Hey, there! Log in / Register

Rockport Line riders in a funk; Beverly drawbridge seems drunk

Claire Blechman reports the infamous Beverly drawbridge is stuck again, forcing Newburyport/Rockport Line passengers to abandon ship only to discover that Uber rates have gone into crisis mode.



Stick again?

Perhaps you mean:

Sick again
Sticking again
Stuck again

Stupid typo fixed.

shuttle buses between Salem and Beverly. No word yet if the buses are getting police escorts.

The buses did not get escorts. After sitting outside Beverly for 20 minutes, we pulled up and were told buses would arrive in 20 minutes. At this point I asked if they would hold a train at Salem for us to go right when we got there - a conductor assured me they would (I had my doubts since the buses and trains didn't seem coordinated with each other when they replaced the drawbridge in 2017). We waited about 45-60 minutes for a bus*. Two arrived, but one dropped its passengers and left without picking anyone up (according to my bus driver, when he saw the other bus ahead of him near Salem). The bus that stayed was so crowded that people got left behind in Beverly. When we got to Salem, there was a nice train waiting for us like the conductor said no train. 20 minutes later, a train pulls up and lets its passengers off. We were not allowed to get on - the plan was to have it pull up to the drawbridge and wait for the next train, then they would link up and be able to take twice as many passengers at once**. I think we were told the next train wouldn't be for at least half an hour, maybe an hour. At this point I gave up and took the 455 from Salem to Wonderland (since it was leaving in ~3 minutes), then took the blue line in.

I really feel bad for the people who were going to the airport. They originally left with way more than enough time but this screwup meant they probably missed their flight (they were talking outside Wonderland at ~8:15PM, so I don't think it had left yet).

*Had I known at the time that it would be that long instead of 20 minutes, I would have walked to Salem and might have caught a train.

**I don't understand why they couldn't just run the train at that point so that all those people didn't have to wait even more. At least at Salem, one train wouldn't have been at capacity.

Some timestamps, +/- 2 minutes (all PM):

5:15 - Got a few car lengths from Beverly Depot. Told that the drawbridge was stuck open and we'd be waiting a bit.
5:50 - Told that buses were going to be taking people back and forth between Beverly and Salem. Told ~20 minutes for a bus. We were allowed to wait on the train in the air conditioning (and wifi) if we wanted. I figured that it takes about 30 minutes to walk to Salem, so 20 minutes for a bus and a 10 minute ride is just as good. This is when I asked if they were going to hold a train at Salem until the bus arrived.
6:35 - Bus pulls up. Get on, stand right next to the driver because it is packed (and people are wearing backpacks, but this isn't a story about T etiquette)
6:45 - Arrive at Salem, there is no train. Customer service agent tells us a train is coming.
7:05 - Train pulls up.
7:07 - Told that this train isn't going back to Boston. They are going to wait for the next train and link them up for higher capacity, should be 30-60 minutes (see ** above). The train pulled out of the station and went to the drawbridge, so passengers weren't able to get on.
7:15 - 455 departs
8:10 - 455 arrives at Wonderland.
8:50 - Get to North Station (short waits for blue and green lines).

If anyone stayed and waited for the train at Salem, I'd be interested in knowing when it actually left and when you got to North Station.

The second northbound train arrived Salem around 7:25. The double train headed south around 7:50, and got to North Station around 8:30.

Thank you!

Also, trains started crossing the drawbridge around 8 pm.

Just north of Salem station the track diverges and becomes a 2-track line again as it continues to Beverly. Trains will go north to at least that point, and when that shows on the dispatchers computer screen, they will allow a second train to approach from the Swampscott end to enter the station.

They almost never lash-up 2 trains in a station unless it is not avoidable. They will lash-up near where the tracks split. This si because to get them to MU (multi-unit), they have to approach each other then set the brakes and disabled certain systems for the connections of electrical and control lines to be made, and air lines to be connected to make it a single train. Then they reset the train systems to act like one train. This also requires a mandatory brake test for the entire reconfigured train and check of control systems and safety systems. The whole process from beginning to end can take up to 30 min easily.

Commuter trains cannot reverse direction like a subway train. On a subway train like the Orange or red line once they lock the control stand on one end and shut off the door controls at the end being used to run the train, they can open the door controls and operating controls on the other end and keep moving. This is why when you get to Forest Hills there is a delay for the doors to open. Anothe operator gets in at the reverse end, the operator rings a bell to indicate they have shut off their end, and the second operator activates the opposite end to prepare it to move out again. It's the second operator that is opening the doors for you.

On a commuter rail set the change is a little different requiring electrical and brake adjustments at the locomotive, and activation of the control cab and brake stand at the opposite end. Then there is a mandatory brake test. By FRA regulations they cannot speed up this process and must wait at least 5 minutes while these changes and tests are being performed, and that assumed all goes well.

Thanks for the information.

The state and townships need to look at this practice of price hikes in peak hours in the ride share companies. Price gouging is not tolerated in (most) other business markets. I won't get into the silly prices we may pay to event ticket sales outlets. The government is looking at that now thankfully.

Licensed hackney carriages (taxi cabs) are not allowed to do that. They are required to charge the rates set by the trip meters by mileage and time. Unfair playing field.

I have used Uber and saved money on some trips but you need to use that wisely and be informed.