Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby BvaleShihTzu » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:38 pm

leviramsey wrote:
eustis22 wrote:Personally, the proposed Haverhill changes still suck.


Until such time as Haverhill is mostly double tracked, just about any schedule change which improves service on the other Northside lines will damage Haverhill schedules.


Of course, the MBTA has only themselves to blame for not having more double-track on the Haverhill line -- they've been dragging out the re-double-tracking north and south of Ballardvale station for so long it may come in longer than it took to build the first transcontinental railroad!

The really big problems with the Haverhill schedule is the pair of >=1 hour gaps in the morning commute (6:40->7:40->9:06 from Haverhill) and a similar pair of huge gaps in the evening (4:30->5:15 and 5:35->6:25). These make any sort of deviation from canonical commuting hours, such as waiting for school buses in the morning or needing to get home early, painful and make missing a train truly painful. Many commuters via North Station come from far away -- note that the EZRide shuttle to Cambridge is jammed during rush hour despite 10 minute headways -- so a traffic snarl at Leverett Circle or an Orange or Green Line hiccup can cause a lot of people to be stuck in North Station for an hour. And I-93 is often jammed solid past between Boston and Woburn from about 6-9:30 in the morning & 4-6:30 in the evening most days -- more evidence that the T's concept of rush hour is grossly outdated.

Why can the T run roughly half-hourly service during part of the rush hour but not other parts? Half hourly is really the minimal acceptable frequency during rush hour.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby CRail » Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:36 pm

BvaleShihTzu wrote:Why can the T run roughly half-hourly service during part of the rush hour but not other parts? Half hourly is really the minimal acceptable frequency during rush hour.


Because trains don't just spawn at their points of origin. 4 trains live at Bradford, so with a 30min headway, you're out of trains in an hour and a half and will have to an outbound at some point to maintain it. Without a second track, pulling over to let a train pass is particularly difficult and results in tremendous delays, emergency responses, and federal investigations... it's just bad. Resources need to be spread out over and squeezed through the system. It's a puzzle I wouldn't want to have to try and solve! 30 min headways are ideal for most commuter lines, I wouldn't call them a minimum. This isn't rapid transit.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:20 pm

CRail wrote:
BvaleShihTzu wrote:Why can the T run roughly half-hourly service during part of the rush hour but not other parts? Half hourly is really the minimal acceptable frequency during rush hour.


Because trains don't just spawn at their points of origin. 4 trains live at Bradford, so with a 30min headway, you're out of trains in an hour and a half and will have to an outbound at some point to maintain it. Without a second track, pulling over to let a train pass is particularly difficult and results in tremendous delays, emergency responses, and federal investigations... it's just bad. Resources need to be spread out over and squeezed through the system. It's a puzzle I wouldn't want to have to try and solve! 30 min headways are ideal for most commuter lines, I wouldn't call them a minimum. This isn't rapid transit.


I agree with that, but if the T thought it as bad you do, they would have had this project finished up a couple of years ago. Rhetorical question: why is rail transit in Boston so screwed up?
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby leviramsey » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:41 am

BvaleShihTzu wrote:
leviramsey wrote:
eustis22 wrote:Personally, the proposed Haverhill changes still suck.


Until such time as Haverhill is mostly double tracked, just about any schedule change which improves service on the other Northside lines will damage Haverhill schedules.


Why can the T run roughly half-hourly service during part of the rush hour but not other parts? Half hourly is really the minimal acceptable frequency during rush hour.


As mentioned, the limited double-track (in this case, it's the Haverhill end, as opposed to the evening, when it's the limited double tracking alongside the Orange Line that's the problem) combined with the limited layover space in Bradford limits the number of trains you can run at headways shorter than the infrastructure's base headway.

