Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

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Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby Yellowspoon » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:24 pm

On three occasions in the past two months a green line train altered its destination during the run. The third one is the most weird.

From North Station, I wanted to go to Coolidge Corner. The first train had a destination of Reservoir. ??? I figured that I'd change trains at Kenmore on the off-chance that they short-turn a C train at Government Center or Park Street. When the train arrived at Copley, the operator announced that the destination was now Cleveland Circle.

From Waban, I boarded a D train to Government Center. Somewhere around Copley, the destination was changed to North Station.

And this one still baffles me. Last Saturday, I boarded an E train at Northeastern. It was a Lechmere train, although I only wanted to go to Government Center. At Park Street, the operator announced that the train would terminate at Government Center. Our 2-car train pulled to the far end of GC. Another 2-car train pulled in behind us. Our operator told everyone to leave the train. He ushered passengers to the 2nd train which was marked Lechmere. The train on which I had arrived looped at GC and was a D train when westbound. Our operator boarded the 2nd train and drove it to Lechmere.
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Re: Changing destinations in mid route??

Postby BandM4266 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:53 pm

Your last experience sounds more like an equipment swap. The operator on the 1st Lechmere set must have called in a defect on way back to Lechmere, central/insoectors may have deemed it operational sound and had them swap with a crew that will bring it back to Riverside where it could be brought in and fixed.

Your 1st experience may have been a way to fill a gap in service. They could send operator out to Cleveland circle and run him around to the reservoir station afterwards.
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Re: Changing destinations in mid route??

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:03 pm

I had this happen yesterday morning.

An unmarked train pulled up to Haymarket. Before/at Government Center it was changed to an E Line-Heath St train. At Park St it was changed to a D Line-Riverside train, while in the E Line berth. Then a train pulled into the D Line berth and was labeled as an E Line (not sure if it was an E the whole time or not).
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Re: Changing destinations in mid route??

Postby joshg1 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:57 am

I'm less concerned with swapping destinations that with the idea of an unmarked train. Reminds me of Dublin's old Sunday Excursion "Mystery Trains"- buy a ticket and never knew where you'd end up. You board at Boylston, look at your phone for a while, and look up to see... the beach.

I can't say I've ever been surprised by the T or the passengers. I clicked on this thread thinking it was about CR trains.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:05 am

In a similar vein (and perhaps discussed previously), I've been on a few jam-packed in-bound D trains that somewhere in the Brookline area get converted to express non-stop service to Fenway, to the frustration of those riders who don't want to ride that far. Hopefully the T doesn't charge them for a 2nd ride to get them to their destination.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:04 am

johnpbarlow wrote:In a similar vein (and perhaps discussed previously), I've been on a few jam-packed in-bound D trains that somewhere in the Brookline area get converted to express non-stop service to Fenway, to the frustration of those riders who don't want to ride that far. Hopefully the T doesn't charge them for a 2nd ride to get them to their destination.


Doubtful. Usually the train directly behind is always informed. At least, that's how it works on the E Line. People are constantly being dumped at Brigham Circle on short turns. When the next outbound arrives, they always pick everyone who is there for free.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby Arborwayfan » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:37 am

One in about 1986 I was on a Riverside car and the operator announced that between Kenmore and Reservoir it would only stop when requested (by pulling cord/pressing the tape, whatever it had). I guess that was a kind of in-between solution, a way to speed up a little bit without inconveniencing the pax on board. Anyone know if that was ever/still is common?
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby Rbts Stn » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:33 am

Arborwayfan wrote:One in about 1986 I was on a Riverside car and the operator announced that between Kenmore and Reservoir it would only stop when requested (by pulling cord/pressing the tape, whatever it had). I guess that was a kind of in-between solution, a way to speed up a little bit without inconveniencing the pax on board. Anyone know if that was ever/still is common?


That was a regular occurance on the C and D in the 70's and 80's. I don't take the Green Line now like I once did (moving away from Beacon street will do that to a man), but I've seen it more than once in the past 20 years.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby typesix » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:55 am

Arborwayfan wrote:One in about 1986 I was on a Riverside car and the operator announced that between Kenmore and Reservoir it would only stop when requested (by pulling cord/pressing the tape, whatever it had). I guess that was a kind of in-between solution, a way to speed up a little bit without inconveniencing the pax on board. Anyone know if that was ever/still is common?


