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.

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Comments

Uh huh

By on

We've been hearing this for years. While I would be thrilled to no longer have the entire foundation of my house shake because CSX are humping cars in the railyard, I'll believe it when it happens.

Fantastic

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If they do this, it would be great, but it is too bad that Harvard owns the Beacon Park Yard. I believe it was the Pike that sold this property this to raise money. It is an important site and option other than Harvard expansion should be on the table. It is about time we got our commuter rail service back. There is a lot more interest on better connections to downtown from North Allston and North Brighton than the Urban Ring.

up
11

But...

I agree the sale to Harvard was a bad back-room deal - weren't they seeing if it was even legal?

But they may end up regretting it. That spot of land has been a rail yard for close to 100 years (http://www.wardmaps.com/viewasset.php?aid=1091), and the amount of contamination is going to be quite high (look at the mess in Readville. Who's goign to pay for all that clean-up?

Fred Salvucci

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Last year I was at a community meeting that Fred Salvucci spoke at, mainly about transportation issues in Allston Brighton. One idea he brought up was creating a "West Station" for Boston, not sure exactly where it would go, but presumably on some of the CSX property. THe other interesting thing is he disclosed he has been hired by Harvard to consult on the development of the Beacon Park Yards property. Not sure if he will also be consulting on Harvard's other plans, but I think so, at least in regard to transportation issues.

Grand Junction impact?

If this goes through, would they still need to use the old Grand Junction line to transfer cars from North Station to South Station?

Ah, thanks

I thought there was some Other Track Somewhere that they bought.

yep

it's the only way between Boston and Worcester to get form North station to South station. So yes, it will indeed be used. But, with the T owning it, it can now use the tracks for free rather than paying for it, so you might even see more doing back and forth (who knows). With any luck the T will re-lay the track to some better condition than it is...

Huh

By on

Huh. Wouldn't this mean that there won't be a freight yard in the Boston area anymore? How will freight get into from Worcester? The Pike is already as jammed as a broken copier.