2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby harshaw » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:03 pm

ns3010 wrote:That said, there still are a lot of delays, and hopefully they drop as time goes on.


Oh man, my dog just looked at me I laughed so loud. Hope springs eternal...
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby ns3010 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:28 pm

I know, what a naive word choice. :-D

Seriously though, it would be nice if we could see some improvement from all the investment and (maybe) learning from past failures. At least the bar is set low for this winter...
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:59 am

in all fairness, when a new interlocking is cut in to such and old system, you know there are going to be problems up at CTEC at South Station....I mean realistically, when was the last time the CP 4 Interlocking buggalow worked on or updated??? and now you have set up and entirely new setup up, along with an electric lock now thrown in the mix. WHENEVER there is a new interlocking, electrical work/signal work done to the system, there will ALWAYS be signal problems due the old system saying "what the F are you guys doing to me??" Look at what happened when FOREST tried to get cut back in....complete meltdown of the system due to it just not computing to what C&S wanted. Yes, you are correct DBperry, restricted speed applies to the entire train until it passes the next favorable signal, in which case, for EB trains is CP 3 and for westbound trains is Automatic 6-1EW 6-2EW. ALSO of note, the crossover that we must use now, is a 15 mph xover, no more taking CP 4 at 45 mph, so that will add a minute or 2 to each train that has to make this maneuver (which also threw the signal system into a mess because the distant signals had to be set up with the right voltage to display a new accurate signal preceding the Slow Clear....lot of factors went into yesterdays delays...and in all honesty, I'm actually quite surprised they resolved the problem so quickly Good job C&S!!
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby saulblum » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:01 pm

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_ ... _in_newton

NEWTON -- Police cleared a suspicious package at the Newtonville commuter rail stop this morning, which prompted a call for the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad, after shutting down service both ways on the Worcester/Framingham line for about 15 minutes.


The police thought the bag could be a bomb, so they shut down train service. Yet cars continued to whiz by mere feet from the platform on the Pike.

Your tax dollars hard at work.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Komarovsky » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:08 pm

Real mess tonight on the Worcester line. 530 apparently struck someone in Ashland and 527 is terminated at Framingham, waiting for buses. I'd imagine everything else outbound tonight is going to be cancelled or short turned.

An aside, I've never gotten bussed, what sort of route do they run in these cases?
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Komarovsky » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:03 pm

And now 527 is cleared to proceed west, no buses after all apparently.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby nomis » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:44 pm

528 had a fatality @ Cherry St.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby harshaw » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:51 pm

The speed through that area is also pretty high as well.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dbperry » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:57 am

The lack of news coverage about it after ~8 PM indicates to me that it was a suicide. Very sad. Not first time there has been a suicide in that location.

Just to recap:
P528 struck the person at about 17:30 at the Cherry Street grade crossing in downtown Ashland Ma.
Outbound P527 was held at Framingham, P583 was held at West Natick, and P531 was held at Natick Center, all on their usual track 2. P529 must have made it into Framingham on track 1.
The plan was to implement bustitution between Ashland and Framingham. There was plenty of trains east of Framingham for service back to the city, but I'm not sure what equipment they were planning on using west of Ashland. Perhaps the P528 equipment? Maybe P532 equipment?
At the time of the incident, P525 was already in the area of Framingham where it terminates at 17:23. It usually goes back inbound from Framingham as P530 departing at 18:15. This P525 / P530 equipment was sent inbound from Framingham at about 17:50, operating as a ~30 min delayed P528 from Framingham on the usual evening rush hour inbound track 1. P530 was annulled.
Outbound P533 took the relief crew for the incident train (P528) and departed South Station on time at 18:05. P533 was held at Auburndale and then CP 11 for a brief delay while "P528" cleared track 1 at CP 11. P533 then ran outbound on track 1 to get around the stopped trains on track 2 with a priority move to get the relief crew out to the incident location.
P527 was given permission to proceed past the incident at 5 mph via a Form D and left Framingham at about 19:07. P583 was then allowed to proceed into Framingham station, where it terminated and discharged all of its passengers, who crossed over and boarded P533 which arrived at Framingham at about 19:15.
P533 departed Framingham at 19:25.
The P583 equipment was used as a delayed P532 from Framingham to Boston, and it departed Framingham at 19:29. I have no idea what happened to the 'real' P532 from Worcester.
After P583 departed Framingham, P531 was allowed to proceed into Framingham on track 2 and then continued west.
At about 19:35, three buses escorted by an MBTA pickup truck arrived in Framingham, where the bus 'inspector' in the pickup was surprised to learn the buses weren't needed.
The last part of the story that I heard was the dispatcher telling the original P528 equipment that upon getting a relief crew, it would make a reverse move back to Ashland station where the passengers on that train would disembark for bus service from Ashland (not clear how far the buses would take them - just to Framingham to wait for the next inbound train or somewhere further east).

Only thing I lost track of was the P529 equipment. On the schedule it arrives in Framingham at 18:15 and then turns to go back as P534 at 18:45. It didn't go inbound on time, since P533 was on track 1. And it wasn't in Framingham between ~7 PM and 7:30 PM. It must have gone into hiding somewhere west of Framingham.

Again, a sad situation. IMHO, Keolis did a really good job of moving trains around and making very dynamic changes to maximize the passenger throughput west of Framingham. Tweets from the @MBTA_CR indicate that they were even trying to take into account passenger loads when deciding how to get trains west of Framingham (moving the pax from P583 to P533). Also, kudos to stopping delayed trains within station limits so passengers could get off and escape if they so desired. I truly believe that if this had happened under the old CSX NA dispatching system, the trains would have just stacked up at signals or behind each other, and there would have been no workarounds applied. And the delays would have been MUCH longer (speaking from experience there...)

