Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:59 am

I have gotten a lot of feedback that indicates people ARE avoiding the Commuter Rail for these issues:

1) overcrowding - no seats available due to ALL seats occupied
2) overcrowding - having to squeeze into 'open' seats that are less than what some passengers (especially women) feel comfortable in terms of 'personal space' (and I'm not trying to be sexist...the overwhelming majority of comments I get on this point are from women).
3) overcrowding - passengers in aisle seats having to contend with passengers crammed into aisles, at less than an ideal ratio of height between seated passenger heads and standing passenger anatomy.
4) lack of consistency in set size resulting in unpredictable overcrowding conditions

I know a number of people who will choose to drive on days where there are alerts (via twitter or apps) or indications that overcrowding will be a problem, even if there are no direct indications that OTP will be a big problem. For example, if the big 8 double set is small on a PM commute (P521), some folks will (usually accurately) assume that the next AM trip for that set (P508) will be the same small set and won't use that train (or CR at all) on that next day.

So yes, on-time performance and the lack of consistency on OTP is probably still a larger complaint factor, but passenger comfort is a very large factor that has driven people away from CR.
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:03 am

We did a podcast on Auburndale, if you really want to listen to me talk more about it. But I also had a chance to discuss broader issues such as the second track through Beacon Park & the Worcester Working Group. And we're always looking for a way to discuss and advance the vision of a regional rail network.

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transp ... leblowers/

The Codcast: Auburndale whistleblowers

Today’s Codcast features the TransitMatters guys who put the brakes on an $11 million MBTA redesign of the Auburndale commuter rail station that was going to improve handicap accessibility but result in poorer service on the Framingham-Worcester Line.


Do I have to add "Auburndale Whistleblower" to my signature?
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby harshaw » Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:04 pm

I don't think the average rider really cares if they get a seat or a prompt ride.


LOL (sorry). So, go to another rail system. The one's I have been on recently have been Coaster in Socal and the line through Silicon Valley. This is your train experience:

1) The train comes. It's the same looking train as the day before.
2) You get on the train. Maybe you have a favorite location to get on the train, but it's the same train.

On the MBTA your choices are:

1) Rotem or Kawaski cars with decent seats
2) the flat with the two seat plasticy painful seats from hell (MBB I thinK)
3) The flats with the 3/2 seats with the half height seat at the end.
4) The flat sets with the rebuilt seats that look like a Rotem or Kawaski car.

As a rider, 2 or 3 usually stink, unless the seats in 3) have been refurbished.

So, yeah, we care.

And, as a rider you tend to learn where to stand for where to get on the car. So, if the trains are a complete jumble this means that you end up always having to move when the train comes. Which increases the dwell time.

Oh, maybe you want to sit at with a desk to get some work done? Then you look for the doubles.
Oh - did you want power to use your laptop? HAHAHA. Well, it depends on the coach. Most Rotems have power somewhere. Some Kawasaki's have power in the doubles near the chair (but it's not consistent). There are a couple of different builds of the Kawasaki's and they are slightly different. OR maybe you got the ones that were just rebuilt from Allstom? that probably has power.

etc etc etc.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby octr202 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:06 am

Think people care what's on their commute each day? Check out the ultimate in insider info, which Virginia Railway Express has posted for several years. Of course it's much easier done on a very small system:

http://www.vre.org/service/rider/consist/
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby leviramsey » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:51 pm

So I was riding the B&A for the first time today in a couple of years, on P512 (apologies, Dave, for missing a single in my tweet of the makeup of P512, though I do think that any instances of 4 flat + 1 bilevel on the B&A call for a "Fitchburg set that took a wrong turn in Ayer" crack). It does seem that the southside sets are a bit more erratic in their makeup than the northside sets (where 4 flat + 1 bilevel is the norm and it seems that the vast majority of the northside sets will put a non-cab bilevel right behind the locomotive and a cab bilevel on the front... I could generally count on getting a bilevel by being on the mini-high).

One thing of interest was that a very-delayed P512 held for a few minutes at CP11 to "wait for an outbound" (P511), though we continued on through the Newtons and met P511 at the interlocking west of Yawkey (CP4?). I didn't really note the time and how delayed P512 (which had very heavy ridership for, I'm guessing, the tall ships with lots of families on board) was, but either way that was a potentially very long hold for either P511 or P512 and underscores the need for an interlocking (maybe CP7?) between Newtonville and Boston Landing.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:56 pm

leviramsey wrote:One thing of interest was that a very-delayed P512 held for a few minutes at CP11 to "wait for an outbound" (P511), though we continued on through the Newtons and met P511 at the interlocking west of Yawkey (CP4?). I didn't really note the time and how delayed P512 (which had very heavy ridership for, I'm guessing, the tall ships with lots of families on board) was, but either way that was a potentially very long hold for either P511 or P512 and underscores the need for an interlocking (maybe CP7?) between Newtonville and Boston Landing.


