paulrail1
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Joined: December 17th, 2005, 6:08 am

December 7th, 2007, 1:38 pm #31

Unless the mainline between Braintree is double tracked to Boston, there is no way that the "Middleboro/Lakeville" route could become reality.
Right now with the Greenbush Line now sharing the mainline to Boston with the Kingston/Plymouth and Middleboro/Lakeville Lines, it is at maximum capacity. In fact, the K/P and M/L trains are now experiencing late arrivals for the firt-time due to the addition of the Greenbush trains. Commuters on those lines that opened in 1997 are not happy.
My friend, John Brennan, former Director of Commuter Rail for the MBTA in the 1990s, asked his Engineering Department to do an estimate of double-tracking the track from Braintree to Boston. Halfway from Braintree the cost was estimated at about one hundred million dollars;...the estimate was then shelved. Remember, the extension of the T's heavy rail rapid transit "Red" line to Quincy, and later to Braintre, used up the old New Haven RR RofW. Fortunately, one track was left in for freight service;...if this had not been done, we probably not have the restored three "legs" of the Old Colony Service on the South Shore.
The existing roadbed of the Stoughton-Easton-Taunton route is the only sensible and feasible way to go. The critters in the Hockamock Swamp existeted for over a hundred years with steam and diesel engines passing through the Swamp with no problemas at all. This is one of the "phoney" issues the anti-rail people are in a snit about. Basically it's NIMBYISM, period! (can you say "Greenbush?)
There is a huge market for rail just from the Easton, Raynham and Taunton alone;...Freetown, Berkely, New Bedford and Fall River are also large population centers for use of commuter rail. The Stoughton route was studied at the cost of millions of dollars and was selected for the construction of the rail route in 2003. It met all environmental standards. But the project was never funded by the wimps on Beacon Hill.....plop!
Now, three years later, we are starting the whole process all over again at a cost of more millions of dollars! This is totally outrageous!
Now, who knows what will happen!
Paul
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PCook
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PCook
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Joined: November 27th, 2005, 10:00 pm

December 7th, 2007, 1:59 pm #32

Paul, in my earlier posting I should clarify that the discussion (actually started by Rep. Quinn at the meeting) was the travel time comparison of driving your car to Middleboro Lakeville station to go into Boston from there, versus direct service from New Bedford to Boston entirely by rail via Stoughton or the other less attractive alternatives (routes via Attleboro and Middleboro both take longer).
The "Green Test" for the Federal permitting did not exist at the time of the previous studies, it does now, and that was identified as being the primary reason why it is all having to be done over again now. I certainly agree with you it would have been a lot easier (and vastly less expensive) if this had been done ten years ago.
They now have more than 40 possible options "under study" ranging from the previous Stoughton line favorite to things that are totally strange. Curiously one of the rail line charts with possible routes that was shown last night included the old Middleboro-Myricks line that was abandoned in the 1930s and is now totally encroached by a golf course and many homes. It also showed the Taunton to Mansfield line that has never been under active discussion as far as I can remember.
PC
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:21 am

December 7th, 2007, 7:23 pm #33

Mansfield to Taunton would be a bit of a trick as the junction at Mansfield is just plain gone, the RoW is a large sewer main to the treatment plant in Norton, and it's a bike path through Mansfield, as well.
Supposedly, the State offered to build a new connection to the Shore Line from Taunton when they put in the Rt. 106 underpass in Mansfield (severing the line to Taunton in the process). I guess they were going to put it along the future path of I-495 and connect it just East of West Mansfield. But the NH said, "No thanks." (this according to my ex-neighbor, who's father was a civil engineer for the NH, PC, CR, etc., who told his bosses they'd be sorry some day). Oh, well.
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paulrail1
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Joined: December 17th, 2005, 6:08 am

December 8th, 2007, 1:19 am #34

I realize,...and it was known at the time the first FEIR was appoved, the line could not be built with Federal money, due to the Feds' stricter environmental standards being involved. The State wanted to construct the Line only with State money.
However, with some creative solutions (it does happen, you know) for raising additional funding to add to state bond money, the project could have been completed without Federal money. But the politically correct milktoasts on Beacon hill did not have the balls to even explore the option of creative financing;"...can't offend the NIMBYS of course"! So now it appears that the only option is to use Federal money for the construction of the line.
Even if they "could" rebuild the Myricks to Middleboro route, you still have the single track problem between Boston and Braintree.
Sigh......
Paul
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PCook
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PCook
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Joined: November 27th, 2005, 10:00 pm

