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Congressman backs North-South rail link; says expanding South Station would be a 'historic mistake'

WGBH reports on comments by US Rep. Seth Moulton on why he supports the North-South Rail Link between North and South stations. State officials have long said, nah, let's expand South Station, even though they've yet to convince the Postal Service to move out of its current facility there.

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It would be a good start to convert one of the lines (Fairmount/Lowell) to smaller, self powered stock and see how that changes ridership on the line. Running service far more frequently without needing to shuffle mostly empty trains back and forth would greatly change how public transportation is used. It's a comparatively cheap improvement.

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N/T

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Good idea - but baker killed that one....

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South Station expansion and Widett Circle development for infrastructure is necessary. Rail Link is cost prohibitive , maybe unless you run a trolley line down the greenspan.

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A trolley line down the greenspan is not anything even remotely close to what the NSRL is, or what the NSRL would do/bring to the table.

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The link isn't about moving people as much as it is about moving trains. With the link, a train can stop, discharge, pick up, and move on. Thirty seconds, a minute maybe. Right now it takes about fifteen minutes (I think) to turn the train at the terminal, which eats up the capacity and will eat up the capacity at an expanded station too, and is the reason we don't have frequent trains on the commuter rail.

It's true the nsrl would cost more than expanding south station, but it would cost less than expanding both north and south station, and have myriad more benefits.

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Please don't run down Alan Greenspan with a trolley

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We really need BOTH.

Even if we actually build the NSRL, South Station will still need more future capacity. There will still be trains terminating on the surface. The NSRL has never been about relieving South Station's capacity crunch, and equating it with such just demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the subject.

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No, the idea is that trains will travel through the station (i.e. Providence to Lowell, Plymouth to Fitchburg, etc. Something along those lines). There's no need for services to terminate Downtown.

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Completely incorrect - most lines would terminate at the surface due to the portals that won't align with all of the lines, and the capacity limits that the tunnel will have (don't forget to factor in all the Amtrak/NEC traffic).

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Are there any specifics on how many trains / what lines would continue through such a tunnel vs stop on the surface?

I assume the tracks would be electrified for amtrak, but would amtrak commit to extending the electrical wires up to Portland? Is there support for that?
Would the tunnel be cheaper if it only handled electric powered trains vs diesel (less ventilation needed).
In that case does it make sense to convert some MBTA lines to all electric trains?

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The tunnel would have to be fully electric for engineering reasons. It would have to be built at a grade that diesels cannot climb but electric locos (or emus, if we buy them) can. My guess is the northern Amtrak route would be fine first, then the Fairmont, then the other lines in stages. Some might stay diesel and terminate above ground still.

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The plan proposes dual-mode locomotives for the commuter rail, though at least the Attleboro/Providence line could be all-electric. Amtrak could simply switch locomotives anytime after exiting the North Station portal. There would certainly be a straight-forward path to extending full electrification throughout the system, starting with the busiest sections closest to downtown. Meanwhile, the trains will switch to diesel wherever the wires end.

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It's not like that damn silver bus, where they stop and turn it off and then the driver ambles around fiddling with things for ten minutes and then moseys back on and starts it up again.

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IMAGE(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/561e6ed5e4b039248a6a94aa/t/57220194555986178fe7824d/1461846425559/?format=750w)

While a few trains will continue to use the existing surface terminals, most will run through the city, stopping at new underground rail stations built adjacent to the Red & Silver Lines, Blue Line and Green & Orange Lines. Cross-platform connections will allow convenient transfers between any of the lines at these downtown stations.

IMAGE(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/561e6ed5e4b039248a6a94aa/t/564df9c6e4b0f11759b11a75/1447950805478/?format=750w)

All of the stations will be designed to the most modern standards, with high-performance escalators rising to the transit lines above and also extending out to multiple headhouses on the surface. The horizontal “reach” of these escalators greatly expands the area conveniently served by each station.

The latest proposal makes a lot of sense. There's a lot to read, but it's very interesting and worth taking the time to understand. It explains why large terminal stations are so inefficient, and how expanding South Station would do little to improve the overall transit situation in Boston. Instead of continuing with the old, nineteenth-century railroad limitations of the North and South Station terminals, this is a forward-thinking plan that uses today's technology to achieve something vastly superior.

It would make an incredible difference just to have all the commuter rail lines directly connected with all the subway lines at new underground stations, but the plan also facilitates major improvements to the commuter rail system, including the electrification of many areas that currently endure noise and pollution from diesel locomotives.

