Train Sim World
Boston Sprinter - Famous, Fast And Exhilarating!
Be in control with Boston Sprinter on 19th August - Find out more about the Amtrak and MBTA Northeast Corridor: Boston - Providence route coming to Train Sim World 2!
Written by Gary Dolzall
Boston to Providence: It is a polished rail artery between the capitals of Massachusetts and Rhode Island that at once is ultra-modern and ancient in its origins. It is bustling: As the northern end of Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor, it also serves as the MBTA’s (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) busiest rail commuter line. Arriving 19th August as the first Train Sim World 2: Rush Hour route!
With the upcoming Boston – Providence route, you’ll climb aboard Amtrak’s state-of-the-art Siemens ACS-64 “City Sprinter” and MBTA’s distinctive EMD F40PH-3C and MBB CTC-3 cab car to hustle passengers between classic Boston South Station and modern Providence station. And the upcoming route will also include MBTA’s noted Stoughton Branch.
What today serves as the multi-track, fast-paced northern end of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor was set down more than 180 years ago by the aptly named Boston & Providence Railroad, making the line one of the oldest in America. This route, completed in 1835, went on to achieve glamour and glory as part of the legendary New Haven Railroad’s “Shore Line” linking Boston, New Haven, and New York City. Boston’s magnificent South Station, a crown jewel among American railroad stations, was opened in 1899 under the auspices of the New Haven and New England’s other heavyweight railroad, the Boston & Albany (part of the New York Central System). At the turn of the twentieth century, South Station was proclaimed as the busiest railroad station in America and in the decades that followed, New Haven’s renowned Shore Line became home to the likes of NYNH&H’s elegant Merchant’s Limited and beautiful streamlined Baldwin-built 4-6-4s.
The Boston-Providence route, having over the decades been joined by a virtual spiderweb of other New Haven lines south of Boston (which included the Canton-Stoughton branch opened in 1845), remained part of the New Haven until the railroad was merged into the ill-fated Penn Central on December 31, 1968. Within but a handful of turbulent years, intercity passenger service was then assumed by Amtrak in 1971 and Penn Central was folded into Conrail in 1976. Meanwhile, today’s expansive MBTA (nicknamed “The T” by Bostonians) was created as a state agency in 1964 and has come to be one of America’s largest and most progressive regional transit systems incorporating rail, light rail, and bus services. MBTA’s rail services include operations on a dozen commuter lines once operated by the New Haven, B&A (NYC), and Boston & Maine. Today, the state of Massachusetts also owns the 38 Northeast Corridor route-miles between Boston and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border.
Unlike the New Haven-Washington section of today’s Northeast Corridor, the New Haven’s Shore Line was traditionally not electrified. Modern electrification planning for the route dated to the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project of 1976, but political wrangling and lack of funding stalled the initiative until the 1990s and the Northeast High Speed Rail Improvement Program, which finally brought electrification, track improvements – and the high-speed Acela – to fruition. Electrification of the 157 miles between Boston and New Haven was begun in 1996 and completed in 2000. Speed limits on select portions of the line in Rhode Island and Massachusetts were raised to 150 mph for Acela (and 125 mph for regional trains).
Today, the 43-mile, multi-track Boston-Providence route is pulsing with Amtrak intercity and MBTA commuter trains and is a captivating mix of the modern (such as Boston South Station’s adjoining multi-mode Transportation Center and Amtrak’s Route 128 station) and the timeless (including Boston South Station’s beautiful headhouse facing Atlantic Avenue and the famed stone-arched Canton Viaduct). Prior to the pandemic, South Station alone served 1.5 million Amtrak passengers a year and MBTA’s Boston-Stoughton-Providence line trains welcomed an average of 25,000+ daily riders. Today, ridership and service levels on the line are rapidly rebounding. In addition to being an important commuter conveyor unto itself, the MBTA Boston-Stoughton-Providence line plays an important role in the commuter agency’s overall south-side operations, as it has junctions with and in many cases supports train movements from routes including the Needham Heights, Franklin, and Worcester lines.
The Train Sim World 2: Rush Hour edition of the remarkable Boston-Providence route will bring the vitality of this extraordinary rail line to full, entertaining, and challenging life. All the grand locations of the route – Boston’s South and Back Bay stations, Cove interlocking, Amtrak’s sprawling and modern Southampton Street Maintenance Facility, Forest Hills, Readville, Canton Junction and Viaduct, Mansfield, Attleboro, East Junction, Providence station, and more – are being meticulously re-created. And you’ll climb aboard and take the throttle of authentically modeled Amtrak ACS-64 and MBTA EMD F40PH-3C and CTC-3 cab cars ready to hustle passengers to and from the four Amtrak stations and twelve stations served by MBTA on the route!
