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MBTA ends 13 Red Line slow zones, yet service still elicits a lot of groans

The MBTA reports all that work on the Red Line between Park and JFK/UMass means it's eliminated 13 more slow zones on the line. But all that work can still be for nought if trains keep dying on those zippy tracks, as happened tonight when the T reported delays of up to 20 minutes due to a train gasping its last at Broadway.

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It matters not one damn if you run the same number of trains whether they go slower in between the stations or faster.


The same number of trains, on the same distance of track, can run more frequently if they have a higher average speed!


My trip taking 20 minutes to South Station from Ashmont instead of 45 minutes matters a ton, even if the trains aren't coming more frequently. I can't even imagine what it must be like for the poor souls on the Braintree line.




Either there are less trains on the line or the trains are still going as slow.

The math isn't that hard. If you have 10 trains averaging 10 miles an hour over a 10 mile line, that's a train every 12 minutes. If you have 10 trains averaging 20 miles an hour over a 10 mile line, that's a train every 6 minutes. Admittedly, it's not easy to work out when the trains go from 12.5 to 15 miles an hour, but the basic concept is still there.


If a train leaves Ashmont every twenty mins and I am sitting at shawmut waiting for it, how is that more trains per hour? How is that more than 3 trains per hour?


Why is it 20 minutes between trains?

In a "perfect" world it's because there's only enough trains (or drivers, or as we learned 2 years ago the people in some office that direct the drivers) for 20 minute service.

In the T's current state, it's because- as of the start of May- it an extra 40 minutes for a train to get from Alewife to Braintree, so with the amount of trains that are on the line, the minimum headway can only be 20 minutes.

The difference between the former and the latter is that in the case of the latter, when that 40 minutes of delays are lifted, trains take less time to go from one end of the line to the other, thus allowing them to make more trips per shift, thus dropping the headways.

That said, I'm now convinced you are trolling and could have probably figured out why the trains going faster would lead to shorter headways, but whatever.