Ambitious as it is, this project is tiny in comparison to London's Crossrail. Meanwhile, Montreal is building a new, fully-automated, electric commuter rail system with fast, frequent service. Here's a chance for Massachusetts to catch up with the modern world.

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I think we can scrap Union Station. It seems superfluous. Stations are really really expensive, and to have one just to connect with the Blue Line seems silly.

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The stations won't only serve the subway lines, they'll serve three, high-density downtown areas. Beyond connections to the subway platforms, each station will have multiple entrances. Because of their depth, as the escalators ascend, it's possible create long a "horizontal reach", so the many entrances can be spread out over a wide area, with some of them incorporated directly into new or existing buildings. Being very close or better yet, connected to an entrance would be very valuable to developers and valued by passengers, especially during inclement Boston weather.

Passengers will no longer need to change from commuter rail to subway when commuting to destinations anywhere near the three downtown stations. In addition to making it more attractive to commute by rail, this will free up additional capacity on the subways. This is another great benefit that expanding South Station would only make worse. It's not fun to get there now, can you imagine how awful it would be with thousands of more passengers taking the Red Line to South Station?

Another way to look at it, is that the new stations are essentially creating new real estate. It costs a huge amount of money to purchase right-of-way, and many buildings need to be demolished to build track and stations at street level. Deep underground, the land is free for the taking (sort of). So, if you're passing through with new tunnels, it makes economic sense to use the opportunity to carve out another great station in the heart of the city.

And... as if that weren't enough... this plan means there's no longer the need to purchase the Post Office property, and much of the Widett Circle area can be reclaimed for development without needing to be on top of an expensive platform above the existing rail facilities.

So, yes, the Central/Union/Scollay Station is very important — in addition to providing the absolutely essential connection to the Blue Line.

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You get all of that without union station. N and S stations are going to be deep, therefore have the horizontal reach. They also are near most jobs, and connect with subway lines that go to every downtown station and back bay station. With silver line gateway about to open- south station to eastie to Chelsea - the connection to the blue line is unnecessary and massively expensive. It's probably operationally difficult as well, to have three stations in such close proximity.

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(Every downtown station but Bowdoin, which will be gone if r/b connection happens anyway)

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I agree with you. If Union Station were planned directly between North and South Station, it would be central, but the conceptual plan is to run right under the Greenway - under 93 - putting Union Station out by the Aquarium. If that's the route, I am not sure it's worth building Union Station. Is that really central enough that people would use it?

The reason for this is so the tunnels aren't bored under any buildings or deep foundations. The new South Station is projected entirely under Fort Point Channel, and the new North Station entirely under the Greenway parcel. The tunnel from Back Bay would go under the Pike.

Another thing notable from the design is that all intercity trains would be boarded at South Station only - all Downeaster service from North Station would cease. Great for people whose connections to South Station are better (you will be able to take the Red Line to the Downeaster), worse for people who will no longer be able to connect from the Green Line or Orange Line to the Downeaster - that's an extra train for those folks.

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Another thing notable from the design is that all intercity trains would be boarded at South Station only - all Downeaster service from North Station would cease. Great for people whose connections to South Station are better (you will be able to take the Red Line to the Downeaster), worse for people who will no longer be able to connect from the Green Line or Orange Line to the Downeaster - that's an extra train for those folks.

Wouldn't this be completely mitigated by the Indigo Line plan that involves (at least) a triangle of Heavy-Rail equivalent service from West Station to North Station along the Grand Junction, from North to South via the NSRL, and from South to West along the existing Worcester Line?

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As planned, Downeaster would board at South Station only? How would the Indigo Line change that?

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If people with easier North or West access than South could take a direct, frequent train one or two stops and be at South to board the Downeaster, that seems like not so big an access issue.

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It's a nice idea on paper but realistically that plan would cost nearly as much as the big dig. For a small fraction of the cost they could electrify some existing lines and switch them to subway (Blue Line) like service.

The biggest problem with the CR from a ridership perspective is infrequent trains and high costs. The proposed N-S link isn't the solution to these problems. Subway/EMUs is cheaper, more effective, and something that could be done in a few years with some political will.

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I'd love to see the day when Boston has a world-class transit system. Thinking about the CR and the T as two separate things, instead of part of the same transit system, is part of the problem. Boston itself is very small geographically, with most of the Boston metro area outside the city itself. The transit system has to take the metro area into consideration.

