Those darn signals cause problems at North Station again

People coming into Boston from the north are stuck sitting on trains just on the other side of the Charles River bridge thanks to signals that are refusing to signal.

Tom reports:

The MBTA is broken so I'm stuck on a commuter rail train where tensions are getting high... Please send backup and Starbucks.

The Green, Red and Orange lines have had the usual problems with dead trains and service adjustments that involve letting trains sit in stations with all the doors open. And tensions are rising on those lines as well. Karissa reports from the Red Line:

Red line crowded, guy threatening to punch anyone who gets closer to him. Says it's MBTA's fault if it happens.

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This happened the other day

This happened the other day, where there was a power failure/fuse blow in the Tower A signal house, and the whole drawbridge/interlocking went dark. Sounds like a repeat.

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In addition to the delays,

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In addition to the delays, they're cancelling all the short-turn trains (trains that originate in Beverly, Reading, and Woburn so far, nothing about South Acton yet). Could be some long, cold waits out there.

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8:00 from Reading ran on time

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but was terminated at Malden Center, with everyone forced to transfer to the Orange Line. Wasn't that bad for us (except for the obligatory stop at the still under construction Assembly Square station - even though there wasn't a worker in sight), but we left a number of people on the platforms at Wellington and Sullivan Square.

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I understand how this happens in Seattle

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I do not understand how it happens in Boston.

They have trains in Russia? Yes? Switzerland? Germany? Poland? Scandanavia? Finland?

Some dim bulb needs to ask them how this doesn't happen there and make it not happen here!

It isn't rocket science - it is 19th century technology.

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Nope!

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Nope. This:

you think anybody at the MBTA might ever give a shit about quality of service.

is the whole point. It's beyond disgusting--and a disgrace, especially since those who run Boston's MBTA system have been touting it as the best subway system in the country. What a crock of BS.

When the signals at any MBTA station(s) go amok, there's something seriously wrong with the whole system that needs to be fixed. The constant blaming the problems on the weather is merely a smokescreen--and an excuse for not updating things and fixing the problem(s). The signal systems clearly need updating, or this wouldn't keep happening.

Please explain

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How many other transit systems have you ridden recently?

MBTA isn't the worst.

Also "those in charge of the MBTA" aren't at fault here. The blame squarely rests with the legislature. In particular, Dumbass Senator Stan Rosenberg who "designed" the debt dump and who is prone to grandstanding on how he doesn't want his constituents to "subsidize Boston" while we paid big bucks to both construct and maintain AND RECONSTRUCT his district's roads.

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That's a good point, octr202,

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Especially because these signal problems at the MBTA stations frequently happen in decent weather, as well.

The Swiss do not just have trains.

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They have the most ridiculously clean, punctual, reliable and pleasant trains I have ever had the pleasure of riding. So far as I am concerned, SBB is the gold standard and the T (and its commuter rail operator) should try to do everything that it does. Hell, even RATP and SNCF are light years ahead of us.

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Semi-Unfair comparison

The swiss as a whole take great pride in their train system. Contrast this to this country were public transportation is thought of as a "rich man's burden", most politicians do not take it frequently (or ever), and it gets lumped into the same discussions as welfare and deficit spending. The result is that we go with the lowest bidders, have strong unions but low expectations, and give the people in charge little power to make real changes. (And also have little power to remove people who don't deliver.)

If we considered public transportation to be as important as the military or the TSA/NSA, improvements could happen quickly. But we don't and therefor the T will continue to suck for the foreseeable future.

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In the midst of all this chaos

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the T sends out yet another random alert that doesn't tell a whole lot to the riders.

Haverhill Line delayed significantly minutes due to signal problem

Last updated: Jan 7 2014 8:34 AM

Glad they spent that 500K "improving" the alert system instead of, say, maintaining switch heaters

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Maintaining switch heaters

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Maintaining switch heaters would require actual work. 500k on software allows outsourcing and pocketing of vast sums of money with little accountability for accomplishment.

Please supply two things with your comments

I mean, you talk a good story, but I'm still not convinced that you understand how federal funding works.

So, please link to something that demonstrates
1. that they actually spent $500K on software for the alert system
2. that this money was not grant money specifically awarded for that exact purpose AND came out of the EXACT SAME pile of money that is used for maintenance

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"service adjustments that

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"service adjustments that involve letting trains sit in stations with all the doors open"

The newer NYC subway trains have a feature where they can leave just one door open in each car during extended waits (usually while the train is waiting to start its run at the first station, but it could also be used during delays). That would be very useful on cold days, especially at outdoor stations.