A new Mass Pike is coming to Allston


April 10 is the first public meeting on the Mass Pike Realignment -- a $260 million project to straighten the Pike in Allston. This will be a great project for drivers going through Allston. We need your help to make sure it's a great project for those of us living, walking, running and cycling in Allston.

Together, let's make this more than just a highway project. Let's create a "People's Pike" -- new parkland along the river, safe and welcoming new cycletracks, walking/jogging/biking connections that knit Allston back together, new public transportation (such as a new "West Station" commuter rail stop), and connect Allston to the Charles River, Cambridge, and beyond.

RSVP - https://www.facebook.com/events/588144094588730/

Thursday April 10, 6:30 pm
Jackson Mann Community Center
500 Cambridge Street, Allston

Follow the project on Twitter - https://twitter.com/PeoplesPike/

Join the Faceboook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeoplesPike/

For background on this project, read http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/allston_brighton/2013/10/photos_conc...



Free tagging: 


Just make sure

Just make sure you leave room for a four-track wide ROW for commuter rail and/or regional rail and/or rapid transit.

Voting is closed. 37

Not necessarily

Never, ever, ever doubt the state's ability to screw up. They could end up permanently restricting the ROW to two tracks' width.

Voting is closed. 24

I'm pretty sure it still belongs to CSX.

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It also carries an Amtrak run to Pittsfield, Albany and beyond to Chicago.

The commonwealth just cut a deal with CSX to eliminate dispatcher control from the division yard in Selkirk NY for the section between Boston and Worcester.

So any significant screw ups would probably need deft coordination from the several parties.

Voting is closed. 30


By on

The MBTA's owned the tracks to Framingham for years. CSX owned them between Framingham and Worcester until a couple of years ago, when the MBTA acquired that stretch. CSX dispatched the whole line until the sale of the Framingham-Worcester segment. The MBTA now dispatches the entire line.

Voting is closed. 26

The DOT pretty excited about that last August.

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I wonder why CSX posts those no trespassing signs at bridge crossings over 128 and elsewhere through Wellesley?

The DOT first ended up with much of the mess after the bankruptcy of the NY Central/New Haven RR in the early 70s.

I ride the line at least once a month and it sometimes pauses just east of the Wellesley Farms platform as I get ready to bail in Auburndale.

When I took the Amtrak run back here from Seattle in 2006 in the build up to the holiday season, the train sat near the Mass/NY border for hours due to some Selkirk dispatch priority.

I also wonder why the Commonwealth just went through such lengthy and expensive negotiations with CSX to get full dispatch control for something they already own.

This is what the T had to say on the matter as of 8/6/.2013.


Start Date: 8/6/2013

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced today that the MBTA and its Commuter Rail contractor (MBCR) have completed the final steps in their acquisition of the CSX rail lines on which Worcester/Framingham commuter trains travel, opening up the line to increased service opportunities for passengers “By taking over the dispatching duties this week, the state can now give absolute priority to passenger service along the line,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

Dispatching is among the final elements of the agreement between CSX and the Commonwealth, which took ownership of the railroad right-of-way last year. “Controlling operations and maintenance along the line is a critically important part of our concerted effort to not only improve reliability, but also increase service between the state’s two largest cities,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

But then, what do they know?

Voting is closed. 24

This is embarrassing.

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Every time we try to have a discussion about transit here, somebody weighs in with an opinion that's based on a false premise. You now have no credibility here. Well done.

Voting is closed. 18

Right of Way law and issues are pretty opaque.

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I was puzzled by it all last July as I wanted to do a photo set of that yard in working order but was pondering the approach.

CSX is fairly hostile to trespassers so one of the tricks in rail fan photo stuff is to figure out where to get your shots.

Then, on a trip out to Framingham in August, I looked out the window and it was gone. It had been there for nearly six decades of my life... now gone... poof.

When I got to Framingham, the whole thing was set up there in a yard they have alongside the east side Farm Pond. It has a funny temporary look but I got some great photos and will get back before long. It is where the daily produce run to Chelsea starts at 11:30p according to the CSX schedule.

Another interesting thing I saw was an avid clean out project with commuter rail crews in Natick restoring the ancient drainage systems there that hadn't seen much work in decades.

Freight companies don't bother with that stuff until forced to.

Thus, one might make conclusions based on observable things and still come up with confusion.

Looks like we're splitting the wrong difference here but learning resulted.

Voting is closed. 24

Can you please stop acting

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Can you please stop acting like you know anything about railroads?

Freight trains generally do NOT run on schedules. The Chelsea produce run does NOT leave Framingham at 11:30p.

And CSX is no more hostile to trespassers than you are, I'm sure. Railroads like CSX are private entities, and their tracks/yards/facilities are private property. I'm sure you would be pretty hostile toward someone who was in your yard, taking pictures of your house.

Not to mention the fact that I highly doubt you are trained in railroad safety.

Voting is closed. 47

Kinda shrill there.

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But that's okay.

Here's the url for the non existent schedule system that CSX doesn't have.


It's the shipment look up user interface.

You type in "Framingham" for Origin and "Chelsea" for Destination.

It'll prompt a question for Framingham or Framingham Center in a dialog box.

Click on Framingham.

Your good, hit submit.

And you'll get the daily run to Chelsea Produce docks.