One important contribution of this project is looking at transport _through_ Boston city centre, not just transport _to_ Boston city centre. The north-south disconnect we have now makes it ridiculous to contemplate using public transit to get from, say, Norwood to Malden, Roslindale to Waltham, or Quincy to Lynn. All of these points are well within the Boston metro area - they'd be inside the city itself if Boston's city limits were more typical. All of these would be much quicker drives, as is.

The number of people living within the commuter rail zone, and working within other parts of the commuter rail zone, is greater than the number of people both living and working inside Boston city limits. A huge portion of city and cross-urban traffic is these folks, and their numbers are growing. No number of extra lanes on 128 will help. If we want to keep growing, we have to do something like this.

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I live in Medford, often work in Kingston. A direct train would be nice but wouldn't solve my problems if it ran just as frequently as the current Old Colony/Lowell Lines. There is only 8 trains to Kingston on weekends, 12 during the week. Thats FAR too few. For public transportation to be viable there needs to be 3-4 times as many trains with options in the early morning and late night.

They could run a shuttle bus (free) directly between N/S Stations every 10 minutes. That would close the gap for most people who otherwise would be bypassing the city.

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Again, the purpose of the link is less about moving people and more about moving trains. The reason those lines are so infrequent is that the terminal stations (and switching yards) are at or near capacity. The link opens up that capacity massively, creating the conditions for frequent service. A shuttle (bus, tram, or monorail) wouldn't solve that.

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The reason the trains are infrequent is the stations are at or near capacity. Just electrifying everything won't change that, but through-running will.

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The nsrl would expand capacity enough that ssx wouldn't be necessary, even though multiple lines would still terminate above ground. One day we might grow traffic enough that station expansion would be necessary even with the link, but that's a while off.

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No, it wouldn't. That is completely false.

The limiter on southside and northside train frequencies are the mashups of all the lines going into the terminals. Cove Interlocking where all the Northeast Corridor and Worcester Line trains merge into South Station sets the ruling limit there, and Tower 1 Interlocking where every northside line combines before the drawbridges sets the ruling limit there. The tunnel will have...a southside mashup where every NEC/Worcester train movement merges with every Old Colony + Fairmount movement, and same old Tower 1 on the northside with a graft-on for the tunnel.

It's the same exact limiter whether it's above-ground or underground. Running service through buys you some additional capacity, but only enough of a bump to offset the capacity lost by running ultra-slow through those steep tunnel grades and having relatively constrained platform space at the underground stations with very long escalator rides to the surface. It's a lateral trade if you get rid of the surface stations. An outright downgrade if it just ends up an excuse to send trains from the north +1 stops to reverse on the South Station platforms and chew up time changing ends.

However, it is DOUBLE the capacity if you have two Cove Interlockings and two Tower 1 Interlockings--upstairs and downstairs--to choose from at any time and slice/dice traffic accordingly. The upside of NSRL is the network effect of being able to run mind-boggling frequencies on nearly every line because the cap imposed by the terminal approaches got lifted. Do tunnel slots for the highest-demand pairings and then cash in the freed-up surface capacity to crank all-day frequencies everywhere to 30 minutes or less on every line current and every line future we want to build. Until the end of the century. Frequencies are everything, and the double-barreling is what delivers enough frequencies to sustain another 50 years of growth.

This is why it's not a drop-in replacement. It's same crappy commuter rail frequencies forever if it's a drop-in replacement. Boston doesn't need the tunnel for the same reasons Philly did when it built the SEPTA Center City tunnel, and citing SEPTA as some sort of aspirational model disingenuously buries the lede on how crappy SEPTA's frequencies generally are across the board. If the pols shooting their mouths off about this actually got a Cliff's Notes education on the real NSRL scoping studies instead of this .org site that's recirculating old misinformation they wouldn't be so incoherent about what it's supposed to do.

