The tie replacement project actually encompasses two elements:
1) Tie replacement; &
2) Railbed resurfacing.
Details after the 'read more' break:
Another interesting tidbit is that the tie replacement and rail destressing tasks are actually better completed separately. Rail destressing stretches the rail and therefore changes the place where the spikes and clips fix the rail to the ties. But the tie replacement project attempts to keep the rail in the same place and just replace the tie. So it is actually more efficient to do the rail destressing first and then the tie replacement as a separate task.
As noted in the first post in this series, the tie replacement on track 1 was completed on Saturday 6/25/2016 with the section from West Natick to downtown Framingham. The section of track 1 directly within Framingham station was skipped / deferred to later this year. As you'll see in the videos and pictures below, when ties are replaced in areas where the station platform is directly adjacent to the track, the fence between the tracks has to be removed. The fence in the Framingham station is a fancy metal structure held in place with many bolts. I'm guessing they only want to dismantle that once - so they'll do the tie replacement on track 1 & track 2 in Framingham station at the same time later this year. [See the first blog post in this series for details on the tie replacement project later in 2016 for track 2.]
One final task will be ongoing for the rest of the summer, which is the collection of old ties from along the entire line. That work will be done in off-peak hours and is not expected to result in significant delays to any trains. You can see the stockpiles of old ties getting bigger - I know of one near downtown Ashland and one at the former Beacon Park freight yard. Keolis has indicated tie collection will be complete by the end of August.
In case you missed it, Governor Baker made a visit out to the Ashland station in April to observe the tie replacement project. The biggest benefit we get from his visit is the media coverage and many videos and pictures of the machines and process! Here are some:
Metrowest Daily News
Here are some additional pictures and videos I got of various equipment over the past few months.
First is the ballast / stone train (the 'snowplow' / caboose looking railcar is called a 'flanger' and is used to spread the stone after it is dumped from the hopper cars):
Next are some videos and pictures of the tie replacement & railbed resurfacing equipment & crews: