2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

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2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dbperry » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:59 pm

We should have started this on 1/1/17. Guess we were all asleep at the switch. Anyway:

The signal / dispatch system on Framingham-Worcester died sometime slightly before 6:30 AM. Dispatch lost all control of switches and interlockings west of CP COVE. All underway trains eventually stopped at various interlockings until around 7:00 AM when the system was restored and normal dispatch / signal control was in effect. Crews were dispatched to hand operate switches but they never got into position and were not used / needed before the system came back on line. The outage appeared to be about 42 minutes.

Worcester originating local P500, the first victim, was probably ~60 minutes late into Boston.
Worcester originating express P502 was probably ~45 minutes late.
Framingham originating local P580 was probably about ~20 minutes late but I'm not sure.
Framingham originating local P582 equipment turns at Framingham and operated ahead of express P504, which was stopped at Ashland (in sight of CP 24). So P582 was 20 minutes late into Boston.
Worcester originating express P504 got stuck behind local P582 and was almost 60 minutes late.
Worcester originating local P506 was 20 minutes late.
Worcester originating express P508 was about 30 minutes late since it ran as a local to scoop up stranded passengers abandoned by cancelled Framingham originating local P584.
After that, trains seemed to get back to normal with residual delays of 5-10 minutes for P510, P586, and P552.

Communications was a big problem. Conductors, LED signs, text alerts, and official MBTA_CR feed all provided differing information regarding which track to board and if trains would be express or local. I honestly think they were doing their best to get info out, but there are some structural problems that prevent accurate info in such a rapidly changing dynamic situation. There could be some lessons learned or areas for improvement, but it also might not be possible to do better in the absolute worst nightmare scenario that happened this AM.

They did send customer service agents to at least Framingham to help. Not sure if they were useful since situation was primarily resolved before they got there - but good on Keolis to deploy them immediately since it wasn't clear how long disruption would last.

Loss of the signal system at 6:30 AM is probably just about the worst time for that to happen. Luckily restoration was relatively quick.

I have no idea if they had started arrangements for bustitution - but probably not since the contingency appeared to be hand operating the interlockings. I also don't know what kind of rules or speed restrictions that would have involved (operating a RR without a dispatch system).

Dave
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Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Trinnau » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:58 pm

dbperry wrote:I have no idea if they had started arrangements for bustitution - but probably not since the contingency appeared to be hand operating the interlockings. I also don't know what kind of rules or speed restrictions that would have involved (operating a RR without a dispatch system).


A signal maintainer can operate an interlocking from the field with direction from the dispatcher and move trains at speed. They become a de facto tower operator in that regards. Sometimes there are signal failures the public never even knows about because they can get someone in position before it impacts operations.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dbperry » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:24 pm

Wednesday 1/25/2017
Worcester bound outbound express P523 delayed ~20 minutes at Back Bay.
Reason: Passenger was late to get off so tried to jump from door that was open but with trap closed. Fell from trap 'cover' to low level platform from moving train. Did not occur near mini-high. Various unconfirmed reports that victim was knocked unconscious. Train delayed awaiting EMS.
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby leviramsey » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:12 pm

That train does stop at Yawkey and expresses to West Natick (horror of horrors).
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Diverging Route » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:00 pm

"Amtrak switch issue" affecting Providence/Stoughton, Franklin, Needham lines all morning. Many trains significantly delayed.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby octr202 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:19 pm

Significant "freight train interference" caused delays to all Haverhill trains Monday morning. 200 was worst hit, sounded like close to an hour's delay from the T'lerts.

Combined with issues on the Eastern Route, meant that 491/492 got canned - no doubt to steal equipment to run elsewhere. 408 was run local to compensate.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:53 pm

Diverging Route wrote:"Amtrak switch issue" affecting Providence/Stoughton, Franklin, Needham lines all morning. Many trains significantly delayed.


The 12 switch was out of correspondence at PLAINS Interlocking, that caused a large ripple effect thru the system...Trks 1 and 2 were stacked with trains, no equipment or crews to do our runs. The loco 2025 also acted up on 706E, which led to 704 originating at Franklin/Dean College
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:21 am

Trespasser strike this morning between Ipswich and Hamilton/Wenham. Trains are being bused between those stations, incurring delays of up to an hour.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dm1120 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:32 pm

Keolis plans to run a normal weekday schedule tomorrow with a foot of snow expected. I have a feeling the delays will start piling up as soon as the morning rush begins.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby leviramsey » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:01 pm

Stop and protect at the Willows due to crossing protection malfunction (MBTA-side gates stuck down) on 423 tonight.

Stony Brook crossing protection is fully functional.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Trinnau » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:14 pm

All well and good to hate, but at least be realistic about it. The storm is expected to start after service starts for the morning. You do realize the top of the rail is about 8" above the ground right? And with no real snow cover on the ground early accumulation from this storm is not likely to cause issues in the morning. The evening will be more challenging, but with trains running all day the tracks stay pretty clear - it doesn't get a chance to build up too high.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dm1120 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:17 pm

The system struggles on a clear, sunny day to provide consistent, on time service. As someone who has been burned in the past by promises of a normal schedule during a storm only to be delayed 2 hours+ on the ride in and watch train after train during the PM rush get canceled as I sit at my desk, yes I am skeptical of their ability to deliver as promised tomorrow. FWIW, snow on the tracks is almost never cited as the excuse for delays during a storm. It's usually vaguely described as mechanical failure.

This isn't about hating, it's about giving a realistic assessment of the situation at hand.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby octr202 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:15 am

This would seem to have been a good opportunity to test the impact of the reduced storm schedule. I have to imagine that with so many employers closed or telling workers to telecommute that ridership will be a fraction of normal. Good to have the basic service operating, but today's not going to need all the capacity of a normal weekday.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dm1120 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:58 am

Well they're kind of damned if they do and damned if they don't. On the one hand they have been unable to provide full service (despite promises to try) in many if not most snow storms so maybe they view this as their chance for redemption.

On the other hand, given the average daily commuter's previous experience with CR in snow storms I don't think many people were willing to give them a chance unless they literally had no choice.

For Keolis' sake, I hope they can run the regular schedule with minimal delays but I don't think many expect them to.
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Re: 2017 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby sery2831 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:41 pm

Trinnau wrote:
dm1120 wrote:Keolis plans to run a normal weekday schedule tomorrow with a foot of snow expected. I have a feeling the delays will start piling up as soon as the morning rush begins.


All well and good to hate, but at least be realistic about it. The storm is expected to start after service starts for the morning. You do realize the top of the rail is about 8" above the ground right? And with no real snow cover on the ground early accumulation from this storm is not likely to cause issues in the morning. The evening will be more challenging, but with trains running all day the tracks stay pretty clear - it doesn't get a chance to build up too high.


Going through the snow really isn't the issue. It's the light fluffy snow getting into the motors. Even with a few inches, the snow kicks up under the train. As soon as the snow hits the warm motors you have water and electricity. Most snow types and rain don't make it into the motors, except light powder snow.
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