It most certainly can't pre-empt South Station Expansion. SSX not only adds platforms, but uses the space freed-up by moving the Post Office to spread out the track switches and eliminate a bunch of cross-movement conflicts coming out of Cove Interlocking. South Station hasn't had non-constipated movements ever since it was lopped in half for the Post Office in the 60's. This un-does the constipation and attacks the limiter head-on, which is worth way more to service levels than whatever expensive glass edifice they're fighting over erecting over those Dot Ave. tracks. It's 2016, the nearest Providence trains to 5:00pm are standing room-only, and there's no more slots to add. So...to hell with a festering problem today, let's raid the budget for studies on something that can't be designed-built any sooner than 15 years??? Gee, Seth, that's going to do the local economy a world of good when it's no longer possible in four years to reliably do a 9-to-5 from Attleboro without showing up 2 trains early. Let's do nothing except put that same overcrowding underground in 20 years (maybe) for reasons I didn't bother to look up!

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To clear a few things up:

Despite what Elmer posted from the NSRL site, which, by the way, is NOT an official website supported by the DOT, MBTA, etc., the NSRL will not connect ALL commuter rail lines. This is mainly because most lines split close enough to Boston that the NSRL tunnel would need to split underground, with separate portals for each line, significantly raising the cost and construction impacts. The cost and disruption would only be worth it for busy lines with a lot of traffic. You also have to consider the throughput of the tunnels. There are only so many trains that can fit through it at a time, even if we build a 4 track tunnel.

Here's what will likely be built if this ever goes ahead:
-a 4-track tunnel through the city, with a new "South Station Under ...Under" and "North Station Under"
-portals along the NEC and B&A near Back Bay
-portals along the NH Main and Eastern Route near BET

This allows through running Providence - Lowell and Rockburyport - Worcester.

Additionally, upgrade Anderson/Woburn into the equivalent of Route 128 station, as a northern terminus for Amtrak service, which would also potentially allow them to vacate Southampton St yard.

This would result in all Amtrak service running through Boston, along with Rockburyport, Lowell, Worcester, and Providence service. This level of construction would also allow Haverhill, Franklin, and Stoughton service to run through, though these lines would likely be a mix of terminating and run-through trains, depending on available slots. Fitchburg and Old Colony service would continue to terminate on the surface. I'm assuming that by the time any of this is actually built, Needham will have been taken over by an Orange Line extension, and Fairmount will have been rapid transit-ified, either as a red line branch or terminating at its own segregated platform at South Station. By that point there may also be South Coast service, expanded Old Colony service to the Cape, New Hampshire service, and even intrastate intercity service to Springfield, and/or Inland Route regionals, most of which would likely terminate on the surface.

If the tunnel has capacity for it, or political considerations warrant, a future construction phase could include tunnel extensions and portals for the Fitchburg line near BET, and the Old Colony lines near Southampton St. This would allow all lines to theoretically run through, but there will not be enough capacity for that. Already, today, 22 trains arrive at South Station from the NEC between 7 and 9 am, along with 10 from the Old Colony. Discounting Fairmount, that's 16 trains per hour. Lets assume each track can handle 10 tph, which gives 6 minutes between trains. It will take several minutes to unload a full train worth of passengers, and trains can only run so close together, even with a high-density signal system, so I think 10 or maybe 12 tph is the best we can hope for, and that's pushing it. You also have Amtrak, which has only 1 train arriving during the morning rush, but does have trains departing during the evening rush. Call it 2 tph.

Assuming a 4-track tunnel, you'd have two tracks southbound, two tracks northbound. Meaning a capacity of 20 tph. Just looking at the existing southside service we're already at 18 tph. And that's without accounting at all for any expansion whatsoever beyond current service levels, or any new service.

This is why we need to keep South and North Stations IN ADDITION TO building the NSRL. The NSRL CANNOT handle the volume of EVERY commuter rail line and Amtrak service passing through it. You're not going to be able to have every train run through it, so you're still going to need plenty of surface terminal capacity.

Any questions?

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Edit: my math was way off.

I think we can do a lot better than ten trains per hour. Think about it like a subway - a train every three minutes isn't unreasonable. That's twenty trains per hour per track, forty per direction.

True, our current rolling stock couldn't handle that, particularly the bi-levels, because of the number of doors. But as time goes on we buy new stock, which can be more subway like and handle a quick unload. With the frequency expansion, the extra capacity of the bi-levels wouldn't be necessary, etc etc.

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But it all depends on what kind of trains we are talking about.

Our current stock with only two doors at the end of each car takes several minutes to embark and disembark passengers, even longer at a low platform station, and even longer than that for a bi-level car.

If we are talking about Metro North-type trains with high platforms, it will obviously be much quicker. Converting lines to electrification and high platforms isn't cheap, but it's where we need to go.

