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That thing Franklin Line riders dread: They have to go backwards to go ahead

Todd Mulligan asks:

Did they just announce we will be going back inbound to Hyde park (from Readville)? And then outbound again, That can’t be right?

Jim Lind confirms:

Franklin 745 going backwards from Readville to Hyde Park. I’ve never heard of a Commuter Rail train going backwards.

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We didn’t end up going back. They overshot the ramp and a handicapped individual was unable to get on. The train behind us go them I believe.

30 min late.

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Voting closed 5

I was on the train.

Sat at Hyde Park for probably 15 minutes. Then to Readville. Sat again. The conductor says we have to reverse to Hyde Park to let a handicapped rider off. Reason they couldn’t leave the train the first time was the train stopped incorrectly at Hyde Park, so it didn’t line up properly with the platform. No idea why they couldn’t just adjust the train.

So now people are getting off the train at Readville to grab ubers. Sit another while, then they announce never mind, going on to Endicott.

Hopefully they got the person that needed assistance sorted, but man what a clown show.

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Voting closed 10

If this were an automobile, you could back up a few feet, but this is a train. MBTA commuter trains are semi-locked in their ability to move forward or backward. For a train to change direction they have to park and secure the train, deactivate the controls in the locomotive, activate the controls in the control cab (to go backward), and run a brake test. All of this requires a mandatory 5 minutes delay by federal rules. Often it takes 5-15 mins. Then you do the same thing again to go back the other way. (Subway trains are different -- different standards and operation).

That said... federal railroad rules don't easily allow you to just back up, even just a few feet. If the train behind you had advanced into the next control section of track known as a "block" (of track), two trains cannot occupy the same block at the same time even if they are miles apart and even if the trains know what is going on. Having to back up requires multiple levels of permissions and paperwork sign offs before it can actually happen as well.

Mind you... this is the short explanation.

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Voting closed 4

Amtrak's station in Portland is off the main line, so a southbound train from Freeport has to stop on the main line and do a reverse move into the station.

Similarly, a northbound Amtrak train has to reverse out of the Portland station back onto the main line, then throw a switch and move forward to Freeport and Brunswick. The trains may sit for a minute or two during the changes of direction, but never 5 minutes.

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Voting closed 3

Sounds like they decided to find alternate accessible transportation for that person, like a van. Which they should have done in the first place.

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Voting closed 1