Besancon Light Rail Montréal

How is Besançon Building a Tramway at €16 million/kilometer?

» Montréal plans to spend hundreds of millions on a new busway. Is it spending too much for what it will get?

Though Montréal has significant Metro and tramway expansion plans, its next new transit line will come in the form of a bus rapid transit line down Boulevard Pie-IX on the east side of the city.  The city hopes that the creation of a “bus highway” connecting into the suburban city of Laval would be able to attract about 70,000 daily users. The project, which includes the construction of new stations and dedicated lanes along the entire Montréal side of the 15 kilometer corridor, would cost some C$305 million — or about U.S. $32 million a mile.

Montréal’s new line will share many features of the Express Pie-IX, a bus line whose contra-flow bus movements were blamed for the deaths of several bikers and pedestrians and which was shut down in 2002 after carrying about 8,000 daily users.

The development of BRT in Montréal isn’t particularly remarkable outside of the fact that it is being done at a high price for what are primarily surface improvements. Yet compared to other recent rail projects in North America, the project looks downright cheap: Phoenix’s first light rail segment cost about $70 million a mile; Seattle’s broke the bank at $150 million. Subway projects are far more expensive.

How, then, is the eastern French city of Besançon building a new tramway for the equivalent of just about $35 million a mile?*

It’s a question Americans should be asking themselves, since the costs of transit investments seem to be spiraling out of control even as the demand for alternative transportation options has increased and the funds to support them have diminished. Besançon, a city of about 115,000 in a region of about twice that size, has managed to develop a project whose costs are acceptable — “optimized,” the local transit agency calls them — even in a small metropolitan area.

Besançon will be getting a light rail line fully in its own right-of-way that extends over nine miles and thirty stations, all for a price of €228 million ($310 million), with construction beginning this fall. The city expects about 43,000 daily riders once the project opens in 2015. This is no streetcar, and yet plenty of U.S. cities are thinking about spending far more per mile on those limited ridership, low-performance systems.

There are some good explanations for the low costs of what Besançon is calling the cheapest tramway project in France. According to the city, the entire manner in which the project was pursued was based on the goal of limiting spending to ensure that its completion would be possible in a place with limited public funds.

For one, the request for proposals to provide trains was opened up to seven candidates (of which six negotiated), versus the two or three typically offered. This increased competition between vehicle manufacturers and allowed the provision of nineteen 23-meter trains from Spanish constructor CAF for a price of €34.8 million ($47.33 million total, or $2.5 million per train). For comparison, the same company had planned to give Houston 103 similar trains for a cost of $330 million, or $3.2 million per train. Competition in Besançon cheapened the costs of train purchase. The price was also cheapened because the city chose to buy standard, rather than customized, train exteriors and interiors.

Meanwhile, Besançon made the decision to prioritize building the system over making the system beautiful. One might argue with this choice, but it has certainly lowered costs. The city chose to standardize stations, making them as simple as possible and similar in operation to existing bus stations. The maintenance center for the trains is more of a yard than anything else; it will have no roof.

The consequences on the urban landscape are more problematic; while many urban rail lines have been designed to ameliorate the surrounding urban environment, the Besançon project will be able to do less. This means that there will be fewer street improvements sponsored by the project, less planting of new trees, and a reduction in expenditures in landscaping. This means that the appearance of the areas in which the tram line will run will not be significantly better than before, in contrast to many successful interventions in other cities where the creation of a new street rail line provided an incentive to renovate the whole street. (As a Paris official recently said in reference to that city’s tram project: “We are profiting from its arrival to produce urban renovation. [The affected streets] need a re-qualification of public space.”)

This unwillingness to spending transit funds on street improvements in Besançon, though, does have its positive benefit: In some places, instead of reworking a street to offer both rail and automobile traffic, the city is simply banning cars. This will improve the circulation of the transit vehicles and improve the incentives to use public transportation in general. Much of the dedicated right-of-way for the rail line — usually expensive to develop because planners are afraid to take space away from drivers — simply is taken from the roads in Besançon. There is little concern expressed here about the loss of automobile capacity.

Besançon will come away from the project with a significantly improved urban transit system that would have been impossible had the city been asked to pay for it at the typical prices. Which brings us back to Montréal: Is the city spending too much on its transit projects? Could funds being spent on that program be better used somewhere else in the city?

