EXTREMELY cramped Fitchburg Express today....

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EXTREMELY cramped Fitchburg Express today....

Postby ST214 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 6:31 pm

Had FOUR cars! Bombardier is doing an excellent job on not fixing a damn thing. I warned this would happen, afterall this happened after they took over Metrolink..
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:14 pm

there is not enough money to go around to fix all of the cars. A lot of them need the AC repaired and the wheel sets need to be replaced
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MBCR

Postby Paul Cutler III » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:48 pm

The reason why there isn't enough money is because MBCR underbid the contract so they'd get it, plus all the fines they have to pay.

And people wondered why Amtrak wanted out...
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Postby ggardei » Sat Jun 19, 2004 9:07 am

I think that is why Amtrak wanted out :-) I read somewhere that all the wheel set replacements were complete. That leaves air conditioners.
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Postby caduceus » Sat Jun 19, 2004 11:19 am

MBCR complains that Amtrak stopped a lot of maintenance before the end of the contract, and now MBCR is paying for it with lots of failures.

I do think the "coach graveyard" at BET has been fuller than it used to be, but a whole lot of coaches were taken to southside the other day.

I don't know why the Express was short...glad I work later on Fridays. I though we were going to get a short Wednesday or Thursday because there were no available long trainsets, but they turned around one that came in late quickly.

I actually thing the Express is almost as full as the 4:50 was before the Express...
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Amtrak vs. MBCR

Postby Paul Cutler III » Sat Jun 19, 2004 11:58 am

Wow, there's a shock. MBCR blaming Amtrak. How convienient for them.

MBCR is running the MBTA right into the ground, make no mistake. And while they will try to pin the blame on someone else, it's clear to me it's their own fault. And it is we, the Mass. citizen, that will be both the victim of terrible service and the sucker who will have to pay these people extra to fix the problems they are causing.
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sat Jun 19, 2004 1:11 pm

maybe Amtrak did stop maintaining the cars, cause think of how much money they would save if they knew their service would end in July and that another compnay would be taking over, they wouldn't have to spend money to fix things
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Postby trainhq » Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:47 am

Well, this is what happens when you put public transit out to be run by a
private company. They don't care about patron comfort or ridership numbers, all they care about is maximizing profits, and you do that by
running trains with the fewest number of cars possible, jamming as many
people in as you can, and cutting down maintenance costs as low as possible. So now the T commuter rail has gone from having an operator
with an indifferent attitude towards consists and maintenance (Amtrak) to one which is actively trying to reduce both to as low a level as possible.
That does not bode well for MBTA ridership.
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Postby caduceus » Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:09 pm

If MBCR gets docked for short trains, schedule, etc., how does doing so maximize profits?

Now, I'm not saying MBCR was telling the truth, I was simply reporting what was stated in the Globe.

But frankly, I haven't actually seen a lot of difference in operations now and then, except we have an Express that we didn't before. ACs have failed before. Trains have been late before. And frankly, I have not been on a _seriously_ late train (>1 hour) since MBCR took over, whereas I've been on several under Amtrak's care.
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MBCR vs Amtrak

Postby Paul Cutler III » Tue Jun 22, 2004 9:52 pm

How does the MBCR deal with the fines? All they have to do is fight it out with the MBTA in the courts, saying that the MBTA is being "unreasonable". Already, IIRC, they have received an extension on the "grace period" of no-fines. Who knows what tricks they will pull out of their hat next?

BTW, I rode the MBTA daily from Mansfield from 1993 to 1998. In all that time, I only experienced non-working AC maybe a dozen times, and only in the afternoon. Nowadays, the AC is broken more frequently, even at the start of the day. This is not good.

And on the subject of really long delays: When I was riding, I had around 10 situations of long delays. Half of those were accidents (also suicides), while the rest were attributable to Amtrak (broken down engines, unknown delays, etc.).
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Postby lstrong » Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:50 am

I saw a 4 car train with 1612 and 1621 in it today at South Station. I've never seen 1600s on the south side before. I didn't get the numbers of the other two cars but the control cab was a 1500. Looks like they're taking cars from the north side and moving them down south.
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Commuter Rail Performnce

Postby SnoozerZ49 » Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:52 am

Before you jump down and stomp MBCR always remember that the MBTA is close at hand. MBCR does not do anything without the permission of the "T". If anything they were naive about being positioned as a whipping boy for the "T". MBCR did not choose to acquire the 1100 series engines which wouldn't even make good anchors! MBCR did not create an equipment maintenance headache, the T never sets aside enough money in its budgets to maintain. The T is a capital funds hog that only wants money for construction projects. Once they build or acquire something, it goes to hell.
I work for MBCR as a Conductor on the Fitchburg line and there are days that I want to pull my hair out! So many of us want to do the best job we can but the T is the main obstacle to getting cars repaired and engines in good order, they ultimately hold the purse strings.

Of late there has been a great effort getting new wheel sets on cars. My guess is that theiir first concern is making sure the FRA does not find faults with any running gear or wheel issues.

I really wish I knew what the long term prospect was for this service.
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Fix it

Postby atkelly » Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:32 am

I think it is unreasonable to blame the failures on a pure lack of maintenance or to say things were ok six years ago when I rode the trains. Well my car ran well 6 years ago, but that did not stop wear and tear from taking its toll and KO'ing my 14 year old vehicle on the coldest day in January. And it wasn't because I had a private company repairing my car by the way- it was age.

The AC could very well be related to the age of the cars and the number of route miles traveled. If the cars getting repaired are some of the older ones in the fleet, then the likelyhood that Amtrak deferred maintenance would be likely- Just as is the fact that they are hitting a life-cycle point. However, if the cars getting repaired are newer as well as older coaches, then its another issue.
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