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3 minutes is about the limit for moving trains through. However, say 1,000 people are getting off a peak hour train, and then 200 are getting on. Lets do a little math:

Assuming 1 second per person, and 16 doors (8 bilevels, 2 doors per car), that would take just over a minute to get everyone off, and then another 15 seconds to get people on. So the train has to be stopped for at least a minute and a half. And this is being generous. There might be elderly or disabled people who take longer to get off, there might be a door malfunction, etc.

If you time a train unloading people at a busy stop, it takes several minutes normally. Even with a full high-level platform. Even with many doors open. I noticed it all the time at Salem back when I was commuting on the Newburyport line, even after the new station opened. It took several minutes just because of the sheer volume of people who have to shuffle down the aisles and out the doors. Quarter-point doors would help, but the T doesn't have any plans to buy equipment with those, and I for one would like the NSRL to be as compatible with existing equipment as possible. Those Kawasaki bilevels still have plenty of life in them, and bilevels will always be necessary though, for the longer, busier runs.

Basically, I estimated you need 5-6 minutes between scheduled train times because you need to include 3-4 minutes to unload/load at the platform, and probably one minute on either side of that for the train to enter and then clear the block. This is consistent with examples elsewhere. Look at SEPTA, for example. Their 4-track Center City Commuter Connection, which is the exact same idea as our NSRL, handles at its peak 9 tph, spread between two tracks, or 4.5 tph per track. I'm suggesting we handle more than twice that.

You can't realistically think about it like a subway, because a subway is not normally going to be letting 1,000 people off at a time (even downtown, the load is spread between 3-4 stations), does not have as much seating to work around as commuter rail, and is always going to have more, wider doors. Also, subway trains are shorter and lighter than commuter trains, with faster acceleration and braking, and shorter blocks. If we replaced the entire fleet with EMUs we could theoretically design the signal system with shorter blocks, but I don't think we really want commuter trains flooring it, then braking hard repeatedly. That's just asking for people to fall and hurt themselves. That also ignores Amtrak trains, which would be sharing the tunnel.

3 minute headways like you propose (20 tph per track) are only really possible on subway lines with high-density signalling. They're never going to work on commuter rail.

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Minor correction...Fitchburg will get a portal any which way because the tunnel is so shallow-level at that point the lines fork very close to the surface when it has to split. If Boston Engine Terminal were just 350 ft. further north they'd have been able to pop up in one bore and split all lines on the surface, but they end up a wee too short. At such shallow depth and such short length, there's no financial incentive for not doing both portals. It's too negligible a cost difference to find any savings in deferring Fitchburg to later.

The Fairmount and Old Colony portals are similarly conjoined twins, running the same 200-350 ft. short before Amtrak Southampton Yard forces them to split. If you build one, you build both because they're so close to surface it would be silly not to finish the job. Where things could easily get deferred is with the whole Old Colony + Fairmount lead tunnel. That's an extra mile of digging, and is less-critical than the NEC/Worcester lead that pops up at the Washington St. overpass east of Back Bay station. As long as they notch the wall where the two lead tunnels are supposed to meet they can add that OC + Fairmount tunnel later in a wholly separate funding installment. It travels 100% underneath existing RR tracks, so it'll always be available to tack on whenever they feel like finishing the job.

Amtrak will never vacate Southampton; they are hard-up on yard space and the NEC FUTURE studies shine a harsh light on how much more space they're going to need to run those kinds of HSR service levels to Boston. Most likely what you're going to see is that Northeast Regionals all run to Anderson where they can build a yard there big enough to serve those schedules. Southampton then splits the load by handling Acelas, Inland Route trains from Springfield, and Boston-terminating Downeasters so all services have room to grow. Amtrak can't just reverse on the platform without an adjacent yard; they change crews, restock food service, empty the toilets, etc. at the end of each run and there isn't a single slab of land big enough to do that for every single schedule they'll be running here in 2040.

Fairmount can never be rapid transited because it is the last open freight route into Port of South Boston that has the vertical clearances to handle 17 ft. tall industry-standard freight cars. Not only does the state not want to screw over 50-year economic considerations at the ports with a short-sighted decision, but interstate commerce law protects CSX from being involuntarily forced to give up its trackage rights to Southie. Pike tunnel on the Worcester Line and Southwest Corridor tunnel on the NEC are too short for the freights, and the Old Colony will be too short inbound of Braintree when it's electrified. Franklin/Fairmount only need minor clearance touch-up to run freight under wires, so they're it for those overnight freights to the Seaport. Tart up the line with EMU's and nice fat service levels to adequately serve Dorchester and Hyde Park, but it has to stay RR tracks forever and not subway tracks. There's no other way, and not enough land to run both modes side-by-side a la Somerville and the Green Line Extension.

