Harvard Kennedy School researchers tried to figure out the cost of a North-South rail link, find it would be between roughly $3.8 billion for a single-tunnel, two-track layout and $5.9 billion for a higher-capacity system with two tunnels and four tracks. Read more.
MassDOT reports it heard residents and elected officials who didn't like the idea of behemoth WiFi towers along commuter-rail tracks and has ordered the contractor building infrastructure for a new train-based WiFi network, BAI Communications, to come back with plans that use either existing utility poles or poles a lot shorter than 70 feet.
David Perry reports that South Station Meltdown, Take 2, is due to a problem in Tower 1, an Amtrak shed just outside South Station that handles switching trains onto the right tracks at the station. It's the second evening rush hour in a row that South Station commuters have found themselves with extra time to get a drink or three.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today the MBTA didn't break any implied contract with riders when it cancelled or delayed scores of commuter-rail trains in the the Winter of Our Discontent. Read more.
Claire Blechman was among those having to transfer from a bus to a train in Salem, due to work on the Newburyport/Rockport Line that will keep it shut through Aug. 13.
The MBTA is blaming Amtrak switch issues near Readville for delays along the Providence Line now approaching 60 minutes.
Transit Police report a man, believed to be about 21, was hit by an inbound Worcester Line train near where it crosses Parsons Street in Brighton shortly before 12:40 a.m.
Foul play is not suspected, police say.
MassDOT reports that ridership on the only only-in-Boston commuter rail line increased 25% during the first of two fare-free weeks in May - and 44% the second week - but then dropped back down to normal light levels when the fares came back.
The town of Canton reports.
A freight car full of construction debris on the Northeast Corridor tracks in Mansfield erupted into flames around 4:30 a.m., Mansfield Police report.
Crews were able to maneuver the flaming car from the area of the Rte. 140 crossing to tracks off County Street, where the thing was still on fire as of 6:30 a.m.
When the heat gets too hot, Worcester and Needham Line trains have to go extra slow because, of course, the tracks weren't designed to handle regular-speed trains in the heat. Or as Goodband-C puts it when talking about what is normally 33-minute ride on the Needham Line:
Crawling into South Station a quick 80 minute trip from Hersey.
All thanks to the Beverly drawbridge replacement and the Positive Train Control system installation work.
Weekday Service Plan for July 17 through August 13
Miles on the MBTA visits, critiques the Boston Landing station.
Roving UHub photographer Michael Halle was on hand to watch a train pull out of the new Boston Landing station on the Worcester Line this morning. New Balance paid for the station, which services both its large development along Guest Street and the rest of Brighton, which hadn't seen commuter-rail service in decades.
The Dorchester Reporter reports that US Rep. Michael Capuano will spend roughly $50,000 in campaign funds to promote the Fairmount Line by letting everybody ride for free between May 8 and May 21.
The good news in a Boston Foundation report on the Fairmount Line is that a $200-million state investment in adding and improving stations and service meant a three-fold increase in ridership since 2012.
The bad news is that only means 2,257 riders on a typical weekday, because ridership in 2012 was so low - just 789. Read more.
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