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Boston Considers Downeaster Link To South Station, East Coast Corridor

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That said, unless they electrified the DownEaster route you'd still have to change trains, or at least engines, in Boston.

But that would be much better than the cross-town self-transfer by a long shot.

Don't 448/449 use P42s? So why would the Downeaster need electrics?

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Wonder how many railfan BOS <> BON tickets would be sold ?

Interesting question. But I believe that BBY, BOS, and BON would probably be stations where a restriction is in place: no local travel between those stations. Downeaster does, though, allow travel within the commuter zone on the North Side: Anderson/Woburn, and Haverhill.

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Wonder how many railfan BOS <> BON tickets would be sold ?

I don't think many. It would be so much cheaper and easier to just catch the Green Line. Even with the novelty of a BOS to BON Downeaster, I don't think anyone would really find that ride worth it.

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Instead of spending mega bucks for a 2 track tunnel bores go by Grand crossing. That route can be revised so a direct connection from BOS to grand by way of a new connection and make grand a sealed corridor to connect to BON. Probably only 20% of cost of tunnel bores. Do see a problem with the diesel locos as they will either nose in at BOS or BON.

 

It will be much better to take the savings and rebuild, upgrade, and expand both Amtrak and MBTA services. Money could be used for upgrading WOR <> SPG ?

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Instead of spending mega bucks for a 2 track tunnel bores go by Grand crossing. That route can be revised so a direct connection from BOS to grand by way of a new connection and make grand a sealed corridor to connect to BON. Probably only 20% of cost of tunnel bores. Do see a problem with the diesel locos as they will either nose in at BOS or BON.

 

It will be much better to take the savings and rebuild, upgrade, and expand both Amtrak and MBTA services. Money could be used for upgrading WOR <> SPG ?

Could you please rewrite that in simpler English so that somewhat less brilliant common folks like us can actually stand a chance of understanding what you are trying to say please? :P Thanks.

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OK First a reversal at BOS is required to go from BOS to BON. Then equipment has to proceed almost to Beacon Park yard then reverse direction to travel on Grand. Equipment would pass the MBTA facility on one leg of the wye directly to BON then have to reverse to become a Downeaster. Or proceed on other leg of wye and then back into BON.

 

If a direct connection at Beacon Park was built then equipment could much faster travel between stations. If a diesel is attached to NER train at BOS then if train noses into BON using this proposed solution the limitation of no diesel s near station BON is applied.

 

Grand needs all grade crossings to be eliminated for higher speeds or for any backing move over it becomes operated at restricted speeds. Understand at present ferry moves take over an hour to traverse this connection at present.

 

Downeasters usually approach BON with diesels on far end of train. Then if train could go directly to BOS but have not seen diesels go to stops at BOS ? Then the extra cars for NERs could be backed onto train by an ACS-64.

 

It is a complicated problem.

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You would be able to walk from BOS to BON before the train makes it from BOS to BON :D

 

How would one go about eliminating grade crossing on the line through Cambridge by MIT?

Edited by jis

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You would be able to walk from BOS to BON before the train makes it from BOS to BON :D

 

How would one go about eliminating grade crossing on the line through Cambridge by MIT?

Pretty much true. It's about a mile. Obviously, the N-S Rail link is the preferred solution here as opposed to changing directions 3 times.

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Maine to New York trains could go via Lowell, Ayer, and Worcester.

I don't think Maine has the population density to support high frequencies, so it would be better to utilize the few trains that run there to serve both Boston and New York. Besides, Amtrak is only a small part of the North-South Rail Link when compared to MBTA, whereas your proposed routing would probably have to be built just for Amtrak. Lowell would be roundabout, but passengers could easily travel from Maine to Worcester via just one transfer in Downtown Boston if South and North stations are connected.

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Downeaster does, though, allow travel within the commuter zone on the North Side: Anderson/Woburn, and Haverhill.

 

You cannot travel WOB-BON or BON-WOB on the Downeaster, WOB is discharge only southbound and receive only northbound.

 

You are correct about Haverhill though, you could take either the Downeaster or the purple line to get there.

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Thanks for the correction! Haverhill business is somewhat brisk, I think. Beats riding on a clunky T train that stops at everyone's back door.

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Maine to New York trains could go via Lowell, Ayer, and Worcester.

I don't think Maine has the population density to support high frequencies, so it would be better to utilize the few trains that run there to serve both Boston and New York. Besides, Amtrak is only a small part of the North-South Rail Link when compared to MBTA, whereas your proposed routing would probably have to be built just for Amtrak. Lowell would be roundabout, but passengers could easily travel from Maine to Worcester via just one transfer in Downtown Boston if South and North stations are connected.

 

This would be a cheaper alternative. It would also give Worcester a direct train to NYC.