It takes about 35 minutes to go from Haverhill to Wilmington double-track (via the Wildcat) and about the same to get to Reading double-track. That gives a base headway (what you can run without dipping into the layover sets) of 85 minutes (with padding that depends on there not being much ridership on one of the inbound or the outbound). 4 layover sets in Bradford then means that you can't have more than 4 inbounds a day departing sooner than 1:25 after the previous inbound (barring a run of 5 outbounds before an inbound, in which case, those outbounds replenish the layover; however, since similar constraints affect the other end, though this just creates a really long outbound service gap). The line's infrastructure imposes a hard cap of 2 hours a day where you can have 30 minute headways inbound, with every other period of 30 minute headways requiring a couple of hours of no outbound service. If you're willing to settle for a consistent 45 minute headway, you can get something like this for Haverhill AM departures:

5:10
5:55
6:40
7:25
8:10
9:35

As to why it doesn't get fixed quickly: there's only so much money, and, being a political organization, the allocation of those funds is largely a question of political capital and the willingness to spend it. In comparison to the Fitchburg line enhancements, the state legislators along that line are willing to prod the T into directing funds to that line. Why is that so? Because there are enough voters who want a better Fitchburg line, largely because there's no good way, especially no good toll-free way, into Boston, especially once Alewife has filled up for the day. That's not the case with the Haverhill line: it's the only line that's paralleled by Interstate standard "free" highway from endpoint to endpoint. For the Eastern Route, driving basically means Route 1 between 128 and the Tobin. For Lowell, it means 128 to 93. For Fitchburg (once Alewife is full), it's Cambridge urban streets, 128 to 93 or 128 to the Pike. For Worcester, it's the Pike. For Needham, it's city streets or 128 to the Pike. For Providence, it's 128 to 93. For the Old Colony, it's 93, but you're looking at either 24 or 3 to get there. Not enough commuters in Northern Essex County use the Haverhill Line (partly because its infrastructure is so woeful) to make their elected representatives poke the T into action. It's a vicious cycle, and it's basically taken the Downeaster to create momentum to get the feds to give the T money to do what's being done now.

The presence of 93 also means that it's reasonable to expect that even in a large-scale transition away from automobiles, the communities along the Haverhill Line are going to be among the last holdouts in that transition (and indeed, could even attract the pro-car partisans who hold up the 60s and 70s as an ideal). All of this means that the Haverhill Line is more of a coverage service than a ridership service (to borrow Jarrett Walker's terminology): the amount of money required to increase ridership means foregoing a larger ridership increase on, e.g. the Lowell Line and it's thus not a good idea if you want a transit system that makes a difference for maximal people to spend money improving the Haverhill Line until the other lines are fixed up (but if someone else can be convinced to pay for it, then the work will get done).
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby BvaleShihTzu » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:53 pm

leviramsey wrote:
BvaleShihTzu wrote:
leviramsey wrote:
eustis22 wrote:Personally, the proposed Haverhill changes still suck.


Until such time as Haverhill is mostly double tracked, just about any schedule change which improves service on the other Northside lines will damage Haverhill schedules.


Why can the T run roughly half-hourly service during part of the rush hour but not other parts? Half hourly is really the minimal acceptable frequency during rush hour.


As mentioned, the limited double-track (in this case, it's the Haverhill end, as opposed to the evening, when it's the limited double tracking alongside the Orange Line that's the problem) combined with the limited layover space in Bradford limits the number of trains you can run at headways shorter than the infrastructure's base headway.

The line's infrastructure imposes a hard cap of 2 hours a day where you can have 30 minute headways inbound, with every other period of 30 minute headways requiring a couple of hours of no outbound service. If you're willing to settle for a consistent 45 minute headway, you can get something like this for Haverhill AM departures:

5:10
5:55
6:40
7:25
8:10
9:35

I appreciate the technical detail on layover capacity & now I see the issue. But I would note that there are 5 inbound trains in the morning before the first outbound can reload -- is the capacity at Bradford 5 instead of 4, or is there a deadhead not listed on the schedule?
As to why it doesn't get fixed quickly: there's only so much money, and, being a political organization, the allocation of those funds is largely a question of political capital and the willingness to spend it. In comparison to the Fitchburg line enhancements, the state legislators along that line are willing to prod the T into directing funds to that line. M.

But this isn't the issue here -- the double-tracking is funded by stimulus money, not state funds. The T dragging the work out, with now less than 100 meters of gap (around Andover station & Pearons St crossing) preventing the one stretch from being used -- and being that way for several years, simply shows a lack of urgency / disregard for improving service on the part of the T. Even if frequencies didn't go up, reliability would -- I've sat many times at Wilmington Junction waiting for a southbound Amtrak or MBTA train to pass, and sat long enough (at least once for :45) that it is clear if the double-track north of Ballardvale was in service the trains could pass there.