December 8th, 2007, 8:42 am #35

I have gone through the ridership projections and it looks to me like the project as presently envisioned would fail the "green test". It would not be more energy efficient than the same number of people driving their own cars between the same points. The thing that drags it down is the low number of riders in off-peak hours between New Bedford / Fall River and Taunton. The extra twenty miles to both cities with very few people on board hurts the performance significantly.
There are only two ways I can see to make it pass muster. One would be to terminate at South Taunton (near Route 24 and Route 140) and run lighter transportation (probably buses) to NB/FR. But this area is already a traffic mess, having a railroad station with commuter bus traffic there would be an even bigger mess. The other alternative would be to service New Bedford and Fall River on the same line to increase the rider load per train on the south end. This would probably require resurrecting "Alternative Five" of the 1990s study, the use of the Dartmouth Industrial Secondary (Watuppa Branch) as an 80MPH high speed passenger rail line to connect New Bedford with Westport. To make that work you would need a station and layover yard in Westport between Route 6 and I-195, and the only viable station site in New Bedford would be the Building #19 property. Because of the extended running time to Fall River you would not be able to take trains into downtown New Bedford. I am sure the local New Bedford groups would not be in favor of this one, and everybody in Dartmouth would be livid about Faunce Corner Road becoming an 80MPH crossing. The local truck drivers somehow manage to collide with trains moving at walking speed over that crossing.
But like I said before, I am going to retire long before this thing happens, so maybe I should not worry about it.
PC
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chuck842
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Joined: June 29th, 2006, 5:18 pm

December 10th, 2007, 2:28 am #36

god i dont know if things can get worse. greenbush has been a clusterf**k since day 1.....everyday its something,and then the boston globe says give mbcr a 5 yr. extention. they smoke crack on morrisey boulevard.
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Noel Weaver
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Joined: February 18th, 2003, 2:23 am

December 10th, 2007, 2:48 am #37

I think Hyannis would be a much better destination for
commuter rail than either Fall River or New Bedford.
The tracks are in place and would need a bit of work but it
is a natural extension of the Middleboro service and would
serve an area that is lacking of decent public transit
unless you consider buses decent today. It would be a lot
less costly too.
Noel Weaver
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PCook
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PCook
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Joined: November 27th, 2005, 10:00 pm

December 10th, 2007, 11:44 am #38

Hyannis would certainly be massively less expensive to set up, but I suspect that it would also not pass muster for any Federal funding support due to the long run and the light passenger density in the last segment. Terminating at Wareham or Buzzards Bay might make it under the standards.
Just so everybody understands what we are talking about here, in order to add new service that meets the Federal test, the mode of transporation selected must be proven in a rather invoved study to be the most efficient one available for the anticipated passenger load. The big risk here is that you can start out wanting to extend a commuter rail operation and end up with a bus instead.
People keep getting upset with me on discussion groups when I explain the situation to them. I wasn't the one who wrote the rules. This is your government at work, and a lot more of this stuff is just around the corner.
PC
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Noel Weaver
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Joined: February 18th, 2003, 2:23 am

December 10th, 2007, 4:56 pm #39

The main reason that I said Hyannis rather than Buzzards
Bay is the congestion around the two bridges. Sometimes
they get backed up pretty bad.
I realize that we have little or nothing to say about the
matter but Hyannis should be considered most of the lower
and mid cape in this case.
Noel Weaver
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Joined: February 12th, 2006, 10:01 pm

December 11th, 2007, 4:08 am #40

While I see Hyannis service as being feasible and very logical, I sense a new set of roadblocks that haven't surfaced much with New Bedford, Fall River and Buzzards Bay.
That is a form of nimbyism somewhat unique to Cape Cod. It might be typified by the secret wish for established Cape Cod residents to have a RESIDENTS ONLY - CAPE COD CANAL TUNNEL ! (anybody see those permits on the back of vehicles?)
Seriously, while the Hinghamites on the Greenbush line objected to "TRAINS" in general, many Cape Cod residents genuinely object to "PEOPLE". Yes, many of them (rightly or wrongly) feel that now they're "IN", they have the right to keep all others "OUT". If you've spent much time vacationing on the Cape and socializing, you'll know what I'm referring to.
In short, there's going to be a lot of fighting to keep the trains off the Cape in order to keep more people from coming in. Such a struggle may make the anti-train efforts on the Greenbush line seem miniscule.
I'll end this post at the risk of being taken out of context by quoting my good friend, the late D. BEN MENNCH, of the Association of Railway Museums, whence he once said something like: "Todays generation drives around in their Mercedes's and BMWs and when they hear of MASS TRANSIT, they say: THAT'S JUST FOR OLD FOLKs, N_____s and PERVERTS".
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