(I have not studied the Pie-IX project in detail, so it would be difficult for me to identify specific ways in which that project could be reduced in price; it may be that its current cost estimates are perfectly reasonable.)

I do not want to suggest that the answer to calls for reduction in government spending is to cost-cut. But there are significant advantages to finding ways to pull down expenditures for new transportation projects, both in terms of economics and politics. Besançon could provide a useful model for American cities that want to improve their public transportation networks but simply cannot afford to.

* Assuming an exchange rate of about 1.36 U.S. Dollars to the Euro. Costs per mile updated to reflect incorrect information when first published. Image above: Planned route of the Besançon Tramway, from the City of Besançon.

Bikes Montréal Paris Washington DC

Ensuring the Efficient Workings of a Bike-Sharing System

» Washington releases preliminary information about bike-sharing station locations. Are they positioned to succeed?

After the opening earlier this year of major bike-sharing systems in Denver and Minneapolis, Washington expects to relaunch its own program this fall. Working with Arlington County, Virginia, the U.S. capital will replace the only marginally successful 100-bike, 10-station SmartBike DC network installed in 2008 by Clear Channel with a 1,100-bike, 114-station system using Montréal’s Bixi technology, also under development in London, Boston, and Melbourne. Washington’s success, along with that of the several other American cities currently pushing these public cycling systems, will determine whether similar networks will spread to large and medium-sized cities across North America.

This recent focus on bike-sharing is a response to the strong public reception to systems in European cities like Paris and Barcelona, where thousands of people hop on the publicly owned vehicles everyday. In the French capital, where more than 20,000 bikes are available in the city and in the near suburbs, bicycle mode share has doubled since 2007.

Washington’s Capital Bikeshare will initially feature one hundred stations in the District of Columbia and fourteen in Arlington’s Crystal City, but future expansion — potentially funded by the federal government, depending on the outcome of the region’s application to the TIGER program — could result in an eventual quadrupling of the system’s size. Future bike stations could be positioned in Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, in addition to Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor and the City of Alexandria.

This week, though, Washington revealed preliminary station locations for the first stage of the system, a few weeks after Arlington pinpointed its own. Have the cities’ transportation planners thought through how people are likely to use these bikes? Or is the District limiting the chances for the system’s success by not fully considering the needs of potential bike riders?

To consider these questions, it’s worth comparing the proposed system with the existing and well-used systems in Montréal and Paris. One place to start is an evaluation of station densities. In a bike share system, a station is where people pick up and deposit bikes; it typically includes ten to twenty “docks,” each holding one bicycle. The system works by allowing customers to choose a bike at one station and deposit it somewhere else. The density is a reflection of how far a person has to walk to get to or between stations.

In the chart below, I’ve taken one mile-square samples of central city neighborhoods and peripheral neighborhoods and plotted station locations on them; the former are the densest station areas in each respective bike system (downtown D.C., downtown Montréal, central Paris) and the latter are those that are least well served by stations (Anacostia in D.C., southeast of Parc Maisonneuve in Montréal, and Montreuil east of Paris). I obviously haven’t included areas outside the reach of the bike share networks.

The charts demonstrate the fundamental difference between Washington’s proposed system and those in Montréal and Paris. In the center-cities, the French-speaking cities have roughly three times the densities of bike stations as the District proposes; in areas far from downtown, the difference is even more pronounced. Indeed, the minimum density of stations anywhere in the Paris or Montréal bike-sharing zones is higher than the maximum density promoted for Washington.

This could potentially cause significant problems for the users of the new U.S. capital system.

There are two main reasons for this: One, light station density makes short neighborhood commutes via public bicycle more difficult, reducing the chance to attract occasional riders; Two, insufficient density can cause logistical problems in situations where stations either run out of bicycles or, inversely, run out of dock spaces — not infrequent issues, at least considering my own experience using the Parisian system extensively.

Washington has clearly attempted to spread out its initial investment, giving at least a few stations to every part of the city. This, however, would result in a limited concentration of bikes in the relatively large areas east of the Anacostia River (just 11 stations) and west of Rock Creek Park (9 stations). Each of these sections has a lower population density than the rest of the city.

