Include the North South Rail Link in the South Station Expansion study
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Boston's South Station has been at capacity for quite some time now and Governor Baker, Secretary Pollack, and Steven Woelfel, the project contact at MassDOT, have been working diligently to fix this problem. However, they are not including the North South Rail Link (NSRL) in a study to expand the existing station. This rail link would increase capacity by 150% at South Station, 200% at North Station, and create a third station with a Blue Line connection and 50% more capacity than the existing South Station. The current project proposed by the Governor and Secretary would only increase South Station's capacity by 50%.
The state is neglecting to study this proposed North South Rail Link for no clear cause. In 2011, MassDOT received a grant for $32.5 million for a project/study to improve South Station. In the subsequent statement of work from the Federal Railroad Administration, it is stated that the primary goal is to "perform an Alternatives Analysis to determine how best to expand Boston South Station and create a new layover facility in order to improve existing rail service – local, regional, and intercity – in and out of Boston." The North South Rail Link would be a clear expansion of South Station, with its four new tracks underground. It also would allow for a seamless connection from not only Boston's North Shore to its South Shore, but also from Maine to Virginia and even Florida. This project to bridge the seemingly massive gap between Boston's two terminals clearly constitutes a grand improvement in local, regional, and intercity rail service.
The rail link would also relieve massive amounts of congestion on the Green and Orange Lines by allowing commuter rail riders who normally transfer at North Station to continue through the city to the Back Bay Business District and the Financial District surrounding South Station without ever touching the subway. The Red Line would also experience some relief, given the transferring of passengers from the Old Colony commuter rail lines to the subway system must happen at South Station. Upon completion of the NSRL, riders from the south could access the historic North End, Faneuil Hall, and TD Garden on one seat rail service. Riders from the north would have the same opportunity to access the financial and business districts of Boston on one seat. The proposed South Station Expansion (SSX) would only worsen congestion on the subway lines by allowing higher commuter rail traffic volumes at South Station. It also has no plan to address the many transfers needed to access different parts of the city.
Summary of Petition
In summary, the NSRL would improve capacity at South Station by 150%, North Station by 200%, and create a third station to connect with the Blue Line with 50% more capacity than the existing South Station, while the SSX would only improve South Station's capacity by 50%. The NSRL would be almost identical to the SSX in cost. The NSRL would have less construction disruption. The NSRL would alleviate congestion on Boston's busy subways while the SSX would increase it. The NSRL would require electric locomotives which are quieter, more reliable, and function better than diesel locomotives in cold and snow (no repeats of 2015). Most importantly, the NSRL would connect the North and South of Boston in a way no project could ever mimic. Please, stand with me in fighting to fix Boston's transportation system and sign this petition!
Documents regarding the rail link can be found here: NorthSouthRailLink.org
Documents regarding the expansion can be found here
The statement of work regarding the project can be found here
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