Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

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Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby TrainManTy » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:58 pm

The other day on my commute home I actually paid attention to the announcements at Back Bay. While doing so, I heard something interesting. Maybe I'm being overly curious, but I'll ask anyway.

Several outbound trains have a scheduled 5:00 PM departure from South Station every weekday, including ones on the Providence and Framingham/Worcester lines. We'll focus on these two.

Both of these trains leave South Station at the same time and run alongside each other the whole way. Sometimes one train arrives a few seconds before the other, but there seems to be no pattern to which one this is. At Back Bay, the trains have scheduled departures at 5:05 (Providence) and 5:06 (Worcester).

Why the difference in time? The routes are parallel and the trains always arrive at roughly the same time. Were they scheduled out differently? Do Providence Line passengers take less time to board because of the high platform?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:30 pm

I think the Worcester platforms are a bit more west of the NEC platforms. The minihigh is under Copley Place, I think, whereas the platforms for the NEC don't get up Dartmouth St.
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby The EGE » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:24 pm

Worcester trains do take forever to load on the minihigh. I took P517, the 2:46 out of Back Bay, on a Tuesday afternoon a few months ago. There were perhaps fifty to sixty people waiting for the train, and it took at least two minutes for everyone to flock down to the minihigh and enter through the one level door plus the one trap.
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby sery2831 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:24 am

I am sure the added minute is purely added for boardings. There is one person that reads this board that will have the answer. I will see if I can get the official word for you guys.
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby danib62 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:18 am

The times on the timetable are departure times not arrival times so adjusting for the longer boarding makes sense.
Last edited by danib62 on Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby sery2831 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:54 pm

I just got the PM I expected :) And the extra minute is for boardings on the low level.
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby TrainManTy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:47 pm

The EGE wrote:Worcester trains do take forever to load on the minihigh. I took P517, the 2:46 out of Back Bay, on a Tuesday afternoon a few months ago. There were perhaps fifty to sixty people waiting for the train, and it took at least two minutes for everyone to flock down to the minihigh and enter through the one level door plus the one trap.


On rush hour trains like the 5:06, every other door pair is opened. All but the one pair at the mini-high are low-level requiring passengers to climb up the steps in the trap into the car. It certainly is much slower than boarding on the level.

John, thanks for the confirmation.

Thanks everyone!
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby Komarovsky » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:06 pm

TrainManTy wrote:
The EGE wrote:Worcester trains do take forever to load on the minihigh. I took P517, the 2:46 out of Back Bay, on a Tuesday afternoon a few months ago. There were perhaps fifty to sixty people waiting for the train, and it took at least two minutes for everyone to flock down to the minihigh and enter through the one level door plus the one trap.


On rush hour trains like the 5:06, every other door pair is opened. All but the one pair at the mini-high are low-level requiring passengers to climb up the steps in the trap into the car. It certainly is much slower than boarding on the level.

John, thanks for the confirmation.

Thanks everyone!


Just to add to this, the dwell time for the train is usually 4-5 minutes at the station. Is there a reason why tracks 5 and 7 aren't fully high level platforms, when the NEC tracks are?
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Re: Scheduled time between South Station and Back Bay

Postby Arborwayfan » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:18 pm

I remember going down there once as a teenager a year or two after the new Back Bay Station opened and wondering why there were still low platforms. The Worcester-line platforms were in service while the NEC part of the station was shut down for the SWC project from about 1979 to 1987. That may have let them escape the ADA requirement for high-level platforms, or it may have made it more disruptive to build high-levels than it was worth. (I don't recall whether ADA requires full high-levels, or whether mini-highs are OK and the full high-levels were built for speed in loading and unloading.) Also, when BBY was rebuilt the Herald still got paper by rail; don't high-levels and freight conflict?
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Re: Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby The EGE » Wed May 16, 2012 12:06 am

From here:

sery2831 wrote:
BostonUrbEx wrote:Why was the Worcester platform at Back Bay never made into a high level? It seems pretty easy... Or even just expanding the mini high...


Off topic for this discussion but I am sure it has to do that it is a freight clearance route. I am sure there is a thread existing that could host this discussion possibly...


From what I can tell, the Worcester platform at BBY got only a mini-high because it was still a clearance route for the Herald. Now, east of Beacon Park (and soon to be east of Framingham) is no longer a clearance route, so Yawkey's getting full high-levels and there's no reason BBY can't.

I imagine the BBY platform will be a high-level priority eventually - it's such a doable fix for 2-3 minutes less time on rush-hour trains on a busy line. It's not high-importance yet because Newtonville to Natick are all still lows. But once that ADA gap is filled, the BBY platform looks attractive so you can open all doors all the way to Natick.
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Re: Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby sery2831 » Wed May 16, 2012 12:30 am

Standard box cars do not need a clearance route. Freight is allowed by high level platforms. It is for those once in every 20 year moves they keep these clearance routes. But with Fenway getting full high levels, this will kill the clearance route from Beacon Park into South Station.
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Re: Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Wed May 16, 2012 1:26 pm

Where was the Herald printing facility and how were cars routed there? I just learned something new here.
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Re: Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby Komarovsky » Wed May 16, 2012 1:46 pm

Are there any plans for adding full highs to west natick and framingham? Those two stations see pretty good ridership and would make all the framingham local runs quite a bit faster.
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Re: Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby Teamdriver » Wed May 16, 2012 1:48 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:Where was the Herald printing facility and how were cars routed there? I just learned something new here.

Dude It was beside Quinzani bakery on Harrison ave ( where the china restaurant rolls come from mmmmm ) . You can see the tracks that run along the Mass Pike on submitted Goggle Earth picture.
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Re: Scheduled Time Between South Station and Back Bay

Postby wicked » Wed May 16, 2012 2:11 pm

Couple of clarifications:

1. ADA wasn't law until 1990. Ergo it wouldn't have affected the Inland Route platforms at Back Bay.

2. The Herald printed at its former Harrison Avenue site until fall 2007, when it outsourced printing. I'm not sure when the last rail delivery was made, but IIRC I saw rail cars at/near the Herald loading dock in the late '90s.
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