Needham as you said will be pried off to rapid transit. It has to happen anyway because the NEC FUTURE studies show it being choked off for any service increases forever. That would go half-Orange for Forest Hills-West Roxbury and half-Green as a D Line spur from Newton Highlands to Needham Junction. Hopefully with the feds offering 50/50 match funding for the conversion since it's their trains hastening the crisis. The only other consideration would be the inner-half Haverhill Line to Reading, where the Orange Line was supposed to go in the 70's until it got truncated at Oak Grove. Reading's a commuter rail capacity gimp because of the single-tracking Somerville to Malden and too many grade crossings in Melrose and Wakefield. Trips to Lawrence and Haverhill would improve to under an hour today if they just split that schedule completely off from Reading and ran it over the Lowell Line to Wilmington like the Downeasters do. Cost of adding tracks + crossing elimination + electrification to Reading is bad enough for commuter rail that an Orange extension eliminating all crossings would cost exactly the same by virtue of not needing to touch anything south of Oak Grove. Whereas commuter rail super-sizing would duplicate efforts and make a royal mess of Somerville, Medford, and Malden in the process.

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Where things could easily get deferred is with the whole Old Colony + Fairmount lead tunnel.

...which is what I said.

Amtrak will never vacate Southampton; they are hard-up on yard space and the NEC FUTURE studies shine a harsh light on how much more space they're going to need to run those kinds of HSR service levels to Boston. Most likely what you're going to see is that Northeast Regionals all run to Anderson where they can build a yard there big enough to serve those schedules. Southampton then splits the load by handling Acelas, Inland Route trains from Springfield, and Boston-terminating Downeasters so all services have room to grow. Amtrak can't just reverse on the platform without an adjacent yard; they change crews, restock food service, empty the toilets, etc. at the end of each run and there isn't a single slab of land big enough to do that for every single schedule they'll be running here in 2040.

I could definitely see them vacating SHSY. It's constrained and the city would LOVE to have that land for development. There's also plenty of cheap available land right around Anderson/Woburn, where they could build a nice, new, spacious maintenance facility. Take, for example, the northern end of the underutilized parking lot, and the adjacent empty brownfield parcels. That's a much larger space than they have available at SHSY.
And if they do intend to keep servicing Acelas at SHSY, they're going to need to expand it anyway, because the current HST buildings aren't long enough for the new trains being procured. That's part of the reason they decided against expanding the existing Acela sets a few years ago - they'd have to expand the HST maintenance buildings at Sunnyside, Ivy City, and SHSY. So if you have to expand the facility anyway, why not resite it at the same time?

Fairmount can never be rapid transited because it is the last open freight route into Port of South Boston that has the vertical clearances to handle 17 ft. tall industry-standard freight cars. Not only does the state not want to screw over 50-year economic considerations at the ports with a short-sighted decision, but interstate commerce law protects CSX from being involuntarily forced to give up its trackage rights to Southie. Pike tunnel on the Worcester Line and Southwest Corridor tunnel on the NEC are too short for the freights, and the Old Colony will be too short inbound of Braintree when it's electrified. Franklin/Fairmount only need minor clearance touch-up to run freight under wires, so they're it for those overnight freights to the Seaport. Tart up the line with EMU's and nice fat service levels to adequately serve Dorchester and Hyde Park, but it has to stay RR tracks forever and not subway tracks. There's no other way, and not enough land to run both modes side-by-side a la Somerville and the Green Line Extension.

Lets be realistic.. Track 61 is never going to see freight service. There's never going to be enough container volume at Conley to justify it instead of draying to Ayer or Worcester, and there are so many better locations for anything else that requires rail service. CSX could easily be bought out on the state. They clearly don't have any long-term interest in serving Boston proper.
Also - are clearances compromised on the Old Colony main? Because a theoretical routing of anything from Southie could go via Middleborough (daytime slots might be an issue, but they likely wouldn't need to run during the day anyway).

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It's just too expensive, it should've been done back in the day instead of building two stations. Chicago has the same issue with their N/S stations.

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