Somewhat understandably, the communications to the passengers were really bad. I had a good overview by piecing together rider reports from various tweets along with tweets from public safety agencies and Keolis. Watching the PTIS / GPS data gave me very good geographical understanding of what was happening. Listening to the dispatcher filled in some gaps, but it was clear that the various train conductors couldn't be provided with as much info as they really needed to keep the passengers as informed as they should have been. The dispatcher had way too much to do - keep trains organized and moving, figure out how to deal with the incident area, shuffle trains on the Framingham to Boston stretch once the schedule went out the window, tell the train crews what to tell the passengers, answer questions from the trains crews, and then communicate everything back to the Trainmasters or whoever needed to know on the back end. They really should consider adding a second person to the dispatcher desk just to tell the train crews what the plan is and how it will be implemented - and let the dispatcher handle all the actual dispatching and coordination.

The largest communication gap was with the trains stopped at West Natick and Natick. All the @MBTA_CR and "T-alert" text messages talked about bustitution between Framingham and Ashland, but it wasn't clear to the passengers stranded at the Natick stations if they would be bused from where they were or how they would get anywhere. And the conductors didn't know either. Obviously someone had a plan, and it was a pretty good one, but the info couldn't get pushed out to those who needed it. My idea of a second voice on the mainline frequency is not a bad idea, but not perfect - you quickly run out of room for all those needed conversations on the same frequency at the same time. Maybe push some of those logistical conversations over to the help desk frequency, but I'm not sure changing channels back and forth is a good idea either. No easy answers.

Finally, the @MBTA_CR twitter feed eventually just looked hopelessly opaque (IMHO) by continuing to call the situation a 'prior medical emergency' hours later, even after the fatality had been confirmed by the @MBTATransitPD twitter feed. I really can't understand the point of withholding information about what really happened, but perhaps there is a good reason. Unfortunately, the withholding of the information is probably feeding the perception of a lack of transparency and mistrust of all things MBTA by the general public (who really doesn't differentiate between Keolis and the MBTA).
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby nomis » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:09 am

529 turned for 530 on Tr.1 in the station, it departed Framingham to head east around 6:25pm. It was to originally hold at West Natick, but that plan got changed fairly quickly to turn for something in Framingham.

The buses were to only be for the pax on 528, to get them to Framingham.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby ACeInTheHole » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:25 am

harshaw wrote:
ns3010 wrote:That said, there still are a lot of delays, and hopefully they drop as time goes on.


Oh man, my dog just looked at me I laughed so loud. Hope springs eternal...

Thats beautiful. Hahahaha.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Komarovsky » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:32 am

508 delayed 15-20 this morning because of a mechanical in the yard in Worcester.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dbperry » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:05 pm

Framingham - Worcester got hosed again this AM.

At 6:07, T-alerts said P502 was delayed 10-15 minutes due to "police action." It appeared to be stopped in Southboro, so I'm not convinced of the "police action" part of the story...because...

Apparently the non-revenue positioning move P581 broke down in or near Southboro. It is supposed to become inbound P582 from Worcester.

P504 made it to Southboro and was then cancelled, but P582 then originated from Worcester and operated as a local (so essentially operating as a 10-20 min late P504). Very confusing to cancel the local P504, reincarnate the express P582, but then make it a local. Huh? Many people were confused. I can't be certain, but it appeared they were using the P504 equipment as P582. Either way, the shuffling of train names was not handled or communicated well.

P582 operating as a local had to accommodate the load for the entire P504 and all P582 passengers past Southboro. it was very crowded based on rider reports.

P506 then had to accommodate the P582 passengers from Worcester, Grafton, and Westboro, as well as its usual full load. it was standing room only by Wellesley Square. But everyone was able to squeeze onto the train (6 doubles).

So:
If you tried to take P502 you were ~20 min late
If you tried to take P504 you were ~15 min late
If you tried to take P582 from Worcester, Grafton, or Westboro, you were ~60 min late
If you tried to take P582 from Southboro or stations east of there, you were ~20 min late
If you tried to take P506 you were ~10 min late

Other than the naming and communication flub ups, the situation was handled pretty well and certainly inconvenienced some passengers considerably, but it didn't appear that anyone was turned away due to overcrowding.

No idea what they did with the dead equipment, or what loco it was.
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby Type 7 3684 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:01 am

Another day, another Framingham mess. 505 broke down in Wellesley and now 507 has to assist it. This means 510 is canceled. 508 has an expected delay too. This also means that 512 will be making all stops
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Re: 2015 Commuter Rail Delay Discussion Thread

Postby dbperry » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:26 am

Ugh. Apparently it will be a long time before we're done talking about Framingham - Worcester delays.

With P510 cancelled, P512 got loaded up with their regular load plus the P510 passengers. By Wellesley Farms, P512 was at capacity and unable to take waiting passengers there or at Auburndale, West Newton, and Newtonville. Those passengers were directed to get on P514 (which was 15-20 minutes late due to cascading delays). A rider reported ~50 passengers left on the platform at West Newton.

Meaning that if you were at Wellesley Farms or one of the Newton stations intending to take P510, you got on P514 approximately 60+ minutes late.

In hindsight, they should have had P508 make at least some local stops to get passengers waiting for P510. P508 might have reached capacity and not been able to take everyone, but it might have taken enough passengers to allow P512 to then get the remaining passengers.

For me, the more interesting aspect of the P505 break down was the apparent lack of any MU cables on P505 or P507. P508 had to stop and pass the cables over to them. I wrote about this on my blog:
http://dbperry.weebly.com/blog/why-did- ... ed-this-am
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