Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation ideas and projects worldwide.
MBTA Finally Selects Green Line Extension Contractor
After many twists and turns, including a pause for rethinking, the Green Line Extension project in Boston will start on its path to reality.
Metro Report International reports that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has selected GLX Constructors as the contractor for the 6.9-km (4.3-mile) northwestern extension of the light-rail line from its current terminus at Lechmere into Somerville and Medford. The $1.08 billion contract includes six options for platform canopies, additional elevators, public art, walkways and storage yard enhancements that had been separated out of the main contract when the project was put on hold in 2015 because its price tag had spiraled out of control.
Three bids had originally been submitted for the project, but one bidder withdrew from consideration. MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez praised the review process for its thoroughness and said that the contract was “under our affordability limit.”
The extension will begin at a relocated Lechmere station and have two branches: one to Somerville’s Union Square and a longer one to College Avenue in Medford. It will have six stations and require the relocation of an MBTA commuter rail line. Construction will begin next year, with opening set for 2021.
All-Night Trains Go Overground in London
The success of Transport for London’s Night Tube service has led the agency to expand the network of overnight rapid transit routes to include the London Overground, Global Rail News reports.
(Photo by Cherryguy93)
The launch comes on the heels of London Overground’s 10th anniversary. TfL took over the operation of part of the North London Railways network in November 2007 and integrated it with the Tube’s fare structure.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan had announced an expansion of the overnight network this past summer without specifying where service would be extended.
“The Overground has transformed travel across the capital in the last 10 years, opening up areas of London and setting a new standard for quality of service on the rail network,” Khan told GRN. “We continue to improve the service every year and I’m delighted that we can bring night services to the East London line for the first time ever next month. The Night Tube has proven such a success with Londoners, I know the Night Overground will help thousands more who are working through the night or out enjoying our capital’s nightlife.”
Dual-Mode Trains Will Allow Dublin DART to Expand
Irish Rail (Iárnrod Éireann, or IE) has announced that it is in talks with Ireland’s National Transportation Authority (NTA) to acquire a fleet of dual-mode diesel-electric trains that will allow the Dublin Area Rapid Transit network to expand beyond the limits of the Irish capital’s electrified rail network.
The International Railway Journal reports that IE CEO David Franks confirmed the talks were underway in an exclusive interview. An initial order of 100 dual-mode railcars, which IE hopes to have in service in four years, would allow DART service to be extended north to Drogheda and west to Maynooth.
The NTA’s 20-year “Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area” calls for expanding both the DART railcar fleet and the extent of electrification to handle growing ridership. Some cars in the existing fleet will be refurbished to continue to operate alongside the new cars.
An IE rep stressed that the dual-mode car order does not mean that electrification will not occur: “While we are strongly advocating that electrification proceed at the earliest possible opportunity, bi-mode will give us the flexibility should such a programme not proceed at the hoped-for pace. We remain committed, however, to electrification to Drogheda, Maynooth and Hazelhatch, as detailed in the NTA’s Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.”
The report also states that IE intends to increase the frequency of DART trains to every 10 minutes in the first quarter of the new year, but further service improvements will depend on expansion of the railcar fleet.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.