How to expand South Station without waiting several decades for the post office to move

Utile reports on an interesting proposal by a couple of Yale architecture students: Drain Fort Point Channel south of Summer Street and put the tracks underground there - under a brand-new South Station:

The benefit is a fully subterranean train station, allowing for the redevelopment of both the existing and new track areas for urban development that can knit the Leather District directly to the loft buildings in the Fort Point District.

Just as importantly, the new South Station headhouse will provide views north across Fort Point Channel and Boston Harbor to visitors first arriving in Boston. Only the train station in Venice provides a comparatively dramatic view. Commuters and visitors would find water taxis and ferries directly across Summer Street. Importantly, the new tracks and station could be built while the existing station is fully operational. With only a flip of a switch, trains could be directed into the new station, freeing up the old facility for demolition - except for the historic headhouse, which would be saved as part of a redevelopment plan.

Sounds cool, although, of course, there are some pesky details that would need some attention, beyond the whole idea of building a dam at Summer Street: Gillette uses vast amounts of water from Fort Point Channel at World Shaving Headquarters (although presumably that's why God gave us pipes) and part of the Ted Williams Tunnel goes right under the channel.

Bonus fun fact: There used to be a looped train tunnel under South Station, but it was only used once and later part of it became a bowling alley.



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That's a benefit?

The benefit is a fully subterranean train station

which has worked out so well for New York City.

Nice story,bro

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Who is going to pay for this? Congress? The Republican owned senate will approve? Dept. of Transportation? The president? The state? Yale University?

Ted Kennedy is gone. Tip O'Neil is gone. Our economy is bust and will be for some time to come, maybe a generation. And then there's memories of the big dig and $ to pay off. Don't get me wrong, it's a great idea. If it were 100+ years ago, America and Boston was still a happening place, and we had far less regulations and rules for this or that, I'd say go for it as long as of course the technology was available and cost effective, which it wasn't 100+ years ago for a project of this magnitude. America is a bankrupt country. No arguments, this is a true statement. The only thing that keeps us afloat is our dollar is still technically the world's reserve currency and our military is second to none and readily used as muscle to strong-arm those places around the world that don't want to be involved with too big to fail gigantic multinationals and the U.S governments pathological obsession with maintaining the dollars reserve status as long as least as long as 'til they leave office. When all this finally crashes to Earth, and it will, we're going to be a big version of Argentina, with a lot of 'quaint' infrastructure.

"The Republican owned

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"The Republican owned senate"

Other way around. Democrats have the majority in the Senate & Republicans in the House.

The House of Representatives does control the purse strings, less unconstitutional executive orders, as all spending bills must originate from there. However, a budget has not passed the Senate in 3-4 years because Harry Reid doesn't feel like doing his job and bringing any of the house passed House budgets to a vote or negotiation. So the country has been paying for everything in a series of half ass continuing resolutions.

Who is going to pay for this?

Who is going to pay for this? Congress? The Republican owned senate will approve? Dept. of Transportation? The president? The state? Yale University?

I recommend you stay away from transit-related forums like Arch Boston. The fanboys are constantly spending hundreds of millions/billions of dollars on extensions/new lines like Boston was Sim City. Why? Because it would be cool.


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Yeah especially the thread "Crazy Transit Pitches" he'll probably have a heart attack. Riverbank subway anyone?

"Riverbank subway"?

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I don't have time at the moment to check out that thread, but if "riverbank subway" is intended to mean something like the RER C in Paris, it's not a throwaway idea.

Nope, it's meant as a Blue Line extension

running from Gov't Ctr. to Charles, then under the esplinade to Kenmore Square, where it (depending on the proposal) either takes over the B Line (which becomes a subway to Packard's corner), or takes over the D Line (on the existing ROW). I'm a big fan of expanding rapid transit, but that particular idea, of putting a fourth subway running between downtown and Mass Ave. should never see the light of day.

Why does everything have to be connected?

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"for urban development that can knit the Leather District directly to the loft buildings in the Fort Point District."

I always wonder why it seems such a big deal to these development people and others that everything be directly connected to everything else, as if a city is supposed to be just one big expanse. I recall the same when the Big Dig depressed the Central Artery and it was considered great that the North End was now directly connected to Fanuil hall and Atlantic Ave and everything else in a visible way. I like it when there are enclaves of things. It gives a city its charm.

Before *any* expansion of

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Before *any* expansion of South Station, I'd like to see an analysis of how many trains per hour it currently serves per day, and how many it could serve if they did things like countries that know how to run a lot of trains efficiently.

I'm All For It

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I used to bowl in that bowling alley when I was a kid. I miss it greatly. So, if this results in another bowling alley forty or fifty years from now, then I say spare no expense!


Would the trains pull all the way into the staion?

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Or would I still have to walk two hundred giant steps from the end of the platform to get on the 9:15 home? Another poster had it right. Find out how it's done from countries where they know how it's done.

Interesting thought experiment

I hope it goes nowhere. The days of land fill in Boston should hopefully be long over. If it really becomes critical to expand the number of tracks at South Station before the Post Office vacates, it would be less expensive to build a second level on the existing footprint than it would be to fill in Fort Point and build everything from scratch.

Time for a Boston City Terminal Zone

Just like Jamaica Queens and the Atlantic Avenue Terminal in NYC, why does every train have to go all the way into Downtown Boston?

Old Colony trains could be turned around at JFK/UMass (with a beefed-up station, of course), and similarly Southwest Corridor trains at Forest Hills. Instead of having 10+ trains an hour trying to cram into South Station, just run shuttles every 10 minutes back and forth to South Station during peak time, with select other "thru" trains that don't terminate at JFK or Forest Hills.

Not a good idea...

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Turning around trains on the single-track section of the Old Colony at JFK/UMass or on the middle of the busy Northeast Corridor just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Maybe the inevitable massive ridership decline will cause enough trains to be cut to make it work. (Even in NYC, they're spending billions and billions so the Long Island Railroad can terminate more trains in Manhattan by going to Grand Central)