Cape Flyer Discussion

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:49 pm

68 passenger to the Cape, on today's CapeFlyer, 6/25
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:21 pm

167 Friday and only 110 Saturday...

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby edbear » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:52 pm

I recently received a box of NYNH & H files related to the Old Colony after the New Haven's 1947 reorganization. As part of the reorganization, the NH was pretty much free from State regulation if the OC passenger service ran at a loss. It was free to make schedule alterations or discontinue services entirely. The NH watched all services closely and on March 1, 1949 reduced most of the OC passenger services. I have passenger counts from July, 1948 and July, 1949.
Here's what the Cape service looked like from year to year.

Wareham-Hyannis segment (1949/1948) 35,975 35,672
Woods Hole Branch segment 13,267 12,284

Those are passengers from Boston through to Cape
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby edbear » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:03 pm

The Boston to Cape service did pretty well during the 1950s. With the introduction of Budd RDCs, the NH gained a lot of flexibility in operations. By 1954, pretty much all off-season service was with RDCs only. The NH fitted out some American Flyer coaches with control cables and gray paint jobs to match the Budds and intended to run them as middle cars in RDC trains. This worked, but Budd Co. frowned on the practice and said it would void any warranties on the RDCs (they probably wanted to sell more RDCs) so the NH quit doing this. Instead they scavenged RDCs from their usual assignments on other routes and ran trains of up to 6 or 7 RDC units between Boston and Buzzards Bay and split them there. CTC was installed between Braintree and Buzzards Bay and speed limit raised from 59 to 79 mph in1954. During mid/late 1950s summers the schedules called for at least 4 Boston-Cape round-trips, even more on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. There were also trains from New York. Freight south of Middleboro was quite limited. A local worked out of Hyannis to Provincetown two days a week, to Buzzards Bay 3 or 4 days, met local working south from Middleboro at Buzzards Bay.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby diburning » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:01 pm

I'm on the inbound flyer now. Preliminary numbers according to the crew: almost 600 people got off at Hyannis. The train was so full that they probably had standees. They tacked on k-car 904 to the flyer set to help add capacity. Departing Hyannis, there were about a dozen passengers, myself included. 2-3 got on at buzzards bay just now.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:58 pm

Friday's train out of Boston showed 540 & 16 bikes with 305 into Hyannis & 10 bikes.
150 off at Buzzards

Saturday's train had 596 & 21 bikes with 582 & 11 bikes into Hyannis. Only 32 & 10 bikes off at Buzzards

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:50 pm

Sunday out of Boston had 156 + 11 bikes...

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Yellowspoon » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:11 am

Why do CapeFLYER trains have two engines, one at each end? Trains on the Framingham line have one engine and can be driven from either end. (I realize that this question may have been asked before, but there are over 1700 responses with the word, "engine" in them.)

When the train pulled into Buzzard's Bay, the first two cars had access to the first platform. Cars 3 & 4 had access to the 2nd platform. But the last four cars had no platform. OK, but why didn't they at least open the stairs in one of the cars rather than making the patrons walk through four cars?

Editorial comment: My grandfather used to commute from Wareham to South Station in 58-61 minutes. Now, with 21st century technology and fewer stops, the scheduled time is 70 minutes,
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Arlington » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:52 am

Yellowspoon wrote:Why do CapeFLYER trains have two engines, one at each end? Trains on the Framingham line have one engine and can be driven from either end.

Reliablity. On all other commuter lines (eg Framingham) you can picture that there's an engine in a wayside yard or another train that can be dispatched to rescue a stranded train if an engine becomes disabled. Sending an off-schedule rescue train to fetch a stalled Flyer would be impossibly slow & unpredictable. Besides, the Flyer mostly operates at hours where there's plenty of spare engines...so why not send it out, pre-attached?

