(Article) MBCR "packing 'em in like sardines"

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(Article) MBCR "packing 'em in like sardines"

Postby Irish Chieftain » Wed May 26, 2004 10:48 am

(Boston Globe article)

Looks like the commuter rail is now suffering from what is reputed to be a long-standing problem with Connex, that being operating trains that increasingly get shorter. Too many cars are out of service; the worst it got was last month, with 25 cars in the shop. AC, according to the article, is non-functioning on many of the cars.

Anyone faced with this daily? Message-board accounts are far more credible than newspaper-article anecdotes...
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It's true...

Postby Diverging Route » Wed May 26, 2004 11:50 am

A friend at MBCR told me recently it may be closer to 50 cars that were sidelined.

A few weeks ago I was on a PM rush-hour outbound Providence train, which is usually two singles and five doubles. That day, it was four singles and two doubles. That's 300 seats short!

A few weeks before that, #806 (inbound from Providence), also usually two and five, came with just six singles. It stopped at Mansfield, but no one could get on. We had to wait 40 minutes for the next train, which to say the least, was way overcrowded too.
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Postby Stephen » Wed May 26, 2004 12:41 pm

It does seem like there is a shortage.
Lately I have noticed that many of the trains on the Lowell route that were 6 cars are running as 5 and yesterday I even got a four car train. That's the first time I have seen that in over a year.
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Postby octr202 » Wed May 26, 2004 12:44 pm

Hey Irish Chieftan,

Maybe we can lease or buy some of those cars that NJT is retiring down your way -- I'm sure that'll make things work better on MBCR! :wink:
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Wed May 26, 2004 12:56 pm

Ohh...well, all I can recommend are the Comet IA and IB, which are ready-made for two types of platform; not all of the Pullman-Standard Comet Is are built for high platforms. (Of course, Comet IAs and IBs were meant to be EMUs originally [and were once EMUs in the case of the IB], not that I expect MBTA or MBCR to build EMUs out of them to run exclusively on the Attleborough Line...)
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Wed May 26, 2004 1:26 pm

yea, i have noticed that 813 the last week has had mostly if not all single level cars, and there is a shortage of cab cars, which, some train use an engine on each end
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Providence Line Consists

Postby Diverging Route » Wed May 26, 2004 2:19 pm

813 is usually S=engine=2 singles=2 doubles=2 singles=N
815 is usually S=engine=2 singles=4 doubles=N
817 is usually S=engine=2 singles=5 doubles=N

You are right about the shortage of cab cars. Many of the 1500s have been shifted to the north side to provide "bathroom cars."

Remember that the 1600s can't be used on the South Side, since they're not ACSES-equipped. So they have to provide the cab control on the North Side; if they're short 500s, then 1500s have to be pulled from the South Side.
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Postby Ron Newman » Wed May 26, 2004 3:05 pm

what's ACSES ?
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Wed May 26, 2004 4:19 pm

ACSES stands for "Amtrak Civil Speed Enforcement System". It's part of Amtrak's high-speed traffic control. A little more detail is on this page at Amtrak's web site. I take it that it's mentioned here in the context of MBTA locomotives and cab cars that run on the Attleborough Line requiring it as equipment...

Incidentally, NJ Transit's Comet IBs would have it.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Wed May 26, 2004 6:05 pm

Diverging Route, #806 is the train out of Providence around 7am that highballs to Back Bay from Mansfield, correct I remember riding that train to work in the city a few years back when I lived near Pawtucket and the Attleboro's......seemed as though even with 5 Kawasaki doubles and 2 single level coaches, the train was still at standing room only.......sometimes so bad that the Conductor and one Asst. Conductor would ride the loco into Back bay and the other Asst. Conductor would ride in the controlling cab car with the engineer.


as far as the air conditioning problem......I have noticed quite a few rush hours trains pass me with the rear door on the rear of the train open. (which of course is a "no-no")


And just think, we are still not even into the really hot weather yet!!
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Postby CSX Conductor » Wed May 26, 2004 6:05 pm

Diverging Route, #806 is the train out of Providence around 7am that highballs to Back Bay from Mansfield, correct? I remember riding that train to work in the city a few years back when I lived near Pawtucket and the Attleboro's......seemed as though even with 5 Kawasaki doubles and 2 single level coaches, the train was still at standing room only.......sometimes so bad that the Conductor and one Asst. Conductor would ride the loco into Back bay and the other Asst. Conductor would ride in the controlling cab car with the engineer.


as far as the air conditioning problem......I have noticed quite a few rush hours trains pass me with the rear door on the rear of the train open. (which of course is a "no-no")


And just think, we are still not even into the really hot weather yet!!
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Postby ST214 » Wed May 26, 2004 6:55 pm

Are there that many 500's down that we need so many 1500's up here???? Are SS trains running without bathrooms?????
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Wed May 26, 2004 7:24 pm

Seems that the majority of south side trains still have at least one 500 or 1500 series coach in the consist.
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806

Postby Diverging Route » Thu May 27, 2004 6:52 am

Fortunately the 806 (express inbound from Mansfield to Back Bay) hasn't been quite so crowded since the addition of the 832, the 7:21am inbound local that originates in Mansfield. Even though it's a local, it attracts a loyal crowd from Mansfield since everyone's guaranteed a seat, plus it gets in to Boston about 15 minutes earlier than the 806.

None-the-less, that 806 ride is still quite a rush -- 80mph most of the way in (after chugging up the Sharon hill!).
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Postby caduceus » Thu May 27, 2004 8:21 am

There does seem to be an unusual number of coaches sitting outside BET. I can't get an accurate idea on how many and what as they are on two tracks so I can only see about half of them, but there are a number of CTCs in the "pile". Several 500/1500s, several 700s, only one 1700 that I could definitely see.
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