This contrasts significantly with the approach in Paris and Montréal, where the bike-sharing zone ends abruptly; there isn’t much of a station density fall-off below the 15 stations per square mile mark. Even in areas with low densities, such as in the examples shown on the chart above, stations are clustered along corridors, ensuring that virtually every station is within 200 meters (656 feet) of the next. This allows people to walk easily between stations if they encounter some problem.

Closeness of stations is essential to making bike-sharing work. Washington has designed its system as if people can pre-plan specific commutes from one station to another, but that’s not always a realistic option. For one, unless stations are very well marked from the surrounding streets, it is not always easy for bike riders to find even a predetermined destination station unless they’re very familiar with the neighborhood. This could complicate matters, since in modern bike-sharing, customers face increasing financial penalties the longer they delay returning their vehicles. The more stations, the easier it is to find one; it’s okay to end up parking somewhere different than originally planned as long as the station is relatively close to where you want to go.

Meanwhile, the lack of adjacency between stations could become extremely difficult when stations are either empty or full. For commuters hoping to ride a bike in a neighborhood with few stations, an empty station means they must either choose a different way of getting around or walk a long distance to the next station. On the other hand, a full station at the end of a trip could mean having to park at an area that is completely out of the way.

Though there are municipal employees using trucks to move bikes from full stations to empty ones, they frequently cannot keep up with the movement of traffic during the day, leaving people in the lurch when there aren’t nearby stations to choose from. These are technical problems that will limit the appeal of using bike share for a large percentage of people in the under-served areas — which is specifically why Montréal and Paris have chosen not to have any neighborhoods with just a few stations.

The foreign example suggests that you either have to put a lot of stations in a community, or not serve it at all. It’s the low station density middle ground that causes problems.

All that said, there are several reasons to remain optimistic about the implementation of bike-sharing in Washington. For one, even if station density isn’t as high as it ought to be, people are still likely to use the bikes at a rate that expands their overall mode share in the city. Second, there is a significant chance that the municipality will be able to find sufficient funds to expand the project to increase station density in areas that are initially under-served; in terms of transportation capital investments, bike share is pretty much as cheap as you can get. But there’s always the problematic possibility that expansion could mean only extending the system further out with low station densities, not increasing densities within the already served areas.

Yet Washington will have an example of what denser station areas look like right on its home turf. Arlington County’s fourteen stations are all within the tight confines of the adjacent Crystal City and Pentagon City districts; each station is within just two or three blocks of the next. This will provide a working example for how the bikes can serve as efficient neighborhood transportation devices, getting people between relatively close destinations more quickly than is possible with walking.

Related: If you understand French, here’s a funny satire video that proposes a new way of thinking about bike share as a political tool in the Paris mayoral race. Image at top: Montréal Bixi bike share stands, from Flickr user newton64 (cc)

Metro Rail Montréal

Montréal and Québec Leaders Announce “Irreversible” Decision to Expand Métro

Montreal Transit Extensions Map

» Just a month after city commits to streetcar network, three metro extensions are put into play.

In the early 1990s, Québec’s ruling Liberal Party stopped funding extensions of the Montréal metro after having built four lines to serve the dense island’s core since 1966. The rise of the Parti Québecois in the mid 1990s allowed for the completion of one more expansion: northwest to Laval, which was served by three new stations by the time the project opened in 2007 to wild success. Despite its diminutive length of only 40 miles, Montréal has built North America’s most ambitious inner-city rapid transit scheme outside of Washington, D.C., serving the third-largest number of passengers overall behind New York and Mexico City and attracting the second-highest ridership per capita behind New York.

The network’s popularity has not been unnoticed by politicians at the municipal and provincial levels. Just months before elections are likely to occur, the Liberal Party, now in charge of the Province and hoping to regain control of the federal government, The Québec Liberal Party, unaffiliated with the federal Liberals, has announced its support for three new extensions to the system which could increase its size by one-third by 2020. Though the new projects will undergo C$12 million in feasibility studies over the next three years before construction can begin on what will be a C$4 billion program, Québec Premier Jean Charest stood with the mayors of Montréal, Longueuil, and Laval to note that the government was at a point of “non-retour;” in other words, the decision to invest in these projects is irreversible.

The action comes just a month after Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced his commitment to a C$700 million tramway line running from downtown along the Côte des Neiges through Outremont. It also coincides with the transit renaissance currently taking place in Toronto and Vancouver, each of which have committed billions to new projects.

