General MBTA Discussion Thread

RandomWalk

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Winchester: the town that seems to be actively hostile to any reasonable amount of T service for such close proximity to Boston.
 

jass

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Winchester: the town that seems to be actively hostile to any reasonable amount of T service for such close proximity to Boston.
Have they actually put road-blocks in the way, like Arlington did with the red line?

Or is it just a distance/formula thing?

Ive noticed that the random Turkey Hill bus route ends at the town line.

Winchester also has their own local bus service which Ive never actually seen. Its mythical.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Winchester and Stoneham are both longstanding bus deserts that have never joined the 19th century. And the Medford side of Wedgemere were the most obnoxious GLX NIMBY's of all, even though the project goes nowhere near them. They packed 2 decades' worth of town meetings in opposition.

They've always liked the railroad, though, so they aren't as retrograde as, say, Dedham. They get angry at the suggestion that Wedgemere needs consolidation, even though they'd get much better transit if they did just that in exchange for more post-GLX revamp bus routes hitting Winch Ctr.
 

FK4

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I don't think it's related to June, as I see this now and then on the Orange Line, too. In fact Michelle Wu tweeted about this the other day. I think it is caused by a train failing to communicate with the tracking system, so the system assumes it is still at the last reported station (2 minutes away).

This actually happens at forest hills for buses, too. Incredibly frustrating. Often the sign will say such and such bus is 1min away, then you wait 5-10min.
 

Riverside

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A last minute equipment swap at South Station between the Providence and Worcester Lines, combined with serious crowding on the Providence, caused some frustration among riders tonight. (As I’m sure did the fact that we didn’t let anyone onboard at Ruggles!)

The rumor was that the original Providence set failed some mechancial check that is necessary for the Northeast Corridor, but not for the B&A — hence the switch.

I’m not sure I can think of anything that would fit that criteria — or the reverse, for that matter. Any ideas?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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A last minute equipment swap at South Station between the Providence and Worcester Lines, combined with serious crowding on the Providence, caused some frustration among riders tonight. (As I’m sure did the fact that we didn’t let anyone onboard at Ruggles!)

The rumor was that the original Providence set failed some mechancial check that is necessary for the Northeast Corridor, but not for the B&A — hence the switch.

I’m not sure I can think of anything that would fit that criteria — or the reverse, for that matter. Any ideas?
Amtrak regs, for sure. They have a lot of above-and-beyonds you have to live by in order to get permission from the NEC dispatcher to run on the Corridor. Used to be compliance with their PTC system was the main limiting factor because not all T equipment had the right signal units for the job, but now that they're on the home stretch installing that very same system on all their lines and rolling stock that's no longer a factor. I couldn't even guess what other minutiae they might've gotten dinged for; Amtrak holds their Corridor roommates to reams of very tiny fine-print over all kinds of stuff.
 

Riverside

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Amtrak regs, for sure. They have a lot of above-and-beyonds you have to live by in order to get permission from the NEC dispatcher to run on the Corridor. Used to be compliance with their PTC system was the main limiting factor because not all T equipment had the right signal units for the job, but now that they're on the home stretch installing that very same system on all their lines and rolling stock that's no longer a factor. I couldn't even guess what other minutiae they might've gotten dinged for; Amtrak holds their Corridor roommates to reams of very tiny fine-print over all kinds of stuff.
Ah, makes sense. I'm a little surprised that the T hasn't started pinning delays from those equipment swaps on Amtrak; delay alerts over the last few months have gone to some trouble to explain that delays due to holds for Amtrak are because "Amtrak dispatches the Providence Line and gives priority to its trains." Not exact quote -- it's usually a bit more diplomatic, but there's a clear passing of the buck.

Perhaps the look of "Our equipment isn't up to Amtrak specs" isn't one they want to broadcast.
 

Randomgear

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Just spotted an outbound train 11:30am on the Needham line passing through Roslindale on a no-service Sunday (and returning to Boston at 12:50pm) with the last coach in holiday livery. Does anyone know if the interior is also fitted out in a holiday theme?
Also, in the past month or so I've spotted a number of late night trains passing thru Rozzie heading towards needham, sometimes 12:30ish AM and 1:30ish. Is Keolis just moving trains to Needham to have stock for the morning?
 