That's how it's supposed to work on the surface of the Green, but many people are lazy about using stop request and assume train will stop. Operators will sometimes not stop if no one uses the stop request, but this happens more often during early morning or late evening.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:58 pm

The E line is always stop request from Northeastern to Heath during off-peak hours, and between Symphony and the portal they always announce "please ring the bell for all surface stops" multiple times.

Can't remember the last time we didn't have to stop at every stop bwtween Northeastern and Brigham Circle anyway though.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby CRail » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:11 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:One in about 1986 I was on a Riverside car and the operator announced that between Kenmore and Reservoir it would only stop when requested...

typesix wrote:That's how it's supposed to work on the surface of the Green...

Not on the Highland Branch, it isn't. When that announcement is made, the car has been instructed to drop off only, and not stop for awaiting passengers. It's a quasi-express tactic for headway adjustments.
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby jdrinboston » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:42 pm

On a related note, I'm in a back and forth with a frequent green line critic on U-Hub and I need the perspective of some railroad folks. His three main posts are below. Can anybody confirm or refute his points . While money is always an issue for the T, I'm frankly skeptical that there is much excess capacity in the central subway. Quotes are below.

"30+ years of riding the Green Line, plus my experiences monitoring (until recently) the Green Line dispatcher's frequency, it became all too apparent to me some time ago that the dispatchers are making many of their decisions, perhaps not "on a whim", but in a very inconsistent and upredictable manner. Recent examples - Why else would one day you hold both a Riverside and Cleveland Circle train at Park Street, yet on another day at the same time you hold the Riverside train but let the Cleveland Circle train pass it on the opposite track. Why else would one afternoon you run three trains through to Government Center, yet on another afternoon at the same time, with the same three trains, you re-route one or two of them into Park Street.

The truth is that the Green Line is scheduled and dispatched as four separate lines that happen to share part of the same track (although the T would never admit this in public for obvious reasons). The fact they have a signal system and operating rules set up on purpose to deliberatly restrict capacity, plus the unwillingness of management to actually put enough cars in service, only excerbates this philosophy.

And if I sound cycnical, it's because I am. Why? Becaus I'm sick and tired of a management that constantly ignores the real problems facing the system (overcrowding being the biggest one), yet seems to have no problem with spending time with web sites and smartphone apps and "let's redesign a map that's perfectly good" contests. Almost as bad is a media and public that blindly accepts such "feel good" non-improvements in "customer service" that do nothing to provide the customers with better service."

"Try "excuses" that intentionally reduce capacity.

As in "safety dictates we force all trains to arbitrarily come to a full stop at certain signals, even though the operator is running at or below the speed limit and has a clear view of a particular section of track."
As in "safety dictates we only allow one train to berth on a platform at a time (Park Street westbound being the sole exception) even though most platforms are long enough to accommodate at least a pair of two-car trains."
As in "because insuring good schedule numbers is more important than serving customers, we hold loaded westbound E or C trains outside of Government Center so we can turn empty B or D trains (which delays the loaded trains trying to berth at Government Center), and then hold said B or D trains at their berth at Park Street - further delaying the E or C trains."
As in "because insuring good schedule numbers is more important than serving customers, we short turn overcrowded North Station trains at Government Center and/or overcrowded Lechmere trains at North Station."
As in "because remotely throwing switches based on the power draw of the approaching streetcar (power throws the switch one way, power with braking throws the switch the opposite way) is considered "old fashioned", even though it worked very well for several decades until they "upgraded" to the Boeing LRVs, so we'll install an expensive overbuilt "AVI" system that's far less reliable.

Need I go on?"



"The real reason, which the MBTA will never admit to in public - is simple. Fewer trains means fewer operators required - makes budget look better. Reduced capacity is not so much a motivator for this action, but rather a consequence of it. And, as I've stated in other posts, the truly logical thing to do would be to run all eastbound service to Lechmere, and dispatch westbound service from there. Instead, they persist in this nonsense of "in from Riverside (or wherever), so it must go back out to Riverside." When trains start to bunch, that's what encourages the short turning. With this "In from X, out to Y (with Y being the next destination in the schedule)" scheme, bunching doesn't matter because you have a self correcting system.

And, with respect, there's a term for forcing people off crowded trains and onto other ones that are equally crowded - and become more so with the influx of additional passengers. It's called reduction in capacity."
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby TrainManTy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:40 am

I'm no Green Line expert but I'll give some of the points a go.