<quote>
The presence of 93 also means that it's reasonable to expect that even in a large-scale transition away from automobiles, the communities along the Haverhill Line are going to be among the last holdouts in that transition (and indeed, could even attract the pro-car partisans who hold up the 60s and 70s as an ideal). All of this means that the Haverhill Line is more of a coverage service than a ridership service (to borrow Jarrett Walker's terminology): the amount of money required to increase ridership means foregoing a larger ridership increase on, e.g. the Lowell Line and it's thus not a good idea if you want a transit system that makes a difference for maximal people to spend money improving the Haverhill Line until the other lines are fixed up (but if someone else can be convinced to pay for it, then the work will get done).[/quote]

But again, I-93 is frozen solid from Woburn in (or worse) for about 2 hours in the morning, and a similar amount in the evening -- perhaps the problem is not beating the drum loudly enough along I-93 that better rail would open up capacity on I-93. I don't expect to see suburban communities really move away from the car, but simply enabling more total commuters into Boston would be a win.

And as a commuter, to me :30 headways are really the need -- ask people who say they would consider the train but don't use it and the erratic frequencies are a significant issue. Many commuter rail lines run these frequencies or higher without being considered commuter rail -- SEPTA's Downingtown line or a host of LIRR or Metro-North lines.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:46 pm

BvaleShihTzu wrote:is there a deadhead not listed on the schedule?

Yes. It derailed last Tuesday.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby leviramsey » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:29 pm

BvaleShihTzu wrote:But this isn't the issue here -- the double-tracking is funded by stimulus money, not state funds. The T dragging the work out, with now less than 100 meters of gap (around Andover station & Pearons St crossing) preventing the one stretch from being used -- and being that way for several years, simply shows a lack of urgency / disregard for improving service on the part of the T. Even if frequencies didn't go up, reliability would -- I've sat many times at Wilmington Junction waiting for a southbound Amtrak or MBTA train to pass, and sat long enough (at least once for :45) that it is clear if the double-track north of Ballardvale was in service the trains could pass there.


The MBTA has been slow on the particular project (which won't enable a reliable headway better than 40 minutes because of the fact the Orange Line exists) because of the Fitchburg Line rehab more or less taking up all the resources to get things done (because as bad as the Haverhill Line is, the Fitchburg is/was worse; you complain about a pair of 60-80 minute inbound service gaps in the morning? The Fitchburg line outside of Littleton has no inbounds for 200 minutes (over 3 hours!) between train 408 (leaves Fitchburg at 7:15) and train 414 (leaves Fitchburg at 10:35)*, and on top of that, the legislators in northern Worcester and northwestern Middlesex are gung-ho about it).

And as a commuter, to me :30 headways are really the need -- ask people who say they would consider the train but don't use it and the erratic frequencies are a significant issue. Many commuter rail lines run these frequencies or higher without being considered commuter rail -- SEPTA's Downingtown line or a host of LIRR or Metro-North lines.


SEPTA Downingtown? Do you mean Paoli/Thorndale ;)

Downingtown AM peak inbound trains depart at: 5:02, 5:54, 6:18, 6:54, 7:22, 7:43, and 8:18 (so :30 headways for only a half-hour longer than the Haverhill Line). It's also not double-tracked, but triple-tracked.

*: The schedules planned to go in on December 14th would have cut that gap down to about what the Haverhill Line currently sees, but...
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby ohalloranchris » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:24 am

Update: I did a little digging through the MBTA Capital Plan FY15-FY19, and the attached PDF is a cut and paste snippet on the addition of a track 2 platform at Ruggles. It appears to be funded (the good news), but the bad news: behind schedule.
Attachments
Ruggles Funding Update.pdf
Ruggles Expansion Update
(71.36 KiB) Downloaded 90 times
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby smallwood » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:06 pm

leviramsey wrote:The Fitchburg line outside of Littleton has no inbounds for 200 minutes (over 3 hours!) between train 408 (leaves Fitchburg at 7:15) and train 414 (leaves Fitchburg at 10:35)*, and on top of that, the legislators in northern Worcester and northwestern Middlesex are gung-ho about it).


