Wednesday, January 6, 2010

MBCR Announcement Re: Departing Trains

Received this MBCR Rail Mail today regarding changes to boarding/departing commuter trains.

Effective January 11, 2010, except in the case of emergency, customers will no longer be allowed to enter or exit from the “operating end” of the control coach. The engineer operates the train from this location on inbound trips. Upon arrival into Boston, there are mandatory safety duties for engineers to perform which do not allow for foot traffic through the operating end of these coaches.

Signs will be placed on the coach door on that end of all control cars to remind customers of this rule. Please enter and exit only through a door that is attended by a crewmember.

We appreciate that there will be some inconvenience to our passengers that are accustomed to using the control car exit door, but for safety reasons we must enforce this new policy. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Commuter rail service information, including updated commuter rail advisories/alerts is available on the MBTA website at, or by calling the MBTA Customer Support Services Center at 617-222-3200.

I always sit in the first car, so this will make for a bottleneck once we get to South Station. I wonder why all of a sudden it's a safety concern though? I've been taking the commuter rail for six years and this is the first I've heard about it.


Anonymous said...

Please enter and exit only through a door that is attended by a crewmember.
not every exit is attended by a crewemwber

Train Rider said...

I totally agree, not every door is attended by a crewmember. At most, there are three conductors on a train. You mean that an entire train full of people can only enter/exit through three doors? Seems ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Even more ridiculous considering that when you are exiting the train, you often cannot tell if a door is attended until you get there. What are you supposed to do, start running through every car till you find a conductor standing around? Also, a woman almost dropped her baby and stroller down the giant gap between the front car and the high platform at Framingham station a few weeks ago, with the conductor standing right there. This announcement makes me want to scream!

Anonymous said...

mbcr until 2013! rail extension was not advertised before being approved by board

AJ said...

It goes right along with their (crock) announcement the other day that:

"Customers are reminded that they must never open their own traps and doors, but instead MUST board or exit at a door where a conductor is present."

I understand their safety concerns, and the statement must release them in the event of injury. Some of those traps definitely spring open, and if you're opening them from the ground level trying to board it would be very easy to catch one in the chops. However, it's like TR has been saying. We're all supposed to cram through the three or four exits the conductors choose to open? I ride the P512 routinely. It's not a busy train as it's the tail end of the peak hours commute in the morning. When even one door at one exit is closed, it takes double the time to unload. It's simple math. I'm sure it's like the silent strikes that occur. They tell us we have to board/deboard with a conductor, conductors know this and open a minimum of doors creating traffic and longer station stops as leverage against the T. I'm not saying for sure this is the case or taking one side against the other. As someone who considers themselves blue collar (even if I work a white collar job) my snap judgement goes to the conductors, whom I deal with every day and have a repore.

That said, how well did any of this work out last time? Like with everything else in this ludacris state, the people felt the squeeze. We were the ones hit with fare increases and "adjusted" train schedules to accommodate the increase in ridership (based on numbers that were what, five years old?).

New year, new governing agency, same old shit.

PS - Dear MassDOT,
If you're reading this, please do something about the signs in Grafton. We were promised that when they were replaced we would receive more accurate train updates. Since the beginning of November, I've seen about 5 messages actually pertaining to train schedules. I don't need to be reminded to renew my license or monthly pass on your website in lieu of train updates. When it's 20 degrees, I would rather know my train is 10 minutes late.


Eric said...

My guess is that this "control car is not an exit" became a priority given recent transportation security events (see air travel)...

I agree that in many cases, not boarding/existing from an "attended" exit will not be that feasible or realistic. I take the Fitchburg line and sometimes there are close to 100 people waiting to board. Forcing everyone to board through fewer number of doors will obviously take longer, especially when people have to wade through the aisles to change cars (to those that don't have open doors) to find a seat during rush hour.

Anonymous said...

This is something that's ahead of what the FRA is going to mandate soon, including the closing of ALL doors on the train prior to it leaving EACH station. There's some debate as to whether the FRA will mandate this for all or just off peak trains.

Also, MBCR is attempting to win an industry safety award, so anything they can do that looks like they're safety conscious they think will help their chances.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the new rule about not exiting where there's no conductor, I was on P512 yesterday and discovered that the un-staffed doors (which passengers usually open at South Station) were LOCKED! What the heck would happen in case of an emergency? I sent a comment to the MBCR via their online form, and I'm curious to see what their response is.