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#1 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:46 AM

I know little about Beanburg, so will rely heavily here on our fine friends in the northeast for contributions. I'm sure they'll come through for us. I'll start scanning Boston media and do what I can, but this one's really on the eastoids. L.A. Rail News Updates was pretty popular, and I'm hoping this topic will prove no less so. Though of course rail is the main subject, we'd also like to hear stuff of general interest in the Greater Beanburg area, like CHOWDAH!!

To get the ball rolling, it's my understanding that America's first subway was in Boston.
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#2 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:34 PM

Okay this one's just in here because apparently the governor of Massachussetts is named Patrick. Couldn't resist. I'll try to curb my enthusiasm in the future.

From The Boston Globe:

Patrick, other governors to see Obama
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#3 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 12:08 PM

This article reports that a Cape Rail train ran from Cape Cod to the Middleboro/Lakeville MBTA Commuter Rail station earlier this week, and there will be a proposal in a few weeks to start regular service on that route; no indication of when that regular service might start.

I think they really ought to offer one seat rides from Cape Cod to South Station (and don't care whether Cape Rail or MBCR runs those trains), but in the short term, I suspect track capacity is an issue; at JFK/Umass station (where there are four Red Line tracks at the platforms), there's only one Commuter Rail track, and all Middleboro/Lakeville, Plymouth/Kington, and Greenbush trains, both inbound and outbound, have to share that single track.

Cape Rail currently runs tourist trains (including dinner trains) and freight (mostly hauling trash out of Cape Cod); if regular service starts by the time of the Gathering and dinner is offered on the Cape Rail trains that connect to the MBTA Commuter Rail system, we might want to think about that as a dinner option; on the other hand, there are an awful lot of ifs there.

#4 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:08 PM

This article reports that a Cape Rail train ran from Cape Cod to the Middleboro/Lakeville MBTA Commuter Rail station earlier this week, and there will be a proposal in a few weeks to start regular service on that route; no indication of when that regular service might start.

I think they really ought to offer one seat rides from Cape Cod to South Station (and don't care whether Cape Rail or MBCR runs those trains), but in the short term, I suspect track capacity is an issue; at JFK/Umass station (where there are four Red Line tracks at the platforms), there's only one Commuter Rail track, and all Middleboro/Lakeville, Plymouth/Kington, and Greenbush trains, both inbound and outbound, have to share that single track.

Cape Rail currently runs tourist trains (including dinner trains) and freight (mostly hauling trash out of Cape Cod); if regular service starts by the time of the Gathering and dinner is offered on the Cape Rail trains that connect to the MBTA Commuter Rail system, we might want to think about that as a dinner option; on the other hand, there are an awful lot of ifs there.

Alright Joel! Thanks for the contribution, and don't make it the last one, okay? Exactly what we're looking for here at Boston Rail News Updates. Hadn't even considered a dinner train option.
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#5 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 10:55 PM

Hadn't even considered a dinner train option.


Here is one with Budd RDCs in Newport, RI that is already operational.

On the same track segment, the Old Colony & Newport Scenic Railroad also operates. Their membership page suggests that they're quite railfan friendly, and even have had some of RailFanLNK's coworkers as working members.

I don't think I have any experience riding the above (unless I did in the mid to late 80s and don't remember; I've certainly been to Newport on several occasions).

The problem with getting to Newport is that the rail bridge to Aquidneck Island was damaged in 1980 and as never been fixed (which is probably what has made the above railroads possible), but I think RIPTA offers a bus ride from Providence, less than a 15 minute walk from the train station, which probably runs hourly and takes an hour to get from Providence to Newport or something like that.

#6 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:57 PM

Although this doesn't strictly qualify as "news," since making my Gathering travel plans I've been checking out this MBTA fan website. Some history, railfanning tips (photo permits not required since 2007), and photo tours of the individual lines. Not updated recently, but still useful and fun.

MBTA Railfan Page
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#7 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 09:19 PM

Here's some actual newslike stuff, from the Boston Globe:

Tough times could test loyalty to public transit

At the end is a bit about yanking all but a couple seats from a couple of Red Line cars as part of a rush hour pilot program.
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#8 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 10:31 PM

At the end is a bit about yanking all but a couple seats from a couple of Red Line cars as part of a rush hour pilot program.


There's plenty of track capacity for more trains. The published schedule says the Red Line's most frequent headways are 4.5 minutes, and I've seen people saying that if the downtown block layout was redone, they could run more frequent service.

(I do wonder how fast trains could turn around at Alewife if they really tried to run 3 minute headways on the northern part of the system, though. There are two platform tracks where the trains reverse direction, and the crossover just inbound of the platform is at grade. Then again, maybe 3 minutes actually is doable.)

