Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Rumors are True: MBTA/MBCR Changes Train Times on the Worcester-Framingham Commuter Rail Line

The rumors riders have been alluding to are true. The MBTA/MBCR will be adjusting the times for the Worcester-Framingham trains to make the departure/arrival times "realistic."

Inbound trains running from Worcester to Boston in the morning will now depart 10 to 20 minutes earlier. Outbound trains running from Boston to Worcester will depart 5 to 10 minutes later.

The MBCR's GM James F. O'Leary was quoted in both the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and on Boston Globe as saying the new schedules are "more realistic."

From the T&G article:
MBCR listed several reasons for modifying the schedule. Ridership has grown 40 percent since the Worcester line opened in 1995, and the increase in passengers has increased the amount of time trains linger at each of the line’s 17 stations. Federal regulations enacted in 2005 require trains leaving a station to reduce speed until they observe the next controlling signal, which MBCR says adds several minutes to travel time. And since 2006, railroad company CSX, which owns the tracks and controls signaling between Worcester and Boston, has restricted the speed of trains leaving and entering Union Station to 10 miles per hour.

Wellesley state rep Alice Hanlon Peisch (D) was quoted in both The Boston Globe and on BostonNOW:
"If these trains are never going to be on time, it is far better for the commuter to have the time reflect the reality," Peisch said.

The new Worcester-Framingham schedule is now available on the MBTA and MBCR websites. The MBCR also plans on emailing riders and making announcements at the stations.

Thanks also to Train Stopping reader DJHeini for a comment about today's announcement.


Keith said...

I picked up a copy of the new schedule this morning, this is a major shock to the system! So the T is now inconveniencing us even more by making all the morning trains earlier. That means the West Natick parking lot, which is woefully too small, will fill up even sooner so it's totally conceivable you would have to be there by 6 am just to get a parking spot.

Did the T even attempt to run the new schedule by its customers? Do they even know what a focus group is?

Commute-a-holic said...


The MBTA/MBCR doesn't really seem to value customer input. I'm scratching my head as to the new schedule - 10 to 20 minutes earlier in the morning and 5 to 10 minutes later in the evening really inconveniences the riders of the most utilized commuter rail line.

This really seems like the easy way out. Instead of trying to work out schedules with CSX, the T/MBCR just decides to adjust the schedules.

The first inbound train will now leave Worcester at 5:43 a.m. If someone is driving to the Worcester station from either the West Side of Worcester or one of the towns west and south of the city, that means they may be leaving their home as early as 5-5:15 a.m. That's crazy.

Richard said...

I have been reading this blog for about a month and am very impressed with it. I'm writing now because I am so angry about the way the MBTA has treated the Worcester rail riders. They should be working to shorten travel times and not lengthening them in order to improve their on-time rates. Is there any government oversight of this organization?

Commute-a-holic said...


Thanks for visiting Train Stopping. We're happy you are finding this information beneficial.

The MBTA is a quasi-public agency. Technically, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, specifically the Transportation Secretary, oversees the MBTA. So ultimately, the Governor and the Legislature can try to impose mandates on the MBTA.

The MBCR is a partnership of three transportation agencies that was selected by the MBTA to operate the Commuter Rail system.

I agree - all elected officials who represent Central Massachusetts and MetroWest should be working in unison to shorten the length of the commuter rail commutes between Worcester and Boston.


The Supreme Goddess said...

Thanks for putting together this blog. I did the commute from Worcester to Boston for 1.5 years and was pretty much just as frustrated as you all. My husband stopped asking me how my day was when the train was late. I saw the new schedule and I think its ridiculous that they can get away with this. I wrote letters to just about everyone, and everyone just blames each other.

I actually got a new job so I don't do the train anymore--but I do miss my morning naps! :)

Wish you guys all the best and I will keep checking in, if there is a petition or something, I will definitely sign it!!

Commute-a-holic said...

The Supreme Goddess,

Thanks for visiting! I am like you - I used to do the commute into Boston on the Worcester line, but I managed to land a job closer to home.

However, Train Rider has been doing the commute for 5 years and will probably continuing doing it. Since Train Rider is on an extended business trip, I am helping out to keep the blog up-to-date. It has been a busy few weeks - lots of stories about the MBTA/MBCR.

Train Rider enjoys the train naps - especially the afternoon train nap.

Definitely drop in for a visit, especially when you miss riding the commuter rail. I'm now an occasional rider. The service should be better than what it is. As a taxpayer, I feel that my taxes are subsidizing a poorly run agency that doesn't deserve the subsides.