• Boston South Station Lower Level Loop

  • 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 cytotoxictcell
 
HA
I know this topic is old, but how did the new haven railroad turn the locomotives around? like when they arrived at South Station how did they turn the locomotive around to head back south?
  by theseaandalifesaver
 
Is it true that there is an unused lower level Commuter Rail platform at South Station?
  by The EGE
 
There was a lower level loop, intended for commuter trains, but it was abandoned after it filled up with smoke because the New Haven had not electrified its commuter operations. Most of it is destroyed after the reconstruction recently, and there's no way to use it for expanded capacity.
  by theseaandalifesaver
 
Do any pictures exist?
  by The EGE
 
I only know of one picture available on the internet, available on Wikipedia:

Image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:South ... l_loop.jpg

3rdrail knows where all the old pictures are; there may be some available form the State Transportation Library or the Boston Public Library.
  by theseaandalifesaver
 
Is that what it looks like present day? Is there still rail down there? Was it ever used?
  by TomNelligan
 
As Mr. Ege notes, the remnants of the lower level loop at South Station disappeared during the major reconstruction of the building in the 1980s. It was never used in regular service because of the smoke problem and the fact that the planned electrification of the New Haven's Boston commuter service never happened. The loop level space beneath South Station's waiting room was used for years as bowling alley, into the late 1960s at least, but the bowling alley had closed long before the rebuilding. The eastern portal of the tunnel that led to the loop lasted until the Big Dig construction; it was out near the Fort Point Channel bridge between the Shore Line and Old Colony tracks. The other portal had disappeared when the trackage that served the station's original baggage wing along Atlantic Avenue was removed about fifty years ago.
  by mtuandrew
 
cytotoxictcell wrote:HA
I know this topic is old, but how did the new haven railroad turn the locomotives around? like when they arrived at South Station how did they turn the locomotive around to head back south?
As far as I know, the New Haven had a balloon track in the vicinity of South Station with which to turn their locomotives.
  by amtrakowitz
 
mtuandrew wrote:
cytotoxictcell wrote:HA
I know this topic is old, but how did the new haven railroad turn the locomotives around? like when they arrived at South Station how did they turn the locomotive around to head back south?
As far as I know, the New Haven had a balloon track in the vicinity of South Station with which to turn their locomotives.
Correct. It was on the station's lower level.

Image
  by Charliemta
 
It was really shortsighted to eliminate the underground loop in years past, given that the NEC is now electrified and could have used it, as could an electrified Fairmount line. When the postal building is torn down, maybe the loop can be restored, although the building at the corner of Dorchester Ave and Summer Street would probably also have to be torn down (no big loss there!)
  by TomNelligan
 
By the time the approach tunnel on the B&A side of the station was removed circa 1960, it hadn't been used in about 60 years. Passenger service was a diminishing thing and at the time there was no prospect of either a revival or electrification, so no reasonable person would have foreseen a future use. When the remnants of the loop were removed in the mid-1980s, there wasn't enough of it left to even think of saving during the South Station reconstruction.
When the postal building is torn down, maybe the loop can be restored, although the building at the corner of Dorchester Ave and Summer Street would probably also have to be torn down (no big loss there!)
You'd also have to remove the very large I-90 tunnel that now occupies the space beneath the South Station approach tracks where the loop used to be. Some people might object to that.
  by jaymac
 
To add to all the other reasons the loop never would have been NEC-compatible are two more:
There is the lack of headroom. Except for the original AC, NH electrification was 3rd-rail or overhead 600v-DC. A look at the photo shows that while there was adequate clearance for trolley-voltage service, high-voltage catenary could not have been installed there because of flash-over.
The plans show tight-radius curves that would disallow high-level platforms, and, in all likelihood cause flange- and rail-wear problems, for Acelas and Amfleet equipment.
  by BostonUrbEx
 
For the cost of a SS sub-loop we could probably be halfway to North Station on the N-S Link.
  by Charliemta
 
You're right about that. It's probably not worth reestablishing at this point.

I'm thinking, though, that if the loop had been preserved, the bottom of it could have been excavated and lowered a few feet today to accomodate at least an electrified Fairmount line.