#9 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 08:24 AM

Wracked by insomnia, I decided to do something at least quasi-productive, so shuttled through the Boston Globe website for Boston Rail News Update material of a fairly recent nature.

Commuters stick with T despite decline in gas prices

Think big on transportation (editorial)

Advocate: T bus drivers are rude (unlike other cities, where all is sweetness and light)
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#10 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 07:12 PM

Yes, the Silver Line is a bus route, but this article also highlights (lowlights?) the apparently sorry state of MBTA finances.

Silver Line faces loss of funding for last link
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#11 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 10:04 PM

Yes, the Silver Line is a bus route, but this article also highlights (lowlights?) the apparently sorry state of MBTA


I am opposed to the Silver Line Phase III tunnel. If they want to build a subway tunnel of that length, building a new southern branch of the Orange Line from approximately Tufts Medical Center Station to the corner of Mass Ave and Washigton Street near BU Medical Center would be about the same tunnel length, and would trainstitute the majority of the length of the MBTA's most popular bus route. (They really ought to build it all the way to Dudley Square in the long run, but you've got to start somewhere.)

The MBTA planners' other favorite tunnel project, the Urban Ring, is also something that just does not strike me as a good use of money in its current form. (But it would provide a tunnel through the area where many Harvard affiliated hospitals are.)

To give a little background, the route from Back Bay to Forest Hills and beyond to Readville was once planned to be an Interstate Highway. Buildings were demolished to make room. Then the start of the highway revolts lead to that highway construction being canceled.

They decided that, in addition to running commuter rail / Amtrak through there, they'd run the Orange Line through there. The Orange Line south of what is now Tufts Medical Center used to run on elevated track along Washington Street at least as far as Dudley Square, and continued all the way to Forest Hills as elevated track. The MBTA has also ``temporarily'' suspended a part of the E branch of the Green Line that essentially ran to Forest Hills. The ``temporarily suspended'' (for 20+ years and counting now) part of the E branch ran entirely in automobile lanes, which really does strike me as non-ideal. (Because of where the turning loop is located, a small part of the E branch still runs in the automobile lanes. It probably would be a good thing for us to all see during the Gathering.)

The T must have figured that by building the new portion of the Orange Line halfway between the Orange Line section they wanted to rip down and the ``temporarily suspended'' part of the E branch, they had adequate substitute service. However, if the relocated Orange Line is really an adequate substitute for the former Orange Line and E branch service, one has to wonder why the most popular MBTA bus route (by weekday boardings) is the one from Dudley Square towards the center of the subway system along the former Orange Line route, and the second most popular MBTA bus route is the one that covers the ``temporarily suspended'' section of the E branch.

Edited by Joel N. Weber II, 13 December 2008 - 12:04 AM.


#12 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 06:51 PM

Headed for bankruptcy?

T approaching dire financial straits

Edited by AlanB, 14 December 2008 - 07:24 PM.
Updated link so that people arrive on page 1 and not page 2

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#13 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 07:36 PM

Thank you, Alan, for correcting my error.
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#14 jis

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 09:30 AM

Headed for bankruptcy?

T approaching dire financial straits

Seen the financial situation that New York MTA is in lately, or for that matter even NJTransit? T's financial problems are peanuts compared to MTA's. And just like New York, Boston will figure out some combination of fare increases and funding sources to keep on going. There is next to zero chance that T will get shut down due to bankruptcy.

#15 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 09:07 PM

Possible transport pick stirs criticism

It'd be interesting to see opinions on this subject from some of our Greater Beanburg friends.
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#16 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 10:01 PM

Possible transport pick stirs criticism

It'd be interesting to see opinions on this subject from some of our Greater Beanburg friends.


I don't really know enough about these guys to say anything useful.

#17 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:41 PM

Many awaiting movement on Green Line extension

This is a column, not a news story.

T riders take the bad news first

Fairmount Line.
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#18 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:00 PM

T riders take the bad news first

Fairmount Line.


And I won't be surprised if in 10 years they end up having to redo all that work if this country undergoes major rail expansion and people realize that running all the Amtrak trains into the North South Rail Link via the Fairmount Line makes perfect sense, and therefore the Fairmount Line will need two express tracks for Amtrak and two local tracks connected to all the platforms. I haven't seen any evidence that the current work is planning for the possibility that there will ever be more than two tracks again on the Fairmount Line (though my understanding is that once upon a time, it was quad track).

#19 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:08 PM

This article talks about live music in the subway system.

Edited by Joel N. Weber II, 21 January 2009 - 10:08 PM.


#20 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 06:54 PM

MBTA gives a nod to the old West End.

I don't know this stuff. A mere conduit.
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