Blue, Yellow, and Orange Lines will see 20 km of new service, all underground, if the plans announced this week come to fruition. The Blue Line would be expanded by 5 km north to Anjou from its current terminus at Saint-Michel; this corridor would be the first built because it has already undergone extensive planning. The short Yellow Line would see a 5 km extension into Longueuil. Meanwhile, the already-overflowing trains from Laval would be reinforced by the 10 km looping of the Orange Line, allowing commuters in the off-island suburb service to both north and south sides of Parc Mont Royal.

Missing from the proposals is any effort to expand the network to West Island communities such as Montréal-Ouest and Côte Saint-Luc, each of which are arguably just as densely populated as the areas to be served by the other metro extensions. To some in the anglophone press, this is seen as an affront to English-speaking neighborhoods, though it seems just as likely that this decision was the inevitable consequence of the municipal demerger of Montréal island in 2006. A referendum in 2005 recreated a number of independent cities, mostly on the west side, after Québec Province merged the entire island into the city of Montréal in 2002.

The demerger came with its negative consequences for the cities that wanted to be left alone, providing an incentive for the still-dominant city of Montréal to concentrate on providing transit service within its shrunken boundaries — which explains, notably, why the Blue Line is being extended east, not west. The coalition of the mayors of Montréal, Longueuil, and Laval pushed for this new commitment from Québec Province, and since there is now no authority that manages the island as a whole, this was a battle for political supremacy that could not be won by the small cities of west island. We would likely be seeing a different proposal for new lines today if the 2002 merger had remained in place, especially since tunnels that would allow for a western extension of the Blue Line have already been partially built.

At this point, it is unclear who will pay for these lines, though it seems probable that Québec Province will take the primary role in funding. The federal commitment of billions of dollars to Toronto and Vancouver over the past few months suggests it would be fair for Montréal to receive a similar donation — though it might result in one of the projects being renamed the Canada Line. The city must resolve some fiscal problems in the meantime — its trainsets are decades old and need to be replaced over the next few years. But the outlook for these extensions look good. Or at least, that’s the impression the Liberal Party wants to portray going into elections later this year.


Montréal Moves Forward with Tramway, in Line with Hopes for Improved Livability

Montreal Transit Investments Map

» City’s transit network would be reinforced with downtown and Côte des Neiges streetcar line.

Montréal was on a roll in the post-war period, opening its brand-new metro system in 1966, hosting the Universal Exposition in 1967, and providing a home for the Olympic Games in 1976. Charismatic Mayor Jean Drapeau wanted to define the metropolis as one of the most important in the Western hemisphere, building sports stadia and the like to provide physical evidence of the city’s importance. In the late 1970s, during the rise of the Québec sovereignty movement and the creation of French language laws, however, Montréal lost its status as Canada’s largest city to Toronto. Ever since, the town has been struggling with its identity.

But the city’s administration thinks it has a solution. Even as its perennial rival invests in a large network of new light rail lines and subway extensions, Montréal has launched a popular new bike share system and it will soon lay the tracks for a streetcar line. The city has picked livability over monumentality.

For years, the city’s administration has been considering a new tramway in the downtown area to reinforce the metro, which provides underwhelming access to neighborhoods directly north and south of Parc Mont Royal, the defining element of the city’s landscape. Montréal’s Transport Plan, which was first introduced last year, lists a streetcar line first among a number of other projects the city will undertake in the coming years, including two metro line extensions (of the Blue and Orange lines), a new commuter rail line (Train de l’Est), and a direct airport link.

Last week, the city revealed the results of its first serious streetcar study, and it demonstrated a great potential for new corridors to fill in the city’s transit gaps. The overall tramway program, which would be constructed over a period of several decades, would begin with a new line connecting the downtown and Old Port with the Côte des Neiges and Outremont neighborhoods along a new route lounging the south side of Parc Mont Royal. Future extensions would run through the Plateau community along Avenue du Parc, Boulevard Pie-IX, Avenue du Mont-Royal, and Rue Notre Dame, as well as into south Montréal. The areas selected for proposed service are the city’s most densely populated; completing the entire project would likely cost more than a billion Canadian dollars.