To the commenter, if you're reading this, I mean you no disrespect. Our society only functions because there are self-identified "cynics" who keep our governments in check. I applaud you. At the same time I want to discuss the facts. Innocent until proven guilty.

---

First off, I think all of this individual's points about cars being short-turned and routed seemingly at random comes down to one of his own points:

The truth is that the Green Line is scheduled and dispatched as four separate lines that happen to share part of the same track (although the T would never admit this in public for obvious reasons).


The Central Subway is a relatively short section, mileage-wise, of the Green Line. And there are more than enough trains between the four lines to USUALLY provide adequate service within it. If I were to dispatch the Green Line, I'd focus on keeping trains flowing properly on the branches, at the (minor) expense of the Central Subway.

Sure, there would be five-minute delays and one-seat-rides wouldn't always happen, but if those annoying but inconsequential inconveniences meant that people on the B branch didn't have to wait 20+ minutes for an inbound B train, I'd absolutely run the system that way.

It's a balancing act between the branches and the Central Subway, and I hypothesize that the MBTA dispatching management has chosen the former.

...And if I sound cycnical, it's because I am. Why? Becaus I'm sick and tired of a management that constantly ignores the real problems facing the system (overcrowding being the biggest one), yet seems to have no problem with spending time with web sites and smartphone apps and "let's redesign a map that's perfectly good" contests. Almost as bad is a media and public that blindly accepts such "feel good" non-improvements in "customer service" that do nothing to provide the customers with better service.


It sure appears that way. I wouldn't argue the contrary too hard without any knowledge of the T's inner workings. But this commenter needs to remember that the map contest was pretty much free and the Mticket was developed at no cost to the agency (the developer takes a cut of ticket sales), while infrastructure improvements cost a lot of money that's pretty tough to come by these days.

The fact they have a signal system and operating rules set up on purpose to deliberatly restrict capacity, plus the unwillingness of management to actually put enough cars in service, only excerbates this philosophy.

The real reason, which the MBTA will never admit to in public - is simple. Fewer trains means fewer operators required - makes budget look better. Reduced capacity is not so much a motivator for this action, but rather a consequence of it.


I don't want to put words in the commenter's mouth, but if he's suggesting that the T intentionally restricts line capacity for use as a counter-argument for why they can't hire more operators and run more trains...well, innocent until proven guilty. It certainly is one of the more convincing conspiracy theories I've heard (except for the motive), but I'll take on the individual "excuses" mentioned.

As in "safety dictates we force all trains to arbitrarily come to a full stop at certain signals, even though the operator is running at or below the speed limit and has a clear view of a particular section of track."


We've discussed this here and while we didn't really reach a consensus whether they're needed or not, the official reasoning is that they're used as a full stop to ensure the brakes are working before proceeding down a hill into a station that may be occupied by another train.

As in "safety dictates we only allow one train to berth on a platform at a time (Park Street westbound being the sole exception) even though most platforms are long enough to accommodate at least a pair of two-car trains."


This might be an issue of public relations. Whenever there's even a little bump between two trains, the media has a field day, brings up unrelated wrecks from the T's past, and blows the entire incident out of proportion. At low station speeds there's probably little physical danger to passengers, but plenty of danger to the T's reputation and public image.

As in "because insuring good schedule numbers is more important than serving customers, we hold loaded westbound E or C trains outside of Government Center so we can turn empty B or D trains (which delays the loaded trains trying to berth at Government Center), and then hold said B or D trains at their berth at Park Street - further delaying the E or C trains."
As in "because insuring good schedule numbers is more important than serving customers, we short turn overcrowded North Station trains at Government Center and/or overcrowded Lechmere trains at North Station."


See my first explanation. I don't know Central Subway ops well enough to elaborate but I strongly suspect both of these "excuses" are all about keeping the branches fluid.

And, as I've stated in other posts, the truly logical thing to do would be to run all eastbound service to Lechmere, and dispatch westbound service from there. Instead, they persist in this nonsense of "in from Riverside (or wherever), so it must go back out to Riverside." When trains start to bunch, that's what encourages the short turning. With this "In from X, out to Y (with Y being the next destination in the schedule)" scheme, bunching doesn't matter because you have a self correcting system.


What if you need a train on a branch sooner than the next westbound train? I bet there would still be plenty of short-turning.

