Tag Archives: Boston

Infrastructure decay: Metro-North WALK Bridge

MTA Video Release: Metro-North Walk Bridge – 6/9/2014 – YouTube.

Unlike most highway infrastructure, which was built after 1950, most (surviving) railroad infrastructure was built before 1950.  Many exceptions in both directions, but generally that’s the case.

Which is a good thing because the facilities built prior to that date were generally overbuilt.  This particular bridge was built in ’96.


It’s lasted over a century and still carries hundreds of Metro-North and Amtrak trains every day between New York’s Penn Station, New Haven, and Boston’s South Station.

Unfortunately, despite the overbuilding, this bridge is past its “best by” date and needs to be replaced.  This week it’s been jamming when it moves, disrupting rail traffic on the entire  Northeast Corridor.  Near the end of the video, you can see a maintenance crew manually unbolting the movable part of the bridge prior to opening.  The new structure, like the other movable bridges replaced on this line in the last 10 years, will probably not require a crew to open bridge.

By the way, WALK is the name Penn Central (successor to the original owner, the New York, New Haven, and Hartford RR) gave to the “interlocking” that controls the bridge and it’s approaches so that trains don’t run into the river.  It’s located in Norwalk, Conn, and crosses the river of the same name.

Cool Land Re-use Project

This Thursday, The Mass Pike Straightening Project Begins Public Process

The railroad yard was old, probably dating to the 1800s (would have to look it up).  Built by the Boston & Albany RR, part of the New York Central System.  It eventually went to Penn Central, then Conrail, and finally CSX Transportation.  Well, CSX has pulled back to Worcester if I remember correctly, meaning that almost all freight now moves into and out of Boston by truck.  The MBTA still runs commuter trains along the line that this yard was on.

That unfortunate reality aside, the abandonment of the yard means that the Allston interchange on the Mass Pike can be rebuilt and simplified and 60-100 acres of land reclaimed for new uses.  Very cool!

First post … and the vehicles have no flanged wheels!

Many years ago, before many of you were born, I lived in the  Boston metropolitan statistical area.  I still have something of a fondness for the area and am, as you probably imagine, intrigued by their transit system.

I’ll post something about that later, but today’s NARP Hotline had a blurb about proposed state transit funding that included the MBTA’s Silver Line, an interesting if weird transit line in Boston.

What caught my eye is that they are planning to extend it past its current northern terminal at Logan Airport into Chelsea, part of an area I worked in for a while and where I still have some friends.  Anyway, here are some links, including a map.

Silver Line Gateway Project

Map of Silver Line Chelsea extension