South Station commuters were in a pickle; service wasn't worth a plug nickel

Mess at South Station

Kerry O'Brien became part of the horde jammed into South Station and the platforms in the evening rush as service proved unable to deal with wet rails or something.

And you can only imagine what it was like to get on a train at Yawkey on the Worcester Line. But just in case, Keith L describes it for us:

Missing 521 express train... conductor said no idea where it went, disappeared into thin air I guess! This is a bunch of people trying to cram on the local to Framingham!

Trying to squish onto a train at Yawkey

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Trains

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Were indeed nuts tonight, had to be an unspoken switch problem, all lines were delayed and there was
No explanation why. The train was packed before picking up at Back Bay. The worst.

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Voting is closed. 31

Rumors of a slowdown

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My commuter rail conductor told me about a month ago that there's a work slowdown going on in protest of a planned privatization. The rumor is that Gov. Baker wants to outsource the train work to a private company in South Carolina. Whenever trains needed fixing they'd be trucked down to the company, tinkered with/fixed, and trucked back up here before being put back into service. The current workers - based in Massachusetts, near the stations - are trying to demonstrate the problems with this plan. All rumor, but believable based on past privatization (kick back?) behavior by Charlie-not-on-the-MBTA-Baker.

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Voting is closed. 28

It is a Grand Tale.

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Guaranteed to raise the ire of people silly enough to believe that trains would be moved to SC for repair work and back again. Trying to influence people through anonymous posts has it's limits.

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My goodness Boston

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My goodness Boston infrastructure sucks. Time to rid of lazy unions and bad politicians.

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Voting is closed. 39

Lazy unions? Right, throw

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Lazy unions? Right, throw the working man under the bus. Pun intended. This is a mismanagement issue going back decades. You know, non-union management? And yes, playing politics with public transportation hasn't been disastrous as well. I'm not saying there aren't any lazy workers, but that's not exclusive to unions. Look around your own company, you'll see them.

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Voting is closed. 31

S Pollack needs to be fired for this one. Out of union hands

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This was a case of "putting everything in one basket". South Station Yard service typically arrives via the Worcester Line, Grand Junction Line, and the Fairmount Line. Pollack had been shifting yard service from the Worcester Line to the Fairmount Line, ie less bypass traffic in her hometown of Newton. Then the Grand Junction line was cut for the GLX, and that bypass service was shifted to the Fairmount Line. The Fairmount is now 90% bypass yard traffic and 10% passenger traffic. How did I find this out? I was at MassDOT, heard screaming, and asked what was going on.

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Nice try

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The Grand Junction is still alive and well, and it has nothing to do with any of this since it is only used for equipment moves for servicing, not storage. And Worcester storage is over 40 miles from South Station, so anyone with a lick of sense would opt against storing trains for the whole south side out there.

As for the Fairmount, the Readville Yard predates even Pollack working at the CLF. Heck, at one point it was even pitched getting Amtrak to do maintenance out by where the school buses are now stored.

I can't wait until the GLX opens. Every time you comment I get more and more excited about it.

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Voting is closed. 26

Wrong Waquiot

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The Grand Junction line was in fact cut for the Green Line Extension. The Boston Globe covered it a few days ago

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Voting is closed. 16

Not quite

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It’s going to be out of service for a little bit, then it will go back to being used for what it’s been used for before. And what it’s never been used for is moves of trains for routine storage. South side trains were, are, and will continue to be based on the south side and vice versa on the north side (barring construction of the North South Rail Link, which would be a game changer). Therefore, the Grand Junction being down had no effect on this.

How selectively do you read?

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Voting is closed. 26

Do you read the comments you respond to?

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My concern was with Boston's central hub going down due to bad leadership. I could care less about the GLX as a project. You however. When someone just mentions the GLX you foam at the mouth.

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Voting is closed. 23

Let's look at the evidence

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Here's why I think you are the infamous GLX troll-

1. You lead with a swipe at Pollack.
2. You brought up the GLX.
3. You tried to tie the GLX to this snafu, even though the two have no connection to each other.
4. You posted as "anon."

These are things the GLX troll does.

Maybe try using a user name. It is possible to do so while not even registering (which people should do for so many reasons.) If you want to post anon to make an issue that had nothing to do with the GLX about the GLX, people like me will just assume you are the bitter man who hates a certain project that is widely supported.

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Voting is closed. 20

That's terrible logic

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I'm a Medford homeowner who believes the GLX benefits do not outweigh the costs. Does that make me a GLX troll too? What about the Tufts students who are getting gentrified by the GLX and file concerns. Are they trolls too?

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Voting is closed. 22

Two things:

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1. If you had anything to do with Bill Woods NIMBY by proxy crusade, or ...
2. You are one of the whiners who claims that GLX "took my back yard" when you never owned it or paid taxes on it ...
3. You ignore traffic studies because I JUST KNOW IT IS BAD TO CHANGE ANYTHING!!!!
4. You, like Bill Wood, live MILES away from GLX and don't plan to bike to it, yet whine about it anyway from your North Medford Hilltop ...

Then yes, you ARE a troll.

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Voting is closed. 9

It’s good logic

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All I’m saying is that someone keeps posting as “anon” on this website hijacking any comment thread on transit to claim that somehow the GLX is to blame for something unrelated to the project, or that GLX leads to deforestation, or that no one along the route supports this, and so on.

You look like the duck and quack like the duck. If you don’t like being compared to that guy, post with a name at least. Or, you’re the GLX troll after all and don’t like getting called out.

But please, tell us how the temporary inability to move trains from the north side to the south side, which are not routine movements, caused this mess.