---

With all respect,

Tyler
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby jdrinboston » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:28 pm

Tyler,

Thank you for your insight! These are some really interesting points that I hadn't considered, or frankly, didn't have the knowledge to consider. Let me respond to a couple and perhaps yourself, or others might be able to provide thoughts, if so inclined?

"First off, I think all of this individual's points about cars being short-turned and routed seemingly at random comes down to one of his own points:

The truth is that the Green Line is scheduled and dispatched as four separate lines that happen to share part of the same track (although the T would never admit this in public for obvious reasons).


The Central Subway is a relatively short section, mileage-wise, of the Green Line. And there are more than enough trains between the four lines to USUALLY provide adequate service within it. If I were to dispatch the Green Line, I'd focus on keeping trains flowing properly on the branches, at the (minor) expense of the Central Subway."

I'm somewhat at a loss as to why this commenter would think the T is trying to hide the fact there are 4 separate branches operating on shared track downtown. I'm pretty sure the MBTA's own maps pretty much confirm it. As to your point on maintaining the integrity of the branches, that seems to make a lot of sense. From an operational standpoint, it makes sense to me to ensure the customers on the branches can rely on service to arrive at regular intervals. The reality is a lot of riders in the central subway are using the green line to get to another stop in the Central Subway. (Copley to Park, etc. I'd be really interested in seeing percentages of these types of users if the T has that data) That can be accomplished in most cases, with at least 2, 3 or 4 routes. I think an argument can be made that a person using and relying on specific branch service shouldn't necessarily be at the mercy of customer demand in the subway.

How do you feel about the suggestion of running every train to Lechmere and then assigning it a rotating branch assignment as it turns back west. i.e. B, C, D, E, B, C, D, E etc.?

...And if I sound cycnical, it's because I am. Why? Becaus I'm sick and tired of a management that constantly ignores the real problems facing the system (overcrowding being the biggest one), yet seems to have no problem with spending time with web sites and smartphone apps and "let's redesign a map that's perfectly good" contests. Almost as bad is a media and public that blindly accepts such "feel good" non-improvements in "customer service" that do nothing to provide the customers with better service.


The countdown signs and apps were done with IT people and private app developers respectively. It's not like the T was pulling green line operators and dispatchers off trains to install countdown clocks on the Orange Line or make improvements to the Web site. I'm not sure why minor tech improvements in other areas of the system would be assumed to take away from other parts of the system.


As in "safety dictates we force all trains to arbitrarily come to a full stop at certain signals, even though the operator is running at or below the speed limit and has a clear view of a particular section of track."


"We've discussed this here and while we didn't really reach a consensus whether they're needed or not, the official reasoning is that they're used as a full stop to ensure the brakes are working before proceeding down a hill into a station that may be occupied by another train."

As a layman, this makes sense to me. The reality is if the brakes did fail, the first indication of it would likely be when a train smashes into the rear of another.

As in "safety dictates we only allow one train to berth on a platform at a time (Park Street westbound being the sole exception) even though most platforms are long enough to accommodate at least a pair of two-car trains."


"This might be an issue of public relations. Whenever there's even a little bump between two trains, the media has a field day, brings up unrelated wrecks from the T's past, and blows the entire incident out of proportion. At low station speeds there's probably little physical danger to passengers, but plenty of danger to the T's reputation and public image."

Again, makes sense, though PR is definitely an issue.

---

With all respect,

Tyler[/quote]

Thanks again for your insight!

Jason
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Re: Green Line Changing Destinations Middle of Trip

Postby sery2831 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:59 pm

jdrinboston wrote:
How do you feel about the suggestion of running every train to Lechmere and then assigning it a rotating branch assignment as it turns back west. i.e. B, C, D, E, B, C, D, E etc.?



There are several reasons why this will not work. First on the basic level, the system could not support all the service running through to Lechemere. You would create a massive traffic jam. Second, if you turn everything in some sort of order you will lose cars to the longer lines and would not be able to get them back in time fast enough to create a reliable schedule.

What you don't see. Every train and operator is assigned a schedule. While the schedules are not published, the system runs on one. If you did the first in, first out, you would be forced to change how operators are paid and scheduled. Also the equipment is assigned to car houses, the equipment does not simply go anywhere at any time. Lechemere is a operator break area for the E Line, where the outside points are the break area for the other lines. So Lechmere cannot support a lot of pass through traffic as cars layover there.
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