You were most likely a victim of the occasional single tracking they are implementing between CP 11 (Weston) and CP 3 (west of Yawkey) while they build the new CP 6 interlocking. After the AM rush hour, they have been taking track 2 out of service on that stretch...to build the interlocking that is replacing CP 4...to prevent the need to have long stretches of single track in the future...so your delay was for exactly the reason you asked for!
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:57 am

New blog post:

http://framwormbta.weebly.com/blog/fina ... 7-schedule

Analysis Of New 5/22/2017 Schedule

Explores a number of topics related to this new schedule:

1) Worcester Line Working Group (recap)
2) Why are all AM trains late on this new schedule?
3) Results of the public comment process on draft schedule
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
Owner of Framingham-Worcester Blog: http://FramWorMBTA.weebly.com/
Maintainer of MBTA schedule archive: http://www.dbperry.net/MBTA/
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:37 pm

The final speed restriction related to the tie replacement / railbed resurfacing projects of the last few years has finally been removed. As of 5 PM Monday, the 30 mph speed restriction from mile 4.1 to 4.4 on track 2 has been lifted.

There are 'permanent' timetable speed limits that are still in effect:
Track 1 - from just west of CP 3 all the way through Boston Landing, 30 mph. That is the new "2nd track" through Beacon Park, where it goes up over a hill and around the corner towards Boston Landing. Speculation is that the hill and curvature are the reasons for the speed limit. Unclear if that will ever change.
Track 2 - Immediately around and through Boston Landing, 30 mph. This only affects the express trains, since the locals are stopping at the station. Unclear if this will ever change.

For the present moment, there are no speed restrictions on Framingham-Worcester for passenger trains. And the tie replacement / railbed resurfacing jobs are all complete! Hooray!

Intervale Road bridge in Weston has a noticeable track offset / irregularity, so probably only a matter of time before a speed restriction goes back into effect there. Some engineers are slowing down for it on their own. That bridge is scheduled for replacement within the next year.
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
Owner of Framingham-Worcester Blog: http://FramWorMBTA.weebly.com/
Maintainer of MBTA schedule archive: http://www.dbperry.net/MBTA/
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:29 am

dbperry wrote:

For the present moment, there are no speed restrictions on Framingham-Worcester for passenger trains. And the tie replacement / railbed resurfacing jobs are all complete! Hooray!


Does this mean the confusing inbound/outbound 1430-1930 track "flip" as far west as Framingham, as I understand it, will end? If not, what's the reason "outbound" westbound trains operate on track 2 during the evening rush hour?
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby johnpbarlow » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:37 am

Doubt it. I believe the track flip is done during the outbound commute because the only means of mass egress from an evening outbound rush hour train on track 1 at both Wellesley Hills and W Natick stations would be to cross busy track 2 - a dangerous situation for a commuter listening to ear buds or texting...
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:44 am

Thanks for your answer Mr. Barlow. Last I knew, isn't there an operating rule that no train can enter those stations while another train is already in the station (protecting dis/embarking passengers crossing tracks)?
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby Trinnau » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:52 am

Mr. Perry has a pretty good explanation of the track swap here. It's been in place for over 10 years.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby QB 52.32 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:08 am

Thanks, Trinnau. I wonder why the resumption to normal track operation doesn't occur until Ashland and not at Framingham given that outbound rush hour trains could cross over at CP-21 to track 1?
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby nomis » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:22 am

You have either CP22 or CP24 for trains to swap tracks, at CP21 only you have just one interlocking to schedule all of your meets around. CP22 is the preferred based on speed of crossovers and speed into & out of Framingham.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby QB 52.32 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:49 am

As I recall, westbound authorized speed for both track #1 and 2 drops to 30 at milepost 20.9, CP-21 is at 21.3, Framingham station 21.4...are the crossovers at CP-21 15 m.p.h.? I would think they'd be good for 30. Using CP-22 or CP-24 assures that what appears to be 5 scheduled meets in the Framingham area during the outbound rush hour don't potentially affect Framingham time-keeping, however, with the recent station improvements putting the bulk of parking on the north side I would think the majority of outbound rush hour passengers would benefit from disembarking on the outbound track 1 platform. Additionally, it appears there are 3 trainsets that turn at Framingham during the outbound peak but it seems like that would be a net wash in terms of requirements for crossing over at CP-22 when utilized for the turn.
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