The alternative is needlessly risky: sending a single-engine Flyer way out there on the Cape, beyond normal MBTA territory (with operating rules that limit the speeds of engine-only or light/short/trains if you wanted to send one) on the wrong side of a bridge that might need to open, and lots of slow old stick track when on the Cape.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:46 pm

As Arlington typed, and pretty much nailed it, it is dependability. The Flyer, in the few years of operation, has broken down twice according to my records, and wouldn't you know it, both times, did NOT have a 2nd engine on it. The deal as I understand with the CCRTA, calls for 2 engines on the Flyer for just this reason. Hyannis is 79 rail miles from Boston, if a train were to break down, it would be quite the rescue operation to get from Boston to the Cape
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Yellowspoon » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:22 pm

Are the engines really that unreliable? What's the mean time between failures? Do Framingham trains break down with similar frequency? Two breakdowns in 5? years is poor but is it worth all the extra cost/fuel/wear&tear? Hauling an engine has to add wear-and-tear and fuel consumption. And the Friday night run is done during rush hour so there a not that many spare engines. At the very least, why not leave one engine in HYA on Friday and bring it home on Sunday. That's four runs with only one engine. If the train breaks down north of the canal, sending a spare should not be a problem.

Wareham to Boston: 1958>59 minutes. 2017> 70 minutes
Riverside to Park 1959> 35 minutes; 2017> 42 minutes
Harvard to Park: 1959> 8 minutes; 2017> 10-12 minutes
The above three average about 21% longer than 60 years ago.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby Arlington » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:21 pm

Yellowspoon wrote:Two breakdowns in 5? years is poor but is it worth all the extra cost/fuel/wear&tear? Hauling an engine has to add wear-and-tear and fuel consumption.

If CCRTA wants to pay for it (and can because the service is an above-the-rails moneymaker for them), I don't see why the T should withhold that other engine. It seems an appropriate hedge when operating only 1 train per day--make sure that one operates. I assume that the subsidy that makes the CF a winner is the state $ for ROW upgrades, not that the T is underpricing its hourly equipment prices.

Yellowspoon wrote:And the Friday night run is done during rush hour so there a not that many spare engines. At the very least, why not leave one engine in HYA on Friday and bring it home on Sunday. That's four runs with only one engine. If the train breaks down north of the canal, sending a spare should not be a problem.

The T is really only devoting a few "rush service minutes" worth of incremental engine ops and CCRTA is happy to pay for it. It isn't quite an arms-length transaction, but it is close. So trust that "the market" has arrived at a solution in which CCRTA is happy to pay for an enhanced level of service and the MBTA has priced it fairly.

Yellowspoon wrote:Wareham to Boston: 1958>59 minutes. 2017> 70 minutes... longer than 60 years ago.

We all like faster trains, sure. The state has already poured millions into upgrades and it is hard to make a business case or "fairness" or "efficiency" case that it should have spent more by now or that the CF should go faster.

The Cape Flyer does not need to outrun the trains of the 1960s, it needs to outrun the car traffic of today. (and while I don't have a highway timetable from the 1970s, I'd guess Cape vehicular traffic today moves considerably slower than its heyday). So far, it is producing an above-the-rails profit for the CCRTA but took a big outlay by the state, which is a suggestive that it (1) has had an appropriate level of investment so far and (2) additional investments in track have to be tied to stronger-payback cases (which may include Commuter Rail extension toward Wareham)

Also, something in the back of my mind thinks the Old Colony is slowed by having been cut back to single track operations, partly to create space for the Red Line's Braintree Line in 1971? Does that come in to play?
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:53 pm

July 3rd has 74 and no bikes out of Boston. 67 plus 8 bikes out of Hyannis on the return.
July 4th had 47 and 2 bikes out of Boston. The return trip had 314 & 13 bikes with 338 & 15 bikes into Boston.

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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby diburning » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:16 am

Remember last year's first Cape Flyer of the season? They sent it with one engine because they wanted to show off their newly wrapped veterans cab car. It died at Braintree. The following Middleboro train had to rescue it, and Mass Coastal sent an engine to Middleboro to pick up the dead Flyer.
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Re: Cape Flyer Discussion

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:38 pm

They real showcase on last years CF was the newly painted, Mass DOT engine 1056...which had a fuel pump fail on it IIRC was the cause. It has had 2 engines every weekend since that debacle. On average, on a good day, the SouthSide generally has 2 good spare engines, whether at SHSY or in Readville.
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