Is it just me

or is the MBTA really getting too lazy with their alerts. Case in point:

Haverhill Line cancelled due to mechanical problem. Next outbound service, Train 227 @ 4:30 pm.

Affected direction: outbound

Last updated: Feb 5 2014 4:06 PM

I presume the cancelled train was the 3:50 to Reading, but it would be nice to be actually informed of that fact.



    Free tagging: 


    Is UHub

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    Becoming to goto place for New Englanders (and yuppie transplants) who are looking to bitch about the snow. News Flash, it's February in the northern hemisphere.


    Are you illiterate? This

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    Are you illiterate? This post is about a cancelled train, and the poor information provided by the MBTA.


    I noticed at one point there

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    I noticed at one point there were 3 alerts for the Rockburyport line too that just said "delayed due to snow" with no actual train number or time or anything.


    New/Rock delays

    That's because all trains were delayed at one point, due to the crossing gates not working through Everett, Chelsea, and Revere. Trains were holding in both directions.


    MBCR short crewed-trains

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    Failing crossing gates usually just require a flagman to allow the train through. It should not stop a train.
    Alas, short-crewed trains can't manage to do this and are made helpless by a minor mechanical malfunction.


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    Most commuter trains have 3-5 staff members on board, mostly just scratching their asses and earning more money per hour than they recover in revenue.

    Even if they knocked that down to just engineer+conductor, that's enough to have the conductor go out and act as flagman while the train creeps at 5-10 mph through the crossing.

    No matter what level of staffing, there are going to be delays doing that.

    There's no excuses for America's incompetent, overstaffed, overly expensive commuter rail services.

    What's really interesting is

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    What's really interesting is that this was one of three trains canceled on the North Side this afternoon, all short-turns that usually alleviate rush hour crowding. They were:

    The 3:50 outbound from North Station to Reading and its counterpart 4:20 return to North Station was canceled due to a mechanical problem.
    The 4:20 from North Station to Anderson/Woburn and its counterpart 4:55 return was canceled due to a mechanical problem.
    The 4:55 from North Station to Beverly and its 5:40 return was canceled due to a mechanical problem.

    On a day like today, there are fewer passengers, and the later trains can handle the loads from these trains as well. And for these three trains to all break down, but for no other trains to be affected (since these return to North Station and operate other rush hour routes), certainly seems fishy—it seems like MBCR decided to save a few dollars by not running these trains due to the weather and the lower passenger loads. And that's almost commendable, except that the savings from not running these trains, to the detriment of the traveling public, goes towards lining the pockets of MBCR. I wonder if this is an unofficial policy, and if so, perhaps the T, instead of stretching the truth about it, should just come out and say "during times of low ridership these trains may be canceled."


    Double Engine

    Not sure if it's related or not but I noticed a Lowell line train being run with two engines which is uncommon for the MBTA. They may have taken lesser used lines out of service so that they'd have the ability to double up power.


    Twitter to the rescue:

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    Twitter to the rescue:

    Me: Okay, @MBCR_info: I call foul: were there really three unrelated "mechanical" failures on North Side short-turns this afternoon?
    @MBCR_info: Hi there - some trains were canceled due to weather-related light ridership.

    So then why were they attributed to mechanical failures?


    Me too

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    Pretty much everything I know about trains and rail transit management I learned from train nerds here on UHub.


    Equipment freed up from not

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    Equipment freed up from not running the short-turn trains can then be used to substitute for equipment that has broken down on other trains.