Perhaps the people who write MBTA alerts

really do have nothing more than a big dart board in their office that they use to determine which stock excuse to post in order to justify their mismanagement of the commuter rail inform their customers of train changes. Consider the Haverhill Line, which has been posting issues with various trains since about 2:30 this afternoon. First, they started blaming delays on the (very minimal) snow. Then the delays were blamed on "mechanical problem", which was soon alternated with "equipment shortage." Now, they're stating the latest delays are due to signal problems.

The inconsistency here boggles the mind.



    Free tagging: 


    I was on an inbound 4:36

    I was on an inbound 4:36 train from Salem, we stopped just as the Lowell line starts to incline up, just past Sullivan Square. We sat there for a good 10 minutes, an outbound Newburyport/Rockport train passed as, as well as an inbound Lowell train. Our train was blocking both inbound and outbound access to the Haverhill line (I don't think there are any switches on the main line past Sullivan Square). I noted an employee outside the train walking along the embankment next to the train, this was on the side of the Lowell line incline. Not sure why they were doing this, but this leads me to believe it might have been a switch/signal problem and something needed to be kicked/smacked into working again. North Station was a madhouse by the time we got in about 5:25 (normally 5:12ish). Oh well I had a book :)

    Not too bad

    Mechanical failure could easily result in an equipment shortage. The signal problem may not be so much of a 'problem' as a red signal due to stalled and/or late trains. But I agree, the lack of clear information is a bit maddening. It leaves you wondering, "Is this going to clear up, or will it cascade all through the evening?"


    Meh, the North Side... pretty much falling apart. Oldest equipment, ancient signal systems in places, even ancient track. Last night seemed to be a blanket rule that everything was at least 15-20 minutes late, even trains that didn't get a T alert. (I was on 333 on the Lowell Line - we were at least 20-25 mins late to Anderson even though there was no alert.*) Clearly not enough working equipment around to get many trains out on time, and once they did leave there's signal problems (both the railroad signals, switches that won't move, and crossing signals to fail) and the ever present chance for more mechanical failures. And, on top of that, most of the engineers are wisely taking it easy on approaching stations as braking distances need to be increased when the ancient equipment we're blessed with is subjected to spending most of it's time coated in ice and snow.

    Don't worry, all resources that would have gone to emergency maintenance are being spent on legal action against the T.

    *This train got the normal consist (seven cars), but they appeared to be working on some problem with it at North Station which delayed us. If you see the flashing blue lights hanging on the cabs at each end of a train, it's a likely sign that there's something wrong with it - those mean people are working on it or under it somewhere. Seeing those on a train in the station at the height of rush hour is usually a sign that someone's going to be late.

    I believe...

    ...those strobes on the back of 010 and 011 indicate handbrake applied. Not sure what color they are, I thought they were yellow or amber.

    The blue lights are portable flashing lights that are part of blue flag rules which protect the equipment against movement when someone is working on or under the train. They'll be attached to the cab car and the locomotive. I'm not sure what MBCR practice is for something on the control stand inside, but the outside indicator you'll see from the station is a portable blue strobe light hanging on the side of the cab car.

    Since the decision has been

    Since the decision has been made to expand rail service by building tracks to New Bedford and expanding Green Line service to Somerville rather than bringing current service back up to something any second world country would be proud of. I propose that the 127,000 (wikipedia) daily commuters all move into the city and buy bicycles. The monies saved by not spending hundreds of dollars on commuter rail fares along with income from the new mall at South Station could be used to re engineer city roads to multi-lane bike paths that would accommodate the former suburban commuters.

    Those more fit suburbanites could instead of moving, cycle in from Haverhill, Worcester and Providence. There is a lot less traffic at 2-3 o'clock in the morning, so it should be a relatively easy commute. Sure we would loose those less fit such as the elderly, disabled or people who need to sleep in the each morning until 5 or 6 o'clock would fall through the cracks, but think of how we would save the planet!


    If you skip the mandated

    extortion mitigation, and eliminate the unnecessary studies, the endless series of pointless public hearings and needless design group meetings, and the self-serving branding efforts (do we really need specal logos for each of these projects) that always seem to accompany projects like SouthCoast Rail, there will be more than enough money to both construct new projects and rebuild the existing system.

    Especially if we also get rid of this archane funding system of grants that prevents MBTA management from allocating funding where it is most needed.

    Same for the bus

    Last year I was on the 558 bus when it got lost right after the second stop out of Riverside. We wound up on the turnpike. The driver finally got off at Newton, and headed back to Riverside. The end result was that that departure basically skipped all of its stops, and I'm not sure what happened with the return trip from downtown. This is a bus which only runs a few times a day. In any other universe, this would constitute a major delay.

    The alert? "Minor delays due to traffic".

    Since I was trying to assist the driver in getting back on track I know for a fact that he never spoke with a supervisor, so the MBTA had no idea what was going on with that bus. They had to have made up that alert.

    Me too

    Yeah, another time this bus got lost (it happened me 4 times during the 4 months I took that bus...) I used the GPS on my phone to try and get us back on track.

    My point was that dispatch had no idea why the bus was so lost. There could have been a crime being committed, for example. And so they had no idea how long the resulting delay was going to be.

    Maybe they're just so used to drivers on that route getting lost, they just ignore it when it happens...

    Wouldn't be surprised

    Maybe they're just so used to drivers on that route getting lost, they just ignore it when it happens...

    Seems like the 500-series routes are *constantly* getting lost. They always have temporary drivers and people covering sick drivers on those routes, based on what I've heard from people.