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North South Rail Link Feasibility Reassessment Study

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North South Rail Link


About the Project


The MBTA operates two largely separate commuter rail systems, divided by a one-mile gap between North and South Stations in Boston. This gap limits connectivity between rail systems to the north and south, including the MBTA and Amtrak, and has prompted interest over the years in linking the systems. A Draft Environmental Impact Report for the North South Rail Link (NSRL) was undertaken from 1995-2003, but the project was not pursued at that time.

Much has changed since 2003 in terms of corridor development, demographic shifts, construction technology, and new transportation options. MassDOT is undertaking a Feasibility Reassessment for the North South Rail Link Project to update the prior work and determine if further technical and financial analysis is warranted.

Among other issues, MassDOT’s Feasibility Reassessment must:

  • Identify a preferred alignment and associated right-of-way needs
  • Confirm or amend engineering assumptions
  • Update potential order of magnitude costs, based on:
    • A detailed review of comparable projects
    • The latest construction and railroad technology
    • Related best practices for design, procurement, and project management
  • Update ridership estimates
  • Examine potential service plans
  • Examine potential project benefits

MassDOT anticipates completing this Feasibility Reassessment in Spring 2018.

 


Upcoming Meetings


MassDOT – North South Rail Link
Public Meeting

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Atlantic Wharf, Fort Point Room
290 Congress Street, Boston, MA (adjacent to BSA Space)

 


Feasibility Reassessment Objectives


The primary objectives of the North-South Rail Link Feasibility Reassessment are as follows:

  • Identify any significant changes to the context within which the NSRL would be implemented, such as demographic shifts, new transportation technologies and trends, and changes to the built environment.

  • Determine the major elements of the NSRL necessary to allow for an assessment of costs and benefits (two versus four tracks, whether or not to include a Central Station, the location of the north portal, as well as station and headhouse locations).

  • Identify a Right of Way envelope that could be used to inform future development plans in Boston, Cambridge, and potentially other impacted municipalities.

  • Develop an order of magnitude cost estimate, assuming the initial use of dual-mode locomotives allows the project to advance without full electrification of the commuter rail system. This cost estimate will be informed by recent experience in rail tunnel construction (both international and domestic) and industry best practices.

  • Estimate the benefits of NSRL, including ridership growth, increased system capacity, operational efficiencies, air quality improvements, and the creation of new redevelopment opportunities.
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