In the coming days here at Dovetail Live, we’ll be taking in-depth looks at operations on the always lively Boston-Providence route and at the notable and distinctive locomotives and equipment to be included, so stay tuned! – Gary Dolzall
The famous and fast Boston-Providence route, shared by Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), is coming soon to Rush Hour and Train Sim World 2! With this new, exhilarating American route, you’ll take the throttle of Amtrak’s state-of-the-art Siemens ACS-64 (left) and MBTA’s EMD/MPI F40PH-3C (right), as well as MBTA’s unique MBB CTC-3 cab car.
Boston’s magnificent and historic South Station is the northern terminal of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and year-round is bustling with action. On a pleasant summer day, Amtrak ACS-64 639 is departing Boston with a Northeast Regional train (above), while on a wintry evening, MBTA F40PH-3C 1072 has an outbound Providence/Stoughton Line train in tow (below). Note: Screenshots depict content while in development.
Located near Boston’s South Station and Cove Interlocking is Amtrak’s modern Southampton Street Maintenance Facility, which maintains Amtrak equipment and also serves as a staging yard for MBTA south-side operations. On the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Boston-Providence route, Amtrak and MBTA equipment stand at Southampton Street awaiting their next call.
Only a mile from South Station, Back Bay Station is diminutive in size but busy, serving both Amtrak and MBTA passengers. In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Back Bay served three-quarters-of-a-million Amtrak passengers. On a snowy day, Amtrak ACS-64 614 is pulling out of Back Bay Station and ahead is Cove Interlocking and a final stop at South Station.
Readville, Massachusetts, nine miles from Boston South Station, is an important location on the upcoming Train Sim World 2 route, where MBTA’s Fairmount/Franklin Line crosses over the Northeast Corridor, and Readville is also home to MBTA’s Readville facility and the Readville yard, from which CSX bases its freight services on the south side of Boston. At Readville, a Boston-bound Amtrak intercity train approaches as an MBTA commuter train makes its station stop.
Route 128, eleven miles south of Boston South Station, is the location of another station which serves both Amtrak and MBTA. A station had stood at the site dating back to New Haven days. The present modern station was constructed in the late 1990s and is convenient and popular due to its easy access from Interstate I-95 and Boston’s Route 128 Expressway.
Canton Junction marks the connecting point between the Northeast Corridor/MBTA Boston-Providence line and the four-mile MBTA Stoughton Branch, which is included in the upcoming Train Sim World 2 route. At Canton Junction, a Boston-bound train, lead by one of MBTA’s single-level MBB CTC-3 cab cars, is coming off the branch and making its station stop.
The MBTA Stoughton Branch, built by the Boston & Providence in 1844, is a captivatingly different experience than the high-speed Northeast Corridor. The branch is served by two stations, at Canton Center and Stoughton. Arriving from Boston, MBTA F40PH-3C 1065 is pulling alongside Stoughton’s depot which was constructed in 1888 (above). In an image typical of the scenic branch, an MBTA MBB CTC-3 is on the point of a Boston-bound train (below).
On a route rich in history, perhaps the most famous structure is ancient Canton Viaduct, located just south of Canton Junction. The stone viaduct dates to 1834-35 and when built was both the longest and tallest railroad viaduct in existence. The viaduct measures 615-feet long and 70-feet high and 186 years after its completion still carries scores of trains daily.
On the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Boston – Providence route, you’ll climb aboard three types of equipment – Amtrak’s Siemens ACS-64 “City Sprinter” and MBTA’s distinctive EMD/MPI F40PH-3C and MBB CTC-3 cab car. As seen from the engineer’s seat aboard an Amtrak ACS-64, Amtrak and MBTA trains meet at Mansfield (Massachusetts) Station.
A Boston-bound Amtrak Northeast Regional train, powered by an ACS-64 and equipped with Amfleet equipment, rockets past Attleboro Station. The upcoming Train Sim World 2 Boston – Providence route features twelve stations served by MBTA and four Amtrak-served stations.
Modern Providence (Rhode Island) station serves as the southern terminus of the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Boston – Providence route. In the coming days here at Dovetail Live, we’ll be taking in-depth looks at operations on the always lively Boston-Providence route and at the notable and distinctive locomotives and equipment to be included, so stay tuned!
Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
In the coming days here at Dovetail Live, we’ll be taking in-depth looks at operations on the always lively Boston-Providence route and at the notable and distinctive locomotives and equipment to be included! You can also take your very first look at Boston Sprinter tonight on Railfan TV - Join us on Twitch or YouTube at Midday PDT / 8PM BST / 9PM CEST. We will be answering questions about the route on tonights broadcast. Head to the forum link below to get your questions in now!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval.
Train Sim World
Boston Sprinter - Famous, Fast And Exhilarating!