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Arlington

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Winchester's elevated CR stop (Lowell Line) is getting rebuilt with high-level platforms. They're at 60% design and I can't tell how they intend to keep the required wide-freight clearance?
Choices seem to be:
1) Retractable platform edge of unprecedented length (9 cars) that you'd interlock with the signals?
2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauntlet_track
3) some kind of "on one side only" implementation of a combination of the above (a crossover is shown at the end of the station in some concepts

 

The EGE

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The 15% design report said that a gauntlet track was possible. I haven't heard anything about it since then; it may be that they've decided that running 5mph past the platform is doable. That same report said that the interlocking north of the station (a remain of the old Woburn Branch) might be moved south of the station.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Also, in the past month or so I've spotted a number of late night trains passing thru Rozzie heading towards needham, sometimes 12:30ish AM and 1:30ish. Is Keolis just moving trains to Needham to have stock for the morning?
That would line up with the overnight PTC test trains. According to the MBTA website: https://mbta.com/projects/commuter-rail-positive-train-control-ptc/update/ptc-weekly-activities

Commuter Rail LineNeedhamOngoing PTC ActivitiesDay and night operations. Overnight test trains Sunday – Thursday.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The 15% design report said that a gauntlet track was possible. I haven't heard anything about it since then; it may be that they've decided that running 5mph past the platform is doable. That same report said that the interlocking north of the station (a remain of the old Woburn Branch) might be moved south of the station.
It's to be a gauntlet, but that's signal dept.'s task to do because of the required interlocking work so the construction schedule is probably well-detached from all else with the station reno. Design only has to deal with it in terms of reserving the clearance envelope (i.e. no center fencing between tracks).

There's no way the T trusts Pan Am staff enough to obey a situational sub- 10 MPH restriction on total engineer discretion or trusts their ops/maint standards for boxcars with shot suspension. Maybe the gauntlet comes dead last, but over their dead bodies are they going to keep patching a platform edge that accumulates as many dings and scrapes as PAR is likely to rack up. They're already at war over the number of times the N. Leominster and N. Billerica mini-highs get damaged by their rolling ruins swinging outside the clearance envelope.
 

ceo

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The report says that a gauntlet track will be hand-thrown. If they go to full-high platforms on the entire line as part of Regional Urban Rail, they'll have to have them at every station, right? In which case it would make more sense to have them controlled by the dispatcher, so the train doesn't have to stop four times at every station to set the switches.
 

stefal

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Isn't part of the point of high-level platforms to decrease boarding times? Seems counter-intuitive to not have a dispatcher do it...
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The report says that a gauntlet track will be hand-thrown. If they go to full-high platforms on the entire line as part of Regional Urban Rail, they'll have to have them at every station, right? In which case it would make more sense to have them controlled by the dispatcher, so the train doesn't have to stop four times at every station to set the switches.
Pan Am very rarely has any Plate F cars on its freight manifests to Somerville, so the relative rarity of such moves is why they'd be choosing hand-throw. Most of the high-and-wide cars that trawl the Lowell Line are 60-ft. boxcars dropped off every night at the busy Tighe Warehouse on Montvale Ave. just north of Winch Ctr. I think Boston Paperboard in the Innerbelt is the only actual high-and-wide customer in town, and they only get spotted big boxcars a couple times a year. So right now they don't even need to flip the retractable edge on the Wedgemere mini-high all that often, which requires comparable number of personnel movements. The gauntlet's necessity is mainly so Pan Am has ops flexibility to play catch-up on late schedules by dragging some high-and-wide empties from Tighe's yard down into Somerville then lash up with whatever they parked overnight in Somerville so they can scramble back out with cleared backlog on one single northbound train. They're always parking stuff from Everett and Peabody overnight in Somerville when they run out of crew hours, so while not an everday occurrence they do somewhat often need to scramble from out of town to flush out a previous-day's car backlog. That plus contractual obligations to always keep the Lowell Line clear for high-and-wides, future large-dimension growth considerations if Massport reactivates the Mystic Wharf Branch to Moran Terminal, and eventual likelihood of Everett Terminal getting cleared for high-and-wides since the current "Plate E"-restricted Cambridge St./Maffa Way/Mystic Ave. overpasses in Sullivan Square only miss by inches (and would be cheap/easy to undercut if MassDOT found a related bridge project to tack the cost onto).

