State to replace, expand train bridges at North Station

The Globe reports the MBTA will hire a contractor to replace the tired old bridges and two increase the number of tracks on the Charles River spans from six to eight. But it could be 2026 before all the work is done.

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Is that confirmed?

I've read various things about how far it will go. It's a huge missing (and inexpensive) piece for alternative transportation.

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Yes, see the article

"The new bridges would also include a pedestrian walkway, linking the parks on either side of the river."

If you go to either North Station or North Point Park now, you will see paved paths already built, dead-ending at the rail bridge across the river.

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incorrect

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This is for the Commuter Rail NOT Green Line extension.

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I didn't say otherwise

The Somerville Community Path is being extended alongside the Green Line extension. Once the path reaches North Point in Cambridge, it needs to get across the Charles River. This is how it will happen.

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Four tracks

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From four tracks to six tracks

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MBTA train bridges at North Station

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The article is about the MBTA Commuter Rail bridges at North Station - NOT about the Green Line extension.

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Yes

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Hence the title "State to replace, expand train bridges at North Station."

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Remember when there were 8 tracks?

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It's amazing to see expansion, err I mean replacement of what used to be there 100 years ago. There were four bridges with 8 tracks. Happy to see them coming back, I'm just a grumpy railfan that's frustrated the other two bridges were removed. On a side note, remember when North Station had double the amount tracks that it does now?

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Sounds good, but two years

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Sounds good, but two years just to draw up the plans? If this were Japan or China they would have the whole project planned and constructed in less time than that.

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Japan or China?

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With due respect, Japan and China have very different approaches to infrastructure, to government, and to safety. To lump them together suggests to me that you have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

I've lived in China. I wouldn't want our government to start implementing large public works projects like the Chinese.

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The MBTA. Secret Society of

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The MBTA. Secret Society of Broken Promises. Another winter's coming, folks! Get ready for more headaches!

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They mention a track that

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They mention a track that they've never used for passenger service. How can that be?

I'm not a North Station commuter, so maybe some of you who are can explain that.

On Google, I see four tracks coming across the bridge, spreading to 10 tracks that go to five platforms. I don't see anything that would suggest how the current bridge layout prevents some track from being used.

Does one of the tracks (presumably one end of the ten or the other) predate the current station property or structues and somehow doesn't line up?

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Track 10

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The furthest Track #10 is not used. That platform presently has containers modified into office space used by the engineers and conductors that staff the trains. The project will change that and move the staff staging area.

Part of this will also require a complete re-alignment of the approach yard and all switches as well.

Once this work starts there will be growing pains getting in and out of North Station on the CR.

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Track 10 is used every day.

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Track 10 is used every day. It's the platform for tracks 11 and 12 that is currently unused.

That's a pretty simple mistake for someone calling themselves "In The Know"...

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Platform tracks

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Under the Garden overhang, there is a platform for tracks 11-12 that has never been accessible to trains. This project will extend the platform from under the awning and connect it to one of the new draw tracks

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Spaulding Rehab is absolutely

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Spaulding Rehab is absolutely in the way, and I, for one, am very curious to see how the T addresses this. Perhaps they're planning on platforms shorter than the 800 ft standard? They might be able to branch off of Track 10 after it passes the building, though that would render the last 200 ft or so of Track 10's platform unusable, and restrict the length of trains on the north side for years to come.

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Hold On

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Isn't the track by Spaulding track 1, with track 10 on the opposite side? Or is Platform 11 and 12 planned for the Spaulding parking lot?

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Tracks are numbered in proper order

The unused track 11 is next to track 10, where it should be. There is a blocked off door leading to the unused platform for tracks 11 and 12.

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Downeaster is shorter

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The downeaster is shorter than the CR consists

The short track could be dedicated to the Downeaster and otherwise used as a backup track for potential extra CR's midday which ultimately could be "Budliner"-style DMU or EMU's eventually which would be short and frequent

But the old Spaulding needs to come down anyway and the Mass Gen Parking lot should be developed as well

There is too much valuable land around North Station wasted on parking lots, the jail and other public non-taxpaying uses

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There is no Spaulding

Spaulding rehab has moved to Charlestown. While the N Station area building is being temporarily used for offices, that building is slated to come down.

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It's how you use it

You're right, Rob - all 10 tracks to make it over the 2 bridges. But, each track can only go over 1 bridge. So, for example, if the downstream bridge 'breaks', then half the tracks are out of service. In addition, sometimes there are a lot of trains in north station, so you often have (say) a train that has to board on track 10, but it needs to go to where track 1 is to reach it's destination.

So part of the this project is to build a redundant bridge and increase capacity, part of it is also to re-configure the switch patterns on both sides of the bridge so trains don't get trapped, or have to block the entire yard as they have to move from one side to the other.

Right now you do have instances where 3 tracks across the bridge are bring used as you have multiple arrivals and departures at the same time. Included in that are times trains need to 'wait' for the bridges to clear before entering/existing because of the limited switch arrangement. The overall need is also to fix some of these secondary issues as well as rebuild bridges that are going to be more prone to breaking as time moves on....

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Thank you for the replies.

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Thank you for the replies. With those, a little more Googling, and rereading the Globe article, it starts to make a little more sense.

The article mentions "...without enough room to use two of 12 rail lines behind North Station." and "...opening up two tracks and a platform at North Station that have never been used for passenger service."

It isn't correct. There are only 10 tracks ("rail lines") outside, not ten. There is the stub end of a platform and what looks like the bed for tracks 11 & 12 under the overhang of the building - but no existing unused tracks, no abandoned tracks, no empty right-of-way waiting for tracks. That stub end points out at the parking lot between the Garden/Station and the former Spaulding.

It would have been more accurate to say that this incarnation of the station was built with gates/doors for six platforms & twelve tracks, but that one of those platforms and two of those tracks were not built.

Some of it can be seen off to the left of track 10 in this photo:
https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x89e3708e162d05cb%3A0x651087...

The exterior end can be seen in this Google view:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3666388,-71.0632307,3a,53.2y,135.14h,77.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1srrtICWKPsXawlVt5Dxc_Kg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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