The newly proposed schedule addresses this gap: 7:18, 8:08, 9:38, 10:58.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby dbperry » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:05 pm

My epic and ridiculously long analysis of the new Framingham-Worcester schedule is posted on my blog. Some useful info for all lines - links to all the documents I could find about the new schedules.

http://dbperry.weebly.com/blog/is-this- ... w-schedule
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby Komarovsky » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:30 am

Excellent analysis Dave, a pleasure to read as usual.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby acela 2036 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:58 pm

Just a few thoughts from my end on the PVD line schedule
1) Train 808 was pretty much the only train that was considered an "Express" really going from Mansfield to BBY, I kind of find it strange how they're making that into a local pretty much making all stops. That train averages about 750+ ppl with standing room only by Mansfield usually. Is the first train outta Wickford that crowded to make it an express?
2) Now please correct me if I am wrong, but why are they adding more service to Wickford JCT? RIdership is still WELL below what they expected
http://wpri.com/2015/05/18/south-county ... ons-may15/
Yes Im aware that news article is from 8 months ago, but I doubt much has changed. Especially when the RI Governor had that Ridership program a few years back that allowed Riders to ride for free between Wickford and PVD free, as well as free parking at Wickford JCT and TF Green--didnt get much luck there.

I noticed there is a late night service to Wickford JCT that was added at 11PM outta South Station. There are only 2 occasions I can see this train becoming useful.
1) Second shift workers
2) Whenever there is a sporting event in town (Redsox, bruins,celtics game)

It would save passengers having to use extra gas to drive up to Providence, and paying possibly $20 for parking. The Providence Train garage is currently under renovations and only has 1 level open. Usually gets full by 7am. Even before the renovations started, it would fill up by the peak of the morning rush

Only thing I kind of like is the gap in between trains, not that long
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby nomis » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:27 pm

As far as late night to Wickford goes, the current 8:15 departure was the last option for those going past PVD. Even the newly moved RI bus services don't link up with a later MBTA train or 67/65 in it's current incarnation. It would allow the 10a-6pm workers from Wickford, which there are a bunch, to get home earlier on the 7:10 departure. Personally, I would like to see the 7:10 Wickford and the 7:20 Stoughton swap time slots to better align with the crush loads of people going to Rte.128 and Canton Jct at that time period.
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby octr202 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:30 pm

Dragging this back to the Haverhill line, which doesn't see much change at rush hour as little can be done until the double-tracking and bridge rehab gets further along. That said, I did see a few things that as a commuter jump out at me for tweaking to better serve the market on this line:

1. #211 will be very underutilized. Could run about 1520 as a local via Reading. Would help fill gap in Reading line service from 1402 to 1545. If leave NS earlier than 1530, will still make return as #220 from Bradford. #2
2. #291 could move back to 1550-1600 to spread departures, and still make the 1640 inbound departure for #292.
3. #223 should move back to somewhere about 2000-2010 from North Station to improve spacing of evening post-rush hour outbounds. This will cause #226 to run slightly later, but at that hour reducing the gap of outbound service from 1940 to 2120 should be a bigger concern.
4. #227 could possibly run slightly earlier to improve evening outbound spacing.
5. Most inbound via Wildcat trains (except #206) would seem to be able to handle multiple stops on Lowell Line. Currently #208 usually has ample space after Ballardvale even with a 4 flats/1 double consist. Standees usually only from Wedgemere or West Medford.
5. If it has capacity, might be worth adding a single stop to #206 to keep it from running up on #304 (which will be busier filling #352’s time slot but also serving Lowell-Wilmington). Or shift #206 10 minutes later from Haverhill to spread service out in the morning inbound peak service.
6. If it had a large enough consist, #208 could almost run ~10 minutes later and replace #392 inbound from Anderson. This would free up a crew and trainset for service elsewhere if needed. That said, I do like to use those Anderson trains...

The T's original criteria clearly drove some of these moves (like pushing #211 back to 1530 from 1500 to fit the new "rush hour" window), but sometimes a one-size fits all cookie-cutter isn't the best approach.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Re: Proposed Revised CR Schedules for 2016

Postby eustis22 » Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:47 am

Why don't they run more Reading trains to free up more Haverhill expresses?
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