Places north of Winch Ctr. it's definitely heavy enough high-and-wide traffic--mainly driven by that Tighe customer--that hand-throws won't do. Wilmington and North Billerica can feasibly be reconfigured with center passers and any/all infill station sites under consideration have the room to do passers from Day 1. But the need to do a signal-controlled gauntlet interlocking at Mishawum for daily high-and-wide traffic in order to raise those platforms probably ends up being the death knell for Mishawum as a continued station...as simply finishing the west entrance to Anderson and running some buses there is too much easier than the P.I.T.A. it would be to maintain two powered interlockings at that nothingburger of a intermediate station.


This is really going to be hard, BTW, on the outer Haverhill Line. Ballardvale and Andover don't have room for passers, have 24/7 high-and-wide freight traffic, and abut grade crossings where it is really unwise from a maint and speed limit perspective to thread the extra gauntlet rail through a crossing surface and have the automatic interlockings + crossing gate signals all wired-up in tandem glitch-free. Those, plus possibly Haverhill station itself which abuts too close for comfort to the bridge, may have to stay forever mini-highs from lack of available full-high passing design hacks that don't create more problems than they solve.
 
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BostonUrbEx

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Just to clear something up, Plate F does not require any additional attention for width, only height. The most recent Pan Am moves to Boston which required some attention to width were some scrap gondolas that were so beat up that the sides of the gondolas were bowed out. Even on the Freight Main Line, wide moves aren't that common. The high level at Lawrence is avoided as a very cautious rule of thumb, just in case something in the consist was missed or in case a car rocks out to far and catches the platform, but most trains should be able to pass without incident.

That said on how rare the moves currently are, last I heard Winchester interlocking would be reconfigured with a power switch for one end of the gauntlet track, and a new interlocking south of Winchester station would be the other power switch for the other end of the gauntlet track.
 

jass

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I was in Boston this weekend, and brought along 3 of my Charlie Cards.

One says expires 2022, the other two say 2023.

None of them worked. The machine said "your card is invalid, see customer service"

So I go to customer service (at North Station) and the lady says "I see you have $4 on here, but I can't do anything with it, you need to go to the charlie store" .

Why did MBTA pre-expire all my cards and hijack my cash? Did someone need to report some revenue early?
 

Nakedi

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I was in Boston this weekend, and brought along 3 of my Charlie Cards.

One says expires 2022, the other two say 2023.

None of them worked. The machine said "your card is invalid, see customer service"

So I go to customer service (at North Station) and the lady says "I see you have $4 on here, but I can't do anything with it, you need to go to the charlie store" .

Why did MBTA pre-expire all my cards and hijack my cash? Did someone need to report some revenue early?
I had a similar thing happen to me a few months ago-- I grabbed two or three Charlie Cards that I had lying around, tried to tap them at the fare machine and got the same thing. I went to an employee (I forget if it was an ambassador or another T employee), who told me that some Charlie Cards need to be held a few inches away from the pad-- that if you held it too close it wouldn't read the chip. The employee said it was mainly older cards that have this issue, though like yours, mine still had a few years before expiration. Sure enough, I held the card an inch or two off the pad and it worked.
 

jass

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I had a similar thing happen to me a few months ago-- I grabbed two or three Charlie Cards that I had lying around, tried to tap them at the fare machine and got the same thing. I went to an employee (I forget if it was an ambassador or another T employee), who told me that some Charlie Cards need to be held a few inches away from the pad-- that if you held it too close it wouldn't read the chip. The employee said it was mainly older cards that have this issue, though like yours, mine still had a few years before expiration. Sure enough, I held the card an inch or two off the pad and it worked.
Huh, I guess Ill have to try that next time
 

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