Thursday, September 17, 2009

MBCR Speaks Out Regarding Worcester Line Mishaps

Received some Rail Mail from MBCR yesterday about the two mishaps earlier in the week that impacted Worcester trains.

You know, I'm thinking that the near miss on Monday was a lot more serious than they're letting on. Two trains headed toward one another on the same track at normal speeds? Thank god our engineer put the emergency brake on ... that would have been 100 times worse than the accident on Tuesday morning. I'm hoping that the dispatcher who allowed that to happen is no longer dispatching trains.

Here's the Rail Mail letter:

Dear Worcester Line Customers,

I wanted to take a moment to address two recent, but entirely separate, operating incidents that have received much attention.

On Monday, September 14th at about 6pm, CSX dispatchers routed an inbound and an outbound train onto the same track between Back Bay and Yawkey Stations. Thanks to the alert actions of our on-board and operations staff, the trains stopped without incident and there were no injuries.

On Tuesday, September 15th, just after 9am, an inbound train struck a bumper post at South Station while traveling at low speed. At present, 18 passengers and one crew member are being treated for injuries. None of the injuries are known to be serious.

On behalf of MBCR and the MBTA, I apologize to each of you who may have experienced a delay due to these incidents and thank you for your patience. If you require further assistance, please contact us at

Passenger safety is of paramount concern for MBCR and the MBTA and we have initiated a full investigation of both incidents. We will fully-examine all possible factors leading into each event and take any necessary action to ensure the safety of our passengers, the public and our employees.

While the investigations are ongoing, you may be assured that all of our staff will continue to work safely. You can have full confidence in the safety of our service and that the experience, training and dedication of our employees will provide you with a safe commute. I have full confidence in their professionalism.

Thank you for riding the commuter rail system.

Richard A. Davey
General Manager
Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR)


Jake DiMare said...

I was recently commenting to my girlfriend that I didn't understand why CSX advertises to commuters on prime time makes more sense to me now, thinking it is all just another one of those positive PR floods to drown out honest voices like your blog.

PS- bring back the tee shirt from Christian Noise!!

AJ said...

I love these letters because they always have the same content.

Dear Sucker-
We know you pay us a lot so we are obligated to tell you more about why you almost died/lost your job recently. The following are reasons why it's not our fault:

-More BS

We apologize and thank you for your patience.

I'm very tired of apologies and thanks for my patience. We've done this. Things clearly aren't getting any better. Going home, I took the 720 once this week, and the 1026 every other night. Twice my fare was collected. People only accept those answers when they seem sincere. Sincerity involves some effort. I still have yet to see either from this state.

AJ said...

Hey Train Rider-
Just wanted to share a couple new thoughts. I had a dentist appointment this morning and took the 10:43 in. I was standing on the end of the platform furthest from the mini-platform, which is a departure for me. I almost always stand on the mini-platform. Being that I was already late for work, I wanted to board the train towards the front and get a better jump exiting at Back Bay. I happened to stare down the platform as I heard the train whistle and noticed the ticker on the mini-platform was flashing something different than the normal "All trains on or near schedule for Monday, 9/21." I walked down the platform and read that due to track work, we were boarding on the Outbound track today. I got crazy looks as I walked back past the other riders toward the stairs. No one else read it. Normally I would have said something as I passed, but the T Info has been less than spectacular as of late, so I didn't want to be the guy who made everyone cross and cross back. Everyone had to run when the train pulled in.
Wouldn't it make sense if there were a sign at both ends of the platform as there are in the stops closer to Boston? Places like the Wellesleys and such. I guess I should be thankful that side of the sign was working, as it's been off since about a week after they installed the new signs.
Second, once I boarded, they had a couple cars blocked off. Once we hit Framingham, they opened them. Normally I wouldn't think much of it, but the train was unusually packed today, so while I sat 3-wide in a 3-seater, people who began boarding in Framingham sat comfortably by themselves. It didn't make much sense to me. I understand when they do it for a Sox game, so the huge Yawkee crowd has someplace to go in the head 3 cars when they board, but today it just didn't seem to make sense. Even in a Yawkee situation, I don't think its necessary. If they board and there are no seats up front, why can't they move down the train and patrol for seats like the rest of us?

Train Rider said...

AJ -

Your comment about "here's why you almost died today" is so sadly right on target, it's not even funny.

I still just have to thank God we had an alert engineer last Monday night. I shudder to think what would have happened had he not seen the other train and stopped. Plus, I usually sit in the first car, so I would have borne the brunt of the accident.

The letters/emails are such a crock at this point ... "oh look, we care abotu our customers, we sent out an email!" Please. Just run on time, be reliable, be safe and don't be jerks. that's all we want!

And, I've been harping on the fact for eons that the signs at the Grafton station are ridiculous. They're at one end of the platform, which does not help the majority of the people who stand at the eother end. I brought this up to the MBTA about a year ago at a meet the managers meeting and they assured me that they were rolling out new signs soon.

Yeah, I'm holding my breath on that one!

Joe said...

Re: Signs. While Southborough still only has one set of signs installed (extreme west side on both tracks), this year they finally installed ones you could read from > 1 car length away. Some decade, there might be a second set at the easternmost covered spot...