• Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

  • 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 NH2060
MBTA and state officials have met with Foxboro about their interest in purchasing the freight tracks. And it looks like DMUs are part of the picture this time (Fair use quotes below):
"The service would go into Boston and return at the end of the day," Keegan said, adding there would be about eight round trips.
Keegan said the proposal calls for using a new type of train involving single motorized train cars.

"They are looking to create a small depot to house the units overnight," Keegan said, mentioning he thinks it would be near the site where Spooky World had been located behind Gillette Stadium that is used for maintenance related activities for the stadium.

http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/loc ... da9de.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by deathtopumpkins
Yet again the state's DMU fetish emerges.

Why do they have to shove DMUs down our throats on every single project, despite never actually explaining how they plan on acquiring them?

And they certainly don't make sense for Foxborough. If the service was planned as a shuttle meeting Franklin trains, sure, use DMUs, but they don't make sense for runs all the way into Boston.
  by BostonUrbEx
This news makes me wonder if the Foxboro service will be combined with Fairmount/Indigo service. This would save capacity on the Southwest Corridor. Perhaps they'll also make more express trains along the Franklin Line for regular locomotive-hauled trains.
  by NH2060
Literalman wrote:Running DMU shuttles between Foxborough and Walpole for some or all trips is part of optional scenarios in the feasibility study: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_pr ... p?id=20111
If they do go with the shuttle option there should be more than 8 RTs. Having one meet every train should be easy enough.
BostonUrbEx wrote:This news makes me wonder if the Foxboro service will be combined with Fairmount/Indigo service. This would save capacity on the Southwest Corridor. Perhaps they'll also make more express trains along the Franklin Line for regular locomotive-hauled trains.
That was also listed as one of the service scenarios. Locals would run to/from Foxboro and expresses would run to/from Franklin/Forge Park making local stops west of Walpole. Whether it would actually be run with DMUs all the way to/from Foxboro and South Station is yet another question. Going to Foxboro more than doubles the length of the Fairmount Line service area and as F-Line has pointed out there's only so much advantage DMUs have before push-pulls become the better option, especially if ridership were to escalate to the point that more than 3-4 DMUs would be needed per train. However IF the trains were to literally make every single stop (present and future stations included) on every single run then that would render the push-pulls less viable and with expresses as an option that would likely keep the longer, every-stop DMU runs less crowded.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
That is the stupidest application of DMU's ever.

They're doing this because the backpedal is officially on for every doing "Indigo" frequencies on Fairmount (and probably whittling down to every other line on that 2024 map). They see the +16 round trips to Foxboro in "Option C" of the F'boro study being the baseline Fairmount service, and anything Readville-turning just being straight (and very underwhelming) backfill for the off-peak. Instead of the 15-minute Fairmount frequencies being the baseline established FIRST on the Dorchester Branch and then 32 weekday to/from F'boro train movements just being breakaway runs fitted to in/amongst those Dorchester Branch headways...like this was supposed to be. Nope. You subsidize the suburbs, Dorchester...that's your only rail transit purpose in life.

And they're really buying into the fantasy that they can convince the public that unicorn vehicles = ¡SERVICE! without a backlash from a skeptical riding public who aren't getting fooled by that bait-and-switch again after the Silver Line. They're beyond hope if they really think that's going to fly.

And dear god...the seating arrangement--optimized for inside-128 trips--in those things isn't equipped to handle a 495 park-and-ride. Those are full trains out to Walpole when the bi-levels are in the majority. And watch how the demand's going to soar in Norwood and Dedham Corporate with 32 round trips instead of 16. You're gonna need six-packs to serve that route under any decent load. And you're gonna send a DMU with subway seating configuration to do that? Or 4 lashed-up intracity-configuration DMU's to do the work of a big honking rush hour set? Or pervert the schedule into some convoluted meet/express/i-don't-know-what monstrosity fitted to the vehicle type only--because they're so convinced the vehicle IS the service and that they have to sellsellsell that notion--when the max-build option on the F'boro feasibility study says +1 miles of double-tracking from Norwood Central to a little shy of Windsor Gardens + 1 universal crossover through Franklin layover squares ALL the meets for 2x the full-size push-pulls making all local stops out to Walpole? Really...we're gonna pull an intentional grounding on easy-build perfect harmony in conventional ops for some Rube Goldberg device justification for DMU's somewhere because they won't run DMU's on the actual routes they're basing their whole original justification for buying DMU's on.

