Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wacky Weather Contributes to Commuting Woes

This weather is wreaking havoc on commuting.

Driving home in the rain last night took it took me about 1 hour, 45 minutes to drive from downtown Boston to the Route 146 exit on the Mass Pike.. The Pike really backs up at the 495 exit now, which I think is due to construction, but also the weather. I know that they are working on the ramps to exit 21 B/21 A, which is the Hopkinton/Upton exit.

This morning, the P508 train was on time to Grafton, but it was slow going from Ashland onwards to Boston. We ended up being about 10 minutes late this morning. Well, technically according to the schedule, we were only 7 minutes late (train arrived at 8:30 a.m. when scheduled arrival time is 8:23 a.m., but usually the train gets to South Station at 8:20 a.m.). At least we arrived only 10 minutes late, not like Tuesday's horrific commute.

Commuting seems to be growing as a hot-topic. I noticed on the business networking site LinkedIn that a reporter from the UK is looking for sources to speak about Utah's planned 4-day work week for their state employees. Today's The Boston Globe published another article about biking to work. This appeared on the front page of the print edition. I didn't know this: by law, bikes are considered vehicles in Massachusetts. Interesting.

Quite a few editorials/opinion pieces about transportation. Here is one about the Mass Pike (with the MBTA mentioned) from today's Yesterday The Globe published this editorial about transportation in and around Boston Harbor.

Back to some train news. The North Weekly's Starts & Stops column from today's Globe is all about railroad horns. WickedLocal Belmont mentions track work on the Fitchburg commuter rail line. Commuters of this line should expect delays through Monday, September 29th. OK - that explains all the Smart Route's delay updates this week about the Fitchburg line.
Train Numbers 417, 419, 421, 423, 465, 456, 418, 420, 422, 424, and 466 will be impacted by this outage. Delays of 20 to 35 minutes may be expected during this time.
That's it for now!


Kidney Stones said...

This really has not been a good week for the Worcester line. First, we had the second worst commute of the year on Tuesday (beaten only by the tragedy known only as June 25, 2008), and then today's commute. I don't know why I was so irritated with it this morning. As you noted, it was only technically 7 minutes late. I guess it was because we were moving at a great clip up until Ashland, so I thought "finally, we'll be on time!" Then we had the insane rain.

Oh well. On to next week, I say!

AJ said...

What a week! I still can't understand why they didn't use the actual train from the P508 for the P512 trip, as you said knowing they had almost 3 trainloads of people waiting! There has to be someone there who can make that call. I was doing the math in my head, and there's no way that particular train could be used for the 826, it simply can't return from Boston that quickly. So by my calculations, it should have been sitting there idle. Someone has to be able to make that call instead of sending out trains on autopilot.

I took the P523 (506 Back Bay) home last night. Everything was normal through Framingham. Then, we crawled out of Framingham, finally stopping half way to Ashland. Once we were stopped, we received an announcement apologizing for the slow speeds and explaining we were waiting on a freight train to finish passing through. We would be back underway in a few minutes. I should know by now that a few MBCR minutes equals 15 real time minutes. After a 5 minute slow travel delay, then 15 stopped minutes, we started back up, slowly, on our way to Ashland. Another 5 minutes later we were there. The train then ran normally through Grafton anyways, but the 1/2 hour damage was done.

So far this week, I've had train problems 3 out of 4 days, including our unscheduled and unexplained stop this morning. As I've said before, I don't want a free ride anymore. I want reliability. I want accountability. It's to the point my wife was mad at ME last night because the train was late. I guess she's right though, I told her we'd only be stopped for a few minutes and we ended up a 1/2 hour late. Stupid, gullible me.

Train Rider said...

I've already planned to drive in tomorrow since I have somewhere to be after work ... and ... reliability isn't the strong suit of the Worcester/Framingham line this week.

I'm sure the weather has something to do with it yesterday and today. I wonder if the tracks have gotten flooded again? I just received some alerts that there are delays on the midday trains as well - somewhere in the vein of 25-20 mintue delays. I hope that doesn't carry over to our commute tonight.

Kidney Stones said...


That was one of the greatest comments ever. I literally burst out laughing here at work when you said your wife got mad at YOU for the train being late. I know the feeling! I have to be at my grandmother's tonight no later than 7. Assuming we pull into Worcester at 6:20, this is no issue (she lives in Holden). However, as Train Rider mentioned, there have been 30 min delays ALL day. I pray they don't affect our evening commutes.