ever wonder how the commuter rail really works?

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Re: ever wonder how the commuter rail really works?

Postby ohalloranchris » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:01 pm

sonicdoommario wrote:Looking at train set B, which started as an inbound from Providence (4:50AM from Wickford Junction) and ended as an outbound to Worcester.

I know this is for the old schedules, but how would it get from Worcester to Providence? Would it make its way back to Boston and head down to Providence from there, or would it use the Providence/Worcester line (which I assume runs down Rt. 146) to get to RI?

I assume the DH is deadhead, right?


Not sure myself, but the new schedules are quite different. Equipment sets have much less crossover from line to line and generally stay "captive" on one line.
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Re: ever wonder how the commuter rail really works?

Postby dbperry » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:16 am

sonicdoommario wrote:Looking at train set B, which started as an inbound from Providence (4:50AM from Wickford Junction) and ended as an outbound to Worcester.

I know this is for the old schedules, but how would it get from Worcester to Providence? Would it make its way back to Boston and head down to Providence from there, or would it use the Providence/Worcester line (which I assume runs down Rt. 146) to get to RI?

I assume the DH is deadhead, right?


Correct, DH = deadhead.

That set, if it made that move, would go Worcester->Boston->Pawtucket. I'm not convinced that was a usual move - as stated and as noted above, this document was the "plan" but real-world operations were slightly different. So it's possible that set laid over in Boston and a different set went to Pawtucket. But I have no idea.

I doubt there are any Keolis crews qualified on the Providence & Worcester to use that direct shortcut. And since it is a different railroad, it wouldn't be easy to schedule or make that move (or maybe more accurately, it might be expensive). There are only a few Keolis crews qualified on the Framingham Secondary - I've always thought it would be a interesting contingency plan to have lots of folks qualified from at least Mansfield to Walpole to use that as a bypass (via Franklin branch at Walpole) around problems on the NEC. But it would be tough to keep quals up with very few scheduled moves there. Same with Framingham to Walpole - would be a nice contingency to have, but probably difficult to maintain quals.

The current (5/23/16 schedule based) equipment cycle was intended to eliminate interlining. But it didn't completely eliminate it - for example, one mid-day round-trip Framingham-Worcester train is supposed to start on the Providence line, do one round trip to Stoughton, do one round-trip on F-W, then end the day back on the Providence line.

Having said that, I've been told that the 'ideal' / published 5/23 equipment cycle has been significantly modified (or is being 'dynamically managed') in current practice due to the shortage of coaches. Shuffling of sets (including between lines) to get better matches between set size and ridership.
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