Wow. Way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Seriously...Foxboro is such a gimme it's almost impossible to screw up as a vanilla commuter rail line overlaid on frequencies. So they had to go above and beyond the call to screw it up and kick a couple more legs out from under the Indigo service plan while they're at it. No wonder Davey quit this MassDOT clownshow with 2 months to spare. The inmates are officially back in charge of the asylum.
  by trainhq
Well, that was quite a rant! Overall, however, I'd say DMUs are unlikely to get out to Foxboro.
The problem with that location is that they need the NEC and Franklin line trains to go all the way out; any service at Foxboro would (likely) terminate there. They can't afford to send any
peak hour trains over to do that. They have to say they're looking at DMUs to mollify the various
people there seeking service. However, if they really did run them there, the T would be opening themselves up to other locations outside 128 who want DMUs there too, and I don't think that's something they want to do. Look for them to "study" it, and then quietly drop it.
  by Cosmo
What they should be looking at is bouncing DMU's between Framingham and Attleboro. I'm sure there are other routes that can be used to "connect the laterals," so to speak. F2A would be an easy one to start with.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Yuck. Other than Medfield Center the upper Framingham Secondary goes through a whole lotta nothing between Framingham and Walpole. The patronage would be abysmal. Boston MPO has a Route 27 corridor study about buses from Millis transfering into the Franklin LIne at either Norfolk or Walpole. If Foxboro happens...definitely Walpole instead of Norfolk. That actually does serve the population centers directly where the Framingham Sec. doesn't. And is close enough that a Millis-Medfield-Walpole bus schedule timed for every train stopping at Walpole would get good utilization. I don't really see where a fixed rail route is going to do better. Even a dinky pinging up from Walpole then down what's left of the Millis Line has to go about 3-1/2 miles out of the way to approximate a bus doing Route 109 to Route 27 to Walpole station and wouldn't beat the bus nor pick up as many riders as the stops immediately on 109 and 27.

The state's only buying the upper FS because CSX said if they want the lower for Foxboro commuter rail they have to buy the whole thing and throw in some freight upgrade quid pro quo. It's still a critical freight route, and it's on the State Freight & Rail Plan as a 286K weight upgrade candidate. So their only interest in the upper half is facilitating just enough freight upgrades to stimulate future growth. It'll be like the PAR Worcester Branch trackage rights...good for non-revenue moves, under lock-and-key for future passenger, but any passenger use is decades away and very uncertain in potential makeup. There isn't enough of a mission statement to hang on it right now.
  by NH2060
Not all in Walpole are on board with Foxboro service (Fair use quote below):
As rumors of a possible expansion of the commuter rail service from Walpole to Foxboro spread, town officials say they fear the project would hurt Walpole’s economy and quality of life.

"A headache for the people of Walpole," is what State Rep.Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) called the proposed train that would travel daily through a freight line owned by CSX Transportation Corp. from Walpole to Gillette Stadium.

http://walpole.wickedlocal.com/article/ ... /141039045" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Oh, jeez. There's one stinking grade crossing in their entire town and the line spends 90% of its time in the middle of the swamp. Somebody quickly explain to these folks that a commuter rail train going 60 MPH on CWR on non-rotted ties and a properly ballasted railbed makes hardly any noise or vibration vs. a 10 MPH freight on jointed rail and complete garbage railbed, then never give them an audience to complain to ever again.
  by The EGE
I'd be 100% in favor of this if it came bundled with some, any, frequency increases on the Fairmount Line. They get five trains that come with less reliability and more crowded seats, for no benefit.
  by The EGE
The actual startup costs are minimum - it's the CapeFlyer model. 5 RTs extended from Readville isn't a lot of additional mileage, probably not difficult once all the bilevels and new locomotives are running. Rehabbing a couple miles of the Framingham Secondary will cost a few million at most. Not enough traffic to need to resignal the line, etc. The Foxboro station is already there and ready for trains.

So you take the CapeFlyer model and throw small projects as line items. A million or two to spruce up the platform, a couple million to get the line up to passenger speed, a couple million to build a second platform at Walpole, etc. They'll do some horse-trading with the town to get their approval - perhaps raising the existing platform (with a freight passing track) so the local pols get shiny things to show locals, etc. Walpole is one of the top few busiest non-accessible stations anyway; it would benefit everyone to get a rehab.
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