West of 495

By - 6/25/16 - 10:18 am

Finn alerted us to an update from the T earlier this morning:

Fitchburg Update: Train 1400 is operating 70-100 min late between South Acton & North Station at reduced speed due to a mechanical problem.

By - 6/24/16 - 3:59 pm
Subway factory under way in Springfield

The T posted a couple photos today of the Springfield site where a Chinese company is building a factory that will build new Orange Line and Red Line cars, which are expected to roll out between late 2018 and 2022.

By - 6/19/16 - 12:54 pm

WBUR reports state alcohol regulators have suddenly decided a law that let Nashoba Valley Winery bottle wine and run a restaurant for 16 years really means it can't bottle wine and run a restaurant.

By - 6/6/16 - 10:36 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today the state can force the owner of an old gas station in Athol to clean up the mess left over from a 1994 gasoline spill despite a state law that exempts "petroleum" spills from rigorous cleanups. Read more.

By - 4/2/16 - 12:07 am
Potatoes on the highway

The Littleton Fire Department shows us what happens when a truck carrying potatoes rolls over and gets mashed against a guardrail, in this case on Rte. 2 eastbound at 495 Friday afternoon.

H/t Rick, who surmises the driver didn't keep his eyes peeled.

By - 3/23/16 - 9:05 am

Worcester Magazine recaps yesterday's Worcester City Council meeting, which included some in-your-face'ing towards Boston because the Worcester Public Health Division is the first in the state to receive accreditation by a national public-health accrediting board:

Toomey: I know everybody wants to say congratulations to a world-class team from a world-class city.

Rosen: This is yuuge. I heard the Boston City Council met last week, and with over 1,000 employees - we have 23 - they have a huge budget, we have a small budget – and they tried to get this, and couldn’t. Boston is envious of the city of Worcester, as they should be.

By - 2/26/16 - 8:19 am

Turns out that only three of the four towns evacuated to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir are mostly submerged under the water. Roadtripnewengland recently visited the ex-town of Dana, which is still mostly above water.

Via Boston Reddit.

By - 2/24/16 - 9:20 pm

Tonight's commuter-rail tale of woe comes from Jennifer Emmaline, who thought her train from Worcester to Boston would leave at 7:50 p.m., only to learn that a) An Amtrak train that got to Union Station, looked around and decided that was as good a place as any to just die and b) The solution turned out to be to connect that train to her train, which would then try to pull it all the way to South Station. Read more.

By - 2/7/16 - 1:12 pm
Long lines at Wachussett Mountain

Dave reports:

Tough day at Wachusett. Summit lift down after car acc caused power surge & fried elec. in lift

By - 1/6/16 - 7:45 am

Or as Shuchi M puts it:

Woot, they cancelled two trains, brought a smaller train than usual, and made the express a local. Where did the fare hike money go MBTA?

By - 1/4/16 - 2:00 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today the state can keep children away from a would-be foster couple who believe corporal punishment is part of their religious duty - even if they agree to limit the spanking to their natural children and not spank any foster children.

Gregory and Melanie Magazu of Fitchburg, who have two children of their own, sought to become foster and "pre-adoptive" parents in 2012, but were denied permission by the state Department of Children and Families because they said their Christian beliefs sometimes compelled them to spank their own children. Read more.

By - 1/4/16 - 8:56 am
Crowded Fitchburg Line train

Riders aren't supposed to ride in the spaces between cars on commuter rail, but, eh, whadaya gonna do, right, Fitchburg Line riders? Finn, who was among those lucky riders around 7 a.m., reports a conductor's reassuring words:

If you're in there, make sure you hold on.

By - 11/30/15 - 10:53 pm
Machine gun allegedly stolen from Worcester armory

Feds say this photo was taken from suspect's phone; shows stolen weapons in her home.

Ashley Bigsbee, 26, was charged with possession of one of the machine guns stolen from a Worcester armory last month after investigators found photos on her phone of the weapon in her Page Street home - and after the man charged with the burglary implicated her - according to federal officials. Read more.

By - 11/30/15 - 3:34 pm

Up to $15,000 for information that leads to the recovery of those remaining six guns stolen from that armory in Worcester. Click the link for a photo of one of the guns and its "U.S." etchings:

The FBI continues to devote significant resources to locate and recover these firearms and remove them from the possession of the unauthorized individual(s) who may have them. All local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies were quickly made aware of the theft and are assisting the FBI as warranted.

By - 10/14/15 - 11:35 am

State officials recently gathered to celebrate the spring, 2016 start of "bullet train" service that will get some Worcester commuters into Back Bay in an hour - which is still a couple minutes slower than the Beeliner service introduced by the Boston and Albany on May 1, 1950 (using Buddliners, no less).

H/t Ari Ofsevit.

By - 8/31/15 - 8:47 pm

The Telegram reports how a porcupine that quilled the snout of that water buffalo got it so enraged it broke free of its enclosure in a giant water buffalo-y rage.

By - 8/30/15 - 1:42 pm
Water buffalo in custody

UPDATE: As you can see in the photo from Westminster Police, Bear the water buffalo is back in custody, none the worse for wear, save for some porcupine quills in his nose.

Westminster Police report Wa-wa-Chusett Mountain's water buffalo has busted loose and is roaming the countryside. Yes, of course, Wachusett Mountain has a water buffalo. Or had.

We ask that you don't approach it or try to capture it in any way.

By - 8/17/15 - 2:04 pm

Keolis is advising that with temperatures forecast in the 80s and 90s this week, the Worcester Line will be taking it easy - extending commutes by up to 30 minutes. Read more.

By - 8/15/15 - 11:42 am
Land shark on a Massachusetts highway

State Police report a trooper dispatched to investigate a report of metal debris on I-190 didn't find any metal, but: Read more.