Framingham / B&A Line in 1970's

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Framingham / B&A Line in 1970's

Postby Tadman » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:26 am

I came across this picture today: http://railpictures.net/photo/411489

And the caption notes: "The D&H [Alco PA] units lead on this line exclusively due to having NYC style signal equipment".

Does that mean that the B&A Framingham line only had four locomotives capable of leading a train at one time? Does this illustrate a low point in ridership as it may have nationwide, or is that line just less important?

Thanks guys. I know little about the MBTA commuter system.
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Re: Framingham / B&A Line in 1970's

Postby TomNelligan » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:41 am

The caption has it backwards. The reason the D&H PAs ran mostly on the B&A during their MBTA lease in the late 1970s was that they did not have the NH/PRR style cab signals that were needed on the Shore Line. Any MBTA locomotive of the immediate pre-F40/FP10 era that was of NH or PRR heritage (ex-NH GP9s, ex-PRR E8s) could run on the B&A, but the PAs couldn't lead on the ex-NH Providence, Franklin, or Stoughton routes out of South Station since they all required cab signals. (The PAs did make a few trips to Providence as trailing units behind an E8.) It's the same reason the one ex-NYC RDC the MBTA acquired ran solo only on the Needham Branch.

As for ridership, the 1970s was the low point for Boston-Framingham service, with just three weekday rush hour round trips. The MBTA began increasing frequency a few years later.
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Re: Framingham / B&A Line in 1970's

Postby Aerie » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:56 am

I remember once doing a trip on the B&A to Framingham on the final train of the evening rush hour. The return train to Boston left only a few minutes after my train arrived, and what they apparently did was to couple together all the previous rush hour trains to return them to Boston as one train. I think there must have been 10-12 cars and several locomotives. And of course, I was the only passenger :) The conductor said it was very unusual to have customers on that reverse move.
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