Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter in New England and the Train Blame Game

I am so happy that common sense dictated that I not stand around in the freezing cold waiting for today's P508 train. Which was delayed. Yes - that's right - for the third Monday morning in a row, the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line was an absolute mess. Check out the comments made by Train Stopping readers.

  • Framingham Rider said that the P500 (which departs Worcester at 4:45 a.m.) was canceled. This caused the P502 to be changed to a local. A pretty smooth commute until they hit Allston.
  • Anonymous at 10:34 AM wrote about the P508.
  • Richard, who normally takes the P508 out of Worcester at 6:55 a.m., isn't sure if he took the P508 or the P512, since the train he was on left Worcester at 7:35 a.m. At least Worcester riders can wait in Union station - waiting 40-odd minutes in the cold for the train on the concrete platforms is harsh. Richard said this, noting that the morning commutes have been particularly bad:
"As much as I'm angry at the MBTA, their website stated that the delays were due to CSX not clearing the switches. The snow stopped last night. Can't switches be cleared by the morning commute. We live in a snowy climate and these things should be taken care of. It was an upsetting commute and coming on top of all the other bad ones during December, this doesn't bode well for the MBTA."
  • Anonymous at 11:15 AM was also on the P508, which was really the P506. Anonymous' comments are very similar to Richard's
"What I found irksome about this morning's commute is that this storm, and the snow and ice, was not a surprise. It wasn't a go to bed with clear skies and wake up to snow and a messy commute. It's been snowing for 3 days. Everyone at the MBTA/MBCR should have known what the track conditions would be like and should have been out there at 3am, not 4:30am, digging out the switches. They knew what the situation was before the last train run last night."
  • Anonymous at 12:10 PM was on the P502 and noted "I want to know which part of the weather forecast the T and CSX didn't understand? If the first train is supposed to leave at 4:45 am then parking lots should be plowed and trains should be ready to move. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out. The T and CSX need to learn to work together and stop putting riders in the middle of their tug of war."
The mess this morning on the Worcester-Framingham line even impacted outbound commuters. AlisonD Tweeted about this morning's events, which Universal Hub picked up. If you're using Twitter, there is a whole section dedicated to the MBTA. Use #mbtasux in your Tweets and they'll be tracked on the MBTA Sucks Twitter round-up page. This page is organized by MBTA subway line. Perhaps they'll end up adding a section just for MBTA/MBCR Commuter rail riders.

Posted last Thursday, the T has their Guide to WinterTime Travel On The T press release up. I'm sure Dan and his crack team will either blame CSX or the MBCR for this one. Yes, it is probably CSX's fault - I mean - who the heck doesn't clean the switches after a snow storm? Sure, it snowed this weekend, but it stopped snowing in the Worcester area last night. So there was at least 8 hours to clean the tracks. But shouldn't the MBTA be providing some oversight? They seem to be able to step in and take the credit when ridership is up.

This is absolutely unacceptable. Lt Governor Tim Murray - if you care so much about the Worcester area and about mass transit, you need to step in and fix this. Three delayed Mondays is not acceptable. Multiple delays are not acceptable.

Outside of the Worcester line, Boston.com reported on an incident in Abington this morning. Tales from the Commute (another commuter-related blog we just found), also reported on this.

I guess it could be worse. We could have been stuck on this Amtrak train over the weekend.

1 comment:

Sarah J said...

Today's commute was an absolute NIGHTMARE!!

1. Missed my usual P502 train out of Worcester due to poor plowing. Didn't it stop snowing at 9:00 last night? Way to go city of Worcester.
2. Went to park in my usual parking lot but the box for the money was missing. All that was left of it was it's metal legs.
3. Drove to a different lot that was completely covered in snow (bonus because I didn't have to pay the fee since I couldn't see the number).
4. Received text from my brother who was on the P502 out of Worcester. Said I didn't miss much because it became a local. Also, they were just inching along most of the way.
5. Asked conductor about the P502 being a local. Response, "I don't know. The local must have broken down. We're working on getting out of here on time. I'll let you know".
6. Still sitting at Union Station at 6:10AM, making us 5 minutes late already.
7. Announcement that our breaks aren't working properly. "We apologize for the delay".
8. Finally leave at around 6:17AM.
9. Inch along.
10. Start going backwards. The train passed the Westborough stop and had to back up.
11. At the Natick stop, people were packing themselves in like sardines. All cars were single level.
12. Waited a long time at each stop to pack more people in.
13. At the Newton stop people were denied boarding because there wasn't enough room.
14. The P504 finally reaches South Station approximately 20-25 minutes after the P502 train.
15. Get another coffee because it's already a hell of a day.
16. Sister-in-law calls the city of Worcester about the parking lot missing it's pay box and no one believes her.
17. I call the city of Worcester about the pay box at 10:00AM, left a message and still haven't heard back. great.

Love,
A Disgruntled Worcester/Framingham Line Commuter.

stupid trains.