Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby merrick1 » Sun May 29, 2016 5:35 pm

In Massachusetts the signs say State Highway Ends https://goo.gl/maps/iAWGq1DVoKE2 and State Highway Begins https://goo.gl/maps/nTbDAKrwGM12
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Sun May 29, 2016 5:43 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:So how does the dispatcher know when the eastbound T train has finished its station work? Does he guess? Is there some apparatus for the engineer to push to call for a proceed signal?

This whole "gates down too long at Concord Street" problem is quite easily solved, probably. Set them up to initiate operation via a radio signal from the engine. That's what happens in Bloomington, IL. Works like a charm. Gates drop when the train hits the circuit, but go up again on a "timeout". Then, when the train is ready to roll, the engineer tones up on the radio, and down go the gates.


My explanation of the Concord Street crossing is explained in the definition of "DTMF" in the glossary. Odd place for it, but at least it's there:

http://dbperry.weebly.com/glossary
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Sun May 29, 2016 5:49 pm

harshaw wrote:Has there ever been a study to redo the entire mess that is Framingham? (besides nuking from orbit).


Just a few:

Since 1898, when Framingham did its first analysis, local officials have been frustrated by the bottleneck at the intersection of Route 126, or Concord Street, which runs north to south across the railroad tracks at grade level, and Route 135, or Waverly Street, which runs west to east roughly parallel to the tracks.


...The latest redesign proposal says 35 to 40 studies through the years have not resolved the backups caused by the stopping and starting vehicles...


http://archive.boston.com/news/local/ar ... rovements/
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby BandA » Sun May 29, 2016 11:12 pm

leviramsey wrote:
BandA wrote:RT 126 is a state highway. RT 135 is a state highway. The railroad is owned by the MBTA. All part of MassDOT. So the Framingham crossing is 100% a state problem.


Not every road with a state number is a state highway, in the sense of whose responsibility it is to maintain it, as the BEGIN/END STATE HIGHWAY signs attest. I strongly suspect that the "state highways" in question aren't actually state highways, but merely state-numbered routes.
I think you are right leviramsey. According to the "jurisdiction of roads" map, downtown Framingham appears to be town owned, except for small bits which I assume are bridges over streams which are still state owned. https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/planning/Main/MapsDataandReports/Maps/JurisdictionofRoads.aspx This usually happens when the municipality doesn't want the road to conform to state highway standards, such as no parking, and they end up owning it. Conversely there are unnumbered state highways such as former numbered routes that have been bypassed, former county roads, DCR/former MDC parkways & roads.

I don't know whether having it town owned makes it easier or harder to come up with a fix.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby BandA » Mon May 30, 2016 12:41 am

Here's the town webpage for the Framingham crossing, last updated 2010! http://www.framinghamma.gov/269/Downtown-Railroad-Crossing

Final Draft Report is from 2009. Section 2: http://www.framinghamma.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=3271

Recommended alternative is RT 135 under RT 126, leaving the railroad grade crossing as-is! Analysis seems to underplay the problem of the railroad crossing at grade. Nothing about provisioning bicycle lanes; Conclusion section talks about bicycles generically. This project fixes the worst intersection, does not fix all the other intersections that are a mess. It will still be hard to get to the train station at rush hour.

Need the gates to be "smart", i.e. come down earlier for the "heart to hub", come down normal for freights, come down late for westbound trains stopping at the station, and not come down at all for the eastbound trains stopping at the station, and come down on demand for eastbound trains departing the station (apparently this is already implemented). I'm assuming the gates are not fully optimized yet?

Good news is, with a pedestrian & vehicular grade crossing, no fancy ramps or elevators are needed for ADA compliance. So question is how fast the "heart to hub" or other MBTA express/limited trains will be allowed to travel through a grade crossing. When Amtrak restores inland regionals, they will presumably stop at Framingham.

Report also states there are about 600 spaces for commuters (2009), and the downtown has a parking deficit of about 600 spaces because buildings are highly underutilized (or maybe the people are poor and don't have cars?). How is the parking situation for commuters in 2016? The "T" needs to provide enough parking to handle demand at all major stations.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon May 30, 2016 6:33 am

Thanks, Dave, for the info on the crossing at your blog. It would seem, then, that the signal is tied in to the system. That's the problem causing the approach eastbound into the station, then. Do you know if the gates go down as an eastbound approaches the station? If they do, then unlinking the signal and allowing it to display a clear indication would also allow the train to move more quickly to approach the station.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Mon May 30, 2016 9:58 am

On the inaugural HeartToHub ride, I actually had a friendly debate about this crossing functionality with an MBTA Deputy Director of Rail Ops! We couldn't agree on how it works. This is what I think, and I'm sticking by it (and I'm only talking about eastbound trains - but tracks 1 & 2 have same functionality (entire line is bidirectional)).

Just to be clear, the Concord Street grade crossing is actually within the limits of the CP 21 interlocking. The west facing signals for CP 21 are between the Framingham station and the Concord Street grade crossing. The east facing CP 21 signals are well to the east of Concord Street, and the crossover switches are between Concord Street and the east end of CP 21.

I think the dispatcher has two options:

1) Option 1: Line the CP 21 interlocking for 'through' passage (my terminology). In this scenario, CP 21 shows a clear aspect (or whatever aspect is appropriate according to the automatic block signal system). Trains approaching CP 21 automatically trigger the crossing gates at Concord Street to go down, and trains can pass without stopping at CP 21. Presumably, if CP 21 is clear, CP 22 and signals further east would show clear.

