UPDATE: Franklin High School officials say the actual pugilists on the train were Franklin High alumni, not students, the Milford Daily News reports.
NOTE: Post corrected to show the location of the car will be the one closest to the locomotive, which is only the first car in outbound trains.
The MBTA begins experimental rush-hour quiet-car service on the Franklin and Fitchburg lines on Monday. For the next three months, the car closest to the locomotive will be where be where cell phones go to die:
The MBTA's reporting lengthy delays on trains out of South Station tonight. Dan Esdale reports that, as of 11:30 p.m.:
The 10:35 Franklin train still hasn't left South Station. And they don't know when the signal problem will be fixed.
Sure, why not? Trains delayed due to a brush fire on the tracks in Hyde Park. Oh, yeah, Acela service also affected. Are there locusts on the Worcester Line?
Peter Maranci reports that not only did he get into Ruggles 35 minutes late - because the train ahead of his died and had to be pushed off the tracks (and then shot?) - but then he and other commuters had to rely on the kindness of a conductor just to get out:
... [B]oth of the doors on the side that I was on were stuck (no conductors around, of course!). We all turned and ran for other doors, but the train was moving by the time we got to them. Finally a conductor stopped the train, and we got off. But the doors now opened on the closed part of the platform, the part that has been crumbling for years. We stepped out onto a thick sheet of unsanded ice. We all made it across the ice and around the "CLOSED" barrier safely ...
You can put your tickets and passes away. I am not going to get around to checking them today. Don't leave them behind.Does Channel 5 know about this?
Dave reports that two cars in a row on his Franklin Line train tonight had no handles on the outsides of their doors:
... Some people ran for the first car that actually had handles, some tried to make contact with someone inside the train so they could open them from the inside and some just stood and cussed. I like to imagine Mr. O'Leary watching scenes like this kind of thing on a video feed in his office at the MBCR and just laughing and laughing.
Charlie on the Commuter Rail notes that the issue of commuter-rail conductors not announcing where their trains are going at Ruggles grows only worse:
They often don't bother to announce the destination of the train, and sometimes they don't even step out on the platform! Since the trains have been more and more erratic, time-wise (they can vary from the schedule by five minutes or more) this is particularly worrisome. Often passengers have to go into a train and ask the passengers inside where the train is going.
Also, there was a car on the Franklin Line last night that smelled like sewage.
You may recall how the initial "let's mess with commuters' heads and not announce destinations at stations like Ruggles" thing started during the secret work action, which is supposed to be over, but, you know, conductors just wanna have fun.
Meanwhile, Train Stopping shows that what we have on commuter rail is a failure to communicate: In response to a commuter complaining about inaccurate delay info on mbta.com, a customer-service manager at MBCR (which actually runs the trains), replied:
We provide the MBTA with the delay information but we cannot access their website to post delay information; that falls under their purview.
Allegedly the MBTA is working on a fix, but has provide no completion date.
Are MBCR conductors on another secret job action, or do they all just have sore throats? Charlie on the Commuter Rail reports what happened at Ruggles yesterday afternoon:
... An outbound train pulled up to Ruggles at 4:19; everyone got on. One passenger asked what train it was, and discovered that it wasn't the Franklin train after all; it was the Needham train, running very late. We all started shouting and warning people, and there was a mass exodus of Franklin passengers.
Quasit escapes from train 715 on the Franklin Line, which seems about ready to grind to a halt from the sheer weight of all the people now crammed into it:
... Ridership has increased enormously; every seat is full to capacity, the aisles are packed solid, and even the vestibules - which are supposed to be off-limits for passengers - are full of riders.
Yesterday there were 14 people riding in the vestibule that I was in. I was in the spot exactly between two cars; that spot is probably the most dangerous on the train, because it's the intersection between the two coaches. ... Fares haven't been collected on the #715 for weeks. Passengers are openly talking about giving up their passes and buying 12-ride tickets instead, because you can easily get a month or two of rides from one; the conductors simply can't check tickets. ...
Steve Sherlock is composing poems for each stop on the Franklin Line - in "sherku" (like haiku, but with two more syllables) - for example:
Five and dime, not here
At Dedham Corporate Center
Both Friday and Monday, Quasit's train from Franklin never stopped at Ruggles due to - sing it with me - signal problems:
I've put in for the on-time service guarantee on both days. Since the train never arrived at my destination, the MBTA can hardly claim that it was on time!
However, he does report some progress: At least conductors announced the bypass on the train.
Figures. Those disintegrating, cracked Northeast Corridor ties will affect some MBTA commuters out of South Station. The Globe reports the rail lines between Back Bay and Readville will be shut June 14 through 17 to allow for replacement of the ties there. That means buses for commuters on the Attleboro/Providence, Franklin, Needham and Stoughton lines (dear Globe: What about the Fairmount Line?).
Signs warning pedestrians away from the in-bound entrance to the commuter rail station along Waterfield Road in Winchester are still in place, more than two weeks after hundreds of pounds of concrete fell from the ceiling. ...
Dave on the Franklin Line begins his report on this morning's commute thusly:
So I coasted in to Norwood Central this morning to find the usual festive atmosphere that heralds another colossal screw-up by the MBCR. ....
Meanwhile, Jeff Egnaczyk writes to the T to complain about its newly enhanced Worcester Line schedule (no, don't worry, he didn't use any bad words). He reports he got back a reply saying the changes "were negotiated between the MBTA/MBCR and CSX (owner/operator/dispatcher of this line) over the course of several months" and now he wonders:
... Do you know any corporation dedicated to customer service that would make a major change like this without the input of their customers?
Steve Sherlock posts his experiences direct from the train when he lucks out and gets on one of the cars that actually has it.
... For a free service, occasional access to email will be helpful and beneficial. I won't plan on getting any real work done at this connection strength. ...
As he watched the lying message board at his stop on the Franklin Line on Friday, Dave got an idea: A Franklin/Forge Park Line Twitter community so users can post actual information about the status of specific trains. In fact, he set one up, at twitter.com/FranklinLine:
... I know the MBTA is testing a text messaging system for cell phones, but I'm afraid that'll be manned by the same guys who write fiction for the reader boards. I'd much rather get a tweet from a fellow commuter with real information like "Currently under attack by hippogriffs between Franklin and Norfolk; should be moving again soon," or "Wheels have fallen off, have decided to settle in new land of Wall-Powell and raise family here with guy I met on the train." ...