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You do know that Pan Am's Worcester Main is a 10 MPH railroad, don't you? That's the worst of it between Lowell Jct and Worcester, but the rest of it isn't much better. I don't think Amtrak would dare to put one of their trains on it! ;)

 

The plan is to run more trains via the Inland Route, since the Shore Line is maxed out. That will give Worcester lots more access to NYC than it has now, fortunately.

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Maine to New York trains could go via Lowell, Ayer, and Worcester.

I don't think Maine has the population density to support high frequencies, so it would be better to utilize the few trains that run there to serve both Boston and New York. Besides, Amtrak is only a small part of the North-South Rail Link when compared to MBTA, whereas your proposed routing would probably have to be built just for Amtrak. Lowell would be roundabout, but passengers could easily travel from Maine to Worcester via just one transfer in Downtown Boston if South and North stations are connected.

This would be a cheaper alternative. It would also give Worcester a direct train to NYC.
It would be cheaper, but the cost per passenger would be much higher. The line connecting that used by the Downeaster to Worcester would have to be upgraded, and CSX approval would have to be gained from Worcester to Springfield. Meanwhile, only a select number of Amtrak passengers would benefit. The tunnel through Boston would benefit even more Amtrak passengers as well as a large number of MBTA passengers and would likely even reduce operating costs.

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You do know that Pan Am's Worcester Main is a 10 MPH railroad, don't you? That's the worst of it between Lowell Jct and Worcester, but the rest of it isn't much better. I don't think Amtrak would dare to put one of their trains on it! ;)

 

The plan is to run more trains via the Inland Route, since the Shore Line is maxed out. That will give Worcester lots more access to NYC than it has now, fortunately.

 

That unfortunately would eliminate BOS <> inland route station service. That is a non starter IMHO

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Looks like the N-S Link is the only way. I think with good marketing and connection Boston South, there could be many seasonal extra trains especially if Maine had bus companies sell tour connections.

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You do know that Pan Am's Worcester Main is a 10 MPH railroad, don't you? That's the worst of it between Lowell Jct and Worcester, but the rest of it isn't much better. I don't think Amtrak would dare to put one of their trains on it! ;)

 

The plan is to run more trains via the Inland Route, since the Shore Line is maxed out. That will give Worcester lots more access to NYC than it has now, fortunately.

 

That unfortunately would eliminate BOS <> inland route station service. That is a non starter IMHO

 

I don't think so. The Lake Shore Limited already runs between Springfield and Boston on CSX and MBTA tracks on the route. It's just a matter of adding more Inland Route trains in the future, which is part of the MassDOT plan. The proposed Boston-Montreal train would also use those tracks.

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Having done the transfer from BOS or BBY to BON by the T, a connection from South to North Station would be a lot faster, and I personally think could bring more folks up to Maine. If Amtrak sees the Downeaster doing better ridership wise perhaps it can provide a better profit margin, with an easier one seat ride to NYP/NWK/PHL/WAS

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Having done the transfer from BOS or BBY to BON by the T, a connection from South to North Station would be a lot faster, and I personally think could bring more folks up to Maine. If Amtrak sees the Downeaster doing better ridership wise perhaps it can provide a better profit margin, with an easier one seat ride to NYP/NWK/PHL/WAS

Welcome to AU... :)

 

You are absolutely correct, but I believe 'that ship sailed', when they had not taken the opportunity to do just that during the construction of "The big dig", several years ago...

It would probably be prohibitively costly to do it now.... :unsure:

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Speculation of the politics. Is this mainly BOSTON politicians being able to say we have the connection ? Would not expect for many commuters to cross over to far station as Orange and Green lines provide better service to jobs ? For Amtrak riders the few that need to carry on would be the double reverse by Grand crossing if there was a direct connection from Grand to the inbound B&A tracks. The Down-easter and other trains in future would push into BON then pull into BOS then a regional could back onto the DE cars and pull toward NYP. From NYP loco would back onto the rear of a Regional go to wye and back into BON then pull DE.

 

The money needed for the tunnel connection could do much better for other projects, Building the Grand connection listed above, buying and double main tracks to Springfield, expansion of NEC capacity, Electrifying the Fairfield line, and other MBTA projects desperately needed. In meantime left over funds could start engineering and environmental work. Meanwhile the actual demand for traffic between stations would be assessed. Another point is how the OBS service for the DE could possibly be resolved.

Before a direct connection 'Grand to B&A there would be no reason that some trains arriving BON could pull trains Springfield - New Haven for connections to NE regionals. Connecting at New Haven will probably be required until CT DOT finishes replacing all the draw bridges New haven - Shell due to the capacity restraints caused by 2 tracking over each draw during replacements.

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You do also have to take into consideration the fact that the Downeaster is state funded and operated, and operates push-pull, unlike all the other Amtrak trains that serve Boston, which might complicate things if equipment is you have through cars or through service with a Regional.

Edited by cpotisch

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They operate push pull because there's no easy way to turn the trains at North Station. Extending Downeasters to South Station would allow them to go to Southampton Yard, and around the loop there in order to head north.

Edited by Palmetto

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