I have seen this scenario in real life with deadheading MBTA trains and freights. I also believe this is what they do for the LSL - the LSL gets a clear indication and knocks down the crossing gates, even though it stops in the station. Presumably if it stops in the station long enough, the clear signal would 'time out' and CP 21 would go to a stop indication.

2) Option 2: Line the CP 21 interlocking for 'paused' passage (my terminology). In this scenario, CP 21 shows a stop aspect. But the signal system is prepared to receive a request via DTMF or pushbutton to change to the CP 21 signal to clear. A train can pull all the way up to the west facing CP 21 signal and the crossing gates at Concord Street do nothing. After the DTMF codes are transmitted, the Concord Street crossing gates start going down, and after a brief moment, the signal changes to clear. Presumably, since CP 21 is showing stop when the train is going through CP 23 and CP 22, CP 22 can't be anything better than approach or something similar. This is the 'normal' operating procedure for eastbound commuter trains. The dispatcher has the ability to change CP 21 to clear (effectively 'pushing the button' or 'virtually' transmitting the tones). Back in the days before the DTMF tones, the dispatcher used to do this for inbound trains in heavy snow - so the conductor didn't need to trudge all the way up to the push button box.

The MBTA guy I was talking with on the HeartToHub thought that there is no scenario 1 - the DTMF tones are needed on every passage. I don't think that's true, since I'm pretty sure I have listened on the scanner to trains passing eastbound without sending tones. Anyone want to weigh in?

[Rockingham Racer: I'm not sure what you mean about 'unlinking' the signal. Are you suggesting unlinking CP 22 from the block system so it can display a clear regardless of what CP 21 displays? That wouldn't work in NORAC rules. But perhaps I'm misunderstanding your suggestion.]
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon May 30, 2016 2:42 pm

I meant that if the signal at CP21 for eastbound movements is interlocked with the crossing gates, that might be the source of the problem. Let's get a signal maintainer on here! :-)
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:39 am

DTMF is not needed on every move. I had a good dispatcher this weekend give me a Clear at CP 21 on both of my trips....and yes, you get a clear at CP 23, CP 22, CP 21. The only problem is, not matter how slow I came into the station, the gates would still come down, and on my trips, we sat in the station for a good 3 minutes boarding passengers. That is the problem, the motion sensor senses the train, even at 7 mph, they came down and boom goes the traffic. Also, track speed limit is 15 mph EB between CP 22 and Bishop St. (head end only) So even with the Clear signal, it is still slow going no matter what, but where you do make up time is between the cut box at MP 24.2 and Nevins Yard.. I get to do track speed 60 vs. Approach Medium cab signal(45)) on a normal day
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby BandA » Tue May 31, 2016 1:35 pm

So, fix the signal system/gate/blocks so that an eastbound train defaults to a stop signal at the east end of the station block, and the gate stays up since no train should go past the red. On a westbound train the gates open as soon as the train clears the gate since they are now in the station block. No way should the situation that MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 refers to be allowed, where the gates are down during boarding at the station. This should be a high priority for this line.

Assuming CP 24.2 to Nevins yard is about 2 miles??, the Clear at CP21 saves the h2h about 40 seconds. The 15 mph limit, I'm assuming there is some old switch causing that, why only eastbound? Probably not worth fixing for only one roundtrip a day.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Tue May 31, 2016 4:55 pm

15 mph is in place for the crossing circuits...CP22-Bishop St. (H.E. only). you are absolutely correct, not worth fixing. Quite frankly, I don't care how bad traffic gets screwed up in Framingham, with people constantly darting around the gates, crossing the tracks, ignoring the lights and what not, trespassing....it's my payback to them. No one has respect for the trains going through town, I don't have it for them sitting there and waiting.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby dbperry » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:49 pm

MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:15 mph is in place for the crossing circuits...CP22-Bishop St. (H.E. only). you are absolutely correct, not worth fixing. Quite frankly, I don't care how bad traffic gets screwed up in Framingham, with people constantly darting around the gates, crossing the tracks, ignoring the lights and what not, trespassing....it's my payback to them. No one has respect for the trains going through town, I don't have it for them sitting there and waiting.


I would really like to see the fence between tracks 1 & 2 extended all the way to Concord Street. Not incredibly dangerous, but where the fence ends now encourages trespassing and makes passengers think it is OK - feeds into the notion that trespassing isn't a big deal.
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby BandA » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:41 am

Post the following sign:
"Trespassers will be tased
Los intrusos serán tased
Invasores serão tased
kẻ trộm sẽ được tased
侵入者将被tased"
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:51 pm

dbperry wrote:
MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:15 mph is in place for the crossing circuits...CP22-Bishop St. (H.E. only). you are absolutely correct, not worth fixing. Quite frankly, I don't care how bad traffic gets screwed up in Framingham, with people constantly darting around the gates, crossing the tracks, ignoring the lights and what not, trespassing....it's my payback to them. No one has respect for the trains going through town, I don't have it for them sitting there and waiting.


I would really like to see the fence between tracks 1 & 2 extended all the way to Concord Street. Not incredibly dangerous, but where the fence ends now encourages trespassing and makes passengers think it is OK - feeds into the notion that trespassing isn't a big deal.


I absolutely agree with you on this on both points. where it ends is where that pedestrian x'ing is on the Station Trk lead, it encourages people to just cross to get onto Waverly St. side of the track, and to solve it, extend the fence all the way to Concord Street
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Re: Framingham/Worcester Line Questions

Postby bierhere » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:28 am

Rt 135 is just state numbered. The entire stretch is locally owned and maintained. Rt 126 is a mix. There are state owned sections and locally owned sections. I believe the stretch through Framingham is town owned and its returns back into state owned just north as its enters Ashland.
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