The first corridor lacks adequate financing, and even the city government admits that it will not be completed until 2013 at the earliest. Yet Mayor Gérald Tremblay sees the C$500-750 million downtown and Côte des Neiges project, running 12.5 km in total, as a key to the city’s future. Together, the lines would carry between 65,000 and 80,000 daily passengers. A line up Avenue du Parc would add 30,000 riders to that number.

Montréal’s impulse — to construct a streetcar as soon as possible even as it expands its Bixi bike share network — seems likely to guarantee a more livable future for the city’s citizens, who are already treated to one of North America’s most wonderful urban environments. Just as Portland and Seattle have demonstrated the developmental value of tramways over the past decade or so, Montréal will likely attract increasing infill construction in areas along the streetcar routes. The emphasis on biking and walking in those neighborhoods will make the atmosphere even more appealing.

While the Côte des Neiges, Parc, Mont-Royal, and Pie-IX lines seem reasonable, filing the gaps in service currently not provided by the metro and reinforcing the density of existing neighborhoods, the downtown project and the Notre Dame lines seem less well considered. Montréal proposes three north-south spines on its downtown route — two more than it needs. Meanwhile, the circulator pattern proposed for the downtown project will not actually fit the needs of most of the city’s inhabitants — people generally do not want to travel in circles. The Notre Dame line seems largely superfluous, since the metro Green Line already runs a few blocks from there and development on the riverfront is relatively sparse, with few opportunities for improvement since a busy freight rail line sits in the way.

Overall, though, Montréal’s investment in tramways is an exciting step forward for a town that seemed to have lost its footing for a while. A city that spends on improvements that make neighborhoods more walkable and environmentally sensitive is one that will make the life of its citizens more enjoyable.

Boston High-Speed Rail Montréal New York

Connecting Montréal to the American Rail Network

A New York-bound route would attract far more passengers than one heading for Boston.

Montréal is one of North America’s most appealing cities and it’s only a few dozen miles from the border. As a result, both American and Canadian politicians have been arguing for the expansion of rail service from the metropolis south into the United States. Yet, after decades of work, little of consequence has actually been completed. But with stimulus funds for high-speed rail soon to be distributed, it’s worth considering what routes would be most appropriate for possible service.

In 2000, at the request of the states of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, the Federal Railroad Administration designated the Northern New England route as an “official” high-speed corridor. This series of lines would include connections between Boston and Portland, Boston and Albany, Springfield and New Haven, and Boston and Montréal. The three states began studying a connection with Canada and released a report detailing potential services in April 2003. The study advocated 110 mph top speed service on the 329-mile route, providing a 5h48 trip between Boston and Montréal. New Hampshire, more focused on expanding highways into Boston, abandoned interest and the project has laid dormant since.

But the federal stimulus reawakened the possibility of funding the project with national money. Upgrades of the partially abandoned route could be sponsored by the Department of Transportation.

Yet, the City of Montréal and the State of New York have a different objective: connecting the French-Canadian city with Gotham. In the 1970s, hyperactive Montréal mayor Jean Drapeau attempted to connect his city with New York via TGV, a project that was ultimately abandoned due to lack of governmental commitment. New York’s state rail plan pushes an improvement of the connection between Albany and Montréal, but only after the link between Buffalo and Albany is substantially accelerated.

A connection to Montréal may be long-off, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on the minds of U.S. and Canadian transportation planners. Rather, it could be an important route — if it’s planned and routed correctly. What follows is a comparison of a hypothetical major investment on the two most prominent visions of high-speed routes between the cities, at average speeds of 180 mph. By comparing the routes at high speeds rather than the 70 or 80 mph averages typically proposed by the investment-weary states, the ultimate advantages of the different routes can be more easily discerned. The conclusion of this post — that a connection between New York and Montréal would be a far more valuable investment than one between Boston and Montréal — would be the same no matter the speeds of train service offered, but demonstrating consequences at 180 mph allows for best-case circumstances to be analyzed.

* A note at the end of this post describes some implementation problems with the routes described.

New England Rail Connections Boston-Montréal

The map above shows the route of the proposed Boston-Montréal corridor and potential service routing off the line onto existing Amtrak routes. The 329-mile route between the two cities would take almost two hours to complete (and about one hour from Montréal to White River Junction, where the existing line branches off).

