Trains die, riders ask why

Paul Chicarello reports the following happened on a stalled Red Line train (of course) at Central Square around 7:25 p.m.:

Oh god ... someone just pushed the emergency button to ask the train driver why we are standing by. She was obviously pissed.

Person: "I've got somewhere I need to be!" Motorman: "this button is for emergencies ONLY!"



Free tagging: 


On a different day, I could

On a different day, I could have so easily been that woman.

Maybe the MBTA should start some Zen type of PSAs.

"Don't take the train. Let the train take you, where ever, and whenever it decides to go."

"If a train dies in the tunnel, and no one is on it, is it really dead?"



I'm sure if they knew they would announce it to the entire train as to why the train is not moving, by pressing it I'm sure it caused them another five mins before the train moved!

Why are you sure of this?

Why are you sure the driver would announce what's up to the passengers? I've been stuck on many a train that seemed to be under radio silence once we stopped moving. There has to be a better way. During the recent storms, I used Google Maps and its live traffic info to plot my escape route from the city. Why can't we, as T riders, get more detailed information on the platform so we can make a decision as to whether or not there's a better way to get where we need to go. I know some of these problems are sudden, but most are the residual effect of a known issue like a signal problem, planned maintenance or a stalled train. T personnel get continual updates on conditions. All I ask is if a driver knows there's a signal problem he's been dealing with all day that has caused issues, we should get that info as well. It's so frustrating to get on a train, only to stop just outside the station because of a problem the driver was already anticipating.

It's lucky that woman only pressed the intercom button. There are much worse things that could happen, especially with all the anti-anxiety prescriptions being written in this area.

T workers get detailed information about delays?


Ever been on a Green Line train being held for no good reason "headway adjustment" at Park Street. The standard announcement is "being held" without giving the passengers any time frame. When I've (politely) questioned the operator as to how long we'll be waiting, the answer is usually either "I don't know" or "Until they release us." When I further request (again politely) that they ask the dispatcher how long we'll be waiting, I usually get a blank stare (although I had one operator reply to such a request with a very snarky "When you go to your job, you do what you're told, right. Well, I'm doing the same thing here.")

Park Street Blues

Yup. It's like playing a shell game with the trains. If you're on, say, a D train that's "standing by" and a B train pulls into the station, do you switch to the B train hoping it will leave first? Or once you're off the D train does it suddenly close up and take off, leaving you to then "stand by" waiting for the B train to move, while an E train is still behind it waiting to move into the station, etc?

It's similar to a shell game at JFK station. If two inbound trains happen to arrive at the same time (i.e. one from the Ashmont side, one from the Braintree side), which one will leave JFK first? Answer -- most often the one you've decided not to get on.

Or, sometimes you think you're on the right one, as it starts to move down the platform, only to stop short to let the other train go by first. Then you wait another few minutes....all the while cursing under your breath that you didn't decide to get on the other train.

With the Park Street issue, at least in my experience I've found that E trains tend not to "stand by" nearly as much as the others (it seems the B and D trains are the worst offenders), but of course that info is only useful if you're not going past Copley (or you wanted an E train anyway).

Which leaves JFK first

Typically the MBTA tries to maintain a A - B - A - B - A - B - etc. pattern. Even if it's Alewife-bound (because usually the train just turns around and goes back to where it came from). If you know what the last train was (if you just missed it) you can make the determination. So if you just missed a Braintree train, and two are approaching, go for the Ashmont. If you have no idea at all, go for the Ashmont train, because Ashmont trains tend to run ever so slightly more often. Thus, you get some A - B - A - A - B - A patterns in the mix.