Monday, January 19, 2009


Train Rider is off today. Since it is MLK day, the commuter rail lines are running on a Saturday regular schedule.

An article in today's Telegram & Gazette focuses on how commuter rail ridership grew in 2008. A total of 153,000 riders across all the commuter rail lines rode the rails during November 2008, a 5% increase over November 2007. Across the MBTA, November 2008 was the highest ridership month in 44 years. The T&G even worked in a local angle specific to the Worcester line:
Ridership on the Worcester line followed the upward trend, despite long and frequent delays in recent months that have commuters grumbling. On-time performance for trains on the line was around 90 percent at times last year, but fell to less than 80 percent in December — meaning one-fifth of all trains were late.

In the first two weeks of this year, 85.7 percent of trains on the Worcester line have been on time. Officials cite winter weather and various mechanical problems as the cause of delays.
The article noted that the state is blaming CSX for the delays on the Worcester line. Of the "five additional" trains added to the Worcester-Framingham line last year, the most popular "new" train is the P504. This train departs Worcester at 6:05 a.m.

The Worcester line's trains average about 18,110 riders per day.

As this blog has said, the train delays are not a laughing matter. The article closed with some first-hand passenger accounts:
People are taking the trains, but they’re not always happy about it. Some split their weeks, driving a couple of days a week, chancing it with the trains the other days.
Pamela J. Garron, who lives in Uxbridge and commutes from Franklin, says her employer started docking time from her workday when she arrived late because of train delays. The wife and mother of four was recently laid off and believes her frequent late arrivals are one reason why.

A Worcester commuter, Thomas J. Corrigan, said the new 4:45 a.m. train to Boston has many delays and sometimes doesn’t arrive, so the 5:40 a.m. train, which is supposed to be an express, is changed to a local train, which stops at every station, delaying passengers who weren’t planning for the extra 20 or so minutes on their commute.
It is unfortunate that express trains commencing in Worcester get turned into local trains when things aren't running on time.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the Commuter Rail is running a regular schedule today, and as par for the course, NO train ran on time. There were switching problems outside of Southboro that delayed every train in and out for the am rush.

Commute-a-holic said...

Anonymous at 11:10 AM -

Thanks for clarifying that the trains are running on a regular schedule. I had read somewhere that they were running on a holiday schedule.

Not good news about the Worcester line, though, that switching problems near Southborough caused delays during today's morning rush hour.


Framingham Rider said...

The P500 was delayed approximately 45 minutes this morning, which is understandable given the weather. Of course, the extremely annoying part is that this delay wasn't announced until 6:10, more than a half hour after the scheduled departure time (5:35 in Framingham). This delay was only shown on the marquee at the station - it was never shown on and an email/text message alert was never sent.

Also, I have to point out that the train referred to by Mr. Corrigan (the 4:45 am train) is actually one of the better morning performers on the Worcester line. I take it every day, and the number of delays is less than the 1-in-5 average that the Worcester line as a whole stands at. And since the "new" schedules came into play, I think this train has been cancelled only twice, so its not like that train is constantly getting into Boston extremely late. Compared to the other trains (which I get delay/cancel alert emails about a few times a week) the P500 has been solid.

T-Traveler said...

I agree that the 4:45 AM train is very reliable, it is important to the MBTA that this piece of equipment get to South Station in time to bring Boston commuters back to Worcester so they can get to work in time.

The reverse commute to Worcester is the top priority for Worcester officials and the Telegram.