When developing high-speed rail networks, a 3h30 travel time constitutes the upper limit of how far people are willing to choose rail travel over air routes. However, I have also included information on travel times of five hours to Montréal with the intention of demonstrating potential future expansions of true high-speed service and the implications for customers willing to travel further. I produced these maps by calculating existing travel times on Amtrak from Boston, White River Junction, and Montréal; the map assumes no improvement of service on any of the other lines shown here.

As the map demonstrates, only one major metro area, Boston, would be within 3h30 distance of Montréal, with several smaller cities such as Burlington also within striking distance. Excluding Montréal, about 5.1 million people live in the metropolitan areas affected by this service, almost all of them in the Boston area. Expanding time to 5h would reach 1.2 million more people and allow travel to Springfield and Portland.

One major problem with this planned route is that trains would enter North Station, not South Station, where most service from Boston originates. This means that it would be impossible to continue service from Boston to Providence or Springfield, unless the North-South Rail Link connecting the terminals is ever built. Yet, even with the North-South Link, service would still only reach 9.1 million in 3h30 (including Providence and New London) and 4.2 million more in 5h (including Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford).

New England Rail Connections New York-Montréal

The longer route between Montréal and New York City, via Albany, at around 380 miles, would provide service to Montréal to a far larger group of individuals — a total of 41.7 million in nine states and the District of Columbia. That’s because the slightly longer than two hour trip between Montréal and New York would provide a direct connection to the center of the speedy Northeast Corridor. In addition to New York and Albany, cities within 3h30 of Montréal would include Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Stamford, New Haven, and Springfield. Within five hours: Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, Hartford, New London, Providence, and Syracuse.

In other words, a New York route would provide service to Montréal in five hours or less for the majority of the Northeastern seaboard, with the visible exception of Boston, which would be more like 6h30 away save for improvements along the Boston-Albany route. Despite the more expensive costs related to the longer length of this corridor over the previous described, this route would provide a rail option for a far larger number of people — 41.7 million, to be specific — and would therefore make up its value as a result of much higher likely ridership. Here is a chart comparing the two corridors:

Building Rail to Montréal
Boston-Montréal Corridor New York-Montréal Corridor
Population* within 3.5 h 5.1 million 29.9 million
Population* within 5 h 1.2 million 11.8 million
Total population* affected 6.3 million (13.3 million with N-S Link)
41.7 million
Daily flights to Montréal from cities within 3.5 h 10 flights (from Boston) 41 flights (from New York and Philadelphia)
Daily flights to Montréal from cities within 5 h 18 flights (from Washington and Hartford)
Total Flights
10 flights 59 flights

* Population in metro areas of more than 100,000 along the route (not including Montréal).


Even if the New York corridor were twice as expensive as the Boston route (it wouldn’t be), it would still provide more travel benefits to more people per unit of cost. These numbers indicate unambiguously that the route from New York would be vastly more productive than the one from Boston. It is in the national public interest to ensure that funding go to the former, rather than latter, route.

But the only government-approved national rail map we have suggests that the Boston corridor is the one that deserves high-speed rail. Meanwhile, the six senators from Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire are undoubtedly collectively stronger than New York’s two — which means that by measure of governmental influence, a Boston-routed corridor seems more likely to move ahead. That fact says a lot about the problems with the American political system and our unwillingness to submit national policy to an objective test. If our high-speed rail dollars are to be well-spent, we have an obligation to compare the benefits of multiple corridors and invest in the most effective option.


Note: there are several technical problems that would have to be addressed for both potential routes to allow through-running.

  • In New York, the Empire Connection, the line on the west side of Manhattan that trains would take to enter Penn Station, heads east as it enters the facility. To allow trains to continue southwest to Philadelphia and beyond, the driver would have to go to the other end of the train (it would reverse directions). To speed things up, there could be another driver ready to assume controls as the train entered New York, to allow for a seamless and potentially stop-free transition.
  • In Boston, trains arriving at North Station would similarly have to reverse directions to go northeast to Portland. A direct connection to service emanating from South Station (west to Springfield or southwest to Providence) would not be possible unless Massachusetts built a connection either through the North-South Link or around the city at some location. This seems unlikely. Otherwise, passengers would have to change stations to transfer to other trains, slowing down connections and making through-routing impossible.
  • Trains would have to be bimode diesel/electric for through-routes reaching away from either proposed high-speed corridor and the main NEC.