I don't pretend to be an expert. It's just a thing I'm curious about and I have several google plus communities I belong to of rail fans who like the content.

Some railroads are actually interested in rail fans, notably Norfolk Southern, and work on some kind of policy and some aren't.

I'm more interested in rail trail conversions and trails and have personally walked and video taped the Watertown Branch, Central Mass RR from Somerville to Waltham and am finishing Weston soon.

I covered the Reformatory Branch and Narrow Gauge segments of the Bay Circuit, the Wildcat Branch, a bit of the old Marblehead/Salem remnant and the Bay Colony Line in Needham.

I have photo sets for a number of subway stations and commuter rail lines in my google plus photo archive. I even made several funny art videos mixing in difficult modern jazz.

And best of all, it is all creative commons usage rules so bloggers can get visuals without sweating infringement hazards.

But no, I'm not a rail expert. What would be the fun of that?

Most of my jabber comes from stuff I just look up, like the url for the non existent railroad schedule cause everyone knows railroads never have schedules, they just sorta set off on a whim and hope the stuff gets there and they don't derail or hit anything.

Voting is closed. 32

He's right, there is no schedule

It may say 11:30pm, and it may claim to be a schedule, but that doesn't mean they abide by that. The CSX produce train does not run like the commuter rail. There are general times when you can catch a freight train, but they're generally not consistent. I'd bet that the 11:30 time is simply when the Chelsea Produce run's crew goes on the clock for their shift.

Voting is closed. 20

The Obvious is so Belabored here..

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...it's likely to collapse from the exertion.

But then belaboring the obvious is something of a cottage industry in sophomoric Boston.

Railroads like CSX are private entities, and their tracks/yards/facilities are private property. I'm sure you would be pretty hostile toward someone who was in your yard, taking pictures of your house.

Who knew?

The commuter rail crews are less hostile/anxious. Photo law, such as it is, mainly turns on taking photos of people and rules regarding their permission. And long lenses tend to eliminate the need for intrusion.

There are no rules governing inanimate object photos beyond security rules for things like military bases and these tend to pertain to trespassing.

Railroad proximity safety boils down to "don't walk in between the tracks and keep a safe distance from them". I like 8 feet or so as a minimum.

Staying off of bridges or exercising extreme caution when traversing them is also key. That one got its hefty belaboring a few weeks ago.

One of my more fun projects is marking safe and legal observation spots for other rail fans to use on Google maps.

I found a few great ones in the Vale Reservation up in Andover where you can sit on an embankment and see commuter rail runs, the Downeaster, freight coming in from the Lowell Connector and, at this time, a fun bunch of MOW contraption vehicles, which are big favorites.


Voting is closed. 24

MBTA's 10 year plan

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There are indications on the map in the report linked below (draft 5 year plan but map says 2024) that they intend to build a hub for the Worcester/Framingham line, DMU rapid transit, and maybe a bus stop - seems to be off of Cambridge St or behind the Star Market at Packard's corner. I hope it's true! Called West Station.


report with enlarged map (page 43 of the PDF):

Voting is closed. 34

Should be 7.

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Should be 7.

2 local rail (MBTA)
2 express rail (Amtrak to NYC via inland)
2 local transit (DMU stopping at South, Back Bay, Yawkey, BU Bridge, Alston, Brighton, whatever is next, Riverside)
1 multi-use trail

Voting is closed. 40

I know..

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..it's what makes cross country rail travel a handful.

It has an agreement with the freight carriers which have priority in nearly all situations.

My Seattle to Boston run in spring of 96 was fairly sweet, but fall of 2006 was utter hell.

This in turn gets us back to CSX and it's role in the whole thing.

Voting is closed. 22

That's the thing

This isn't about 'current' -- it's about leaving breathing room for the future. For Amtrak, an inland route via Worcester is currently a fairly high priority for the BosWash corridor.

Voting is closed. 37

Well ...

You could go to the meeting - these events usually involve very large format posters with plans and options to look at and people to talk to.

Voting is closed. 30

And it will only take Harvard

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And it will only take Harvard Univeristy who owns the property years to clean it up......old chemical cargo freight used to travel through there

Voting is closed. 19

Hell yeah,

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..the whole area is pretty grim.

Google Earth satellite stuff updates slowly so you can still see the thing in it's messy tank car glory.


Voting is closed. 37

The long term plan calls for

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The long term plan calls for restoration and signaling the second track between CP3 and CP4 ( passing Beacon Park Yard. There will be a Commuter Rail equipment storage Facility with 6 tracks along side the Mainline AND they want to move the Mass Pike and toll booths closer to the BU side of the yard, straightening out the curve in the Pike and making room for Harvard to use the space that they own.

Voting is closed. 24

A lot of money for what?

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Given all the other transit needs, I do not see why this one is getting funded. So the curve is eliminated, maybe makes it a little easier for drivers, but so what. Harvard gets to use the land it bought, why this should be important I do not understand.

Voting is closed. 20

The viaducts at this location

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will need to be rebuilt within the next few years anyway due to age and condition. So it actually makes sense to improve the roadway geometry at the same time.

As for the toll booths, it is expected that all-electronic tolling will be implemented on the Pike well before construction on this project begins. So accommodating toll collection shouldn't even be a factor here.

Voting is closed. 22