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Project Experience: Old Colony Railroad Restoration Project, Massachusetts

The Challenge

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) needed multi-faceted noise and vibration services for their Old Colony Railroad Restoration project, which included the Middleborough, Plymouth and Greenbush Rail Lines. The latter line reintroduced commuter rail service from Boston to Scituate.

The Strategy

HMMH worked with the MBTA and the Army of Corps of Engineers during the Section 106 Historical Consultation Process to assess noise and vibration at historical residential properties, some located as close as 20 feet from the right-of-way.

HMMH also performed the impact and mitigation analyses for the Greenbush  line.  These included studies at:

  • Glastonbury Abbey, Hingham, MA - Benedictine monks at the Abbey were concerned that noise from the Greenbush line train passbys would disrupt their meditative activitites. HMMH worked with the MBTA, the town of Hingham, and the Glastonbury Abbey to assess the effects of train noise and to recommend appropriate sound insulation measures.
  • Contact Lens Manufacturing Facility, Cohasset, MA - We perfomed detailed vibration measurements at a contact lens manufacturing facility located 30 feet from the proposed track centerline. There was concern that vibration from trains could disrupt the operation of precision lathes that must be accurate to within 0.002 inches. HMMH measured the vibration response of the facility. We worked with MBTA, the town of Cohasset and the lathe manufacturer to design mitigation strategies that maximized effectiveness while minimizing cost.

The Solution

Despite these challenges, the MBTA was successful in completing a Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the Army Corps of in March 2001.