2013 ... /307189299" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Auburndale is the only Newton station with a conceptual plan right now, and it's even worse. One platform on track 1 side only - opposite from where current platform is for all three Newtons on track 2.
The link for Auburndale is less revealing. What conceptual plan? Article states the T has a 30% plan and is working on a 60% plan. I can't find any plan! Here is a link to some (yuck) pictures from what I am guessing is the T's architect http://www.fmarchitecture.com/project/a ... l-station/Have to agree, a single side platform was quite adequate for 1962 level of service.

The biggest problems with the Newton stations is the lack of fare equity with the D-Riverside Highland Branch, which is located in higher-income neighborhoods than the main line stations but have fares 1/3 of Auburndale Zone-2 despite traveling a longer distance to Boston. Can't build ridership with fares that are higher than the all-in cost of driving.

Auburndale station is the only one in Newton with room to more-or-less easily install two ADA side-platforms. The platforms would have to be east of the curve? Widening the highway bridge over the tracks could allow a stub-end green line track to be brought out to meet the mainline at Auburndale. Once CR fares are made closer to rabid-transit and express-bus fares, demand will soar. Layover track(s) could be installed west of Riverside for short-turn trains. As the Turnpike Authority sold their land to Liberty Mutual, there is no good options for parking for an expanded Auburndale station unless Newton builds a garage over their municipal lot.

West Newton. I think can accommodate two ADA-compliant side platforms. Tighter than Auburndale. Tangent track. Parking lot.

Newtonville. Can an elevator bridge + plus stairs be built to access the track 2 platform? The platform is only about 12-15 feet wide. The old NYC/B&A era track 1 low-level platform is just sitting there mocking us with it's quality construction, unused for fifty-four years. Other option would be an underpass to reach the track 2 platform, but that would require monitored security cameras. A center platform would require complete rebuilding of two bridges, undercutting the RR tracks, replacing the granite retaining wall, possibly large diameter water pipe, main conduits for the telephone exchange and electrical utilities.

Side platforms would be easier to build for the three Newton stations. LED signs could announce track assignments "INBOUND TO BOSTON TRACK 2 15 MIN - OUTBOUND TO FRAMINGHAM 25 MIN" "OUTBOUND TO WORCESTER TRACK 1 20 MIN" instead of "inbound" and "outbound" platforms.
  by nomis
 
Today should start a new analysis of the schedules, all remaining slow orders for the track work are now complete. The only one left is the one for Boston Landing @ CP4.
  by Komarovsky
 
nomis wrote:Today should start a new analysis of the schedules, all remaining slow orders for the track work are now complete. The only one left is the one for Boston Landing @ CP4.
That's my plan going forward, in 6 weeks we'll see what's changed.
  by millerm277
 
BandA wrote:The biggest problems with the Newton stations is the lack of fare equity with the D-Riverside Highland Branch, which is located in higher-income neighborhoods than the main line stations but have fares 1/3 of Auburndale Zone-2 despite traveling a longer distance to Boston. Can't build ridership with fares that are higher than the all-in cost of driving.
I'd suggest you have the right issue, but wrong comparison.

I'd say the reason people don't ride the train from the Newton stop is competition from the bus. For example, the 553/554 will get you from those Commuter Rail stops to Downtown Boston in <30 min for $4.00 or a $128/month pass, and it runs more frequently (without even considering various parallel/near parallel 55x buses in the area) than the train does and with less awkward schedule gaps in rush hour. Why would I pay $6.25 or $6.75 for worse service? And why would I pay $70-85 a month more for a pass? And those trains aren't exactly uncrowded by the time they hit Newton, so the comfort arguments aren't necessarily true either.

The D Branch is a long haul in the morning. You're talking 40min to Copley/Back Bay and longer to Downtown. I don't know that there's that many people riding it who would be swayed by cheaper Commuter Rail fares. I imagine most live nearby, are going to somewhere it serves better (such as Longwood Medical) or are coming from the highway to utilize the plentiful parking (Woodland doesn't typically fill IIRC) that doesn't exist at the Newton stops.
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