Friday, October 3, 2008

MBCR's Chief Stepping Aside

After virtually no news, the latter part of the week has turned out to see some major commuter rail stories.

James O'Leary, the head of the MBCR, is leaving his post. The new head of the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Co. will be the Richard A. Davey, the 35-year deputy who has been with the MBCR for five years, The Boston Globe reports.
The air conditioning problems have generally been fixed, but tardiness continues to be an issue for many of the 72,000 commuters. In August, 17.5 percent of trains were at least five minutes late, which managers attribute to heavy track construction. Despite significant problems with delays, O'Leary's company won a three-year extension of its contract last December, worth $227 million per year, the largest private commuter rail contract in the country.
Davey, according to The Globe, "Davey promises to focus on customer service, safety, and identifying areas where investment can improve reliability."
Obviously, for Worcester line riders, the big news was yesterday's announcement that the state is working out a deal with the CSX. Five new trips have been added. Starting October 27th, the first train will leave Worcester at 4:45 a.m. instead of 5:43 a.m. Two other inbound trains have been added: 6:05 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

For outbound trips, the first train will arrive in Worcester at 5:19 a.m. and an earlier afternoon train will leave Boston at 2:40 p.m., arriving to Union Station at 4:13 p.m.

One of yesterday's comments is something Train Stopping is in agreement with - not just more trains, but faster and more reliable trains. Obviously, this situation is unfolding and we'll have to see how it all pans out.

Here are links to some coverage about yesterday's announcements:
In other news, it looks like the new Beverly commuter rail parking garage will be built in one of two locations, according to today's The Salem News. Also, today's The Daily News Tribune reports that some bus routes in Newton may be changing so the MBTA can conserve fuel.

Finally, in the better late than never, WCVB-TV's Chronicle program ran a piece on commuting on September 17, 2008. Unfortunately, Chronicle's website does not include the ability for video to be shared. The MBTA is running a clip of the segment, but it is in a Windows Media Player (so if you use a Mac, you maybe not be able to see it). The below graphic is on the MBTA's website. You need to click the graphic to see the clip.


Richard said...

I have to say that while it's nice to have these extra trains, there is virtually no change in the service for most of us, the one exception being the mid-afternoon train that goes to Worcester and re-instating the 6:05am train. I don't know how many people will be taking a train as early as 4:45am. I am sure the conductors are thrilled about that. As far as I can tell, NONE of these new trains are express, just the plodding 1.5 hour plus local trains. I think this was just a big media hype and a chance for politicians to claim some sort of victory. We still have the slow trains and the commute continues as it always has, though now my 6:55am train leaves 12 minutes earlier than it did last year and takes just as long to get to Boston.

Train Rider said...


I coulnd't agree more. When I finally got a look at the new schedule last night, my first thought was "well, there's only one new train on that whole schedule," which is the one at 2PM-ish.

I actually like the idea of that train because right now, we really have no options between noon and 4:05.

I'm also irritated that they were able to introduce any more express trains. The local trains are just too long from Worcester/Grafton. I was really hoping that they would make some trains express from Ashland or something, because htose of us west of Framingham get screwed the most.

Anonymous said...

How about the T pay to build track to your front door and keep a train and crew waiting until you are ready to go at your beckon call? Will that satisfy you?

It's PUBLIC transportation. You aren't the only one on the train.

Anonymous said...

The express trains are the biggest opportunity for improvement on the Worcester line. Last time I talked with Linda Dillon she hinted that they were taking rider suggestions into account for upcoming schedule changes. Dropping stops between Framingham and Back Bay could save 10+ minutes on express service. It would also provide the opportunity for riders to transfer to local service at Framingham. It would inconvenience riders who embark or disembark at the Naticks, however there are so few of them that the net benefit in commute time across the 1000+ riders on a typical Worcester train would be a substantial gain in efficiency.

AJ said...

I love when ignorant people decide to chime in on a matter with no idea as to what they're talking about. That's a great anonymous comment! Yes, it is public transportation. However, as both previous comments implied, it would be nice if they were Express, but any new train is a good new train.

If you view the current MBTA schedule, there are 10 Framingham trains, and 10 Worcester trains. Seems fair, right? The deceiving thing is, 5 of those Worcester trains are Locals, giving the Framingham only riders 5 more chances to get home at key times throughout the day than the folks from Ashland to Worcester.

That's the chief complaint here Anonymous.

Train Rider said...

Thanks AJ!

To anonymous' point ... where can I sign up to have the train come to my house and pick me up? :-)

Anonymous said...

The reason there can't be any more express trains right now is because there isn't capacity to do so. You have to wait till all of the other lines that share trackage reorganize their schedules as well.

Anonymous said...

the train schedule really frustrates me. why can't they juggle the schedule so the 7:35am actually gets in before 9:02am (or 9:08 as it's been lately)?

the only other viable option is the 6 55am and I don't need to get in by 8:20 every day.

i would pay more money if they had an express train that went Worc, Westborough, Framingham, West Natick (i do see a lot of people on the 506 disembarking here) to Back Bay and finally SS.

basically you are damned if you do (trains never on time - weird schedules) and damned if you don't (took me forty minutes to go from natick to 128 on the pike Tuesday morning).

great blog!