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Voting is closed. 13

Saw the Fairmount bypassing at Uphams

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I was at a match a few days ago in Uphams Corner near the Fairmount. Onlookers started to notice the continuous river of bypass trains on the Fairmount Line. They just blew by the Uphams station as riders waited. I'm sure the Kroc Center has a camera pointed towards the tracks. This has all the markings of a second Fairmount swindle.

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Voting is closed. 40

Actually, depending on the

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Actually, depending on the time of day, a huge number of trains bypass ALL the stops on the line- on purpose.I recently moved from near the Fairmount stop- and when I lived over there I'd occasionally take the train. After having two trains blow by me one day (right around the time of the train I thought I was taking), I called Customer Service, and was told that those trains that bypass are equipment moves to or from the yard out at Readville. They're not "in service" trains, but trains moving either to South Station to go into service, or to Readville for maintenance/midday storage

Apparently that day my train was the 3rd in the "parade" of the trains coming through.

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Voting is closed. 16

The worst incident I saw

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Fairmount riders were being forced to get on those little Revere shuttle buses on the weekend. They were told the Blue Hill - Mattapan station construction required shuttles. The Blue Hill - Mattapan station site was dead, and bypass trains were passing through.

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Voting is closed. 9

All caused by a single dead train

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The Globe reports a train died inbound on the Fairmount Line in Dorchester - which blocked the trains Keolis stores during the day in Readville from getting to South Station, at least until they figured out a way to bypass it.

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Voting is closed. 49

How to bypass it?

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They just put in two crossovers along the line in the past 5 or 6 years. That's how you bypass it!

I mean, the sucky thing would have been that some of the Fairmount runs would be delayed or worse, but this would be an example of the greater good.

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Voting is closed. 31

You should ring up

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Tony Mazzola, spokesperson for Keolis, and explain this to him.

Or perhaps there was something more involved with the situation than using the crossover?

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With a crappy rush-hour

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With a crappy rush-hour service headway of 45 minutes, there is plenty of time/space along that line to bypass one broken-down train, and enough crossover switches that there are places where it can be done.

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...by the way, I had long

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...by the way, I had long assumed Fairmount crappy service headway was due to agency indifference, limited equipment availability, and general mediocrity.

Sad to say, I accept that as normal state of affairs...

...but if they're deliberately limiting service on this line just for storage/shuttle issues for other lines - dem's fightin' words!

Maybe they should reopen the not-design on BU/Harvard Station and reclaim some land space from the Beacon Yard redevelopment and put in a couple of storage tracks there!

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Voting is closed. 30

I'd argue the opposite way

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They could run those trains at, say, 5 minute headways as reverse commute runs as a way to get the trainsets to South Station. I doubt they'd get many riders, and there might be a cost involved with having a conductor on each run. Conversely, running them up the line at the same headways without passengers would mean they could still get 9 trainsets to South Station between the scheduled runs of the 768 and 770 trains. There's space for 11 at Readville, so you send the other two (assuming the yard is full mid-day) either just before the 768 or just after the 770.

In short, they could still have service while storing trains out there.

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They usually run a Zone (5) -

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They usually run a Zone (5) - they don't have the personnel for man-to-man.

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Okay

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Since you know all about the MBTA commuter rail system, tell the class where every train is stored mid-day that is used on the South Side. Heck, do the North Side too if you are so inclined.

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Voting is closed. 31

Yawkey

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Keith L here. At Yawkey, they added insult to injury by turning the vanishing 521 train, which eventually showed up very late, into a local. I was following the comments on the MBTA Rail app on the ride home and someone there commented that the express train after ours ended up leapfrogging us. I never actually saw it go by, so can't confirm, but I was pretty annoyed
to read that.

The worse problem was in the morning, where we waited for about an hour at Worcester station. A train with only about 4 cars showed up (compared to the normal 'way more than that'), didn't open it's doors and then took off about a half hour into our wait. A conductor walked by and I asked her what was going on, since there was about zero communication to everyone waiting there. She said "we're working through it" and quickly walked away toward the parking lot. I called MBTA customer service a few times, and got the good old "it will be there in a few mins, just hang tight".

When I finally got on the train, they were collecting fares, so I put up a little stink,saying I didn't want to pay after waiting so long, and that the way I saw it, they owed me money for wasting my time and making me what would end up being 2 hours late for work since they also turned that express into a local, even though they had another local running that started in Grafton (one stop from Worcester) that left shortly before us, so no one was at any of these stops. Obviously, my argument for not paying didn't go over well, but hey, I needed to vent a little. I didn't have the energy to put up a similar fight in the evening.

I only ride about 3 days a week from Worcester, and this is the first time I've had a delay this bad in a long time, but it always reminds me of how pathetic the system is, and how going 40 miles into Boston is currently a long harrowing journey. In 1950, they were able to have trains running from Worcester to Boston in under an hour that ran at useful times (unlike now, where the "bullet train" takes over an hour to get to Yawkey and will get you to work around 9:30 or 10:00 and home around 8:00 in the evening)

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...and how going 40 miles

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...and how going 40 miles into Boston is currently a long harrowing journey. In 1950, they were able to have trains running from Worcester to Boston in under an hour ...

Brings to mind the story of the Great Fire of Boston in 1872. Worcester Fire Department sent mutual aid, running a couple of their pumpers down to the railroad (I thought it was Union Station, but one article I found referred to the Norwich-Foster Streets depot, which looks like it was at a point today midway between City Hall and the Centrum) rolling them up onto a flatbed car, and getting to Boston. Obviously the RR cleared the route, sending word ahead and prioritizing switches, etc.... but they did the run in 47 minutes. I wonder how easy it would be to do that today.

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