CSX, state agree to move freight cars out of Allston, improve Worcester Line service
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray announced this morning the state and the giant railroad have resolved the last stumbling block to a massive deal that will, among other things, clear out the Allston freight yards and give the MBTA complete control over the train line to Worcester.
Under the agreement, the state will buy the Worcester Line, potentially leading to reduced delays now caused by CSX dispatch rules - as well as a freight line from Beacon Park Yard in Allston through Cambridge to East Boston from CSX, and a freight line to Fall River and New Bedford.
The Beacon Park Yard move, expected to be completed in 2012, will clear the way for the addition of commuter-rail service to Allston/Brighton, possible help enable the long-fabled Urban Ring project and give Harvard, which already owns the yard, more cleared land that it can then let sit fallow.
Under the agreement, the state and CSX will also share the cost of rebuilding bridges along a main freight line from 495 to the New York line to allow double-stack freight trains.
Murray said the Worcester Line will also get new signaling systems to reduce the odds of collisions and that the state and CSX will better coordinate train scheduling to further reduce the odds of delay.
The state will spend $100 million on its part of the deal.
All of this comes after the state and CSX agreed on a plan to deal with liability for any potential train collisions: CSX will contribute $500,000 to help defray the cost of the liability insurance policy the MBTA carries for the entire commuter system. And CSX agreed that if an accident happens anyway and CSX or its operators are "clearly at fault," the railroad will be responsible to pay the deductible on that policy, up to a maximum of $7.5 million per accident.